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Book of Fidel Castro to be Launched in Havana

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 4 (ACN) A book of Fidel Castro addressing the independence struggle waged by the peoples of The Americas will be launched January 5 at a book presentation usually held on Saturday at the Old Section of Havana.

The literary gathering will be dedicated to the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters held in the United States since 1998 and to the new anniversary of the Triumph of the Cuban Revolution, according to the Cuban Book Institute.

Fidel’s book, which was released by the Historia publishing house at the Cuban History Institute and by the Council of State Publications Office, includes excerpts of speeches, radio and TV appearances, statements and press conferences.

In the Book the Cuban Revolution leader addresses different issues related to the struggle for independence waged by the peoples of the Americas and the meaning of such fights in the contest of world history.

The compilation, prepared by specialists Dolores Guerra, Orlando Abel Martinez and Yolanda Gonzalez, is an attempt to present an approach to the issue it deals with and an effort to provide a working tool that helps appreciate the theoretical and practical values of the reflections of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, reads the introduction of the book.


Hugo Chavez Facing Complications after Lung Infection

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 4 (ACN) Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has been facing complications stemming from a severe lung infection, said Communications and Information minister Ernesto Villegas.

Speaking to Venezuelan national TV and radio Villegas said that the release of the report was indicated by executive vice-president Nicolas Maduro, according to PL news agency.

With the official communiqué, the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela meets its duty of informing the Venezuelan people and sister nations on the clinical progress of President Hugo Chavez.

The information explains that after Comandante Hugo Chavez underwent surgery on December 11, he has faced complications resulting from a severe lung infection.

The infection has derived in a respiratory deficiency that requires strict medical treatment to be met by Hugo Chavez.

The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reiterates its trust in the medical team assisting the President, which has permanently followed the patient’s clinical progress and has acted with the highest rigor in facing each difficulty, the communiqué reads.

The Venezuelan government alerts the people about a psychological campaign launched by transnational media companies regarding the health condition of Hugo Chavez with the aim of destabilizing the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, disregarding the people’s will expressed at the October 7 presidential elections and toppling the Bolivarian Revolution headed by Chavez, reads the document.

Such objectives are faced with the strong unity of the Bolivarian government, the organized people and the National Armed Forces in support of the leadership and political ideas of Commander Hugo Chavez, concludes the communiqué.


Cuba to Host World Forum on Wind Energy

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 4 (ACN) Cuba will host an International Conference on Wind Energy in June 2013, which will gather professionals from five continents to address the challenges and prospects of the use of renewable energy sources.

Scientists and entrepreneurs from over 45 nations are expected to debate the role of renewable energy for sustainable development, said the president of the event’s organizing committee Conrado Moreno.

This is the first time that such a forum will take place in the Caribbean area, with the attendance of professionals from the academic world and the industry in a space allowing the exchange of views about their research studies, ideas and prospects, Moreno said.

Local and regional renewable energy projects, the setting up of wind farms and the community potential role are high on the agenda of the forum, said Moreno, who is member of the executive board of the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA).

Also included on the agenda is the role played by energy sources in favoring tourist activity, food production and water supply.

The forum is organized by the Havana-based Jose Antonio Echeverria Higher Polytechnic Institute, the Cuban Energy and Mining Ministry and the Cuban Society for the Promotion of Renewable Energy and Respect to the Environment, among other institutions.


The Five Send New Year’s Message to the Cuban People

HAVANA, Cuba (acn).- The five Cuban heroes incarcerated in the United States for fighting terrorism sent a New Year’s message to the Cuban people.

In the text published on Tuesday by Cuban media, Gerardo Hernandez, Rene Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez consider that 2012 was a year of tremendous battles and important victories for the Cuban people, with the difficult experience of Hurricane Sandy, which hit eastern Cuba in late October, “but above all with the tremendous example that the unity of all Cubans, the loyalty to our patriotic ideas, will always lead us to overcome every obstacle, every challenge."

The important economic adjustments made begin to bear fruit, and we’re optimistic that this is the right path, that the best things are yet to come, and that the wellbeing of our nation will be benefited in this process, adds the text.

Hard battles were fought in 2012 in the field of the legal battle for The Five; solidarity increases and strengthens, the seeds of Cuba’s truth, of our innocence, germinate in all parts of the world,” continues the message.

For the New Year, we want to convey to our people, to our brothers and sisters from around the world, all the love and gratitude of The Five, wishing all of them that 2013 will be a year full of success, health, peace and happiness, concludes the message.


Cuba Maintains Infant Mortality Rate under Five

HAVANA, Cuba.-(ACN) For five years in a row, Cuba has reported its infant mortality rate at less than five deaths in every one thousand live births, with 4.6 in 2012. The achievement reveals the human development level reached by the country.

According to Granma newspaper, the important indicator reached only 4.7 in 2008; 4.8 in 2010; 4.5 in 2011 and 4.6 in 2012.

This public health achievement makes Cuba one of the countries with the lowest infant mortality rates in the Americas and it is the result of the Cuban government’s political will and decision to maintain free of charge and accessible health services for all citizens, the paper explains.

The lowest infant mortality level was reported in central Sancti Spiritus province, with only 2.8, while another four territories reported indicators below the 4.6 national rate, such as Artemisa (west), 3.8; Holguin (east) and Cienfuegos (Center) both with 3.9; and Granma (east), 4.1.

Preliminary statistics released on Wednesday by the Public Health Ministry say that some 125 thousand 661 births took place in 2012, seven thousand 406 less births than in 2011.

The major cause for death in children below one year of age is the infection during the delivery process, particularly infections linked to premature babies, who are born before the 34th week.

Medical specialists told Granma newspaper that the rate of low weight at birth was kept at 6 percent in 2012, which is a favorable level, they said. This means that only six babies in every 100 births weigh less than 2500 grams (5.5 pounds). However, 3.8 percent of children still are born before complete pregnancy period.

The infant mortality rate is a demographic indicator telling the number of deaths of children before the first year of living, which is the most critical period in human survival. The indicator is an international tool to measure the quality of the assistance given to children in every country.


New Vaccine to Treat Cancer Registered in Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, Dec 31 (acn) Lung cancer patients in Cuba will soon benefit from Racotumomab, a new therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of this chronic disease, after its recent registration in the country.

Developed at the Center for Molecular Immunology (CIM), the product was the object of rigorous clinical trials in 2012, which showed an increase in the survival of persons under study, with a good level of safety and tolerance, according to information provided to ACN by Ana Maria Vazquez, a specialist with the institution.

According to experts, although the patient’s cure is not guaranteed because of the reduction of the tumor, experience shows that when cancer doesn’t expand in a long period of time the person suffering from it is in a stable stage of the disease and can live longer.

Parallel to its registration on the island, the vaccine was also presented in Argentina for its subsequent export to that South American country, highlighted Agustin Lage, general director of the CIM, in his annual report.

Racotumomab is the second vaccine developed by the CIM for the treatment of that pathology; the first one, CIMAvax EGF, has already been used with very good results in Cuban patients.


SUCRE for the economic conquest of America

By: Venus Ortega Carrillo

A new marketing scheme consolidates its power in the countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) while facing today's shaky economy of U.S dollar and Euro, in which the first world goes in search of "miracles" for its crisis.

Tax precipices, sovereign debt, austerity measures are the ghosts that haunt these days the traditional engines of global economy, led by the U.S. and Europe.

And although impacts of this situation aren´t insignificant on Latin American nations, a different and favorable perspective emerges by using the Regional Clearance Unitary System (SUCRE).

This is a mechanism used as an international payment channel resulting from reciprocal trade operations among ALBA member countries, and it is based on the use of a virtual currency "SUCRE" for transactions solely between central banks of its members.

Meanwhile, local settlement (payments to exporters and collections to importers) is made through the respective local currencies of the members, says the official website of the system.

Thus, SUCRE users avoid unnecessary dollars mobility allowing greater independence in economic operations, especially those medium and small companies that do not have a hard currency with which to perform.

With significant growth in its operations for the year -285 percent compared to 2011 - the Sucre has attracted interest and analysis in countries like Russia, Belarus and China, to establish an exchange compensated in their national currencies.

In 2012 the trade among ALBA members is estimated at about $ 700 million, on the basis of 2,135 operations made using SUCRE, noted recent statements of ALBA executives.

In 2011 there were 431 transactions for a total  216 million Sucres ($ 245 million), according to figures provided last October by Eudomar Tovar, president of the Executive Board of the Monetary Council.

Currently more than 150 Latin American companies operate with SUCRE, of which 90 percent belong to the private sector, 6 percent to the public sector and the rest are small and medium companies.

Rodolfo Sanz, executive secretary of the regional organization, believes that contrary to what many people think, the significant presence of the non-state sector has enabled expanding markets using Sucre.

This new economic scheme, which is supported by the trading, cooperation and complementarily, has allowed the exchange of basic products such as food, vehicles, medicine, textiles, rubber, and especially oil.

This is demonstrated by Petrocaribe sales in recent years, worth about $ 12 million, and thus they have moved the domain of Shell in the distribution of oil in the Caribbean countries, according to the Venezuelan News Agency

During the XII ALBA Summit, scheduled for the first half of 2013, representatives of its country members will discuss new strategies in order to advance in the creation of economic zones and above all, productive ones.

Latin America and the Caribbean may have a mechanism generating reliability and financial security if SUCRE gets consolidated while facing the fragile western economy, and meanwhile i t has already surpassed the U.S. dollar's dominance as world trading currency.

The integration mechanism is formed by Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Ecuador, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Venezuela and Cuba, so far.


Cuban Elections, an Example of Unity and Democracy

MATANZAS, Cuba.-  (ACN) The upcoming February 3 general elections will be an expression of people’s unity and an example of democracy, said Cuban Vice-president Esteban Lazo in this western city.

Lazo, member of the Political Bureau of Cuba’s Communist Party called on the people to express their unity in view of the upcoming vote.

He said we cannot give room to any divisions, said Lazo during a tour of places of social interest in Matanzas, accompanied by first Communist Party secretary in the province Omar Ruiz.

Cubans will elect 612 Parliament deputies and 1 269 delegates to provincial assemblies of people power on February 3, 2013.

Vice-president Lazo recalled that the People’s Power government system was first implemented in Matanzas and he stressed the need to join forces and not to forget the achievements of the social system set up by the Revolution in defense of the main human right, which the right to life.

The most important aspect of the current transformations in the country is the distribution of the wealth among all, he pointed out.

Human beings may advance only if they work with discipline, honesty and frankness, with a culture of justice and work, said the Cuban leader, and he stressed the need to work for the country’s economic development through higher productivity.

During a tour of the Palmar de Junco baseball stadium, declared National Monument, Lazo recalled the history of the facility and outstanding baseball players, played in that stadium and gave important victories to their country, such as Gaspar El Curro Perez, Pablo Hernandez, Lazaro Junco and Edwin Walters, among others.

He also visited the Jose White Concert Hall, which was closed to the public for 13 years following restoration works, the Cuban vice-president criticized the delays of the project.

This is a symbolic center in Matanzas city, with a rich history and it is important to reopen it for the enjoyment of the people, said the leader in a frank exchange of views with local culture and government authorities.


Canadian Writer Demands Freedom for The Five

HAVANA, Cuba, (ACN).- The international campaign for the release of the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters held in the United States is strong in Quebec and throughout Canada, said writer Arnold August.

The Canadian writer stressed the need to further spread the truth of the Cuban Five case and resort to the sensitiveness of the people, said August in an article posted on the Unite, the newspaper of the National Workers Federation (CSN).

The author recalled that Gerardo Hernandez, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and René Gonzalez were arrested on September 12, 1998 after they monitored Florida-based violent organizations that planned actions against Cuba.

The terrorist organizations have undertaken violent actions against the Cuban people for the past 50 years with the consent of US authorities. Such terrorist acts have killed 3 thousand 478 persons and have mutilated another 2 thousand 99 people, explained August, who is also member of the International Committee for the Freedom of the Five.

Arnold denounced that Cuba’s demand for the arrest of the real terrorists are turned a deaf ear by Washington and he said that the media campaign in Miami against the five Cubans favored their long and severe prison sentences.

Arnold August is also member of the Fabio Di Celmo Committee for the Five, and the Quebec-Cuba Solidarity Coordination Table.


Cuban Association of the Blind Calls National Congress

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 4 (ACN) Cuba’s National Association of the Blind (ANCI) announced that its 7th Congress will take place November 26-29 in this capital city.

Association president Jose Blanch Ferrer said that the over 31 thousand members of the organization will renovate or ratify municipal and provincial posts before their hold their congress.

The gathering will boost the social integration of the blind population in a further effort to multiply their unity and strength and improve their work in tune with the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Blanch said that that the Congress will also favor the contribution by the blind population to the economic and social projects adopted by the 6th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, held in April 2011.


Nearly 400 Thousand Cubans Joined Non-State Economic Sector

HAVANA, Cuba.- (ACN) A total of 398 thousand 447 Cubans were private workers by the end of November, according to the Labor and Social Security Ministry.

The figure reveals the increase by 3 thousand 580 new private workers with respect to September, said the Ministry in a release to the press, which also explains that 68 percent of the new workers declared having no links to a previous job, 17 percent were state workers and 15 percent were retired persons.

The self-employed workers are majority (64 percent) in the provinces of Havana, Matanzas, Villa Clara, Holguin and Santiago de Cuba, PL news agency reported.

Major private businesses are developing activities such as food processing and sale, passenger and cargo transportation, house rentals, street vendors of produce, sellers of domestic items, among many others.

Self-employment is one of the initiatives aimed at updating the Cuban economic model, which is increasing developing on the island.


Cuba Favors Relations with its Emigration, says Cuban American Activist

HAVANA, Cuba.- (ACN) The founder and current coordinator of the Antonio Maceo Solidarity Brigade Andres Gomez acknowledged the advancement of the current Cuban migration policy towards full and normal relations with the emigration in the United States and other countries.

During a meeting marking the 35th anniversary of the brigade, Gomez told reporters that the date is appropriate to recall the 20-year struggle of Cuban communities in the United States and Puerto Rico in favor of their homeland.

Also director of the Areito magazine, Gomez said the brigade has developed its political and ideological level since December 21, 1977 when a first group of 55 youths visited their homeland on the invitation of the Cuban government, after they were taken out of their country by their relatives in the 1960s and 70s.

That action was a cornerstone for the further development of the Cuban policy towards the emigrants.

He also referred to the 1994 Havana Conference on the Nation and its Emigration. After that conference the visits to Cuba by emigrants residing in the U.S. Latin America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean were allowed, Gomez recalled.

This further step favored increasingly deepening relations between the Cuban emigrants and their homeland, and particularly the contacts with Cuban society and cultural and political institutions.

The advance made to date is now being ratified by the new decisions taken by the Cuban government in this field along with the statements by President Raul Castro, who has confirmed his willingness to advance the issue.

Andres Gomez also addressed the changes in the composition of the Cuban emigration as he stressed the wish of the large majority of Cubans residing in the States to maintain relations with their relatives on the island.

The activist said that the Antonio Maceo Brigade prioritizes the struggle against the US economic blockade of Cuba and in favor of the return home of the five Cuban anti-terrorists held in the U.S. since 1998.


Cuba for Stronger Impact on the World Market

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 4 (ACN) In an effort to expand the presence of Cuban products and services at the world market, the Cuban Chamber of Commerce will promote the participation of local entrepreneurs at several international events in 2013.

Cuban Chamber of Commerce executive Miriam Martinez told ACN that as a priority, her institution is looking forwards to expanding the presence of Cuban products at the foreign markets.

Among the international forums on the list is Panama’s Expocomer trade fair, where Cuba will try to increase its impact by identifying new business opportunities with companies from Central America and the Caribbean.

The Panamanian fair, which has reported business transactions by an average 100-million dollars, will take place in April at the Atapla Conventions Center in Panama City.

Among specialized forums to be held this year is the First Cuban Health Exhibit in Quito, which will show the latest Cuban achievements in the sector in an effort to export to the South American market services, linked to different medical products, said directives with the Cuban Chamber of Commerce.

The Quito forum will favor efforts to further strengthen bilateral economic relations in tune with the objectives of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our Americas (ALBA) and of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean states, said the executive.

Cuban entrepreneurs will also attend the 19th Hospitalar Fair in Sao Paolo, Brazil, an event specialized in the promotion of medical equipment and facilities.

By mid 2013, Cuba will also participate at Algiers’s International Trade Fair with its goods and services, which will also be present at Bolivia’s International Trade Show of Santa Cruz, considered the largest multi-sector event of its kind in the South American country.


New Cuban Medicine to Benefit Patients Suffering from Psoriasis in India

HAVANA, Cuba.- (ACN) Patients suffering from psoriasis in India could be benefited from now on from a Cuban medicine for the treatment of that chronic skin disease, after the approval of its registration in that Asian territory.

Scarcely a week ago, the anti–CD6 monoclonal antibody developed at Havana’s Center for Molecular Immunology (CIM) obtained the registration that certifies its use in India, according the scientific institution’s main results in 2012, included in its annual report.

In Cuba, la psoriasis is taken care of at the Placenta Histotherapy Center, with proved effectiveness for its cure, by way of the use of medicaments like Coriodermine, a placenta factor that prevents the development of psoriasis crises.


Over 14 Thousand Patients Benefited with Cuban Pharmaceuticals

HAVANA, Cuba,  (ACN) More than 14 thousand patients in Cuba have benefited with the pharmaceutical produced by the Havana-based Molecular Immunology Center (CIM), which increased in 2012 its production of medications to treat cancer and other chronic, non-transmissible diseases.

Scientific results at the Center have also reached nearly 30 countries, particularly China and Brazil.

With a growing 40 percent annual trend, the sales by the Molecular Immunology Center at the foreign market allowed increasing revenues and reducing costs.

The center, which is part of the recently created Group of Biotechnological and Pharmaceutical Industries, considerably increased its production of an anemia-fighting pharmaceutical known as recombinant Eritropoyetin and of monoclonal antibodies to treat advanced cancer, said CIM director Agustin Lage.

Meanwhile, CIM researchers found new clinical evidence in the administration of Nimotuzumab, a monoclonal antibody to treat cerebral tumors; the pharmaceutical has thus far been approved to fight neck and head pathologies.

At the same time, the Center has achieved positive results in regulatory inspections carried out by Japan, Germany and Turkey in 2012, while its joint venture in China has reported favorable production, sales and revenues.

However, the center still needs to increase its diversification of its products at the world market and expand its operations in other countries.


Ernest Hemingway Marlin Tournament in May 2013

HAVANA, Cuba, (ACN) Cuba invited sports fishing lovers to the 63rd International Marlin Fishing Tournament to take place May 20-25 at the Havana marina named after US Nobel Literature laureate Ernest Hemingway.

Marina director Roberto Salinas said reservations to the event must be done 30 days before the start of the tournament. Salinas announced that fishermen can either rent boats on the island or come on their own with up to a four-member crew.

Representatives from France, Canada, Venezuela and Italy have confirmed participation at the competition, which has been held since 1950.

In the 62nd tournament, French Gerard Aprile and his crew got the first place for the fourth time, followed by Ukrainian Oleksandr Tupysky.

The event maintains its tag and release condition and a digital JPG photo to contribute to the preservation of marlins. These norms are checked by the jury, made up of specialists with the Cuban Sports Fishing Federation, Salinas explained.

Tournament organizers are considering the use of circular hooks in an effort to minimize possible damage of the fish, said Marina marketing director Hector Ascencio.

Also under consideration are satellite tags that allow monitor the behavior and movement of the marlins in order to boost this sports modality.

Those who come in their own yachts will be able to get their visas a the Marina, according to the organizing committee, which offers more information at its webpage www.internationalhemingwaytournament.com.


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