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US and Cuba set to re-open their embassies in each other’s capitals

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USAWashington: The US and Cuba are on Wednesday scheduled to announce the reopening of embassies in Washington and Havana for the first time in over 50 years.

“We will formally announce on Wednesday that the US and Cuba have reached an agreement to re-establish formal diplomatic relations and open embassies in each other’s capitals,” a US official said.

In Havana, the American embassy is likely to occupy the same building where the Interests Section currently operates, a news portal quoted a White House official as saying.

That’s the same structure, situated on the Havana waterfront, which housed the American embassy prior to the severing of diplomatic ties after the Cuban Revolution in the 1950s.Cuba_flag

“We expect President Barack Obama and Secretary John Kerry to address this publicly Wednesday morning,” the official added.

The re-establishing of embassies is a final step in the full diplomatic thaw President Obama initiated in December.

Since then, the US has eased some travel restrictions to Cuba and allowed for some new economic ties.

In April, Obama met with Cuban President, Raul Castro, during a summit meeting in Panama, the first time the leaders of Cuba and the US had met in over 50 years.

The US officially removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terror earlier in June. (IANS)

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U.S.A: Myanmar’s Military Campaign Against Rohingya Muslims a ‘Mass Genocide’

Lawyers for the reporters said their clients were set up and have appealed their sentences and convictions.

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Rohingya
Rohingya Muslims, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, wade past a waterlogged path leading to the Jamtoli refugee camp in Ukhiya, Bangladesh. VOA

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution by a vote of 394-1 Thursday, declaring Myanmar’s military campaign against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority a genocide.

A United Nations report released in August said the military carried out mass killings and gang rapes with “genocidal intent” and also definitively called for Myanmar officials to face genocide charges for the first time.

Rohingya Growing

Myanmar’s military has denied previous accusations it had committed genocide, maintaining its actions were part of an anti-terrorism campaign.

Rohingya, Violence
Rohingya refugees carry a hume pipe in Balukhali refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh. VOA

The atrocities have prompted the U.N. and a number of political and human rights leaders to question the southeast Asian country’s progress toward democracy.

The Burma Task Force, a coalition of U.S. and Canadian Muslim organizations, applauded the genocide designation.

“The House of Representatives has now officially adopted the position that the ongoing policies of mass violence and displacement against the Rohingya by the Myanmar government constitute genocide, bringing the U.S. closer to the emerging international consensus on the issue.

The U.S. State Department usually makes such official designations but has not used the term genocide to describe the military’s atrocities against the Rohingya.

Rohingya, myanmar, violence,asylum
Rohingya refugee children shout slogans during a protest against the repatriation process at Unchiprang refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh. VOA

The House resolution also called on the Myanmar government to release Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were jailed one year ago.

Also Read: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Under Fire For Myanmar Tweets

They were sentenced in September to seven years in prison for violating the country’s colonial-era Secrets Act. Lawyers for the reporters said their clients were set up and have appealed their sentences and convictions.

The Myanmar embassy in Washington did not immediately comment on the House vote. (VOA)