News from around the world: U.S.-Cuba relations improve, Russia pulls out of Syria

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By  Madeleine Longwell
Staff WriterWorld Map

South America
Improved U.S. – Cuba Relations

Just five days ahead of President Obama’s trip to Cuba, his administration announced new improvements in U.S. policy on Cuba. The announcement on Tuesday promised to lift a ban on Cuban access to international banking through the U.S., and would allow Cuban citizens to play professional sports in the U.S. President Obama’s trip will be the first trip made by a U.S. President in almost 90 years.


Africa
Al-Qaeda Soft Targets

An attack by three Al-Qaeda affiliated gunmen on a luxury hotel in Ethiopia reflects a new trend in terrorist violence and targets. In recent months, Al-Qaeda affiliates across Western Africa have been carrying out attacks in areas more likely to have soft targets—frequently luxury hotels and other tourist areas.


Europe
Russia pulling out of Syria

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered warplanes and troops currently stationed in Syria to start pulling out. This order comes just a few weeks after an international cease-fire agreement that has been much more effective than anticipated.


Asia
Elections in Myanmar

After nearly 55 years of military rule in Myanmar, the first civilian president was elected Tuesday.  The new president—Htin Kyaw—is a member of the pro-democracy movement led largely by Aung San Suu Kyi. Many reports suggest Htin Kyaw will act only as a proxy for Suu Kyi, who is constitutionally unable to become president herself.