World Bulletin / News Desk
Cuba will scrap travel restrictions starting in January, easing most Cubans' exit and return, state media said on Tuesday, in the communist island's first major immigration reform in half a century.
The Cuban government imposed broad restrictions on travel starting in 1961.
The government now is set to lift requirements to obtain an exit visa permitting departure from Cuba and a letter of invitation from someone in the destination country.
Instead, starting on Jan. 14, Cubans will simply have to show a passport and, if needed, a visa from the country to which they are traveling, Communist Party newspaper Granma said.
The changes are the latest reform under President Raul Castro, who has modestly liberalized Cuba's Soviet-style economy. They are sure to please Cubans who have chafed at the country's travel restrictions.
The process of obtaining the needed documents has been time-consuming and expensive, with no guarantee at the end that the government would grant permission to leave.
The measure also extends to 24 months the amount of time Cubans can remain abroad, and they can request an extension when that runs out. Currently, Cubans lose residency and other rights including social security and free health care and education after 11 months.
Still, the notice said Cuba plans to put limits on travel within unspecified sectors.
Doctors, scientists, members of the military and others considered valuable parts of society currently face restrictions on travel to combat brain drain.
"The update to the migratory policy takes into account the right of the revolutionary State to defend itself from the interventionist and subversive plans of the U.S. government and its allies," the note said.
"Therefore, measures will remain to preserve the human capital created by the Revolution in the face of the theft of talent applied by the powerful."
Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement that the ban was a response to visa restrictions that Japan had imposed on a number of Russian citizens
Residents of La Barceloneta, once a small fishing village, have been draping their balconies with banners calling on visitors to respect their sleep and the neighbourhood for years.
Kiev said Russia had launched a direct invasion of its territory by sending the convoy into eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels are fighting government forces
Popular politician Imran Khan withdraws his demand that Pakistan's Prime Minsiter Nawaz Sharif resigns.
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since last December, when President Salva Kiir accused Riek Machar, his sacked vice president, of plotting to overthrow his regime.
Men and boys account for the bulk of the deaths but nearly 18,000 women and more than 2,000 children under the age of nine are also among those killed
The security source said at least 30 bodies had arrived at the hospital in the city of Baquba in Diyala province
Russell Brand was forced to speak out against anti-Semitism after receiving death threats and accused to being an anti-Semite for calling for boycotts.
Dutch Foreign Minister called for more Western support for Kurds and relatively moderate rebel factions in Syria involved in an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
A pro-Hamas internet portal said that "firm measures" were being taken against anyone found spying for Israel.
A Belgian diplomat pulled off the face veil of a Qatari princess in Brussels.
Yemenis are unhappy about the government's decision to raise fuel prices in late July to cut energy subsidies to ease the burden on its budget deficit.
Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said it was a small incident that had cost India billions of dollars in tourism.
Tsvangirai, a former trade union leader, said the country had an unsustainably high unemployment rate, estimated above 80 percent, which forced many people into informal employment.
Israel is believed to possess the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal, drawing frequent condemnation by Arab countries and Iran which say it threatens regional peace and security.
"Sharmila has been re-arrested. It is clear that she is attempting suicide and we cannot allow her to do so," said M.C. Singh, a police official in Imphal