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Radio Havana Cuba-30 November 2001

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    Via NY Transfer News * All the News That Doesn t Fit Radio Havana Cuba - News Update - 30 November 2001 . *CUBA AND EUROPEAN UNION REOPEN TALKS IN HAVANA
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 30, 2001
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      Via NY Transfer News * All the News That Doesn't Fit

      Radio Havana Cuba - News Update - 30 November 2001

      .

      *CUBA AND EUROPEAN UNION REOPEN TALKS IN HAVANA

      *NICKEL PLANT BEGINS USING DOMESTIC CRUDE OIL

      *CUBANS MOURN THE DEATH OF FORMER BEATLE GEORGE HARRISON

      *CUBAN CITY OF MANZANILLO CELEBRATES TROUBADOUR FESTIVAL

      *UNICEF SOUNDS ALARM: WITHOUT AID 100,000 AFGHANS MAY DIE

      *UN, AID AGENCIES WARN LEVEL OF FOOD ASSISTANCE TO AFGHANISTAN HAS DROPPED

      *POVERTY FOR NEARLY 18 MILLION CHILDREN IN FORMER SOCLIALIST COUNTRIES

      *U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE QUESTIONS CIVIL RIGHTS ABUSES

      Viewpoint:

      *AS THE 75th ANNIVERSARY OF THE "END OF SLAVERY" NEARS, THE
      TRAGEDY OF MODERN DAY SLAVERY IS HIGHLIGHTED

      .

      *CUBA AND EUROPEAN UNION REOPEN TALKS IN HAVANA

      Havana, November 30 (RHC)-- Cuban officials are preparing to reopen
      talks with European Union officials who arrived in Havana on Friday.
      The two sides will reportedly renew a political dialogue "without
      conditions" of any kind.

      Diplomats in Brussels said that the important thing is to maintain a
      political dialogue in order to retain contact with Havana. The
      secretary general of the Belgian Foreign Ministry, Jan De Bock, is
      heading the EU delegation. He takes over from the president of the
      European Union, Belgian foreign minister, Louis Michel.

      Experts say that it is possible that Cuba will join the Contonz
      Agreement, which establishes economic cooperation between the
      European Union and former European colonies in Asia, the Caribbean
      and the Pacific.

      Cuba's foreign minister, Felipe Perez Roque, said that Havana is
      expecting a broad-ranging, frank dialogue without conditions, which
      will allow the island's authorities to explain the situation in Cuba.

      The agenda for the weekend meeting between the EU officials, which
      includes representatives from Sweden, Belgium and Spain, is open to
      discussing all topics. The list includes bilateral relations,
      cooperation, human rights, the U.S. economic blockade against Cuba,
      the results of the World Trade Organization meeting in Qatar, the
      fight against terrorism and the death penalty.

      In an international conference held on November 17, Cuban President
      Fidel Castro mentioned that the country, acting on its own
      initiative, could do away with the death penalty.

      Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque -- upon his return on
      Thursday after participating in the U.N. General Assembly -- thanked
      the Group of 15 for supporting a resolution condemning the economic
      blockade maintained by Washington against the island for the past 40
      years.

      The European Union recently passed a resolution in Strasbourg,
      France, proposing expanded cooperation with Cuba.

      Diplomatic sources told ANSA news agency that though the dialogue is
      not linked to Cuba's entrance into the Contonz Accord; it appears
      that the Cuba will become part of the 78 ACP countries that benefit
      from some 13 billion Euros in European development cooperation.


      *NICKEL PLANT BEGINS USING DOMESTIC CRUDE OIL

      Holguín, November 30 (RHC)-- Cuba's major nickel producing
      enterprise will soon begin using domestic crude oil in its processing
      of the metal. This year the Comandante Rene Ramos Latour nickel
      company is five per cent over its annual plan of producing 13,000
      tons of the metal.

      Using domestic crude in the production of nickel will save the island
      the cost of importing foreign fuel. The company already uses Cuban
      petroleum in the extraction process.

      According to the plant's deputy-director Digna Hernandez, the Cuban
      crude's high density and sulfur content makes more maintenance
      necessary, but significantly cuts down on costs.


      *CUBANS MOURN THE DEATH OF FORMER BEATLE GEORGE HARRISON

      *Havana, November 30 (RHC)-- Cuban artists and musicians today
      expressed their sorrow over the death of former Beatle, George
      Harrison. Cuban jazz musician, Chucho Valdez, considered to be among
      the world's best, described Harrison's death as a "great loss to
      international music." Valdez added that the English musician would
      always be remembered -- especially by his fellow musicians.

      George Harrison, the Beatles' lead guitarist, died late Thursday of
      cancer in Los Angeles in the United States.

      Chucho Valdez, winner of three Grammy awards and the leader of the
      musical group Iraquere, recalled that he met Harrison at the Ronnie
      Scott Theater in London several years ago. He said that in his
      opinion the Beatles revolutionized rock music.

      Famed Cuban film director, Humberto Solas, commented that the death
      of Harrison was also a loss to the film world. Solas, who directed
      the Cuban classic, "Lucia" and his latest, "Miel para Ochun," said
      that Harrison was among the "greats."

      There are many thousands of Beatles fans in Cuba and each year the
      death of John Lennon is commemorated with concerts and activities. A
      statue of Lennon sits on a bench in a park in downtown Havana.


      *CUBAN CITY OF MANZANILLO CELEBRATES TROUBADOUR FESTIVAL

      Manzanillo, November 30 (RHC)-- The city of Manzanillo located in
      the eastern province of Granma, is hosting the 7th National
      Troubadour Festival in memory of Carlos Puebla, one of Cuba's most
      famous singers and composers.

      Performances given by groups and soloists will take place in parks
      and work places; a gathering to discuss Manzanillo's troubadours,
      poetry, with Cuban country music by the local ensemble Guasimal and
      shows by the legendary Rebelde quintet.

      A colloquium on Ibero-American literature will also be included in
      the event, in which professors of the Blas Roca Higher Learning
      Institute in Granma will deal with topics relating to José Martí,
      Jorge Luis Borges, Dulce María Loynaz, and Manuel Navarro Luna.

      The closure of the festival will coincide with the 45th anniversary
      of the landing of the Granma yacht, which brought Fidel Castro and
      his revolutionaries to Cuba from Mexico for the final struggle
      against the dictatorship of Batista. The 29th anniversary of the
      creation of the movement once known as "La Nueva Trova", or "New
      Song" will also be celebrated.


      *UNICEF SOUNDS ALARM: WITHOUT AID 100,000 AFGHANS MAY DIE

      Tehran, November 30 (RHC)-- As many as 100,000 Afghan children could
      die of cold, disease and hunger within weeks if vital aid doesn't
      reach them, according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

      Thomas McDermott, UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and
      North Africa, told reporters in the Iranian capital that winter is
      fast approaching in Central Asia. He said his agency and other
      humanitarian groups must move in emergency supplies quickly "in order
      to help the most vulnerable -- Afghan children and women -- to
      survive these very cold conditions."

      In a report issued to journalists in Tehran, UNICEF estimated that up
      to 100,000 children in refugee camps and cities inside Afghanistan
      could die if essential relief supplies are not made available to them
      in the next few weeks. Diseases spreading through refugee camps in
      western Afghanistan, near Iran, have already claimed the lives of
      hundreds of children in the last few weeks, the organization said.

      McDermott, who is overseeing UNICEF's Iran-based emergency operations
      in Afghanistan, said the organization's priorities there are to mount
      an immunization program aimed at preventing the spread of epidemic
      diseases, to reactivate social services and to get children back to
      school.

      The UNICEF official said a plane carrying 33 tons of relief supplies
      for Afghan children recently landed in Mashhad, near the border in
      Iran. He said the supplies -- including therapeutic milk, sweaters,
      boots and mattresses -- would soon be transported by trucks to Herat
      in western Afghanistan.

      Since the United States began bombing Afghanistan on October 7th,
      UNICEF has sent three convoys with 88 tons of relief supplies to
      Herat.

      But the UN agency says that delivering aid has been a major problem
      for the staff of UNICEF and other groups because many drivers have
      been reluctant to travel on mountainous, icy Afghan roads or fear
      they could be caught up in the bombing.

      The regional director for UNICEF noted that while some offices of the
      UN agency have reopened their humanitarian operations, others remain
      closed due to continued hostility.

      For his part, UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said that the U.N. High
      Commissioner for Refugees had expressed "extreme concern" about the
      plight of thousands of civilians in southern Afghanistan after
      renewed fighting there.

      The UN official said that before the U.S. attacks, Afghanistan was
      already suffering from decades of devastating war and years of
      drought that drove millions from their homes -- creating a human
      tragedy that has only been multiplied in recent weeks.


      *UN, AID AGENCIES WARN LEVEL OF FOOD ASSISTANCE TO AFGHANISTAN HAS DROPPED

      Kabul, November 30 (RHC)-- The United Nations and humanitarian aid
      agencies are reporting that the level of food assistance to
      Afghanistan has dropped substantially. According to reports from
      Kabul, a chaotic military and political situation in many towns and
      cities, along with closed roads throughout the country, have reduced
      food deliveries to less than half of what it was two weeks ago.

      Most international aid workers have yet to return to Afghanistan
      because their organizations fear for their safety, a fear underlined
      by the recent killings of eight foreign journalists.

      The International Rescue Committee, one of the largest private aid
      groups operating in Afghanistan, was gearing up to resume
      distribution of United Nations-supplied food throughout the country.
      Instead, it has drastically scaled back its operations and has
      refused to send any of its 20 staff members back into the country.

      The United Nations reports that a crucial bridge into northern
      Afghanistan from Uzbekistan remains closed, cutting off the most
      promising avenue for shipping in supplies. Uzbekistan has said it
      will keep the bridge closed until an international force can ensure
      that the border is protected.

      On Thursday, Oxfam announced that they are unable to get desperately
      needed food to starving people because almost half of the country was
      too insecure to operate in. And a spokesman from the United Nations
      Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated that there
      appears to be no sign of improvement -- as supply routes are shutting
      down across Afghanistan.

      The United Nations World Food Program is also reportedly in a
      frustrating bind. Throughout October, program officials pushed
      themselves to transport 50,000 tons of food into Afghanistan. Now,
      with stocks for the next month, the problem is finding a way to
      distribute the food. Abby Spring, a spokeswoman for the World Food
      Program said, "We did so well bringing the food in, but distribution
      is another question."

      International aid agencies say that with food supplies insecure,
      military airdrops of food packets are a possibility. But airdrops
      raise different dangers. The United Nations reported on Thursday that
      two children were killed near Herat when they ran through a
      minefield, on their way to pick up food packets.


      *POVERTY FOR NEARLY 18 MILLION CHILDREN IN FORMER SOCLIALIST COUNTRIES

      Geneva, November 30 (RHC)-- Nearly 18 million young people live in
      poverty in former European socialist countries and Russia. According
      to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), after ten years of a
      shift from State-led to capitalist, market economies, growing numbers
      of children are falling through the cracks.

      The UNICEF report, entitled "A Decade of Transition," shows that as
      real incomes have fallen over the last ten years, the number of
      children in poor families has sharply increased. By the end of the
      1990's, nearly 18 million children up to the age of 17 were living on
      less than two dollars a day. In addition, almost 60 million young
      people in the former socialist countries were living on less than
      four dollars a day.

      According to the UNICEF report, issued Thursday in Geneva, cases of
      tuberculosis have returned to the region in full force -- with 50
      percent increases registered in poorer countries. HIV/AIDS cases are
      also rising rapidly -- especially in Russia and the Ukraine.

      The UN agency says there must be a constant effort to address child
      poverty, including greater government attention to support services
      and family-based care solutions.

      The UNICEF report also calls for a stronger focus on preventative
      health care, health education and public health programs, while it
      notes that public investment in education in a number of former
      socialist countries is extremely low.

      Several observers noted that while the UN report falls short of
      actually saying it, what it means is that the capitalist system has
      utterly failed to take care of basic human needs and that what is
      needed is a return to socialism.


      *U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE QUESTIONS CIVIL RIGHTS ABUSES

      Washington, November 30 (RHC)-- With congressional hearings on
      Capitol Hill, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has begun
      questioning administration officials about law enforcement practices
      since the tragic events of September 11th.

      The chairman of the Senate committee, Senator Patrick Leahy, has
      criticized President George W. Bush for measures being taken, calling
      them a "marked departure" from long-held jurisprudence customs.
      Citing Bush's decision to allow military tribunals to try non-U.S.
      suspects, the Justice Department's decision to monitor phone
      conversations between attorneys and their clients in terrorism cases
      and the widespread detention of possible suspects and immigration
      violators, Senator Leahy said that the administration was going well
      beyond new anti-terrorism tools Congress granted in a bill passed in
      October.

      The head of the Senate Judiciary Committee said the new measures
      raise "a wide range of legal and constitutional questions and
      international implications" -- also criticizing the White House for
      not consulting with Congress about the changes.

      But Michael Chertoff, the assistant attorney general for the criminal
      division of the Justice Department, defended the administration,
      saying that the detention of hundreds of people is necessary to
      detect possible terrorists. While he acknowledged the changes are a
      departure from the past, he insisted the September 11th attacks
      justified the new measures. The Justice Department official also
      maintained that the practices fell within constitutional limits,
      something that increasing numbers of legal experts have challenged.

      The hearings on Capitol Hill are expected to go into next week, when
      U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft -- whom many observers note is
      far from a defender of civil liberties -- is scheduled to appear
      before the Senate committee.


      Viewpoint:

      *AS THE 75th ANNIVERSARY OF THE "END OF SLAVERY" NEARS, THE
      TRAGEDY OF MODERN DAY SLAVERY IS HIGHLIGHTED

      As we approach the end of the first year of the Third Millennium it
      is unconscionable that an institution as barbaric as slavery still
      exists in our "modern" world; an institution that the South African
      Conference Against Racism termed as a "crime against humanity."

      This Sunday, December 2nd, marks 75 years since the international
      community pledged to eliminate the practice and the Convention
      against Slavery was born: an agreement that was conceived to help in
      the fight against slavery.

      The fact that the world has been celebrating that date for 75 years
      since the international community determined to put an end to
      slavery, reveals the depth of the failure of such good intentions
      because in our times this cruel form of exploitation continues for
      millions of victims, despite floods of declarations, accords and
      legislation.

      Of all the evils invented by man, slavery can often be hidden and
      sometimes it can occur more openly without being recognized. That is
      the case, for example, with the intensive work that millions of
      indigenous people are forced to do in the sugarcane and coffee
      plantations of Latin America.

      Men, women and children are transported like cattle, forced to live
      in hovels that spawn misery and disease, worked for twelve or
      fourteen hours a day earning a pittance, which they often spend on
      alcohol or simple necessities sold to them at inflated prices by
      their landlords. That is why at the end of the season, workers are
      often surprised to find that their pitifully small savings are now
      owed in their entirety to their landlords, the owners of the
      companies for which they work. That means that they must work the
      next year just to pay off last year's debts.

      What can we call child labor; that veritable army of millions of
      children who work in the mines, extracting minerals in dark passages;
      in the streets of the big cities selling chewing gum, newspapers or
      shinning shoes, washing cars or carrying boxes and packages bigger
      than they are, sweating gallons for a bite to eat, that is barely
      enough to keep them alive?

      An even worse fate awaits those who are kidnapped or sold by their
      own families to be used as sexual playthings for tourists or other
      depraved adults.

      And the list goes on, because we could speak about the enslaved
      children of Africa, the merciless work regime in the maquiladoras and
      the many other forms of exploitation, which are in fact, simply
      disguised types of slavery.

      That is why on this World Day of Struggle Against Slavery, what we
      desire most is that the time will come soon when it is no longer
      necessary to celebrate such a day because the fundamental causes of
      slavery -- poverty, ignorance and the unequal distribution of wealth
      -- will have disappeared.

      (c) 2001 Radio Habana Cuba, NY Transfer News. All rights reserved.

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