By David Adams MIAMI (Reuters) - Cuban exile Joe Arriola at one time would never have dreamed of returning to his homeland while it was under communist rule. But after 53 years in the United States, the former manager of the city of Miami swallowed his pride and decided he had waited long enough. Arriola, 67, said a week-long trip to the island last year had opened his eyes to what he now believes is a failed U.S. policy of trying to isolate Cuba. "The number one weapon we have is capitalism and we are not using it," he said over breakfast at the Riviera Country Club in Coral Gables, a bastion of older, conservative-minded exiles in Miami-Dade County.
London's stock market closed higher on Tuesday as investors awaited this week's US Federal Reserve policy meeting, while fears that violence in Iraq could disrupt energy supplies still weighed on sentiment. The benchmark FTSE 100 index rose 0.18 percent to 6,766.77 points. The "focus will increasingly... shift away from events unfolding in Iraq and the Ukraine to tomorrow's FOMC meeting," said analyst Markus Huber at broker Peregrine & Black. The Federal Reserve should keep monetary policy unchanged in a two-day meeting, but analysts will looks for any hint on changes to the trajectory for interest rates.
The United States Tuesday unveiled "historic" steps to combat illegal fishing and proposed plans to create the world's largest marine sanctuary in a bid to help save the world's besieged oceans. "We all know how fragile our planet can be," Obama said opening the second day of a landmark conference dubbed "Our Ocean" urging everyone to "redouble our efforts." The White House said Obama had ordered his cabinet to look at ways to expand a US marine sanctuary in the central Pacific Ocean where "tropical coral reefs and associated marine ecosystems are among the most vulnerable areas to the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification." Overfishing threatens whole species as well as the people who depend on them for food and their livelihoods," Obama said.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Tuesday he is confident that relations between the United States and Brazil can improve following a cooling in bilateral ties caused by last year's revelations that the National Security Agency spied on the country's president. "I am confident they can," Biden said when asked by reporters about the future of Brazilian-U.S. relations as he arrived for a meeting with Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia.
European stock rose on Tuesday as investors took their cue from slender gains on Wall Street before this week's US Federal Reserve policy meeting, but gains were capped by Iraq fears. In late morning deals, London's FTSE 100 index of top companies rose 0.28 percent to 6,773.53 points. The European single currency drifted down to $1.3569, from $1.3570 late in New York on Monday. "European stock markets are staging a mild rebound following recent weakness on the back of the Iraq conflict," said ETX Capital analyst Daniel Sugarman.
Militants pushed a weeklong offensive that has overrun swathes of Iraq to within 60 kilometres (37 miles) of Baghdad Tuesday, as the UN warned the country's very existence was under threat. Washington meanwhile deployed extra troops to protect its embassy in Baghdad and was mulling air strikes against militants whose swift assault has seen them capture Mosul, a city of two million people, and subsequently a vast amount of territory north of Baghdad. Iraqi officials have insisted they are making progress in repelling the fighters, who are led by the powerful Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group, but have continued to lose ground. The crisis has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and sparked fears that the violence could impact the country's vast oil production, along with concerns that security forces won't be able to halt the insurgents' march on the capital.
Kenya's security chiefs were under mounting pressure Tuesday to resign after Islamist militants carried out another brazen attack, with the government accused of ignoring an increasingly sophisticated threat from Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab. The Islamist group said its fighters carried out two nights of carnage that have left close to 60 Kenyans dead in a town and villages along Kenya's coast, before they "returned peacefully to their base" without a single arrest being made. The Law Society of Kenya said security forces were either "incompetent or incapacitated", and called for the resignation of police chief David Kimaiyo and the increasingly unpopular Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku. The Standard said it was incredulous at the scale and extreme violent nature of the attacks, the worst since last September's siege of the Westgate shopping mall in the capital Nairobi, in which 67 people were killed.
Israel stepped up efforts to crush Hamas in the West Bank on Tuesday as the hunt for three Israeli teenagers believed kidnapped by the Islamist movement entered its fifth day. Thousands of Israel troops engaged in the search for the youths turned their attention during the night to the northern West Bank city of Nablus and surrounding area, arresting 41 Palestinians, the army said. So far, Israel has arrested around 200 Palestinians, most of them Hamas members, as it conducts a vast search operation for the students, two of them minors. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused militants from the Islamist movement of kidnapping the youths last week.
It will be "almost impossible" for Iraq to return to how it was before recent sweeping gains by jihadist fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the prime minister of the Kurdistan region warned on Tuesday. Nechirvan Barzani told the BBC it would be difficult to find a resolution with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in power and recommended an autonomous region for Sunnis as a potential solution. ISIL militants launched their lightning offensive in Iraq's second city Mosul a week ago. Asked if Iraq was falling to pieces, Barzani said: "I don't think so, it will, can stay together again."