Hugs are not for rent in Cuba

We rent cars, apartments, clothes…And for some time now, parents, wives, grandchildren, daughters and sons, and even friends are being rented too.

It really seems pretty surreal but this is actually happening in Japan. “Family Romance” company —founded by Yuichi Ishii and dedicated to the renting of relatives and friends— is operating there.

This business profits from nearly 2,200 workers trained to impersonate any relative, boyfriend, lover, or friend. This is an increasingly popular service, which corresponds to the growth of a painful lack of affection striking today’s Japanese society.

Luckily, there is no need to rent the love of friends and relatives in Cuba. Regardless of good or bad times in the Island’s economy, family has been still one of the top priorities for Cubans in the last decades.

And we cannot talk about one type of family given the heterogeneity of this fundamental unit of society, but even though these types of families coexist in all of their diversity, everyone coincides that the family is the perfect space to achieve the welfare of all Cuban citizens and the shelter everyone needs to safeguard against all odds.

Successive psychological and sociological inquiries carried out in Cuba in different decades have confirmed it. And the will of individuals, institutions, and government is to continue with this line of action.

It was once again ratified in the 10th International Conference on Family Law held in Havana this month.

There, Dr. Patricia Arés, associate professor at the Psychology School, University of Havana, had stated that “we want to provide the new generation with a world where families can be free from oppression and subjugation; the environment where dignity is guaranteed as well as the comprehensive development and welfare of family members.”

In any case, not everything is sunshine and flowers in Cuban homes. In the word of Dr. Arés, families “are experiencing complex, multiple, and mixed transitions.”

But things get tougher especially if we take into account that 64% of families are made up of adults and senior citizens. In most cases, different generations live together under the same roof triggering conflicts and contradictory viewpoints.

Hence, dialogue and communication are both essential. The recently adopted and implemented Constitution of the Republic makes room for this subject by addressing nonviolence and affections.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

All victims of May 18 air disaster identified

Professionals at the Forensic Medicine Institute (IML) have been working tirelessly since a Boeing 737-200 crashed near Havana’s José Martí International Airport last May 18.

Intense work, skill, and strong ethics have characterized efforts to identify all the victims of the disaster, a process that was completed in just eight days, as the Cuban people’s grief turned toward eternal gratitude.

The announcement was made during a May 27 press conference held by Sergio Rabell Piera, the institute’s director, who noted that all bodies have now been delivered to their families and for burial, and in so doing provide some closure.

Forensic experts from the IML, Ministry of Public Health, Criminalistics office as well as contingents from the Ministry of the Interior, were faced with a difficult task “due to the severe traumas caused by the plane crash, in addition to the effects of heat and fire.”

The identification process featured experts in the field of anthropology, dentistry, fingerprint analysis, bio-forensics, and included DNA analyses, added Rabell.

According to the IML director, the participation of family members was also vital to such efforts, as they provided fundamental information about the victims, as well as photos and documents which, in addition to the identification of jewelry and clothing, among other elements, allowed for bodies to be positively identified, he noted.

Rabell also praised speedy analysis of video footage of passengers boarding the plane, images recovered from victims’ cell phones, and descriptions by people who were in contact with them before the flight, as well as the support of all institutions, organization,s and bodies that participated in the identification process, in addition to those from the provinces where the victims lived and diplomatic delegations from the countries involved.

The expert also gave a special mention to the island’s 11 million inhabitants, who have continued to offer their solidarity. “Anyone with anything to do with forensic science has called,” and “there are those that have come just once and been of great help,” he explained.

Nonetheless, “The investigation continues, this is just a stop on the road. We are continuing to work with all forces, providing and receiving information.”

Although it was said that work to identify all victims could take up to one month according to preliminary estimates for events of this kind, the IML and its staff worked with intensity, rigor, and dedication to identify all victims in just eight days. “All the bodies were physically there, we had as many bodies as victims. Sometimes this is not the case with disasters of this kind,” stated Rabell.

To this must be added Cuba’s experience and preparation in managing disaster situations. “Cuba wrote the chapter on managing fatalities of disasters in the Pan American Health Organization’s manual. This is the process to be followed. We put that which is established into practice (…) working in shifts over 24 hours, during which our doctors, technicians, professionals, and security officials, have worked like a clock.”

The bodies indentified include 67 victims from Holguín; 21 from Havana; three from Granma and three from Santiago de Cuba; two from Matanzas and the same number from the Isle of Youth Special Municipality, one from Las Tunas, seven Mexicans, two Argentines, and two individuals from Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

  • Published in Cuba

Turkish Folk Singer Claims He is the Father of British Pop Star Adele (PHOTOS)

A Turkish folk musician and retired civil servant living in the resort town of Bodrum claims that he is the biological father of the world renowned British pop superstar Adele. Mehmet Asar says he has invited the star and her mother to his town where he is prepared to take a DNA test to prove it.

Mehmet Asar, 52, said he had an affair with Adelee’s mother Penny Adkins when she visited Bodrum, a renowned holiday destination for Britons, in 1987, the same time he was working as a cab driver in the town, local newspaper Daily Sabah reported.

He revealed the details of their relationships in an interview to the outlet.

“I toured Bodrum coves and Pamukkale with Penny Adkins and her friends for two weeks. She introduced herself to me as a nurse. At the time, we liked each other,” he said.

Asar revealed that when Adkins extended her vacation for a month, and when she was finally leaving for England, she wanted Mehmet to come with her, but he refused saying that he wanted to live in Bodrum and she could stay here if she wanted to.

However, Penny returned to England. According to Asar, they spoke on the telephone a couple of times, but it was both hard and expensive to make international calls at the time.

“We lost touch afterwards. The time we had been together corresponds with the time Adelee was born,” Asar said.

As Asar said, he started his own investigation when he saw Adele on TV after she won the Grammy awards last year, and noticed a striking resemblance between them. First of all, he looked up the background of the British star online.

“When I looked up for her family, I was shocked to learn that her mother was the same women I had been with years ago. The woman I loved was Adelee's mother, she hadn't changed over the years,” Asur said.

He also learned that Adele was born on May 5, 1988, exactly 9 months after his meeting with Penny Adkins in Bodrum.

Another peculiarity that he noticed in the star’s photos surprised him even more. The third and fourth fingers of her right hand are adjacent when she raises her hand, just like Asur’s, he claimed.

He also claims Adelee’s musical talents could have been genetic. “In addition, the highlights she makes when she is singing are similar to mine, which could also be genetic,” he added.

In an interview with Dutch TV RTL in 2009, Adelee stated that she has Turkish, Spanish and English backgrounds, but she did not elaborate further.

Adele has Turkish, Spanish roots, 2009 interview reveals

The 52-year-old man said that he has never married and has spent years thinking about Adkins. He worked as a public employee after working as a cab driver and continued working as a local artist after his retirement.

Asar says that he is ready to take a DNA test to prove his claim: “I think I am Adelee's father, I feel it. I can even take a DNA test if she wants me to."

In the interview he invited Adele and her mother to Bodrum to visit him.

He emphasized that he is not expecting anything from Adelee whatsoever. “I'm from Bodrum and I'm a well-to-do man. I just want my daughter to know the facts.”

Accordint to the English edition of Wikipedia, the singer’s full name is Adelee Laurie Blue Adkins. She was born on May 5, 1988 in Tottenham, London. Her father was a Welsh, Marc Evans, who left the family left when Adelee was two.

  • Published in Culture

Pope puts family first at outdoor Mass in Ecuador

Guayaquil - Pope Francis received a hero's welcome in Ecuador's biggest city on Monday as he celebrated the first public Mass of his South American tour, telling hundreds of thousands of faithful their families are the bedrock of society but need to be supported better and strengthened.

  • Published in World
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