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."
Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub has defended his decision to abandon the bid to suspend Israel saying that he has not "suspended the resistance".
A second batch of live anthrax was sent by the US military
The Italian parliament has released the name of a candidate representing southern Italy's cocaine heartland, and is also a candidate for PM Renzi's party.
The US formally removed Cuba from "state sponsored terrorism" list.
Nigerian Finance Minister Akinwumi Adesina became president of the institution on Friday
More than 200 Eritrean refugees have been turned back by border police in the Italian Alps.
Protests have continued in Burundi against the Presidents third bid for Presidency
An ultra orthodox sect in Britain have banned women from driving. Children, whose mothers drive them to their religious school will also be refused entry to the school.
Nigeria's new President has vowed to fight Boko Haram and corruption.
Clashes have caused more than 60,000 to flee the fighting in Mali with escalating violence threatening to derail peace efforts.
The Kyrgyzstan government has banned all unauthorized sermons in certain regions.
The EU and US have pressured Serbia to withrdraw from the Russian-Turkish South Stream project.
Unable to sort their differences, Morocco has begun building a 100km fence on the border with Algeria.
The head of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland asks Egypt's supreme religious official not to approve over 100 death sentences
Belgium will probe claims of widespread espionage by Germany, which is accused of helping the US spy on Berlin's closest allies in Europe.
The United States will be sending military trainers to Nigeria to help the fight against Boko Haram.