New rules in effect for Cuban relations

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The Obama administration eased rules Friday for U.S. citizens wishing to travel to Cuba or do business with its growing ranks of independent entrepreneurs, hoping to kindle greater economic freedom on the island.

The Treasury and Commerce departments told the Associated Press that regulations taking effect today simplify procedures for tourism, telephone and Internet investments, and money transfers to Cuba.

Authorized American citizens now will be able to travel by cruise ship or ferry to Cuba without seeking specific authorization from the U.S. government, although a U.S. official told the Associated Press that a direct maritime route probably won’t be established until next year.

The official was not authorized to speak publicly on the process and demanded anonymity.