World

2:45pm

Wed May 2, 2012
Latin America

Cuba's New Mantra: Viva Private Business

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 4:26 pm

Two self-employed florists prepare bunches of flowers in Havana last year. The Cuban government is stepping up economic reforms and estimates that in four or five years, nearly half the workforce will be employed in the private sector.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Socialism has been Cuba's official economic policy for more than a half-century, and some 85 percent of the Cuban workforce is employed by the state.

But that is changing fast. Communist authorities say that nearly half of Cuba's economic activity will shift to the private or "non-state" sector in the next four or five years.

Those plans signal a new urgency to Cuban President Raul Castro's economic reforms, and one reason is that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the island's biggest benefactor, is battling cancer and facing re-election in October.

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2:45pm

Wed May 2, 2012
Europe

In Greek Election Campaign, Anger Trumps Civility

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 4:26 pm

Communist Party of Greece lawmaker Liana Kanelli enters her car after protesters threw yogurt at her as she tried to reach the Greek Parliament on June 29, during a 48-hour general strike in Athens. Such attacks are not uncommon in Greece, where ordinary Greeks' anger over the debt crisis and austerity measures is boiliing over.
AFP/Getty Images

Greeks will vote Sunday in what is expected to be the most fractious parliamentary election in decades.

People are so divided that no party is expected to get enough votes to form a government. Voters blame politicians for bankrupting the country and then selling it out to international lenders, who forced the government to impose painful austerity measures in exchange for billions of euros in bailout loans.

This election is an early one; the economic crisis forced out the previous elected government led by George Papandreou.

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2:40pm

Wed May 2, 2012
Middle East

A Syrian Graffiti Artist, Defiant Until Death

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 8:44 am

Zahra was an anti-government activist and graffiti artist in Syria. He and his friends spray-painted slogans against President Bashar Assad around the suburbs of Damascus, the Syrian capital.
Courtesy of friends of Nour Hatem Zahra

They called him "the spray man" for his graffiti that appeared all over the Syrian capital of Damascus. But in truth, 23-year-old Nour Hatem Zahra was an activist like any other activist.

He started protesting in Syria last spring. Back then, the opposition thought it would only take a few months to get rid of President Bashar Assad, as it had in Tunisia and Egypt.

Then Syrian forces started killing protesters, detaining them, torturing them. And the people started fighting back.

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11:59am

Wed May 2, 2012
The Two-Way

After Bar Brawl, British Parliament Moves To Limit Members' Drinks

When Parliament is in session, some may be overdoing it.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images
  • Larry Miller reporting from London

Getting into a fight at one of the four bars within the borders of the British Parliament's grounds not only brought House of Commons member Eric Joyce (a Labour MP) unwanted notoriety, it has also led to orders that bartenders and event staff start cutting off obviously intoxicated lawmakers.

Which, of course, would seem like something they already should have known they should do.

As the BBC says:

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11:05am

Wed May 2, 2012
The Two-Way

There May Never Be An Explanation In Death Of MI6 Agent Found In Locked Bag

Gareth Williams, 31, worked for Britain's secret eavesdropping service GCHQ but was attached to the country's MI6 overseas spy agency.
AP

Gareth Williams was a talented agent for Britain's secretive and renowned foreign intelligence agency. Williams was a codebreaker for MI6, until he was found dead in his apartment.

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