Morning briefing: Cuba holds parliamentary elections / The Winter Paralympics 2018 get underway / Stars hit SXSW in Austin, Texas

By Billy

Good morning, here’s your Friday morning briefing to set you up for the day ahead. Look out for these three things happening around the world today.

Cuba holds parliamentary polls

Cuba will this Sunday hold parliamentary polls to elect members of the National Assembly of People’s Power.

The country’s president, Raúl Castro, will not be seeking a new term, and a new president will be elected by the National Assembly on 19 April, the first time in almost 60 years that a Castro brother will not hold the post.

The election comes at a delicate time for the Communist island nation amid economic stress, a state crackdown and US restrictions.

Despite Cuban elections being such low-key affairs, voter turnout — which some attribute to government pressure — usually hovers around or above 95%with around eight million people electing 605 members of the National Assembly and 1,265 delegates to 15 provincial assemblies.

Athletes on show at the Winter Paralympics opening ceremony

The Winter Paralympics 2018 will get underway in Pyeongchang, South Korea today, with the opening ceremony tonight.

You can see the full schedule here.

The event will feature 670 athletes competing for 80 medals across six sports.

The Winter Paralympics follows the 2018 Winter Olympics last month, where Norway won the most medals, topping the table for the first time since 2002.

Expect the US, Germany, and Canada to dominate the Winter Paralympics medal charts in Pyeongchang after strong performances in 2014.

As of 19 January 70% of tickets to the Paralympic Games were sold.

Stars hit SXSW in Austin, Texas

Hundreds of thousands of young, successful creatives will descend on Austin, Texas for South by Southwest 2018 this weekend.

The annual SXSW Conference provides access to the brightest minds in the worlds of entertainment, business and politics, while also offering plenty of opportunities for professionals to network and unwind.

Bringing together the entertainment industry with its hugely popular Interactive, Film and Music festivals, as well as its increasingly popular comedy and gaming additions, 2017 was the most successful year in the festival’s history, attracting a crowd of 422,000 attendees.

More than 6,000 sessions will be held at SXSW 2018. The full schedule can be viewed here.