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Cuba

Cuban lawmakers approve new constitution which heads to referendum

HAVANA: Cuban lawmakers on Saturday unanimously approved a revised draft of a new constitution that retains the island’s one-party socialist system but reflects its socio-economic opening since the fall of the Soviet Union. The draft new constitution, which has 229 articles and will replace a Cold War era one, will maintain the Communist Party as the country’s guiding force and the state’s dominance of the economy, according to state-run media. A copy has not yet been distributed to the public. The document, however…

Worth the sting: Cuba’s scorpion pain remedy

HAVANA: Once a month for the last decade, Pepe Casanas, a 78-year-old Cuban farmer, has hunted down a scorpion to sting himself with, vowing that the venom wards off his rheumatism pains. His natural remedy is no longer seen as very unusual here. Researchers in Cuba have found that the venom of the blue scorpion, whose scientific name is Rhopalurus junceus, endemic to the Caribbean island, appears to have anti-inflammatory and pain relief properties, and may be able to delay tumor growth in some cancer patients.…

Cubans cheer as internet goes free nationwide for a day

HAVANA: Cuba’s government said it provided free internet to the Communist-run island’s more than 5 million cellphone users on Tuesday, in an eight-hour test before it launches sales of the service. Cuba is one of the Western Hemisphere’s least connected countries. State-run telecommunications monopoly ETECSA announced the trial, with Tuesday marking the first time internet services were available nationwide. There are hundreds of WiFi hotspots in Cuba but virtually no home penetration. Dissident blogger Yoani…

Cuba plane crash death toll rises to 111, Mexico suspends lease company

HAVANA/MEXICO CITY: The death toll in one of Cuba’s worst air disasters rose to 111 on Monday while Mexico suspended the operations of the Mexican company that had leased the 39-year old Boeing 737 to Cuba’s flagship airline. Grettel Landrove, a 23-year old Cuban student who loved to dance flamenco, died in a Havana hospital from “severe traumatic lesions”, Cuban state-run media reported. Two Cuban women remained in critical condition due to burns and other trauma, with a high risk of complications, media reports…

Plane crashes in Cuba killing more than 100, investigation underway

HAVANA: More than 100 people were killed when a Boeing 737 crashed soon after taking off from Havana in what appeared to be Cuba’s worst air disaster in nearly 30 years, and there were only three survivors, officials and state media said on Friday. The passenger plane, on a domestic flight to Holguin in eastern Cuba, crashed at 12:08 p.m. (1608 GMT). There were 105 passengers, including five children, plus crew members, state media reported. Five of the passengers and the crew were foreign, according to media reports.…