Havana is ready and willing to start a dialogue with Washington, Cuban President Raul Castro said in a speech to parliament Saturday, but warned that political and regime change are not up for negotiation. “They didn’t elect me president to restore capitalism in Cuba, nor to surrender the revolution,” Castro said to loud applause. “I was elected to defend, maintain and continue perfecting socialism, not to destroy it.” He added that those expecting political change after the death of former President Fidel Castro and his generation were “condemned to fail.” Castro ceded the presidency to his younger brother, Raul, last year but has retained leadership of the Communist Party, the only legal political party in Cuba.
Ninety-two years after the Russian Revolution and 20 years on from the fall of the Berlin Wall, Europe’s last Soviet-style government is finally on its way out. In Moldova this week, four months after popular upheaval, the Communist Party accepted defeat in a national election. Four pro-Western opposition parties must now scrabble together a coalition which they say will distance the country from Moscow, more fully embrace democracy and integrate with Europe
Sunday was a day of commemoration in Cuba — the 56th anniversary of the start of the Cuban Revolution — but the message from President Raul Castro was not all celebratory. The island nation will face a second round of belt-tightening as a result of the global financial crunch, Castro said in a speech marking Revolution Day. He said that on Tuesday he would hold a meeting of the Council of Ministries “dedicated to the analysis of the second cost adjustment in this year’s plan, due to the effects of the global economic crisis, especially on the reduction of revenues from exports and the additional restrictions on accessing external financing.” The global economic downturn has hit Cuba hard.
At least 184 people died in last weekend’s violent protests in China’s far-west Xinjiang region, state-run media reported. That number raises the death toll from a previously reported 156.
China recorded its first death Friday from a moderate earthquake that struck the country’s southwest the night before, state-run media reported.
Five major mosques near the center of violence last weekend in Urumqi, the capital of China’s far-west Xinjiang region, were closed Friday morning, state-run media reported. Same smaller mosques in the city remained open, according to the Xinhua news agency. “Mosques in some sensitive areas were closed at their imams’ suggestion,” an official in charge of religious affairs with the Xinjiang regional government said Friday.
The party of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was surging ahead in its bid for re-election as a major opposition party conceded defeat during vote count Saturday. The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was leading in 252 of the 543 federal parliamentary boroughs by early afternoon. Congress workers were quick to assemble at the residence of Italian-born Sonia Gandhi, who heads the party, to celebrate with drumbeats and fireworks
Nepal’s prime minister said Monday he will resign to save what he called the country’s "infant democracy." It is the latest fallout over the status of Nepal’s army chief, Gen. Rookmangud Katawal
Nepal’s Maoist government took the president to task Monday for ordering the country’s army chief of staff to stay in office after they had fired him, calling the decision "unconstitutional." “Neither the constitution nor the Military Act gives the President the right to do anything besides supporting the government’s decision,” said Krishna Bahadur Mahara, the minister for information and communication. Late Sunday night, President Ram Baran Yadav ordered Gen.
President Obama misinterpreted Cuban President Raúl Castro’s offer to start talks with the United States, Castro’s brother Fidel said Wednesday, appearing to dismiss the U.S. leader’s call for Cuba to release political prisoners