Didn’t see that coming: U.S. contractor Alan Gross was freed by Cuba yesterday as part of a landmark deal that paves the way for a major overhaul in U.S. policy toward the island. A major loosening of travel and economic restrictions on the country are in the works. And the two nations are set to re-open embassies, with preliminary discussions on that next step in normalizing diplomatic relations beginning in the coming weeks. Gross had been held by the Cuban government since 2009. He was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison for attempting to set up an Internet network for Cuban dissidents.
2. SONY HACK – NORTH KOREA
Fade to black: The U.S. is ready to point the finger at North Korea for the crippling hack attack at Sony Pictures. U.S. investigators say an announcement pinning the blame on hackers working for the Pyongyang regime could come sometime today. Because of the North Korean’s tight control of the Internet in the reclusive country, U.S. officials believe the hack was ordered directly by the country’s leadership. All the hubbub is over the Sony film “The Interview.” The comedy became controversial because its plot involves the attempted assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Sony scrubbed the film’s Christmas Day release, because of threats against moviegoers and because major movie chains had decided to postpone or cancel next week’s screenings.
Chicken what?: It’s pronounced chik-un-GOON-ya. What it means: “bending over in pain.” Chikungunya is a nasty little mosquito-borne virus that has no vaccine and no treatment. What a nice combination. It causes intense joint pain and inflammation. Originally from Asia and Africa, Chikungunya has been kicking around the Americas for a couple or years and can now be found in the U.S. There have been 11 confirmed cases of local infection this year in the United States, all in Florida. There’s nothing to stop it from spreading, so get used to hearing about it. And carry plenty of mosquito repellant.
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Five Things To Know For Your New Day – Thursday, December 18, 2014 was originally published on praisecleveland.com