Thursday, February 22, 2018
News Roundup

Blasphemy arrest incites furor in Pakistan

SOMALIA

New parliament has 215 members

Somalia convened a new Parliament Monday, swearing in a government to replace the internationally backed transitional government that has tried to assert control over the embattled country in recent years.

The 215 members were sworn in at a ceremony at Mogadishu's airport to complete what international officials call the road map toward stability after two decades of war. But while the nation's transitional period of governance has officially ended, the new government is considered a caretaker because it was not directly elected and springs from a constitution that must be ratified by public referendum.

Once the parliament has elected a speaker, a process expected to take a few days, legislators are due to vote in a new president. He would appoint a prime minister, who in turn would choose a Cabinet.

Los Angeles

Porn industry shuts down over syphilis

Jolted by the possibility of a syphilis outbreak in its ranks, a Los Angeles-based trade group that represents the adult film industry announced a nationwide moratorium on X-rated productions while more than 1,000 porn actors are tested.

The Free Speech Coalition issued the call on its website after reporting that one performer had tested positive for syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease, and begun notifying sexual partners of that information.

The moratorium was announced Saturday, a day after the Los Angeles County Public Health Department said it was investigating a cluster of possible syphilis cases within the porn industry. The agency said it had received reports of at least five cases within a week.

Elsewhere

California: A huge wildfire sparked by lightning in Northern California burned to the edge of the small towns of Manton, Shingletown and Viola on Monday, about 170 miles north of Sacramento. About 3,500 homes were threatened.

WASHINGTON: The Obama administration on Monday accused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of making "wild assertions" about U.S. persecution to deflect attention from sex allegations he faces in Sweden. Assange is fighting extradition from Britain to Sweden.

Myanmar: The government said Monday that it would no longer censor private publications, a move that journalists described as a major step toward media freedom.

KEY WEST: Diana Nyad slogged across the Straits of Florida for a third straight day Monday, trying to become the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage.

Times wires

Pakistan

BLASPHEMY ARREST INCITES FUROR

The arrest of a Christian girl accused of violating Pakistan's blasphemy laws stoked a public furor Monday.

The police jailed Rimsha Masih and her mother on Friday in Islamabad after a local cleric said Rimsha had burned pages of the Noorani Qaida, a religious textbook used to teach the Koran to children. Later, a number of the girl's Christian neighbors fled their homes, fearing for their lives, human rights workers said.

Senior government and police officials agreed with Christian leaders that the accusations against Rimsha were baseless and predicted that the case would ultimately be dropped.

The emotionally charged issue of blasphemy has polarized Pakistani society in recent times.

Comments
Polk deputies seek Pinellas man accused of pushing woman from speeding car

Polk deputies seek Pinellas man accused of pushing woman from speeding car

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said an arrest warrant was issued for a Pinellas County man accused of beating and pushing a woman from a speeding car.The incident took place on Feb. 17, the Sheriff’s Office said. Remond Brown II, 26, was traveling ...
Updated: 27 minutes ago

Updated: 1 hour ago
V.M. Ybor: That’s not cigar smoke you’re smelling

V.M. Ybor: That’s not cigar smoke you’re smelling

TAMPA — Across Interstate 4 from Ybor City’s nightlife another part of the historic neighborhood has an odor less nostalgic — and much less pleasant — than cigar smoke and roasting coffee beans.V.M. Ybor, named after the Spaniard who founded the city...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Dunedin man seriously injured in motorcycle crash

Dunedin man seriously injured in motorcycle crash

OLDSMAR — A 37-year-old Dunedin man was seriously injured in a high-speed motorcycle crash early Thursday morning, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies said Justin Kaune was riding southbound on Bayside Boulevard around 2:30 a.m...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Police seek machete-wielding suspect in Plant City robbery

Police seek machete-wielding suspect in Plant City robbery

PLANT CITY — Police are searching for a man armed with a machete accused of robbing a convenience store on Tuesday.The man arrived at the Circle K convenience store station at 1514 Alexander St. S at about 2:50 a.m. and demanded money from store empl...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Clearwater police chief forms special unit for repeat offenders

Clearwater police chief forms special unit for repeat offenders

CLEARWATER — Police Chief Dan Slaughter started this month a new unit to target repeat offenders and nuisance properties.The Special Enforcement Unit consists of six police officers and a sergeant from within the department to focus on the small grou...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Jolley Trolley offers free rides to Clearwater Beach

Jolley Trolley offers free rides to Clearwater Beach

CLEARWATER — Spring break kicked off this week with a program offering free rides on the Jolley Trolley between downtown and Clearwater Beach until April 29.The Park N Ride service will pick up riders at two lots downtown every 15 minutes and drop th...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Ruth Eckerd Hall asks Clearwater for $3 million toward renovations

Ruth Eckerd Hall asks Clearwater for $3 million toward renovations

CLEARWATER — Ruth Eckerd Hall is requesting a $3 million grant from the city to help complete the $21 million renovation of its facility on McMullen Booth Road.The Expanding the Experience project began in 2015 with a renovation of the Murray Theatre...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tip leads police to find body inside van in Walmart parking lot

Tip leads police to find body inside van in Walmart parking lot

TARPON SPRINGS — Police are conducting a death investigation after a body was found Thursday in a van at a Walmart parking lot.Officers were dispatched to the store at about 1:30 p.m. when an employee reported that an older-model, white Ford E-150 va...
Updated: 1 hour ago
New maps show the utterly massive imprint of fishing on the world’s oceans

New maps show the utterly massive imprint of fishing on the world’s oceans

That startling statistic is among the findings of a unique, high-tech collaboration that is providing a massive amount of new data about global fishing operations. The results, published Thursday in the journal Science, offer a powerful glimpse of th...
Updated: 1 hour ago