Cuban Rumba Forum Timbalaye Dedicated to Emblematic Exponents

Matanzas, Cuba, Aug 25 (Prensa Latina) The 7th edition of the International Rumba Music Meeting – Timbalaye 2016 being held in Cuba, will be dedicated to two emblematic musicians, who died recently – Francisco Zamora (Minini) and Pedro Aballí (Regalado).

After the inauguration on August 26th in Havana, the event will travel to Matanzas, three days later. The activities will include a visit to the San Severino Castle, with performances by the Cuban group Afrocuba, a group which Minini founded and directed and in Regalado played as a fine percussionist.

The opening in the locality of Matanzas will include drum playing and will feature groups such as Cuba’s Siete Potencias (Seven Powers), and later rumba dancing will be held in the Alley of the Traditions.

For the closing on August 30th, the organizers will put on a theoretical workshop ‘The Rumba We Are’ and a musical closing ceremony will feature the band of Miguel Failde and the Kings of Drum.

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Cuba has 30.6% Forest Coverage Due to Reforestation Program

Socialist Cuba is one of the few developing countries that has been able to maintain sustained forest growth.

Forests in Cuba now make up 30.6 percent of the country’s land area, thanks to a reforestation initiative carried out by the socialist government, according to a report.

Titled, “Environmental Outlook: Cuba 2015,” from the National Officer of Statistics and Information, the report details recent improvement in Cuba’s forests, up from 27.6 percent in 2010.

Cuba started the reforestation program in 1998 and is part of a select group of developing countries that have been able to maintain sustained forest growth.

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Baseball prioritizing education in trip to Cuba

At one of the many dinners for Luis Duno-Gottberg, Associate Professor of Caribbean and Film Studies at Rice, the conversation between him and his company turned to his years of experience taking students on trips to Cuba. From there, the idea to send the Rice baseball team to Cuba was born. Now, thanks in large part to Duno-Gottberg, the Owls will travel to Cuba from November 23rd to December 4th to play exhibition games and learn about Cuban culture.

According to Duno-Gottberg, he never imagined that the trip would become reality.

“I didn’t think much, it was a conversation that seemed unexciting,” Duno-Gottberg said. “But the athletics department immediately started working and that took about a year. They discussed the possibilities, the benefits, and they eventually contacted me.

According to Deputy Athletic Director Rick Mello, planning the trip was a long process for the athletic department. Mello, Head Coach Wayne Graham and the rest of the stakeholders at Rice and in Cuba looked into the possibility in depth. They knew that the Penn State University baseball team had made a similar trip to Cuba in 2015, so they looked into and acquired the necessary approval from the NCAA. Mello said that the planning for this trip began even before the United States normalized diplomatic relations with Cuba in July 2015.

In a press release, University President David Leebron said this trip could be the first step in a future working relationship between Rice and Cuba.

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Bar Association Launches Task Force to Help Shape U.S.-Cuba Relationship

The Hispanic National Bar Association this week announced that its new Cuba Task Force will focus on ensuring that the thawing relationship between the United States and Cuba moves forth in a way that benefits everyone involved.

As the the United States’ relationship with Cuba gets cozier, the Hispanic National Bar Association is ready to help.

HNBA is launching a task force directed at the revitalized relationship between Cuba and the U.S. The members of the organization’s “Cuba Task Force” will present themselves as a resource for the renewed U.S.-Cuba partnership.

“We must ensure that the policy changes that are advanced not only improve business and economic opportunities between our nations, but also promote the civil and human rights of all Cubans on the island,” HNBA National President Robert Maldonado said in a statement.

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Cuba Hosts for First Time World Congress of Psychophysiology

Havana, Aug 24 (Prensa Latina) More than 350 specialists from Europe, the United States and Canada will participate in the 18th International Congress of Psychophysiology, taking place for the first time in Latin America, the organizing committee said.

Sponsored by the International Organization of Psychophysiology, the Cuban Society for Neuroscience and the Cuban Neuroscience Center, the event will be held at Melia Habana Hotel in Havana, from August 31st to September 4th.

In statements to Prensa Latina, Moraima Enriquez a member of the organizing committee explained that Cuba is an appropriate venue for this meeting due to its long and fruitful tradition in psychophysiology studies.

‘Our country is considered a pioneer in the introduction of electrophysiology, the fusion of multimodal imaging and cognitive neuroscience. The event enjoys great international prestige, has always been held in developed countries and this is the first to be held in Latin America,’ Enriquez said.

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Cuba Placed 18th in Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games

With a harvest of five gold, two silver and four bronze medals Cuba ranked 18th in the overall standings of the 31st Olympic Games Rio 2016 that concluded last Sunday in that Brazilian city

With that performance the Cuban delegation tied the amount of scepters won in London 2012, although that time it finished 16th with 15 medals, including three silver and seven bronze.

In Rio 2016, once again combat sports played the leading role in gaining gold medals, with highlight for boxing with three crowns and Greco-Roman wrestling (2).

Known as Cuba´s flagship in multiple sport events, boxing saw crowned to Julio Cesar La Cruz (81 kg), Robeisy Ramírez (56) and Arlen López (75), trio that masterfully competed at Riocentro Arena.

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Ferry Service to Cuba Right Around the Corner

One of the best-kept news secrets: In 2015, the U.S. State Department gave several ferry companies permission to begin sailing between South Florida and Cuba, pending approval from Cuban authorities.

Ferry travel could be the wave of the future for Americans who want to see the communist island, and it could be a tourist bonanza for South Florida as a “gateway destination” — particularly if hotels in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Key West are willing to offer packages that include a few days in Cuba.About Travel says when ferry service does launch, expect it to go to Havana from at least two Florida destinations: Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) and Key West. Miami, Port Manatee, Tampa and St. Petersburg are other departure points being considered by ferry companies. U.S. ferry service is being eyed for the historic, south coast port city of Santiago de Cuba as well as Havana.

“I can hardly imagine anything more exciting than uniting two countries that are so close, and yet have been cut off from each other for more than 55 years,” says Matt Davies, managing director of Direct Ferries, a global booking site for ferry service that will offer Cuba reservations by clicking here.

“We expect Cuba to sign the bilateral agreement very soon, and we will be ready with the widest selection of ferry routes to Cuba.” About Travel believes service could actually begin by the end of 2016.

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The Wine Press: Sipping Cuban rum in a vibrant, vivid Havana

Screen shot 2016-08-25 at 7.30.55 AMHavana Editor’s Note: Doug Frost usually writes about wine for The Star, but in this column he shares a glimpse into his recent trip to Cuba, where he visited the Havana Club rum distillery.

Everyone back in the United States has fixated on Cuba’s “classic cars.”

Cars from before the 1959 revolution, kept running by imagination and cobbled parts, all candy-colored like a mad cartoonist’s psychedelic version of a film noir.

These old Pontiacs, Dodges and Fords shine inside and outside. The seats and walls are coated in thick plastic, protecting them from the salty ocean air. Cut off from U.S. parts and even paint, the Cubans have had to invent their own, and the colors they choose are more Carmen Miranda than Dale Earnhardt.

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Congresswoman not satisfied with progress in Cuba

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, discusses effort to improve U.S.-Cuba relations.

Ten months after leading a bipartisan agricultural mission to Cuba, U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, said she isn’t satisfied with the progress made improving trade relations.

But she remains hopeful.

Bustos and Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, co-sponsored legislation that would eliminate the requirement that Cubans pay cash in advance for American products. The legislation remains stalled.

“We made some tremendous progress right before we just came home in August, and at the last minute, it fell apart,” Busto said during RFD Radio Network’s Congressional Roundtable at the Illinois State Fair. “But here’s the good news: It didn’t fall apart so badly we can’t resurrect that. So, the thought right now is we will go back out to Washington after Labor Day, and I believe we’ll be able to make some movement on that. So, I feel good about that.”

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Cuban Connection: Agricultural Delegation sees opportunity

Close to 100 Louisianans traveled to Havana in July as part of Louisiana’s Agricultural Trade Delegation. Their goal was to build business relationships and gain a better understanding of the Cuban economy with the hope of selling Louisiana crops to the country in the future.

Their schedule was full from sun-up to sun-down, from touring Havana’s new port to a local organic farm. The main focus was Cuba’s demand for food.

“The trade with the States in the field of grain is very important to us,” said Dr. Mario Pablo Estrada, Director of Agricultural Biotechnology Research in Cuba. “We import rice, maize and soybeans—every year–hundreds of millions of dollars worth.”

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