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Half-Filipino Iglesias backs typhoon relief

Spanish pop superstar singer Enrique Iglesias, whose mother is from the Philippines, on Tuesday urged his fans to give money to help victims of the devastating Typhoon Haiyan.

Half-Filipino Iglesias backs typhoon relief
Enrique Iglesias' mother is Filipino socialite and magazine journalist Isabel Preysler, dubbed "The Pearl of Manila" by Spain's gossip magazines. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP

"HELP THE PHILIPPINES! People in the Philippines need our help right away! Please consider donating to Haiyan disaster relief. You'll feel good that you did," the 38-year-old, Grammy-winning singer wrote on his official website beside a link to the web page of the American Red Cross.

Iglesias, whose hits include "Hero" and "Cuando Me Enamoro", is currently on tour in the United States.

He is the third and youngest child of veteran Spanish singer Julio Iglesias and socialite and magazine journalist Isabel Preysler, who moved to Madrid from the Philippines when she was a teenager.

Preysler, dubbed "The Pearl of Manila" by Spain's gossip magazines, and Julio Iglesias split in 1979 after a seven-year marriage. She is currently married to former Spanish finance minister Miguel Boyer.

The United Nations fears the typhoon may have killed over 10,000 people. It estimates that more than 11.3 million Filipinos have been affected, with 673,000 made homeless, since Haiyan — one of the most powerful typhoons ever — smashed into the nation's central islands on Friday.

The typhoon struck one month after the Philippines was hit by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake which destroyed the homes and livelihoods of around 350,000 people.

Since bursting on to the music scene in 1995, Enrique Iglesias has become one of the biggest selling Spanish artists of all time, selling over 100 million albums worldwide.

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Jailed Catalan separatist mulls dropping leadership bid

Jordi Sanchez, a separatist civic leader in jail over his alleged role in Catalonia's secession bid, is mulling dropping his bid to lead the region in what could ease a months-long political blockage.

Jailed Catalan separatist mulls dropping leadership bid
A banner depicting images of Catalan separatist leaders Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez during a protest to demand a Catalan republic. Photo: AFP

In an appeal Tuesday at the Supreme Court against the decision to keep him in jail pending a probe into alleged sedition and rebellion, Sanchez's lawyers said he was “considering giving up his (parliamentary) seat in the coming days.”

If he does this, separatist parties would be able to designate a new candidate for the presidency of Catalonia, which has been under direct rule from Madrid since October 27th when regional lawmakers declared independence.   

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While separatist parties won subsequent regional elections in December, retaining their absolute majority in parliament, they have still not been able to form a government.

Catalonia's former president Carles Puigdemont, who was sacked by Madrid after the independence declaration and left for Belgium where he lives in  self-exile, was their first candidate to lead the region again but he eventually dropped his bid.

Puigdemont instead proposed Sanchez, the former head of the influential pro-independence ANC civil society group.   

But this too has proven problematic as Supreme Court judges refused to release him for a crucial parliamentary session that would officially appoint him president.

In a statement, Sanchez's lawyers acknowledged this, saying he was considering giving up his seat “given the difficulty to work as a lawmaker and attend the parliamentary session as candidate for the regional presidency.”    

The Supreme Court could rule as soon as Tuesday whether it heeds Sanchez's appeal and sets him free.

Eduard Pujol of Puigdemont and Sanchez's separatist Together for Catalonia grouping also confirmed he was mulling quitting politics.    

If that materialises, he said, “we will continue doing everything that is needed not to go to (repeat) elections, to form a government.”