May 24, 2007 in Nation/World

In brief: Castro says he’s recovering well

The Spokesman-Review

A statement signed by Fidel Castro sought to reassure Cubans on Wednesday that the 80-year-old Cuban leader was recovering well from several operations, saying his weight was stable and he was eating solid foods after “many months” of intravenous feeding.

In the most detailed assessment of Castro’s health since shortly after he fell ill almost 10 months ago, the statement said: “It wasn’t just one operation, but various. Initially it wasn’t successful and that had a bearing on my prolonged recuperation.”

Sent by e-mail to foreign journalists by the government, the statement did not say when Castro might appear in public again or retake Cuba’s presidency.

Castro shocked Cuba in July when it was announced he had undergone intestinal surgery and was temporarily ceding power to his 75-year-old brother Raul, the defense minister. He has not been seen in public since.


Farmers protest fines for children

Authorities detained 28 people after thousands of farmers rioted to protest fines levied on those who had more children than allowed under China’s family planning policy, state media said Monday.

Between 300 and 3,000 people were involved in the demonstrations outside government offices last weekend across six towns in Bobai, a county in southern Guangxi region, the Xinhua News Agency said in the first official account of the violence.

China’s family planning policy – implemented in the late 1970s – limits most urban couples to one child and families in some rural areas to two to control population growth and conserve natural resources.


Armed men stage violent robbery

Three armed men stormed a South Side bank Tuesday with weapons blazing, a security guard who was shot during the fatal robbery said from his hospital bed Wednesday.

Earl Coleman said he heard shots, screams and a man demanding that a teller open the vault before he emerged from a back room and was shot in the chest. Teller Tramaine Gibson, a 23-year-old married father, died later Tuesday at Mt. Sinai Hospital.

“They were firing when they came in,” Coleman said during a telephone interview Wednesday morning before he went to physical therapy. He has been a security guard at the bank for more than 10 years.

Coleman, 53, was one of three people shot when the three masked men robbed an Illinois Service Federal Savings and Loan at about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, authorities said.

The FBI and Chicago police have launched a manhunt for the three bandits, who escaped after the brazen holdup, one of Chicago’s most violent in many years, authorities said.


Manson parole denied 11th time

Charles Manson was denied parole Wednesday, the 11th time since 1978 that the cult leader was ordered to continue serving life sentences for a murderous rampage in 1969.

Manson, 72, did not attend or send a representative to the proceeding before the Board of Parole Hearings at Corcoran State Prison.

The board voted to deny Manson parole for at least five years, the maximum allowed by law. He will not be eligible for release again until 2012.

Manson initially was sentenced to death for the August 1969 fatal stabbings of five people in the Los Angeles home of actress Sharon Tate and the murders the next day of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

His death sentence was changed in 1977 to life in prison with the possibility of parole, the result of a 1972 ruling by the California Supreme Court that found the state’s death penalty law at the time unconstitutional.

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