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Updated: 10:45 a.m. ET

North Korea closed its nuclear test site in spectacular fashion Thursday, blasting the site in what one observer described as a "huge explosion."

Cuban officials are still identifying the 111 people who died in last Friday’s crash of a Cubana Airlines 737 on takeoff from Havana. Two surviving passengers remain in critical condition. Some Cubans here hope the tragedy will bring changes to how Cuba – and the U.S. – approach air travel on the island.

President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday expelled the top U.S. diplomat in Venezuela and his deputy for allegedly conspiring against his government and trying to sabotage the country's recent presidential election.

"The empire doesn't dominate us here," Maduro said in a televised address, giving charge d'affaires Todd Robinson and his deputy Brian Naranjo 48 hours to leave the country. "We've had enough of your conspiring."

Updated at 4:47 p.m. ET

President Trump cautioned that his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may not happen as planned.

"There's a chance, there's a very substantial chance that it won't work out," Trump said during an Oval Office photo op with the president of South Korea. "I don't want to waste a lot of time. And I'm sure he doesn't want to waste a lot of time. So there's a very substantial chance that it won't work out and that's OK. That doesn't mean that it won't work out over a period of time."

Updated at 5:26 p.m. ET

A plane carrying more than 100 people crashed shortly after takeoff from Havana's José Martí International Airport. The plane, a Boeing 737, had been destined for the city of Holguín when it smashed into the wooded edge of a field midday Friday.

Two cylinders that were dropped on the rebel-held Syrian city of Saraqeb in February — sending nearly a dozen people to seek medical help for nausea and other symptoms — had contained chlorine, according to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

After a visit to the site, the OPCW says, its fact-finding mission has confirmed "that chlorine was likely used as a chemical weapon" on Feb. 4 in Saraqeb, a small city that's about 12 miles southeast of Idlib. It also used evidence that was gathered by several nongovernmental organizations.

New commercial satellite imagery shows that North Korea has begun dismantling its underground nuclear test site ahead of schedule – an apparent goodwill gesture offered by Pyongyang in advance of a summit next month between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Israel says it carried out airstrikes against dozens of Iranian military targets in Syria in what it is describing as the largest such operation it has ever conducted in the region, after it says its forces came under missile attack.

The Bay of Pigs is one of the darkest episodes of Cuban-American history. But that failed 1961 attempt by Cuban exiles to overthrow Fidel Castro had another dark result. Some of its resentful veterans came back to the U.S. to form a violent Cuban-American mafia called The Corporation.

Yuisa Rios / FEMA

Puerto Rican veterans will be reuniting for the first time in 30 years Saturday, and they’ll be raising awareness about the current situation on the island.

For most of the veterans, this will be the first time seeing each other since they were stationed at Naval Station Roosevelt Roads in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, in the 1980s and 1990s.

USF Sarasota-Manatee

Relations between the U.S. and Cuba are currently strained following a mysterious incident that injured two dozen American diplomatic personnel on the island. In addition, President Donald Trump reversed policies created by the Obama administration to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba.

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.

Prodger - WUSF Public Media / McLeish - St. Mary's University (TX) School of Law

The University of South Florida Center for Strategic & Diplomatic Studies and the USF Honors College are hosting a conversation about Brexit – the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

For weeks, Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and his associates tried to play the Washington game, meeting with politicians and lobbyists across Capitol Hill to argue against provisions in the tax overhaul bill that treat the U.S. territory like a foreign country.

Gov. Rick Scott will embark this weekend on a trade mission to Israel that he instantly made political on Wednesday by calling for the U.S. Embassy to be relocated to Jerusalem.

We still don’t know what or who caused the alleged sonic attacks that injured U.S. diplomats in Havana. Which is why Cuba put its own scientists online this week to debunk the claims.

Some two dozen personnel at the U.S. embassy in Havana say they were victims of acoustic attacks. The high-pitched sonic blasts started last year and caused hearing loss and other illnesses.

PATILLAS, Puerto Rico – Jan Carlo Pérez’s family has a farm in Patillas, Puerto Rico. It’s a town of lush green hillside forests known as the Caribbean island’s “emerald of the south.” But right now Patillas – close to where Hurricane Maria made landfall in September – is a struggling disaster casualty.

“You can see the barn is completely destroyed,” Pérez says during a walk around his property this month during a light drizzle. “We had fruit trees over there, the star fruit, the bread fruit. It’s all, it’s all gone….”

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has co-signed a letter asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to send more support to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Health-care funding was already tight before the storms, particularly in financially unstable Puerto Rico, where nearly half the population is covered by Medicaid.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley tells the U.N. Security Council that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is "begging for war," with the latest nuclear test that Pyongyang says is its first fusion device, a much more powerful weapon than it has exploded in the past.

"Enough is enough. War is never something the United States wants. We don't want it now. But our country's patience is not unlimited," Haley told an emergency session of the 15-member Security Council in New York.

Political conditions in Venezuela are growing darker by the day. But so is Venezuela’s financial situation. In the meantime, Florida politicians are calling for more help for Venezuelan immigrants.

Much of the international community now labels Venezuela’s socialist government a dictatorship. And this week the regime is doing its best to live up to that billing.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants the Sunshine State to stop doing business with Venezuela. Scott is proposing the policy shift after more than 100 days of protest and unrest in the South American country.


Uruguay has long been known for its sweet pastries called medialunas. But right now it’s better known for marijuana. On Wednesday the small, progressive South American country became the first in the world to allow the nationwide commercial sale of pot – and the U.S. is watching.

Florida Governor Rick Scott returned to Doral this Monday for another "Freedom Rally" in support of the Venezuelan opposition and committed to taking measures so that the state of Florida will stop doing business with companies associated with the Venezuelan government. 

"Any organization that does business with the [Nicolas] Maduro regime cannot do business with the state of Florida," said Gov. Scott to the crowd gathered at the Venezuelan restaurant El Arepazo Dos. Scott said he will present the idea to the members of his Cabinet in August. 

As their constituents took to the streets with pots and pans to celebrate Fidel Castro’s death, South Florida’s Cuban-American congressional delegation blasted the Obama administration for the brief diplomatic opening that preceded the dictator’s death.

“The largest financier of Castro right now, has become the Obama administration,” Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart told reporters at a Miami press conference. 

Fidel Castro, the controversial ruler who took power during the Cuban revolution in 1959 and led his country for nearly half a century, died in Havana, Cuba, at age 90.

Castro lived through 10 U.S. presidents who were determined to overthrow him, as NPR's Tom Gjelten reported, in addition to surviving the collapse of the communist alliance that bolstered his success.

I always had a wonderful time in Fidel Castro's Cuba, and usually wound up feeling bad about it.

The island is beautiful, the people even sunnier: warm and friendly, especially to Americans. The responsables — government minders — assigned to each reporting crew would tease me about being from Chicago.

"Your mobsters used to run this place," they'd say. "Sam Giancana, The Godfather. You made our men bellboys and our women prostitutes." And then they'd treat you to mojitos and fabulous music.

Quincy Walters / WUSF News

As the death toll continues to rise in Haiti, people in Tampa's Haitian community are still on edge. 

Since last Thursday, the Haitian Association Foundation of Tampa Bay (HAFTB) has been collecting donations of canned food, flashlights, cleaning supplies and clothes at the Louverture Cultural Center on North Florida Avenue.

We first published this story on September 28, 2016. We're bringing it back now because Benjamin Ferencz will speak tomorrow (Tuesday, Dec. 13) in Boca Raton at a U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum public program at B'nai Torah Congregation. The discussion, A Relentless Pursuit: Bringing Holocaust Perpetrators to Justice, is free, but registration is required. Click here to find out more information or call 561-995-6773.

The prosecutor in one of the biggest murder trials in history lives now in a small bungalow with faded roof in a senior community in Delray Beach. 

WUSF Public Media

The British Consul General from Miami, David Prodger, is in Tampa discussing Brexit with the "Tampa-Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and  the Tampa Bay Technology Forum.

Beforehand, he spoke with WUSF to discuss how the United Kingdom’s vote to exit the European Union could impact Florida’s businesses, tourism industry and real estate market.

AP Photo/Desmond Boylan

The Obama administration punched a new series of holes in the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba on Tuesday, turning a ban on U.S. tourism to Cuba into an unenforceable honor system and paving the way for Cuban athletes to one day play Major League Baseball and other U.S. professional sports.

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