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Raul Castro: Don't expect detente to change Cuban system

Raul Castro's blunt message to Washington: Detente won't change the system Cubans fought for
Andrea Rodriguez, The Associated Press

HAVANA - Cuban President Raul Castro sent a blunt message to Washington Saturday as the White House works to reverse a half-century of hostility between the U.S. and Cuba: Don't expect detente to do away with the communist system.

Exiles divided on plans to thaw US-Cuba relations

Exiles express outrage, surprise and support for US-Cuba plans to normalize relations
Matt Sedensky And Laura Wides-Munoz, The Associated Press

MIAMI - When Cuban and American leaders announced they would restore diplomatic relations after a standoff lasting more than a half-century, all eyes in the U.S. immediately turned to Miami, where many expected the country's largest population of Cuban exiles to pour angrily into the streets.

Outrage was decidedly muted, however, with only a handful of demonstrations, while some of the expatriates known for their support of isolationist tactics actually expressed support for the changes.

Palestinians set deadline for Israeli occupation

Palestinians set deadline for Israeli occupation; Israel suffers sharp rebuffs in Europe
Cara Anna And John-Thor Dahlburg, The Associated Press

Israel suffered back-to-back diplomatic setbacks in Europe on Wednesday, while the Palestinians at the United Nations set a deadline for an Israeli withdrawal from lands captured nearly 50 years ago by the end of 2017.

In Geneva, the international community delivered a stinging rebuke to Israel's settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, saying the practice violates Israel's responsibilities as an occupying power.

Colombian rebels announce unilateral cease-fire

Colombian rebels declare historic unilateral cease-fire with their government
Andrea Rodriguez, The Associated Press

HAVANA - Colombia's largest rebel group announced an indefinite, unilateral cease-fire Wednesday, saying guerrillas will refrain from staging attacks so long as they aren't targeted by the U.S.-backed military.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia made the announcement in Cuba at the end of another round of peace talks aimed at ending Latin America's oldest insurgency.

US, Cuba patch torn relations in historic accord

Historic US-Cuba deal to patch long-broken relations could lead to flow of money and people
Julie Pace And Matthew Lee, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - After a half-century of Cold War acrimony, the United States and Cuba moved on Wednesday to restore diplomatic relations — a historic shift that could revitalize the flow of money and people across the narrow waters that separate the two nations.

Key elements of US policy shift toward Cuba

Key elements of Obama's decision to shift US policy, normalize relations with Cuba
Darlene Superville, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The U.S. and Cuba will begin taking steps to restore full diplomatic relations, marking the most significant shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island in more than half a century. Key elements of changes to U.S. policy toward Cuba, some of which President Barack Obama announced at the White House on Wednesday.


Under Abbas, majority say they can't speak freely

Under Abbas, most Palestinians say they can't speak freely, critics cite curbs on expression
Karin Laub And Mohammed Daraghmeh, The Associated Press

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories - Two-thirds of Palestinians say they are afraid to criticize Mahmoud Abbas, according to a poll, and some of the Palestinian president's recent actions only seem to confirm claims that dissent comes at a price.

Quotes from around the world on Pakistan attack

Quotes from around the world on deadly Taliban attack on Pakistan school
[By The Associated Press], The Associated Press

Reactions from around the world to the deadly Taliban attack on a military-run school in Peshawar, Pakistan on Tuesday.


Palestinians seek end-of-occupation vote this week

Palestinians to seek UN Security Council vote this week on ending Israeli occupation
Karin Laub, The Associated Press

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will push for a U.N. Security Council vote this week on a resolution setting a November 2016 deadline for ending the Israeli occupation, officials said Monday.

Such a move could set the stage for a clash at the Security Council, both over the resolution, which is backed by Jordan, or over a second proposal by France, which seeks a two-year deadline for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on the terms of Palestinian statehood.

Syria's Assad makes rare appearance at rally

Syria's president makes rare public appearance at rally of his supporters
Albert Aji,Elizabeth A. Kennedy, The Associated Press

DAMASCUS, Syria - Syrian President Bashar Assad joined thousands of his supporters Wednesday in an extremely rare public appearance, telling a pro-regime rally in the capital that the "conspiracy" against his country will fail.

Dressed more casually than usual in a jacket but no tie, the president told the cheering crowd that he wanted to draw strength from them. Security guards surrounded him as supporters waved his portrait and raised Syrian flags.

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