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US, Cuba Restore Diplomatic Relations

US and Cuba Restore Diplomatic Relations
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In the news today…

The United States and Cuba have re-established full diplomatic relations. It is the first time in 54 years that each side officially recognizes the other.

Early Monday morning, the flag of Cuba was raised at the headquarters of the State Department in Washington. The Cuban flag joined the flags of the other countries that have relations with the United States.

The re-establishment of ties is not without its critics. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has said there has not been enough discussion of human rights in Cuba. Mr. Rubio belongs to the Republican Party.

US Secretary of Defense visits Israel

U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is in the Middle East. He is talking with American allies about the international nuclear deal with Iran. He is also expected to talk about the fight against the Islamic State militant group.

Mr. Carter is in Israel, and plans to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday. The prime minister strongly opposes the agreement with Iran. He has called it an “historic mistake.”

Later, the defense secretary is to travel to Saudi Arabia for meetings with King Salman. Mr. Carter says he will talk with the king and his defense chief about limiting what he called “Iranian aggression” in the area. He will also talk with the Saudi leaders about how to stop the Islamic State.

Afghan police: US-led airstrike killed Afghan soldiers

Police in Afghanistan say American helicopters mistakenly attacked an Afghan security position Monday morning. At least eight Afghan soldiers were reported killed and several others wounded.

The attack happened in Logar province, 50 kilometers east of the capital, Kabul.

The provincial police chief told reporters that the correct target was about a kilometer away, in the same area as the Afghan security position.

Explosion near Turkey-Syria border kills 27 people

Turkey’s Interior Ministry says a terrorist attack has killed at least 27 people and wounded nearly 100 in the town of Suruc, near the Syrian border. The ministry said the number of dead could increase.

Suruc is near the Syrian city of Kobani, an area where Kurdish forces are fighting Islamic State militants.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the explosion resulted from a car bomb that targeted Kurdish forces. Kurdish officials said the explosion was part of a military operation to remove weapons left by Islamic State fighters.

Former ruler of Chad tried for crimes against humanity

A special court in Senegal began hearing evidence against the former ruler of Chad on Monday. Hissene Habre is charged with crimes against humanity.

The former president and his lawyers say the court does not have the power to judge him. They also said they would not take part in the trial. But officials forced Mr. Habre to attend the hearing on Monday.

The court is expected to hear from 100 witnesses during the trial.

Rights groups and a Chad government committee accuse the former president of being responsible for more than 40,000 political killings. Mr. Habre led the country between 1982 and 1990. In 1990, he was ousted by Chad’s current leader, Idriss Deby, and fled to Senegal.

Japanese company apologizes for using US soldiers as slave laborers

Officials from Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation have apologized for the company’s use of American prisoners of war as slave laborers during World War II.

Company official Hikaru Kimura apologized to 94-year-old former prisoner James Murphy during a public ceremony Sunday in Los Angeles, California. Earlier, he apologized to Mr. Murphy privately.

James Murphy was one of about 900 prisoners of war who were forced to work in company-owned mines and industrial centers during the war. He said he and others had waited 70 years for the apology.

About 12,000 American prisoners of war were used as slave laborers by the Japanese government and private companies. Thousands of them died. The Japanese government has apologized for using the Americans as forced laborers. The apology by Mitsubishi is the first ever by a Japanese company.


Words in The News

relations – n. understandings or ties between nations

deal – n. an agreement

mistakenly – adj. accidentally; doing something by accident

explosion – n. the violent release of energy after something breaks up

humanity – n. all people

apologize(d) – v. to express regret or sorrow