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January 5, 2014

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Witnesses said about 40 workers were at the site.

“It was like an earthquake when the building fell,” witness Ramesh Naik said. “You could not see what exactly had happened because of the dust.”

Police and residents pulled seven bodies from the wreckage, while firefighters and rescue workers were sifting through the debris for survivors.

New Cuban law easing car sales takes effect, car prices soar

HAVANA (AP) — Talk about sticker shock!

Cubans are eagerly flocking to Havana car dealerships as a new law takes effect eliminating a special permit requirement that has greatly restricted vehicle ownership in the country. To their dismay on Friday, the first day the law was in force, they found sharply hiked prices, some of them light years beyond all but the most well-heeled islanders.

A new Kia Rio hatchback that starts at $13,600 in the United States sells for $42,000 here, while a fresh-off-the-lot Peugeot 508 family car, the most luxurious of which lists for the equivalent of about $53,000 in the U.K., will set you back a cool $262,000.

“Between all my family here in Cuba and over in Miami, we couldn’t come up with that kind of money,” said Gilbert Losada, a 28-year-old musical director. “We’re going to wait and see if they lower the prices, which are really crazy. We’re really disappointed.”

Cuba’s Communist-run government traditionally has placed huge markups on retail goods and services paid for with hard currency, a policy that amounts to a tax on people who can afford such goods. The practice applies to everything from dried pasta, to household appliances, to Internet access.

With Olympics a month away, ‘Putin’s Games’ could still become compliment or curse for Russia

After a journey of joy across nine time zones and into space, the Olympic torch relay is approaching something the Winter Games’ organizers and Russia’s leaders didn’t plan for and certainly didn’t want: A city in mourning.

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