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Protesters killed in Kashmir

SRINAGAR | Four people were gunned down Sunday by security forces who opened fire on thousands of protesters and another four civilians were killed in a blast at a police station, bringing the death toll from weeks of clashes in increasingly violent Indian Kashmir to 31.

The explosion happened after the police station was set on fire by residents angry at two deaths in Khrew, a town near Srinagar where hundreds had been protesting Indian rule, a top police officer said.

At least four people were killed and dozens of civilians were injured in the blast, the officer said on condition of anonymity as he didn’t want his name to be used.

There were no casualties among the police officers who fled the area as the mob attacked the police station, which also housed a state counterinsurgency police force, the officer said.


Economic controls to be reduced

HAVANA | Cuban President Raul Castro said Sunday that his government will scale back controls on small businesses and lay off unnecessary workers — significant steps in a country where the state dominates nearly every facet of the economy.

Mr. Castro said authorities will “update the Cuban economic model,” suggesting reforms could be on the horizon. Cuban officials also plan to allow more Cubans to become self-employed and to build a new tax structure that will compel state employees to contribute more.

Cuba’s president, however, squashed notions of a sweeping overhaul to the country’s communist economic system in response to the financial crisis it faces.

“With experience accumulated in more than 55 years of revolutionary struggle, it doesn’t seem like we’re doing too badly, nor that desperation or frustration have been our companions along the way,” the president said in a speech before parliament.

From wire dispatches and staff reports