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HighlightsWednesday, December 15, 2004 

Christmas light display at U.S. Interests Section, Havana. State Dept. PhotoCuba Asks U.S. to Take Down Christmas Lights
U.S. Interests Section Chief of Mission James Cason (Dec. 14): "As part of our holiday celebrations, we also displayed a "75" symbol as a reminder of those arrested for thinking and speaking independently. The Castro regime is now threatening this diplomatic mission with retaliation. It is doing so because of our unswerving support for Cuba’s struggling, valiant civil society, and the peaceful, democratic opposition." [full text]

FY 2004 Performance and Accountability Report coverFY 2004 Performance and Accountability Report
This report provides performance results and audited financial statements that enable the public, Congress, the President, and others to assess the performance of the Department in achieving its mission and stewardship of its resources.

2005 India Jazz and Heritage Tour
Secretary Powell (Dec. 14): "This year's jazz tour will help to highlight the importance of fighting HIV/AIDS and it will do so in the world's largest democracy, India. But the tour will accomplish so much more than that. Music, especially jazz music, has the power to lift the human spirit in its quest to overcome adversity. Jazz was born from the American people's struggle to conquer prejudice and stigma in our society." [full text]

collage of photos: Iraqi girl at school, wounded girl from Sudan with bandages lies in makeshift bed, men and women in line to vote in Kosovo, and women in Cuba marching in protest (AP Wideworld photo)Human Rights Week
Secretary Powell: "President George W. Bush has officially declared the week of December 10-17, 2004, to be Human Rights Week and December 10, 2004, to be Human Rights Day. In commemorating this week, we reaffirm our commitment to the principles which have come to characterize our nation....Today, millions of people across the globe are denied basic human rights, and so on every continent we make important immediate and long-term investments in democracy and human rights....Our fight for human rights will continue so long as tyrannical regimes infringe upon the freedom of citizens." [full text]
In Other News
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Ranneberger spoke before the Providence Committee on Foreign Reations on Prospects for Peace in Sudan.

Under Secretary Dobriansky is head of the U.S. delegation at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Buenos Aires, Argentina, December 6-17, 2004.

Marriage and visa fraud potentially threaten the national security of the United States. The U.S. is firmly committed to fighting these crimes and bringing those who commit them to justice.

The State Department has sponsored a new book promoting international opportunities for people with disabilities: "Survival Strategies for Going Abroad: A Guide for People with Disabilities."

Visit our student website to find an interesting country and learn about it, read kids' stories about what life is really like in other parts of the world, test your geographical knowledge, and much, much more.

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