June 7, 2008 in Nation/World

Citizens can get free sex changes

The Spokesman-Review

Cuba has authorized sex-change operations and will offer them free for qualifying citizens, an official said Friday.

The move is the latest in a series of changes implemented by President Raul Castro. His daughter, Mariela, heads Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education, which strongly backs the new policy.

The procedure would be available to Cubans for free as part of their country’s health care system.

The sex education center has said previously that 28 transsexual Cubans have asked to undergo the surgery and that Cuban doctors have trained with physicians from Belgium to prepare for the procedures.

Cuba carried out a successful sex-change operation in 1988, but future surgeries were canceled because it sparked a negative public outcry.

Acapulco, Mexico

Sonar receptors will track sharks

A scientist says experts will use sonar to track sharks off Mexico’s Pacific Coast in the hopes of preventing new attacks on humans.

Government officials had previously said scientists would monitor sharks by satellite.

But shark expert Jose Castillo said Friday that would be too expensive. He said scientists would instead attach acoustic transmitters on the sharks and install sonic receptors on ocean floors to track them.

Sharks recently killed two surfers and wounded a third near the southwestern resort of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.

Castillo is presenting the project to the government for approval in 15 days. He said sonic receptors would also be installed on beaches where attacks occurred to warn beachgoers of any shark presence.

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