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American flag flies in Cuba for first time in 54 years

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https://youtu.be/bLGAxPqtwW8

HAVANA — The Stars and Stripes rose Friday over the newly opened US Embassy for the first time in 54 years, making a symbolically charged victory lap for the Obama administration’s new policy of engagement with Cuba.

Some waking as early as 6 a.m., hundreds of Cubans gathered outside the embassy for what they universally called a historic day. Cuban TV carried the event live, broadcasting flattering biographical facts about Secretary of State John Kerry and interviews with Cubans who praised detente with the US as a necessary and positive step for their country.

Cuban dissidents were not invited to the embassy ceremony, avoiding tensions with Cuban officials who typically boycott events attended by the country’s small political opposition. The State Department said it had limited space at what it called a government-to-government event, and invited dissidents to a separate afternoon flag-raising at the home of the embassy’s chief of mission.

Giant Cuban flags hung from the balconies of nearby apartment buildings and people gathered at windows with a view of the embassy.

“I wouldn’t want to miss it,” Marcos Rodriguez, 28, said as he waited outside the embassy. He said he and thousands of other on the island were hoping the opening with the US will bring “social and economic benefits for all Cubans.”

High-ranking Cuban officials, US business executives and Cuban-Americans who pushed for warming with Cuba gathered inside the former US Interests Section, newly emblazoned with the letters “Embassy of the United States of America.”

Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco, who read a poem at Obama’s second inauguration, was to read a new work before three Marines who lowered the flag at the embassy’s closing in 1961 return to raise the Stars and Stripes again.

Kerry was then scheduled to meet with Cuba’s foreign minister, the country’s Roman Catholic archbishop and, separately, a hand-picked group of dissidents.

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Cuban residents living next to the US Embassy watch from a window under Cuban and American flags in Havana on Friday morning.

Among those gathering in front of the US Embassy in Havana were the drivers of three 1950s-era Chevrolets parked outside the building.

Julio Alvarez, head of the custom cab company that operates them, said the State Department had invited him to send them without saying why, but he hoped that Kerry will take a ride in one.

Soon after Kerry heads home Friday evening, the Cuban and US diplomats who negotiated the embassy reopening will launch full-time into the next phase of detente: expanding economic ties between the two nations with measures like re-establishing direct flights and mail service.

The Americans also want to resolve billions of dollars in half-century-old American claims over property confiscated after the Cuban revolution. Cuba has its own claims, as noted in a newspaper column by Fidel Castro on Thursday saying the US owes the island “numerous millions of dollars” for damages caused by the embargo.

“We have diplomatic relations; now we can get to the real work,” said Wayne Smith, a retired US diplomat who witnessed the closing of the US Embassy in 1961, served in Cuba under President Jimmy Carter and returned this week to attend Friday’s ceremony.

Obama and Raul Castro announced on Dec. 17 that they would re-establish diplomatic ties 54 years after the flag was taken down from the embassy overlooking Havana’s seaside boulevard, the Malecon.

Obama also said he would be moving to empower the Cuban people by loosening the US trade embargo on Cuba through a series of executive actions that make it easier for American citizens to travel to the island and trade with its growing class of private business owners.

Eight months later, Havana has repeatedly demanded a complete lifting of the embargo. It has not responded to Obama’s actions with measures that would allow ordinary Cubans to benefit from them, such as allowing low-cost imports and exports by Cuban entrepreneurs looking to do business with the US.

“I think we’re ending one phase and entering another,” said Robert Muse, a US lawyer specializing in Cuba. “The handshakes, the fraternal regards, the raising of the flags, that’ll end on Aug. 14. Then I think it’s very particular conversations begin.”

While Cuba has increased its highly limited Internet access since Dec. 17 in a measure US officials partially attribute to the warming with Washington, ordinary Cubans are growing increasingly impatient for concrete results from the new relationship.

“I’m optimistic but cautious,” said Rolando Mendez, a state worker walking outside the embassy. “We have to wait and see how events develop and if there really will be benefits for the two peoples.”

The US tried several times to hold discussions with Cuban officials about the details of Obama’s loosening of US regulations, but those meetings never happened amid the pressure to strike a deal allowing the reopening of embassies in Havana and Washington on July 20.

US diplomats say that such a meeting, which will hopefully lead to a real increase in trade with the US, is among the top priorities of the normalization talks expected to start in earnest in coming weeks.

Kerry said in a series of interviews with Spanish-language press Wednesday that the day would move the US-Cuban relationship into a series of detailed talks about topics including “law enforcement, maritime security, education, health, telecommunications.”

“We will talk very directly about a sort of road map toward real, full normalization,” Kerry said.

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Remember the freak couple caught having sex on the counter at Dominos Pizza shop? They have been sentenced…lol

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Remember the British couple caught having sex on the counter of Dominos Pizza shop some months ago? Well, they went on trial this week for breaking local public decency laws.

 

The woman is a bartender named Daniella Hirst and her boyfriend is Craig Smith. They were found guilty in court yesterday and sentenced to a fine and community service. They will not serve any jail time.

Remember the freak couple caught having sex on the counter at Dominos Pizza shop? They have been sentenced...lol

 

© 2017, Ikrueyen Vickky. All rights reserved.

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President Buhari, wife Aisha and daughter Hanan meet Turkish president and his wife

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President Buhari, his wife Mrs AIsha Buhari and daughter Halima joined President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and his wife Mrs Ermine Erdogan in a group photo during the Official Working Visit at the Presidential Palace Ankara Turkey today October 19th.  President Buhari joined by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey also met Nigerian Footballer William Ekong who resides in Turkey.  President Buhari and his wife Mrs AIsha Buhari with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey accompanied by his wife Mrs Ermine Erdogan joined by Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Ismail Karahman during a Luncheon hosted in honor of President Buhari. See more photos below

Photos: President Buhari, wife Aisha and daughter Hanan meet Turkish president and his wife

Photos: President Buhari, wife Aisha and daughter Hanan meet Turkish president and his wife

Photos: President Buhari, wife Aisha and daughter Hanan meet Turkish president and his wife

Photos: President Buhari, wife Aisha and daughter Hanan meet Turkish president and his wife

© 2017, Ikrueyen Vickky. All rights reserved.

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Donald Trump is a “foul-mouthed man who pretends to be an idiot” – Iran’s Supreme leader, Ayatollah

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Reacting to US President, Donald Trump’s intention to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, has described Trump as “foul-mouthed” and someone who “pretends to be an idiot.”

 

He spoke before a group of what was described by his office as “hundreds of young elites and outstanding scientific talents” saying that the European opposition to Trump’s decision was “good, but not enough.”

 

“The Europeans must stand up against the US measures including the sanctions they anticipate to emerge from Congress,” he said.

 

Khamenei told his audience that he didn’t want to spend his time commenting on Trump saying “it would be a waste of time to respond to such blatherings and nonsensical remarks by the foul-mouthed US President who pretends to be an idiot, but this should not cause us to let our guard down. They want to take back young, faithful and developed Iran to 50 years ago, and of course this is not possible, but due to backwardness, they are incapable of understanding this reality, and for this reason they have made a miscalculation and suffered, and will suffer successive defeats at the hands of the Iranian nation,” he said.

© 2017, Ikrueyen Vickky. All rights reserved.

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