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US, Cuba to re-establish diplomatic ties on Monday

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Washington: The US and Cuba will on Monday re-establish diplomatic relations after half a century of enmity.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez will make a historic visit to Washington for a ceremony, after which he will meet his US counterpart John Kerry.

Seven months after US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro surprised the world by announcing a process of bilateral rapprochement, the two governments will put an end to decades of hostility by reopening their diplomatic headquarters and resuming the ties broken in 1961 and kept on ice ever since.

Rodriguez will attend the ceremony to reopen the Cuban embassy, a building constructed in 1917 some three km from the White House that currently houses the Cuban Interests Section, the low-profile diplomatic mission established – along with its US counterpart in Havana – in 1977.

The delegation headed by Rodriguez will include 30 people, among them former diplomats and representatives from the cultural, education, healthcare and scientific sectors, along with the Cuban Catholic Church and other organisations.

Some 500 Americans have been invited to the ceremony, including lawmakers, government officials and Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America Roberta Jacobson.

After the ceremony, Rodriguez will travel to the State Department to meet Kerry, their second official meeting after their get-together in Panama on the eve of the Summit of the Americas last April.

The US is holding off on its ceremony to open its own embassy in Havana until Kerry visits the Cuban capital, but no date has been fixed for that trip yet.

The US flag will not wave over the embassy until Kerry officially inaugurates the diplomatic mission.

The current heads of the Cuban and US Interests Sections, Jose Ramon Cabanas and Jeffrey DeLaurentis, respectively, will become the charges d’affaires at both missions until the governments can name ambassadors.

(IANS)

 

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Facebook Introduces Free Online Education Programme in The US

The "We do" module lets educators and students learn together. And the "You do" is designed to help students practice their new skills

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Facebook likely to launch camera-equipped hardware for TVs. Pixabay

Facebook has launched in the US free online education programme CodeFWDTo to increase the numbers of underrepresented and female students interested in pursuing computer programming.

“We’re working on a number of initiatives like CodeFWD to widen the pipeline of diverse talent studying computer science so the next generation of tech innovators reflects and incorporates diverse perspectives, building a future that benefits us all,” Lauryn Ogbechie, Education Partnerships Director at Facebook, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Created in partnership with connected toys maker Sphero, CodeFWD by Facebook, has been designed for both English and Spanish speakers.

It is a three-step programme where educators and organisations introduce computer programming to 4th to 8th grade students.

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Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

With the first module “I do”, CodeFWD prepares educators to introduce the basics of computer programming to their students, even as they may be discovering the concepts themselves.

The “We do” module lets educators and students learn together. And the “You do” is designed to help students practice their new skills.

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“After completing these three steps, educators who want to continue developing their students’ coding skills using a tangible, hands-on product can apply to earn a free classroom set of programmable robots from our partners at Sphero,” Ogbechie said. (IANS)

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