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Chatter: What's Cuba without Castro?

Cuba's President Raul Castro promises to resign - but not yet, Italy votes, Iran isn't happy with the way the Oscars went, and another reason not to do the Harlem Shake.
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NEED TO KNOW

Cuba without Castro? That's like... well, the point is we don't now what that's like, since one or other of the brothers Castro has been running the country since the revolution in 1959. Not for much longer, though: President Raul has promised to retire in 2018.

Cuba's first leader outside the family more than half a century is expected to be Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, who was yesterday appointed Castro's first ever vice president and who, at 52, has spent his entire life under a Castro government. Viva la post-revolucion.

Just call Park Geun-hye Madam President. South Korea's first female head of state was sworn into office today, two months after beating her liberal opponents in a hotly fought election.

Top of President Park's agenda, unsurprisingly, is everyone's least favorite nuclear power: North Korea. In her inauguration address, Park called North Korea's recent nuclear test "a challenge to the survival and future of the Korean people" and promised zero tolerance for any further threats. Ms Park, welcome (back) to the Blue House.

Italians are still deciding. Today is the second and final day of voting in what could prove one of the most important general elections in years – not just for Italy, but the whole of the euro zone.

Silvio Berlusconi is on the ballot yet again, but the current favorite is an ex-Communist with the center-left Democratic Party, Pier Luigi Bersani. Voting ends late this afternoon; the first exit poll results are due shortly after.

WANT TO KNOW

And the Oscar goes to... a motley crew. Best Picture for a movie that didn't have a Best Director? Best Director for someone who's not Steven Spielberg? Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis, again? Best Actress for an actress who wasn't best? (Sorry Jennifer Lawrence, but Emmanuelle Riva rules.) These and other questionable bests, here.

And it wasn't only us Riva fans who were left disgruntled: Iran has taken objection to the choice of 'Argo' for Best Picture, and not just because they thought 'Lincoln' was a shoo-in. Iranian state media is busy denouncing the movie as an "advertisement for the CIA" and a Zionist plot to misrepresent a memorable moment in the Islamic Revolution – and the fact that Michelle Obama presented the award live from the White House is only adding fuel to Tehran's fire.

Nuclear disasters have a long half-life. Quarter of a century after the reactor meltdown at Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine, the surrounding region remains an eerie wasteland, where wolves and wild horses roam the woods and Geiger counters beep off the hook. GlobalPost takes a tour.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

The Harlem Shake isn't just annoying – in Egypt, it can get you arrested. That's what happened to four people who made a video of themselves and their friends dancing the Harlem Shake in front of the Pyramids. Egyptian authorities said the pranksters – one of whom was featured riding a camel in nought but his underwear, a bow tie and a gold trilby hat – had violated indecency laws with their "pelvis-thrusting dance."

Come back, Gangnam Style, all is forgiven.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-whats-cuba-without-castro