Cuban lawmakers meet to consider economy, budget

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Cuba's President Raul Castro, bottom left, and Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, bottom right, raise their hands to vote on the 2013 budget during a session by the National Assembly in Havana, Cuba, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012. The session is one of the National Assembly's twice-yearly gatherings. (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco, Cubadebate)

HAVANA (AP) — Cuban lawmakers are holding the second of their twice-annual sessions with a year-end report expected on the state of the country's economy.

Legislators are also to approve next year's budget.

Cuban leaders have sometimes used the parliamentary gatherings to make important announcements or policy statements.

Observers will be watching for word on the progress of President Raul Castro's economic reform plan and efforts to promote younger leaders.

The unicameral parliament will reconvene in February with a new membership following elections. It is then expected to name Castro to another five-year term.

State-run media said Castro presided over Thursday's session.

It was not open to international journalists.