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FBI has been using drones since 2006, agency watchdog says

Washington

Report: The FBI has been using drones since '06

Operating with almost no public notice, the FBI has spent more than $3 million to operate a fleet of small drone aircraft in domestic investigations, according to a report released Thursday by a federal watchdog agency. The unmanned surveillance planes have helped FBI agents storm barricaded buildings, track criminal suspects and examine crime scenes since 2006, longer than previously known, according to the 35-page inspector general's audit of drones used by the Justice Department. The FBI unmanned planes weigh less than 55 pounds each and are unarmed, the report said. The FBI declined requests to discuss its drone operations.

Giglio, Italy

Suspected human remains found

Divers searching for the bodies of the last two people missing from the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship have found what are thought to be human remains, Italian officials said Thursday. DNA tests will be conducted to determine whether they are the remains of an Italian passenger, Maria Grazia Trecarichi, and an Indian waiter, Russel Rebello, who disappeared when the ship ran aground in January 2012 off the island of Giglio.

Elsewhere

The Hague: A U.N.-backed court Thursday upheld the war crimes conviction and 50-year sentence of jailed former Liberian President Charles Taylor, regarded as one of Africa's most brutal warlords.

Afghanistan: A U.S. soldier was killed Thursday in the eastern Paktia province when a man in an Afghan National Army uniform opened fire at a joint military training base, provincial officials said. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

Sudan: Authorities deployed troops Thursday around vital installations and gas stations in Khartoum after days of rioting over gas price hikes that killed at least 30 people.

Times wires

FBI has been using drones since 2006, agency watchdog says 09/26/13 [Last modified: Thursday, September 26, 2013 10:07pm]
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  1. Will new laws protect condo owners from apartment conversions and rogue associations?

    Real Estate

    Danny Di Nicolantonio has lived in St. Petersburg's Calais Village Condominums for 33 years. Annoyed at times by the actions, or inaction, of the condo board and property managers, he has complained to the state agency that is supposed to investigate.

    That has left him even more annoyed.

    A bill passed by the Florida Legislature would affect places like The Slade in Tampa's Channelside district, where cCondominium owners have battled a plan to convert homes into apartments.
[Times file photo]
  2. Walmart opens first Pinellas County in-house training academy

    Retail

    Seminole — It had all the hallmarks of a typical graduation: robe-clad graduates marching in to Pomp and Circumstance, friends and family packed together under a sweltering tent and a lineup of speakers encouraging the graduates to take charge of their future.

    New Walmart Academy graduates are congratulated Thursday morning by associates during a graduation ceremony at the Walmart store, 10237 Bay Pines Boulevard, St. Petersburg. The Walmart location is one of the company's training academies where managers complete a one week retail course. David Shultz and Richard Sheehan, both from St. Petersburg, get high fives from the crowd.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  3. Four questions with Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith before he helps lead the St. Pete Pride parade

    Human Interest

    A decade ago, Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith was afraid to tell his friends and family he was gay.

    Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith will serve as a grand marshal at the St. Pete Pride parade on Saturday. [City of Largo]
  4. Lawsuit: Florida contractor fakes death to dodge angry homeowners

    Human Interest

    SEMINOLE — For weeks, Glenn Holland, 67, crawled out of bed before the sun rose to look for a dead man.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  5. What you need to know for Friday, June 23

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Graffiti butts are everywhere in downtown St. Pete. What's going on? [CHRISTOPHER SPATA | Times]