Cuba to lay off 500,000 state workers

Cuba says it will fire at least half a million state workers by the middle of next year and will encourage private enterprise to help them find new work – radically remaking employment on the communist island.

Travels with a Typewriter: A Reporter at Large, By Michael Frayn

The title of this rather disjointed collection – a compilation of Michael Frayn's journalism from the 1960s and 1970s – is misleading. There is travel writing here, but there are also snatches of memoir, social history and literary criticism. (An insightful, if rather incongruous, study of Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time is included.) But the incontestable quality of Frayn's writing holds all these disparate elements together.

Cuba's economic model does not work any more, says Fidel Castro

Cuba's communist economic model has come in for criticism from an unlikely source: Fidel Castro.

Castro criticises Iran on anti-Semitism

Fidel Castro has criticised the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for denying the Holocaust and promoting anti-Semitism. The former Cuban leader also warned that an escalating conflict between Iran and the West could lead to nuclear war.

Greene smashes through barrier to new class

It was not long after Dai Greene had become the European 400m hurdles champion in emphatic fashion in Barcelona that the Swansea Harrier looked ahead to the challenge of closing the gap on the global elite of his event. "I'll need to run under 48 seconds to win a medal," he said, turning his attention to the World Championships in Daegu next year and to the Olympic Games on home ground in 2012.

Castro's return to full uniform sparks rumours

Fidel Castro dusted off his full military uniform for the first time since stepping down as president four years ago, a symbolic act in a communist country where little signals often carry enormous significance.

Fidel Castro admits persecution of gays in 1960s was 'unjust'

Fidel Castro took the blame for a wave of homophobia launched by his revolutionary government in the 1960s, but said it happened because he was distracted by other problems, in an interview published yesterday in a Mexican newspaper.

Album: Cheikh Lô, Jamm (World Circuit)

The Senegalese singer's first album in five years is something of a return to form after a couple of lacklustre offerings.

Ballet tour brings US one step closer to Cuba

Just as officials in Washington ponder a partial easing of the ban on Americans travelling to Cuba at least for cultural, educational or research exchanges, the American Ballet Theatre has revealed that it is to perform in Havana this November for the first time in half a century.

Exclusive: Obama's pledge to close down Guantanamo is 'not even close'

Commander says camp will take months to shut – and he's still waiting for the order

More dissidents arrive in Spain from Cuba

Three more Cuban political prisoners arrived in Madrid yesterday, bringing the number who have been released into exile under Cuba's pledge to free dissidents jailed in the country since 2003 up to 23.

Guantanamo critic removed from jury

Robert Verkaik reports from Camp Delta on a questionable selection process

My Life in Ten Questions... Newton Faulkner

'I was suspended from school for a mixture of arson, knife-wielding and pornography'

Castro to chronicle the birth of his revolution

He may no longer be president of the country he ruled so uncompromisingly for almost half a century, but Fidel Castro once again seems to be everywhere in Cuba. His latest foray into the limelight, announced yesterday, is a first volume of memoirs to be published next month, chronicling the birth of Cuba's communist revolution when his few hundred guerrilla fighters defeated the far larger regular army of the dictator Fulgencio Batista.

Castro is back in his military uniform

The cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro has been seen once again in the green military shirt that was his typical dress for decades, in his latest public appearance following four years spent in seclusion.

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