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Pope meets President Raul Castro in Havana

Pope Benedict XVI meets Cuban President Raul Castro on the second day of his visit to the communist-run island, and is to meet Fidel Castro later.

(BBC NEWS) Havana - Meanwhile, former President Fidel Castro has written that he is "happy" to meet the pope, in an article on the government's website.

After arriving in the capital, Havana, the pope told a crowd he prayed for a Cuba "advancing along the ways of renewal and hope".

Cuban officials have insisted that political reform is not on the agenda.

Marino Murillo, one of Castro's vice-presidents and the "economics czar" in charge of liberalisation, told journalists the government was updating the Cuban economic model to make socialism sustainable.

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Geopolitics

Poland Renews Alliance With Orban — Putin May Be Next

After having announced Poland's rupture with Hungary, Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki has reversed course. It is a sign that Poland's ruling conservative government may be ready to bet on an alliance with Moscow.

Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki during the V4 Summit in Cracow, Poland

Bartosz Wielinski

-Analysis-

WARSAW — Mateusz Morawiecki lasted only a month without Viktor Orban. Now the Prime Minister of Poland is back on the anti-EU war path, back in step with his Hungarian counterpart.

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Whatever integrity Morawiecki may have had got lost "somewhere in his contacts with Moscow." This is what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had said about the pro-Russian prime minister of Hungary a few months ago. Orban, despite Russia's barbaric invasion of Ukraine, maintained economic ties with Moscow, resisted European Union sanctions, and refused to provide support to the invaded state.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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