Fidel Faces Down the Grim Reaper
Could it really be that Fidel Castro, widely speculated to be on death's door, will once again stick it to his detractors? Spanish surgeon José Luis García Sabrido, flown to Cuba for a look-see at the ailing, frail former strongman, pronounced that the patient was making a slow, difficult recovery. "He doesn't have cancer" or "any malignant sickness," he said. That conflicts with the U.S. intelligence estimate that Castro is suffering from terminal cancer. Cuba treats Castro's actual condition as a state secret, though doctors say his reported symptoms could reflect a variety of serious stomach or intestinal complications linked to emergency intestinal surgery in July.
Suddenly Unwired in the Wired Age
The Earth shook, and parts of Asia came unplugged. A 6.7-magnitude earthquake off southern Taiwan did more than cause property damage ashore. It ruptured two undersea data transmission cables, disrupting telephone and Internet networks in Taiwan, China, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea. For users, Web access and E-mail traffic slowed to a crawl, if they were available at all. It will take weeks to complete repairs returning networks to full capacity.
A degree of redundancy is built into data networks, but in this case the earthquake occurred near a sea-bottom area transited by as many as a dozen fiber-optic cables. Telecom companies scrambled to reroute some telephone and Internet traffic through satellites and through cables to Europe.
With Dan Morrison in Cairo and Associated Press