Raúl Castro promises succession has begun

Cuban President Raúl Castro assured his nation’s people Friday that “a slow and orderly transfer of the leadership of the revolution” to younger generations had begun, in a televised address marking the 60th anniversary of the start of the Cuban revolution.

Castro spoke in the city of Santiago in eastern Cuba, where on July 26, 1953, the young Castro and a group of rebels, led by his brother Fidel, attacked the Moncada military barracks in a failed assault that nevertheless led to the toppling of the U.S.-backed government of dictator Fulgencio Batista on Jan. 1, 1959.

Raúl, now 82, who succeeded his brother as president in 2008, spoke in front of the Moncada to a crowd of 11,000 people, while a frail Fidel, who turns 87 next month, remained out of sight in Havana.

Raúl Castro has criticized his generation for not preparing a succession, called for term limits and made development of new leaders a priority since taking over from his brother.

— Reuters

100 bodies exhumed in massacre probe

Peruvian prosecutors have exhumed from in and around Lima the bodies of more than 100 accused Shining Path rebels slain in a famous 1986 prison uprising, a lawyer said Friday.

The men, all killed at Lurigancho prison, were exhumed beginning in mid-July from more than a dozen cemeteries as part of a probe into a massacre of inmates who had surrendered.

Relatives of the men have been seeking criminal charges against 30 former officials of the government of then-President Alan García since 2001. Their lawyer, Pedro Coello, told the
Associated Press that the bodies were buried secretly by the military and that soldiers had led authorities to them.

A truth commission that studied Peru’s 1980-2000 internal conflict found that more than 200 inmates were summarily executed in 1986 after surrendering at three prisons where rebels had rioted: Lurigancho, El Fronton and Santa Barbara.

— Associated Press

Russia’s Navalny appeals conviction: Russia’s most prominent opposition leader and anti-graft blogger, Alexei Navalny, filed an appeal against his conviction and sentencing to five years in prison for embezzling funds from a state timber company. Navalny, a stringent critic of President Vladimir Putin, denies any wrongdoing and says his conviction in the city of Kirov was a Kremlin-driven attempt to halt his activism. A day after his sentencing on July 18, Navalny was unexpectedly released from detention pending appeal so he could run for Moscow mayor.

Syrian troops advance in Homs: Syrian government troops gained ground in clashes in two rebel-held areas in the central city of Homs, edging closer to the historic Khalid Ibn al-Walid mosque and closing in on opposition fighters, state TV and activists said. In recent weeks, President Bashar al-Assad’s troops have captured several nearby rebel-held areas, including the towns of Qusair and Talkalkh near the Lebanese border. On Friday, a bomb exploded in the Damascus suburb of Jaramana, killing an unspecified number of people, the state-run news agency SANA said.

Strauss-Kahn to be tried in France: Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn will have to defend himself in a French court on charges of aggravated pimping, judges in the northern city of Lille ruled, despite recommendations by prosecutors that the charges be dropped. The case revolves around an alleged hotel prostitution ring and hinges on whether Strauss-Kahn knew he was partying with prostitutes and whose money was used to pay them.

Libyan activist shot dead: A leading Libyan lawyer, activist and vocal critic of the country’s Islamists was shot dead in a drive-by shooting in Benghazi, a security official said, adding that investigators were seeking to identify the gunmen and a motive. Abdul Salam al-Musmari headed a group credited with launching the 2011 protests against Libya’s longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi.

U.S. journalist detained in Uganda: An American journalist who was arrested while filming an opposition rally Tuesday faces deportation for working in Uganda without proper documentation, a government official said, but the independent documentary film maker insisted he was targeted by police who worried he would expose their brutality against protesters. Taylor Krauss’s arrest comes amid a crackdown on opposition protests in the capital.

— From news services