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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama announced the re-establishment of diplomatic relations and an easing in economic and travel restrictions on Cuba Wednesday, declaring an end to America's "outdated approach" to the communist island in a historic shift aimed at ending a half-century of Cold War enmity. By Julie Pace and Matthew Lee. SENT: 965 words, photos, video. Will be updated.


ARLINGTON, Va. — Alan Gross has called himself a "trusting fool" for going to Cuba in the first place. Family and friends described him with other words: gregarious and outgoing, with a talent for picking up and playing any musical instrument. Gross, 65, was freed from prison Wednesday as part of an agreement that included the release of three Cubans jailed in the United States, officials said. By Jessica Gresko. SENT: 675 words, photos. Will be updated following 1:30 statement.


MIDDLE RIVER, Md. —The Army showed off a blimp-like airship Wednesday that is designed to help the military detect and destroy cruise missiles speeding toward the nation's capital or other major East Coast cities. By David Dishneau. SENT: 480 words, photos.


BOSTON — University of Massachusetts president Robert Caret is leaving to become the chancellor of the University System of Maryland. The announcement was made on Wednesday by James Shea, chairman of the USM Board of Regents. Caret will begin his new post on July 1, 2105. By Bob Salsberg. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 300 words by 6:30 p.m.


WASHINGTON — "Saving Private Ryan" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" are among 25 movies being inducted this year into the National Film Registry for long-term preservation, the Library of Congress announced Wednesday. By Brett Zongker. SENT: 500 words, photo. With: Classic Films-List.


DOVER, Del. —The attorney for Kurt Busch's ex-girlfriend has called the NASCAR driver to the stand to testify in a hearing in which the woman is seeking a court order directing him to stay away from her. By Randall Chase. SENT: 200 words. Will be updated from afternoon hearing.


RICHMOND, Va. — Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants to more than double the pot of money he can spend trying to attract companies to Virginia, ease school districts' teacher retirement burdens, and give raises to rookie deputy sheriffs. To help pay for these and other programs, McAuliffe wants to limit tax credits designed to bolster the coal industry and sell off $250 million worth of unclaimed property that's been turned over to the state. By Alan Suderman. SENT: 720 words.


WASHINGTON — He may be president now, but Barack Obama says he's a black man who has been mistaken for the valet. SENT: 300 words.



BALTIMORE — Johns Hopkins University mistakenly sent nearly 300 applicants welcome messages when they were actually rejected or deferred, and now the school has issued an apology. SENT: 290 words.


— DC UNITED-STADIUM — The D.C. Council has given final approval to using public funds to help build a stadium for Major League Soccer's D.C. United.

— TRUMP HOTEL-ANDRES — Acclaimed Spanish chef Jose Andres will open a new signature restaurant in a hotel being opened by Donald Trump in a historic downtown Washington building.

— NAVY ARTIFACTS — The Navy has finished transferring artifacts from a facility at the Washington Navy Yard to one in Richmond.

— MCAULIFFE-DAY CARE — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants to require day care providers that receive public subsidies to acquire a state license.

— HEALTH OVERHAUL-DC EXCHANGE — As many as one in six District of Columbia residents who tried to sign up for health insurance have been blocked by problems with the D.C. health exchange.

— UNITED MEDICAL-HOWARD — Howard University Hospital plans to form a new partnership with the financially struggling United Medical Center, the District of Columbia's only full-service hospital east of the Anacostia River.

— FEDEX-SPARROWS POINT — FedEx is considering whether to build a distribution facility at Sparrows Point, showing interest in the steel mill property.

— SCHOOL BUS CRASH — Delaware State Police are investigating a crash involving a school bus in Kent County, Delaware.

— STATE LAND-COUNTY PAYMENTS — A western Maryland state senator is seeking a change in how the state compensates counties that contain large tracts of public land.

— SUSTAINABLE DELIVERY TRUCKS-BALTIMORE — A Baltimore bakery is cleaning up its act. H&S Bakery plans to unveil a fleet of 16 propane-fueled trucks to use for deliveries in Maryland and surrounding states.



ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Redskins haven't been through a losing spell like this in 50 years, and they've clinched yet another last-place finish in the NFC East. By Joseph White. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 6 p.m.


OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs leading the charge, the sack-happy Ravens have made life miserable for opposing quarterbacks and taken some of the pressure off Baltimore's injury-depleted secondary. By David Ginsburg. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos around 4:30 p.m.


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