US restores ties with Cuba after 50 year split, Brand weighs in on Sydney, first Cannabis e-cigarette launched in UK

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US restores ties with Cuba after 50 year split, Brand weighs in on Sydney, first Cannabis e-cigarette launched in UK

Art blogger and radio presenter Doug Gillen discusses the morning's news in more detail. 

Cuba restore ties with United States after 50 year split 

President of the United States Barack Obama called for an end to the economic embargo against Cuba as the two countries restored diplomatic ties. The United States severed ties with Cuba more than 50 years ago. 

The two countries reached a resolution on Wednesday after 18 months of talks, which had been kept secret. 

Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro spoke on the phone on Tuesday and agreed on a prisoner exchange, an opening of embassies in each others countries and amendments to the standing commerce agreement. The trade embargo, however, will need congressional approval before it is lifted entirely. 

Obama called isolation of Cuba “outdated” and ineffective. 

Russell Brand uses Sydney siege for own agenda

Russell Brand yesterday gave his opinion on the siege at the Lindt café which left two victims dead, as well as the gunman. 

In a video for his Youtube channel Trews, Mr Brand criticised the labelling of gunman Man Haron Monis as “a terrorist” and said he should have been called “a mentally ill criminal”.

He attacked the media for running the story as being related to ISIL.

He also criticised Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Australian Government.

Mr Brand said: “'Terrorism is continually used as a tool to control a domestic population. I'm not saying there aren't a lot of dangerous people out there, I'm saying a lot of those people are in government.” 

Tony Abbott blames hangover for calling TV presenter the wrong name

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott called a TV presenter who regularly interviews him by the wrong name. 

Mr Abbott referred to Sunrise host David Koch as “Chris” twice during a live interview. 

Mr Koch said the Prime Minister had apologised and blamed an hangover.

On a show yesterday, Mr Koch said: “I saw him the other night and he came up and he goes ‘g’day Chris’, and he apologised.

“He said ‘I was a bit hungover because we had our staff Christmas party the night before.’”

First Cannabis e-cigarette goes on sale in UK

The first “cannabis” e-cigarette goes on sale in the UK today. 

The Home Office has expressed doubts over its legality and say it must be tested for controlled substances. 

The KanaVape contains hemp but not THC.

THC is the chemical which purportedly gives the cannabis high. On the KanaVape website, a statement says the product “does not have any psychoactive or euphoric effect” and is for relaxation and pain relief. 

It is already legal in France for people with cancer, multiple sclerosis and other conditions which require pain relief. 

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