Obama shakes hands with Cuba’s Castro at Mandela service

(Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

Briefly laying aside differences hardened over decades, President Barack Obama on Tuesday shook the hand of the president of Cuba at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela.

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(Source: NBCNews.com)

Diana Nyad makes history swimming from Cuba to Florida

(Photo: Alejandro Ernesto / EPA)

Long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad made history Monday, becoming the first person to swim the 110 treacherous miles from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage – at the age of 64.

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(Source: NBCNews.com)

Photo: Carlos Jasso / Reuters Photo: Carlos Jasso / Reuters

Smiling dictators, missile parts and more: Inside North Korea’s seized ship

(Photos: Carlos Jasso / Reuters)

If the loyalty of the crew of a North Korean cargo ship detained in Panama after weapons were found on board was ever in doubt, photographs from inside the ship suggest they were devoted to the rogue communist state’s ruling family.

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North Korean ship carrying hidden ‘missile equipment’ detained after leaving Cuba

(Photo courtesy IHS Maritime)

A North Korean-flagged ship carrying what is believed to be “sophisticated missile equipment” hidden in sugar containers was stopped while returning home from Cuba, Panamanian officials said late Monday.

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(Source: nbcnews.com)

Obama: Guantanamo ‘needs to be closed’

(Photo: AFP - Getty Images)

President Barack Obama – again – vowed Tuesday to follow through with a 2008 campaign pledge to close the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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Venezuela’s Chavez says cancer has returned, he’s facing new operation in Cuba

(Photo: Miraflores Palace via Reuters)

CARACAS, Venezuela - President Hugo Chavez said on Saturday he would undergo another cancer operation after doctors in Cuba found a third recurrence of malignant cells in his pelvic area.

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Sandy slams Cuba, could hit US as ‘Nor’easter on steroids’

(Photo: Franklin Reyes  /  AP)

Hurricane Sandy, strengthening rapidly after crossing the warm Caribbean Sea, slammed into southeastern Cuba early Thursday with 110 mph winds that cut power, damaged homes and blew over trees across the city of Santiago de Cuba.

The storm has a 70 percent chance of smacking the Northeast and mid-Atlantic next week with gale-force winds, flooding, heavy rain and maybe even snow, forecasters said.

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Tropical Storm Isaac hugs Cuba coast, expected to be Cat 2 hurricane in Gulf on approach to Florida

(Photo: Ramon Espinosa / AP)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Saturday declared a state of emergency to make sure local and state agencies would be ready.

Isaac is a massive storm, with tropical storm-force winds extending 230 miles from the center. Key West International Airport was halting all flights at 7 p.m. Saturday until the storm had passed.

— Reported by NBC News and wire services

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Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad begins Cuba-Florida swim attempt

(Photo: Ramon Espinosa  /  AP)

American Diana Nyad endured several jellyfish stings as the 62-year-old endurance athlete sought to become the first person to swim unaided from Cuba to Florida without a wetsuit or a shark cage.

A team member posted on Nyad’s Twitter account that the American was steadily stroking onward early Sunday despite jellyfish stings to the lips, feet and legs. Her goal: to become the first person to set a record 103-mile (166-kilometer) unaided crossing of the Florida Straits.

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Grandma begins 103-mile swim from Cuba to Florida

British-Australian swimmer Penny Palfrey smiles as she is flashed a thumbs up at the start of her bid to complete a record swim from Cuba to Florida, in Havana, Cuba, on June 29. Palfrey aims to be the first woman to swim the Straits of Florida without the aid of a shark cage. Instead she’s relying on equipment that surrounds her with an electrical field to deter the predators.

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