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Cuba publishes text of new Foreign Investment Law

Havana, Apr 16 (EFE).- Cuba's government on Wednesday published the text of a new law that will take effect in late June and provide tax breaks for foreign investors. After it was approved on March 29 by the National Assembly, the Foreign Investment Law and its accompanying regulations were published in the official gazette and in a special tabloid put out by Cuban Communist Party daily Granma.

Tycoon on trial as Vietnam counts cost of its rogue bankers

By Nguyen Phuong Linh HANOI (Reuters) - A half-dozen shell companies, piles of forged documents, tax dodges, illegal stock trades and 19 bank staff unwittingly complicit in embezzlement on a massive scale. The indictment against Vietnamese tycoon and former banker Nguyen Duc Kien reads like a "how-to" guide for masterminding fraud in a country with banking oversight so slipshod it brought one of Asia's most promising emerging economies to the brink of crisis.

Vietnam frees two high-profile dissidents

Vietnam has released two political activists, the latest high-profile dissidents to be freed as the communist nation comes under increasing international pressure over its human rights record. Blogger Nguyen Tien Trung told AFP that he and Vi Duc Hoi, a Communist Party official turned democracy campaigner, had been freed on Saturday. Trung, 30, was serving a seven-year term in Ho Chi Minh City for "subverting the people's administration", while Hoi was jailed for five years for "anti-state propaganda".

French foreign minister makes 1st trip to Cuba in 30 years as Europe explores new ties

HAVANA - A French foreign minister visited Cuba for the first time in more than 30 years Saturday, travelling to the communist-run nation at a time when it is seeking to attract more foreign investment and improve ties with the European Union. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he met with President Raul Castro for an hour and half, during which the two men "talked about everything, including human rights."

French foreign minister on historic visit to Cuba

By Marc Frank HAVANA (Reuters) - France's foreign minister arrived in Cuba on Saturday for a brief but historic visit, the first by such a high-ranking French official in 31 years and a sign of the quickening pace of improving ties between the European Union and Havana. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius met with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez upon arrival, and was scheduled to meet with Cardinal Jaime Ortega and then French businessmen. Rodriguez met with Laurent in Paris last month.

U.S. government contractor jailed in Cuba ends hunger strike

MIAMI (Reuters) - A U.S. contractor imprisoned in Cuba ended a hunger strike on Friday after eight days of protesting his treatment by the Cuban and U.S. governments while serving a 15-year term for illegally attempting to establish Internet service on the island. "My protest fast is suspended as of today, although there will be further protests to come," Alan Gross said in a statement. His 91-year-old mother urged Gross, 64, to resume eating, according to a statement released through representatives of his lawyer and family.

Alan Gross, U.S. contractor held in Cuba, ends hunger strike

Washington, Apr 11 (EFE).- Alan Gross, the U.S. government contractor serving a 15-year sentence in Cuba on subversion charges, has abandoned a hunger strike after eight days at the urging of family members, his attorney said Friday. The 64-year-old Maryland man began the fast on April 3 to protest "inhumane" treatment behind bars and to pressure Havana and Washington into making a serious effort "to resolve this shameful ordeal," in the words of a letter he sent his lawyer in Washington.

Cuba says U.S. hunger striker's treatment in prison 'dignified'

By Daniel Trotta HAVANA (Reuters) - A U.S. contractor who has launched a hunger strike while serving a long prison term in Cuba is receiving "dignified and decent treatment" in a hospital ward where he is in stable health, a Cuban official said on Wednesday. Cuba's communist government said it was concerned by a statement from Alan Gross's lawyer on Tuesday that said his client had begun a hunger strike last week to protest his treatment by both the Cuban and U.S. governments.

Ecuador TV anchor forced to apologize to gays, blacks

On orders from Ecuador's media regulator, a television news presenter publicly apologized Wednesday for having used the words "fags" and "blacks" in an on-air comment. Alfredo Pinoargote, of the private Ecuavisa channel, was ordered to apologize after a ruling party lawmaker complained to the Superintendence of Information and Communication that his remarks were "discriminatory." At issue were comments Pinoargote made during his interview program earlier this year about free speech in Ecuador.

Cuba says U.S. hunger striker has 'dignified' treatment in prison

By Daniel Trotta HAVANA (Reuters) - A U.S. contractor who has launched a hunger strike while serving a long prison term in Cuba is receiving "dignified and decent treatment" in a hospital ward, where he is in normal and stable health, Cuba said on Wednesday. Cuba's communist government said it was concerned by a statement from Alan Gross's lawyer on Tuesday that said his client had begun a hunger strike last week to protest his treatment by the Cuban and U.S. governments.
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