Cuba's Raul Castro to exit government in 2018
Raul Castro succeeded his ailing brother, Fidel, as Cuba's president.
February 24th, 2013
07:30 PM ET

Cuba's Raul Castro to exit government in 2018

Cuban President Raul Castro said Sunday that he would step down from power in 2018, when his second term as president is set to end.

"I would like to make clear ... this will be my last term," he said during a televised speech.

The announcement came shortly after the country's National Assembly re-elected Castro to a second five-year term and tapped Miguel Diaz Canel to be first vice president.

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Filed under: Cuba
Jimmie Johnson squeaks out Daytona 500 win
Jimmie Johnson pushed past a crowded field to capture the Daytona 500'
February 24th, 2013
07:22 PM ET

Jimmie Johnson squeaks out Daytona 500 win

Jimmie Johnson put his experience to good use as the laps wound down in today's Daytona 500,pulling ahead of a packed field to win NASCAR's season-opening and most prestigious race of the season.

Johnson, who won the same race in 2006, edged out Dale Earnhardt Jr., who finished second for the third time in four years. Danica Patrick finished eighth.

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Filed under: Auto racing • NASCAR
February 24th, 2013
01:02 PM ET

French journalist killed while covering Syrian civil war

French journalist Olivier Voisin has died from injuries suffered while working in Syria, the office of French President Francois Hollande said Sunday.

Voisin suffered a head wound and later died at a hospital in Turkey, French officials said in a written statement.

Voisin, a photographer, was working for Reporters Without Borders and was embedded with a Syrian opposition group. The media organization said Voisin was covering the civil war in Idlib when he was wounded in an explosion Thursday.

"His death is a tragic reminder of the risks taken by journalists to inform our fellow citizens, regardless of the dangers. This exemplary commitment deserves recognition for all," the French statement said.

The violence in Syria continues after nearly two years of fighting with no end in sight.

On Sunday, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said 57 people were killed in fighting across the country. Of the casualties, 23 civilians were killed in the capital of Damascus or one of its suburbs, according to the group.

CNN cannot confirm casualties as access to the country has been severely restricted.

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Filed under: France • Syria • World
February 24th, 2013
07:04 AM ET

Oscar Pistorius' brother Carl faces culpable homicide charge

As Olympic icon Oscar Pistorius faces a murder trial for shooting his girlfriend, his older brother is also charged in the death of a woman.

Carl Pistorius is accused of culpable homicide in the 2010 death of a female motorcyclist, CNN affiliate eNCA reported Sunday.

Prosecutors claim Carl Pistorius was driving recklessly in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, when he crashed with the motorcyclist.

But attorney Kenny Oldwage disputes allegations that his client was driving recklessly and said the motorcyclist rode into Carl Pistorius' vehicle.

Carl Pistorius was initially scheduled to go on trial Thursday - during the middle of Oscar's four-day bail hearing.
But Carl asked the court to postpone his trial so he could support his brother, and the court agreed.

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Filed under: Crime • Justice • Oscar Pistorius • South Africa • Sports • World
February 24th, 2013
03:03 AM ET

Pope Benedict delivers final public blessing, says he will take up life of prayer

Pope Benedict XVI delivered his final public blessing on Sunday to a crowd of thousands at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.

"Thank you for your affection," the pope told the crowd as he appeared at the window of his apartment overlooking the square.

He told the crowd that he will take up a life of prayer and meditation "to be able to continue serving the church."

After the brief sermon, he chanted the Angelus, a common Catholic prayer, with the crowd.

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Filed under: Italy • World
February 24th, 2013
02:11 AM ET

Bersani leads Berlusconi in polls as Italy votes for new parliament

Italy's parliamentary elections kick off Sunday, with polls suggesting the center-left - led by Pier Luigi Bersani - is on track to defeat controversial three-time prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
But Berlusconi's rise in the polls in recent weeks, combined with widespread public disillusionment, means that nothing about the race is a foregone conclusion.
The two-day election is a four-horse race between political coalitions led by Bersani, Berlusconi, outgoing premier Mario Monti, and the anti-establishment movement led by ex-comedian Beppe Grillo.
Polls are banned within two weeks of the elections, but the most recent ones had Bersani holding onto a slender lead over Berlusconi. Grillow was a distant third.

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Filed under: Italy • Silvio Berlusconi • World
February 24th, 2013
01:50 AM ET

Rousey wins first UFC women's match

When mixed martial arts fighters Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche stepped into the octagon Saturday night, they made history for women's sports.
When Rousey stepped out, she was the champion in the first women's match in the Ultimiate Fighting Championship.
Rousey and Carmouche met in the headline fight for the UFC 157 pay-per-view event in the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Rousey used her signature armbar move to force Carmouche to submit late in the first round.
Just having two women in the ring was a historic first for the UFC, which has been around since 1993.

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Filed under: California • U.S.
February 24th, 2013
01:13 AM ET

Car bomb targets security building in Afghanistan, official says

A car bomb targeted a security building in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing at least one person, a government spokesman said.
The early morning blast struck a building belonging to National Directorate of Security near the city of Jalalabad in Nangarhar province, said Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, a provincial government spokesman.
The explosion also wounded two people, Abdulzai said.
Also in eastern Afghanistan, a minibus packed with explosives targeted a police checkpoint in Logar province, said provincial government spokesman Den Mohammad Darwish.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • World