WASHINGTON/MIAMI (Reuters) – President Barack Obama issued an executive order on Friday loosening more restrictions on U.S. travel and money remittances to Cuba, a further step in his efforts to reach out to the people of the communist-ruled country.
The latest measures, which stop short of lifting a ban on tourist travel to the island by Americans, are aimed at developing “people-to-people” contacts by allowing more travel for college professors and students, artists and church groups.
MIAMI (Reuters) – Florida marine conservationists have come up with a simple recipe for fighting the invading lionfish that is gobbling up local reef life — eat them.
The Key Largo-based REEF conservation organization has just released “The Lionfish Cookbook,” a collection of 45 recipes which is the group’s latest strategy to counter an invasion of the non-native reddish brown-striped fish in Florida waters.
MIAMI (Reuters) – An overnight freeze hit several central Florida citrus growing areas, icing up fruit and raising fears of damage to the leaves and small twigs of trees, growers said Tuesday.
It was the second significant hard freeze to maul orange and other citrus groves in Florida in two weeks, and farmers fretted over the early freezing temperatures.
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – The head of Haiti’s voodoo religion appealed to authorities Thursday to halt bloody lynchings of voodoo priests by people who blame them for causing the Caribbean country’s deadly cholera epidemic.
Since the epidemic started in mid-October, at least 45 male and female voodoo priests, known respectively as “houngan” and “manbo,” have been killed. Many of the victims were hacked to death and mutilated by machetes, Max Beauvoir, the “Ati” or supreme leader of Haitian voodoo, told Reuters.
MIAMI, Dec 22 (Reuters) – U.S. diplomats in the Caribbean
were already wary of Texas financier Allen Stanford, who faces
trial for allegedly leading a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, years
before he was detained in 2009 on massive fraud charges, a
diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks shows.
The May 2006 confidential report from the U.S. Embassy in
Bridgetown, Barbados describes Stanford as a “controversial
Texan billionaire” and major investor in the Caribbean and
adds: “His companies are rumored to engage in bribery, money
laundering, and political manipulation.”
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – They don’t send out press releases, don’t have public information officers and their contacts are not widely publicized by the huge international humanitarian operation helping cholera-hit Haiti.
But when the United Nations appeals for more doctors and nurses to combat the deadly disease that is killing dozens by the day, it is to Cuba’s medical brigade that U.N. officials are likely to turn to first.
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Haiti’s elections at the weekend were “fairly good” and were not derailed by the call for annulment made by a group of presidential candidates, two of whom later recanted, the top United Nations official in the country said on Tuesday.
“I’m more confident right now than I was two days ago,” Edmond Mulet, the head of the U.N. mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) told Reuters in his office near Port-au-Prince airport.
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – International observers on Monday cautiously endorsed Haiti’s troubled elections, saying they could be considered valid despite “irregularities” that generated popular protests and charges of fraud.
The problems detected included some voter manipulation, acts of violence and intimidation, a “toxic atmosphere” created by fraud allegations and cases of voters not being able to find where to cast their ballots, the joint observer mission from the Organization of American States/Caribbean Community said.
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Haiti’s elections ended in confusion on Sunday as 12 of the 18 presidential candidates denounced “massive fraud” and demanded the polls be annulled and street protests erupted over voting delays and problems.
The repudiation of the elections by so many of the presidential candidates dealt a blow to the credibility of the U.N.-supported poll. The international community was hoping the vote could produce a stable, legitimate government in the poor earthquake-ravaged Caribbean country.
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Polling stations struggled to open in Haiti’s capital on Sunday as voting got off to a slow and confused start in elections roiled by a cholera epidemic, political tensions and voter uncertainty.
Haitians are going to the polls to select a new president and parliament and a third of the Senate to guide the impoverished Caribbean country’s recovery from a devastating January earthquake that killed more than 250,000 people.