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Cuban Cepeda signs pro deal with Japanese team HAVANA: Leading outfielder Frederich Cepeda has become the first player from the Cuban baseball league to sign for a Japanese professional team since the communist government relaxed its player rules last year.The 34-year-old Cepeda, who has played in three World Classics, is set to travel to Tokyo next month after signing a one-year contract with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan's Central League, Cuban state Radio Rebelde said on Saturday."I'm looking forward to playing baseball, working hard and getting good results," Cepeda told the radio station in a telephone interview."I'm going to a different league, a different culture in which I'm going to immerse myself," added the switch hitter, who gave no details of the deal."During the national series, the (Japanese) team's manager (Tatsunori Hara) saw me playing here as an outfielder. It was his decision (to sign me)."The Castro government relaxed its rules in September on players leaving Cuba to ...

Brazil to probe Batista for alleged financial crimes RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazilian police said Wednesday they will investigate troubled tycoon Eike Batista for "possible financial crimes." Rio de Janeiro federal police said in a statement to AFP that they could not offer details on the probe "which will be carried out privately."Batista, 57, made a huge fortune in oil and gas exploration, but has lost much of it as his EBX Group companies' shares plunged in 2013 and 2014.Prosecutors want to look into ...
Fresh quake hits Nicaragua, shaking buildings in capital MANAGUA: A third earthquake in less than a week struck Nicaragua early on Monday morning, shaking buildings in the capital, Managua, though there were no immediate reports of damage. An official at Nicaragua's seismological authority said the quake magnitude was 5.6, but its shallow depth had imparted a greater impact. The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake struck some 6 km (4 miles) northwest of Managua at a depth of 14 km. The USGS ...
UNESCO heritage site dubbed 'Jewel of the Pacific': Valparaiso PARIS: Valparaiso, the Chilean port city of 270,000 ravished by fire, is a UNESCO world heritage site once dubbed "the jewel of the Pacific" by visiting sailors navigating around South America.The port city is visited by thousands of tourists every year who marvel at the historic centre with its cobbled streets and coloured houses dating from the city's glory days from the mid-19th century to the early 20th.Valparaiso became famous as a stopover point for ...
Peru volcano spews white hot rocks, prompts evacuation LIMA: Residents have fled villages near Peru's Ubinas volcano, which this week began spitting out white hot chunks of rock, some as big as 30 centimeters (one foot) in diameter.Domingo Ramos, a scientist from Peru's mining institute, said the volcano reawakened several days ago.The renewed activity led the government to announce a state of emergency in the Andean region of Moquegua, some 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) south of Lima.The region is home to some 40 ...
Maduro, opposition meet in first bid to end protests CARACAS: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro sat down for talks with arch-rival Henrique Capriles on Thursday in a first meeting with opposition leaders to end two months of deadly street protests.Just one year after succeeding his late mentor, iconic leftist leader Hugo Chavez, Maduro agreed to an unprecedented face-to-face meeting with the opposition, after the UNASUR group of South American nations offered to mediate.The meeting, which involved about 20 representatives from both sides, was monitored by ...
Brazil banks arrange $5.1bn loan to help prop up power sector SAO PAULO: A group of 12 banks arranged on Wednesday a loan worth 11.2 billion reais ($5.1 billion) aimed at helping Brazil's struggling electricity distributors cope with the impact of dry weather, the Finance Ministry said in a statement.In the statement, the ministry said the loan will go to privately-owned industry clearinghouse CCEE. Under the terms of the loan, CCEE, which buys and sells electricity in the spot market, will subsequently funnel the proceeds from ...


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Foreign Debt $60.9bn
Per Cap Income $1,368
GDP Growth 3.6%
Average CPI 7.5%
Trade Balance $-1.433 bln
Exports $2.167 bln
Imports $3.600 bln
WeeklyApril 14, 2014
Reserves $9.713 bln