- - Monday, July 12, 2010

CUBA

Fidel Castro returns to view on state TV

HAVANA | Fidel Castro has strided back into the limelight after years behind the scenes and out of view.

Days after being photographed in public for the first time since he fell ill in 2006, the 83-year-old revolutionary leader was scheduled to make a highly promoted appearance on state television on Monday to discuss his concerns about the Middle East.

Mr. Castro’s appearance on the “Mesa Redonda,” or “Round Table” — a daily talk show about current events that is usually transmitted live on state media across the island — was announced in a front-page story in the Communist Party’s daily Granma.

The announcement did not specify whether the program would be broadcast live, and government officials contacted by the Associated Press had no comment. Mr. Castro also appeared in videotaped interviews with Cuban television in June and September 2007.

BAHAMAS

‘Barefoot Bandit’ goes to court Tuesday

NASSAU | When he was dodging them in stolen boats and cars, the “Barefoot Bandit” was a major headache for the Bahamian police ordered to track him down. Now that the chief suspect has been caught, they would like him to stay awhile — at least until he is prosecuted.

Colton Harris-Moore, 19, faces a string of theft and burglary charges on the island chain, and he could fight extradition to the United States, where he faces prosecution in at least four states.

Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade said charges filed in the Bahamas will take priority over those in the U.S. Monday was a holiday on the island chain, however, and Mr. Harris-Moore isn’t expected to make his initial court appearance until Tuesday at the earliest.

John Henry Browne, a lawyer contacted by Mr. Harris-Moore’s mother, said the theft and burglary charges in the Bahamas are relatively minor but that alleged possession of a gun at the time of his capture could complicate the case.

If the U.S. charges are consolidated in federal court, Mr. Harris-Moore is looking at potentially four to 12 years in prison, he said.

NICARAGUA

Ex-president Aleman to run again in 2011

MANAGUA | Former President Arnoldo Aleman accepted his party’s nomination for president Sunday, setting up a likely showdown next year with his longtime political rival, current President Daniel Ortega.

The Liberal Constitutionalist Party that has long been dominated by Mr. Aleman and his allies gave him the nomination during a weekend convention.

Mr. Aleman, 64, is launching his candidacy as he emerges from legal problems that have dogged him for years.

A court in Panama this month dropped charges he had used bank accounts there to launder about $58 million allegedly stolen from Nicaraguan government accounts.

In January, Nicaragua’s Supreme Court overturned Mr. Aleman’s conviction on money laundering charges stemming from his 1997-2001 term. An appeals court later reopened three cases against him that are still pending, however.

CUBA

Freed Cubans to be flown to Madrid

HAVANA | Cuban officials told relatives of soon-to-be-released political prisoners to be ready to leave the country at any moment Monday, and Spain’s foreign minister said seven of the dissidents and their families would be boarding a flight to Madrid.

The government of President Raul Castro has pledged to free 52 political prisoners over the next three or four months in a mass liberation that once seemed unthinkable — part of a deal between Cuban authorities and the island’s Roman Catholic Church that was brokered by Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos.

While no prisoners had yet been released, the church announced Monday that three more inmates would go free soon, bringing to 20 the number set to be released soon and sent to Spain.

The Spanish Foreign Ministry told the Associated Press that seven of them should arrive aboard a flight Tuesday. The immediate future of the other 13 prisoners was unclear.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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