Cuba to elect new National Assembly
HAVANA • Cuba headed to the polls yesterday to vote for a new National Assembly, a key step in a process leading to the election of a new president, the first in nearly 60 years from outside the Castro family.
The new members of the National Assembly will be tasked with choosing a successor to 86-year-old President Raul Castro when he steps down next month.
Eight million Cubans are expected to turn out to ratify 605 candidates for an equal number of seats in the Assembly, a process shorn of suspense and unique to the communist-run Caribbean island nation.
Syrian govt keeps up strikes on rebel bastion
HAMMURIYEH • New air strikes and barrel bombs pounded Syria's Eastern Ghouta yesterday as government forces pressed a three-week advance that splintered the rebel enclave and trapped dozens under collapsed buildings.
Defying global calls for a ceasefire, Syria's government has pursued a ferocious Russian-backed air campaign and ground offensive to capture the region, the last rebel bastion on the capital's doorstep.
The total toll from the offensive is now at least 1,102 civilians, according to the Britain-based monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Ex-spy's murder bid: Nerve agent traces found
LONDON • Traces of a nerve agent used in the suspected attempted murder of a former Russian spy have been found in a pub and a restaurant he visited, England's chief medical officer has said.
Dr Sally Davies yesterday said up to 500 people who had visited The Mill pub and the Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury, south-west England, needed to wash their clothes and belongings as a precaution.
The March 4 attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia is being treated by detectives as attempted murder.