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Boeing 737 crashes in Cuba with 104 people on board

HAVANA: A Cuban state airways plane with 104 passengers on board crashed shortly after taking off Friday from Havana's Jose Marti airport, leaving a thick column of smoke over the scene. The Boeing 737 operated by Cubana de Aviacion crashed in a field near the airport, and a column of acrid smoke was rising over the crash site, an AFP journalist at the scene said. There were no initial reports of casualties on the ground. Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who went to visit the scene, said there was a "high number"…

Closure of US embassy in Cuba ‘under review’: Tillerson

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Sunday that Washington is considering the possibility of closing its embassy in Havana in the wake of a mysterious "sonic attack" that left several of its staff with brain injuries and hearing loss. Washington says at least 16 employees at its Havana embassy -- which fully reopened in 2015 after a half-century breakdown in diplomatic relations -- were injured in a series of incidents that began last year. The State Department has called the attacks "unprecedented"…

‘Sonic attacks’ in Cuba hit several Canadian diplomats, families: media

OTTAWA: Mysterious "sonic attacks" in Cuba in recent months targeted at least five Canadian diplomats and their families, public broadcaster CBC reported on Friday. The incidents were first revealed at the beginning of August when Canadian and US officials said they had launched an investigation into the cause of diplomats' sudden hearing loss, migraines and nausea in Havana. At the time, Ottawa confirmed that one of its envoys had been treated for the symptoms. "More than five, but fewer than 10 Canadian families…

Raul Castro warns of “a setback” in US-Cuba relations

HAVANA: Cuban President Raul Castro on Friday said that Donald Trump's hardline stance towards the country marks "a setback" in relations with the United States after ties were gradually restored in 2015. "The announcements made by the current president... mean a setback in bilateral relations," Castro said in remarks, broadcast on state television, at the closing of the first session of Cuba's Parliament. Castro criticized Trump's partial rollback of his predecessor Barack Obama's rapprochement with the communist island…

Cubans hold mass rally for late leader Fidel Castro

HAVANA: Hundreds of thousands of Cubans packed Havana's Revolution Square on Tuesday for a massive rally in honor of late leader Fidel Castro. The crowd chanted "long live the revolution!" and "Fidel! Fidel!" as Castro's leftist Latin American allies and other leaders from the region and Africa joined the commemoration. A giant picture of a young, bearded Castro in his guerrilla uniform and rifle hung on the National Library as his brother and successor, Raul Castro, waved at the crowd. Castro -- who ruled from 1959…

Cuban revolutionary icon Fidel Castro dies in Havana at 90

HAVANA: Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary leader who built a communist state on the doorstep of the United States and for five decades defied U.S. efforts to topple him, died on Friday. He was 90. A towering figure of the second half of the 20th Century, Castro stuck to his ideology beyond the collapse of Soviet communism and remained widely respected in parts of the world that had struggled against colonial rule. He had been in poor health since an intestinal ailment nearly killed him in 2006. He formally ceded…