Ex-Catalan president won't appear in court
Catalonia's secessionist leaders will appear before a court in Madrid to answer charges of rebellion and sedition, though the former regional president Carles Puigdemont says he will not turn up.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy sacked Puigdemont and his government on Friday, hours after the Catalan parliament made a unilateral declaration of independence - a vote boycotted by the opposition and declared illegal by Spanish courts.
Puigdemont said on Wednesday he would ignore the court order to answer charges over the region's push for independence but he was ready to testify from Belgium, where he had travelled with four other members of his sacked cabinet.Powerful winds raise California fire risk
The other 15 due to testify from 9am (7pm AEDT) are Puigdemont's former vice-president Oriol Junqueras, eight other members of his sacked cabinet and six senior regional MPs, including the speaker of the Catalan parliament, Carme Forcadell.
Puigdemont and his former team were summoned by the High Court, while Forcadell and the other lawmakers were summoned by the Supreme Court.
The judges will decide at this first hearing whether they start a comprehensive investigation that could take several years and potentially lead to a trial.Germany cuts its migration to 200,000
They will also determine whether those called to testify should go to jail pending the investigation.
Puigdemont has said he will only go back to Spain when given unspecified "guarantees" by the Spanish government.
If Puigdemont fails to turn up on Thursday, an arrest warrant could be issued that would make it virtually impossible for him to stand in a snap regional election called by the Spanish government for December 21.Bethlehem peace light arrives in Germany