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Caribbean

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  • WASHINGTON— The State Department on Monday took Malaysia and Cuba off its blacklist of countries failing to combat modern-day slavery, leaving the U.S. open to criticism that politics is swaying the often-contentious rankings in its annual human trafficking report. Thailand, downgraded with Malaysia last year because of pervasive labor abuses in its...

  • July 27- Puerto Rico may sport palm trees, pristine beaches and glorious weather but its tourism industry is losing out to rival Caribbean islands- and that is holding the U.S. territory back at a time when its deeply troubled economy most needs a fillip. Rick Newman, who owns and operates the Verdanza Hotel in the popular beachside tourist strip of Isla Verde, says...

  • KINGSTON, Jamaica— The U.S. Virgin Islands' environmental agency plans to file a violation order against two rum producers on St. Jamal Nielsen, spokesman for the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, said authorities are "in the process of crafting a violation order" against Cruzan Rum and Diageo USVI, a subsidiary of global liquor giant Diageo PLC that...

  • With authorities at the Jamaica- based International Seabed Authority issuing exploration contracts, alarmed conservationists are warning that the deep ocean's fragile biodiversity must be protected and not nearly enough is known about the risks of extracting minerals from seabeds. "The pace of activity has increased dramatically over the last five...

  • Jamaica to retire $3B in oil debt to Venezuela Friday, 24 Jul 2015 | 1:28 PM ET

    KINGSTON, Jamaica— Jamaica has forged a deal to retire $3 billion in oil debts to Venezuela thanks to bond sales. In a Friday statement, Jamaica said it has issued roughly $2 billion in bonds on the international capital market that will pay down the debt it accumulated through Petrocaribe, a Venezuelan program that provides fuel to countries at market prices but...

  • KINGSTON, Jamaica— A judge in the Bahamas ruled Wednesday that a U.S. bankruptcy filing by the developer of an unfinished $2.5 billion megaresort in Nassau will not be recognized in the Caribbean archipelago. The islands' attorney general strongly objected to the Chapter 11 filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, arguing that having a U.S. court decide major...

  • KINGSTON, Jamaica— A fire broke out on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship Wednesday as it approached Jamaica, burning one crew member and causing passengers to be sent to evacuation stations with life jackets. Royal Caribbean International said fire suppression equipment quickly doused the blaze in a mechanical area of the Freedom of the Seas as it arrived at the...

  • NEW YORK, July 21- Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said on Tuesday that media reports that he and Italian real estate agent Alessandro Proto together purchased the island of St. Thomas, southwest of Athens, are "a total fabrication." "Until the reports started coming out I had never heard of the guy who is making the claims about the Greek Island," Buffett said in a...

  • WASHINGTON— Cuba's blue, red and white-starred flag was hoisted Monday at the country's embassy in Washington, signaling the start of a new post-Cold War era in U.S.- Cuba relations. Kerry said he would visit Cuba on Aug. 14 to preside over a flag-raising ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Havana. Despite the historic events, there remain issues that continue to vex the...

  • KINGSTON, Jamaica— Jamaica's sole electricity provider says crews have pulled down nearly 10,000 illegal connections to the power grid and police have arrested over 300 people for theft so far this year. In one town in Jamaica's St. In import-dependent Jamaica, consumers pay as much as five times more for electricity than people do in communities in South...

  • Raul Castro eyes 'new stage' for US-Cuba as ties to resume Wednesday, 15 Jul 2015 | 10:14 AM ET

    HAVANA— Raul Castro said Wednesday that Cuba and the United States are entering a new era as the countries prepare to restart diplomatic relations next week, though he insisted more changes in U.S. policy toward the communist-run island are necessary. But Cuba hopes he continues to use his executive powers "to dismantle aspects of this policy, which causes...

  • HAVANA, July 9- European officials and businesses are visiting Cuba in unprecedented numbers, attracted by its market-oriented reforms and hastened to act by Havana's improved relations with the United States. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was also scheduled to lead a delegation of 100 businesses to Cuba, but that trip was postponed due...

  • MIAMI, July 7- Carnival Corp has won U.S. approval to operate culturally-themed cruises to Cuba and plans to start taking travelers there in May, joining a growing list of maritime companies hoping to profit from a thaw in relations between Washington and Havana. The United States and Cuba have been working for months to improve relations after more than five...

  • MIAMI, July 7- Carnival Corp has won U.S. approval to operate cruises to Cuba and plans to start taking travelers there in May, joining a growing list of maritime companies hoping to profit from a thaw in relations between Washington and Havana. Miami- based Carnival, the world's largest cruise operator, said it was still in talks with Cuba for approval to start...

  • July 7- The Chinese construction company building the bankrupt $3.5 billion Baha Mar resort in the Bahamas on Tuesday broke its silence and accused the developer of mismanaging the project's design and not securing adequate financing. Construction delays, funding squabbles, lagging inspections and faulty work at the Nassau resort have led to finger...

  • JetBlue launches New York-to-Havana charter flights Friday, 3 Jul 2015 | 1:29 PM ET

    July 3- JetBlue Airways Corp said it began direct charter flights between New York and Havana on Friday, the first major U.S. carrier to fly the route following U.S. The airline said Cuba Travel Services Inc is offering the weekly flight on Fridays between New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Havana's Jose Marti International Airport.

  • Advertising group WPP to appoint executive in Cuba Thursday, 2 Jul 2015 | 6:39 AM ET

    LONDON, July 2- WPP, the world's biggest advertising group, is to appoint an executive in Cuba, saying on Thursday it would be the first major international communications services group to conduct business on the Communist-ruled island. The move comes a day after the United States and Cuba formally agreed to restore diplomatic relations on July 20, setting up a...

  • WASHINGTON/ HAVANA, July 1- An historic agreement to restore diplomatic ties between Washington and Havana could provide fresh momentum for lawmakers and activists seeking to chip away at- and eventually upend- the 53- year-old U.S. trade embargo. "This is more than symbolism," said Geoff Thale, program director at the Washington Office on Latin America, a group...

  • WILMINGTON, Delaware, July 1- The bankrupt $3.5 billion Baha Mar mega resort in the Bahamas secured up to $30 billion in interim financing on Wednesday, but it was unclear when construction on the stalled project would resume. Baha Mar's developer, Sarkis Izmirlian, the son of Armenian billionaire Dikran Izmirlian, has agreed to arrange the funding.

  • HAVANA/ WASHINGTON, July 1- The United States and Cuba on Wednesday formally agreed to restore diplomatic ties that had been severed for 54 years, fulfilling a pledge made six months ago by the former Cold War enemies. "Cuba is encouraged by the reciprocal intention to develop respectful and cooperative relations between our two peoples and governments," Raul...