Friday, November 17, 2017
News Roundup

New York court asked to drop murder charges in 1979 Etan Patz case

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New York

Court asked to toss charges in '79 child killing

A man's confession in one of the nation's most notorious child disappearances was false, peppered with questionable claims and made after almost seven hours of police questioning, his lawyer said Wednesday in court papers asking a judge to dismiss the murder case. "No evidence or witnesses have been found corroborating any of the few facts" in Pedro Hernandez's statements about the 1979 vanishing of 6-year-old Etan Patz, defense lawyer Harvey Fishbein wrote, arguing that there's not enough proof to support the case. The Manhattan District Attorney's Office, which has previously said there's sufficient evidence to sustain the charges, declined to comment. A judge isn't expected to rule until next month.

Washington

Kerry: Gains made in Libya inquiry

Seven months after the attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya, the Obama administration said Wednesday it was making progress in holding accountable those responsible for killing Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States has identified people it thinks were involved in the Benghazi attack. FBI investigators are still combing through video and other evidence gathered from largely lawless eastern Libya, he said.

Washington

Report: Rethink Iran sanctions

A panel of former senior U.S. officials and outside experts, including several who recently left the Obama administration, issued a surprisingly critical assessment Wednesday of U.S. diplomacy toward Iran, urging President Barack Obama to become more engaged and to reconsider the likelihood that harsh sanctions will drive Tehran to concessions. In a report issued by the Iran Project, the group suggested the sanctions policy may be backfiring. As the pressure has increased, it concluded, sanctions have "contributed to an increase in repression and corruption within Iran" and "may be sowing the seeds of long-term alienation between the Iranian people and the United States."

Wellington, New Zealand

Gay marriage legal in New Zealand

New Zealand on Wednesday became the 13th country in the world and the first in the Asia-Pacific region to legalize same-sex marriage. Lawmakers voted 77 to 44 in favor of the gay-marriage bill on its third and final reading Wednesday night. Prime Minister John Key supported the law change, after last May saying he wasn't opposed to gay marriage shortly after President Barack Obama voiced his support for it.

Wallops Island, Va.

Test rocket launch is scrubbed

A private company hired by NASA to make supply runs to the International Space Station scrubbed a Wednesday test launch of an unmanned rocket, saying an important data cord linked to the rocket's second stage detached too soon. The towering Antares rocket was scheduled to lift off from Virginia's Eastern Shore when the countdown clock was halted at the 12-minute mark. Barron Beneski, a spokesman for Orbital Sciences Corp. in Dulles, said another launch attempt would be tried no sooner than Friday afternoon.

Times wires

Comments

Possible wrong-way crash on Courtney Campbell Causeway late Friday

TAMPA — A multi-vehicle crash on the Courtney Campbell Causeway late Friday may have been caused by a driver traveling in the wrong direction, Tampa police said.The crash occurred in the eastbound lanes closer to the Tampa side of the causeway, near ...
Updated: 22 minutes ago

Region football: Clearwater Central Catholic 37, Calvary Christian 10

CLEARWATER — The ice bath ensued for Clearwater Central Catholic coach Chris Harvey after the Marauders’ 37-10 victory over Calvary Christian in Friday’s Class 3A region final. The win placed the Marauders (11-0) in their fifth state tournament since...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Tampa police investigate drive-by shooting in Seminole Heights

Tampa police investigate drive-by shooting in Seminole Heights

TAMPA — Police took one person into custody late Friday after a drive-by shooting ended in Seminole Heights.The incident, which unfolded about 11 p.m., did not appear to be related to the spate of other recent shootings in Seminole Heights that have ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

MELBOURNE — With 1 yard separating Plant from an incredible come-from-behind victory, or a devastating defeat, it all came down to a matter of trust.And for Panthers coach Robert Weiner, there was no one he would put more faith in to get that 1 yard ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

SEFFNER — Hillsborough conquered one nemesis with last week’s win over Class 6A defending state finalist Lake Gibson, the team that knocked the Terriers out of the playoffs in the first round a year ago.But there was an even bigger stumbling block to...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Region football: Ocala Vanguard 35, Mitchell 31

NEW PORT RICHEY — The start wasn’t quite befitting of a playoff game between undefeated teams, but the end of Friday’s war between Ocala Vanguard and Mitchell certainly was.Like last year’s Class 6A regional semifinal, the Mustangs held a three-point...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Region football: Green Cove Springs Clay 52, Zephyrhills 49

Region football: Green Cove Springs Clay 52, Zephyrhills 49

ZEPHYRHILLS — For Zephyrhills, Friday night’s Class 5A region semifinal against Green Cove Springs Clay was doomed by 12 bad minutes. The Bulldogs led by four points at halftime but allowed 28 unanswered points in the third quarter and were not able ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

ST. PETERSBURG — Lakewood came into Friday’s playoff game knowing its defense had to help control field position against Jesuit. The Spartans (9-1) left Friday’s game with a ticket to Immokalee for a region final — and six Tigers (6-5) turnovers en r...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Region football: Tampa Bay Tech 42, Palmetto 26

TAMPA — Another Friday night, another offensive explosion.Tampa Bay Tech’s offense continued its torrid pace and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. accounted for five total touchdowns as the Titans rolled past Palmetto 42-26 in a Class 7A, Region 3 semifi...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Region football: Cambridge Christian 50, Indian Rocks Christian 14

TAMPA — The Cambridge Christian offense was clicking, and quarterback Jaylin Jackson couldn’t seem to be stopped. Still, as the second quarter clock dwindled, Indian Rocks Christian was hanging around.So with just more than a minute left in the half,...
Updated: 1 hour ago