Cuba Says Washington Impeded U.S. Scientist’s Trip to Havana

HAVANA – The United States is maintaining its “hostile policy” against Cuba by preventing a U.S. scientist from traveling to Havana to participate in a pharmaceuticals workshop, Communist Party daily Granma said Wednesday.

Washington, according to the newspaper, “denied permission to travel to Cuba to Harold Baseman, an instructor with the Parenteral Drugs Association and member of the presidency of the scientific committee of that U.S. entity, which shows the continuity of the hostile policy against our country.”

The paper said that Baseman was supposed to participate this week in Havana in the 6th International Workshop on Aseptic Processing in the Biopharmaceutical Industry, which scientists from China, Italy, Germany, Peru, Mexico, Argentina and other nations, are attending.

The administration of President Barack Obama in January announced new flexibility in the regulations governing travel from the United States to Cuba for some groups, including students, academics, journalists and the members of religious organizations.

Last week, the Treasury Department published the new regulations, which say that those groups can travel freely and without requesting U.S. government authorization to the communist-ruled island if they are going there to visit a “close relative” who is Cuban or works for the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.

The new rules also say that professionals who are attending events such conferences or symposia can travel to Cuba without asking prior permission from Washington, along with students and professors who are going there to participate in educational activities.

In April 2009, Obama had pushed for the relaxation of rules on travel to Cuba so that Cuban Americans could travel to the island whenever they wished. EF

Perú: Más de 10 mil touroperadores venden este destino en todo el mundo

Perú. El país andino se ha posicionado en los más destacados catálogos turísticos del mundo y actualmente es comercializado por más de 10 mil touroperadores en todo el planeta, destacó el presidente de la Cámara Nacional de Turismo (Canatur), Carlos Canales. Según previsiones de esa entidad, en Perú Travel Mart 2011, entre el 15 y el 18 de mayo, se prevé concretar negocios por una cifra entre 30 y 54 millones de dólares.

Durante una presentación del evento, la directora de Promoción de Turismo de la Comisión de Promoción del Perú para la Exportación y el Turismo (Promperú), Rocío Merino, afirmó que el país “tiene una amplia y diversificada oferta turística que no sólo es patrimonio cultural histórico sino que también incluye naturaleza, aventura, turismo vivencial y gastronómico. Así es como queremos posicionar al país en los ojos del consumidor en el mundo”.

“En la mayoría de los mercados estratégicos ya estamos en una fase de crecimiento y de maduración. Por lo tanto, las cadenas de comercialización venden el destino Perú, mientras que los consumidores ya se deciden a visitar el país”, comentó, y precisó que el presupuesto de Promperú para el turismo se divide en acciones para el consumidor final (70%) y para touroperadores (30%).

Señaló que el año pasado Promperú trabajó con 39 aliados estratégicos en nueve países del mundo, y que en 2011 apunta a tener 50 aliados en 11 países, como forma efectiva de concretar las ventas.

Según Merino, el esfuerzo en la promoción ha dado resultados, pues en 2010 creció en 35% la cifra de visitantes a la Fortaleza de Kuélap (Amazonas), en 20% a las Tumbas Reales del Señor de Sipán (Lambayeque), en 42% a Pachacámac (Lima), y en 16% al Valle del Colca (Arequipa).

Entretanto, el titular de Canatur destacó que “en el mundo, el destino Perú debe estar en más de 10.000 catálogos, especialmente en Estados Unidos, Europa y Latinoamérica”.

Peru Travel Mart 2011 contará la asistencia de unos 180 delegados, entre compradores y vendedores, y 110 empresas en 15 países.

Entre los países que confirmaron su presencia figuran Australia, Bolivia, Brasil, Colombia, Ecuador, Francia, Alemania, Honduras, Italia, México, Estados Unidos, Venezuela y Polonia.

Studying abroad comes with memories, customs, precautions

One reality, however stereotypically American it may be, is that many students who are considering the option of studying abroad are also considering the limitations and laws on alcohol consumption in the country of their interest.

However important this idea may be to students, there are also many other useful tips and precautions that students must learn about before immersing themselves into a new culture.

Tina Williams, study abroad programs coordinator, once attended a conference where a speaker made an analogy about the wonders of alcohol consumption for students abroad.

"He started out by explaining that chewing gum is illegal in Singapore. It is not sold anywhere, and it is only used for therapeutic purposes. Much like there are restrictions in the United States on alcohol, there are the same restrictions in Singapore for chewing gum," said Williams. "When a student comes to the U.S. where chewing gum is everywhere, it just seems so awesome that he or she must get involved in the hype of gum. This is a great comparison to alcohol, but the idea students need to remember is, everything in moderation. The urge to get sloppy makes that ugly American profile abroad."

One student, Hilary Larson, a Spanish major who studied abroad in Spain last summer said that the consumption of alcohol seemed to be much more common in Spain than it is in the United States.

"It seemed very common at dinner and was a must at social events," said Larson. "The laws also seemed to be much more lenient. Open containers weren't an issue, and no one in my group was ever carded while purchasing alcohol or attempting to get into a bar or a club."

Williams said that while this is the case in many countries outside the United States, she cannot reiterate enough the importance of moderation.

"The question students must ask themselves is, ‘Would I do it back home?'" said Williams. "We don't want to scare students with boundaries and limitations, but you must use your common sense. It will not only be beneficial, but also educational to your experiences."

There are also many other, equally important, concerns overlooked by the more than 400 students coming and leaving Washburn who chose to study abroad.

Williams said that many students both coming to and leaving the U.S. to study abroad don't consider what transportation methods they will be using upon arrival at their new country.

"In many countries, public transportation is the main way students will get around. Students must research times of day that are good for travel, areas of town to avoid, and not make assumptions based on their experiences back home," said Williams. "The same happens for students coming to the U.S. We have had students take a taxi from the airport in Kansas City to Topeka because that's just what they're used to back home."

Packing is also an issue that many students find themselves stressing about, primarily with over-packing. Too much stuff makes for difficult traveling. Williams suggests that the essentials should suffice, and expensive items, especially those with a power cord should be left at home.

"Being overseas where outlets and voltage are different, you are almost guaranteed to burn something out like your Chi [hair straightener]," said Williams.

Carrying on with the "only essentials" theme, many U.S. universities and host universities encourage their exchange students to leave the valuables at home. Countless places that students travel are tourist capitols of the world, which unfortunately means that the pick-pocketing and thievery is present in the community.

"It is very important to be aware of your immediate surroundings at all times," said Williams. "It's okay to be overwhelmed with everything around you, but don't let your guard down; people are looking for you."

Illnesses and culture shock are also two very important issues that students should research and be aware of before leaving home. The Center for Disease Control has a website which lists breakouts, diseases and recommended vaccinations for every country in the world, many countries broken down by region. The Shawnee County Health Department also has a travel clinic where this information can be obtained, and where vaccinations can be received.

Although there is no medicinal cure for culture shock, the more research a student does on their destination, the more prepared her or she will be for the changes when he or she gets there.

"I know it's a nasty topic, but traveler's diarrhea happens frequently," said Williams. "Always pack Imodium A-D and Pepto Bismol caplets."

For students leaving Washburn, the International House also takes extra measures to ensure students' questions are answered before they embark on what could be the most educational experiences of their lives.

On April 8, the Study Abroad Orientation will take place, with information session covering a wide variety of topics from safety to pre-departure check lists.

"We take every measure we can to prepare students to take the journey of their lifetimes," said Williams. "Our hopes are that they have life-changing experiences and that maybe they'll sign up to go on another trip or a longer trip

Family travel five: Sample all the flavors of your travel destination Read more:

Add a culinary twist to your cultural exploration and provide the whole family with a fulfilling experience. Here are five mouthwatering ideas to consider:

1. AsparagusFest in Stockton, Calif. Learning about a food's origin and the many ways it can be prepared can turn a curious green vegetable into something of grand interest.

Visit this Northern California town to discover all things asparagus. The 26th annual festival offers music, amusement rides for kids, Tyson the skateboarding bulldog, other amazing dog tricks, and, of course, recipes, competitions, tastings and talk about the vegetable of honor. This year's festival is April 15-17.

Contact: 209-644-3740;

2. New Orleans. The kids will learn about the impact of natural disaster on a food source and a community's unflinching spirit when the family ventures to this coastal city that continues to survive against the odds. Head to Cafe du Monde for its trademark and tasty beignets. Savor po' boys or gumbo for lunch. Stroll through the French Quarter or visit the Children's Museum to restore your appetite for dinner. Then sample from the wealth of Cajun or Creole-style seafood. The adventuresome might opt for fried alligator on a stick.

Contact: 800-672-6124;

3. Visit Peru. Teach the kids about superfoods while sharing the amazing history of the Andes people. This country is home to grainlike and nutrient-rich quinoa and purple spuds, both considered sacred and said to have been cultivated for Incan royalty. Mix these Peruvian diet staples into your menu when planning a trek on the Inca trail en route to the legendary Machu Picchu.


4. Try artichokes in Albuquerque, N.M. Learn how to eat artichokes every which way at the Artichoke Cafe, a charming dining spot set in the city's historic east downtown neighborhood. Gather additional local intel at the National Hispanic Cultural Center as well as the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Taste the local cuisine, combining native chiles, corn, beans and squash, at one of many restaurants you'll find in Old Town, Albuquerque's 300-year-old city center.

Contact:; 1-800-284-2282;

5. Eat local. Experience global. Large U.S. cities are often home to cultural enclaves where small, family-owned restaurants dish up authentic favorites, combined with a bit of history from the homeland. When traveling to cities like New York, Chicago, San Francisco or Miami, seek out dining options in Little Italy, Chinatown or Little Havana. There you can introduce the family to cultural and culinary traditions along with a good meal.

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Resurgent leftist in Peru election

LIMA, Peru (AP) — A leftist former army officer who nearly won Peru's presidency five years ago with fiery anti-capitalist rhetoric and open affinity for Hugo Chavez has surged into contention once again, leading opinion polls ahead of April 10 presidential elections.

To get there, Ollanta Humala ditched his leftist discourse and radical red T-shirt and distanced himself from Venezuela's president, pitching himself as a mellowed moderate.

But is the makeover merely cosmetic? Although Humala frequently dons a suit and tie and does his best to appear a modest, respectable family man, the business community is spooked.

It fears that if Humala were to win, he would scuttle an economy that grew nearly 9 percent last year and is the envy of many neighboring countries.

Lima's main stock market index dove more than 5 percent earlier this week after polls showed Humala in the lead for the first time, reaching a technical tie for the lead with Keiko Fujimori, daughter of disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori.

A new Datum poll released Friday, gave Humala a de facto lead with 21.4 percent. Closely clustered behind him were Fujimori (16.4 percent), former President Alejandro Toledo (17.4 percent) and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski 17.5 percent), an economy minister and Cabinet chief during Toledo's 2001-2006 presidency. The poll's error margin was 2.2 percent.

Another new poll by the Catholic University gave Humala a clearer lead over Toledo, who had been the front-runner since January. Humala was up by 24.3 percent to 18.8 percent, with a margin of error of 2.3 percent.

Toledo had been leading the race since January.

No candidate is expected to obtain the simple majority needed to avoid an early June runoff —

Humala summoned reporters to a hotel in Lima's wealthy San Isidro district after Monday's market drop to assure them his economic policies would "respect our international agreements."

"Nothing will be done outside democratic, legal means," he added.

Earlier in the campaign, the former army lieutenant colonel had called for renegotiating Peru's free trade agreements.

Humala also is promising to respect Peru's constitutional prohibition against immediate re-election, a clear acknowledgment of fears he might mimic Chavez and the Venezuelan president's close allies, Presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia and Rafael Correa of Ecuador. All three won re-election after voters passed referendums allowing the countries' charters to be rewritten.

All three also have been accused of using strong-arm tactics to silence opposition-run news media. Humala says he respects freedom of the press.

But Peru's dominant, business-friendly daily, El Comercio, has shown little respect for him.

Last week, it likened Humala's plans for the economy to those that wrought economic ruin in eastern Europe under Soviet rule.

While short on specifics, Humala has advocated expanding the state's role in the economy and extracting higher royalties from mining companies, which account for 60 percent of Peru's exports.

Toledo also proposes higher taxes on windfall profits by mining companies. But he and the other three leading candidates also believe the private sector should continue to play a dominant role.

In his 192-page campaign platform, Humala strikes a markedly different tone from the others, contending that Peru has become "the instrument of a few small (business) groups who consider their transnationalization the only road to development."

Humala told business leaders in a January speech that he'd seek to rewrite the constitution to create "an economic regime that has social justice as its objective." That, he said, includes "restoring national sovereignty over ... natural resources."

He insists, for one, that the natural gas needs of Peru's people take priority over exports, echoing rhetoric that helped Morales get elected in gas-rich Bolivia

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