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    A crowd of 80,000 strong raced out of Central Park minutes after Pope Francis waved at the faithful on his way to Madison Square Garden.

    Related: Pope holds mass at Madison Square Garden

    The blessing in passing meant the world to one crowd.

    "It was awesome. You want him to turn and say, 'Hey!' You just want to see him," Alma Mendoza said. "The feeling of having him so close and that really means a lot to us."

    At one point, the excitement proved a bit much. An overflow crowd rushed onto Columbus Circle to try and get a glimpse of the pontiff, but a cavalry of New York City Police Department officers kept the line back.

    For some people, it's been a long journey to this moment.

    "We went to D.C., and we saw him over there, and now we came here, and tomorrow, we're leaving for Philadelphia to see him there and then we head back home," one person said.

    Earlier in the day, the Secret Service brought in metal detectors and shut down Central Park West. A ticket scored someone a spot in a line that stretched for hours and as far back as the eye could see.

    There was no shortage of papal keepsakes. You name it and the pontiff's face was on it, an offering of sorts that made the day a little more special for some.

    "Anything that can bring out people in faith and love and peace can't be all bad," Dainetta Gilmore said. "I'm not Catholic, but I respect anybody that can bring people together like this man is bringing people together."

    The religious experience was a family affair. The pope's stroll in Central Park marked another generation of the Kuhn family seeing a pontiff in person.

    "My mother saw John Paul in '79 at Yankee stadium. I saw Pope Benedict at Yankee Stadium," Virginia Kuhn said. "My daughter is right now at MSG for the Mass, and this is my granddaughter, generation number four, to see the pope."

    Follow Carlos Suarez on Twitter @CarlosWPLG

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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  • 09/26/15--23:00: On this day: September 27
  • The first Ford Model T rolls out of the factory, the Warren Commission concludes Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, Ben Johnson is stripped of his Olympic gold medal, and Mark McGwire makes history, all on this day.


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  • 09/26/15--04:11: Celebrity breakups of 2015
  • Breaking up is hard to do, even for celebrities. Take a look at the notable celebrity splits of 2015.


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    Caitlyn Jenner can make her name and gender change legitimate, a judge ruled.

    Jenner filed paperwork with the court on September 15 requesting the change after her transition as a transgender woman.

    She asked her name be legally changed to Caitlyn Marie Jenner and her gender be made female.

    The petition has been granted, Los Angeles Superior Court spokeswoman Liz Martinez said Friday. It means her new name now replaces her birth name of William Bruce Jenner.

    Jenner, a former Olympic gold medalist and star of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," made headlines this year after months of rumors about gender-reassignment surgery and her changing appearance.

    After publicly confirming the transition in a TV special with Diane Sawyer, she went on to debut her name and look on the cover of the July Vanity Fair issue. Her journey captured the attention of millions.

    The same month, Jenner accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs.

    "If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions, go ahead. Because the reality is, I can take it. But for the thousands of kids out there coming to terms with being true to who they are, they shouldn't have to take it," she said.

    Jenner stars in the E! series "I Am Cait," where she documents her transition.


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    Two "Fantasy 5" players selected all five winning numbers to each take home a jackpot of $110,084.87.

    The Florida Lottery said Saturday that the winning tickets were purchased in Miami, and Lynn Haven.

    A total of 299 tickets matching four numbers won $118.50 each.

    Another 9,302 tickets matching three numbers won $10.50 each and 93,301 tickets won a Quick Pick ticket for picking two numbers.

    The numbers drawn Friday night were 12-13-20-27-31.


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    Perhaps he had an insatiable appetite for oranges. Or maybe he was just trying to squeeze a serious profit.

    Whatever the reason, a Florida man allegedly stole 4 million pounds of citrus, the state department of agriculture said Friday. That's more than $540,000 worth of produce.

    Officials said Bradley D. Reiter, owner of Reiter Citrus Inc., entered into contracts with several grove companies and a resident to buy and remove citrus from their land -- but he never paid for the fruit.

    As it turned out, Reiter didn't even have a license to deal citrus, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said.

    He also entered a resident's grove without permission and removed 180 boxes of citrus, the agriculture department said. Officials said Reiter Citrus Inc. gave the resident a check worth only half the actual value of the fruit.

    Reiter was arrested and booked into the Polk County Jail and faces several charges, including scheme to defraud, grand theft and dealing citrus without a license, the agriculture department said.

    It was not immediately clear what happened to the 4 million pounds of fruit.


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    The Broward Sheriff's Office is searching for the driver who struck and killed a man early Saturday morning in Deerfield Beach.

    The hit-and-run crash was reported just after 1:30 a.m. in the area of West Hillsboro Boulevard and Northwest Second Terrace.

    Detectives said a deputy was patrolling the area and found the victim, identified as Kenneth Jones, 53, in the roadway.

    Deputies said Jones was crossing the street in a non-designated area when he was struck.

    Evidence found at the scene shows that the car involved in the crash was a 2005-2010 BMW 3 Series. The car most likely has damage to the lower front driver's side.

    Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call Detective Michael Wiley at 954-321-4840 or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    A 23-year-old man was arrested Friday after robbing a Kwik Stop in Hialeah at gunpoint, police said.

    Rico Antonio Davis faces one count of armed robbery.

    The robbery was reported about 1 a.m. at the store at 2581 E. Eighth Ave.

    Police said Davis was armed with a MP5 submachine gun when he entered the store.

    A witness flagged down a police cruiser that was traveling nearby on Le Jeune Road.

    Police said a perimeter was quickly set up after Davis ran from the store.

    He was later found hiding in a dumpster by Hialeah SWAT and K-9 officers, police said.

    "We commend the hard work and dedication of these officers," Hialeah police spokesman Sgt. Eddie Rodriguez said. "Because of them, another dangerous criminal and a high power weapon have been taken off the streets."

    Davis was taken to the Hialeah Police Department, where he was questioned by detectives before being taken to jail.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    Miami Beach police are searching for a man who robbed a Dollar Store Friday at gunpoint.

    The robbery was reported just after 11 a.m. at the store at 1156 Normandy Drive.

    Surveillance video shows a man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt approach the cash register, brandishing what appears to be a firearm wrapped in a blue and white handkerchief.

    Police said the man told the clerk in Spanish, "This is a robbery and I have a gun."

    Police said the clerk had to ring up a box of toothpaste to open the cash register and then handed the man the cash box.

    The robber asked the clerk if there were any other cash registers, and she told him there weren't, police said.

    According to detectives, the clerk poured change in to a plastic bag, and the robber stuffed the bag into his pocket and walked around the counter. The cashier showed him that the register was empty.

    Surveillance video then shows the man walk out of the store.

    A total of $116.96 was taken in the robbery.

    Anyone with information about the identity of the robber is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    Cuban Leader Raul Castro addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations Saturday. He says the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between his country and the United States constitutes "major progress," but the U.S. economic blockade against Cuba is the "main obstacle" to his country's development.

    Castro's speech to a gathering of world leaders was his first appearance before the world body. He spoke to a summit that adopted a sweeping agenda for global development that includes the goal of eliminating poverty in 15 years.

    The General Assembly will vote as early as next month to demand the American embargo's end. But this time, U.S. officials have told The Associated Press that the United States could abstain instead of voting against the resolution.

    Castro says the embargo "is rejected by 188 U.N. member states."

    Here is a translation of the speech that Castro delivered:

    "Esteemed heads of State and Government,

    Distinguished heads of delegations,

    Mister Secretary General of the United Nations,

    Mister President,

    The current instability prevailing in numerous regions of the world has its roots in the pervasive underdevelopment afflicting two-thirds of the world population.  

    Fifteen years after the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals progress is insufficient and unevenly distributed. In many cases, unacceptable levels of poverty and social inequality persist and even aggravate including the industrial nations. The gap between the North and the South widens, and wealth polarization keeps growing.

    We realize that a long distance must still be covered to achieve a real world association for development.  

    No less than 2.7 billion people in the world live in poverty. The global infant mortality rate for children under five years of age is still several times higher than that of developed countries. Likewise, maternal death in developing regions is fourteen times higher.

    Amid the existing economic and financial crisis, wealthy individuals and transnational companies are growing richer while the number of poor, unemployed and homeless people increase dramatically as a result of the harsh so-called "austerity" policies, and waves of desperate immigrants arrive in Europe escaping misery and conflicts that others have unleashed.

    The resources needed for the implementation of the Agenda, lacking measurable commitments and timetables, are inadequate to meet the seventeen objectives of sustainable development.

    If we wish to make this a habitable world with peace and harmony among nations, with democracy and social justice, dignity and respect for the human rights of every person, we should adopt as soon as possible concrete commitments in terms of development assistance, and resolve the debt issue, a debt already paid several times over. It would be necessary to build a new international financial architecture, remove monopoly on technology and knowledge, and change the present international economic order.

    The industrial nations should accept their historic responsibility and apply the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities." The lack of resources cannot be used as a pretext when annual military expenses amount to 1.7 trillion dollars; absent a reduction of such expenses neither development nor a stable and lasting peace will be possible.

    Mr. President,

    The reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States of America, the opening of embassies and the policy changes announced by President Barack Obama with regard to our country constitute a major progress, which has elicited the broadest support of the international community.

    However, the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba persists bringing damages and hardships on the Cuban people, and standing as the main obstacle to our country's economic development, while affecting other nations due to its extraterritorial scope, and hurting the interests of American citizens and companies. Such policy is rejected by 188 United Nations member states that demand its removal.

    Nevertheless, Cuba fulfilled the Millennium Development Goals and offered its modest cooperation to other developing nations in various areas, something we shall continue to do to the extent of our limited capabilities.

    We shall never renounce honor, human solidarity and social justice, for these convictions are deeply rooted in our socialist society.

    Thank you."

    Cuba's government office to the United Nations sat quiet Saturday night after a flurry of activity the past two days. The building on Lexington Avenue played host to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Castro late Saturday.

    The mayor's office said the men met for an hour and talked about a number of issues, including health care and education.

    Late Saturday night, there was word that Castro and former President Bill Clinton met for the first time. Cuban state-run television showed video of the men shaking hands.

    The pair met in the city and, according to the report, Clinton asked Castro how he was doing and Castro replied, "Better now that I've finally met you."

    The men talked about a number of issues, including the Clinton Foundation.

    The high-profile get-together is the third for Castro since he arrived in New York City.

    Castro added that the embargo is what's keeping Cuba from developing an economy, a point Local 10 News is told he brought up with both the governor and mayor.

    Follow Carlos Suarez on Twitter @CarlosWPLG

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    Police are investigating after a man was shot and killed in North Miami Beach.


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    Pope Francis delivered a speech on religious freedom and immigration Saturday in front of about 40,000 people at Independence Mall.

    The pope said that America's immigrant community should not to be discouraged by hardships and should be responsible citizens.

    He also implored the immigrants in the crowd to be proud of their heritage and to never be ashamed of their traditions.

    Francis said Americans should avoid repeating past mistakes and that people of all faiths should join together to call for respect and dignity of others.

    As he finished his speech, some among the many immigrant groups in the crowd shouted, "Francisco! Francisco! Francisco!"

    After a break, Francis will take part in a World Meeting of Families festival Saturday night.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

    Behind the scenes: Coverage of Pope Francis in U.S.


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    He spoke at Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed. He stood at the very lectern Abraham Lincoln used to deliver the Gettysburg Address. And he stepped forward to the stirring strains of "Fanfare for the Common Man."

    In a scene rich with historical symbolism, Pope Francis arrived in the City of Brotherly Love on Saturday, offering warm and affectionate words of welcome to immigrants and extolling America's founding ideals of liberty and equality.

    "Those ringing words continue to inspire us today," the pope said of the Declaration of Independence, "even as they have inspired peoples throughout the world to fight for the freedom to live in accordance with their dignity."

    He cited the abolition of slavery, the growth of the labor movement and the fight for racial equality as proof that "when a country is determined to remain true to its founding principles, based on respect for human dignity, it is strengthened and renewed."

    At the same time, Francis warned that religious freedom is under threat. But it was not the hard-hitting discussion some conservative American bishops may have wanted to hear.

    Loath to get dragged into domestic culture wars, the pope did not mention gay marriage, abortion or government-mandated birth control coverage by name, speaking of threats to religious liberty in broader, more global terms.

    He decried "a world where various forms of modern tyranny seek to suppress religious freedom, or try to reduce it to a subculture without right to a voice in the public square, or to use religion as a pretext for hatred and brutality."

    Using the occasion instead to embrace other causes close to his heart, Francis encouraged immigrants in the crowd of 40,000 to celebrate their heritage and traditions, and he assured them they are of value to America.

    "By contributing your gifts, you will not only find your place here, you will help to renew society from within," the first pope from Latin America said in his native Spanish.

    On Saturday night, tens of thousands gathered on the wide Benjamin Franklin Parkway for a music-and-prayer festival featuring Aretha Franklin, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and actor Mark Wahlberg.

    Sitting on a huge throne, Francis listened to the entertainment and to several families tell their stories of joys and troubles.

    But in an indication that Francis was lagging from the exhaustion of a weeklong trip to Cuba and the U.S., the program was trimmed after it ran more than an hour late and Francis ditched his prepared remarks to instead deliver an off-the-cuff monologue on families and God's love.

    He called families a "factory of hope," even with their imperfections.

    "Defend the family, because that's where our future will play out," he said.

    After he finished, a chant erupted from Logan Square: "¡Viva El Papa, Viva La Familia!"

    Francis came to Philadelphia to close out the World Meeting of Families, a Vatican-sponsored conference of more than 18,000 people from around the world. He found a city practically under lockdown, with blocked-off streets and checkpoints manned by police, National Guardsmen and border agents.

    There had been fears that visitors might be scared away by the security, and, in fact, train ridership was lower than expected, some streets were eerily quiet and a vendor of pope sunglasses cut his price from $15 to $10 for lack of business.

    It remains to be seen if the expected 1 million people turn out for Francis' final Mass in the U.S., on the Parkway on Sunday.

    Earlier in the day Saturday, the pontiff arrived from New York at the Philadelphia airport, where a Catholic high school band launched into the theme song from the Philadelphia-set movie "Rocky." Among those greeting him was Richard Bowes, a former Philadelphia police officer wounded in the line of duty. Francis also kissed the forehead of a 10-year-old boy severely disabled with cerebral palsy.

    Then he celebrated a Mass for about 1,600 people at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, saying in his homily that the future of the Catholic Church in the U.S. requires a much more active role for lay Catholics, especially women.

    "It means valuing the immense contribution which women, lay and religious, have made and continue to make to the life of our communities," he said.

    Francis has repeatedly said women should have a greater role in church leadership, though he has rejected the idea of ordaining women. By calling for more involvement of women and the laity, he seemed intent on healing one of the major rifts in American Catholicism that have alienated many from the church.

    Later in the day, he traveled to red-brick Independence Hall in his open-sided Jeep, rolling slowly past adoring crowds and kissing babies handed to him by members of his security detail.

    During the first two legs of his U.S. visit, in Washington and New York, he addressed Congress and the United Nations, urging action on such global issues as climate change and economic inequality. The Philadelphia visit is expected to be more personal, more focused on ordinary Catholics and their families.

    "He has a magnetic personality that not only appeals to Catholics, but to the universal masses. He's not scripted. He's relatable," said Filipina Opena, 46, a Catholic from LaMirada, California.

    Tony Coletta, a 62-year-old Philadelphia-area surgeon and health care company CEO who helped raise money for the papal visit, said: "I believe that he's going to bring the Catholic Church back in America in a way that nobody's ever seen before. His message resonates. It's much more of an all-encompassing one. And the small things that he does, spending time with the poor, it's more than just symbolic."

    The Archdiocese of Philadelphia organized the conference, hoping for a badly needed infusion of enthusiasm amid shrinking membership, financial troubles and one of the worst clergy sex-abuse scandals to hit a U.S. diocese.

    The archdiocese has been the target of repeated investigations. In 2011, before Archbishop Charles Chaput came to Philadelphia, a grand jury accused the diocese of keeping on assignment more than three dozen priests facing serious abuse accusations.

    A monsignor who oversaw priest assignments was found guilty of child endangerment, becoming the first American church official convicted of a crime for failing to stop abusers.

    The pope is widely expected to talk privately with abuse victims this weekend.

    The visit is also shaping up as one of the most interesting ecclesial pairings of the pope's trip. His host is Chaput, an outspoken opponent of abortion and gay marriage who takes an especially hard line.

    Francis has strongly upheld church teaching on such issues but has struck a more compassionate note, saying, "Who am I to judge?" when asked about a supposedly gay priest.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

    Behind the scenes: Coverage of Pope Francis in U.S.


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    On Sunday night and early Monday morning, much of the Earth witnessed a glorious heavenly event.

    The night of September 27-28 showcased a lunar eclipse coupled with a "supermoon": a full moon that appears larger because it's at perigee, the closest point of its orbit with Earth. The concurrence is relatively rare, having not happened since 1982.

    Though some observers viewed the date with fear -- calling the eclipse a "blood moon" -- for astronomers and stargazers, the event was welcomed with celebration.

    "It's a beautiful sight in the nighttime sky," said Mark Hammergren, an astronomer at Chicago's Adler Planetarium. "It's a way of connecting us to the universe at large. It gives us this view that there's a bigger picture than just what we're concerned with in our daily lives."

    A sign of turmoil?

    Hammergren points out that these astronomical events link humanity to history. We've been watching the skies for thousands of years, creating mythology, arriving at scientific discoveries and simply taking pleasure in the movement of celestial bodies.

    "Astronomy, in particular, is something that hooks us up to our most ancient roots," he said.

    For some, astronomy also provides clues to earthly futures -- and this particular "blood moon," as some end-times believers call the lunar eclipse for the reddish tint of the earth's shadow, is revealing of particularly troubled times to come.

    The eclipse is said to be the last of a "tetrad," four consecutive total lunar eclipses, each separated by six lunar months, that took place on Jewish holidays. (The first three in the current series took place April 15, 2014; October 8, 2014; and April 4, 2015.) Some Christian ministers have theorized that the sequence has earth-shaking significance, noting that other tetrads took place in key years in history, including 1492 (Jewish expulsion from Spain) and 1948 (a Mideast war).

    In promotion for his 2013 book "Four Blood Moons," Christian minister John Hagee claimed that the tetrad was a signal being sent by God.

    "The coming four blood moons points to a world-shaking event that will happen between April 2014 and October 2015," he said.

    And Mark Blitz, head of El Shaddai Ministries and the author of "Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs," says God is trying to get humanity's attention -- and we ignore it at our peril.

    "There are always the naysayers and the agnostics when it comes to God trying to reach mankind in His urgent message to repent," he told World News Daily, which has been charting the eclipse's arrival with headlines such as " 'Blood Moons' expert: Get on God's calendar" and "Coming solar eclipse seen as 'judgment.' "

    "Here we have had four total lunar eclipses in a row on Passover and Tabernacles," he said. "And just look what is happening in the world today!"

    Skeptics have pointed out that claims made of "blood moons" -- a term that has arisen only in the past few years, Hammergren says -- should be taken with at least a few grains of salt. After all, their coincidence with Jewish holidays is logical, since the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar, and some tetrads' occurrence in significant historical years is an example of confirmation bias: looking for connections that fit preconceived notions.

    "Some people look at it as being a portent of doom. That is not uncommon," said the Griffith's Danly. "But it really isn't. It is the alignment of the sun and the moon."

    Added the Adler's Hammergren, "People have been predicting the end of the world for thousands of years in recorded history, and not a single time has that come about."


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    The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is asking the Department of Justice to investigate the discovery of a ceramic skull at a mosque in suburban Miami as a hate crime.

    The group says that worshippers at the Islamic School of Miami discovered the skull late last week atop the mosque's main entrance sign, as well as spray paint, a bible and other objects. A wooden cross with American flag sunglasses were also found inside in a donation box.

    The incident occurred hours before hundreds of Miami-area Muslims were set to attend services for the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.

    The group says the same mosque has been previously targeted.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    A University of Florida student is in legal trouble after an alligator hide was found drying in his fraternity house's backyard, authorities said.

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Cristov Dosev, 22, was charged with illegal possession of an alligator skin after the discovery.

    Dosev was arrested Wednesday after failing to appear in court for a citation, which was issued in December following an investigation into the gator hide after an anonymous tip.

    FWS spokesman Brad Stanley said it is illegal to possess any alligator parts without the proper permit.

    Dosev is a senior in the College of Business. He is listed as president of Kappa Alpha on a fraternity website.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    A customer got more than just a bargain while shopping at a Homestead flea market Sunday morning.

    Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Scott Mullen said the woman was rummaging through some clothing on a table when she discovered a wild Burmese python nestled between the merchandise.

    Mullen was called to remove the snake, which he estimated to be about 7 feet long. He said it appeared the python had recently eaten something.

    The snake was being turned over to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    Friends and family members of Jose Pena gathered Sunday lighting candles and send prayers in hopes that justice will be served in his death.


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    Over the weekend, Raul Castro met with New York's City's mayor and former President Bill Clinton.

    Sunday night, he ended the day at an invite-only event at the Cuban mission just a few blocks from the United Nations, where he'll speak Monday after President Obama.

    Castro and President Obama last spoke by phone about a week ago ahead of Pope Francis' trip to Cuba and the U.S.

    A group of pro-Castro supporters gathered outside the Cuban government building to the United Nations in New York City.

    "It's great that diplomatic relations were established, but now lift the embargo," said Peter Thierjong.

    The gathering marks the end of a busy weekend for Castro.

    On Saturday, Cuban state-run television reported he met with former President Bill Clinton for the first time after delivering the first of two speeches at the U.N.

    On Monday, he's expected to renew his call for an end to the U.S. embargo.

    "I've had a long relationship with Cuba," said John Henry, who attended the reception. "I'm an American who supported the revolution 50-something years ago."

    Castro, who met with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio over the weekend, will meet with President Obama on Tuesday.

    The White House announced early Sunday the two would get together for their second face-to-face meeting after a summit in Panama in April.

    "We're not business people," said Frank Velgara, who attended the reception. "We're friends of Cuba. This reception is for friends of Cuba. He met with the governor and mayor and can conduct that business at that level."

    Ahead of the meeting, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., released a statement that read, in part, "President Obama sees fit to shake the bloodied hand of one of the world's most ruthless dictators. It is truly shameful that instead of championing the cause of everyday Cubans, the White House has chosen to sell out to the dictatorship yet again."

    The perceived sell out could come when the U.S. abstains from a mostly symbolic vote at the U.N. calling for an end to the decades old embargo.

    The measure has been voted on at the U.N for more than 20 years and every year the U.S. has voted against it.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    Pope Francis told U.S. bishops and seminarians on Sunday that he had met with sex abuse survivors. “God weeps,” he said in remarks ahead of a prepared speech on the family.

    Five adults who were abused as minors – three women and two men – were at the meeting along with their families, according to the Vatican’s press office. The survivors were abused by clergy, family members, or their teachers.

    “I have in my heart, the stories of suffering and pain of the minors who were sexually abused by priests. And, it continues to overwhelm me with shame that the people who were charged with taking care of these tender ones violated that trust and caused them a profound pain. God weeps.” Pope Francis said at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, according to a translation of the Spanish remarks by The Washington Post.

    “The crimes and sins of sexual abuse of minors cannot be kept in secret any longer.” he continued.

    Pope Francis said he was committed to “a careful vigiliance of the church to ensure that youth are protected, and I promise that all those responsible will be held accountable.” Survivors in the U.S. have mixed feelings on Pope Francis’s record on the topic since becoming pope, with some praising him, and others seeing his statements and actions as inadequate. Some survivor activists have been urging Pope Francis to substantively address the sex abuse crisis during his visit.

    And while he has discussed the topic this week, many of those same groups found his comments lacking because he emphasized supporting the clergy’s reforms, rather than the suffering of victims.

    “As with all things related to the Catholic Church, you have to listen to the words and then you have to watch what they do,” said John Salveson, a clergy sex abuse survivor, prominent activist and president of The Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse.

    Salveson said the Vatican has been aware of possible solutions “for years, if not decades.” They include releasing the identity of priests who have been defrocked for abusing children; involving civil authorities when there is abuse, particularly in other countries, and extending the statute of limitations on clergy sex abuse, he said.

    “The reason this all continued is that these priests don’t get prosecuted and the bishops who hide them don’t get prosecuted because they are protected by the statute of limitations,” he said.

    The pope’s outreach is useful to the extent it eases victims’ suffering, said Marie Collins, a member of an advisory commission the pope set up to help him improve the church’s response to abuse.

    “If it’s going to help their healing, then it’s a positive experience for them. It’s a very positive experience for them,” said Collins, a clergy abuse survivor from Ireland. But, Collins added, the meeting “really is not connected [to the] work for the future of child protection.”

    Instead, she said, the pope’s decision to set up a papal commission advising him on how to handle the issue going forward was “the most positive change to happen” so far.

    Robert Hoatson, who held signs in support of victims of abuse in front of Philadelphia’s basilica over the weekend, said on Sunday that he felt the pope’s comments brushed too quickly over the serious issue. “This is getting more bizarre,” said Hoatson, who works with victims. ” It’s going to cause more distress, more traumatization, re-abuse,” he said, “because it seemed like a side note.”

    “It was as if he added this to his talk without telling the bishops what he is going to do, including removing some of [the bishops],” Hoatson said.

    The meeting happened at the seminary at about 8 a.m., just before Pope Francis’s remarks, according to Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi. The meeting lasted for a half an hour.

    “Words cannot fully express my sorrow for the abuse you suffered,” Pope Francis told the survivors, according to a copy of his remarks released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “I’m profoundly sorry that your innocence was violated by those you trusted,” he said.

    “For those who were abused by a member of the clergy, I am deeply sorry for the times when you or your family spoke out, to report the abuse, but you were not heard or believed,” the pope said to survivors, “Please know that the Holy Father hears you and believes you. I deeply regret that some bishops failed in their responsibility to protect children. It is very disturbing to know that in some cases bishops were even abusers.”

    He pledged that “clergy and bishops will be held accountable when they abuse or fail to protect children.”

    Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, archbishop of Boston and a member of the Vatican’s advisory commission on child abuse; Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput; and Bishop Fitzgerald, head of the Diocese of Philadelphia’s office for the protection of minors, accompanied Pope Francis to the meeting.

    The Pope spoke with visitors, listening to their stories and offering them a few words together as a group and later listening to each one individually.

    Immediately after the remarks at the seminary, the assembled clergy praised the pope’s remarks on the sexual abuse scandal. “I thought it was very, very good and it was very clear. And from that point of view, it was an excellent visit among so many excellent visits,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Vice President of the USCCB.

    He said “there is a good deal of work already being done around the church [on the matter]. To the extent that we will not let up on what we said we would do.”

    He declined to discuss the context of delivering the remarks in a city that still bears the scars of the sex abuse scandal.

    For days, reporters have asked Lombardi whether Pope Francis was planning to meet with clergy sex abuse survivors. And for days, Lombardi has given a similar answer: if such a meeting were to happen, the media certainly wouldn’t be told about it ahead of time.

    In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI met with survivors in the United States in a similarly private way. Francis embraced survivors in 2014 at the Vatican.

    In his address to U.S. bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington earlier this week, Pope Francis praised the “courage” of the bishops for seeking reforms following the scandal, a comment that angered some groups who felt the pope should have spoken more directly about victims’ suffering and bishop accountability in his first remarks on the subject in the U.S.

    The Sunday remarks and meeting with survivors were nothing more than a “smart public relations move,” said David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests.

    “Is a child anywhere on Earth safer now that a pope, for maybe the seventh or eighth time or ninth time, has briefly chatted with abuse victims? No,” Clohessy added.

    Pa. state Rep. Mark Rozzi, himself a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest, is advocating for a bill in the state legislature that would lift the statute of limitations for two years so victims can testify about clergy abuse.

    Hearing the pope say “God weeps” about sexual abuse, in his own state, was heartening to him.

    “It’s definitely encouraging that he did take time to meet with the victims of clergy abuse. You know, his words definitely have an impact. But now we need action to follow those words,” Rozzi said. “That would be true justice.”

    The Washington Post's Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Abby Ohlheiser, Terrence McCoy, Karen Heller, Anthony Olivo, Frances Sellers and Julie Zauzmer worked on this story.

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