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Afternoon Update: Joyful reunion for 10-year-old and Army uncle; Trump says thanks in Orlando tonight; Obama discusses Russian hacking; Jameis Winston can't wait for Sunday night

Genesis Cruz, 10, a fourth-grader at Mort Elementary  in Tampa, gets a surprise during the school pep rally Friday with the early arrival of her uncle, Army Sgt. Ricardo Cruz, from a deployment in Afghanistan. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]

Genesis Cruz, 10, a fourth-grader at Mort Elementary in Tampa, gets a surprise during the school pep rally Friday with the early arrival of her uncle, Army Sgt. Ricardo Cruz, from a deployment in Afghanistan. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]

Looking for a some feel-good tears going into the holidays? Check out the reactions of 10-year-old Genesis Cruz, a student at Mort Elementary, as she opens the biggest gift box with the biggest surprise of her life at a school assembly. Inside was her uncle, U.S. Army Sgt. Ricardo Cruz in full uniform, home early from an eight-month deployment in Afghanistan. Guess who shed the most tears in the emotional reunion?

TRUMP RETURNS TO FLORIDA ON THANK-YOU TOUR

Donald Trump holds a thank you rally in Orlando tonight after winning the state as part of his 2016 presidential election. Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam C. Smith will cover the 7 p.m. event at the Orlando Amphitheater. Follow him on Twitter.

OBAMA URGES TRUMP TO TAKE FOREIGN ELECTION IMPACT SERIOUSLY

President Barack Obama, in his final news conference of the year, warned against turning Russian hacking in the United States into a "political football" and said he hoped Donald Trump will take foreign influence in American elections seriously once he takes office. Obama said he has confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin about the hacking, telling him to "cut it out and there would be serious consequences if he didn't." However, he offered no new details about the extent of any U.S. response.

IS JAMEIS WINSTON READY FOR HIS CLOSE-UP?

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston knows Sunday night's game at Dallas is the biggest he has played in the NFL. It's against America's Team with the best record in the league, before a national television audience and with the playoffs at sake. Winston refuses to try and make the moment even bigger. However, as Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht will tell you, the Bucs used the No. 1 overall pick on Winston for this type of mammoth game.

 

FORECAST: A WARM DECEMBER WEEKEND AHEAD

After a comfortable Friday night and an overnight low of 64, temperatures will continue to rise gradually through the weekend under bright sunshine, 10Weather WTSP meteorologist Ashley Batey says. Saturday's forecast high of 83 would tie the record high for St. Petersburg, set in 1933. Sunday will also flirt with a record high, with afternoon temps reaching 86.

TRAFFIC UPDATES TO GET HOME SAFELY

As you head out for your evening commute, check out our live blog for the latest traffic updates and road conditions across Tampa Bay.

ST. PETERSBURG'S BIKE SHARE OFF TO ENCOURAGING START

Early results for St. Petersburg's fledging bike share program look promising. During November, the first full month of a soft launch of the Coast Bike Share Program, an average of 46 trips were taken per day. The 100 bikes, spread around 10 hubs, were used mostly by casual users, and the average length of a ride for someone who paid for a single trip was nearly 3 miles.

ALEPPO EVACUATION HALTED AS BOTH SIDES TRADE BLAME

Diplomats sought to salvage the evacuation of eastern Aleppo after it stalled amid recriminations by both sides in Syria's civil war, raising fears the cease-fire could collapse with thousands still desperate to escape the rebel enclave. The evacuation was suspended after a report of shooting at a crossing point into the enclave.

COULD TAMPA HOST ONE OF THE NHL'S MAJOR EVENTS?

It sounds like there might be some momentum for the Lightning and Tampa Bay to host one of the NHL's major events. (Tampa was last the site of one — the All-Star Game — in 1999.) However, a few representatives from the league visited last month as part of a multi-city scouting tour for potential sites for the draft, All-Star Game, Stadium Series and Winter Classic games. NHL executive vice president Steve Mayer says the league has made no decisions but hopes to announce plans soon for 2018 and beyond.

LET'S CATCH UP ON THE LATEST FESTIVUS NEWS

Our 12 Blogs of Christmas, featuring stocking stuffer-sized holiday stories about pop culture and beyond, takes a look at Festivus. You remember, Festivus — a holiday for the rest of us, featured in a 1997 Seinfeld episode. We hope you have your unadorned metal pole, have trained for the feats of strength and , have prepared you grievances.

Afternoon Update is a weekday feature from tampabay.com. Check in Monday through Friday for updates and information on the biggest stories of the day.

Afternoon Update: Joyful reunion for 10-year-old and Army uncle; Trump says thanks in Orlando tonight; Obama discusses Russian hacking; Jameis Winston can't wait for Sunday night 12/16/16 [Last modified: Friday, December 16, 2016 4:09pm]
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