June 25th, 2009
A possible end to the American trade embargo on Cuba has intensified a legal battle between cigar maker Swedish Match of Stockholm and Imperial Tobacco Group of Bristol, England. Both companies want exclusive rights to sell Cuban-made cigars in the United States, the world’s largest market for premium cigars.
According to Bloomberg News, Swedish Match sells cigars in the United States made in Honduras and the Dominican Republic under Cuban brand names which it bought from families that fled Cuba after Fidel Castro seized their cigar companies in the 1960s. Read the rest of this entry »
June 19th, 2009
U.S. port cities are making preparations for increased travel and trade with Cuba, in anticipation of improving relations with the island nation.
There is speculation that a Democratically led US congress and the election of Barack Obama may ease restrictions on the 47-year-old trade embargo on Cuba.
“We have the right geography, given where we’re located, as well as historic ties,” Councilman Arnie Fielkow told USAToday. “We need to start developing the relationships and getting ready for the time when the U.S. brings down the embargo.”
Read the rest of this entry »
June 19th, 2009
China and Russia are stepping up communication as relations between the two neighboring countries continues to improve.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang Thursday praised his country’s relations with its giant neighbor, Russia. China is willing to “join hands” with Russia Qin said, especially against the backdrop of what he describes as the “complicated international situation.” Read the rest of this entry »
June 15th, 2009
The U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal ruled that former Khmer Rouge torture chief Kang Guk Eav was detained “unlawfully” by the military and would be compensated for time served. The ruling means that Kang, better know as Comrade Duch, can no longer be sentenced to life in prison.
Duch is currently on trial for crimes against humanity in his role as the head of the notorius S-21 detention center in Phnom Penh from 1975 to 1979. Read the rest of this entry »
June 11th, 2009
In a statement that sounds good but never has a real chance of happening, former president and current Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that his nation would give up nuclear weapons if everybody else who had them did the same.
“If those who made the atomic bomb and used it are ready to abandon it, along with – I hope – other nuclear powers that officially or unofficially possess it, we will of course welcome and facilitate this process in every possible way,” Putin said.
Russian and American officials are currently negotiating a successor to the 1991 Start Treaty which banned its signatories from deploying more than 6,000 nuclear warheads atop a total of 1,600 ICBMs, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and bombers. Read the rest of this entry »
June 8th, 2009
Laura Ling and Euna Lee, U.S. journalists arrested in North Korea while covering defectors living along the China-North Korea border, have been sentenced to 12 years in labor camps, North Korean state media reported today.
The two women were convicted by the Central Court of North Korea for the “grave crime they committed against the Korean nation and their illegal border crossing.” The two were sentenced to “12 years of reform through labor.” Read the rest of this entry »
June 5th, 2009
U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart siad on thursday that they are “confident and hopeful” about entering the Russian market.
According to MarketWatch, the company set up an office in that country a year ago to study the market and explore opportunities.
Wal-Mart’s international unit covers 15 markets, from Brazil and Mexico to China and Japan in addition to Puerto Rico, generates a quarter of the company’s sales (about US$100 billion), and has been the fastest growing division of the company. In the past five years, the international unit has seen an annual sales growth rate of 17 percent.
June 2nd, 2009
Last Friday, a Miami-Dade Circuit judge awarded more than US$1 billion in damages against the Cuban government for the lawsuit filed by a Cuban-American man blaming them for the suicide of his father.
Gustavo Villoldo, 76, claimed that Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Fidel Castro and others were guilty for his father’s 1959 suicide in Cuba. Villoldo would later join the U.S. military and be involved with the CIA-led capture of revolutionary Che Guevara. Even though the damage award would be almost impossible to collect, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Peter Adrien said he wanted to send a signal to Cuba’s government.
Judge Adrien awarded almost US$1.2 billion; US$393 million for economic damages suffered by the family; US$393 million for pain and suffering; and US$393 million in punitive damages.
Villoldo’s attorney said the law firm search for global Cuban assets to fulfill the judgment. The Cuban government has not offered a defense to the lawsuit. In February 1959, Villoldo’s killed himself by overdosing on sleeping pills after being held by the government and tortured for days and threatened to be executed on supposed grounds that he was a U.S. agent.