Good morning. Here are some of the stories we’re following today:
1. Police crack down on terror cells across Europe
Raids began in Belgium on Thursday and swept across France and Germany early Friday as authorities sought to crack down on alleged Islamist extremist cells. Belgian police arrested 13 people after an operation that also led to the death of two suspects and the injury of one. No police were harmed in that operation. According to investigators, the cell planned to "kill several policeman in the street and police stations." Twelve people have also been detained in the French capital — coming in the wake of last week's deadly attacks by jihadists that killed 17 people, including three police officers. The Paris prosecutor's office said the suspects were being questioned on whether they provided transport, weapons and logistics to the perpetrators of those attacks. Read more in NEWS.
2. U.S. eases Cuba travel restrictions
Relaxed guidelines for travel from the U.S. to Cuba began Friday, but booking tickets online and hopping on a direct flight won't be so easy. Currently, only charter flights are available, travel experts say — and first you'll have to fly to one of the popular jumping-off points, like Jamaica, the Bahamas, or Cancun. The best bet for fliers who can't wait for major airlines to start offering routes would be to go through a travel agent or a booking service, travel experts tell NBC News. Read more in BUSINESS.
United Airlines said Thursday it will eventually start offering flights to the communist island out of Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, subject to government approval. Delta has also expressed interest.
3. Survivor of Charlie Hebdo massacre: 'I waited for the bullet'
Eric Portheault recounted the horrifying moment last week when gunmen stormed the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo's offices and killed his co-workers. The magazine's financial director told NBC News that he hid from his attackers — described as Islamist jihadists — on the floor with his dog. "There was a multitude of shots in succession. The sound of the Kalashnikov has become very familiar," Portheault said. "And it lasted, I don't know, 30 seconds. After this there was a period of quiet and then I raised my head and I heard my dog … coming back slowly." Read more in NEWS.
4. Dad of Capitol bomb suspect says son was coerced
The father of 20-year-old Ohio man Christoper Lee Cornell, who's accused of plotting to attack Congress, told NBC News he doesn't believe his son would have gone through with the alarming plan. "If he did wrong, he's gonna have to pay for it," Cornell's father, John Cornell, said Thursday. But he insisted that "people that really know Chris, they know he's a good guy." He added that his son, who had converted to Islam, was coerced by an FBI informant who pretended to be sympathetic to his son.. Cornell is scheduled to appear in federal court in Cincinnati for a detention hearing Friday before a preliminary hearing next week. Read more in NEWS.
5. Oklahoma executes baby killer by lethal injection
Death-row inmate Charles Warner was put to death on Thursday night after a divided U.S. Supreme Court voted not to stop his lethal injection. His execution had been delayed after a previous inmate died following a botched execution using a controversial cocktail of drugs. Warner, before his death, said he was in pain, according to an Associated Press reporter who witnessed the execution. "My body is on fire," Warner reportedly said. "No one should go through this." Read more in NEWS.
6. Pair of runaway Kentucky teens on ‘brazen’ spree
Authorities across the South are on the hunt for an 18-year-old Kentucky man and his 13-year-old girlfriend who stole two cars, including one with .45 and .38 caliber handguns, police said. Dalton Hayes and Cheyenne Phillips were last seen walking into a Wal-Mart store in Manning, South Carolina, earlier this week after running away 12 days ago. "It is imperative that these two be located and apprehended as their behavior is becoming increasingly brazen and dangerous," the Grayson County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. Read more in NEWS.
And now this ...
While electric cars are still in their infancy, engineers are looking to the sky for inspiration. The Airbus Group has unveiled the world's first electric plane — it runs on batteries and can stay in the air for about an hour.