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Queen Sofia hails Spanish foreign aid agency on 25th anniversary

Madrid, Nov 11 (EFE).- Spain's Queen Sofia praised Monday the fruitful, admirable work of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation, or AECID, while presiding over an event celebrating its 25th anniversary. The queen inaugurated the "Cooperation IS Development" expo organized by AECID in collaboration with the municipality of Madrid. She said she has witnessed how, during AECID's quarter of a century, its staff has worked with "effort and professionalism," and is an outstanding source of pride for the Spanish government.

Upper house bars Yamamoto from imperial events for contentious letter

Taro Yamamoto, an independent upper house member at the center of a controversy after he handed a letter to Emperor Akihito last week, was banned Friday by the chamber from attending ceremonies and other events related to the imperial family, lawmakers said.

Dietman won't resign over breach of protocol involving emperor

A Diet member who handed a letter to Emperor Akihito at an autumn garden party last week said Tuesday he will not step down, despite harsh criticism that his act was a grievous breach of protocol. Taro Yamamoto, an independent House of Councillors member, did offer an apology at a news conference and said, "I regret that what I did has troubled the emperor." He also said he was not sufficiently aware of the consequences of his action.

Spanish king to undergo surgery again

Spain's 75-year-old King Juan Carlos will undergo hip surgery later this month, the royal place said Monday, the latest of a string of operations that have raised questions over his reign. Doctors gave him a temporary hip joint in a two-and-a-half-hour operation on September 24 because of an infection in tissue around a previous prosthetic joint that had been fitted in November 2012, which was making it difficult for him to walk. They will now fit him with a permanent replacement joint in another operation on November 21, a royal palace spokesman said.

Court impounds properties of Spanish king's son-in-law

A court on Monday impounded 16 properties belonging to the son-in-law of Spanish King Juan Carlos in a corruption case that has embarrassed the royal family. The court in Mallorca published a ruling ordering the seizure of properties owned by Inaki Urdangarin, husband of the king's daughter Cristina, to cover a 6.1-million-euro ($8.2 million) bond for his liability in the case. ib/rlp/sg/lc

Japan lawmaker breaks taboo with nuclear fears letter for emperor

TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese lawmaker handed Emperor Akihito a letter on Thursday expressing fear about the health impact of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, breaking a taboo by trying to involve the emperor in politics. Taro Yamamoto, who is also an anti-nuclear activist, gave Akihito the letter during a garden party, setting off a storm of protest on the Internet from critics shocked at his action.

Japan imperial couple meet man-sized bear

He is instantly recognised all over Japan, generates millions of dollars of merchandising sales, and has 300,000 Twitter followers. Now Kumamon, an oversized cartoon bear, has a new fan: the empress. Michiko and her husband Emperor Akihito got what was almost certainly their first taste of the adult-sized mascot when they met him on a visit to his home city of Kumamoto in southern Japan.

Serbia buries Tito's widow, the last symbol of Yugoslavia

The widow of former Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito was to be buried with full state honours Saturday, the last symbol of the communist federation that broke up in the 1990s. Jovanka Broz, who died of heart failure at the age of 88 on Sunday, will be buried next to her husband in the House of Flowers in Belgrade, where the communist strongman was laid to rest in 1980.

Jovanka Broz, widow of late Yugoslav leader Tito, dies at 89

Belgrade, Oct 20 (EFE).- Jovanka Broz, the widow of Yugoslav communist leader Josip Broz Tito (1892-1980), died Sunday in a Belgrade hospital. She was 89. The hospital, where she was admitted on Aug. 23, confirmed her death, the Tanjug news agency reported. Tito's widow was admitted to the medical center in serious condition resulting from health complications but the hospital did not specify what her difficulties were, although she remained in intensive care the entire time.

Tito's widow, First Lady of Yugoslavia, dies aged 88

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Jovanka Broz, who spent three decades as Yugoslavia's First Lady but was left stateless and forgotten as war shattered the socialist federation built by her husband 'Tito', died on Sunday in a Belgrade hospital. State television RTS said Broz had died of cardiac arrest. She was 88 and had lived largely in isolation since the death of Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito in 1980, squirreled away in a crumbling state-owned villa in the Serbian capital without a passport or ID.
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