Margaret Thatcher dies of a stroke
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has died of a stroke at the age of 87. The news was broken by a family spokesperson. “It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning,” said Lord Tim Bell. The British government has said a ceremonial funeral with military honours would be held for Thatcher at London’s St. Paul cathedral, although no date was given. Her family had expressed a wish for no state funeral to be held.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said: “We have lost a great leader, a great Prime Minister and a great Briton.”Cameron’s office said he was cutting short a visit to several European countries to return to London because of Thatcher’s death.
Queen Elizabeth said she was sad to hear the news of Thatcher’s death and sent a message of sympathy to her family. Britain’s only woman prime minister, the tough, outspoken Thatcher, led the Conservatives to three election victories, governing from 1979 to 1990, the longest continuous period in office by a British prime minister since the early 19th century.
Former Polish president and Solidarity union leader Lech Walesa also paid tribute to what he called a “great personality who contributed to the fall of communism in Poland and eastern Europe along with Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II and the Solidarity Union,” adding “I pray for her.”
The release from prison in Ukraine of a former minister of the interior has been seen as a move to improve the country’s relations with the European Union. Yuri Lutsenko was convicted of abuse of power in 2010, and sentenced to four years behind bars. He accepted a pardon from President Viktor Yanukovich. Lutsenko said: “I think now we are closer to the EU and for me is even more important than my freedom. Because it means freedom for all: for Ukraine and for millions of Ukrainians. I think that European authorities have done so much for this. The first step is very important.
Yuri Lutsenko was one of the figures in the forefront of the Orange Revolution people’s uprising in 2004, which brought pro-westerners Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko to prominence. She would become prime minister, and Lutsenko has close ties with her. She was handed a seven year sentence two years ago on charges she abused her power. This remains a source of conflict between Kiev and Brussels, and Ukraine’s opposition.
Tens of thousands of people have taken part in this year’s March of the Living – a memorial to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day.The rally to honor the estimated six million Jews who perished took place in the former Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in Poland.“This is our history. We have no future without the past,” said Yaki Saada, a visitor from Israel.Throughout Israel, people also stopped their daily activities to stand in silence and remember the Holocaust as a two-minute siren was sounded.