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As others mark World War One centenary, Germans prefer to forget

By Erik Kirschbaum BERLIN (Reuters) - A simple plaque marks the forsaken spot where the Red Baron was buried in central Berlin but hardly anyone stops to remember the flying ace shot down in 1918. For Germans, the Great War holds so little interest. The centenary of the outbreak of World War One has caught Germany off guard, while Britain, France, the United States and others mark it with battlefield tours, television programs, exhibitions and plans for ceremonies on the day, in August.

Czech leader warns Moscow over Ukraine, recalls 1968

The Czech president on Saturday warned Russia against military action in Ukraine, recalling the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by Soviet-led Warsaw Pact armies that installed Soviet troops in the country for two decades. "Although I absolutely understand the interests of the majority Russian-speaking population of Crimea... we have our experience with military intervention from 1968," Zeman said in a statement obtained by AFP.

Cuba cautiously welcomes EU's new approach on ties

Cuba on Monday welcomed the European Union's decision to try to improve ties as "constructive," but still warned the EU had to be respectful of the Communist nation's sovereignty. Cuba "will look at the invitation drawn up by (the EU) in a way that is respectful, constructive and in-line with its sovereignty and national interests," deputy foreign minister Rogelio Sierra said in a statement.

Cuba cautiously welcomes EU's new approach on ties

Cuba on Monday welcomed the European Union's decision to try to improve ties as "constructive," but still warned the EU had to be respectful of the Communist nation's sovereignty. Cuba "will look at the invitation drawn up by (the EU) in a way that is respectful, constructive and in-line with its sovereignty and national interests," deputy foreign minister Rogelio Sierra said in a statement.

Former Czech communist leader Bilak dies

Vasil Bilak, a former communist leader who paved the way for the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, has died aged 96, the Slovak Communist Party said. Bilak, who died on Wednesday, was among the hardline communists who co-signed a letter to then Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev calling for the military occupation of Czechoslovakia during a widespread democratic reform movement known as the Prague Spring. The August 21, 1968 invasion by Soviet and Warsaw Pact troops from Bulgaria, East Germany, Hungary and Poland crushed the pro-democratic drive.

Cuban doctor seeks Brazilian asylum

A Cuban doctor employed in a program set up to tackle shortages in Brazil's medical sector said Wednesday she had applied for asylum, accusing authorities of duping her into taking the job. Ramona Matos Rodriguez, 51, said she not been told before accepting the position that she would only receive $1,000 of her monthly salary of around $4,000 -- with the balance going to Cuban authorities. "I want to be free, I felt I had been duped," Rodríguez told AFP by telephone after taking refuge in the parliamentary offices of Brazil's opposition Democratic party.

EU set to normalise ties with Cuba

The European Union is preparing to normalise ties with Cuba following a decade-long dispute over human rights, EU diplomats said Thursday. Experts from the EU's 28 member states this week "agreed on the principle of reviewing relations with Cuba," an EU diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity. Poland and the Czech Republic, former Communist states that long opposed launching ties with Cuba due to its human rights record, had lifted their objections, the source said.

Russia promotes young editor to head new state agency

Russia's new state media agency aimed at promoting Moscow's views in the West on Tuesday appointed as its chief editor a staunchly pro-Kremlin young female journalist who currently heads the state-run RT English-language channel. President Vladimir Putin unleashed a wave of controversy in early December by dissolving Russia's venerable RIA Novosti news agency and replacing it with a new company called Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today).

Russia reorganizes major state-run media outlets

MOSCOW, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Russia is reorganizing its major state-run media organizations to increase efficiency, cut cost and better promote Moscow's values, the Kremlin said Monday. According to a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin, effective immediately, the RIA Novosti news agency has been reshaped into the state-run Russia Today international news agency, whose head, Dmitry Kiselev, will directly report to Putin.

Judge denies bail for alleged Silk Road founder Ulbricht

By Emily Flitter NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge on Thursday denied a petition to release alleged Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht from jail before his trial, concluding that the bail proposal his defense team presented was not strong enough to dispel worries that the 29-year-old would try to flee or take violent action. Following the judge's ruling, disappointed sighs were heard from a few members of Ulbricht's family who attended the hearing. "Oh God," said Ulbricht's mother, Lyn LaCava Ulbricht.
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