Cuba arrests famed blogger
A dissident blogger was arrested on Thursday in Havana with several activists who were seeking information about opponents of the island’s communist regime thought to have been detained a day earlier. Yoani Sanchez, whose Generation Y blog is read in 20 languages around the world, was among people arrested in front of a police station in the capital’s La Vibora district, according to pro-government blog Yohandry Fontana. It said Elizardo Sanchez, a spokesman for the officially banned Cuban Commission for Human Rights, and dissident Guillermo Farinas, winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize in 2010, were arrested half an hour after Sanchez. The Inter American Press Association, meanwhile, named Sanchez its vice chair for Cuba.
Killer’s veins ‘inaccessible’
A condemned killer fighting his execution because of his extreme weight does not have accessible veins in his arms or hands and could not receive a lethal injection in his legs because he is so obese, a doctor said in a court filing. Death row inmate Ronald Post wants a federal judge to stop his January execution on the grounds his weight could cause him to suffer severe pain during the procedure. The state opposes the request. Post, 53, is scheduled to die on Jan. 16 for the 1983 shooting death of Helen Vantz in Elyria. Vantz’s son, Bill Vantz, has called Post’s arguments “laughable.”
Putin replaces top general
President Vladimir Putin yesterday replaced the country’s top general with a veteran commander from the second Chechnya war, as part of a new shake-up in the armed forces after the sacking of the defense minister. Army Chief of Staff Nikolai Makarov is to be replaced by General Valery Gerasimov, a commander of the North Caucasus military district in the second Chechnya war, Putin announced days after the sacking of former defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov in a graft scandal.