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Spain (Spanish: España [esʲˈpaɲa] (About this soundlisten)), officially the Kingdom of Spain (Spanish: Reino de España), is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

With an area of 505,990 km2 (195,360 sq mi), Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, and the fourth largest country in the European continent. By population, Spain is the sixth largest in Europe and the fifth in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid; other major urban areas include Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Málaga and Bilbao.

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The sunken Reina Mercedes off Santiago de Cuba in 1898.

The USS Reina Mercedes was a cruiser captured by the US Navy during the Spanish–American War. Th ship was named in honor of Queen Mercedes of Spain when she was built at Cartagena in 1887. The ship served under Admiral Cervera in the defense of Santiago, Cuba, although her boilers and engines were in very poor shape and much of her armament had been removed to be used from shore batteries. After an attempt to use her to block the channel was discovered, she was sunk by the USS Massachusetts and USS Texas.

Raised after the war, she was towed to Newport, Rhode Island where she served as a receiving ship. After a refit in 1912, she was transferred to Annapolis, Maryland to serve as a station ship, replacing the USS Hartford. Until 1940, one of the Reina Mercedes' roles was as a brig for the Naval Academy---cadets undergoing punishment were required to spend all time not in classes or at drills aboard the ship, sleeping in hammocks at night, for periods of up to two months. This practice was discontinued in 1940, to be replaced with confinement to rooms in Bancroft Hall. Other roles filled by the Reina Mercedes included service as a berthing barge for enlisted personnel assigned to the Academy during World War II, a lookout and harbor control center. It was a common joke at the time to refer to the Reina Mercedes as the "fastest ship in the fleet", since she was tied "fast" to the seawall.

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Antonio Gala

Antonio Gala (born 2 October 1936) is a Spanish poet, playwright, novelist and writer. Gala was born in Brazatortas, Ciudad Real (Castile-La Mancha), although he moved very soon to Córdoba and is widely considered an Andalusian. A graduate in law, philosophy, politics and economics, he has written in a wide variety of genres, including journalism, short stories, essays and television scripts. He has been awarded several prizes, not only within the field of poetry but also for his contributions to theatre and opera.

Gala's work has been more appreciated by his readership than by the critics, who find it hard to classify it due to its particular blend of lyricism and epic. Among his most successful plays are Los verdes campos del Edén (The Green Fields of Eden, National Theatre Prize "Calderón de la Barca" 1963), Anillos para una dama (Rings for a Lady, 1973), ¿Por qué corres, Ulises? (Why do you run, Ulysses?, 1975), Petra Regalada (1980), Samarkanda (1985), Carmen, Carmen (1988) and La truhana (The rogue, 1992). Among his collections of poetry are Sonetos de La Zubia (La Zubia Sonets), Poemas de amor (Love Poems), Testamento Andaluz (Andalusian Will) and Enemigo íntimo (Intimate Enemy, Adonais Prize 1959).

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7 July 2019 – FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019
Spain wins its fourth title of the Eurobasket competition after defeating France in the final match. (El Mundo)
2 July 2019 – 2019 European Parliament election
Fugitive Catalan independence leaders Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín, together with imprisoned Oriol Junqueras, are not allowed to take office as MEPs by the Supreme Court of Spain and Court of Justice of the European Union, while a pro-independence demonstration takes place in Strasbourg. (Reuters)
The European Council nominates German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission. If confirmed by the European Parliament, she will be the first woman to hold the position. The Council also nominates Charles Michel of Belgium as President of the European Council, Josep Borrell of Spain as High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Christine Lagarde of France as President of the European Central Bank. (BBC)

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Robin Williams

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