Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 16th 2013 Contents A21
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Spain s prime minister
on Monday brushed off
demands he should
resign after text mes-
sages emerged showing
him comforting a polit-
ical party treasurer under
investigation over a slush
fund and secret Swiss
The spectacle of alleged
greed and corruption has
enraged Spaniards hurting from austerity and sky high
unemployment with no end in sight.
As Mariano Rajoy told reporters he would not step
down, former Popular Party Luis Barcenas testified
behind closed doors in Madrid, telling a judge inves-
tigating slush fund allegations that he gave tens of
thousands of euros in secret cash payments to Rajoy
and party secretary general Maria Delores de Cospedal
between 2008 and 2010.
Rajoy declined to comment on specifics, while
Cospedal slammed Barcenas declarations as "new
slander and lies" from a criminal suspect and said she
never received cash payments from him. Rajoy insisted
after meeting with Poland s premier that he will "see
out the mandate the Spanish electorate gave me. This
is a stable government that is going to fulfill its obli-
Rajoy, who says neither he nor other party figures
received illegal payments, did not deny exchanging
text messages with now jailed former Popular Party
treasurer Luis Barcenas. He insisted that the messages
demonstrated that the state "was not bowing to black-
mail. This is a serious democracy."
But the text messages, some analysts said, appeared
to convey a tone of cronyism.
"Luis, nothing is easy," one message said. "But we
are doing what we can. Cheer up."
Analysts are divided over whether the scandal could
prompt an early exit for Rajoy, whose conservative
party ousted the ruling Socialists in a 2011 landslide
giving his party an absolute majority in Parliament
and no requirement to call new elections until late
If Rajoy s position as leader becomes untenable, his
party could theoretically decide he needs to go and
select someone else as prime minister. It s unlikely
that there would be any changes in Spain s tough aus-
terity measures aimed at helping keep the European
debt crisis at bay.
But the ever deepening scandal and its twists and
turns have shaken Spaniards who saw their country
teeter on the edge of a full-blown public finances
bailout last year before Rajoy asked for a 100 billion
euro ($130 billion) bailout of the country s hurting
banks, raised taxes and cut public services---all in the
name of saving the country from ruin.
And the corruption allegations come on top of
unemployment at 27 percent with the rate double that
for those under age 25, plus an ill-fated elephant
hunting trip by Spain s king last year seen as a shameless
sign of royal excess while the economy tanked.
Russian President Vladimir Putin
on Monday characterised National
Security Agency leaker Edward
Snowden's long stay at a Moscow
airport as an unwelcome present
foisted on Russia by the United
In comments reported by
Russian news agencies during a
meeting with students, Putin
noted that Snowden flew to
Moscow on June 23 "without
invitation," intending only to transit
to another country.
But Putin says the United States
intimidated other countries against
accepting Snowden, effectively
blocking him from flying further.
"Such a present to us. Merry
Christmas," he was quoted as
telling the students on the Gulf of
Finland island of Gogland.
Snowden said last week he
would apply for Russian asylum.
The status of that application is
unclear. Putin said Monday that
Snowden apparently did not want
to stay in Russia permanently.
But when asked where he would
go, Putin said "How would I know?
It's his life, his fate."
Spain PM resists
Putin: Snowden a dubious present
Keta Taylor, centre, of Birmingham, Alabama, joins about 500 other demonstrators during a rally and march in support of Trayvon
Martin in Birmingham, yesterday. The crowd marched along downtown streets singing civil rights hymns and chanting "No justice,
no peace," as police looked on. AP PHOTO
Aaron Schaffhausen was sentenced to
life in prison without the possibility for
release Monday afternoon for killing his
A St Croix County judge on Monday sen-
tenced him to three consecutive life sen-
tences without eligibility for extended super-
Schaffhausen, 35, faced three mandatory
sentences of life in prison for killing 11-
year-old Amara, eight-year-old Sophie and
five-year-old Cecilia in the River Falls, Wis-
consin home the girls shared with their
mother last July.
But Judge Howard Cameron had discre-
tion on whether to order Schaffhausen s
sentences be served consecutively or con-
currently, and whether to make him eligible
for release to extended supervision.
Cameron wanted to send a message to
Schaffhausen s ex-wife and the public that
each child s life was important, so he decided
on the consecutive sentences.
Prosecutors advocated for the longest
time in prison possible, citing the severity
of the crimes, safety concerns for
Schaffhausen s ex-wife, and a lack of
remorse, saying Schaffhausen refused to
speak with pre-sentence investigators and
"thus passed up a final chance to express
some measure of remorse and repentance."
If extended supervision rules change in the
future, they wrote in court papers, they
didn t want it to benefit Schaffhausen.
In their sentencing arguments, defense
attorneys emphasised Schaffhausen s mental
health, arguing he had a debilitating mental
illness not recognised by the average citizen.
They cited Schaffhausen s history "replete
with acts of love for those girls".
Schaffhausen admitted to the killings but
claimed he was legally insane at the time
and should be sent to a mental institution
instead of prison.
While jurors agreed after his April trial
that Schaffhausen suffered from a "mental
disease or defect" as defined under Wis-
consin law, they found that it did not cause
him to lack substantial capacity to appreciate
that what he did was wrong, or make him
unable to control his actions.
Father gets 3 life terms
for killing 3 daughters
In this April 12, 2013, file photo Aaron
Schaffhausen leaves court in Hudson,
Wisconsin. AP PHOTO
JUSTICE AND PEACE
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