- - Monday, October 22, 2012

HAVANA — Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro said he doesn’t even suffer from a headache in an article he published in state media Monday criticizing those who spread rumors he was on his death bed.

The article is accompanied by photos taken by son Alex Castro that show the 86-year-old revolutionary icon standing outside near some trees wearing a checked shirt and cowboy hat, including one in which he is seen reading Friday’s copy of the Communist Party newspaper Granma.

“I don’t even remember what a headache feels like,” Mr. Castro claims, adding that he was releasing the photos to show “how dishonest” the rumor mongers have been.

The article was published on the state-run Cubadebate Web site early Monday. It is the latest evidence that the former president is alive and seemingly well after more than a week of intense speculation he was seriously ill.

Twitter and other social media websites have been abuzz with claims of Mr. Castro’s demise.

HAITI

Martelly under fire for rising prices, corruption

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Less than 18 months after taking office on a wave of populist support, Haitian President Michel Martelly now is facing protests in a country still trying to rebound from the massive 2010 earthquake.

For three weeks, protesters have marched regularly in Haiti’s biggest towns, furious about what they see as the government’s inaction in the face of the rising cost of living in what is already one of the world’s poorest nations.

The demonstrators also denounce politicians for lavish spending on luxury cars and official travel that they say brings no practical gain to the Caribbean country.

The grass-roots movement was quickly joined by political groups hostile to Mr. Martelly’s administration, which they accuse of trying to “install a dynastic and dictatorial regime.”

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

German sect members face prison sentences

SANTO DOMINGO — A judge in the Dominican Republic has ordered two more German members of a doomsday sect to jail after police accused them of participating in a deadly shootout.

Daniel Brunck joins his father Peter Brunck in a yearlong preventive detention while police investigate. Isabella Dietrich, 46, faces three months.

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