Friday, April 20, 2018
News Roundup

Pakistan, Taliban open peace talks

Islamabad, Pakistan

Government, Taliban open peace talks

Pakistan officials and Taliban representatives made their first formal contact Thursday, each side handing the other a wish list as they began talks to end a debilitating conflict that has ravaged the country for years. The talks took place a week after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said he wanted to give peace negotiations another chance despite mounting pressure in the country to use force against Taliban insurgents.

Cairo

Army denies leader to seek presidency

Egypt's army on Thursday denied that Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sissi had told a Kuwaiti newspaper he was running for president, saying a declaration of his candidacy would be made directly and unequivocally to "the great Egyptian people." But the story appeared to fit with a drawn-out unveiling of el-Sissi's intentions, characterized by ever stronger hints. The field marshal, who led the coup that deposed Islamist president Mohammed Morsi more than seven months ago, would have to relinquish his post as defense minister before formally stating he would run, and a Cabinet reshuffle is thought to be imminent.

Jerusalem

Ultra-Orthodox Jews protest draft

Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews blocked highways across Israel Thursday to protest government plans to draft them into the army, clashing with club-wielding police who aimed water cannons and fired stun grenades at them. The violent protests came days after a Supreme Court ruling ordered funding halted to ultra-Orthodox seminaries whose students dodge the draft and laid bare a deep rift in Israeli society. Ultra-Orthodox Jews have for years been exempt from military service, which is compulsory for other Jewish Israelis.

Brussels

EU wants stronger Cuba relationship

The European Union is to seek stronger relations with Cuba, a senior EU official said Thursday, with the bloc's foreign ministers due to approve the diplomatic shift at a meeting next week. The move is likely to open a new era in EU relations with Cuba, which has embarked on a gradual reform process since President Raul Castro took over from his brother Fidel in 2008. Under the new policy, the EU hopes to support Cuba's political reforms and encourage greater respect for human rights.

Baghdad

Group: Iraq holding women illegally

Iraq authorities are illegally detaining thousands of women, including many subjected to torture and the threat of sexual abuse despite promises of reform, Human Rights Watch said Thursday. The findings raise new concerns about Iraq's ability to handle those detained in massive security sweeps targeting militants.

Washington

Rules target safety of infant formula

After nearly two decades of study, the Food and Drug Administration announced rules Thursday designed to make sure infant formula is safe and nutritious. Most formula makers already abide by the practices, but the FDA now has rules on the books that ensure formula manufacturers test their products for salmonella and other pathogens before distribution. The rules also require companies to prove they are including specific nutrients in their formulas.

Times wires

Comments
St. Pete says discharge never reached the bay. Its own report says otherwise.

St. Pete says discharge never reached the bay. Its own report says otherwise.

ST. PETERSBURG — The city said not one of the 266,000 gallons of reclaimed water released on Jan. 18 reached Tampa Bay.There was no mention of the waste released from the Northeast Water Reclamation Facility ever reaching the bay in the city’s notice...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Nicole Leary and Taylor Redington stood outside St. Petersburg High School on Friday morning with parents and protesters who had gathered with bullhorns and signs. In a few minutes they would lead about 70 students on a walk to City Hall, joining oth...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

TAMPA — Deputies are searching for a woman accused of blocking a special needs school bus with her car, getting out and banging and kicking on the bus door until she broke the glass.And there were four children inside, deputies said, as she shouted a...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

BRANDON – Devils top defenseman Sami Vatanen had not traveled to Tampa as of Friday afternoon, according to coach John Hynes, and his availability for Game 5 Saturday against the Lightning is in doubt.Hynes, however, did not rule out Vatan...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

TAMPA — Private developers would bear much of the cost of a new Rays stadium in Ybor City under a plan Hillsborough County officials are putting together.Developers would benefit by cashing in on commercial, retail and other construction around a ne...
Updated: 2 hours ago
St. Pete police search for missing 20-year-old woman

St. Pete police search for missing 20-year-old woman

ST. PETERSBURG — Officers are searching for a 20-year-old woman who they believe to be missing and who could be in danger.Kayla Brandi Boone was last seen at about 11 p.m. Thursday in the 2700 block of Fourth Street S, according to St. Petersburg pol...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Woman says Hernando County commissioner kept her as a ‘sex slave’

Woman says Hernando County commissioner kept her as a ‘sex slave’

SPRING HILL — A woman who answered the door Friday at the home of Hernando County Commissioner Nick Nicholson said she served for months as a “sex slave” to the elected official. Valerie Surette, who called herself a 30-year-old st...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Deputies: 19-month-old child found in New Port Richey pond has died

NEW PORT RICHEY — The 19-month-old child that was found in a pond on Thursday afternoon has died, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.The incident took place at about 12:31 p.m. Deputies and firefighters were called out to a home in the 47...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Racing schedules for 2018-19 parimutuel seasons released

OLDSMAR — Eight is not enough at Tampa Bay Downs, at least when the thoroughbred racing facility on Race Track Road opens its 93rd season July 1.The final card of what will be the Downs' sixth annual two-day Summer Festival of Racing will featu...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rowdies prepared to press on without defender David Najem

Rowdies prepared to press on without defender David Najem

SAINT PETERSBURG — When describing the loss of defender David Najem, Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell and the player who will replace Najem chose the same word.Gutted.That settled over the Rowdies last weekend, one that was bad enough based o...
Updated: 4 hours ago