HAVANA — Cuba formally authorized the creation of the first non-agricultural cooperatives yesterday, a measure expected to permit the growth of midsize businesses as part of President Raúl Castro’s plan to open the economy to some liberalization. More than 200 co-ops will be established during a trial period in sectors from transportation and construction to fishing and services, the Communist Party newspaper Granma said.
LA PAZ — A Bolivian appeals panel has refused to immediately release a New York businessman, despite evidence he was fleeced and extorted by prosecutors who have had him jailed for 18 months without charge on suspicion of money laundering. Instead, the two judges sent the case of Jacob Ostreicher back to the trial judge and ordered her to reconsider favourable evidence she previously threw out at the urging of an official who is now under arrest.
* Bolivian President Evo Morales enacted a law yesterday which decriminalizes strikes and protects union prerrogatives. Secretary-General of the Central Workers’ Union Juan Carlos Trujillo said the new law re-establishes rights which had been violated by former “dictatorial and neoliberal governments”.
KINGSTON, Jamaica — The leader of the Cayman Islands’ government was arrested yesterday on suspicion of theft, abuse of office and breach of trust in the famed Caribbean tax haven. Premier McKeeva Bush was detained yesterday morning at his home in the West Bay section of Grand Cayman island by officers from the financial unit of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, police spokeswoman Janet Dougall said. By evening, the 57-year-old Bush had been released on overnight bail after a series of interviews. Police said he would be questioned further today.
SãO PAULO — Brazil is working to convince importers that its beef is free of mad cow disease, the Agriculture Ministry said yesterday. The campaign follows a ministry report saying that the carcass of a cow that died two years ago in southern Brazil contained disease-carrying proteins, or prions, but the animal did not “manifest the disease nor die of it”. Japan’s government has already placed a ban on Brazilian beef. While Japan is not a big buyer of Brazil’s beef, officials are worried other nations may follow suit.