Nation roundup for December 31
Historic Cuba flight takes off
KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — The first commercial passenger flight from Key West to Cuba in more than 50 years landed Monday in Havana, capping several years of efforts to reunite the two islands, though regular air service still appeared a distant prospect.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection gave the final approval for the flight Monday morning, and the nine-passenger aircraft departed 90 minutes later at 10 a.m., Key West International Airport director Peter Horton said.
“This is just a test run,” Horton said. “Whether this is going to come and be a regular service I don’t believe has been determined yet.”
Federal officials granted Key West the green light to resume flights to and from the island country in October 2011. It took more than two years, however, for the first flight to take off. Charter operators said they had trouble getting all of the required approvals from U.S. and Cuban authorities.
They have also struggled with capacity issues: Key West is currently only approved to process 10 passengers and crew from Cuba at a time.
Cuba and Key West have a long and interwoven history. Before the 1959 revolution, there was regular flight and ferry service to the island. Residents could fly to Havana for lunch and be back in Key West in time for dinner.
The Cessna Conquest II aircraft departed the Florida island Monday carrying nine passengers.
Did woman try to poison kids?
CASA GRANDE, Ariz. (AP) — An Arizona woman is accused of trying to poison her four children, including one who died, and of stabbing her former husband, all on Christmas.
Casa Grande police say 35-year-old Connie Villa was arrested Sunday on suspicion of one count of first-degree murder and four counts of attempted murder.
According to police, the ex-husband called 911 after he was stabbed when he went to Villa’s residence. Officers found the body of 13-year-old Aniarael Macias, while Villa with stab wounds believed to have been self-inflicted.
Autopsy and toxicology results are pending on the girl, believed to have been poisoned.
The three other children are in good condition and are now with their father’s family.
It’s not immediately known whether Villa has an attorney. A possible motive hasn’t been disclosed.
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