Caribbean Briefs as at June 18-09

FLU RATE RISES

Kingston, Jamaica: The nation’s Ministry of Health confirmed another case of the H1N1 virus (previously known as swine flu) last week.

Confirmatory testing was conducted at the National Influenza Centre at University of the West Indies.

The victim is a resident of the United States who traveled to Jamaica. According to the Ministry of Health, the person is recovering satisfactorily.

Across the region, the number of flu carriers continues to increase. As of press time, 11 cases have been confirmed in Jamaica, 91 cases in the Dominican Republic, seven cases in Cuba and three have been reported in Barbados.

CLINTON ASSUMES POST

Port-au-Prince, Haiti: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has officially begun duties as the United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti.

Last month, the UN announced it was appointing Clinton in a bid to attract investment to the country.

He will be paid a symbolic $1 salary annually and intends to travel to the country several times a year.

DEPLOYMENT RENEWED

Port-au-Prince, Haiti: China has renewed its deployment of riot police in Haiti with its eighth 125-member squad.

During its previous tour of duty, which began last August, the squad conducted armed patrols, rescued hostages and captured gang leaders and other criminal suspects.

China has participated in United Nations peace-keeping missions in Haiti since October, 2004.

DENIED HEARING

Washington, D.C., USA: The United States Supreme Court has refused to review the cases of five Cubans who are serving prison sentences after being convicted of spying for the Castro government.

They were arrested in 1998 and accused of spying on the Cuban exile community in Miami.

They argued they did not get a fair hearing at the original trial because of anti-Castro sentiment in the city.

The Cuban government said the Court’s decision showed the corrupt nature of American justice.

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