- - Wednesday, March 30, 2011

CUBA

Carter meets jailed American and old friend Fidel

HAVANA | Former President Jimmy Carter met with a jailed American contractor whom Cuba refuses to release and greeted former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro as “old friends.”

Supporters of Alan Gross hoped the communist government would allow Mr. Carter to bring the Maryland native home. He is serving a 15-year sentence after being convicted this month of bringing communications equipment into Cuba illegally.

Mr. Carter called Mr. Gross “innocent of any serious crime.”

He also sat down Wednesday with Mr. Castro.

“We welcomed each other as old friends,” Mr. Carter said.

PARAGUAY

Dengue fever kills 18, infects 13,000

ASUNCION | Dengue fever is raging in Paraguay, with 13,000 patients crowding public hospitals and 18 deaths so far this year.

Deputy Health Minister Edgar Gimenez announced Wednesday that all elective surgeries are being suspended to free up beds. He said the public health system wants to hire 2,000 more doctors and nurses to help respond to the epidemic.

There is no vaccine for so-called bone-break fever, which causes strong pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and, in some cases, death.

Paraguay’s toll is already higher than in all of 2007, when 17 died of dengue.

NORTH KOREA

Officials upbeat after talks about nukes

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