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Cuba official scoffs at Obama overtures

Cuban Parliament President Ricardo Alarcon dismissed President Barack Obama’s recent overtures to Cuba and said Saturday for the first time that the new U.S. administration’s stance is “the continuation of an illegal, unjustifiable and failed policy.”

Obama has suggested it may be time for a new beginning with Cuba, and the White House authorized unlimited travel and money transfers for Americans with relatives in Cuba. But his administration has said it would like Cuba to respond by making small political and social changes to its single-party communist system.

“In other words Cuba must change and behave in accordance with Washington’s wishes,” Alarcon said at the close of a Cuban academic conference in Canada.

“That attitude is not only the continuation of an illegal, unjustifiable and failed policy, it is also the consequence of a profound misconception, a false perception of itself that lies as the foundation of the U.S. role in the world.”

Athens, Greece

Anti-immigrant protest explodes

Far-right protesters tried to storm an old courthouse in central Athens Saturday where hundreds of illegal immigrants have lived for months.

The group of several dozen people hurled rocks and firecrackers at the eight-story building from the street and nearby buildings, while those living inside threw back slabs of masonry and bricks. At least three people were hurt in the clashes, two of them with head injuries.

Police fired tear gas and stun grenades, and a tense standoff followed.

The attack followed an anti-immigrant demonstration by the far-right Chrisi Avgi, or Golden Dawn group. Scores of protesters waved banners reading “foreigners means crime” and “we have become foreigners in our own country.”

Greece is on a main smuggling route for immigrants heading to Europe, with tens of thousands entering the country every year.

From wire reports

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