World Affairs

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The family of the late gangster Meyer Lansky is hoping to be compensated for a Havana casino hotel seized after Cuba's 1959 revolution, now that the countries have begun trying to resolve billions in dollars in claims for the confiscation of American properties by the island's socialist government.

Lansky's family sees an opportunity to reclaim the Habana Riviera or its cash equivalent.

"The hotel was taken from my grandfather forcefully," said Lansky's 60-year-old grandson, Gary Rapoport, of Tampa. "Cuba owes my family money."

President Obama and French President François Hollande promised to increase cooperation and expand attacks against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

During a joint press conference with Hollande at the White House, Obama said that the United States and France "owe our freedom to each other."

After the Paris attacks, Obama said, "our hearts broke too."

"In that stadium, concert hall, restaurants and cafes we see our own," Obama said. "Today we stand with you."

AP Photo/Esteban Felix

PENAS BLANCAS, Costa Rica — As summer began to bake the central Cuban city of Sancti Spiritus, Elio Alvarez and Lideisy Hernandez sold their tiny apartment and everything in it for $5,000 and joined the largest migration from their homeland in decades.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Gov. Rick Scott today sent a letter to members of Congress asking them to block the use of federal tax dollars to resettle an estimated 425 Syrian refugees in the state.

Gov. Scott sent the letter to the new Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and members of the Florida Congressional delegation.

He joins at least 12 other governors who say they will not accept Syrian refugees in their states in response to Friday's attacks in Paris.

At a news conference in Turkey on Monday, President Obama defended his administration's strategy against ISIS, calling Friday's deadly terrorist attacks in Paris "outrageous." He said, however, the U.S. would not send additional ground troops into Syria to combat the Islamic State.

Updated 4:25 a.m. ET Monday:

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls tells French radio RTL that there have been more than 150 raids throughout the night in France. More are expected.

Sunday's post:

As France observed its first of three days of national mourning, police said they were looking for a suspect who they believe may have been involved in the coordinated attacks that left scores dead in Paris on Friday.

The morning after gunmen and explosions left at least 128 people dead and hundreds more wounded in Paris, ISIS has released a statement claiming responsibility for the attacks, according to jihadist-monitoring group SITE Intelligence.

Updated 11:29 p.m. ET

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins says there have been six attacks in and around the city, and the death toll could exceed 120. The majority of those killed were in a concert hall.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports that French police stormed and took control of a concert hall, and two attackers there were killed. Molins says at least five attackers in total have been killed.

If you could start selling something in Cuba that would be a sure-fire money maker, what would it be?

Probably something that hasn't been widely available for more than 50 years in the state-controlled economy. A product for which there's pent up demand and one that would surely spruce up the place after decades of neglect.

Mexican businessman Jaime Murow Troice is already selling it: paint.

AP

By midnight, the basement of one of Havana's hottest clubs is packed wall-to-wall for a private concert by one of Cuba's biggest pop stars.

The view in the parking lot of Havana's airport
Steve Newborn / WUSF News

The easing of travel restrictions to Cuba could unleash a torrent of 'Yanqui' tourists, something that has the potential to transform a poor island that is rich in history, architecture and natural beauty.

AP Photo

A coalition of Tunisian workers, business owners, rights activists and lawyers won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for intervening at a crucial time to push the North African country that sparked the Arab Spring revolutions toward democracy and away from civil war.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet "for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy" following Tunisia's 2011 revolution that overthrew its long-time dictator.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

The U.S. recently opened its shuttered embassy in Havana, but relations between the U.S. and Cuba are still far from normal. And emotions on both sides of the debate about normalization are still running high. That was evident Monday night during a debate at the Centro Asturiano club in Ybor City, hosted by the Tampa Tiger Bay Club.

What New Rules Mean for Travel to Cuba

Sep 22, 2015

As Robert Muse, a Washington-based lawyer who specializes in U.S.-Cuba related law, put it: If somebody wishes to travel to Cuba and they “can’t think up a way to fit into those categories, they are not trying.” Still, ordinary tourism remains off limits and travelers have to mark a box to denote the purpose of their trip, and they are required to keep travel receipts for five years after they return. In most cases, they are also expected to have a full-time schedule of activities related to their category of travel.

Pope Francis has won wide acclaim in the United States for his compassionate approach to thorny problems and his warm embrace of the poor and struggling. But that doesn’t mean that he’s fully in sync with the American Catholic Church.

Many American bishops are much more conservative than this pope, and many lay members don’t share Francis’ concern with climate change and the plight of migrants.

AP Photo/Alex Castro

Pope Francis marked a personal anniversary Monday — the day he decided as a teenager to become a priest — by traveling to the Cuban city of Holguin, emphasizing his papacy's focus on preaching the faith in places far from the international spotlight.

Francis celebrated Mass in the main plaza of Holguin, becoming the first pope to visit Cuba's third-largest city. Later, he was to head to Santiago on Cuba's eastern end before flying to Washington on Tuesday for the U.S. leg of his two-nation trip to the former Cold War foes.

Pope Francis’ visit to Cuba this weekend showcases the island’s Roman Catholic recovery after half a century of communism.

But that narrative is misleading. In reality, Catholicism wasn’t all that vibrant in Cuba before communism.

So-called authorized travel — visits to Cuba for a wide range of allowed purposes, including business, religious, educational and people-to-people exchange — can now include family members, and travelers can open Cuban bank accounts.

A University of South Florida event Thursday called “Violent Extremism in the Greater Middle East and the Implications for U.S. Foreign Policy”  will address the pending nuclear deal with Iran and how to deal with the growing threat of the Islamic State, or ISIS.

WUSF's Steve Newborn discusses what to expect with USF Professor Mohsen Milani.

Carribean American Civic Movement photo

Europe and the U.S.-Mexico border aren't the only frontiers being crossed by migrants. Thousands of Haitians are being deported from the neighboring Dominican Republic, and one local group is trying to help some of those those left behind.

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