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Cuba reports first case of Zika virus contracted in country

Credit: Reuters

Cuba has reported its first case of Zika contracted in the country, the Health Ministry has said.

Four previous cases all involved people who had contracted the virus whilst abroad.

Zika, which is carried by mosquitoes that transmit the virus to humans, is suspected of causing birth defects when it infects pregnant women.

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Barack Obama to make historic Cuba trip

Tourists walk past a large poster of Cuban revolutionary hero 'Che' Guevara. Credit: Reuters

Barack Obama will make a historic visit to Havana next month, becoming the first US president to visit Cuba in nine decades.

The brief visit - part of a trip to Latin American - is another step on the road to reconciliation between the US and Cuba, who have been estranged since the Cuban revolution in 1959.

Mr Obama and Cuban president Raul Castro moved to re-establish ties in 2015 when embassies were reopened in the respective countries.

Critics of the move point to the oppressive nature of the regime in Cuba, with Cuban-American Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz saying that Obama should not visit whilst the Castro family remains in power.

Pope Francis calls for Cuban 'revolution of tenderness'

Pope Francis has celebrated Mass at Cuba's holiest shrine in the sanctuary of the Virgin of Charity of El Cobre, Cuba's holiest shrine in the shadow of the Sierra Maestra mountains.

The Pope used his third and last Mass on the island to call for a "revolution of tenderness" and renewal of faith.

Pope Francis prays inside the sanctuary of the Virgin of Charity in El Cobre, Cuba. Credit: Reuters
Pope Francis talks with children at the sanctuary. Credit: Reuters

Pope meets former Cuban president Fidel Castro

Pope meets former Cuban president Fidel Castro Credit: Reuters

Pope Francis has met Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro as part of his nine-day trip to Cuba and the US.

The Pope called on the 89-year-old former president at his home, a Vatican spokesman said, and gave him several of his official papal writings, as well as two books on spirituality and a book and CD on the writings of Father Armando Llorente, a Jesuit priest who taught Castro in secondary school.

Fidel Castro led the Cuban government from 1959 until he resigned for health reasons, provisionally in 2006 and then definitively in 2008, handing power to his older brother, Raul.

Earlier on Sunday the Pope celebrated Mass in Havana's Revolution Square.

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Kerry: Cuba embassy reopening 'a truly historic moment'

US Secretary of State John Kerry at the flag-raising ceremony at the embassy

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said the reopening of the recently restored American Embassy in Havana "is a truly historic moment".

He said: "As we prepare to raise the United States flag here at our embassy in Havana, symbolising the reestablishment of diplomatic relations after 54 years, this is also the first time that a United States Secretary of State has been to Cuba since 1945".

It comes after the two countries formally renewed diplomatic relations and upgraded their diplomatic missions to embassies almost a month ago.

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