Government and politics
HAVANA - Cuban rappers targeted by a clandestine U.S. program are "victims" unknowingly swept into an effort to spark an anti-government youth movement, the Cuban government said Friday in its first reaction to an Associated Press investigation into the initiative.
Vice Minister of Culture Fernando Rojas described the U.S. Agency for International Development program as "treachery" that drew in rappers Los Aldeanos and other Cuban musicians.
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico - Police in this border city repented Thursday over ticketing a 6-year-old boy for reckless driving, driving without a license and not having his vehicle registered after he drove his miniature motorcycle into an SUV.
The boy's mother, Karla Noriega, said police impounded the miniature gasoline-powered motorbike that her son got for Christmas after he crashed into an SUV on Dec. 27.
YANGON, Myanmar - Myanmar has freed several prominent political prisoners, which has been a key condition set by Western countries for easing sanctions against the country.
Myanmar authorities freed the prisoners Friday as part of a presidential pardon for 651 detainees. Relatives and supporters of activists and ethnic minority politicians confirmed their release.
Myanmar state radio and television announced said that the 651 detainees were being freed to take part in "nation-building."
TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda replaced five members of his Cabinet on Friday in a bid to win more co-operation from the opposition to raise the sales tax and rein in the country's bulging fiscal deficit.
Two of the removed ministers had been censured by the opposition for making comments that were deemed inappropriate. Twelve posts were unchanged, including finance and foreign minister.
WASHINGTON - Pentagon leaders scrambled Thursday to contain damage from an Internet video that purports to show four Marines urinating on Taliban corpses, an act that would appear to violate international laws of warfare and further strains U.S.-Afghan relations.
DETROIT - Lawyers have asked the Michigan appeals court to release the owner of the Ambassador Bridge while he appeals an order that put him in jail for civil contempt.
The filing came hours after Manuel "Matty" Moroun and Dan Stamper were sent to jail Thursday as the consequence for the bridge company failing to finish work connecting the bridge to interstates.
LONDON - Britain's spy agencies will face a criminal investigation into claims that intelligence shared with Moammar Gadhafi's regime led to the torture or rendition of two Libyan men and their families, authorities announced Thursday.
KINSHASA, Congo - Members of Congo's powerful Catholic clergy on Thursday called for the election commission to re-evaluate "serious errors" in national elections that gave victory to the incumbent president — or failing that, to resign.
WARSAW, Poland - A Polish court on Thursday handed a two-year suspended prison term to a communist-era interior minister for his role in implementing martial law in Poland in 1981.
The verdict is the latest effort by democratic Poland to hold communist-era officials accountable for abuses during their rule.
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Penn State University president Rodney Erickson faces a crowd of alumni Wednesday in Pittsburgh, some of whom aren't happy about the way the school handled the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, the firing of football coach Joe Paterno and a lack of transparency over the case.
Erickson is attempting to repair the school's image with alumni, faculty, staff, and students, more than two months since Sandusky was arrested, bringing with it controversy, criticism and contemplation.