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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.

A looming vote on a nuclear deal with Iran, one of President Barack Obama's top priorities, has Florida Democrats in a bind.

More than a month after Obama announced the agreement, veteran U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is Florida's sole Washington lawmaker openly backing the plan.

Other Democrats --- including U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who also serves as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee --- are biding their time. Exceptions are U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch and Alcee Hastings, who condemned the accord.

More than 600 Florida guardsmen are on their way to the horn of Africa.  They’ll participate in Operation Enduring Freedom.

It's the tourist mantra these days: Get to Cuba before it loses its 1950s nostalgia and turns into a capitalist tourist trap.

This week saw 54 years of Cold War-era hostilities warm up in the Caribbean sun: On Monday, Cuba and the U.S. reopened embassies in each other's capitals, a major step in the normalization of relations between the long-time foes.

AP

A GOP-controlled Senate panel has voted to lift a decades-long ban on travel to Cuba, giving a boost to President Barack Obama's moves to ease travel restrictions and open up relations with the Castro-governed nation.

AP

Now that Cuba has an embassy again in Washington, D.C., consulates could be coming to serve its people, most of whom live in Florida. Miami and Tampa have the closest historical ties to the island, but they have very different things to say about the idea.

Officials in Miami want no part of a consulate. Their politically powerful Cuban-American population is heavily influenced by those who fled Fidel Castro's 1959 communist revolution and have campaigned against the Castros for five decades since then, sometimes violently.

The United Nations Security Council has unanimously endorsed the nuclear deal struck between Iran, the United States and five other world powers, the AP and Reuters are reporting.

Under the terms of the deal, the toughest sanctions put in place against Iran by the world body would be dismantled in exchange for restrictions on some of the country's nuclear activities.

(This post was last updated at 10:45 a.m. ET.)

After 54 years of animosity, the United States and Cuba have formally restored diplomatic ties.

That means that the U.S. opened an embassy in Havana and Cuba opened an embassy in Washington, D.C., this morning.

With the United States and Cuba inching closer to fully restoring diplomatic ties, including reopening embassies for the first time in 54 years, the future is murky for tens of thousands of Cuban immigrants who have been ordered by immigration authorities to leave the country.

As many as 25,000 Cubans living in the United States have outstanding deportation orders, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They include people who pose a threat to national security or have serious criminal convictions and are considered priorities for immigration enforcement agents.

Since Washington announced the restoration of diplomatic ties with Havana last December, the treasury department has also issued ferry licences to at least two U.S. companies. Trips to Cuba from Spain by government officials and business leaders have jumped this year as Spain rushes to make the most of what is becoming a more open economy on the Caribbean island.

As Congress begins deliberations about the agreement, opponents will relentlessly lobby legislators to reject the deal on the grounds that it has not closed all pathways to a nuclear bomb and has legitimized Iran as a threshold nuclear power. But they will not be able to offer a viable alternative to it. Should Congress vote to reject the agreement anyway, Obama has promised to veto their decision.

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