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Fidel Castro dies: Exiles recall pain with sorrow, freedom with joy

The bar was working overtime at Copacabana Cuban Cuisine on Saturday, muddling mojitos and stirring up Cuba Libres and their intrinsic promises.

"It's the beginning. It's the beginning of the end," said the restaurant's effusive owner, Gustavo Garcia, who was offering two-for-one cocktails all day and late into the night. "I'm very happy, and my people here are very happy."

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The grand parenthesis that was Fidel Castro's 49-year rule over Cuba closed some years ago. But Friday's announcement that the dictator was dead offered a kind of finality that local Cuban exiles have long dreamed about. It also offered a touchstone moment by which to measure their lives.

>> Related: Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro dead at 90

For school custodian Lazaro Camacho, the news sent him back to the six years he endured in one of Cuba's more notorious prisons, Kilo 7 in Camaguey. During his time there, 40 prisoners died in a revolt. Camacho was sent there at age 19 for simply trying to leave the island.

"Only in Cuba. In any normal country, or democratic country, it's not a crime to leave," said Camacho, who described the prison as a "terrible concentration camp." And while he is not one to cheer anyone's passing, he believes Castro's death merits demonstrations of joy. "He was a cruel dictator who ruined too many lives."

Read the full story from The Palm Beach Post

Photos: World reaction to Fidel Castro's death

President Obama releases statement on Fidel Castro's death

President Barack Obama released a statement on the death of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

In the statement, Obama offers condolences while acknowledging the history between Cuba and the United States. Obama notes that during his presidency, he worked on establishing more cordial relations with Cuba.

>>Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro dead at 90

>>World reaction to Castro's death

In March, Obama traveled to Cuba and met with President Raul Castro. Air travel restrictions between the two countries have been eased, with commercial flights resuming in August, a result of the Obama administration's new diplomatic policy with Cuba.

World reacts to death of Fidel Castro

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro died Friday night at the age of 90. 

Current Cuban leader and younger brother Raul Castro announced the news on state television.

>>Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro dead at 90

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Cuba's government announced that Castro will be cremated, and his ashes would be interred on Dec. 4 in Santiago, the birthplace of his revolution. 

>>Photos: World reaction to Castro's death

>>Photos: Fidel Castro through the years

The death of Castro has generated reaction from around the world. 

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Key dates during the Fidel Castro era in Cuba

Here are some key dates in Cuba since Fidel Castro came to power in January 1959:

Jan. 1, 1959 — Castro's rebels take power as dictator Fulgencio Batista flees Cuba.

Jan. 7, 1959 — The United States recognizes the new Cuban government.

May 8, 1960 — Diplomatic relations between Cuba and the Soviet Union resume.

 Oct. 19, 1960 — Washington bans exports to Cuba, other than food and medicine.

Jan. 3, 1961 — U.S. breaks diplomatic relations with Cuba after Cuban government demands a drastic reduction in U.S. Embassy staff within 48 hours.

April 16, 1961 — Castro declares Cuba a socialist state.

April 17, 1961 — Bay of Pigs: CIA-backed Cuban exiles stage failed invasion.

Feb, 7, 1962 — Washington bans all Cuban imports.

Oct. 14-26, 1962 — U.S. blockade forces removal of Soviet nuclear missiles from Cuba. U.S. President John F. Kennedy agrees privately not to invade Cuba.

Mar. 13, 1968 — Castro's government takes over almost all private businesses under the banner of the Great Revolutionary Offensive.

April 1980 — Mariel boatlift: Cuba says anyone can leave; some 125,000 Cubans flee.

December 1991 — Collapse of Soviet Union devastates Cuban economy.

August 1994 — Castro declares he will not stop Cubans trying to leave; some 40,000 take to sea heading for United States.

Nov. 19, 1996 — Pope John Paul II receives Castro at the Vatican. The Pope accepts an invitation to visit Cuba.

 July 31, 2006 — Castro announces he has had an operation, temporarily cedes power to his brother Raul.

Feb. 19, 2008 — Castro resigns as president.

July 2010 — Castro re-emerges after years in seclusion, visiting a scientific institute, giving a TV interview, talking to academics and even taking in a dolphin show at the aquarium.

April 19, 2011 — Castro is replaced by his brother Raul as first secretary of the Communist Party, the last official post he held. The elder Castro made a brief appearance at the Congress.

April 19, 2016 —Castro delivers a valedictory speech at the Communist Party's seventh Congress, declaring that "soon I'll be like all the others. The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban Communists will remain."

Nov. 25, 2016 — Fidel Castro dies.

Information from The Associated Press and the U.S. Embassy was used in this report.

5 arrested for planning terror attack in Paris

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Five men were arrested this week in France after investigators found they were planning a terror attack in the country, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Friday.

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According to the Associated Press, the men, two of whom were French citizens, were arrested in two French cities: Strasbourg and Marseille.

The attack was planned to be executed as early as Dec. 1, and the men were receiving orders from an Islamic State group member based in Iraq or Syria, Molins said.

Investigators found weapons during home searches and recovered plans to obtain ammunition, instructions for a money handover and a notebook with details of death in martyrdom.

Molins said the men hadn't chosen a specific target, but they had "common instructions to obtain weapons (and) instructions given by a person from the Iraqi-Syrian zone through encrypted applications popular among terrorists" and a "clear will to find and to identify targets to commit an act in the very short term." 

The men were detained after a long-term investigation by French intelligence services, and the Paris prosecutor asked magistrates to hand the five preliminary charges of taking part in a terrorist criminal association and to jail them.

France remains under a state of emergency that was imposed after Islamic State attacks in Paris in November 2015 that killed 130 people.

Read more at the Associated Press.

Thanksgiving 2016 travel forecast: Here’s how to check your flight; see travel conditions

If you are headed to the airport Wednesday to travel to a Thanksgiving celebration with family and friends, you may want to take a minute to check your flight status.

A quick way to do that is to use the website flightaware.com. The site offers flight tracking, news on cancellations and specific  airport delays and a “misery map” that shows regions of the country where delay times could be the longest.

If you are traveling on Wednesday, the national forecast shows a chance of weather-related airport delays in the Northwest and through the middle of the country.

According to the American Automobile Association, upwards of 49 million people will be traveling at least 50 or more miles for Thanksgiving. 

7 things to know now: Vote recount urged; Trump picks Haley for U.N.; overtime rule blocked

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now:

1. Haley at the U.N.: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, has been tapped to be Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, according to several sources. Haley, 44, is now in her second term as governor. The announcement is expected to be made by Trump's transition team Wednesday afternoon.

2. Calling for a recount: Some computer scientists are urging Hillary Clinton’s campaign to call for a recount of votes across three Midwestern states. According to the scientists, they believe they have found evidence that vote totals in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania could have been manipulated or hacked. According to several reports, the scientists have told John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, about their suspicions. The group says Donald Trump won by disproportionate amounts in counties in those states  that use electronic voting. Polling expert Nate Silver disagrees, saying race and education levels made the difference in the voting, and that once there were controlled for in the results, the apparent disparity “disappears.”

3. Trump says no to alt-right: In an interview with The New York Times, president-elect Donald Trump says he disavows and condemns the white supremacy group “alt-right.” Trump also said he did not understand why his election has “energized” the group whose members have been heard yelling “Heil Trump,” in a comparison with Nazi support of Adolf Hitler.

4. Dalai Lama is ok with Trump: The Dalai Lama said Wednesday he has "no worries" about a Donald Trump presidency. The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader who won the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize said he thinks Trump will adjust his policies to  global realities as his term goes on. He says he looks forward to meeting Trump. 

5. Overtime rule blocked: A federal judge Tuesday blocked an Obama Administration rule that would have extended eligibility for overtime pay to around four million Americans. The new overtime rule, set to go into effect on Dec. 1, required employers to pay time-and-a-half to employees who worked more than 40 hours in a given week if they earned less than $47,476 a year. The rule had been challenged by 21 states, the Chamber of Commerce and other business groups.

And one more

A new study shows that when it comes to the worst drivers in the country, Texas and Louisiana top the list. The CarinsuranceComparison.com report analyzed information from the National Transportation Safety Administration on careless driving, fatality rates per miles driven in the state, drunk driving, failure to obey (such as stopping at stop signs), and speeding. Other states in the top 10 included Alabama, Nevada and Delaware.

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