BBC Caribbean News in Brief  

Fidel’s television appearance

State-run Daily Granma said ailing revolutionary leader Fidel Castro was to make a rare television appearance yesterday.

The paper said former president Castro would appear in a special edition of Mesa Redonda (Round Table) to talk about events in the Middle East.

Granma did not indicate whether the current affairs show was being run live or taped.

Castro last appeared in a video aired on TV 11 months ago.

Two journalists in Cuba have published new photographs on the internet of the former leader making a rare public appearance.

Smiling and apparently healthy, he was shown talking to workers at a scientific facility in Havana.

Haiti still in survival more

Hundreds-of-thousands of people are still living in huge tent cities in Haiti, six months after a devastating earthquake killed more than 200,000 people and destroyed most of the capital, Port-au-Prince.  A BBC correspondent in Haiti says the crumpled walls of the Presidential palace are a monument to how little has been achieved towards reconstruction.

But the international aid agency Oxfam said that donations are having an impact.

Its regional director Fran Equiza said that, for instance, more people in Port-au-Prince now had access to clean water and latrines than before the quake.

Offshore sector defended

Antiguan Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer has called on the international community to respect efforts being made by the region to effectively regulate its offshore business sector.

Spencer and Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretary General Edwin Carrington have accused developed nations of shifting the goalposts whenever regional governments comply with their demands.

The two said that was particularly worrying at a time when Caribbean economies are struggling from the global financial crisis. Prime Minister Spencer told delegates at a joint EU/Cariforum conference that his government was forced to institute legislative and administrative reforms following the fallout from the Allen Stanford scandal.

Stanford is in jail awaiting trial in the US.

He is accused of having operated a $7 billion Ponzi scheme from his offshore bank in Antigua.

Sparrow’s contribution praised

Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has praised Grenada-born Trinidadian calypsonian the Mighty Sparrow, for his contribution to Caribbean and world culture.

In a message marking Sparrow’s 75th birthday, Prime Minister Thomas said few artistes could boast of a career that has spanned more than five decades, “covered multiple genres of music and art-forms and includes performances on stages in every continent”.

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