Washington, D.C.

Obama will make historic trip to Cuba

President Obama will pay a historic visit to Cuba in the coming weeks, senior administration officials said, becoming the first president to step foot on the island in nearly nine decades. The brief visit in mid-March will mark a watershed moment for relations between the U.S. and Cuba, a communist nation estranged from the U.S. for half a century until Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro moved to relaunch ties in 2014. Since then, the nations have reopened embassies in Washington and Havana and moved to restore commercial air travel.


More Powerball winners come forward

A Melbourne Beach couple, David Kaltschmidt, 55, and Maureen Smith, 70, are the Florida winners of last month's record-shattering $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot. For weeks after the jackpot drawing, they said nothing. They sought legal advice and established a trust. They opted to take a single lump-sum payment of $327.8 million before taxes.

Washington, D.C.

Court weighs secrecy of drone strikes

A federal appeals court considered whether the U.S. government must disclose more details about its lethal drone operations. The American Civil Liberties Union pressed for a fuller picture of the targeted-killing program, which the Obama administration has fought in court to keep secret. Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU's deputy legal director, told the U.S. Court of Appeals that government officials routinely disclose information about the strikes in places such as Yemen and Pakistan. In the long-running lawsuit, the group has asked for statistics about the strikes, including the dates, locations and number of people killed.


Concealed guns allowed in classrooms

Concealed handguns will be permitted in classrooms but for the most part banned in on-campus residence halls, University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves announced. He followed the recommendations of an advisory panel whose members included university faculty members, staffers, students and a former chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court. The decision goes against the wishes of the Faculty Council, student organizations and a group called Gun Free UT that has threatened to sue.


Mayor, governor split over Flint water crisis

Tensions between city and state officials over how to replace lead pipes in Flint flared after officials announced different approaches to solving the drinking water crisis. Flint Mayor Karen Weaver thanked Gov. Rick Snyder for moving quickly to replace Flint's lead pipes and his recent budget proposal to partly fund the project. But the mayor said she would not allow the governor's engineering firm and contractors to do the work.


Humanitarian aid for besieged cities arrives

German Chancellor Angela Merkel renewed her proposal for a no-fly zone in Syria, a suggestion that was rebuffed by Moscow, which said it can only be done with the Syrian government's consent. In Damascus, more than 100 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid for five besieged areas in the country arrived.

El Salvador

Protesters demand release of former soldiers

About 200 former soldiers and officers demonstrated in uniform outside the Supreme Court to demand the release of four former soldiers wanted in Spain for the 1989 murder of six Jesuit priests. Protest leader Timoteo Palacios said that the statute of limitations on the killings of the priests had run out.


City workers die after protesters start fire

Six city workers died of asphyxiation and 28 people were injured when protesters set fire to part of a municipal building in the opposition-governed city of El Alto. The deaths came amid heightened political tension as Bolivians decide in a referendum Sunday whether to amend the constitution so President Evo Morales can run for a fourth consecutive term in 2019.

News services