Raul Castro Continues to be Cuba president

Raul Castro Cuba President

Raul Castro said Sunday while he accepted a whole new five-year term that it's going to he be his last as Cuba's president, for the first time placing a date on the end of the Castro era. He tapped rising star Miguel Diaz-Canel as his top lieutenant and first in the type of succession.

The 81-year-old Castro also said he hopes to create two-term limits and age caps for political offices like the presidency - a huge prospect for a nation led by Castro or his older brother Fidel since 1959 revolution.

Some constitutional changes are to be so dramatic that they'll have to be ratified with the Cuban people a public referendum, he was quoted saying, though he added he has not been named president in order to destroy Cuba's socialist system.

Cuba is a an instant of "historic transcendence," Castro told lawmakers in speaking of his decision to name Diaz-Canel for the No. 2 job. "It represents a definitive step up the configuration of the future leadership of the us over the gradual transfer ... of key roles to new generations."

"This will probably be my last term," he explained. Castro's term can easily in 2018.

The 52-year-old Diaz-Canel is now a heartbeat in the presidency and it has risen higher than every other Cuban official who didn't directly take part in the 1959 Cuban revolution.

Raul Castro fueled fascination with Sunday's legislative gathering after mentioning on Friday his possible retirement and suggesting lightheartedly that they had plans to resign at some point.

It is now clear that although he was joking about retiring soon, he was dead serious as he promised that Sunday's speech would've fireworks.

In recent weeks, Diaz-Canel, a power engineer by training and former minister of upper education, has frequently been featured on Cuban state television news broadcasts in a apparent try to raise his profile ahead of the announcement.

Diaz-Canel traveled to Venezuela for your symbolic inauguration of Hugo Chavez, a vital Castro ally who was simply re-elected president but was too ill to be sworn in. Diaz-Canel seemed to be seen on TV presiding over a ceremony involving Cuba's national baseball squad, and accompanied Castro to Chile to get a summit with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

Lawmakers also named on the ruling Council of State Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, Castro's previous first second in command; comptroller general Gladys Bejerano; second Vp Ramiro Valdes; Havana Communist Party secretary Lazara Mercedes Lopez Acea; and Salvador Valdes Mesa, head of Cuba's labor union.

US desire Syrian opposition to be part of Rome talks

A senior U.S. official on Sunday urged the Syrian opposition to attend a planned international meeting in Rome immediately, saying it turned out an opportunity for rebels to make their case to get more support.

The state run, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was clearly dissension among the opposition about the utility of such meetings and several members have signaled they will often not attend.

Nearly 70,000 individuals have been killed in Syria's civil war within the last 22 months since fighting broke out between rebels wanting to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and government forces and allied militias.

There appear to be growing tensions between the fighters on a lawn and opposition members beyond your country.

"The Syrian opposition leadership is under severe pressure now from the membership, in the Syrian people, to get more support in the international community as well as in that context there's a lot of internal discussion in regards to the valuation on gonna international conferences," the state told reporters travelling with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

"The point that we're scheming to make ... is because offer an opportunity in Rome with all the meeting the Italians have agreed to host to see the countries which have been their greatest supporters," the state run said.

The Syrian National Coalition said last month 22 which it had rejected invitations to check out Washington and Moscow to protest just what it identified as international silence in the destruction from the historic town of Aleppo by government missile strikes.

On Saturday, the U.S. State Department issued an announcement condemning a Syrian army Scud missile attack that killed dozens of people on Friday in Aleppo, and invited the opposition for talks on finding a negotiated settlement on the conflict.

Opportunity to MEET KERRY

Invitations from Washington and Moscow ended up extended to opposition coalition leader Mouz Alkhatib after he met the Russian and U.S. foreign ministers in Munich earlier this year.

Alkhatib, a cleric from Damascus who may have said he is morally obliged to attempt to seek an exit for Assad without more bloodshed, has been criticized by others inside SNC for acting alone.

Thursday's planned meeting, which Kerry is predicted to attend as well as European, Arab and Turkish officials, is a chance for the opposition "to make their case for where these are the support were definitely, also they are they desire and why," the senior U.S. official said.

The talks would also allow the opposition to satisfy Kerry, who took office last month 1 which is making his first trip as secretary of state to Europe and the Middle East.

"They must be going to need to make (their unique) decision but we greatly hope that we'll provide an opportunity to hear from them also to help them in the years ahead," the official said.

The official said U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, who was simply withdrawn from the country at least a year ago due to the violence, was visiting Cairo on Sunday night to fulfill the opposition as the top U.S. diplomat for your Middle East, Beth Jones, would soon fly to Rome.

Kerry come to London on Sunday and is also scheduled to visit Berlin, Paris, Rome, Ankara, Cairo, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Doha before going back to Washington on March

Rocket attacks with an eastern districts of Aleppo, Syria's industrial and commercial hub, killed a minimum of 29 people on Friday and trapped a household of 10 within the ruins of their home, opposition activists inside city said.

Afghanistan Orders US Troops to Leave Crucial Province

The Afghan government on Sunday banned elite American forces from operating inside a strategic province adjoining Kabul, citing complaints that Afghans doing work for American Special Forces have killed and tortured villagers in the area.

The ban is scheduled to go into effect in 2 weeks inside province, Maidan Wardak, which includes long been described as crucial link inside defense from the capital from the Taliban. If fully enacted, it will effectively remove the American military’s main way to obtain offensive firepower through the area, which lies southwest of Kabul and is also employed by the Taliban as being a staging ground for attacks on Kabul.

An order has more potential significance with the scheduled withdrawal of standard American combat forces in Maidan Wardak. By late spring, American officials have said they expect almost all conventional troops in eastern Afghanistan being centered on advising Afghan forces, leaving Special Operations units because only offensive troops in your neighborhood.

Coalition officials said they were alerted to the Afghan government’s decision on Sunday afternoon, after that it turned out made. But they remained trying to clarify what it actually entailed and what accusations had prompted it, the officials said, declining to comment further.

Afghan officials described the ban as being a measure of last option. Aimal Faizi, a spokesman for President Cash taken, said Afghanistan’s National Security Council thought we would impose the ban after weeks when trying - and failing - to acquire answers from the coalition about accusations that Maidan Wardak residents were being killed or tortured or had disappeared.

While the officials stressed that they can preferred to do business with the international forces, the move did actually signal increasing willingness by the Afghans to publicly confront and limit the job from the coalition forces, if it was felt they were not acting in Afghanistan’s best interests.

The attacks were believed to have been attributed to either Afghans or Afghan-Americans utilizing American Special Forces, Mr. Faizi said, adding that Afghan defense officials have provided photographs and videos in the men on the coalition.

Having looked at the evidence a month ago, coalition officers seemed ready to cooperate, Mr. Faizi said, citing a briefing that Afghan defense officials had directed at the Afghan National Security Council.

But soon after, the coalition’s position shifted, based on Mr. Faizi. Alliance officials said the men involved had disappeared or had never worked with American forces. Some coalition officers also questioned whether there was any killings or torture, and whether anyone linked with the Americans was responsible.

Mr. Faizi expressed little question that a person or some group was killing and torturing Maidan Wardak residents. “People in the province, elders from villages, have started to Kabul so often, and they have brought photographs and videos of these family who've been tortured,” he was quoted saying.

Mr. Faizi said the Afghan government simply wished to investigate allegations, adding which it was feasible that people not connected to the coalition might be responsible, he explained.

That, though, would raise another question. “Let’s think the U.S. Special Forces are certainly not involved,” Mr. Faizi said. “Then the reason they haven't once learned about this? Why is this they don't know who is accomplishing this?” For concerns that banning Special Forces from your province could reduce pressure around the Taliban, he stated how the Afghan Army and police would “certainly have the ability to handle the work.”

He noticed that the protection situation hadn't improved in Maidan Wardak for decades, even with the Special Forces moved up their activity, a few of which targets Taliban field commanders and other high-ranking officials. Nevertheless, Mr. Faizi said, the operations didn't work to lessen the violence.

The violence, he explained, had only worsened, and now “local individuals are blaming the U.S. Special Forces for every incident that is going on there.”

“It 's better to result in the Special Forces withdraw from the province and let the people understand that these are facing only Afghan forces,” he stated. “That will bring clarity for the situation.”

Most of the Special Forces’ work in Afghanistan is very classified, also it has not been immediately clear if the elite troops were operating out of Maidan Wardak or if they only flew looking for operations.

Habib Zahori and Sangar Rahimi contributed from Kabul.

Kim Kardashian, Kanye West Expecting a Baby Girl

Kim Kardashian in Full Black Outfit
Kim Kardashian in Full Black Outfit
Despite having your baby girl along the way, Kim Kardashian would look right in your house one of the vampy, gorgeous women from Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" video. The 32-year-old reality star supported famed photographer Mario Testino at Prism in West Hollywood on Saturday, Feb. 23. Just a couple of hours after Us Weekly revealed that Kardashian and beau Kanye West expect a daughter, Kardashian played up her bump and her glamour at the opening of Testino's new gallery.

Along with her hair slicked back, bright pink lipstick and flawless-looking skin, the certainty star wore all black: A fitted pencil skirt that emphasized her expanding curves, leather jacket plus a tight black top that showcased her growing belly. Based on a witness, Kardashian graciously accepted pregnancy congratulations off their attendees with the bash. (Miley Cyrus also appeared to support Testino.)

"Fun night!" she later tweeted. "Met 1 of my fav photographers Mario Testino!! Then came home & put 2gether cute outfits w my bff [designer] Rachel Roy and [sister] Khloe Kardashian."

As Us revealed, Kardashian and West, 35, have just found out their first baby-to-be is a girl. "They're in the moon!" an origin near to the couple told Us. "Kanye always wanted a lady."

Despite Crash Daytona NASCAR 500 Race Is still On


Nascar Crash Visuals
Fans feeling unsafe as soon as the horrific crash at Daytona International Speedway can change seats for NASCAR's biggest race.

Track President Joie Chitwood said Sunday workers successfully repaired an area of fence -- 54 feet wide and 22 feet high -- that's shredded Saturday when Kyle Larson's car went airborne on the final lap of a second-tier race and crashed from the barrier that separates cars from fans. Large bits of debris, such as a tire, sprayed into the upper and lower section of the stands.

The crash injured over 30 people, raising more questions about fan safety at race tracks.

Halifax Health spokesman Byron Cogdell said seven people with crash-related injuries remained hospitalized Sunday in Daytona Beach in stable condition. The six people exposed to an alternative Halifax hospital in Port Orange with crash-related injuries had all been discharged by Sunday morning, Cogdell said.

A spokeswoman at Florida Memorial Clinic may not release information Sunday on the patients exposed to that hospital.

Chitwood, meanwhile, said if any fans are uncomfortable with their up-close seating for Sunday's Daytona 500, officials work to maneuver them.

"If fans are unhappy with their seating location or if they have got any incidents, we'd relocate them," Chitwood said Sunday. "So we'll treat that area like perform every other portion of the grandstand. If your fan is just not comfortable where they're sitting, we make every accommodation we are able to."

Larry Spencer of Nanticoke, Pa., said Sunday he's not sure he really wants to ever sit that low again after his 15-year-old brother, Derrick, needed three stitches as part of his cheek after being hit by metal debris flying from your crash. They sat towards the fence Saturday, but returned for your Daytona 500 with tickets lots of rows farther away from the track.

"I thought it was just neat to determine the cars all signs that close," Spencer said. "After yesterday, though, I will definitely reconsider sitting lower anymore."
Injured Fan - Nascar Crash Visuals
The tire that flew in the stands landed a few rows above where they'd been standing. After the crash, searching in the people seriously injured, Spencer said he decided to take his brother with a hospital himself to ensure speedway crews and paramedics could focus on the people that needed more help.

"The sole method to spell out it was like a bomb discontinued, as well as the car virtually exploded," Spencer said.

Track workers finished repairs a couple of a.m. Sunday, having installed a brand new fence post, new metal meshing and the main concrete wall.

Officials decided not to rebuild the collapsed cross-over gate, allowing fans to travel involving the stands as well as the infield before races.

Daytona carries a grandstand remodel planned. Chitwood said the injuries could prompt a redesign which may include sturdier fences or stands farther away from the on-track action.

"It's challenging to connect both the today in terms of a prospective redevelopment and what occurred," Chitwood said. "We were prepared yesterday, had emergency medical respond. Once we study on this, you bet: If there are things that we can easily incorporate in to the future, be it the actual property now or another redevelopment, we're going to.

"The secret is seated with NASCAR, learning the things which happened and exactly how we take care of them."

Daytona reexamined its fencing and ended up replacing the complete thing following Carl Edwards' scary crash at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama last year. Edwards' car sailed to the fence and spewed debris in the stands.

"We've made improvements since then," Chitwood said. "I think this is the key: that we learn from this and evaluate what else we need to do."

NASCAR plans to take what remained of Larson's sheared car along with debris back to its research and development center in Charlotte, N.C., for testing.

"We'll generate the top and brightest," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's senior v . p . for racing operations. "Anything we can easily learn will probably be set up. ... Fans are our first priority. Obviously we'd like everybody safe at an event. We've spoken with the speedway. We're confident in what's available at today's event. Certainly still considering those affected, but we're confident to advance forward with this race."

The 12-car crash began because front-runners approached the checkered flag. Leader Regan Smith tried to block Brad Keselowski for that win, triggering a pileup that may happen to be much worse.

Larson's burning engine wedged via a gaping hole inside fence. Parts bobs of his car sprayed to the stands, together with a tire that cleared the top of the fence and landed midway the spectator section nearest the track.

The 20-year-old Larson stood in shock a couple of feet from his car as fans inside stands waved frantically for help. Smoke in the burning engine briefly clouded the region, and emergency vehicles descended to the picture.

Ambulance sirens could be heard wailing behind the grandstands at the same time the race winner would typically do celebratory burnouts.
Injured Fan - Nascar Crash Visuals
"It was freaky. When I looked to my right, the accident happened," Rick Harpster of Orange Park said. "I viewed and i also saw a tire fly straight over the fence to the stands, but next I didnrrrt see everything else. That's the worst thing I've come across, seeing as tire fly into the stands. I knew it was destined to be severe."

In 1987, Bobby Allison's car lifted off of the track at Talladega while running over 200 mph, careening in the steel-cable fence and scattering debris into the crowd. That crash resulted in the usage of horsepower-sapping restrictor plates at Talladega and it is sister track in Daytona, NASCAR's fastest layouts.

Therefore, the cars all run nearly the same speed, and the field is usually bunched tightly together -- which lots of drivers have warned is truly a more dangerous scenario than higher speeds.

"That's one important thing that truly does scare you," Allison said Sunday. "But it certainly is plausible due to the speeds, where these are."

Governers Warns budget Cuts Put Jobs at Stake


Democratic and Republican governors in Washington on Sunday urged Congress to achieve a budget deal before billions in budget cuts kick in soon, warning the cuts might be a job-killer and get rid of post-recession economic gains.

“I’m very worried about the effect on the economy,” Delaware Democratic Gov. Jack Markell told “Fox News Sunday.”

Hawaii Gov. Abercrombie, center, seen with National Governors Association Chairman Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware, left, and Vice Chairman Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, speaks throughout the opening news conference of the NGA Winter Meeting in Washington. The nation's governors say their states are threatened if the automatic, across-the-board budget cuts, known as the sequester, work March 1.


The roughly $85 billion in across-the-board cuts this coming year to defense and other federal spending, referred to as sequester, begins Friday if Congress ceases to reach an agreement. Both sides decided to the program this season after neglecting to reach an arrangement on less drastic cuts.

“Sequester could put us right back to where we had been,” Markell also told Fox.

The governors come in Washington this weekend for the annual National Governors Association meeting and blanketed the Sunday shows using the unified message of comprise, despite party differences.

“All the governors have concerns,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told Fox.

Though either side largely agreed upon the possibility perils associated with such cuts, the governors disagreed on who was simply responsible for the stalemate.

Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Barack obama must bring success the problem and has still did not please take a balanced way of enhancing the federal budget.

“The president should boost to the plate,” said Jindal, chairman from the Republican Governors Association. “There is not enough taxes just for this administration.”

Massachusetts Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick disagreed, saying obama has brought a balanced approach of tax increases and spending cuts.

“Listened to my colleague, we’ve actually seen some $2.5 billion in budget cuts,” Patrick said. Congressional Republicans “move goalposts when the president comes their way.”

With the annual meeting, the governors expressed pessimism that both sides may find a way to stay away from the cuts, pointing for the impasse as another crisis involving the White House and Congress that hampers remarkable ability to construct state spending plans and spooks local businesses from hiring.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, an ancient congressman, said the cuts could lead to 19,000 workers fired at Pearl Harbor, site from the surprise attack in 1941 that launched america into World war 2. Today, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam supports Air Force and Navy missions.

"If that does not symbolize for the nation ... how are you affected when we don't meet our responsibilities congressionally, I am not sure what does," he stated.

This fight came as much states say they are for the cusp of an economic comeback in the financial upheaval in 2009 and 2008. States expect their general fund revenues this year to surpass the amounts collected prior to Great Recession kicked in. Nearly $693 billion in revenues is predicted to the 2013 budget year, nearly a 4 % increase within the previous year.

"It's a damn shame," said Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat. "We've actually had the easiest rate of jobs recovery associated with a state in our region. Which really threatens to harm lots of families within our state and type of flat-line our job growth for the following many months."

At their weekend meetings, governors were centering on approaches to boost job development and boost their state economies, measures to limit gun violence and implement the newest healthcare law approved during Obama's first term.

Some Republican governors have blocked the usage of Medicaid to be expanded health insurance coverage for an incredible number of uninsured, although some have joined Democrats in the wholesale expansion since the law allows. The Medicaid expansion aims to cover about 50 % of from the $ 30 million uninsured people likely to eventually gain coverage within the medical care overhaul.

Yet for most governors, the budget-cut fight remains front and center and fuels a pervasive a sense frustration with Washington.

"My feeling is I can not help what are you doing in Washington," Gov. Terry Branstad, R-Iowa, said in an interview Saturday. "I can't assist the fact that there isn't any leadership here, and it's really all politics as always and gridlock. However i are capable of doing something concerning the way we do things inside the state of Iowa."

Indeed, right this moment no issue carries exactly the same level of urgency since the budget impasse.

Congressional leaders have indicated a willingness to allow the cuts take effect and remain available for weeks, if not for a long time.

The cuts would also cause trim furloughs for thousands and thousands of workers with the Transportation Department, Defense Department and elsewhere.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said the cuts would harm the readiness of U.S. fighting forces.

Obama has increased efforts to tell the public in regards to the cuts' negative impact and pressure Republicans who oppose his approach of reducing deficits by having a mixture of targeted savings and tax increases. House Republicans have said reduced spending should be the main focus and have rejected the president's fresh demand to add higher taxes as part of an agreement.

Governors said they are asking the Federal government to get more flexibility to deal with many of the potential cuts.

"We're just saying that when you identify federal cuts and savings, allow the states in order to realize those savings, too," said Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican and also the association's vice chairwoman.

Pistorius Sibling Faces Kill Trial


Oscar's bother Carl Pistorius
The older brother of South African track star Oscar Pistorius, charged with murdering his girlfriend, can also be facing trial for killing a lady in the vehicle accident some 5 years ago.

Carl Pistorius is charged with culpable homicide after allegedly killing a motorcyclist in the 2008 accident away from Johannesburg.

A neighborhood South African news station (e-News Channel Africa) reported Sunday that Carl Pistorius appeared problem last Thursday, but his trial was delayed until March.

Lawyer Kenny Oldwage said in a very statement Sunday that "Carl deeply regrets the accident". He was quoted saying blood tests conducted through the police at the time proved which he had not been consuming alcohol.

Oldwage added that charges brought after the accident were initially dropped, then again reinstated by national prosecutors.
Oscar's bother Carl Pistorius
Oscar's bother Carl Pistorius

Carl Pistorius is a huge constant presence with the court during his younger brother's bail hearing the other day.

Oscar Pistorius is accused inside the February 14 shooting death his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius, that is referred to as the "blade runner" for his high-tech artificial legs, says he shot Steenkamp after mistaking her for any burglar. Prosecutors accused him of premeditated murder.

He was launched on bail on Friday.

Carl Pistorius in court
Carl Pistorius in court