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International News  

Raul Castro retires as Cuban president, outlines future
(Irene Perez - Cubadebate via AP)
By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN and ANDREA RODRIGUEZ
From Associated Press
April 19, 2018 4:56 PM EST

HAVANA (AP) — Raul Castro handed over Cuba's presidency Thursday to a hand-picked 57-year-old successor he said would hold power until 2031, a plan that would place the state the Castro brothers founded and ruled for six decades in the hands of a Communist Party official who remains little known to most people on the island.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal authorities for the first time are offering a reward for information leading to an American journalist who has been missing in Syria for more than five years.

HAVANA (AP) — The Latest on Raul Castro's handover of Cuba's presidency (all times local): 4:30 p.m. Cuban-Americans in Miami aren't expecting much change as President Miguel Diaz-Canel takes over from Raul Castro.

BEIRUT (AP) — The Syrian government took control of a town northeast of Damascus on Thursday after rebels evacuated to north Syria — the latest in a string of handovers by rebels to the government.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon said Thursday a "preponderance of the evidence" indicates there were chemical weapons, including "elements" of sarin nerve gas, at the three Syrian sites bombed by the U.S.

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Thousands of protesters called Thursday for the resignation of the secretive board that awards the Nobel Prize in Literature after a sex-abuse scandal linked to the prestigious Swedish academy forced the ouster of its first-ever woman head and tarnished the reputation of the coveted prize.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Gaza protest organizers moved sit-in tents closer to the Israeli border fence Thursday, a day before a fourth planned mass demonstration, raising fears of more bloodshed.

LONDON (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II opened a summit of the 53-nation Commonwealth on Thursday, and backed her son Prince Charles to be the next leader of the association of Britain and its former colonies.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday weighed the fate of a U.S. citizen who has been accused of working with Islamic State militants in Syria, but never charged.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration moved Thursday to make it easier for U.S. defense contractors to sell armed drones and other conventional weapons to foreign governments.

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel signaled her willingness to find compromises with France when it comes to reforming the European Union, as she hosted French President Emmanuel Macron for talks Thursday in Berlin.

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Sirens wailed, church bells tolled and yellow paper daffodils of remembrance dotted the crowd as Polish and Jewish leaders extolled the heroism and determination of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising fighters on the 75th anniversary of their ill-fated rebellion.

LONDON (AP) — Britain's government wants to take action to ban plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds — and is urging other Commonwealth nations to follow suit.

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Coins and bracelets from the 1st century that were looted from western Romania years ago and smuggled out of the country were put on display Thursday after a joint investigation with Austria brought them back home.

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — One party leader is in jail. Another doesn't have a candidate. A third might face eligibility issues for her party.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said that although he's looking ahead optimistically to a historic summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un he could still pull out if he feels it's "not going to be fruitful."

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Rebels in southern Syria who were once backed by the United States fear a new offensive by President Bashar Assad's forces, one that risks igniting a wider conflict.

LONDON (AP) — The World Health Organization says the first-ever vaccine for dengue needs to be dealt with in "a much safer way," meaning that the shot should mostly be given to people who have previously been infected with the disease.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday that his rival, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, isn't asking for the withdrawal of U.S.

TOKYO (AP) — Imagine a national budget that reflects steady growth, gives a healthy boost to science and technology while reserving big slices of the overall pie to defense and social spending.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has reached an agreement with the federal government that the state's National Guard troops will deploy to the border to focus on fighting transnational gangs as well as drug and gun smugglers, Gov.

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel is celebrating 70 years since the modern Jewish state was established. Parks and beaches were packed Thursday with people celebrating the country's Independence Day with barbecue and parties or by watching air force fly-bys or hiking in nature.

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe courted the new American president with a golden driver not long after Donald Trump won the White House.

MERZOUGA, Morocco (AP) — Under a hot desert sun and with the desolation of the Sahara all around, about 1,000 competitors from 50 countries took part in this year's Marathon des Sables, or Marathon of the Sands.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the United States and North Korea (all times local): 8:15 p.m. CIA Director Mike Pompeo raised the plight of three U.S.