Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

World Briefs

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

World Briefs

Article excerpt

Cuban economy stagnant, Castro acknowledges

Cuban President Raul Castro delivered a grim report on the state of the country on Saturday, acknowledging that the communist bureaucracy he oversees has failed to implement most of the hundreds of changes launched five years ago to stimulate the stagnant centrally controlled economy. In a two-hour address to the twice-a- decade meeting of the Cuban Communist Party, Castro praised a new era of detente with the United States and an ensuing boom in tourism. He lamented that his government remained unable to address a series of deeper structural problems that have left millions of Cubans struggling to feed their families. Cuba remains saddled by an overdependence on imports, slow growth, a byzantine double currency system, insufficient agricultural production and an inability or unwillingness among state employees to enact guidelines for change approved at the last party congress.

Saudis accept 9 Yemenis from Guantanamo * Saudi Arabia took in nine Yemeni detainees from the Guantanamo on Saturday in a breakthrough deal with the at times stubborn Saudis. Among those the U.S. Air Force delivered to Saudi Arabia was hunger striker Tariq Ba Odah, 38, who gained prominence by asking a federal judge to order his release after he fell to 74 pounds despite daily U.S. Navy medical tube feedings.

Bottled water linked to illness in Spain * The health authority of the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia says more than 670 people have been affected by an outbreak of gastroenteritis linked to bottled water. As of Saturday, 678 people had been treated for symptoms including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and high fever. Bottles of water have been withdrawn from retail outlets, and scientific samples are being taken from bottling plants.

Iraq political shakeup stalls * Failed attempts to oust the speaker of parliament and a fresh ultimatum from an influential Shiite cleric have left Iraq in a state of political limbo. …

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