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December 2018
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Associated Press

MIAMI — American diplomats affected by mysterious health incidents in Cuba showed damage in the inner ear shortly after they complained of weird noises and sensations, according to their earliest medical exams, publicized Wednesday. The detailed findings were published in a medical journal nearly two years after what the US calls “health attacks” began —... Continue reading
HAVANA — Cuba announced Tuesday night that its citizens will be offered full internet access for mobile phones beginning this week, becoming one of the last nations to offer such service. Mayra Arevich, president of the Cuban state telecom monopoly ETECSA, went on national television to say Cubans can begin contracting 3G service for the... Continue reading
MONTCLAIR, N.J. — A lawyer sought in the shooting death of his girlfriend inside their northern New Jersey home last month has been captured in Cuba. James Ray III was flown back to the United States on Tuesday. He’s being held in the Essex County Jail. The 55-year-old Montclair man faces murder and weapons charges... Continue reading
MIAMI — When newly signed Miami Marlins prospect Victor Victor Mesa was asked Monday how soon he’ll be in the major leagues, Derek Jeter leaned over with a smile and a word of caution for the young Cuban. “Cuidado,” Jeter said — Spanish for “watch out.” The futures of Mesa and his younger brother, Victor... Continue reading
WASHINGTON — U.S. and Cuban officials will meet later today in an effort to determine the method and motive behind mystery incidents in Havana that have injured American diplomats. The meeting comes amid widespread frustration among national security agencies and in Congress at the lack of answers about what the U.S. describes as “health attacks”... Continue reading
MIAMI — The slow-moving Sept. 11 war-crimes case at Guantanamo has outlasted the judge. Army Col. James Pohl announced his retirement from the military on Monday, ending a career that culminated with his presiding over the military commission trial of five prisoners at the U.S. base in Cuba accused of planning and aiding the terrorist... Continue reading
AUGUSTA, Ga. — A man claiming to have been mistaken for his twin fugitive brother could either be extradited back to Georgia or released from a Miami jail next week. The 63-year-old told authorities he is Jean Vernet Prado, not his twin Raul Eduardo Prado, The Augusta Chronicle reported. Raul Prado was serving a 25-year... Continue reading
BERLIN — Research suggests the family of Anne Frank, the world-famous Jewish diarist who died in the Holocaust, attempted to immigrate to the United States and later also to Cuba, but their efforts were thwarted by America’s restrictive immigration policy and the outbreak of World War II. The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and the... Continue reading
KEY WEST, Fla. — A Florida woman has completed a more than 100-mile voyage from Cuba to the Florida Keys on a standup paddleboard. Victoria Burgess arrived in Key West on Wednesday, paddling across the Florida Straits in just under 28 hours. Burgess is believed to be the first woman to make the trip from... Continue reading
WASHINGTON — As President Donald Trump was heading to Singapore for a historic summit with North Korea’s leader, a State Department diplomatic security agent who was part of the advance team reported hearing an unusual sound he believed was similar to what was experienced by US diplomats in Cuba and China who later became ill.... Continue reading
WASHINGTON — Medical tests have confirmed that one additional U.S. Embassy worker has been affected by mysterious health incidents in Cuba, the State Department said, bringing the total number to 25. The new “medically confirmed” worker is one of two who were recently evacuated from Cuba after reporting symptoms. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said... Continue reading
GUANGZHOU, China — The U.S. Embassy in China has sent its second alert in two weeks to its citizens over unexplained health issues that have prompted the evacuation of a number of U.S. government employees working at a consulate in a southern city. Friday’s alert urged Americans to seek medical help in the event they... Continue reading
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — After a newborn baby girl’s body was found floating off the Florida coast, detectives are trying to unravel the mystery of how she died and how long she had been in the water. Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Capt. Steven Stravelli said Monday that it’s unknown whether the child found floating... Continue reading
HAVANA — The Mexican charter company whose plane crashed in Havana, killing 110 people, has been the subject of two serious complaints about its crews’ performance over the last decade, according to authorities in Guyana and a retired pilot for Cuba’s national airline. The plane was barred from Guyanese airspace last year after authorities discovered... Continue reading
CLEVELAND — A former Ohio State University football star has won the Republican nomination in the race to succeed Rep. Jim Renacci in Ohio’s U.S. House District 16. Renacci’s northeast Ohio seat is coming open because of his run for U.S. Senate. Former Buckeyes and Indianapolis Colts receiver Anthony Gonzalez won a three-way primary Tuesday... Continue reading
MIAMI — A quarter-century after fleeing from the law, a man dubbed the last of Miami’s “cocaine cowboys” was sentenced Wednesday to 11 years in prison for playing a key role in one of the biggest drug trafficking operations of the violent 1980s smuggling era. Gustavo Falcon, 56, was a fugitive for 26 years before... Continue reading
LOS ANGELES — When Alice Gerstel bid an emotional farewell to her family’s closest friends in October 1941, she was hopeful she’d see “Little Simon” Gronowski again. And she did — 76 years later and half a world away from where they were separated in Brussels. Gerstel and her Jewish family had hidden in the... Continue reading
MCMINNVILLE, Tenn. — By the time Nashville songwriter Travis Meadows took the stage on a recent Sunday afternoon, more than 500 music fans had found their way 333 feet below the ground, some taller guests ducking their heads just a bit. They took their seats in lounge chairs and on a handful of rock outcroppings... Continue reading
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A man who claimed his wife disappeared at sea when their boat collided with an unknown object near the Bahamas was charged Tuesday with killing her and intentionally trying to sink the vessel to cover his tracks. Lewis Bennett, 41, is charged with second-degree murder on the high seas in the... Continue reading
HAVANA — The oldest son of late Cuban leader Fidel Castro killed himself on Thursday after months of treatment for depression, state media reported. He was 68. Official website Cubadebate said that Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart had been in a “deeply depressed state.” A brief note read on state television said his treatment had “required a... Continue reading
MIAMI — After 26 years as a fugitive, a man investigators called the last of the “Miami Vice” era’s “cocaine cowboys” pleaded guilty Thursday to a drug charge, closing a notorious chapter in the city’s colorful criminal history. Gustavo Falcon, who was finally caught while biking through a quiet Florida suburb, pleaded guilty to a... Continue reading
MIAMI — A Cuban teenager has died, days after doctors in Miami removed a 10-pound tumor from his face. The Miami Herald reports that 14-year-old Emanuel Zayas’ condition went downhill after the surgery at the Holtz Children’s Hospital at Jackson Memorial Hospital. He died Friday from lung and kidney complications. Dr. Robert Marx, head of... Continue reading
BOSTON — It was close but no cigar for anyone who bid less than $26,950 at auction for a signed box of Cuban cigars from Fidel Castro’s personal collection. Boston-based RR Auction says Thursday that was the winning bid. The wooden Trinidad Fundadores cigar box was signed in blue felt tip by the longtime Cuban... Continue reading
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — A magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck in the Caribbean Sea between the coast of Honduras and the Cayman Islands on Tuesday night, shaking the mainland and causing officials to warn people around the region to be alert to the threat of possible tsunami surges. There were no early reports of serious damage on... Continue reading
HAVANA — Republican Sen. Jeff Flake says the U.S. has found no evidence that American diplomats in Havana were the victims of attacks with an unknown weapon. Flake, a Senate Foreign Relations Committee member, met with high-ranking Cuban officials in Havana on Friday. He spoke with The Associated Press on Saturday morning. The Cubans told... Continue reading
WASHINGTON — Doctors treating the U.S. Embassy victims of mysterious, invisible attacks in Cuba have discovered brain abnormalities as they search for clues to explain the hearing, vision, balance and memory damage, The Associated Press has learned. It’s the most specific finding to date about physical damage, showing that whatever it was that harmed the... Continue reading
PYONGYANG, North Korea — Ever so cautiously, North Korea is going online. Doctors can consult via live, online video conferencing, and lectures at prestigious Kim Il Sung University are streamed to faraway factories and agricultural communes. People use online dictionaries and text each other on their smartphones. In the wallets of the privileged are “Jonsong”... Continue reading
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is seeking to defuse rising nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula and to boost support for disarmament with a Vatican conference that will bring together 11 Nobel Peace Prize winners, United Nations and NATO officials, and representatives from a handful of countries with the bomb. For some analysts, Francis’ address... Continue reading
LOS ANGELES — Yuli Gurriel batted to a soundtrack of loud and steady boos in Game 7 of the World Series. Dodgers fans voiced their displeasure when the first baseman was announced sixth in the Astros’ lineup before the deciding game Wednesday night. They grew even louder when Gurriel came to the plate for the... Continue reading
BOSTON — A cigar half-smoked by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during a 1947 trip to Paris has sold for just over $12,000 during an online auction. Boston-based RR Auction says the 4-inch (10-centimeter) cigar was bought Wednesday evening by a collector from Palm Beach, Florida. The buyer’s name wasn’t released. The auction company says... Continue reading
WASHINGTON — It sounds sort of like a mass of crickets. But not quite. A high-pitched whine, but from what? It seems to undulate, even writhe. Listen closely: Some hear multiple, distinct tones colliding in a nails-on-a-chalkboard effect. The Associated Press has obtained a recording of what some US Embassy workers heard in Havana, part... Continue reading
BOSTON — The anticipated release of thousands of never-before-seen government documents related to President John F. Kennedy’s assassination has scholars and armchair detectives buzzing. Now, they’re waiting to see whether President Donald Trump will block the release of files that could shed light on a tragedy that has stirred conspiracy theories for decades. The National... Continue reading
HAVANA — Raul Castro seemed as rattled as the Americans. The Cuban president sent for the top American official in the country to address grave concerns about a spate of US diplomats harmed in Havana. There was talk of futuristic “sonic attacks” and the subtle threat of repercussions by the United States, until recently Cuba’s... Continue reading
Five prominent species of ash tree in the eastern US have been driven to the brink of extinction from years of lethal attack by a beetle, a scientific group says. Tens of millions of trees in the US and Canada have already succumbed, and the toll may e... Continue reading
WASHINGTON — The blaring, grinding noise jolted the American diplomat from his bed in a Havana hotel. He moved just a few feet, and there was silence. He climbed back into bed. Inexplicably, the agonizing sound hit him again. It was as if he’d walked through some invisible wall cutting straight through his room. Soon... Continue reading
TAMPA, Florida — A massive but weakened Hurricane Irma zeroed in on the Tampa Bay region early Monday after hammering much of Florida with roof-ripping winds, gushing floodwaters and widespread power outages. Irma continued its slog north along Florida’s western coast having blazed a path of unknown destruction. With communication cut to some of the... Continue reading
More than 3.3 million homes and businesses — and counting — have lost power in Florida as Hurricane Irma moves up the peninsula. The widespread outages stretch from the Florida Keys all the way into central Florida. Florida Power & Light, the state’s largest electric utility, said there were nearly 1 million customers without power... Continue reading
CAIBARIEN, Cuba — Hurricane Irma ripped roofs off houses, collapsed buildings and flooded hundreds of miles of coastline as it raked Cuba after cutting a trail of destruction across the Caribbean. It has killed at least 22 people and has officials scrambling to bring aid on Sunday. As Irma left Cuba and directed its 130... Continue reading
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua — Thousands of Irma victims across the Caribbean fought desperately to find shelter or escape their storm-blasted islands altogether Friday as another hurricane following close behind threatened to add to their misery. Irma regained Category 5 status late Friday, and with its 160 mph winds battering Cuba and taking aim at the... Continue reading
The National Hurricane Center says Irma has strengthened back into a Category 5 storm. Forecasters also extended hurricane and storm surge warnings and watches farther north in Florida. The center says Irma made landfall on the Camaguey Archipelago of ... Continue reading
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua — The most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history has made its first landfall in the islands of the northeast Caribbean. The National Weather Service said the eye of Hurricane Irma passed over Barbuda around 1:47 a.m. Residents said over local radio that phone lines went down as the eye passed.... Continue reading
WASHINGTON — Mysterious health attacks on the American diplomatic community in Cuba continued as recently as August, the United States said Friday, despite earlier U.S. assessments that the attacks had long stopped. The U.S. increased its tally of government personnel affected to 19. The new U.S. disclosures came the same day that the union representing... Continue reading
CARACAS, Venezuela — Two of Venezuela’s leading opposition figures were taken from their homes in the middle of the night by state security agents on Tuesday, in President Nicolas Maduro’s first moves against his enemies since a widely denounced vote giving his government nearly unlimited powers. The wife of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez posted what... Continue reading
TORONTO — The Canadian government is going to apologize and give millions to a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who pleaded guilty to killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan when he was 15, with Canada’s Supreme Court later ruling that officials had interrogated him under “oppressive circumstances.” An official familiar with the deal said Tuesday that... Continue reading
CINCINNATI — Angel Hernandez, a big league umpire for nearly a quarter-century, sued Major League Baseball on Monday alleging race discrimination. In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, the 55-year-old Hernandez, who was born in Cuba and lives in Florida, alleges MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre “has a history of animosity... Continue reading