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Web satire fosters change in communist Vietnam

A critical blog post could land you in jail in communist Vietnam, but a satirical image of Cinderella which mocks the ruling elite? Likely to slip past the censors. The country's roughly 33 million Internet users, armed only with laptops and a sense of humour, are driving broader social change in the authoritarian nation than scores of imprisoned firebrand bloggers, experts say.

Study: Number of US travellers to Cuba continues to rise, second only to Canada

MIAMI - The number of U.S. visitors to Cuba continues to rise, even as the more than five-decade long embargo remains firmly in place, according to study released Monday. Within the first three months of 2014 alone, there were more U.S. tourists to the island than in all of 2013 from England, Germany or France, according to a report by the U.S.-based Havana Consulting Group provided to The Associated Press. Canada remains the No. 1 country of origin for travellers to Cuba, but the number of U.S. travellers to the island has been steadily increasing over the last seven years.

Study: Number of US travellers to Cuba continues to rise, second only to Canada

MIAMI - The number of U.S. visitors to Cuba continues to rise, even as the more than five-decade long embargo remains firmly in place, according to study released Monday. Within the first three months of 2014 alone, there were more U.S. tourists to the island than in all of 2013 from England, Germany or France, according to a report by the U.S.-based Havana Consulting Group provided to The Associated Press. Canada remains the No. 1 country of origin for travellers to Cuba, but the number of U.S. travellers to the island has been steadily increasing over the last seven years.

Cuba's only union questions plan to slash state payrolls

Havana, Apr 7 (EFE).- The official weekly of Cuba's sole legal labor union criticized Monday the lack of "transparency and fairness" in the plan to slash state payrolls on the Communist-ruled island as part of a 3-year-old program of economic reforms. Among other complaints, the CTC's Trabajadores publication slammed the labor movement's "lack of a leading role" in a matter of such importance to workers. "The general perception is that the transparency required by the established mechanisms does not always prevail," the article said.

Spy mission was worth time spent in US prison: Cuban agents

Two Cuban spies who recently completed prison terms in the United States told state-run television that their mission monitoring anti-Castro groups there had been worth their lengthy incarceration. "I don't view it as a sacrifice, I look at it as something that I simply had to do," Fernando Gonzalez, who was released in February after 15 years in US prison, said in a broadcast that aired late Saturday.

ZunZuneo: the new sound of US-Cuban discord

ZunZuneo, a Twitter-style application designed to get Cubans talking among themselves on their cell phones, has become the latest obstacle to improved relations between Washington and Havana. Experts in the United States say the failed project, active between 2009 and 2012, should raise serious questions about US policies towards the communist-run Caribbean island. The US Agency for International Development has (USAID) admitted to building the application so that Cubans, who face strict curbs on expression, could "talk freely among themselves."

U.S. project for "Cuban Twitter" sparks Havana's ire

Havana, Apr 4 (EFE).- The Raul Castro government demanded Friday that the United States call off its "illegal and covert" actions against Cuba, in an official reaction to news that the U.S. Agency for International Development sought to create a Twitter-like social network on the Communist island. "This shows once again that the United States government has not given up its subversive plans against Cuba, that it is determined to create destabilizing situations to wreak changes in our political order," the Cuban Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

U.S. project for "Cuban Twitter" sparks Havana's ire

Havana, Apr 4 (EFE).- The Raul Castro government demanded Friday that the United States call off its "illegal and covert" actions against Cuba, in an official reaction to news that the U.S. Agency for International Development sought to create a Twitter-like social network on the Communist island. "This shows once again that the United States government has not given up its subversive plans against Cuba, that it is determined to create destabilizing situations to wreak changes in our political order," the Cuban Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Cuba's tourist arrivals up 7 pct in first 2 months of 2014

Havana, Apr 4 (EFE).- International tourist arrivals to Cuba rose 7 percent annually in January and February to 636,146 travelers, accounting for 21 percent of the 3 million visitors the government expects to receive this year. The number of foreign visitors in the year's first two months was up from the 593,344 tourists received in January and February 2013, National Statistics and Information Office, or ONEI, figures show.

Northeast Asia in "security dilemma" amid heightened tensions

A "security dilemma" has developed in Northeast Asia, where the security environment has become "acutely contested and severely strained," a Japanese Defense Ministry think tank said Friday. "Tensions have risen remarkably in Northeast Asia in recent years, sparking growing concern among the international community that some unforeseen contingency may erupt in the region," the National Institute for Defense Studies said.
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