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IRAN: U.S. carrier traverses strait

A U.S. aircraft carrier sailed through the Strait of Hormuz and into the Persian Gulf on Sunday, a day after Iran backed away from a threat to take action if an American carrier returned to the strategic waterway. The USS Abraham Lincoln completed a "regular and routine" passage through the strait, a critical gateway for the region's oil exports, "as previously scheduled and without incident," said Lt. Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Fifth Fleet.


CROATIA: Entering the EU, if tepidly

Croatians voted Sunday in favor of joining the European Union despite a poor turnout for the referendum, a sign of how much the debt-stricken 27-nation bloc has lost its appeal in countries aspiring to join. The state referendum commission said that about 66 percent of those who took part answered "yes" to the question: "Do you support the membership of the Republic of Croatia in the European Union?" About 33 percent were against. About 47 percent of eligible voters took part, illustrating voters' apathy toward the EU. That compares with 84 percent who voted in a referendum for Croatia's independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1992.


CUBA: Dissident's death decried

The opposition group "Ladies in White" accused the government Sunday of "murdering" by neglect a dissident who died Thursday following a hunger strike in prison. Ladies in White leader Berta Soler said Wilman Villar Mendoza, 31, died because the government did not respect his rights and that he was only the latest such victim to die for that reason. "We are in mourning because we have lost a young man who gave his life for the freedom of the Cuban people," said Soler, speaking in a tree-shaded Havana park after the group's weekly silent march demanding the release of political prisoners. "It's one more murder in the Cuban government's account," she said. Villar died in a hospital in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba after contracting pneumonia during a hunger strike in prison, dissidents said.

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