Daily Briefing – November 15, 2017

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A daily look at deals, events and transactions of note for trade and investment in Cuba.

Another U.S. airline set to ditch Cuba: Alaska Airlines announced it will end its daily Los Angeles-Havana flights on Jan. 22. The Trump administration’s new sanctions on Cuba “probably was the proverbial straw” for a route that was already struggling, said John Kirby, the airline’s vice president of capacity planning. Travelers with tickets after Jan. 22 can either be rebooked on other airlines or be refunded, the airline said. Silver Airways, Spirit Airlines, and Frontier have already dropped their Cuba flights. Several other U.S. airlines have scaled back their number of Cuba flights. (The Seattle Times)

Norwegian reports success in Cuba: Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings President and CEO Frank Del Rio told CNBC’s Jim Cramer that the demand for its Cuba cruises is “off the charts.” He said Norwegian’s Cuba voyages are among the most “profitable itineraries that we have.” Eighty-three cruises from Norwegian’s three brands will visit Cuba in 2018, Del Rio said. (CNBC and Yahoo)

Campaign to cast doubt on “acoustic attack” accusations: A committee of Cuban experts studying the unexplained injuries suffered by at least two dozen U.S. government workers in Havana are hosting an “online forum” to discuss their findings. The group’s website features articles, videos, scientific opinions, and official declarations that cast doubt on the claim that the U.S. government workers were victims of “acoustic attacks.” (La Red Cubana de la Ciencia)

UN and Canada seek to boost Cuba fruit production: Cuba’s Ministry of Agriculture will collaborate with the United Nations Development Project (UNDP) and the Canadian embassy on a $6 million project that seeks to increase fruit production. The project aims to boost guava, mango, and papaya output by 10 to 30 percent in the provinces of Artemisa and Santiago de Cuba. (EFE and 14ymedio)

How the new regulations affect universities: The Trump administration’s new regulations on travel and business with Cuba still permit academic travel, such as for travel abroad, academic research, and teaching at Cuba institutions. However, educational travelers are required to visit the island with an authorized U.S.-based organization that has its own representative accompanying the trip. Individual educational travel is permitted if the individual is acting on behalf of the authorized U.S.-based organization. It’s unclear how feasible the new requirement is for U.S. universities, said Jill Welch, the deputy executive director for public policy at NAFSA: Association of International Educators. (Inside Higher Ed)

Richard Branson on Cuba’s scientific advancements: Politics have forced the U.S. and Cuba to miss out on opportunities to collaborate on life-saving scientific advancements, according to Virgin Group founder Richard Branson. He said Cuba has several medical treatments that could save thousands of Americans each year. “By putting health and science over politics, a lot of lives could be saved,” Branson said. (Virgin)

MLB baseball clinic: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will participate in three youth baseball clinics in Cuba this week. Former MLB players will train children between eight and 12 years of age at the clinics. They will be hosted in the provinces of Havana, Matanzas, and Pinar del Rio. (Cuba Debate)

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