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Cuba blames unrest on U.S. interference as Joe Biden backs protests

Cuba blamed historic protests that took place over the weekend on U.S. “economic asphyxiation” and social media campaigns by a minority of U.S.-financed counter-revolutionaries, while U.S. President Joe Biden said he stood with the Cuban people. The streets of Havana were quiet on Monday, although there was a heavy police presence. Outages in mobile internet – the only way many Cubans have of accessing the web – were frequent. Chanting “freedom” and calling for President Miguel Diaz-Canel to step down, thousands of Cubans joined street protests here from Havana to Santiago on Sunday in the biggest anti-government demonstrations on the Communist-run island in decades. At least 80 protesters, activists, and independent journalists had been detained nationwide since Sunday, according to exile...

Leaked testimony from Haiti suspects says plan was to arrest, not kill president

A group of Colombians and Haitian Americans suspected of assassinating Haitian President Jovenel Moise told investigators they were there to arrest him, not kill him, the Miami Herald and a person familiar with the matter said on Sunday. Moise was shot dead early on Wednesday at his Port-au-Prince home by what Haitian authorities say was a unit of assassins made up of 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans, plunging the troubled Caribbean nation into deeper turmoil. The murder and uncertainty about who hatched the plot is the latest in a succession of blows to hit the struggling country, which has appealed for international help. Washington has so far rebuffed Haiti’s request for troops, though a senior U.S. official said on Sunday that Washington was sending a technical team to assess th...

Haiti police say they have president’s suspected killers, still hunting masterminds

Haiti’s police has killed or apprehended the suspected killers of President Jovenel Moise, officials said on Thursday, and are hunting for the masterminds behind the assassination that stunned the impoverished Caribbean nation. Moise, 53, was shot dead early on Wednesday at his home by what officials said was a commando of apparently foreign, trained killers, pitching the poorest country in the Americas deeper into turmoil amidst political divisions, hunger, and widespread gang violence. Police Chief Leon Charles said in a televised briefing on Thursday that authorities had tracked down the suspected assassins to a house near the scene of the crime in Petionville, a northern suburb of the capital Port-au-Prince. A fierce firefight lasted late into the night and six suspects were taken in c...

African leaders mourn Zambia’s founding president Kenneth Kaunda

African leaders and diplomats on Friday joined Zambia in mourning its founding president and liberation hero Kenneth Kaunda, who died last month aged 97 after a bout of pneumonia. “KK”, as he was affectionately known, ruled over Zambia from 1964, when the southern African nation won its independence from Britain, until losing an election in 1991. He died on June 17 in a military hospital in Lusaka. Kaunda’s casket draped in the green, orange, black and red national flag was driven into the main arena of the Lusaka show ground on a gun carriage by an army jeep. His son, Panji, wept, as did Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. Other mourners waved white handkerchiefs, one of the most prominent idiosyncrasies of Kaunda, who after leaving office became a committed activist against HIV/AIDS. Althou...

UK urges end to violence in Tigray

Britain urged all parties to pull back from the violence in Tigray and allow humanitarian workers access to the area on Thursday, after the Ethiopian government declared a unilateral ceasefire earlier this week. “We welcome the Government of Ethiopia’s announcement of a humanitarian ceasefire in Tigray and urge all other parties to the conflict to make similar announcements,” a spokesperson for the Foreign Office said. “The violence must now stop and unfettered humanitarian access granted. Eritrean forces should also leave Tigray.” You Deserve to Make Money Even When you are looking for Dates Online. So we reimagined what a dating should be. It begins with giving you back power. Get to meet Beautiful people, chat and make money in the process. Earn rewards by chatting, sharing photos, blog...

‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero never joined rebels – co-accused

Paul Rusesabagina, the ex-hotelier immortalised in the film “Hotel Rwanda”, never belonged to a rebel group that sought to overthrow President Paul Kagame, one of the former rebels accused with him of terrorism told a court on Wednesday. “Rusesabagina was never a member of the National Liberation Front (FLN), he was a civilian … He is not a soldier,” former FLN spokesman Callixte Sankara told the court in Kigali. He said the prosecution had presented no evidence to substantiate its claim that Rusesabagina had given orders to the FLN, which has claimed responsibility for attacks in past years that it said were aimed at ousting the president. Sankara is one of 20 Rwandans being tried alongside Rusesabagina, who is 67. Prosecutors describe them as fighters for the FLN. Most were captured in s...

Rapid spread of Delta variant throws England’s re-opening into doubt

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s hopes of ending England’s coronavirus lockdown on June 21 hung in the balance on Friday as data showed a further rise in cases of the rapidly spreading Delta variant. Johnson is due to announce on Monday whether the planned lifting of restrictions, which would see an end to limits on social contact, can go ahead on time. But the rapid spread of the Delta variant, officially a “variant of concern”, has thrown those plans into jeopardy, prompting speculation that the June 21 date will be pushed back, or that some restrictions will remain. “We have to be really careful. We had a very big opening on the 17th of May where people could meet friends indoors, in a restaurant, in a pub, and socialise indoors as well,” COVID-19 vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi t...

Iran says nuclear talks policy won’t change after presidential vote

Iran’s policy in talks with world powers to revive the 2015 nuclear accord will remain unchanged after a June 18 presidential election because the issue is decided by its highest leadership, a government spokesman said on Tuesday. A host of barriers to the revival of the nuclear deal remain firmly in place ahead of talks due to resume this week, suggesting a return to compliance with the accord is still a way off, diplomats, Iranian officials and analysts said. “We have shown that we adhere to our international obligations under all circumstances, and this was a national decision,” cabinet spokesman Ali Rabiei told a weekly news conference. Rabiei said Iran’s nuclear policy, set by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is not linked to internal developments and that the new government wou...

Taiwan says request to drop word ‘country’ preceded BioNTech vaccine deal collapse

Germany’s BioNTech asked Taiwan to remove the word “country” from an announcement they planned to make on a COVID-19 vaccine sale to the island, its health minister said on Thursday, giving details of the deal whose axing was blamed on China by Taipei. Taiwan and China are engaged in an escalating war of words after Beijing offered the shots to the Chinese-claimed island via Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd, which has a contract to sell them in Greater China. Taiwan Health Minister Chen Shih-chung told a daily news briefing the government had signed and sent back a “final contract” agreed with BioNTech after months of negotiations, and the two sides were on the verge of issuing a press release on Jan. 8. But four hours later “BioNTech suddenly sent a letter, saying they strongly ...

Fury over Belarus airliner ‘hijack’ set to dominate EU summit

Fury over the forced landing of a Ryanair plane in Belarus has upended the agenda of a European Union summit dinner on Monday, where leaders were due to discuss relations with Russia and Britain but will now also consider punitive steps against Minsk. Belarusian authorities scrambled a fighter jet and flagged what turned out to be a false bomb alert to force the civilian aircraft to land on Sunday and then detained an opposition-minded journalist who was among the passengers on board. The diversion of a plane owned by an EU company that was flying between two EU capitals was “an inadmissible step”, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said, and it would be raised at the summit. “The EU will consider the consequences of this action, including taking measures against those responsible,” Josep Bor...

Belarus’s forced landing of Lithuania-bound Ryanair plane sparks outrage

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko ordered a Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania to land on Sunday in Minsk, where a Belarusian opposition activist on board was detained, prompting international condemnation. EU member Lithuania urged the European Union and NATO to respond, Germany called for an immediate explanation and Poland’s prime minister called it a “reprehensible act of state terrorism”. The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said Belarus’s action was “utterly unacceptable”. The aircraft, flying from Athens to Vilnius, had almost reached Lithuania when it changed direction and was escorted to Minsk, the Belarusian capital, after reports that it had explosives on board, according to an online flight tracker and BelTA state news agency. Belarusian law e...

Myanmar junta leader says Aung San Suu Kyi will soon appear

Myanmar’s junta leader Min Aung Hlaing said deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi was healthy at home and would appear in court in a few days, in his first interview since overthrowing her in a Feb. 1 coup. The coup has plunged the Southeast Asian country into chaos and one of several ethnic armed groups opposed to the ruling junta advanced to attack a military post in a northwestern jade mining town on Saturday, local media said. Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate for her long struggle against previous military rulers, is among more than 4,000 people detained since the coup. She faces charges that range from illegally possessing walkie-talkie radios to violating a state secrets law. “Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is in good health. She is at her home and healthy. She is going to face trial at the cou...