Four dead, 16 missing from capsized raft off Spain's coast

Madrid, November 29 (RHC)-- Spanish authorities have rescued 58 migrants from another failed expedition trying to cross the Mediterranean.  Three bodies were recovered from the water and another died after being taken to shore, while 16 more migrants are missing, as they attempted to cross from North Africa to Europe in a small raft, a spokeswoman for Spain's coastguard reported.

European and Spanish authorities deployed boats and a plane in the search for the bodies that were not found, 58 were rescued.  They are also tracking another craft carrying 78 migrants that are believed to have set off from Morocco on Tuesday night, News Agency Reuters reported.

Sea-borne migration to the continent has decreased since peaking in 2015 but thousands still attempt the dangerous Mediterranean crossing every year, looking to escape poverty and conflict in their home countries.

The latest group was brought to Spain’s North African enclave of Melilla, where a Reuters photographer saw survivors being helped ashore and given medical assistance by the Red Cross. Wrapped in thermal blankets, some of the migrants appeared to be in a state of shock after their ordeal.

According to the International Organization for Migration before these deaths, at least 1,136 migrants had already died or gone missing at sea so far this 2019. "Events of the past few days prove once more that crossing the Mediterranean is still extremely dangerous,” the Director of the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean Laurence Hart said.

On Sunday, Italian authorities saved 149 people from a capsized dinghy off the island of Lampedusa. The bodies of five women were retrieved and several others remain unaccounted for. Meanwhile, Spanish charity ships Open Arms and Aita Mari rescued more than 140 migrants from rafts off the Libyan coast last week and transported them to Italy.

As of 2019, close to 900,000 asylum seekers in the European Union are waiting to have their claims processed, according to figures from the European statistics office.

Edited by Ed Newman
  • Published in World

Cuban university students march in homage to eight medical students murdered in 1871

University students and residents of Havana are walking this Wednesday in tribute to eight innocent medical students that 148 years ago were executed by firing squad by Spanish colonial authorities for a crime they did not commit.

Mojamed Pérez Caldevilla, a member of the national secretariat of the University Student Federation, told Radio Reloj that the young people will descend the steps of the University of Havana to the Monument of La Punta to pay tribute to the murdered students.

The young students were falsely accused of desecrating the tomb of Spaniard Gonzalo Castañon, an act which was proven false.

Their execution was intended to curb libertarian sentiment among Cubans, although in practice, the result was just the opposite. Both the crime and the summary trials that preceded it, actually propelled the ideals of freedom on the Island, a victim of Spanish colonial rule.

Every year the day is remembered as a sad anniversary. The assassination provoked worldwide repulsion and heightened the independence sentiments among Cubans.

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  • Published in Cuba

Official: Luis Enrique will return as Spain boss for Euro 2020

Luis Enrique will take charge of Spain at Euro 2020 after returning to his role as head coach.The former Barcelona boss initially stepped away from the team in March before officially stepping down for personal reasons in June.

Robert Moreno took interim charge for the March qualifiers before taking on the job full time in June.

He guided La Roja to Euro 2020 qualification with six wins and two draws in his eight matches in charge.

"I think my options to continue at 10 out of 10," Moreno said on Sunday."

I consider Luis a friend and his friendship comes in front of everything," he had said in November."

If he wants to return one day, I will be delighted to step aside and work with him."Spain have changed their coach for the sixth time since 2016 when Vicente del Bosque left the role after Euro 2016.

Julen Lopetegui took over but was replaced by Fernando Hierro on the eve of the 2018 World Cup after taking the Real Madrid job.

Hierro didn't continue in charge after Spain were knocked out by the hosts in Russia and Luis Enrique was appointed before leaving in March.

  • Published in Sports

International Flamenco Day

While flamenco has its roots deep in Spain, it has become a universal art form and is danced and played from Japan to Latin America and the United States.

To mark International Flamenco Day (Saturday, November 16), a Madrid dance school has released a special video.

Under the motto "Flamenco doesn't make distinctions, it distinguishes us", it features artists from all origins and sexual orientations.

As artists like Rosalía keep reinventing this genre, the music used is a fusion of traditional flamenco and electronic music, further underlining its diversity.

"The video tries to reflect that in Flamenco everything has a place, regardless of gender, race, physical complexion or age," said the Fortea dance school in a statement.

"The students dance in front of changing backgrounds that symbolise diversity, and that come together at the end to form a single picture.

"In the choreographies there are high, low dancers of different races, they dance in mixed couples or of the same sex and have very different ages, as a sign of inclusion in an art that 'does not distinguish'."

Virginia Domínguez, the director of the Fortea dance school, said: "Our message this year has changed; in the social moment in which we live, we thought it was appropriate to highlight one of the values of Flamenco beyond its art and culture or what it means for us, the students and professionals who live it day by day.

"The capacity of Flamenco to welcome everyone, whatever their social, physical, sexual or cultural condition, can be "pulled up" in a dance, a few hand claps or a "cante" (singing), is one of its great things. It is, for us, a pride and privilege that Flamenco is part of our culture. And this is what we wanted to express, that Flamenco does NOT make distinctions, it distinguishes US."

The International Flamenco Day is held on November 16 to mark the day it was included in UNESCO's World Heritage list.

  • Published in Culture

Spanish king pays courtesy visit to Raul Castro

Spanish King Felipe VI paid a courtesy visit on Thursday to First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba Raul Castro Ruz, according to official broadcasting station Radio Havana Cuba.

The Cuban media did not offer details of the meeting between Castro and the king, who, together with his wife Queen Letizia, was on a three-day official visit to Cuba.

The royal couple arrived in Havana on Monday. The king met with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Tuesday and granted Havana historian Eusebio Leal Spain's highest civilian honor on Wednesday.

The royal couple also toured Havana's historic downtown area and a museum in the city of Santiago de Cuba.

The official visit, the first to Cuba by a Spanish king, coincides with the 500th anniversary of the founding of Havana.

  • Published in Cuba

Goya's self-portrait to be exhibited for a month at Fine Arts Museum in Havana

Havana, November 14 (RHC) King Felipe VI of Spain and his wife, Queen Letizia, are continuing the third and final day of their official visit to Cuba with a visit to the National Museum of Fine Arts where they will loan a self-portrait of 18th-century renowned Spanish painter Francisco de Goya.

The canvas known as the late self-portrait of a 69-year-old Goya will be on display for a month starting this Thursday, following a special presentation by  the Monarchs, who are making an official visit to the island in the context of the Cuban capital's 500th-anniversary celebrations, according to Prensa Latina.

Before traveling to the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, the Spanish Royal Couple will also visit the Center for Molecular Immunology, a closed-cycle biotechnology institution that focuses its primary research on the treatment of cancer and other autoimmune diseases.

The visit of the King and Queen of Spain will conclude in Santiago de Cuba, where they will visit the San Pedro de la Roca Morro Castle and the San Juan Hill, to pay tribute to the Spanish soldiers who fell in the Spanish-Cuban-American war of 1898, in which Spain lost its last colony in Americas.

Upon their arrival the Royal couple will go to the Morro Castle to pay tribute to  Admiral Pascual Cervera and the more than 300 Spaniards killed in the naval battle against the American fleet on July 3, 1898.

Next, their Majesties Felipe VI and Letizia, will go to the San Juan Hill east of the city, the scenario of the last land battle of the Spanish-Cuban-American war, where it is estimated some 600 soldiers lost their lives.

Edited by Jorge Ruiz Miyares
  • Published in Culture

King Felipe VI of Spain decorates Eusebio Leal

The king and queen of Spain, on a visit to Cuba, this Wednesday decorated City of Havana Historian Eusebio Leal after a tour of the historic center of the Cuban capital during which Leal was their guide.

King Felipe VI decorated the historian with the Grand Cross of the Royal and Distinguished Spanish Order of Carlos III, granted by the Spanish government in recognition of Leal’s work at the head of Havana’s restoration. The ceremony took place in the Palace of the Captains General, the island’s former government house during colonial times and today the headquarters of the City Museum.

It is the most distinguished civilian decoration that can be granted in Spain, established in 1771 by King Carlos III, which Leal adds to another conferred by Spain, the Grand Cross of the Order of Isabel la Católica, granted in September 2017, according to Prensa Latina news agency.

After receiving the distinction, Leal, 77, recalled the historical links between Cuba and Spain, and spoke highly of Spain’s contribution to the island’s culture and idiosyncrasy.

Also in the Palace, the president of the Provincial Assembly of Havana, Reinaldo García Zapata, gave Felipe VI the “Giraldilla,” the symbol of the Cuban capital. The ceremony took place in the courtyard of the monumental building and before the marble statue of Christopher Columbus.

  • Published in Cuba

Spanish royal couple pays tribute to Jose Marti in Havana

The King of Spain, Felipe VI, and his wife, Queen Letizia, today paid tribute to the National Hero of Cuba, Jose Marti, at the beginning of their activities on their official visit to Cuba.

In the Plaza de la Revolucion, before the huge statue of the hero of Cuba's independence struggle against Spanish colonialism, the royal couple lay a floral wreath in the company of Deputy Foreign Minister Anayansi Rodriguez.

The guests then headed to the State Council of the Republic of Cuba, where President Miguel Diaz-Canel will head an official reception, after which he will hold official talks with Felipe VI.

The royal couple arrived to Havana last night and today will also participate in the inauguration of the photographic exhibition 'España-Cuba, contigo en la distancia' (Spain-Cuba: With you in the distance), allegorical to the relations between both nations, a joint work of the Prensa Latina and EFE news agencies.

According to the program of the visit, before traveling to the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba on Thursday, Felipe VI and Letizia will tour the historic center of this capital, and present Havana City Historian Eusebio Leal with the Royal and Distinguished Spanish Order of Charles III, Grand Cross Breast Star.

They will also tour centers of scientific interest in the capital, and participate in other activities in the context of the celebrations to mark the 500th anniversary of the founding of Havana. In Santiago de Cuba they will pay tribute to the Spanish soldiers who fell in the Spanish-American war, among other activities.

  • Published in Cuba
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