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US could deport 35,000 Cubans

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Washington: Over 35,000 Cubans for whom deportation orders have been issued could be repatriated to the Caribbean island as a result of the renewal of relations between the two countries, according to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

According to ICE data, deportation orders have been issued for 35,106 Cubans in the US, of whom 162 are currently in custody and 34,944 are at liberty.

The ICE told EFE that, up to now, Cuba’s policy was to “occasionally” accept repatriations, including in criminal cases, something that could change soon with the new understanding between the two countries and the reestablishment of diplomatic ties.

A case apart during these years, the ICE said, has been a specific list of Cubans that the governments of the island and of the US agreed upon in 1984, and which includes 2,746 names of Cuban citizens to be repatriated.

Of those, most of whom migrated to the US from the Cuban port of Mariel, 1,999 have already been repatriated.

US Secretary of State John Kerry will on Monday receive Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, the first time that a foreign minister of Cuba visits the State Department in more than half a century, the US government said.

Kerry will not attend the formal reopening ceremony at the Cuban embassy in Washington on Monday, but he will receive Rodriguez later at the State Department, where the two will take part in a joint press conference.

(IANS)

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Local News Dry up for Facebook Media Project in US

In January this year, the Facebook Journalism Project announced to invest $300 million in local newsrooms

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A photo shows the Facebook app icon on an iPhone in New York, Feb. 19, 2014. VOA

Facebook is having trouble finding enough local news to feed its new journalism initiative, because hundreds of newspapers have shut down in the US.

“About one in three users in the US live in places where we cannot find enough local news on Facebook to launch ‘Today In’,” Facebook wrote in a blog post on Monday.

In those “news deserts” – communities with little or no local reporting – Facebook hasn’t been able to find “five or more recent news articles directly related to these towns” for its news feature “Today In” that was launched in November last year.

“In the last 28 days, there has not been a single day where we’ve been able to find five or more recent news articles directly related to these towns.

“This does not vary much by region: 35 per cent of users in the Midwest, Northeast, and South — and 26 per cent in the West a” live in places where we can’t find much local newson Facebook,” said the social networking company.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“Today In” has been rolled out to over 400 cities in the US.

“We’re also announcing a new pilot programme, the Facebook Journalism Project Community Network, to support projects aimed at building community through local news,” said Facebook.

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According to Engadget, nearly 1,800 papers have shut down in the US since around the time Facebook came online 15 years ago.

In January this year, the Facebook Journalism Project announced to invest $300 million in local newsrooms. (IANS)