First US to Cuba Flight Takes Off

First US to Cuba Flight Takes Off

The first scheduled commercial flight from the United States to Cuba in more than a half century took off this morning from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport en route to Cuba.
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y Deja tus preguntas de viajes en los comentarios!!!
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First World Problems -Keith Mullins

Published on 22 Sep 2014
“Island Sol” is a documentary/album project recorded at EGREM studios in Havana by Cape Breton musician Keith Mullins. Digital album release on iTunes, September 23rd, 2014. More vids to come!


First World Problems
Written by: Dave Sampson, Gordie Sampson and Keith Mullins

In January 2014, Mullins along with album co-producer, Chris Kirby, TV producer, Jimmie Inch and cameraman, Ian McInnis went on an epic journey to record and document the making of Island Sol at the famous Egrem Studios in Havana Cuba.

A former resident of Cuba, Mullins has performed and toured with many Cuban musicians as a percussionist/drummer. For Island Sol, he put together a band of stellar Cuban musicians, including Jorge Chicoy named “The Jewel of Cuba” by Fidel Castro, who played guitar and tres on the recording along with Oliver Valdes Rey (drums), Tony Rodriguez (piano), Avi Garcia (bass), and Silvio Pupo (piano). Canadian musicians included Dwayne Cote (violin), Tim Isaac (cello), Chris Kirby (Dobro, organ), and Jamie Foulds (organ). In addition to lead vocals, Mullins played guitar and Cuban percussion.

The album also includes co-writes with Canadian songwriting heavyweights, Lennie Gallant, Gordie Sampson and Steven MacDougall. The first single and video is the title track, “Island Sol”. The video for the song can be viewed here: Island Sol

With a degree in classical music, Mullins has studied with master drummers in West Africa and Cuba. He has toured the world playing with some of East Coast’s finest musicians and has worked passionately at the art of music, from creation to performance.

Keith creates music from the soul; the instruments he uses to express it – drums, vocal, guitar – are all secondary. – The Chronicle Herald

Mullins recently co-wrote “Let You Down” featured on Matt Andersen’s latest album Weightless. His solo album, Localmotive Farm (2011) won the 2012 ECMA World Album of the Year and his children’s album, The Wood Buffalo Youth Song Project (2011) won the 2012 ECMA Children’s Album of the Year and the 2012 Music Nova Scotia Children’s Album of the Year. Mullins also won the 2012 & 2013 Educator of the Year at the Music Nova Scotia Awards.

He is currently nominated for 2014 Musician of the Year and Educator of the Year at this year’s Music Nova Scotia Awards in November.

Guitar: Jorge Chicoy
Bass: Avi Garcia
Piano: Tony Rodriguez
Drums: Oliver Valdes Rey
At EGREM studios in Havana, Cuba
Video produced by Jimmie Inch
Video Editing: Jimmie Inch
Cameraman: Ian McInnis and Jimmie Inch
Audio Production: Chris Kirby and KM
Mix: Jamie Foulds
Master: Tom Waltz

President Obama, First Family Arrive in Havana Cuba

The commander in chief made history when he arrived at the Jose Marti Airport, alongside his family.

Barack Obama arrived in Havana, Cuba at 4:20pm local time. The welcome ceremony was very short because of rain.

MIAMI – Miami’s Little Havana is a feast for the senses: a place where Cuban food, music and culture come alive, as families dance in the streets on a hot .

US President Barack Obama and his family headed to Cuba for a historic visit to the Communist state on Sunday. The three-day trip is the first visit by a US .
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US Ex-pat opens Cuba’s first English language bookstore and literary salon

1. Wide exterior Cuba Libro bookstore
2. Tilt down of Cuba Libro sign
3. Wide interior with people reading
4. Tilt up magazine rack
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Conner Gorry, Cuba Libro Volunteer:
“As I looked at this sack of books, which is about 35 books, this is about two years ago, I said, you know, Havana really needs an English language bookstore where people can come and exchange ideas and read and it’s a healthy atmosphere.”
6. Wide woman takes book from shelf
7. Mid same
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Conner Gorry, Cuba Libro Volunteer:
“I’ve had to tread extremely carefully, everything above board and legal, because I’m an American. I’m a North American and beholden to US laws and so, I’m not in agreement with those laws, but I abide by them. And I hope that the repercussions are that more people come to Cuba, they donate books and talk about this place and help create a project here of interchange and to make it a success and something new and different.”
9. Close up man gets book from shelf
10. Wide man takes a seat to read
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Conner Gorry, Cuba Libro Volunteer:
“Any North American that is in Cuba has to abide by US law and the US law is draconian and it hurts families. It hurts my family.”
12. Mid man on phone with pictures of Cuba on wall
13. Wide same with people reading books
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Conner Gorry, Cuba Libro Volunteer:
“I really encourage people to come here and draw their own conclusions and have their own experiences and talk to Cubans which is part of the idea here. Talk to some real Cubans and see what they are thinking and see what they are feeling. Don’t read about it in the New York Times.”
15. Wide Gorry talking to customers
16. Wide Gorry walking in garden
17. Mid Gorry smoking Cuban cigar and talking with customers seated on hammocks in garden
An American expatriate opened Cuba’s first English-language bookstore in Havana on Friday, working as a volunteer to circumvent the 53-year-old US embargo against the island.
Cuba Libro is a play on “Cuba libre,” the rum-cola drink that legend says was invented to celebrate the island’s independence in 1900.
The bookstore, which also has a cafe, is the brainchild of long-time U.S. expat Conner Gorry.
The 43-year-old is a New York City native and journalist who has lived in Cuba since 2002.
Gorry came up with the concept two years ago when a friend called to say she had a sack of books she didn’t know what do with.
“As I looked at this sack of books, which is about 35 books, this is about two years ago…I said: you know, Havana really needs an English language bookstore where people can come and exchange ideas and read in a healthy atmosphere,” said Gorry.
More donations have come in since to make up the 300-some volumes on sale for launch day.
The United States has maintained the economic embargo against Cuba restricting travel and business concerns for most Americans.
Gorry has seemingly covered all her bases by categorising herself as a “volunteer” at the bookstore.
“I’ve had to tread extremely carefully, everything above board and legal because I’m an American. I’m a North American and beholden to US laws and so, I’m not in agreement with those laws, but I abide by them,” said Gorry.
Cuba Libro is filling a void when it comes to English-speaking reading material in the island.
A recent tour of three government-run bookstores turned up scant offerings in English.
Gorry hopes the bookstore will not only serve as a place for Anglophones on the island to find English books, but also thinks that it could help bridge relations between the US and Cuba.
Gorry has been married to her Cuban husband for the past 10 years.
Her litmus test is that it be good literature.

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VOA news for Wednesday, February 24th, 2016
Thanks to for audio and text
From Washington, this is VOA news. I’m David DeForest reporting. U.S. President Barack Obama outlines a plan for closing the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
He spoke about prisoners still at the facility. “We’ll continue to use all legal tools to deal with the remaining detainees still held under law of war detention. Currently, 10 detainees are in some stage of the military commissions process.”
Mr. Obama asked Congress to be on what he called “the right side of history” and approve his proposal but Republicans have already criticized it.
A senior administration official said closing the prison is a national security priority, saying the facility has inspired jihadists and served as a recruiting tool for terrorists.
Some U.S. lawmakers are expressing skepticism about Russia’s commitment to a new cease-fire plan for Syria.
In a Tuesday hearing on the State Department’s proposed budget, lawmakers sought assurances from Secretary of State John Kerry that Russia would curb its bombing campaign over Syria.
Kerry called for a halt to the fighting. “As long as the killing goes on, this devastating cycle will feed on itself. And that is why we have urged all parties to support the cessation of hostilities now and it’s why we have argued repeatedly there must be a diplomatic solution. As difficult as it is to get there, there must be a diplomatic solution to this war.” :John Kerry.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza has agreed to begin talks with the opposition [to begin] to bring an end to a nearly year-long political crisis.
Mr. Ban announced the breakthrough Tuesday after meetings with Mr. Nkurunziza, opposition leaders and civil society groups in Bujumbura. The U.N. chief said they are all ready for “inclusive dialogue.”
This is VOA news.
Businessman Donald Trump looks poised to gain yet another victory in Nevada’s Republican caucuses.
The latest polls show Trump leading his Republican challengers with about 40 percent support.
The United Nations has accused Afghan and U.S.-led international forces of executing two patients and a 15-year-old boy in a joint raid on a hospital in central Afghanistan.
The U.N. says the alleged incident occurred February 18 in Wardak province.
A U.S. Army spokesman says the Afghan government is investigating.
Direct peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban-led insurgent groups are expected to start “by the first week of March.” Pakistan has offered to host the negotiations.
That announcement followed a meeting Tuesday in Kabul of diplomats from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States.
An independent U.S. research group says China is building a radar system throughout the disputed islands it holds in the South China Sea.
A report by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies was issued on the eve of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to the United States.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday he plans to travel to Cuba “in the next week or two,” he says, for talks on human rights.
Kerry made the announcement before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The United Nations human rights office is condemning violence and human rights abuses that marred last week’s presidential elections in Uganda. Lisa Schlein reports.
U.N. human rights monitors say two people were killed in election-related incidents last week – one as police broke up an opposition rally, the other as police disrupted a post-election protest.
They say military and police forces in the capital, Kampala, have carted off several opposition figures, including three presidential candidates to prison.
President Yoweri Museveni, in office since 1986, won a fifth term by a large margin in an election which many observers describe as flawed and full of irregularities.
Lisa Schlein, Geneva.
Also, African election news. Initial returns from Niger’s presidential election show incumbent Mahamadou Issoufou in the lead, but the opposition is already rejecting the results.
Leaders in the technology industry have begun adding their voices to the dispute between Apple and the U.S. government.
Many tech executives have voiced their support for Apple CEO Tim Cook’s refusal to help the government unlock an iPhone used by the perpetrators in last year’s California mass shooting.
But in an interview with The Financial Times, Microsoft founder Bill Gates disputed concerns voiced by Cook that creating software to break into the phone would become a “master key.”
I’m David DeForest.
That’s the latest world news from VOA.

VENT-IE 2015 Cuba (first tour)

VENT-IE 2015 Cuba (first tour)

Our first of the year people-to-people Cuba tour allowed us to nail all the endemic birds we have plan to see and, at the same time tour participants had an enormous opportunity to listen and understand the Cuban history and culture spoken by our Cuban guide and many people we met. We became officially the first VENT tour ever to see the Zapata Wren!

Cuban Artist Offers Nation’s First Free Public Wi-Fi

The Cuban government granted artist Kcho permission to open the island’s first free, public-access Internet hub at a cultural centre in Havana. Currently only about 5-25% of Cubans have any access to the Internet. Kcho will carry the cost of the bandwidth at an expense of approximately 0/month. We look at the story on the Lip News with Jose Marcelino Ortiz and Nik Zecevic.
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Penn alumni and friends were treated to an impromptu rap performance when we visited the Cuban Rap Agency. We learned all about the art form and its importance in Cuban culture.

Thanks to Steven Rovner, C’89, for sharing this video with us.
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First time in 54 years: Cuban embassy reopens in DC, flag raised

Relations between Cuba and the US took another step forward Monday as the Cuban embassy reopened in Washington and the US embassy began operations in Havana. The agreement restoring diplomatic relations came into effect at midnight last night.


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Cuban embassy opens doors in America for first time in 54 years

Cuban embassy opens doors in America for first time in 54 years

American and Cuban relations are returning to normalization, with the Cuban embassy being revived in Washington, DC for the first time since 1961. RT has full coverage of the event, with Anya Parampil reporting from the reopened embassy while Nicholas O’Donovan talks to people in Miami, where a large Cuban-American population lives, and gets their thoughts on the changing relationship.

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Cuba to raise embassy flag
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First legal US-Cuba Yacht since 1954 departs

The first yacht to legally take American citizens to Cuba since 1954 sailed from Key West last week. It’s another sign of improving relations between the United States and Cuba. CCTV America’s Nitza Soledad Perez filed this story.

Renee Radabaugh has more than 30 years experience in the event industry, specializing in corporate, government, and healthcare events as well as large-scale meetings, conferences, association management, and corporate incentives. Renee recently launched Cuba Explorations, a people-to-people travel organization that facilitates legal travel to Cuba. Renee plans to use Cuba Explorations to welcome the meeting and event industry into Cuba. Among other awards, Renee has been recognized as an Influencer in the Meeting Planning Industry and as a Meeting Planner to Watch.