The State Department's press operation works in mysterious ways. For instance, this short transcript just arrived in my email in box, under the grandiose headline "Remarks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu Before Their Meeting":
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, do you expect Turkey to finally agree on sanctions against Iran?
SECRETARY CLINTON: We are working every day and making progress.
QUESTION: Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
I feel better informed already. For a more complete accounting of U.S-Turkish relations, see Josh Rogin's latest.
Raul Castro has made some
modest reforms since taking over in July 2006. A few token changes, including the
introduction of cell phones, DVD players, microwaves and computers, have been made - but access
to these amenities has been prohibitively
expensive. New salary incentives were also introduced in 2008, although
such moves are not completely new.
All in all, the expected moves
towards a market-oriented economy have been lacking. But now there are some small signs that the leadership is
planning to liberalize some sectors of its economy. Where will they start, you
ask? It might not be where you would expect: barber
shops and beauty salons.
to the measure -- which state run media has not yet announced -- all barbers
and hairdressers in small shops will be allowed to charge market prices and pay
taxes (15 percent of average revenue) instead of getting a set monthly wage:
Daisy, a hairdresser in an eastern
Guantanamo province, told the Reuters news agency that under the old
system the government took in 4,920 pesos per month per hairdresser.
Now she will pay the government 738 pesos per month and keep any earnings
‘We have to pay water, electricity and for supplies but it seems like a good
idea,' Daisy said.
said that while the plan did not turn the shops into co-operatives, employees
would have to join forces to decorate and maintain the establishments."