Flights from U.S. could start this fall
The Obama administration will allow U.S. air carriers to start regularly scheduled commercial flights to and from Cuba as early as this fall for the first time in more than 50 years, U.S. officials said. Air travel could resume with up to 20 daily scheduled round-trip flights to Havana, and 10 flights to nine other airports around the island nation.
Quake death toll rises to 113; 4 missing
Rescuers have pulled out 113 dead a week since a powerful earthquake struck Taiwan’s oldest city of Tainan, leaving four missing in the rubble of a collapsed 17-story residential complex, authorities said Saturday. All but two of the dead were found at the ruins of the Weiguan Golden Dragon complex, which toppled when the earthquake struck during the Lunar New Year holiday. A total of 327 people in the building survived.
Central African Republic
Final round of voting set for Sunday
The Central African Republic will hold the final round of a presidential election on Sunday that’s meant to pave the way to restoring state authority in the diamond-rich country. The election pits former Prime Minister Anicet-Georges Dologuele, who won 24 percent of the ballot in the first round, against Faustin-Archange Touadera, who headed the government from 2008 to 2013 and gained 19 percent in the Dec. 30 vote. The election is seen by the U.N. as a first step toward ending the lawlessness that’s gripped the country since 2013.
Police cracking down on Valentine’s Day
Iran says it is cracking down on Valentine’s Day celebrations and shops engaging in them will be guilty of a crime. The police directive warns retailers against promoting “decadent Western culture through Valentine’s Day rituals.” The Feb. 14 homage to romance, which tradition says is named after an early Christian martyr, has become popular in recent years in Iran and other Middle East countries.
Water switch made too quickly, e-mail says
As the city of Flint, Mich., prepared to begin drawing its drinking water from the Flint River, an official with the municipal water plant said his superiors were prodding him to move too quickly, an e-mail released by the governor’s office shows. “If water is distributed from this plant in the next couple weeks, it will be against my direction,” Mike Glasgow wrote to state officials on April 17, 2014. “I need time to adequately train additional staff and to update our monitoring plans before I will feel we are ready.” The city made the switch eight days later.
3 types of foxes may get off endangered list
Marking the end of a remarkably successful recovery effort, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed taking three subspecies of foxes native to California’s Channel Islands off the endangered species list. The San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Island foxes were classified as endangered in 2004.