Daniel Ordoñez reads in his room on the 24th floor of the W Hotel in Barcelona. Ordoñez has lived there since March, the sole occupant in the luxury hotel.  Photograph: Samuel Aranda/The New York Times)

Every five days, Daniel Ordoñez opens 1,400 pipe taps in a waterfront hotel in Barcelona that locals call “The Sail” because of its shape. Each tap h(...)

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has responded to every Catalan move towards this referendum with block-headed predictability, perfectly fitting the script set out for him by the ‘Govern’ in Barcelona. Photograph: JJ Guillen/EPA

Whatever happens next in Catalonia, the Catalan nationalists’ independence referendum campaign had already proved a significant success, from their ow(...)