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Question of the Day
Havana to slash 500,000 jobs
HAVANA | Cuba announced Monday that it will cast off at least a half-million state employees by mid-2011 and reduce restrictions on private enterprise to help them find new jobs — the most dramatic step yet in President Raul Castro’s push to radically remake employment on the communist-run island.
Mr. Castro suggested during a nationally televised address on Easter Sunday that as many 1 million Cuban workers — about one in five — may be redundant. But the government previously had not laid out specific plans to reduce the work force.
The layoffs will start immediately and continue through the first half of next year, according to the nearly 3-million-strong Cuban Workers Confederation — the only labor union allowed by the government.
To soften the blow, it said, the government would increase private-sector job opportunities, including allowing more Cubans to become self-employed, forming cooperatives run by employees rather than government administrators and increasing private control of state land, businesses and infrastructure through long-term leases.
Plane crash kills 15 of 51 aboard
CARACAS | A plane carrying 51 people crashed Monday in a steel-mill yard in eastern Venezuela, killing 15 people on board, officials said.
Workers at the state-run Sidor steel foundry pulled people from the smoking wreckage of the plane owned by Venezuelan state airline Conviasa, and officials said 36 passengers and crew survived.
The partially scorched fuselage of French-built ATR 42 rested among barrels and shipping containers.
The 15 people were killed after the crash about six miles from the eastern city of Puerto Ordaz, Bolivar state Gov. Francisco Rangel Gomez told reporters. Forensic experts have to identify six of the bodies, he said.
Argentine invests in post-quake hotel
MIAMI | An Argentine energy and agribusiness entrepreneur Monday announced plans with a Haiti-based business group to build a $33 million, 240-room business hotel in the earthquake-ravaged Haitian capital.
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
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