Tuesday, February 20, 2018
News Roundup

Syrian rebels seize oil field, storm base

BEIRUT, LEBANON

Syrian rebels seize oil field, storm base

Syrian rebels captured most of an eastern oil field and stormed a military base in the south, anti-regime activists said Thursday, further chipping away at President Bashar Assad's hold on the country's hinterlands. Though Assad's regime does not appear on the brink of collapse, rebels have scored a string of strategic victories in the past week, also seizing a large dam and the defenses around a major airport. These and other blows have shrunk the part of the country that Assad effectively governs and could deprive his regime of resources necessary for its survival.

Springfield, Ill.

Ill. Senate passes gay marriage bill

Illinois moved closer Thursday to becoming the 10th state where same-sex couples can legally wed as the Senate voted to lift a ban on gay marriage. Senators voted 34-21 to approve the measure, sending it to the state House where Democrats also hold a majority. Gov. Pat Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, has said he will sign the bill if the House approves it.

Washington

Sen. Lautenberg won't run again

Facing a fight for his seat from within his own party, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said Thursday he will retire rather than seek a sixth term next year. Lautenberg, at 89 the oldest member of the Senate and its only remaining veteran of World War II, told his staff of his decision and was to announce it formally today in Paterson, where he grew up the son of poor immigrant parents. His decision to retire has been complicated by an open challenge by Newark Mayor Cory Booker, 43, a popular Democrat.

Seoul, South Korea

South Korea shows its military might

South Korea flexed its military muscle Thursday by staging large military drills and disclosing a new cruise missile capable of hitting any target in North Korea, as the North became candid about its intentions to build intercontinental ballistic missiles tipped with nuclear warheads. "If the imperialists have nuclear weapons, we must have them, and if they have intercontinental ballistic missiles, we must have them, too," the North's state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a commentary Thursday. "Anger seeks weapons." North Korea uses "imperialists" to refer to the United States.

Washington

Social Security said hurt by neglect

Outgoing Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue says Congress, the White House and advocates for seniors have all "really walked away from Social Security," leaving the program "fraying." Instead of making hard choices to fix its financial problems, policymakers "use it as a tool of political rhetoric," Astrue said. Astrue, 56, has headed the program since 2007.

Washington

Crackdown coming on tour buses

Responding to recent deadly tour bus accidents, teams of federal inspectors will target companies with a history of problems as part of a crackdown aimed at weeding out unsafe operators, the government said Thursday. In the next two months, inspectors will examine troubled companies and physically inspect buses when they visit, officials of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said.

Times wires

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The Daystarter: The St. Petersburg-Habana Yacht Race returns to a difficult climate; meet Stormy Daniels; and commandos come to Palm Harbor.

The Daystarter: The St. Petersburg-Habana Yacht Race returns to a difficult climate; meet Stormy Daniels; and commandos come to Palm Harbor.

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• For the latest legislative coverage from Tallahassee, keep checking The Buzz, which is updated throughout the day by the reporters of the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau.• We...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Romano: Until the Parkland shooting, lawmakers ignored requests for school safety funds

Romano: Until the Parkland shooting, lawmakers ignored requests for school safety funds

His words and his pleas are similar to what we’ve heard from others in recent days.Kids deserve to feel safe when they walk into a classroom in Florida. More security is needed. More boots on the ground would be helpful. Mostly, more money must be de...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Today: Senate to put its own stamp on Florida education proposals

Today: Senate to put its own stamp on Florida education proposals

The massive education measure known as House Bill 7055 has received plenty of attention during the legislative session, with its emphasis on decertifying teachers’ unions and using state-backed scholarship programs to steer kids away from public scho...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Following deaths from Irma, Florida looks to new rules for keeping nursing homes cool after outages

Following deaths from Irma, Florida looks to new rules for keeping nursing homes cool after outages

After national headlines and a public outcry over the deaths of 14 people at a Broward County nursing home after Hurricane Irma, nursing homes across the state are working to comply with new rules requiring them to have back-up power.But the process ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
St. Petersburg regatta to Havana again buffeted by politics

St. Petersburg regatta to Havana again buffeted by politics

The 2017 St. Petersburg-Habana Yacht Race was celebrated as more than a competitive regatta to Cuba’s capital city of Havana.The relaunch of the maritime competition cancelled since 1959 was hailed as a reflection of the detente started under Preside...
Published: 02/20/18
Girl, 12, sister of murder victim, calls relative after being reported missing

Girl, 12, sister of murder victim, calls relative after being reported missing

Seven months ago, Jalyssa Shannon’s older sister Janessa went missing, sparking a frantic search that ended with the discovery of the 13-year-old’s body in a Hillsborough County nature preserve and, later, the arrest of the girls’ father in her murde...
Updated: 6 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Feb. 19

Monday’s scoreboardSoftballSpringstead 11, Central 0
Updated: 8 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Mon., Feb. 19, midday:46 278 6907e_SRit78769Mon., Feb. 19, evening:59 597 4363e_SRit97936Fantasy 5Mon., Feb. 19...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Updated: 8 hours ago
Water Wars starting to simmer again in Tampa Bay

Water Wars starting to simmer again in Tampa Bay

CLEARWATER — A simmering feud between Tampa and the regional water authority avoided boiling over Monday, but little was resolved.At a Tampa Bay Water meeting, board members requested Tampa work with the agency on the city’s plan to convert tens of m...
Updated: 9 hours ago