News In Focus: A Look at the World’s Most Interesting Stories


Belgium: Brussels became the latest victim of terrorist bombings.

Last Tuesday, two explosions in the Brussels Zaventem airport killed 11 people.  Another bomb was set off in a Brussels metro station at Maelbeek, about 500 meters from the European Union buildings, killing 20 people.

Up to 230 people were injured in the two incidents.

The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Two jihadists who set off bombs at the airport departure lounge have been identified as two brothers.

The terrorist bombings are said to be revenge against the arrest of Salah Abdeslam on March 18th.  Abdeslam is believed to have been involved in the Paris attacks, which killed 130 people.

For more we go to BBC News:


U.S.: President Barack Obama made history last Sunday by being the first American president to visit Cuba since Fidel Castro took power in 1959.

Accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama and his two daughters, the President led a strong delegation of more than 800 people to Havana for various diplomacy, business and sport missions.

Human rights remains a touchy issue between the two countries.  When Obama showed disapproval of Cuba’s arbitrary imprisonments of dissidents, President Raúl Castro seemed agitated and denied knowledge of any political prisoners in Cuba.

“What political prisoners? Give me a name, or names, or after this meeting is over you can give me a list of political prisoners and if we have those political prisoners they will be released before tonight ends,” the Cuban president said.

But the brief political clash did little to diminish the festivity in Cuba’s Estadio Latinoamericano, the site of baseball game played between the Cuban national team and the Tampa Bay Rays from America’s Major League Baseball.

Here’s Obama’s speech to the people of Cuba:


New Zealand: New Zealanders voted to keep their traditional flag on Thursday.

The preliminary results from the referendum showed that 56.6% of voters chose to keep their century-old flag, a blue ensign with Britain’s Union Jack in the upper left corner and the four stars of the Southern Cross in red on the right.

Only 43.2% opted for the proposed Silver Fern, a new design.

Full results will be confirmed this week.

Prime Minister John Key, who has strongly supported the flag change to symbolize the country’s departure from a colonial era, was disappointed with the result.  But those opposed to changing the flag argued that soldiers had died fighting for it and that it represented history and tradition, according to the New York Times.

Thousands of designs for a new flag were proposed.  These included the laser-equipped kiwi bird and a woolly sheep with stars for eyes.

Five were short-listed last year by a panel of 12 judges, and four of the finalists featured variations on a fern, a plant of symbolic importance in the native Maori culture (and the logo of the national rugby team).

The Silver Fern eventually came out last December as the candidate to replace the traditional flag.

Comedian John Oliver has consistently mocked the flag issue. Here’s one of his monologues:


Science: Scientists have captured spectacular images of an X-ray aurora on Jupiter last week.

The Journal of Geophysical Research published a study on Tuesday using data from Chandra X-ray Observatory, the space telescope managed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Scientists said that that this Jupiter’s aurora is eight times brighter than normal and hundreds of times more energetic than Earth’s northern lights, and covers an area bigger than the surface of Earth.

NASA added that the X-ray aurora could be caused by solar winds.

Here’s NewsBeat Social with more:


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Lead-In Image (Map) Courtesy of the Andrei Tudoran /