Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Meets with Belgian Prime Minister

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriquez met in Brussels with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel during his official visit to that European country, the second leg of a regional tour.

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The Cuban diplomat also met with his Belgian counterpart, Didier Reynders, and he is slated to hold talks with the European Union Diplomatic Chief, Federica Mogherini.

The visit comes as Cuba and the European Union are holding bilateral talks to reset their relationship on new grounds of respect and harmonious political dialogue. Also, European business sectors have expressed their interest in taking part in Cuba's economic reshaping, which was given a new boost by improving relations between Cuba and the United States.

Bruno Rodriguez is set to travel to Luxembourg and the Netherlands after concluding his visit to Belgium. He has already visited France.

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New York Governor Considers Productive Visit to Cuba

Governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo described today as productive and mutually advantageous his two-day visit to Cuba accompanied by some 20 businesspeople.

Little before his departure this afternoon, Cuomo said he will do everything within his reach to achieve lifting the economic, commercial and financial blockade that the U.S. keeps on the island for more than half a century.

He thanked all the attention he received during his stay on the part of officials and the people of the island and highlighted the importance of the meeting he held with First Cuban Vicepresident Miguel Díaz-Canel, with whom he talked about the perspectives of developing Cuban-United States links.

I feel proud of the role played by President Barack Obama in the process of approaching Cuba, in particular his most recent decision to exclude Cuba from the list of nations that according to the U.S. State Department sponsor terrorism.

Cuomo visited Tuesday the Special Development Zone of Mariel and on Monday he held a meeting with Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca, in which both talked about business opportunities offered by the Caribbean nation.

The New York Governor arrived here yesterday accompanied by representatives of leading U.S. companies like the financial services company Mastercard, airline JetBlue, pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Regeneron, agribusiness enterprises, among others.

These businesspeople sustained work meetings with their Cuban counterparts in order to pave the way to a later-on cooperation, when the policy of unilateral sanctions imposed by Washington against the greater of the Antilles is dismantled.

Cuomo is the first U.S. governor to visit Cuba after thne decision announced on December 17, 2014 by presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama of laying the foundation for the reestablishment of diplomatic relations and advance to normalization of bilateral links.

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Agreement Signed to Bring Cuban Lung Cancer Vaccine to U.S.

The Cuban Center for Molecular Immunology and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York on Tuesday signed an agreement to export to the United States a lung cancer vaccine developed on the island, for which clinical trials will begin very soon.

“This agreement establishes collaboration between our two institutions to develop a cancer vaccine in lung cancer. We’re very excited to take this to the United States to treat patients,” Roswell Park CEO Candace Johnson announced Tuesday at a press conference at the Havana airport.

Johnson is part of a trade delegation from New York State, headed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, that made a visit of a little more than 24 hours to the island to explore business options, in addition to fostering exchanges in the educational and research realms.

The Roswell Park director said before departing for New York that the deal would not have been possible without this trade mission.

The vaccine – known as CIMAVax-EGF – was created by Cuba in 2011 after 15 years of research and Havana holds the worldwide patent rights to the drug.

The vaccine is registered in Cuba and Peru, although countries such as Brazil, Argentina and Colombia are in the process of approving it also and others such as the United Kingdom and Australia have undertaken clinical trials with it.

The New York trade mission to Cuba also produced an agreement between the New York firm Infor, which develops software for specific industries, and an unidentified Cuban “partner” who is “interested” in one of the company’s software products for the healthcare field, said company CEO Charles Phillips.

“We were surprised and impressed with the level of technology and expertise they have in healthcare technology,” he said.

Phillips said that his company also has decided to supply software to Cuban universities to equip students to become “leaders” in the use of technology in the healthcare field.

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Cuban Female Basketball Team to Face China in Friendly Matches

The Cuban female basketball team will face China in three friendly matches, manager Alberto Zabala said.

The Cuban team, winner of the pre-Tournament of the Americas in 2013, will travel on Sunday to China to compete against the host team on April 25th, 27th and 29th.

The team is training for the world tournament to take place next September 27th to October 5th in Turkey.

The lineup is led by Yamara Amargo, the most valuable player in the Mexico's pre-tournament, and also includes Oyanaisis Gelis, Isneidis Casanova, Arlenis Romero, Leidis Oquendo, Taimí Fernández, y Marlene Cepeda, y las jóvenes Arletis Povea, Arlenys González, Anay García, Anisleidis Galindo, Edith Thompson and Lisdeivis Martínez, Zabala told the weekly sports magazine Jit.

”Our objective is to play as many matches as possible before the world championship. I believe that after 15 preparatory matches we could move on to the next stage, since the girls will have greater confidence and effectiveness,” the manager added.

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Cuba and France to deepen relations, say Foreign Ministers

Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs and his French counterpart Laurent Fabius, stated today in Paris the interest in deepening and expanding bilateral relations between the two countries.

As part of the official visit Rodríguez makes to France, the two foreign ministers held a press conference in which they reported that during the talks they addressed different aspects of the international agenda.

They discussed preparations for the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP21), to be held in Paris next December and issues related to international migration.

Prensa Latina adds that they also addressed issues related to the preparation of the planned visit to Cuba next May of President Francois Hollande, which they described as historic, especially because it will be the first time a French head of state will visit the island.

Fabius said that during his 2014 trip to Havana, the two sides expressed the desire to strengthen relations. Therefore, he added they are working to enhance cooperation and dialogue in all fields.

Cuba and France share the same concern about numerous causes: we are very attached to our independence and we will find solutions to international conflicts, he said.

Our economic, academic and cultural relationship is developing, he added.

On the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the US government to Cuba for more than 50 years, Fabius stressed that his country has always opposed to this measure and urged the northern nation to lift it.

For his part, Rodríguez Parrilla noted that relations with France have historically been a priority for the Cuban government. There are very deep, essentially cultural, links, he stated.

He said that the wide horizon of economic, cultural, academic and scientific relations, the presence of a growing French tourism on our island, as well as the levels of bilateral cooperation in many areas constitute a solid basis for further expanding and deepening ties.

Rodriguez added that relations between the EU and Cuba advance and thanked the French leadership when considering it crucial in this regard.

About Hollande's upcoming visit to the island, he stated that "it will surely be appreciated by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States as an expression of the priority that France attaches to its relations with our region."

The Cuban minister concludes today a two-day official visit to this nation as part of a European tour that will also take him to Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

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Over 220 foreign companies attend Health for All Scientific-Commercial Fair in Cuba

Roberto Morales Ojeda, head of the Cuban Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP by its Spanish acronym), inaugurated the 13th Salud para Todos (Health for All) Scientific-Commercial Fair in the grounds of PABEXPO, which involves 221 firms from 30 countries .

Morales and Rodrigo Malmierca, Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, cut the ribbon of the exhibition sample which opening was also attended by Salvador Pardo, head of the Ministry of Industries, and José Luis Di Fabio, representative in Cuba of the Pan American and World Health organizations, among others.

Marcia Cobas, MINSAP deputy minister, said that the exhibition shows novel contributions of medical technology, helping boost the development of the national health system and contributing to the progress of the health infrastructure in the 67 countries where over 50 000 Cuban health workers are present today.

She recalled that the fair was not made for 10 years, but now its implementation takes place in the context of changes in MINSAP, to achieve an efficient and sustainable health system within the model of social justice and equity that distinguishes the Cuban Revolution.

Unlike previous editions, which had a commercial nature, this one is also based on academic and scientific, so the program includes seminars, conferences by personalities of science and meetings of experts, said Cobas .

The Health for All Fair emerged in 1983 at the Conventions Center , by idea of the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, in order to exchange experiences, technology and scientific development between Cuba and the rest of the nations, she recalled.

On the first day the doctor and Professor Rodrigo Alvarez Cambras, director of the Frank País International Scientific Orthopedic Complex, in Havana, gave a lecture on the development of orthopedics in Cuba.

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Cuomo Lauds Cuba's Progress Growing Private Sector

Back from his trade mission to Cuba, Governor Andrew Cuomo is already hailing the trip a success.

The governor and a delegation of state and business leaders left the island Tuesday in time for the governor to attend an event in the evening.

Afterwards, the governor spoke exclusively to NY1, and he says as the United States and Cuba begin to normalize relations, now is the best time for New York companies to get in on the ground floor.

"It's an amazing time to be in Cuba. You feel history happening. You feel the change as you're there. Cuba itself—forget what the United States is doing—Cuba itself is changing. Over 500,000 private sector jobs now," Cuomo said.

On the last day of his trip, the governor visited Mariel Port, which is undergoing a $900 million expansion.

Because of the trade embargo, ships that dock here are prevented from coming to the United States for 180 days.

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