Less than three months after the U.S. announced it will ease travel to Cuba, home rental site Airbnb is listing properties in the island nation. The average price for a room or home in Havana is currently $43. The company says it’s starting out with more than 1,000 listings.

A look at the offerings Thursday morning found everything from “beautiful colonial rooms for rent in the heart of Havana” for $27 a night to a “a holiday sanctuary” chalet on the outskirts of Havana that can accommodate 10 guests for $1000. It includes a pool.

Airbnb Starts Listing Homes In Cuba; Average Rate Is $43 A Night

Photo Credit: Airbnb

DWP admits inventing quotes from fake ‘benefits claimants’ for sanctions leaflet

Responding to Welfare Weekly’s FoI request, the DWP conceded that: “The photos used are stock photos and along with the names do not belong to real claimants. The stories are for illustrative purposes only.

Advertising Standards Authority rules state that “marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so”. The regulator’s rules also say that marketers “must hold documentary evidence that a testimonial or endorsement used in a marketing communication is genuine, unless it is obviously fictitious, and hold contact details for the person who, or organisation that, gives it”.

The Public Commercial Services Union said that it planned to write to the DWP to complain that it was irresponsible of the government to invent the stories to “illustrate the contentious belief that sanctions are welcomed by claimants”.

The union’s general secretary, Mark Serwotka, said: “It is disgraceful and sinister that the DWP has been trying to trick people into believing claimants are happy to have their benefits stopped or threatened. Sanctions are unnecessarily punitive and counterproductive, and should be scrapped.

«Вашим санкциям “труба”, г-н Рейган!». В 1980–1982 США ввели против СССР серию экономических санкций.

“Pipe to your sanctions, Mr. Reagan”. (in Russian “pipe” and “failed” can be the same word). In 1980-1982 the United States imposed a series of economic sanctions against the Soviet Union.

The U.S. wants to slap sanctions on cybercriminals. President Obama issued an executive order Wednesday creating the nation’s first sanctions program to combat “malicious” cyberattacks and cyberspying.

President Obama said cyberthreats pose one of “the most serious economic and national security challenge” to the U.S., and that the executive order offers a “targeted tool” for countering that threat.

The sanctions would apply to individuals and groups involved in cyberattacks that harm or compromise critical infrastructure, steal trade secrets and hobble computer systems, among other things.

U.S. Creates First Sanctions Program Against Cybercriminals

Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

the-out replied to your linkThe human cost of sanctions

Do you honestly think that the Iranians will stop working towards a nuke, or even slow down? What about all the other innocent civilians around the world?

1. Do you honestly think the Iranians are actually building a nuke? Because our intelligence agencies (and Israel’s, for that matter) have said for years that isn’t the case. And these agencies—well, we’re not exactly talking about peaceniks here.

2. Do you honestly think that, if Iran did build a bomb, they’d ever use it? The United States has thousands of nukes, and we’re the one country in the whole world which has demonstrated our willingness to use them with devastating civilian casualties. If Iran nuked anyone anywhere under any circumstances I think we all know Washington would bomb that country into the stone age, to borrow a nasty turn of phrase from a past war.

Look, I don’t trust any government. I don’t trust ours and I don’t trust Iran’s. That’s not about political party or religion but about the fundamental nature of government.


  • given that American and Israeli intelligence agencies concur that Iran is not building a nuke, 
  • and given the massive disincentives weighed against Iran actually nuking anyone even if they could,
  • and given the very real human costs our sanctions have had for Iranian civilians for decades,

yeah, I’m pretty confident that removing those sanctions is the way to go.

Here’s how President Obama is punishing North Korea for hacking Sony 

North Korea is getting sanctioned — and that’s just the beginning.

In an executive order, President Barack Obama has authorized the Treasury to impose additional sanctions on North Korea as “the first aspect” of a response to North Korea’s alleged hacking of Sony, which the White House views as part of “ongoing provocative, destabilizing and repressive actions and policies,” according to a statement.

Will these sanctions have any effect?

EU Extends Sanctions On Russia As Moscow Warns Of 'Negative Consequences'

EU Extends Sanctions On Russia As Moscow Warns Of ‘Negative Consequences’

The International Business Times The European Union agreed Wednesday to a second extension of sanctions against Russian firms and individuals and Ukrainian separatists, for another six months, until March 2016. On the same day, the United States added 29 more individuals to its sanctions list against Russia, Reuters reported. The 28-member EU agreed to the extension Wednesday and said it would…

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Thousands have died after being found fit for work, DWP figures show
Campaigners demand welfare overhaul after statistics reveal 2,380 people died between 2011 and 2014 shortly after being declared able to work
By Patrick Butler

Nearly 90 people a month are dying shortly after being declared fit for work, according to new data that has prompted campaigners and Labour leadership contenders to call for an overhaul of the government’s welfare regime. Statistics released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on Thursday revealed that 2,380 people died between December 2011 and February 2014 within 14 days of a work capability assessment (WCA) concluding that they were able to work.

Ministers insisted that the data could not be used to link claimant deaths to its welfare reforms, but the figures focused attention on the government’s fit-for-work assessment process, which has been dogged by controversy in recent years.

Anita Bellows, researcher with campaign group Disabled People Against the Cuts, said it would take time to fully analyse the figures, but added the group was “very worried by the number of people who died within two weeks of being found fit for work”.

The mortality data was compiled in response to freedom of information requests, and was released by the department only following a ruling by the Information Commissioner’s Office in April.

The WCA, currently administered by private outsourcing firm Maximus, having for most of the last government been run by Atos, has been widely criticised as error-prone and mechanistic, often causing harm to the sick and disabled claimants who are obliged to undergo it. It has been dogged by administrative delays, which have often left claimants stressed and penniless, and there have been hundreds of thousands of appeals against fit-for-work decisions in recent years, about four in 10 of which have succeeded.


Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza has changed over the years, but from the start and throughout, it has remained a system of economic-military control. Economic exploitation and repression have been used as tools to control the Palestinian population, and the terms of this control have been dictated by the interests of the Israeli economic elite. A potentially competitive Palestinian economy has been de-developed and movement of Palestinian workers and goods regulated to the benefit Israeli market, while the Palestinian consumers have become captive market for Israeli goods. In short, Israeli manufacturers, employers, and merchants have used economic-military control to secure profits. 

“Economic Activism Against the Occupation: Working from Within” by Dalit Baum and Merav Amir published in The Case for Sanctions Against Israel

Americans understand that what the United States has been doing in the Middle East for the last decade and a half has actually been profoundly against American interests. It’s also been very damaging to Middle Easterners.
—  Flynt Leverett, former senior Middle East analyst at the CIA. He spoke to Democracy Now! about negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Watch the interview at