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Cuban doctors on call

GLOBAL BRIEFS | Doctors from the socialist nation could soon fill hospital vacancies in Northern Ireland

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Cuban doctors on call
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Doctors from the Caribbean island nation may soon fill staffing shortages at a hospital in Northern Ireland. The Fermanagh and Omagh District Council asked the Cuban Embassy for help in January after an Enniskillen hospital had to suspend emergency surgery in November. Cuba trains more doctors than most countries and has practiced “medical diplomacy” for years. According to the Cuban Foreign Ministry, 23,792 Cuban health professionals worked abroad in 2021. Typically, doctors earn more overseas than at home, but the socialist government also takes a significant cut of their wages—over $4.3 billion in 2021. —Elizabeth Russell

Fact Box Source: The World Factbook-CIA


Authorities in the Muslim-majority nation fined two Slovak nuns $90 each for allegedly spreading Roman Catholicism without permission from the state. On March 26, security officials prevented congregants of a church in the town of Talas from leaving Mass unless Daniela Činčilová and Eva Eliašová signed a document declaring themselves guilty, reported Agenzia Fides. According to the Vatican’s news agency, the nuns read liturgical calendar readings from the pulpit, but did not preach or preside over the Eucharistic celebration. Foreign citizens are only allowed to perform the latter two functions if they have a government-­issued certificate. Police claimed to have photographic evidence of the nuns preaching. Damian Wojciechowski, curia director of the Apostolic Administration of Kyrgyzstan, told Fides the nuns would appeal the fine. —Joyce Wu


The Nordic nation is capitalizing on its reigning title as the happiest country on earth. Finland plans to hold a free four-day happiness master class in June at a luxury resort in the picturesque Lakeland region. Ten participants will each get private villas with panoramic windows and private spas. The course will focus on nature and lifestyle, food and well-being, design, and health and balance. The Finnish Tourism Board has said it will also make the program available online afterward. Applicants must be over 18 and complete a social media challenge to be selected. Finland has retained its spot as the happiest country for six years in a row, according to the World Happiness Report. The United States ranked 15th. —Onize Ohikere



The governor of Bali said his province refuses to host Israel’s soccer team at the upcoming U-20 World Cup set for play in several provinces across Indonesia. The Asian island nation refuses to recognize Israel unless it signs a peace agreement with the Palestinians. In response, FIFA stripped Indonesia of its right to host any teams just a month and a half before the games begin on May 20. The international governing body for soccer says the games will go on in another country yet to be determined. Indonesia’s teams will not be allowed to participate. But FIFA says it will continue to work with the country on reforms following a deadly soccer stampede last October. —Amy Lewis



A court sentenced three members of a religious and cultural society to spend a year in jail and pay fines for posting YouTube videos that questioned Islamic legal theory. Last month, Shiite Muslim clerics sued Jalal al-Qassab, Redha Rajab, and Mohammed Rajab of the Al-Tajdeed Society for blasphemy and causing “sedition within society.” Bahrain is one of the most religiously tolerant Gulf states, but it criminalizes ridicule of any recognized religious texts, including the Quran and the Bible. The men argued thoughts and words should not “be suppressed by the authority of the law.” They have appealed. —Elizabeth Russell


Opposition lawmakers in the landlocked kingdom introduced a motion on March 29 to claim South Africa’s Free State and four other provinces as part of its territory. The people of Lesotho historically inhabited the disputed regions and still live there. Ts’epo Lipholo from the Basotho Convenient Movement party based the motion on a 1962 UN resolution that ­recognizes the people’s right to self-­determination and independence. But it’s unlikely to pass. The country and its 2 million people are surrounded by South Africa and largely dependent on its economy. A 1964 Cairo Declaration by the present-day African Union also agreed newly independent African countries would retain the borders they inherited from colonial nations to avoid future conflicts. —Onize Ohikere


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