Daily Briefing – April 12, 2018

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Melbana Looking for Drilling Partners in Cuba: Melbana Energy, one of the few foreign firms working in the Cuban oil sector, is looking for a partner to help it drill for petroleum in Cuba. Melbana, an oil exploration and production company based in Australia, is looking for at least $20 million to drill two wells near the northern coast of the island. The firm’s Alameda-1 prospect is estimated to contain 2.5 billion barrels of oil. The company said yesterday it had completed a tender for a drilling rig that could be deployed by the end of 2018. (UPI)

Infant Mortality Rates Remain Low in Cuba: The infant mortality rate in Cuba fell to 4.0 per 1,000 births last year, reports the Cuba government. One of the key achievements of the Cuban health care system, considered among the best in the world, is an infant mortality rate that has remained under 5 per 1,000 births for the last ten years. The lowest rates globally are currently in Australia, Austria and Belgium, all below 4.0 per 1,000. By comparison the infant mortality rate in the U.S. is 6.5 per 1,000, according to the World Bank. (Granma)

U.S. Business Expansion in Cuba on Hold: Don’t expect any relaxation in the tensions between Cuban and the U.S. in the near term, say economic pundits, who site intransigence from both the Trump White House and the Cuban government. While firms such as Crowley Maritime Corp. are continuing their poultry shipments to Cuba from the U.S., they say that all plans to expand are on hold and waiting for a change in the political environment – a sentiment echoed by numerous U.S. corporations. (USA Today)

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