Spain’s ministers criticize White House over removing Spanish version of website



MADRID, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) — Spanish government ministers criticized the removal on Monday of the Spanish language version of the official White House website ( days after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th U.S. President.
The Spanish version was replaced by a message “Sorry the page you’re looking for can’t be found” on Monday to the surprise of the 50 million Spanish speakers in the United States and the 700 million Spanish speakers worldwide.
Spanish Minister for Education, Culture and Sports Inigo Mendez de Vigo said the Whited House move was “not good news,” while insisting it would “neither detain nor threaten the unstoppable diffusion” of the Spanish language.
“The knowledge and use of different languages in society is something that strengthens a country and shows its cultural riches,” he added.
Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis Quecedo said although the decision was an “internal” question for the U.S., it was one which “didn’t seem to be a good idea” and which he lamented.
Justice Minister Rafael Catala said the decision “made no sense,” adding that the Spanish government was watching events in the United States with “a certain disquiet.”
Susana Diaz, leader of the main opposition Socialist Party in Andalusia, described the White House move as “an insult to the Hispanic community and an intolerable attack on the second language in the U.S.”
In the academic world, Victor Garcia de la Concha, director of the Cervantes Institute, said the White House decision was “serious,” saying that U.S. President Donald Trump was “rowing against the tide” concerning an increasing use of the Spanish language.
“We are not going to stop, we are going to continue,” he added.

Russia, Iran, Turkey agree ‘mechanism’ to ensure Syria truce: statement
ASTANA, Kazakhstan, Jan 24, 2017 (AFP) – Russia, Iran and Turkey, the sponsors of peace talks between Syrian rebels and Damascus, agreed Tuesday to establish a joint “mechanism” to monitor the frail truce in the war-torn country.
The sides have agreed to “establish a trilateral mechanism to observe and ensure full compliance with the ceasefire, prevent any provocations and determine all modalities of the ceasefire,” according to a final statement read by Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov following the talks in Astana.