Florida

USA: Solar Orbiter blasts off to capture 1st look at sun’s poles

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Europe and NASA’s Solar Orbiter rocketed into space Sunday night on an unprecedented mission to capture the first pictures of the sun’s elusive poles.

“We’re on the way to the sun. Go Solar Orbiter!” said Cesar Garcia Marirrodriga, project manager for the European Space Agency. “It’s a fantastic moment ... it’s like, well, we’re unstoppable.”

The $1.5 billion spacecraft will join NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, launched 1 1/2 years ago, in coming perilously close to the sun to unveil its secrets.

Venezuela rounds up US oil executives as Guaidó visits DC

MIAMI (AP) — Six American oil executives under house arrest in Venezuela were rounded up by police hours after President Donald Trump met Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s chief opponent at the White House, according to family members of the men.

Alirio Zambrano said early Thursday that the executives of Houston-based Citgo were abruptly taken from their homes last night by the SEBIN intelligence police. Zambrano, the brother of two of the six detained men, said their current whereabouts are unknown.

Police: 2 dead, 1 wounded in shooting after Florida funeral: USA

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Gunfire erupted after a funeral Saturday in Florida, killing a teenager and a man and leaving one other person wounded, police said.

Riviera Beach police said in a statement that the shooting happened near the Victory City Church shortly after 2:30 p.m. They said a 15-year-old boy and 47-year-old Royce Freeman died at the scene. The teen’s name wasn’t immediately released.

USA: Police open fire at ‘impaired’ driver in Mar-a-Lago breach

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Law enforcement agents opened fire on an SUV driver who smashed through two security checkpoints at Mar-a-Lago on Friday in what authorities described as the actions of “an obviously impaired” driver but not an intentional attack on President Donald Trump’s resort.

Ally of Venezuela’s Maduro hires DC lobbyist to build ties

MIAMI (AP) — An ally of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has hired a Washington lobbyist whose business has boomed under the Trump administration as part of a $12.5 million effort to ease sanctions and reset bilateral relations as the U.S.-backed campaign to oust the socialist leader stalls.

The Maduro government’s top lawyer, Inspector General Reinaldo Muñoz, hired lobbyist Robert Stryk’s Sonoran Policy Group as part of a larger contract he signed with Foley & Lardner, a law firm with offices in Washington.

Trump to sign U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal Wednesday

MIAMI (AP) — President Donald Trump will hold a signing ceremony for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement on Wednesday, according to the White House.

The deal to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement passed on bipartisan votes in Congress, scoring the president a significant political victory amid his Senate impeachment trial.

Mexico has already ratified the agreement. Canada must act next for it to fully enter into force.

SpaceX launches, destroys rocket in astronaut escape test

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — SpaceX completed the last big test of its crew capsule before launching astronauts in the next few months, mimicking an emergency escape shortly after liftoff Sunday.

No one was aboard for the wild ride in the skies above Cape Canaveral, just two mannequins.

The nine-minute flight ended with the Dragon crew capsule parachuting safely into the Atlantic, after separating and speeding away from the exploding rocket.

SpaceX launches 60 more satellites, trying to tone them down

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — SpaceX launched 60 more mini internet satellites late Monday, this time testing a dark coating to appease stargazers.

It’s a “first step” compromise between SpaceX and astronomers fearful of having dark skies spoiled by hundreds and, eventually, thousands of bright satellites circling overhead.

From resort amid palm trees, Trump settled on Iran strike

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — At the midway point of his annual Christmas vacation, President Donald Trump huddled at his Florida club with his top national security advisers. Days earlier, a rocket attack by an Iranian-funded group struck a U.S.-Iraqi base, killing an American contractor and wounding several others.

Trump’s advisers presented him with an array of options for responding, including the most dramatic possible response: taking out Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force and the man responsible for hundreds of Americans deaths.

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