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tv   Doc Film - Scientific Myths  Deutsche Welle  October 22, 2017 9:15am-10:01am CEST

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we think we have a hard spot station you'll find out this way w. s hijacking the news. where i come from the news is being hijacked journalism itself has become a scripted reality show it's not just good versus evil us versus them black and white. in countries like russia china turkey people are told that it sets up and if you're a journalist there and you try to get beyond that you are facing scare tactics intimidation. and i wonder is that where we're headed as well. my responsibility as a journalist is to get beyond the smoke and mirrors it's not just about being fair and balanced or being neutral it's about being truthful. when he was born golf and i work at the deli.
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eat your spinach child there's a lot of iron in its. passengers are kindly requested to switch off their phones. a glass of red wine a day is healthy according to one study and isn't this just we're all gullible when it comes to science we all want to know how we can live longer happier healthier lives how we can stay trim if someone in a white lab coat says something we believe in right away. however we often follow rules and don't know who came up with them or more importantly why. to mention how many people just need something they can believe in and that's how you. myths are created myths are neutrally responses to problems people haven't
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found a solution to and seem to offer a simple solution. can science destroy old myths or does it inadvertently constantly create new on research. in this luxury hotel near garmisch patent creation in the foothills of the bavarian alps the guests are looking for more than just relaxation and wellness. they're hoping dr christina moola can help them a general practitioner she offers a detox treatment supporters of the detox idea believe that toxins from their food on the environment build up in their bodies. by detoxing they believe they can
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remove these toxins from their bodies the warm wildflower compresses are only the beginning. we're going to get to work now the detox organs have to get to work we deposit toxins the same way we deposit fuel rods in the waste repository you think radioactivity isn't nice i don't want it outside my front door it's fine there for now so i won't think about it too much that's how you can think about it within the context of your body to. however it's only detox fans who share this view the majority of medical experts believe detox ing is superfluous lilian christie is a doctor at the charity hospital in berlin like most other medics she believes your liver and kidneys can remove waste products perfectly well if your healthy. i
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might have as a couple the body is generally very capable of removing such toxins in addition detox procedures can be dangerous sometimes people don't eat anything at all or they drink too much water and that means salts in the body are over diluted doctors shouldn't recommend a detox to their patients. kind of detox. and. and yet detoxing is on trend. in garmisch part imputation the alkaline salt bath is part of the five day detox package which costs four hundred euros nobody knows for sure how much the huge detox market is worth. next up there's the healing earth against the toxins in the body. but the majority of doctors
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say there's no such buildup of toxins in the body certainly they can't be measured using scientific methods. many detox programs resemble therapeutic fasting the patients say they feel free a mentally and physically afterwards it's the hormones associated with happiness that are responsible the body releases them as you fast. and. if there were toxins in the body before a detox there should be demonstrably fewer toxins after the detox right. and measuring detoxification is a tricky matter we don't pursue any scientific research on this but there's nothing better than seeing the faces of our guests at the end of the program when they say i'm feeling much better i can feel myself again i feel motivated to exercise
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there's no. i think better so in that sense i don't need scientific research when i hear these sentiments all the time maybe i should conduct the studies myself. but there's no shortage of studies looking into health and nutrition says lilian crist from the charité in berlin. barely a week goes by without new medical recommendations. but often they're based on research that isn't scientifically rigorous they have too few participants or there's no control group well in christe studies all the major diseases of modern civilization such as cancer dementia and heart attacks. looking at what might protectors and what might increase the risks the epidemiologists is hoping to counter scientific myths such as detoxing with facts
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davison shaft mr. science wants to bring the truth to light and he wants to dispel myths rushed into it once to explain links and term and whether treatments help or not. the aim is to find out more about the human body for example. million christe works for the nationwide narco health study narco is the german national cohort and has been running since two thousand and fourteen the scientists want to examine two hundred thousand people at regular intervals over a period of twenty to thirty years. the scientists have set the bar high for their study all the tests are strictly standardized from the questionnaire to the smell identification test.
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despite great progress in many areas science often cannot find simple solutions to complicated problems that clemens i should mention our of course people cling to results that sound like they can be put into practice easily. if the study says he just have to do x. and y. and you'll live ten years longer then that's reported on by the media because people want to hear. these medical myths are akin to a religion. that. we believe quite a lot of things such as vitamin c. helps against colds this idea dates back to the seventy's new studies have shown it
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to be a myth once a cold is there vitamin c. has no effect on. reading and daimler writes harms the eyes. fortunately not it's just tiring it could lead to headaches if the eyes can relax overnight they're fit again the next morning. cherries and water together cause tummy ache that may have been correct in the past microbes in on clean drinking water coupled with the fruit could have triggered unpleasant fermentation process is in the stomach and guts but improvements in water quality mean that this isn't generally a problem any more. so what about the miraculous power of spinach the green leafy vegetable became famous thanks to popeye. several generations of
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children were made to consume large quantities of the stuff it would make them a strong as the comic strips ala rights. and. the rule university in boca is welcoming young guests today you're right students from a nearby high school. they want to examine spinach more closely they're testing the iron content of the vege in the lab. and. the spinach project was dreamed up by katherine sama professor of chemistry didactics. and. she's interested in how chemistry can be taught in an engaging manner. maybe these students will go on to become scientists themselves one day.
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katherine zama is convinced that examples from people's everyday lives are helpful like popeye. i used to love what you know popeye and my parents made meat spinach before i was allowed to watch the show. and that's when he ate the spinach he gets huge muscles he was a role model whenever i ate spinach i imagine becoming strong. but the notion that there's a lot of iron in spinach is just a myth. scientists themselves created this myth because sometimes they to make mistakes and for mood it it probably came about due to a transcription error in the lab a scientist forgot a decimal point as a result three point five milligrams became thirty five nutritionist really picked
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up on that the recommendation was eat a lot of spinach it'll make a strong. but there wasn't just one mistake quite by chance a chemist in basel found thirty five milligrams of iron in dried spinach powder. after the transcription error an error of logic because the fresh hydrated vegetable only has a tenth of this sign content the myth was born. but the misunderstanding was cleared up decades ago and yet we're still left with the feeling that spinach is a miracle vege. you know. in this case we've taken the myth that spillage makes you strong so we can sensitize the student
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to the idea you don't have to just accept such assertions you can question them. and there are even methods by which you can question it. as part of this student lab project we're doing scientific testing to dispel myths. the students have incinerated the spinach and dissolved it in hydrochloric acid the coloration reveals how much iron the solution contains. the result spinach is merely average when it comes to iron content. we brown and pumpkin seeds for example contain far more. but myths won't just created in the past the present is also able to generate new myths. can mobile phones cause
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planes to crash. enders and his colleagues at the german aerospace center in braunschweig are investigating this potentially life or death question. the aircraft's electronic heartbeats in the fuselage. test engineer thomas heineken performs a final check before today's experiment can begin. the test plane is an airbus a three twenty one of the best selling aircraft for short and medium haul flight. can cell phones really cause their tried and tested technology to seize up. this question has preoccupied us since the first mobile phones came out in the eighty's. fears of
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electromagnetic radiation were and still are considerable. shelling on me so but i remember having an electronic alarm clock that my phone interfere with order on this possibility was transferred to the context of flying where safety is the top priority and it was a sensible idea to be really restrictive about phones at first for fear it could be dangerous if it's a show but today we can say that we've gone too far. as a child good for. that's why our him end as wants to test the aircraft's ability to withstand electromagnetic radiation. how much phone radiation can the onboard system cope with. the systems for navigation and communication are particularly sensitive yes. the knots mission met its mission and
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a special antenna is going to measure the electromagnetic waves. this plane can take more than one hundred fifty passengers for this experiment the scientists have only invited a few test subjects but the data can be extrapolated from a fully occupied plane. mobile telephony and aviation technology have adapted to each other cell phone radiation is lower than it was thirty years ago and aircraft are better protected. you always have to bear in mind that lightning bolts strike airplanes directly so that planes fly through radar waves sometimes very close to the source and the airplane has to withstand that and his task of. compared to those threat levels the
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radiation coming from a phone is ridiculously low. what about hospitals why are there still signs banning the use of mobile phones. and often the radios in the nurse's office cause much more interference than the modern phones visitors have. nowadays almost all medical devices have shielding to protect them from electromagnetic interference so phones don't cause a problem at all. this has been the official position since two thousand and fourteen for planes to the european aviation safety agency decided that passengers don't have to put their phones into flight mode anymore but each individual airline has the last word.
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or fewer movies field. of unknowns. one phone can't interfere with the technology on board an aircraft but in reality there are hundreds of passengers on a plane and many of them are carrying several electronic devices such as laptops smartphones and the readers. are him ender's can measure this combined radiation but it's very very weak. we ask again can a lot of electronic devices a lot of active mobile phones collectively endanger the safety of an aircraft. definitive the answer is definitely no it's not even so much about phones.
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deliberately send out strong signals and mobile phones also contain microprocessors tiny computers that can emit electromagnetic radiation interference including in the frequencies used by planes. fluked but the signals are so weak they're insignificant. during takeoff and landing phones should nevertheless remain switched off in the event of an emergency passengers shouldn't be distracted and the devices can cause crackling in the line between the pilots in the tower but that's all. myths often arise from fear parents are particularly at risk. mozart's music makes children more intelligent even before they're born that was the claim of us scientists twenty five years ago follow up studies weren't able to
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corroborate the effect listening to music has many positive effects but becoming more intelligent isn't one of them. reading to children is also said to improve children's intelligence studies have shown that frequent reading to children particularly in early childhood makes them somewhat more successful in school but scientists are convinced that intelligence originates more from d.n.a. than from the parents behavior. it's different with this myth just let babies cry it out. that's not harmful that strengthens their lungs it is said. but in truth infants can't see themselves they need their parents care. scientific myths aren't just created through mistakes or uncertainty the media. are
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involved to. xenia past works at the institute of mass communication and media research in zurich she researches how scientific insights are presented in the media climate change for example to this day certain groups continue to deny manmade climate change they describe it as a lie a hoax a myth in this way self-proclaimed climate experts managed to bring well founded scientific insights into disrepute reports about the so-called myth of climate change are particularly popular in the united states paradoxically one reason for the distorted portrayal of facts is the professional ethos of those in the media.
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in the west. especially journalists in the united states tries so hard to be objective that when they give air time to an opinion or position they also give a voice to the counter position that means that french positions are given a much stronger or disproportionate weight in the debate. and starkest vish to. a common. view as mightn't realise that an overwhelming ninety seven percent of all climate scientists are agreed global warming is down to human activity. xenia past has been analyzing the relationship between climate scientists in the media for years. one of her findings is that the scientists are scared that the study results could be hijacked and misrepresented in public.
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controversy in the us to claim we were able to say that climate scientists had greater objections to publications when the finding suggested that climate change was progressing more slowly. they were worried that this finding could be instrumental ised by interest groups to say that manmade climate change was a myth and it was all a lie i mean just constantly and gotten danus gonna skipped. xenia posts advice communicate science openly and objectively without exception. there's nothing more scientists can do to prevent new myths everything else is in the hands of the media their readers and viewers.
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march two thousand and fifteen people who eat chocolate lose weight more quickly this headline in germany's mass circulation builds newspaper created as. publications and broadcasters around the world reported on the new miracle diet from germany. in the chocolate museum in cologne we learn what's really behind this incredible study. hall rather who. the on a global. it's a filmmaker seen here with museum confectioner i got deliberately engaged in some pseudo science she just invented the chocolate diet. d'anna lobel is
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a television journalist her idea was to test the gullibility of her colleagues to do that she needed a headline nobody could resist slim through chocolate. together with her co-author peter on a can she managed to expose a six system. our intention was to take a close look at it what's happening on the nutrition and diet market we found that the argument very often goes like this a scientific study says if this or that makes us healthy or sick this and that we should consume more or less of it and if you take a closer look at these studies they're not scientifically repute over most of the time after that's what we wanted to document in our film. all you need is a white lab coat and ordinary people immediately become deceptively real scientists . diet studies tend to follow
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a similar pattern various groups are set up and have to adhere to different rules afterwards the scientists compare how much weight each group lost. in the case of the chocolate diet it went like this. group a was put on a diet and was given chocolate group b. was only put on a diet group c. continued to eat as before. the on a level and peter on a can started their experiment with sixteen test subjects they were only told afterwards that there's no such thing as a chocolate diet for three weeks every candidate was weighed daily all changes were recorded. unfortunately many disreputable studies are conducted this way the desired result is cherry picked from a large mass of different data. i
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mean we were a data leech we wanted to get as much information from the test subjects as possible they even had to measure their urine every day which is a completely pointless piece of data but we thought would generate as much data as possible so that we could put everything together in such a way that we could spin it and market our findings and the best we could and it worked out ok. the two journalists didn't completely make up the chocolate diet idea but they twisted the data of the test subjects to fit their purpose. the bad thing is that many nutrition studies follow this formula they don't deserve the label scientific the diet industry creates its own myths in this.
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the journalists final step was to release the fake study to the public they wrote a press release and even invented a research institute that had a reputable sounding name. they created surprised even the on alert all. it was crazy we had a made up institute with the address of the production company that produced our film nobody called and it was just a little press release these stories about food and about what we should eat and what we shouldn't run really well we all want to know what the perfect diet. deonna lobel managed to create a myth with the help of pseudo scientific methods and her professional knowledge of
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what makes for good headlines. particularly when it comes to food and drink we like to put facts aside we only listen to those things we want to hear. for example strong liquor aids digestion in truth alcohol relaxes the stomach muscles we feel less full but it's a false message alcohol actually slows down the rate at which we process food it makes it harder for us to digest and. we shouldn't reheat mushroom dishes and outdated rule today mushroom dishes can be kept in the fridge for a maximum of two days and then we should heat them to more than seventy degrees
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that way mold and bacteria won't spoil our appetite. is glutamates responsible for nausea headaches and rashes the chinese restaurant syndrome is probably triggered by allergens such as peanuts shrimps and herbes glutamate isn't to blame it occurs naturally in almost all food stuffs and is completely harmless. myths about alcohol aiding digestion for example and the fake chocolate diets awaken false hope. patients in the arthritis clinic in finger near freiburg are hoping for one thing in particular to walk without pain one day. the orthopedic specialist spend allston maya is an expert in knee surgery and
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arthritis osteoarthritis is a common complaint in germany more than one in four women and almost one in five men suffer from it their joints wear out too early and to quickly. spend austin myers patient today also has arthritis in the right knee. the specialist is performing an arthroscopy the cartilage is smoothed out and the joint is flush to clean it out. the problem is that statutory health insurance companies in germany don't pay for the surgery anymore. one of the companies commissioned a study and concluded that arthroscopy were ineffective. flushing out the joint was pointless its benefits
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a myth. how do orthopedic specialists feel about this decision the islands are some say it's an outrage on the say so what i've always done things differently anyway clay can't choose as freely as we could in the ponds as i wish for you. as a result of patients who respect your tree health insurance bought from the possibility of a useful thing. i. can tell people. it was here in cologne at the institute for quality and efficiency in health care that knee arthroscopy is were declared a myth. the assessor stephan's our law and spent eighteen months reading anonymizing everything
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written by scientists about arthroscopy is. a trained medical expert he concluded that knee arthroscopy is one of the commonest operations in germany were ineffective they had a placebo effect but nothing more. tests showed that a faked arthroscopy was as effective as the actual procedure. cboe effect is all the stronger the more authentic invasive and risky and intervention appears on surgery has a much greater placebo impact than just taking a pill. stephens our lines team of assessors research me arthroscopy is with the help of a matter analysis. they
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compared the data from eleven scientific studies with a total of one thousand two hundred patients. with. the test to say it's no coincidence that the weaknesses of arthroscopy weren't found out sooner. many of those involved in the healthcare system had a strong interest in keeping the myth alive. everyone has a collective believe that nice we're benefiting from this patients were happy doctors were happy the industry was happy with us it was lovely and then it had the magic taken out of it that's what's exciting is that you need it very crystallized scientific methods here to debunk the myth it isn't me just twenty. and some orthopedic specialists like stan austin meyer are still convinced by knee
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arthroscopy is and so the myth lives on. how can we get rid of myths from our minds once and for all. the cognition psychologist eka explains that the brain doesn't have a delete button once we've stored a myth it's difficult to overwrite it with new information. basically what he's discovered is that we're mentally lazy. feeling that with many of the things we hear we don't have the interest or the motivation to investigate them fully our convictions often play a role to if i want to believe in something and i'm convinced of it and it fulfills a certain function for me if it's important to my identity and i won't want to see
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the counter evidence i prefer to hold onto the myth. people like to stick with the familiar prefer him to block out things that are new. only eka is visiting the university of the zoll and he did his doctorate here years ago he conducts neurophysiological experiments to learn about the brains of test subjects. he discovered that attempts to debug myths rarely work sometimes it even has the opposite effect. such refutations often causes the myth to be repeated and that just makes this false information seem more familiar if i want to tell you that vaccinations don't cause autism i'm just repeating the association between vaccinations and autism the
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more i do that the more familiar this idea becomes at some point when you think back your recall this association and that's what it comes to mind. in his experiments the psychologist present stories containing different pieces of information some of that information is later retracted or invalidated. his finding our brain prefers to store false information rather than leave a gap in the story. the only chance is this. you need an alternative explanation if you don't yet know the truth and it's important to find out the truth and and then it's equally important to present these findings to people that you have to explain them in a way they can understand the deal fifteen it's the kiss principle keep it simple stupid keep it simple stupid and and for her. these
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insights from psychological research provide a recipe for dispelling myths it's crucial not to repeat the myth. an alternative simple explanation is needed instead. but even this method can't combat one of our most popular myths. one glass of red wine a day is healthy. no doubt there are very few people in the wine growing town of eating an in south west germany who don't believe this. submarine about from the local tourism office even found an old guidebook in her
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book shelf entitled the wine dr it dated back to seven hundred fifty three. when you know. you know. hildegard stigler helps decipher the old fashioned german writing she discovers recipes to treat colds and improve memory. then of course all the cures contain one thing wine. this. this is. it contains alcohol and carbon dioxide there are lots of things in wine that we like and that stimulate us that's why we have such good conversations when we've had some wine. women and if you get a cold or you notice you're coming down with one before you've developed a temperature you can preempt it with red wine you have
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a glass of red wine in the evening you wrap it nice and warm and then you go straight to bed that way you won't get sick but you have to catch it at the right moment. with the people of iran going take these tips with a sense of humor. but what do doctors recommend. the healthiest thing is to consume no alcohol this single glass of red wine is more of a kind of risk limitation that. it's not the recommendation basically if you're going to drink wine then don't drink more than this amount. the wine festival in indian is attended by eighty thousand visitors every year. it's said that the antioxidants in the wine have a positive effect on the hot sun circulation. earlier studies that declared a moderate amount of wine to be healthy suffer from serious methodological flaws.
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scientists compared moderate alcohol consumers and strict teetotallers. that they forgot to filter out those who didn't consume alcohol because they were recovering alcoholics or because they were very sick and didn't consume alcohol for that reason so a healthy group was compared to a sick a group the error is that you weren't comparing the alcohol consumption but the preexisting health and the patient's. confirmations and i didn't and that's a big an issue here and. so why in isn't a medicine after all. never the less belief in this idea is firmly lodged in our collective consciousness . because we like it that way. and that old two
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human. myths will always have their place in our society and scientific myths in particular. we always say scientists have found and we like doing everything scientists tell us to and we're all gullible when it comes to science. but not every study is really scientific and the current state of research is always changing anyway. and it's important to teach children to think critically we have to tell them when they're young that there's a lot of information in the world and much of it is not correct if used to french timpanist. that doesn't mean we shouldn't believe anything anymore but we have to
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check how plausible information is and the reliability of its source. people who need myths need this feeling of security but scientists want to find out what really helps ok shift. reporting on a world filled with hate that is spreading across the planet. german journalist souad mekhennet is on a mission. news to combat terrorism and uncover what motivates the perpetrators.
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using the written word in the battle against hate. and thirty minutes w. . their friends w. me speak your language talk about them. for content in dari pashto and order prospects for returning our web special refugio journeys of life in germany and the prospects for those returning home. and join the discussion on d w dot com and on facebook. prospects for attorneys d.w. may for mine. when history books are brought to life. maybe the stories there are enough to get a rewrite of. the story of the russian revolution. from the perspective of writers thinkers and to covent garden just what did it feel like to live in times of
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a revolution and the people back. nineteen seventy the real october starting october twenty fifth t w. this is news live from berlin and spain central government takes drastic measures to stop catalonia from breaking away half a million people take to the streets of barcelona in protest separate group leaders are calling it the worst attack on the region since the franco dictatorship we'll get reaction from barcelona and madrid.

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