Catalonia to Declare Independence

Catalonia, an autonomous state in Spain, is moving to declare independence from Spain later this week. The president of the region, Carles Puigdemont, has appealed to the European Union to support the referendum.

Out of 2.3 million voters, an overwhelming two million favored independence. Although the referendum will likely not be recognized by the international community, it represents the people's distrust with the Spanish government.

Mariano Rajoy, prime minister of Spain, was quick to denounce the movement, calling it “an attack on democracy.”

While polling stations were opened, police clad in riot gear and armed with batons beat protestors away. An estimated 73 percent of polling stations still remained open. Rajoy commended the officers for their “calmness” while body cam footage showed the police exerting aggressive force in an effort to shut down the vote.

Puigdemont described the crackdown as an “unjustified, excessive and irresponsible use of violence.”

Abortion Ban in Ireland Provokes Protests

A previously passed abortion ban in Ireland — being cited as one of the worst of its kind — drew a mire of protesters in Dublin. The so-called “March for Choice” is an annual protest against the Irish constitutional amendment and was held this year a few days after the government announced that it would hold a referendum in 2018 to possibly change the law. An estimated 30,000 marchers took to the streets.

The ban was originally put into effect in 1983, but after numerous deaths resulting from failed pregnancies, the people of Ireland have called for a change in the law. The law currently stipulates that an unborn child has the same value as the mother. Therefore, abortions are only allowed in cases where the mother is at risk, but the law isn’t clear on that subject and often times medical professionals are punished for performing abortions. Those who need abortions often travel to Britain to get the health care they need.

Ireland is considered one of the most conservative catholic nations in the world. As a direct response to the influence of catholic ideology in public policy, many protestors carried signs with the phrase “Keep your rosaries off our ovaries.”

Hyatt Regency Rochester Renovations

Typically regarded as one of the more dull buildings in Rochester, the Hyatt Regency Rochester has completed most of its renovations. The project, totaling around $18.5 million in cost, included new food and drink spots.

With a more modern touch, the hotel has included numerous restaurants that offer a more global dining experience. The Street Craft Kitchen and Bar looks to redefine street food in a more modern and global conscious manner.

Approximately 20,000 square feet of guest rooms have been remodeled with new carpets and wall decorations. The hotel has also attempted to attract more business events by incorporating space for business conferences and meetings.

Incorporating new technology has also become a larger part of the renovations. One such addition is the customer-to-staff text messaging system, that allows guests to be in direct contact with employees of the hotel. The equipment in the fitness room has also been updated.