Today in History for July 17th

Highlights of this day in history: TWA Flight 800 explodes; Russia’s royal family executed; Disneyland opens; Nicaragua’s Somoza goes into exile; Apollo and Soyuz link up in space; Baseball’s Ty Cobb and jazz great John Coltrane die. (July 17)

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Nicaragua, new frontrunner on the world cigar market | AFP

Cuban entrepreneurs who fled the Castro-led revolution around 50 years ago spread their savoir-faire for cigars through Nicaragua and now this Central American country is one of the top tobacco producers in Latin America and leads the number of exports to the United States. For cigar-maker Nestor Plasencia, his company “gives joy to the people.”

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Nicaraguan government releases all political prisoners | AFP

Student leader Edwin Carcache gets off a bus after being released by Nicaragua’s government. The activist is one of 50 opposition prisoners freed under a controversial new law granting amnesty to protesters and police involved in last year’s deadly uprising against President Daniel Ortega. IMAGES

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Nicaragua opposition prisoner is freed and reunites with family | AFP

Nicaragua opposition prisoner Chester Ivan Membreño Palacios reunites with his friends and family after spending more than 10 months in jail. He was released along 50 prisoners under a controversial new law granting amnesty to protesters and police involved in last year’s deadly. IMAGES

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Political prisoners are released from prison in Nicaragua

Dozens of political prisoners who were arrested during protests against the government of President Daniel Ortega, including marathon runner Alex Vanegas, are released from prison in Managua, Nicaragua, ahead of long-awaited peace talks with the opposition. IMAGES

Ex-Costa Rican president accused of assaults

Emma Daly, communications director for Human Rights Watch, says former Costa Rican president Oscar Arias groped her in a hotel lobby in Nicaragua in 1990 when she was working as a young journalist based in Costa Rica. (Feb. 7)

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‘Justifying political ends’: US ‘selectively’ approaches which country’s human rights to defend

Humanitarian groups have been critical of government raids targeting opposition media and rights organizations in Nicaragua. A number of other Central American countries have faced similar accusations over their human rights records.

However, the US seems to handle each case differently.

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