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Cuba brands as illegal U.S.-created ‘Cuban Twitter'

By Daniel Trotta HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba has branded as illegal a U.S. project to quietly create a Twitter-like service in Cuba to promote political opposition, saying it shows that Washington has not given up its "subversive" campaign of undermining the island's government. The U.S. government on Thursday admitted it had created a service similar to Twitter in Cuba in a "discreet" operation intended to promote democracy on the communist-ruled island, after the $1.2 million effort was revealed by the Associated Press news agency.

Cuba demands US cease 'covert actions'

Cuba demanded Friday that the United States cease its "illegal and covert actions" against the communist country following disclosures Washington set up a Twitter-style application there. The White House on Thursday acknowledged the existence of the social media scheme but denied it was secret or intended to incite political unrest against the island's leaders.

White House denies covert Twitter-style Cuba secret op

The United States on Thursday denied it used its overseas aid agency to mount a covert operation on social media to incite political unrest against Cuba's communist leaders. But the US Agency for International Development (USAID) did admit to building a Twitter-style application on which Cubans, who face strict curbs on expression, were able to "talk freely among themselves" consistent with universal rights and freedoms.

White House denies covert Twitter-style Cuba operation

The White House on Thursday denied that the US aid agency had mounted a secret social media project designed to provoke unrest against Cuba's communist leaders. The denial followed a report that USAID, normally confined to humanitarian projects, tried to build a Twitter-style network to attract Cuban subscribers, which would eventually be used to distribute political content. White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the program was a "development assistance" program designed to allow Cubans facing government restrictions on information access to civil society.

U.S. acknowledges "Cuban Twitter" project

Washington, Apr 3 (EFE).- The government acknowledged Thursday that the U.S. Agency for International Development launched a project in Cuba to create a Twitter-like social network to increase Cubans' access to information but rejected describing the program as covert. "Suggestions this was a covert program are wrong," White House press secretary Jay Carney said during his daily briefing. "It was not a covert program. It was debated in Congress. It was reviewed by the (Government Accountability Office). Those kinds of things don't happen to covert programs," he said.

Sweden should come question Assange: Ecuador's UK ambassador

By Michael Holden LONDON (Reuters) - Sweden should question WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at Ecuador's London embassy about sex assault claims that have kept him stuck there for almost two years, Quito's ambassador to Britain said on Thursday. His case is at a standstill, Ambassador Juan Falconi Puig told Reuters, and he could stay in the embassy indefinitely - protected by the asylum Ecuador has extended - if Stockholm does not break the logjam by sending someone to interrogate him.

Abe to give keynote speech at Asian security forum in Singapore

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will deliver a keynote speech in May at an Asian security forum in Singapore, the event organizer said Thursday. The International Institute for Strategic Studies, a London-based think tank, said Abe will give his address on May 30, the first day of the annual Asia Security Summit to be attended by defense ministers as well as defense and military representatives mainly from Asia-Pacific countries.

Satellite lets Bolivia cut cost of Web, cellular connections

La Paz, Apr 2 (EFE).- President Evo Morales inaugurated commercial services from Bolivia's first telecommunications satellite and announced a significant reduction in rates for Internet and cellular connections. State-owned telecommunications company Entel will also use the cost savings made possible by the satellite to cut rural customers' bills for cable television and radio, the president said.

Cuba: obstacle course for foreign investors

Foreign investors still face an obstacle course in Cuba despite the passage of a new, more liberal law aimed at attracting capital from outside the communist-ruled island. Cuba's National Assembly unanimously approved the law on Saturday, offering tax and other incentives to foreign investors, who are seen as crucial to reviving the country's stagnant economy. But even as he pitched the new law, Foreign Trade and Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca acknowledged to lawmakers many impediments to foreign investment remain.

Cuba seeks foreign investment in key sectors

Havana, Apr 1 (EFE).- Cuba's new law regulating foreign investment will give priority to 11 economic sectors, Communist Party daily Granma said Tuesday. The list includes the areas of agriculture and forestry, the food industry, energy and mines, the sugar industry, iron and steel, chemicals and electronics, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, wholesale trade, health, construction, tourism and transport, officials told the newspaper.
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