EU talks ‘very fruitful’
Talks aimed at normalizing ties between Cuba and the EU were “very fruitful,” the Brussels team said after the negotiations ended on Thursday. Havana and the EU first sat down at the negotiating table on Tuesday to talk political dialogue and economic cooperation. The Americas’ only one-party, communist-ruled state is the lone country in Latin America that has no political dialogue with the EU. It was suspended in 2003 after Havana rounded up and jailed 75 dissidents. “The first meeting was very fruitful,” EU negotiator Christian Leffler said after the two days of closed-door talks.
Two killed in bomb attack
A suicide bomber killed himself and a soldier at a security checkpoint in South Sinai yesterday and a second bomb attack in the same area wounded three, security sources and state media reported. The fatal attack occurred in El-Tur, a town on the main road between Cairo and the tourist resort of Sharm El-Sheikh. Three other members of the security forces were injured, the sources said. Three Egyptians were wounded in the second attack, further south on the road between El-Tur and Sharm El-Sheikh, which targeted a bus transporting workers for the tourist industry.
Speech to be made in space
University of Connecticut alumnus Rick Mastracchio would have liked to deliver this year’s graduation address to the school of engineering in person, but he will be out of town next Saturday orbiting the globe on the International Space Station. So the university has arranged for the 54-year-old astronaut to give the speech from space. “I remain a bit nervous,” said Kazem Kazerounian, the dean of the engineering school, who helped set up the speech. “We have never tried anything like this before and I know that the world will be watching us. So, while I’m excited, I still have to have my fingers crossed.”
Man catches space junk
A fisherman has landed a wall-sized slab of space junk emblazoned with the British Union Flag while fishing in a remote Amazonian river. The fisherman, named in local reports as Manoel Alves dos Santos, 73, found the debris, which is believed to be from the launch of Europe’s most sophisticated satellite, in the Uriandeua. The carbon-fiber panel is emblazoned with a British flag and marked “UK Space Agency” next to the logo of Arianespace, the European satellite company. Locals from Salinopolis, in northern Para state, were initially uncertain what the object was and — after 10 of them hauled it ashore — reported the find to a local military base. The UK Space Agency said the object was part of the payload covering from a communications satellite launched from French Guiana in July last year.
Squirrel selfie goes wrong
A photo op with a squirrel that went awry has left a teenager flustered, but unhurt. Seventeen-year-old Brian Genest of Auburn said on Thursday he saw what appeared to be a friendly squirrel on a hand rail while walking through a park near Tampa, Florida. Genest took a selfie of himself and the squirrel, but the flash and noises from his phone scared the squirrel, which climbed under his shirt and hung onto his back, before scampering back out. “He was just in that spot where my arm can’t reach him,” Genest said. “I threw myself on the ground and that scared him off.” Neither Genest nor the squirrel was harmed.