Sabtu, 7 Mei 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

The Star Online: World Updates

Gunmen kill five in Iraq money exchange heist

Posted: 07 May 2011 07:18 AM PDT

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Gunmen killed five people during the robbery of an Iraqi money exchange in the city of Baquba on Saturday and left behind a car bomb that injured seven others, security officials said.

The attackers stole 4 billion Iraqi dinar ($3.4 million) from the company, which has contracts with the Iraqi government to pay retirees' pensions, and killed the owner, prominent businessman Adnan al-Mandalawi, a security official said.

Two security sources confirmed the toll and the robbery. An official earlier said the assault had taken place at a goldsmiths' market and that the attack had killed six people and wounded 10.

"The gunmen stole 4 billion Iraqi dinars and they put a car bomb near the exchange company, which exploded when security forces got to the scene," said a senior Diyala province security official who asked not to be named.

"It has the fingerprints of al Qaeda. It is clear from the planning of this terrorist operation," the official said.

The attack took place in central Baquba, the capital of troubled Diyala province, 65 miles (40 km) northeast of Baghdad.

Al Qaeda and other insurgents are still battling security forces in Diyala, where a volatile mix of Sunnis and Shi'ites, and Arabs and Kurds has made it difficult to restore peace.

Iraq's police and army have been on high alert for revenge attacks since U.S. commandos killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan on Monday.

Iraq became a major battleground for the Islamist militant group after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that ousted Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein.

On Thursday a suicide car bomber killed more than 20 people and wounded 80 at a police headquarters in the mainly Shi'ite city of Hilla. A deputy governor said al Qaeda was likely to have been behind the attack.

(Reporting by Muhanad Mohammed: Writing by Jim Loney; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Cuba to finally unveil Communist-approved reforms

Posted: 07 May 2011 07:18 AM PDT

HAVANA (Reuters) - More than 300 economic reforms approved last month at Cuba's Communist Party congress will be unveiled on Monday when publications containing the changes go on sale, the country's state press said on Saturday.

Communist Party newspaper Granma said there will be a pamphlet listing the changes and a 48-page tabloid explaining them.

Delegates sing the "International" at the end of the closing ceremony of the sixth Cuban Communist Party (PCC) congress in Havana April 19, 2011. (REUTERS/Desmond Boylan/Files)

They will sell for, respectively, one and two Cuban pesos each, or the equivalent of about 12 cents U.S. for both.

The reforms represent President Raul Castro's attempt to strengthen Cuba's struggling Soviet-style economy by encouraging more private initiative and reducing the role and size of the state.

Many of the reforms are already underway, but others had to be refined and approved April 18 at the congress of Cuba's only legal political party and the final form has not been revealed.

Cubans are particularly anxious to see what the Communists decided about the fate of the universal monthly food ration that Castro says is too costly and whether they will be able to freely sell homes and cars.

The president, who succeeded his older brother Fidel Castro in 2008, has said the ration should only go to those who truly need it, but many Cubans fear losing a social benefit they have received for almost half a century.

To the chagrin of many Cubans, sales of homes and cars have been severely limited for years, but Raul Castro has promised a loosening of restrictions.

Major reforms already underway include the slashing of state payrolls, allowing more self employment, and the leasing of state lands to would-be farmers.

The changes are expected to give more autonomy to state-run companies and take steps to encourage more foreign investment, including in such things as luxury golf course resorts that previously have been anathema to Cuba's communist rulers.

Raul Castro has said the changes are needed to assure that Cuban communism put in place after the Caribbean island's 1959 revolution lives on when the current, aging rulers are gone.

(Reporting by Jeff Franks; Editing by Eric Beech)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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