The promised $70 million project to quicken Cuba’s Internet connection speed was never delivered; German voters are on Angela Merkel’s side when it comes to the European economy; meanwhile, a vial with Ronald Reagan’s blood is being auctioned, along with one of Scarlett Johansson’s used tissues.These discoveries and more below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

The links below open in a new window. Newer ones are on top.

In Cuba, mystery shrouds fate of Internet cable It was all sunshine, smiles and celebratory speeches as officials marked the arrival of an undersea fiber-optic cable they promised would end Cuba’s Internet isolation and boost web capacity 3,000-fold.

Middle-class exploitation? We need to stop obsessing about the middle-class and call things by their right name.

Branding American College as International Fashion Franklin and Marshall has gone global. It has now opened an outpost in Dubai.

Ronald Reagan’s Blood to Be Auctioned An auction house is selling what it claims is an empty vial with “residue” from blood drawn from the former president.

Merkel’s isolation among G-8 on economic policy reflects sentiment in Germany The world leaders who urged German Chancellor Angela Merkel to back down from her unforgiving approach to Europe’s economic problems have something in common: They don’t answer to German voters.

How Much Does Washington Spend on ‘Defense’? As the country’s big wars on the Eurasian continent wind down, American war-making and war preparations fly ever more regularly under the radar.

The Creeping Fascism of American Politics Two congressmen are attempting to insert a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act that would allow the Department of Defense to subject the US domestic public to propaganda.