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  1. Syrian forces said to drive deeper into rebel-held Aleppo

    World

    BEIRUT — Syrian government forces pushed deeper into Aleppo on Wednesday, seizing areas around the medieval citadel whose narrow streets had long given rebels cover, pro-government websites and conflict monitors reported.

    Smoke rises in a east Aleppo neighborhood during a battle between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebels in Aleppo, Syria. A Syrian war monitoring group says government forces have captured large parts of Aleppo's central-eastern al-Shaar neighborhood from rebels. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says government forces took most of the once-populous neighborhood Tuesday following intense clashes. [Associated Press]
  2. Authorities: Two south Georgia officers shot; shooter at large

    Crime

    AMERICUS, Ga. — Authorities say two law enforcement officers have been shot in south Georgia.

  3. Trump picks former Southcom leader -- and Gitmo defender -- John Kelly for homeland security

    Blogs

    President-elect Donald Trump has picked former U.S. Southern Command leader, Gen. John Kelly, as his choice for secretary of homeland security, a further blow to President Obama’s hopes of closing down the military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

  4. Feds: Tampa woman made death threats to Sandy Hook parents

    Crime

    MIAMI — Federal authorities say a Tampa woman has been charged with making death threats against the parents of a child who died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

    Connecticut state police were among the law enforcement officers who swarmed Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 after the shooting massacre there. [AFP/Getty Images, 2012]
  5. News at Noon: Who's next for USF after Taggart's move to Oregon; Facebook live chat with 'Prince Vinegar' writer, photographer; Cuba trip leads to family reunions; panther roadkill reaches new high

    News

    USF looks to be in the hunt for a new football coach after Willie Taggart reportedly has accepted an offer at Oregon. USF has yet to confirm Taggart's move, but a team meeting is …

      Willie Taggart has reportedly accepted the head coaching job at Oregon after four seasons at USF.   [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
  6. Retired Gen. John Kelly is Trump's choice to lead Homeland Security

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump has settled on Gen. John F. Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general whose son was killed in combat in Afghanistan, as his choice for secretary of Homeland Security, placing defense of U.S. territory from terrorism in the hands of a seasoned commander with personal …

    President-elect Donald Trump shakes hands with retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, right, at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse on Nov. 2 0 in Bedminster, N.J. [Associated Press]
  7. Two new vessels — a luxury yacht and a tall ship — hope to get noticed along St. Petersburg's waterfront

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sweeping vistas of waterways edged with miles of public parkland and bustling sidewalks helped entice the owner of a charter yacht company to set course for St. Petersburg.

    The Sir Winston now docks at the city’s downtown port, out of sight of potential customers. Owners prefer a spot like this in the Vinoy basin.
  8. Tampa History Center trip to Havana leads to family reunions

    Human Interest

    The address in Old Havana matched the one scribbled on Henry Valenti's piece of paper, as did the description of the structure — a laundromat with a residence in the back.

    Liana Fernandez Fox of Tampa, center right in black and white stripes, reunited after more than five decades of separation with Cuban relatives in Havana last week follow more than five decades of separation. [Courtesy of Liana Fernandez Fox]
  9. Hillsborough commissioners advance plan to ban texting with lobbyists during meetings

    Blogs

    TAMPA -- Hillsborough County Commissioners took a step Wednesday to ban texting with lobbyists during meetings, a move that would echo similar reforms coming to Tallahassee.

  10. Review finds no security breach at Tampa International Airport but suggests improvements

    Airlines

    TAMPA — A business consulting firm found that there was no security breach at Tampa International Airport following a seven month-review of the airport's information technology department that was prompted by the resignation of two employees earlier this year.

    A review of the IT department at Tampa International Airport found no evidence that its security had been breached when a former employee shared passwords with others, but suggested ways to improve its risk management. SKIP O'ROURKE | Times
  11. Study: Obamacare repeal, without replacement, would leave 30 million uninsured

    Medicine

    WASHINGTON — Repealing President Barack Obama's health care law without a clear replacement risks making nearly 30 million people uninsured, according to a study released Wednesday.

    A patient undergoes ankle surgery April 19, 2016 at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  12. Meet the Candyman: Inventor of Jelly Belly sets up shop in Clearwater

    Consumer

    CLEARWATER — Standing in the doorway of a former Krunchtime Health Club, the Candyman spreads his arms wide.

    "I'm the best-kept secret in the world!"

    Candyman David Klein stands with a variety of candies, sodas and other sugary treats, including a substantial inventory of Jelly Belly jelly beans, below, at his Candyman Kitchens location in Clearwater. In 1976, Klein came up with the idea for a new type of flavored jelly bean called Jelly Belly, which included Very Cherry, Tangerine, Lemon, Green Apple, Grape Jelly, Licorice, Root Beer, and Cream Soda. In 1980, Klein and his partner sold their interest in the jelly beans, which are now made with 50 official flavors. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times
  13. From Hamilton to Dylan to women in history, gift books with content

    Books

    Every fall, my mail bulges with a new crop of holiday gift books. They're big, they're glossy, they're packed with art. And most of the time I wonder who would want them.

    SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
  14. Willie Taggart to Oregon; who's now in the mix for USF?

    College

    USF coach Willie Taggart will be named coach at Oregon, ESPN's Brett McMurphy reported earlier this morning.

      Willie Taggart has reportedly accepted the head coaching job at Oregon after four seasons at USF.   [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]