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Monday, April 10, 2017

Spain's first female defence Minister Carmen Chacon is dead !

Spain’s first female defence minister, Carmen Chacon has died at the age of 46. The cause has not been released but it has been reported that she had been suffering from heart disease.  Chacon held the job from 2008 until 2011 under Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. After he lost Spain’s 2011 national election, Chacon ran to be the head of the Socialist party but narrowly lost. She was the party’s secretary for international relations until 2016 when she resigned.

Spain is a sovereign state located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe, with two large archipelagos, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea and the Canary Islands off the North African Atlantic coast.   It is the only European country to have a border with an African country (Morocco)[h] and its African territory accounts for nearly 5% of its population, mostly in the Canary Islands but also in Ceuta and Melilla.   Futbol Club Barcelona commonly known as Barcelona and familiarly as Barça,  the famous Soccer club is  based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.  Madrid is its capital.

Spain, now a days is accused of having  seized on Brexit as an opportunity to revive its claim to Gibraltar. Madrid has successfully lobbied Brussels to declare that no EU-U.K. deal will apply to the Rock except with Spanish approval. Gibraltarians are horrified, fearing that Spain will now demand concessions on sovereignty.Spain ceded Gibraltar to the U.K. "in perpetuity" in 1713. It understandably resented the transfer, and tried to grab the Rock back during the American Revolution – resulting in a rather chivalrous siege, in which gifts of food and wine exchanged across the lines. After the failure of that campaign, the claim was maintained in theory, but not pursued in practice, until Franco revived it as a way to stoke Spanish nationalism. Between 1954 and 1984, Spain closed the border, forcing Gibraltarians to rely on air and sea connections to the outside world.

Unsurprisingly, the 30,000 locals – Llanitos as they are colloquially called – are reluctant to accept Spanish rule. Their territory has, after all, been British for longer than it was Spanish. In 1967, they held a referendum, opting for British over Spanish sovereignty by 12,138 votes to 44. In 2002, they voted on a Spanish proposal for joint sovereignty, and rejected it by 17,900 to 187. Yet every Spanish party, except the Catalan separatists, claims Gibraltar  !
A Russian computer programmer, Pyotr Levashov, has been arrested in the Spanish city of Barcelona, a spokesman for the Russian embassy in Madrid said on Sunday.It was unclear why Levashov was arrested. The embassy spokesman declined to give details for his arrest, and Spanish police and the interior ministry were not available for comment on Sunday.Russian television station RT reported that Levashov was arrested under a U.S. international arrest warrant and was suspected of being involved in hacking attacks linked to alleged interference in last year's U.S. election.Peter Carr, a spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department's criminal division, said: "The U.S. case remains under seal, so we have no information to provide at this time."

The U.S. government has formally accused Russia of hacking Democratic Party emails to help the campaign of Republican President Donald Trump. The U.S. Congress is also examining links between Russia and Trump during the election campaign.Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have repeatedly denied that Russia tried to influence the election.

Spain is mourning Carme Chacón, the former defence minister who died on Sunday and was famously photographed in 2008 reviewing troops in Afghanistan while seven months pregnant.MsChacón was found dead at her Madrid home, aged 46, after a neighbour had raised the alarm. A congenital heart problem was the likely cause of death.She was Spain's first woman defence minister, symbolising the change of culture since the end of military rule.In 2007 MsChacón also served as housing minister in the Socialist government led by ex-Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.

She attracted global coverage when at the age of 37, and seven months pregnant, she visited Afghanistan, five days after being appointed defence minister.She told Spain's El Pais daily "pregnant or not, I was clear that my first duty was to visit those who are able to put their lives at risk for higher values: for other people's freedom"."A pregnant woman is not sick. Sure, it's harder when you're pregnant and on your feet all day. I wanted to express society's gratitude to those who put themselves in danger to bring peace to regions of conflict."

Spaniard Victor Orive-Martin tweeted the famous photo, in a tribute to MsChacón, calling her "a wonderful human being".After the Afghanistan trip she also reviewed troops in Madrid while pregnant in May 2008.She was the daughter of a fire service official in Barcelona and his lawyer wife. As a girl she had been advised to lead a calm life because of her heart condition. But she ignored the advice repeatedly - including the suggestion that it would be risky to have children, El Pais reports.

"Spain is losing a distinguished figure from its modern political scene. And Spanish women are losing someone who always took a stand to emphasise the importance of women's roles in modern society, and among the college's faculty and students." – is the tribute given to her by the Spanish Press.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

10th Apr 2017.

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