U.S. AND CUBA MAKE HISTORY IN PANAMA
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez met last night in Panama City in what represented the highest-level meeting between the two countries in more than 50 years. The meeting preceded the Summit of the Americas, which begins there today. A U.S. State Department official said Kerry and Rodriguez “had a lengthy and very constructive discussion,” The Washington Post reports. “The two agreed they made progress and that we would continue to work to resolve outstanding issues.” The presidents of both countries, Barack Obama and Raul Castro, will cross paths during the summit and are expected at a minimum to shake hand. They made a joint announcement in December that the U.S. and Cuba were normalizing ties.
Photo above: John O'Neill via Instagram
A tornado slammed the tiny Illinois town of Fairdale yesterday, killing one, injuring seven and causing significant damage.
PAKISTAN WON’T JOIN YEMEN COALITION
The Pakistan parliament passed a resolution today affirming the country’s “neutrality” in the Yemen conflict, Al Jazeera reports. The decision, presented by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, followed a week-long parliamentary session on the issue. But the resolution also expressed that Pakistan would “stand shoulder to shoulder” with Saudi Arabia, which is leading the coalition against the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
- Meanwhile, Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei condemned the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen yesterday, calling it a “genocide that can be prosecuted in international courts,” Reuters reports. “Riyadh will not emerge victorious in its aggression,” he added.
- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also criticized the coalition, saying it was repeating errors committed in other parts of the Arab world where Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran back rival sides.
- This comes a day after Iran deployed two warships off Yemen’s coast to establish a military presence. Iran has also been accused of training and arming Houthi fighters in Yemen, though officials have denied it.
- Additional medical aid from the Red Cross reached the capital Sanaa today, France 24 reports. The cargo includes medicine and surgical tools.
ON THIS DAY
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby was published 90 years ago today. Time for your 57-second shot of history.
HILLARY TO ANNOUNCE SUNDAY
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will officially announce her 2016 presidential campaign on Twitter Sunday while on route to Iowa, a source told The Guardian. It is expected to be followed by a video and a tour beginning in the caucus state.
“I wanted to take revenge on those who ruined me,” Claudio Giardiello told police after killing three people in a Milan courthouse yesterday,La Repubblica reports. The 57-year-old man, who had been on trial for fraudulent bankruptcy, was arrested in a town 24 kilometers away after fleeing on a motorcycle. He killed his lawyer, a co-defendant and a judge.
As Le Temps’ Marie-Laure Chapatte reports, Pascal Bourquin will be 75 years old when he reaches his goal of walking every Swiss hiking trail, the equivalent of circling the earth twice. “Of course, the mountain climber and journalist has reached many summits in his career and knows the dangers they entail,” Chapatte writes. “Among his accomplishments is the ultra marathon la Petite Trotte à Léon, a grueling six-day mountain race. The PTL, as it's more commonly known, has demonstrated that Pascal was, and is, not invincible. He failed twice, forced to stop after giant blisters formed on his feet. But he was persistent. Last September, he finished the race after 135 hours of pain and exertion.”
Read the full article, This Man Is Hiking Every Mountain In Switzerland.
GREECE REPAYS IMF, GETS EXTRA LOAN
Greece made a crucial payment to the International Monetary Fund and obtained extra emergency lending for its banks yesterday, but it remained unclear whether the country can satisfy skeptical creditors with economic reforms before it runs out of money, Reuters reports.
Japanese authorities and volunteers are working today to save at least 149 melon-headed whales, a type of dolphin usually found in deep waters, that have been found beached along a 10-kilometer stretch of shore, Japan Today reports. Despite frantic efforts, a number of the dolphins have died. Others, who had been returned to the water, have been pushed back onto shore by the tide.
31 DEAD IN MOROCCO BUS ACCIDENT
At least 31 people were killed and nine were wounded in a collision between a bus and a truck today near the southern Moroccan town of Tan-Tan, news agency MAP reports. The bus was reportedly transporting young athletes and their coach, who were returning from a competition.
MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD
North Korean school children are going to be taught a host of baloney about their dictator Kim Jong-un, including that he learned to drive at age 3, as part of a new school subject dedicated to his life and “revolutionary works.”