Photographer: Angel Garcia/Bloomberg

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Here are today’s top stories for Europe.

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Push came to shove over Catalonia and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy hit hard. Regional President Carles Puigdemont refused this morning to shelve his claim to independence, and Rajoy’s government will now begin the process of suspending the semi-autonomous region’s self-rule and reasserting direct control by Madrid. That’s Rajoy’s ultimate constitutional weapon, following an illegal referendum in the region on Oct. 1. Other European leaders offered him their support—Andy Reinhardt

Talking heads. The 28 leaders of the European Union have more to talk about than Brexit. Nevertheless, the U.K.’s Theresa May will push a Brussels summit to accelerate negotiations over a future U.K.-EU trading relationship. Her Labour rival, Jeremy Corbyn, tried to upstage her with a speech beforehand to European socialists in which he called for May to step aside. But the real problem in the divorce proceedings is a culture clash.

Packets of Durex condoms from Reckitt Benckiser Group.
Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe

Changing times. Consumer product giants like Nestlé, Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser used to rule supermarket aisles, brand rankings and blue-chip stock portfolios. Times have changed. Reckitt cut its sales forecast earlier this week, while Nestlé and Unilever both reported disappointing numbers today. The results provide more ammunition to shareholder activists already pressuring the consumer goods sector.

Waiting it out. Italy’s economy has been in the doldrums for years—but the Greek-style meltdown some feared has thus far been avoided. Rome is playing the long game, held back by an electorate that resists the political reform needed to tackle the nation’s financial problems. Though youth unemployment is at 35.4 percent, social benefits have largely prevented unrest. With GDP expanding for a 12th straight quarter, kicking the can down the road seems to be working.

Bad loans. At the end of June, Greek lenders were sitting on €72.8 billion in non-performing loans. They’re now going after the most obvious offenders: so-called strategic defaulters who choose not to pay until there’s a serious risk of assets being seized or a chance of better terms. But it’s not easy: Eurobank Ergasias recently encountered angry protesters storming a courtroom to block a foreclosure attempt.

Silver lining. U.K. business leaders could find that Brexit’s sting comes with an unexpected bonus. If the Bank of England raises interest rates as predicted and if executives budget for slowing gains in life expectancy, they could wipe out pension deficits that have burdened them for years. Erasing all that debt would remove a stigma that has contributed to years of under-performance in their shares, and give executives one less thing to worry about as they prepare for Brexit.

Around the world in curries. Curry has conquered the globe and is an international favorite. But where to find the best curry, or other Indian foods? We asked leading chefs to name some of their local favorites for curry, snacks, kebabs, and biryanis—along with the saucy creations that Anglophones lump together under the term curry. Here are the best picks from New York to New Delhi.

Bukhara’s Barrak Kebab.
Source: ITC Hotels

Compiled by Andy Reinhardt and Leila Taha

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