Categorized | Regional

From BBC Caribbean – Jan 27

Cuba blasts US decision
The Cuban government says a US decision to ease sanctions on Havana and two other countries to allow exports of Internet services is intended to destabilise the Communist-run island.

Washington says the measure is meant to increase citizens’ access to online communication tools and boost free speech.

But a Cuban foreign ministry statement said the authorities in Havana were concerned that the decision could lead to these Internet tools being used to subvert and destabilise Cuba.

It said this showed that the US government was not interested in softening its policy, nor in developing normal relations with Cuba.

Difficult tax decision

Antigua and Barbuda’s Finance Minister, Harold Lovell, has defended his country’s decision to decrease by 41 the number of items which have been zero-rated under the sales tax (items which were exempted from the tax).

The government is reducing its protected basket of goods from 70 to 29.

It is blaming the decision on a fall in revenue due to the global financial crisis and delinquent businesses who are failing to pay in their receipts from the sales tax.
Mr Lovell says the decision was a difficult one.

Bananas and AIDS

Bananas may hold the key to powerful new treatments that protect against the Aids virus.

In laboratory tests, scientists found that a banana ingredient called BanLec was as potent as two existing anti-HIV drugs.

They believe cheap therapies based on BanLec have the potential to save millions of lives.

Although it is several years away from being used in patients, the scientists believe that even a partially successful treatment could save many lives.

Murders rock Antigua
Antigua and Barbuda National Security Minister Errol Cort has expressed dismay at continuing gun violence.

Three murders have taken place in the country this year.

The latest victim is the 21-year-old brother of an accused man awaiting trial for the murder last year of a British honeymooning couple.
Dr Cort said the his death had “sent shock waves” through the country.

He said the proliferation of illegal firearms and ammunition “must and will be stamped out.”

Police will be increasing ‘stop and search’ and other crime-fighting measures, he announced.

OECS to enter Anguilla dispute
The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is getting involved in the budget impasse between the Anguillian and British governments.
After their summit in Grenada this week, OECS leaders said they will send a delegation to Anguilla for consultations.

The UK has refused to approve the national budget passed by the Anguilla parliament because it isn’t satisfied with deficit-cutting measures.

The OECS has also promised to provide technical assistance to the island in its preparation for budget negotiations with Britain.

Haiti’s Duvalier ‘to face courts’

Haiti’s ex-leader Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier had the right to return to the country but must now face justice, President Rene Preval says.

Mr Preval was making his first comments on the issue since Mr Duvalier’s unexpected return from exile last week.

Mr Duvalier has been charged with theft and misappropriation of funds during his 1971-1986 rule.

He is also being sued for torture and other crimes against humanity. He has said he is ready to face “persecution”.

In a news conference on Friday, Mr Duvalier called for national reconciliation, claiming his return from France had been prompted by the earthquake that devastated Haiti last year and his desire to help rebuild the country.

On Saturday, Mr Preval said that according to the Haitian constitution, no-one could be forced to remain in exile.

“Duvalier had the right to return to the country, but under the constitution, he also must face justice,” he said at a news conference during a visit by the Dominican president.

“If Duvalier is not in prison now, it is because he has not yet been tried.”

Jean-Claude Duvalier is staying in a hotel in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

Mr Duvalier is barred from leaving the country pending the outcome of an investigation into his alleged crimes, Mr Preval said.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Cuba blasts US decision
The Cuban government says a US decision to ease sanctions on Havana and two other countries to allow exports of Internet services is intended to destabilise the Communist-run island.

Washington says the measure is meant to increase citizens’ access to online communication tools and boost free speech.

But a Cuban foreign ministry statement said the authorities in Havana were concerned that the decision could lead to these Internet tools being used to subvert and destabilise Cuba.

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It said this showed that the US government was not interested in softening its policy, nor in developing normal relations with Cuba.

Difficult tax decision

Antigua and Barbuda’s Finance Minister, Harold Lovell, has defended his country’s decision to decrease by 41 the number of items which have been zero-rated under the sales tax (items which were exempted from the tax).

The government is reducing its protected basket of goods from 70 to 29.

It is blaming the decision on a fall in revenue due to the global financial crisis and delinquent businesses who are failing to pay in their receipts from the sales tax.
Mr Lovell says the decision was a difficult one.

Bananas and AIDS

Bananas may hold the key to powerful new treatments that protect against the Aids virus.

In laboratory tests, scientists found that a banana ingredient called BanLec was as potent as two existing anti-HIV drugs.

They believe cheap therapies based on BanLec have the potential to save millions of lives.

Although it is several years away from being used in patients, the scientists believe that even a partially successful treatment could save many lives.

Murders rock Antigua
Antigua and Barbuda National Security Minister Errol Cort has expressed dismay at continuing gun violence.

Three murders have taken place in the country this year.

The latest victim is the 21-year-old brother of an accused man awaiting trial for the murder last year of a British honeymooning couple.
Dr Cort said the his death had “sent shock waves” through the country.

He said the proliferation of illegal firearms and ammunition “must and will be stamped out.”

Police will be increasing ‘stop and search’ and other crime-fighting measures, he announced.

OECS to enter Anguilla dispute
The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is getting involved in the budget impasse between the Anguillian and British governments.
After their summit in Grenada this week, OECS leaders said they will send a delegation to Anguilla for consultations.

The UK has refused to approve the national budget passed by the Anguilla parliament because it isn’t satisfied with deficit-cutting measures.

The OECS has also promised to provide technical assistance to the island in its preparation for budget negotiations with Britain.

Haiti’s Duvalier ‘to face courts’

Haiti’s ex-leader Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier had the right to return to the country but must now face justice, President Rene Preval says.

Mr Preval was making his first comments on the issue since Mr Duvalier’s unexpected return from exile last week.

Mr Duvalier has been charged with theft and misappropriation of funds during his 1971-1986 rule.

He is also being sued for torture and other crimes against humanity. He has said he is ready to face “persecution”.

In a news conference on Friday, Mr Duvalier called for national reconciliation, claiming his return from France had been prompted by the earthquake that devastated Haiti last year and his desire to help rebuild the country.

On Saturday, Mr Preval said that according to the Haitian constitution, no-one could be forced to remain in exile.

“Duvalier had the right to return to the country, but under the constitution, he also must face justice,” he said at a news conference during a visit by the Dominican president.

“If Duvalier is not in prison now, it is because he has not yet been tried.”

Jean-Claude Duvalier is staying in a hotel in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

Mr Duvalier is barred from leaving the country pending the outcome of an investigation into his alleged crimes, Mr Preval said.