Four teenagers have been arrested by French police while they were planning a terrorist attack in Paris.

On Friday 10th of February, French police arrested four people, three men and a 16-year-old woman, suspicious of planning a suicide attack in Paris.

According to Sky News, all of them were arrested in the southern French city called MontpellierApparently, the young people were going to activate the explosive belt in one of the most visited touristic areas of the French capital.

According to the french police sources, the four suspects were arrested after buying acetone, which they may have used on preparing an explosive device to realize a frustrated planned attack. Between them, the 16-year-old girl who has been watched out in social networks, after expressing a wish to travel to the Syria and Iraq, defeat them and attack France.  All four were suspicious on plannig an attack and were under surveillance by french authorities.

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The french police raided a house where the four teenagers were arrested and they found explosive material, computers and other equipment. In particular, agents of the anti-terrorist group found 70 grams of TATP, a powerful explosive, but also one liter of acetone, another one of hydrogen peroxide and another one of sulfuric acid, material that can be used to make explosives, informs BFMTV. These explosives are known as  “Mother of Satan” and were used in the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels and in bombing in London in 2005.

The arrested teenagers may remain in provisional detention for 96 hours, before they will be presented to a judge who will determine their possible accusation. The arrests came a week after a 29- year- old Egyptian, Abdallah el-Hamahmy attacked a French soldier in gallery of the Louvre in Paris, while he was screaming “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the greatest), however he refused that it was an attack and said, that he only wanted to make a pacific sign and show his opposition to bombarding Syria by France.

A new meassure that was taken a few days ago, to counter the continuous attemps of attacks is the construction of a wall around the Eiffel tower. According to the diary           “Le Parisienne”, the French Government its planning to shield the Eiffel Tower with a 2.50-meter-high bullet-proof glass wall that will surround the french main momnument this autumn to reinforce the safety.

 François Martins, deputy of Tourism of the mayor, the socialist Anne Hidalgo, said that “The terrorist risk remains high in Paris and the most exposed points, such as the Eiffel Tower, must be subject to specific security measures.

Juan Alejandro Garcia de la Vega Lapique
Mateo Caraballo Pérez Galdós
Romana Donovalová

DROWNED IN INDIFFERENCE

On Sunday, January 29th, an African immigrant lost his life in Venice, Italy, when he fell into the water of the Gran Canal and after a few minutes of fighting for his life, he drowned while the people around him were laughing and making videos and racist jokes. Nobody jumped in to help him.

 On the last day, we could see many internet pages showing a video of a young man, of age 22, called Pateh Saballyh from Gambia, Africa, who fell into the water of the Gran Canal in Venice and was drowning. Although some people from the boats which were around at that moment threw him some lifebuoys, he could not get any of them and in the end, he died. Although, some witnesses and also the Italian police say that he jumped into the water by himself, and that his intention was suicide, it does not change the fact that nobody jumped into the water to help him or in the case of the possible suicide, to save his young life. What is more, people around were making videos, in which we can hear racist jokes and comments such as: “Africa!”, “Come on, go back to your country!”, “He is stupid, he wants to die!”, “He deserves it!”, “Let him die!”…

After a few minutes, witnesses only saw a man’s dead body floating on the surface of the water. Some media sources state that the people around tried to help him by throwing him the lifebuoys and that he just did not catch them. But what if he was not able to do so? They are trying to present themselves innocent, but why did nobody jump into the water to safe his life? Yes, the water during the end of January might be very cold, but we think that human life deserves at least the intention to be saved.

 

 

“A young man has jumped into the water. They threw him two or three lifebuoys, but he refused the help. It is a disaster. I don’t know his story. People say that he is African. I cannot imagine what he had been through, how many seas and deserts he had to cross in order to come here and he came to die here, in the most beautiful place in the world,” said an Italian taxi driver. Other sources say, that he was not an immigrant, but that he had already been in Italy for two years and that he also had a residence permission and had been working legally.

But whoever he was and wherever he had come from, that does not change the fact that he was a human being. The question is: If it was a white person, European or American citizen drowning and losing his or her life in the canal, would it have been the same? Wouldn’t the people have helped him or her? Wouldn’t the people have jumped into the water and not just say that it was too cold? Would they have let him or her die? We are pretty sure that the answer is no. This event has driven us to ask if we are all like this? Are we all such big racists? Where has all this hate against people of another colour come from, if in the beginning and in the end we are all equal? This case of a poor young man who lost his life, in part due to of the selfishness and ignorance of others, has to serve us as an example. An example about how we are and how we cannot be anymore, and as a warning: that humanity has to learn how to be more human.

  • Juan Alejandro Garcia de la Vega Lapique 
  • Mateo Caraballo Pérez Galdós    
  • Romana Donovalová

 

Pilar Tello, the woman behind a worldwide phenomenom

I’m sure that the majority of you know the name of your favourite writer, but, have you ever thought the amount of people that are involved in the creation of a book? Yes, the writer is the most important one, without them the book wouldn’t even exist in the first place but…what about the rest of them? Today I am going to talk about the collective of amazing people that change any book written in another language, to the one that the reader uses to communicate: the translators. And for that, I have interviewed Pilar Ramírez Tello, the translator to Spanish of huge trilogies such as The Hunger Games or Divergent.

When Pilar finished high school she did not have any vocation for anything, she did not like any of the degrees, so as she liked read and write, she tried to find something related to it. At first, she thought in Journalism but she finally opted to the degree of Translation since she had received English lessons when she was little. When doing the degree, she discovered that she liked the translation process, either being a book or a technical manual.

She told me that she started working in an agency where she did a bit of everything. Then, she worked in an enterprise specialized in document management where she has the chance of collaborating on the translation of bilingual specialized dictionaries. Also, she worked in the translation department of an engineering enterprise. As a fact, meanwhile she was working on the engineering enterprise, she started her literary translation.

When talking about the reason of why the job of translators it is not as much valuable as it should, she said that “right now, we bet for visibility”. This one is the reason of why the campaign Acredítame has been created. This campaign asks media to mention the translators of the books that they make reviews to. The idea is to make people more aware of the existence of translator, so it will be easier to make this profession valuable, “believe it or not, there are people that do not even take into account that, for example, Veronica Roth does not write in Spanish.”

Pilar thinks that she had just good luck when the editorial chose her to translate sagas, as huge as for example, The Hunger Games or Divergent. “When the rights of translation of The Hunger Games were bought for Spain, the trilogy was not the smash hit in which it would become later”. In that time Pilar had already translated enough fantasy, science-fiction and youth literature books, so, at the time of looking for someone with experience in that field, they found her. But with Divergent was different as the editorial already knew her.

When I asked her about how it was to be the translator of Spanish trilogies that have succeeded that much, she told me that “at the beginning it made her head spin.” And, when the books that she translated were read by more and more people, the feeling of responsibility and scare appeared since a lot of people could see her mistakes.

“When Mockingjay arrived I could only talk about it with the RBA’s person in charge of press”, she said, speaking when about the third part of The Hunger Games. She also added, “the last pages were not sent from the U.S. editorial until the last time, before I had already the rest of the book translated, because of the fear of it being leaked.” As the editorial wanted to publish at the same time both original version and Spanish version, she had to translate it in twenty days and the last few pages were sent via regular email to avoid other translations or leaks. So, it was necessary to sign a confidentiality agreement.

“For me, neologisms are the most difficult and entertaining thing of translating fantasy and science-fiction novels”, she responded when I asked her about the translation of mockingjay as sinsajo. She added that when they find a term that they do not know anything about, the first thing they do is to research to get a conclusion. Once they are sure that the term has been invented by the author, they have to look for the process that the author has followed to invent it. In the case of mockingjay, she started by analysing the word jabberjay, the term in the original version which makes reference to a man-made bird created to keep an eye on the citizens of the districts. “A jay is a real bird and its equivalent in Spanish is arrendajo. And jabber is a verb that means farfullar. Nevertheless, for an aesthetic question, after have been looking for synonyms, I used the verb charlar.” As a result, jabberjay was translated as charlajo. “When all jabberjays or charlajos were released, as all of them were male, it was supposed that they could not reproduce. But they get to survive and they mated with female mockingbirds, which in Spanish are sinsontes”, she added to explain how the word sinsajo was created: sinsonte and charlajo together make up sinsajo in Spanish. 

Pilar has shown me the great importance of translators and the pressure they have to bear when it comes to the deadline. People should be more aware of what translators have to face every day and value their relevant job. My future job.

 

Made by María Martínez Lorenzo

 

 

A short trip into an Embassy: interview with Anna Ruffino

Anna Ruffino is an Italian young woman who has become the First Secretary of the Consular Chancery of the Embassy of Italy in Madrid after passing all the different and difficult stages of the open competitive exam which is organized, every year, by the Italian Foreign Ministry.

Being the First Secretary of the Consular Chancery of the Embassy entails having a great variety of tasks to execute, the majority of which are the same that, in Italy, are carried out by each municipality and especially by the general register office. So, as Anna Ruffino explained me, her work consists in providing Italian citizens, who are living in Madrid, with all the documents and services they need (ID card renewal, passport, fiscal code, possibility to vote from another country, pensions, registration of a change in the marital status and assistance to the victim’s family in case an Italian citizen dies on Spanish territory). In particular, this final aspect of her work is, for Anna Ruffino, the most difficult but, at the same time, the most gratifying. In her words:

“I know that it means facing difficult and really painful situations and tragedies, but knowing that, in some way, you are helping and supporting them by dealing with all the bureaucratic aspects they are not certainly thinking of in such a situation, makes you feel really helpful and useful.”

For example, she has given assistance to the families of the seven Italian Erasmus students who died in Valencia the last 20th March because of the bus on which they were travelling had an accident.

Talking about how to start working for an embassy she explained me that, if someone is interested in starting a career in an embassy the first thing he/she should have is a master degree either in international relationship, law or economics and a very good knowledge of English. Then, he/she must undergo to the five written tests and an oral exam which made up the competitive exam; if the candidate manages to pass all the tests he/she can become Legazione Secretary. When someone decides to work in an embassy, he/she should also be willing to spend two years abroad and after his/her mandate has come to an end he/she can return in Italy and working in the Italian Foreign Ministry, called Farnesina, or in another Italian embassy.

As regards the structure of the Italian Embassy of Madrid it has different offices, the political, cultural, economic, scientific and security one, each of which with its specific function. In particular, I have decided to focus my interview with Anna Ruffino on the cultural issues and projects the Italian Embassy of Madrid carries out. The cultural office is responsible for the coordination of all those events related to the Italian culture which are organized by the public authorities in Madrid and especially by the Italian Institutes of Culture. Moreover, the cultural office improves and promotes the relationships with the Spanish cultural institutions, foundations and universities with a special consideration for Italian studies. With this regard,

“a very interesting thing to know is that in Spain there are two Italian state schools (from kindergarten to high school) of the eight existing all over the world; one of these is in Madrid and other one is in Barcelona”.

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An Interview with Irina Feldman

My name is Pablo Llamas Aparicio and I am a first-year student of Translation at the UEM. On June 9, 2016, I had the privilege of interviewing Professor Irina Feldman, who teaches Spanish language and Latin American literature at Middlebury College, in Vermont, United States. I thought it could be interesting to know the opinion of someone who lives in a state that usually remains unnoticed for Europeans in comparison to some of the states where we get the idea that everything seems to happen. On top of that, being born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Ms. Feldman’s own intercultural experience only added spice to this amazing interview.

First, it seemed a good idea to me that Ms. Feldman introduced herself to my readers. She told me that she had moved to the U.S. when she was fifteen years old, short after the U.S.S.R. had dissolved, because her mother –a single mother- was not sure of whether it would be possible for them to live safely in Russia during the transition. After a period of time during which she was not precisely infatuated with the States, Ms. Feldman took her high education in Georgetown, Washington D.C. and graduated in Hispanic literature. After living a couple of years in South America, she got a job in Middlebury College. She explained me that her research focuses on left-winged movements in South America, as well as the authors of those movements, especially in the Andean area (Bolivia, Peru…).

My next question to her was about the origin of her interest on Hispanic literature, given that she was born in Russia and works in the United States. She confessed me that one major factor was the fact that she did not really like the English language when she moved to the U.S. or the country itself, for that matter. She also told me that she had had wonderful Spanish teachers when she was in high school and later at college. She had had really positive experiences with teachers and professors from Spain, so she started studying Peninsularists, that is studies on the Iberian Peninsula, and she was highly interested on Medieval Spain. However, once she got in contact with studies on Latin America, she finally made up her mind and started focusing her studies on Latin America.

Wanting to know more details about what made her like the Hispanic literature so much, I asked her whether Hispanic literature had traditionally had a big impact on the Russian culture, as well as the American. To that question, she answered that actually, it had a great impact on the Soviet culture, when she was young. In that time, the classics from the Golden Age of the Spanish literature, like Cervantes or Lope de Vega, were indeed very famous in Russia. She told me that her first contact with the Spanish literature came when she was young and lived in Russia. She would read all these classics that are so important for the history of Spanish culture and literature. She also told me about a Russian-made movie of El Quijote, saying that it was “a very impressive movie.” As for Latin American literature, she answered that both in Russia and the U.S. it was famous for “the Boom” of authors like Gabriel García Márquez or Mario Vargas Llosa. However, she expressed her disappointment on the newer generations of students in the U.S. due to their little knowledge on Hispanic literature, even in the case of her own students at the very beginning of their degrees.

Next, I thought it was time we spoke about current affairs. Laughing, Ms. Feldman said that she could already guess what I was going to ask her (and she happened to be right). First, given that only two days before, Hillary Clinton had become the first woman to be an official candidate to the U.S. presidential elections, I asked Ms. Feldman why she thought Clinton received so much supporting from the U.S. citizens. She explained that Vermont is a state that traditionally votes as much to the left as it can. So then, she asks, why does Hillary Clinton receive so much supporting? In her opinion, Hillary’s popularity has been supported by her relation with former president Bill Clinton. She thinks that Hillary’s stand on immigration is not progressive, but she receives so much supporting because people think of Hillary as a professional who knows what she is doing. However, according to Ms. Feldman, Hillary’s presidency would not mean the revolutionary change that a lot of people seem to ask for.

When asked about Donald Trump, she answered that it was completely the other way round: people think of Trump as an anti-establishment candidate. From what she told me, a lot of people seem to believe that because Trump is so rich, he will not accept bribes. People, Ms. Feldman says, are sick of the system, they think that the government does not represent the people, they think that the state is corrupted by the big money, and want someone who can change the game. She, however, thinks that these people are wrong. She can’t see the logic behind the bribes argument, and sees Trump as the main example of the decay of the political system in the U.S.

A lifetime full of professional intense experiences

Alonso Álvarez de Toledo y Merry del Val, born in 1931, was graduated in Law in 1957 and entered the diplomatic service. He had been destined, among other positions, in the diplomatic representations of Spain upon the United States, France, Mexico, South Africa and Federal Republic of Germany, besides holding several senior positions in the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Álvarez de Toledo was also the Spanish ambassador in the former GDR (German Democratic Republic). Later, he was the Spanish State Chief of Protocol. Finally, his diplomatic life ended as Spanish ambassador in Luxembourg.


 

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Photo: Alonso Álvarez de Toledo y Merry del Val, Madrid.

Spain became a member of the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) on May 30th, 1982, when the Spanish government was headed by socialist Felipe González. Thereupon, on May 31st, it was going to be convoked a referendum to Spanish people for whether join in the NATO or not. Mr. Álvarez de Toledo was at that time working as a Business Manager in the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and he was told to deliver a letter to Perez-Llorca – who was in charge of negotiating the entry of Spain into NATO. In the letter was the approval of such enrolment, but neither the president nor anyone left wing were aware of this. That was because, at that time, the left wing supporters had a strong anti-NATO feeling and they were convinced that if they had known it, they would not have let Spain enter in it.

The problem was that May 30th was a Sunday, and Perez-Llorca did not give audience to anyone during the weekend. But Mr. Álvarez the Toledo held the strings in such a way as to ensure that Spain was joining the Organisation. He finally managed to hold a meeting with Pérez-Llorca, and we could say that we are in the NATO due to the intelligent action and the exceptional work done by Mr. Álvarez de Toledo.

Mr. Álvarez de Toledo began to be the German Democratic Republic’s ambassador on December 28th, 1985. The historical well-known Berlin’s Wall, which divided East and West Germany, was opened on the night of November 9th, 1989.

 “In 1989, Berlin’s Wall had for some time his expiry date, and it was opened when absolutely nobody was expecting that to happen.”

Mr. Álvarez de Toledo saw it with his own eyes, as he was at the forefront. That night he invited “Informe Semanal”– weekly magazine from TVE – team to dinner, and later they were going to a jazz concert. However, they suddenly heard the announcement of the Wall’s opening and he proposed them to approach to the nearest customs office. Upon arrival, they saw about fifty people. So he approached and asked the guard if the Wall was opened, but he was told that it might the following day. Shortly after, he watched a couple of people going through and he went back to ask if they could go, if some documentation was necessary and if they could come back. The guard said they did not need any specific documentation and, of course, they could return. So they were among the first ten people who passed through Berlin’s wall, and “Informe Semanal” were the only ones who recorded this historical event.

“West had been contributing consciously to maintain Berlin’s Wall (…) We were convinced that both, the Iron Curtain and Berlin’s Wall, were the East-West balance’s essential elements. An unstable, but indispensable balance for peace.”

Before the fall of Berlin’s Wall, Mr. Álvarez de Toledo had an experience, in which him and others NATO’s states’ representatives met for fifteen days in a Faraday Camera – a fully isolated and protected from external recording room. One day, it was said that E. Honecker – the president at that time of the German Democratic Republic – had died. Although that was only a rumour, Mr. Álvarez de Toledo thought that Mr. Honecker was in his last days, but those moments he was living were going to be historic, even he had not died yet, he would sooner or later. He was fully conscious of making history, so he began to write his experiences.

Among his publications are: “The country that never existed” – a diary of this last Spanish ambassador of the GDR (German Democratic Republic); “An orange and dusty tram” – a book in which he deals with topics such as NATO or Berlin’s Wall; and finally, “Footnotes” – the most significant and relevant book he has done, because in it he invites us to revive some of his memorable scenes, apart from the ones named above, such as: II Hispano-American Conference, I Jew-Palestinian Conference, Inauguration of Barcelona’s Olympic Games in 1992, or Expo in Seville in 1992.

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Photo: “Footnotes. Memories of a lucky man”, Alonso Álvarez de Toledo.

Mr. Álvarez de Toledo is now retired. His life is full of stories, some less positive than others, for instance, his most uncomfortable moment as ambassador was when he had to translate F. Franco – Spanish dictator who died in 1975 – but overall, the ups outnumbered the downs.

By Paloma Álvarez Carrillo

INTERVIEWING WITH MIKKEL LARSEN

NOTES ON EUROPE THROUGH DANISH EYES

In this article, we interviewed Mikkel Larsen, Chief of Communication for the Danish Embassy in Spain. Mr. Larsen, gave us his opinions on some of the current events dominating the news in Europe.  Regarding Turkey’s application to the European Union (EU), Mr. Larsen explains that it’s not going to be an automatic process for Turkey to became part of the EU. In 1993, during an assembly presided by Denmark, it was decided that a country seeking membership needed to complete negotiations on 35 chapters of the total body of the EU law. Turkey however, only passes on 15 of those 35 today. This in turn implies a long road ahead for Turkey to finally become part of the European Union. For instance, there has been a steady decline on the freedom of press and speech in the last few years and we have watched this with worry. This fact has added pressure and also made it difficult to ensure their membership to the EU. We asked Mr. Larsen if he thought one of the solutions to the current refugee situation would be to forge an agreement with Al-Asad. However, he categorically disagreed with that. He added that, Denmark wants Al-Asad gone, and that it was just a matter of time for that to happen. Right now in the EU, there is a debate on a transitional government in Siria and they are negotiating its stability. There is one main demand in this new Syrian government, “no Al-Asad”. We are sending a fleet of planes to fight ISIS, which in turn is indirectly helping Al-Asad. However, after the war, we have to be able to guarantee a strong government, which is very difficult to do (we have Libya and Iraq as good examples.) There are ongoing negotiations among Turkey, Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia on how to resolve this crisis. However, we recognize that Asad is the lower priority, and that there is immediate need to intervene in the fight against ISIS to stop the terrorist organizationScreen Shot 2016-06-06 at 23.57.52.pngMikkel Larsen at the Danish Embassy in Madrid. (Photo source: Raquel Envó)

Regarding the “Brexit,” Great Britain´s exit from the EU, Mikkel recognised that Denmark would be highly affected due to the close ties that link both countries. His exact words were: “First of all, we hope it does not to happen. Britain is the third biggest export market of Denmark in Europe and our strongest ally; and the Brexit would result in increased unemployment in my country. However, it would also impact the rest of Europe by shifting the centre of power to Germany and the southern countries, which would in turn affect Denmark and the Scandinavian countries. Additionally, the Brexit would it make it harder to resolve some of the problems currently affecting Europe such us the Economic and Migrant´s crisis by creating yet another crisis. I´m not trying to say that it would mean the end of the EU, but it would certainly weaken our position towards the rest of the world. Great Britain is certainly a major player in the EU.”

Now talking about issues directly affecting Denmark, I wanted to know first-hand from you about the approval in the Danish Parliament of the Act by which property is taken away from refugees who owned property worth 10,000 kroner (1,340 euros) or more. Mikkel explained the reasons that led to that enactment of the law; “first, it is important to remember that this law was adopted last year and had several objectives: the idea is to match the conditions of the Danish people with that of the refugees. “There was a situation with refugees whereby many owned property and at the same time received state aid when the law in Denmark says that a person with enough means to subsist should not benefit from state aid. This situation led to a discontent within Danish citizens reason why the Bill was taken to the Parliament and approved. However, I must clarify that this law is not applicable to property with sentimental value. It was intended to balance the subsidies provided by the Danish State to Danish citizens and that provided to the refugees. The Danish Government has created several laws but they are above all dissuasive laws, when we talk about 1340 euros, there are exceptions. The idea was that if a refugee came into Denmark with a lot of money, he or she should use his/her own means to cover their expenses instead of receiving aid. At the moment there has been no refugee that has had his or her property take away so far.” As a matter of fact, the police refused to cooperate because it did not seem feasible to enforce the law.”

 

To conclude, we’d like to mention that Denmark had created a law which extended the period of reunion of refugees with their families, from 1 year to 3; according to Mr. Larsen, this was passed to reduce the migratory flow and prevent Denmark from becoming a preferred destination for refugees, emphasizing that, “as a matter of fact this law was passed with the majority of the votes in the Parliament.”

Raquel G.Envo