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David Santiago / El Nuevo Herald

Fidel Castro's death will no doubt spark a robust debate about what Cuba would be like today if he had never come to power in 1959.

But here's another important question: What would Miami be today without Castro and the thousands of exiles his communist revolution drove to South Florida?

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In March 1942, a schoolgirl in Amsterdam took out a pen and paper and began copying a poem encouraging her close friend to work hard. "Dear Cri-Cri, if you do not finish your work properly and lose precious time, then once again take up your task and try harder than before ... "

Cri-Cri was a pet name for Christiane van Maarsen — and the girl who wrote to her was 12-year-old Anne Frank. Three months after writing to Cri-Cri, Anne and her family disappeared into hiding from the Nazis. She was eventually killed at Auschwitz. 

More than a year ago, the world first heard the official cast recording of the most successful Broadway musical in recent memory. The album would ultimately go double-platinum and top Billboard's rap chart, owing in part to fired-up fans hitting repeat, memorizing lyrics and absorbing the show's richly textured world.

When scientists want to know what our ancient ancestors ate, they can look at a few things: fossilized animal bones with marks from tools used to butcher and cut them; fossilized poop; and teeth. The first two can tell us a lot, but they're hard to come by in the fossil record. Thankfully, there are a lot of teeth to fill in the gaps.

It's one thing to appreciate a 20-year-old fine wine. It is something else to brew up a 2,500-year-old alcoholic beverage.

While sifting through the remains of an Iron Age burial plot dating from 400 to 450 B.C. in what is today Germany, Bettina Arnold, an archaeologist and anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and others uncovered a cauldron that contained remnants of an alcohol brewed and buried with the deceased.

Rohulamin Quander's ancestors were slaves.

However, unlike a majority of the enslaved population, Sucky Bay and Nancy Carter Quander served George and Martha Washington, the first First Family, and worked on their Mount Vernon farms.

Now, hundreds of years after they worked as spinners on the estate's River Farm, Sucky Bay, Carter Quander and the rest of the 317 slaves who inhabited Mount Vernon are receiving the recognition they deserve.

M. Aden/WLRN

The prosecutor in one of the biggest murder trials in history lives now in a small bungalow with faded roof in a senior community in Delray Beach. 

World War II pilot Elaine Harmon, who died last year at the age of 95, wanted to be laid to rest with her fellow veterans at Arlington National Cemetery.

And on Wednesday, Harmon's wish was fulfilled — thanks to a dedicated effort by her family and a law passed by Congress.

Harmon was one of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, a group of female pilots who flew military planes in noncombat missions in order to free up male pilots for fighting.

This weekend, London was burning — again. But no buildings were harmed in the making of this inferno.

Art installations and a wide variety of pyrotechnics marked the 350th anniversary of one of the city's most infamous disasters. On Sept. 2, 1666, the Great Fire Of London started in a bakery, the raged through through the metropolis for days, finally going out Sept. 5.

In the 17th century, Artemisia Gentileschi broke the glass ceiling. 

She was "one of the most remarkable women in the history of western art," says Richard Savino, a professor at Sacramento State University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Born in Rome in 1593, she led an epic and often tragic life during an age when the city was trying to become the liveliest in Europe, says Savino, also a musician, who has recorded songs from Gentileschi's time. 

There's no denying the Philistines have taken some guff over the past, well, thousands of years. After all, they're one of the Hebrew Bible's most infamous villains, seed of both Delilah's treachery and Goliath's menace — not to mention some ineptness when it comes to slingshots. They're so reviled their very name has wriggled into our dictionaries, paired with some less than flattering definitions.

Courtesy of Sun Sentinel

 

Tension is mounting in Hollywood Florida over Forrest Street-a street named for Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and a founder of the Ku Klux Klan.

The split in the community has commissioners asking the city's African American advisory council to help make the call on changing the street name.

The council agreed Tuesday night that Hollywood should not only rename Forrest Street, but also noted two other roadways named for Confederate generals: Lee, named for General Robert E. Lee, and Hood, named for John Bell Hood.

A British museum has been searching for parts of the Lorenz cipher machine, used by the Nazis in World War II to send secret messages.

So when sharp-eyed museum volunteers happened upon what appeared to be a Lorenz teleprinter on eBay, it almost seemed too good to be true.

National Museum of Computing volunteer John Whetter went to Essex to investigate. There, he found "the keyboard being kept, in its original case, on the floor of a shed 'with rubbish all over it'," the BBC reports.

James Profetto / WLRN

  Pompano Beach has a new cultural center, in a home that has had roots in the city since the 1920s.

The Ali house was once a welcoming place to many African-American performers and musicians during segregation.

Laura Rawlings, daughter of the late Florence and Frank Ali, mentioned times when her mother’s room would be occupied by Ella Fitzgerald or Louis Armstrong.

“It just brings back memories of my mom and how I used to be sneaking in here — her room,” says Rawlings.

David von Blohn/AP

The lake is the Nezahualcoyotl reservoir, created when the local Grijalva River was dammed back in 1966. The church ended up submerged under water.

But now it's visible again, as the reservoir's waters have receded. The reservoir's level has dropped by more than 80 feet because of a long drought.

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