Tuesday, December 12, 2017
News Roundup

U.S. accuses Russian diplomats of cheating Medicaid

Washington

U.S. charges Russians with Medicaid fraud

Dozens of Russian diplomats and their spouses enjoyed luxury vacations and spent tens of thousands of dollars on concerts, fine clothing and helicopter rides as they lied about their incomes to get the government to pay their health care bills with money meant for the poor, federal prosecutors said Thursday. The diplomats were among 49 individuals charged in a complaint unsealed in federal court, though no arrests were made and only 11 of the diplomats and their spouses remain in the United States. The complaint said Medicaid lost about $1.5 million in the scheme since 2004.

Washington

Obama focuses on renewable energy

President Barack Obama has ordered federal agencies to more than double their renewable energy use in seven years, part of his efforts to find ways to cut carbon emissions without cooperation from Congress. In a presidential memorandum Thursday, Obama challenged agencies to get 20 percent of their energy from wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable sources by fiscal year 2020.

Elsewhere

New York: The engineer of a Manhattan-bound commuter train that derailed and killed four passengers has been suspended without pay, officials said Thursday.

Washington: The United States involuntarily repatriated two Guantanamo prisoners to Algeria on Thursday, despite safety fears.

Times wires

Comments
The Bucs’ problem isn’t how they finish; it’s how they start

The Bucs’ problem isn’t how they finish; it’s how they start

For the second straight week, the Buccaneers had the ball in the final minutes of a tie game.For the second straight week, they could not finish.As disappointing as that might be, they have a larger problem, and one that has existed all season: The B...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Nicko’s Fine Foods, classic diner and Seminole Heights icon, closes after six decades

Nicko’s Fine Foods, classic diner and Seminole Heights icon, closes after six decades

Nicko’s Fine Foods, known as the place Elvis Presley ate following a 1956 concert and Tampa’s last classic prefabricated diner, has shut down after more than 60 years in business.Owners Karen and Nicholas Liakos could not be reached for comment, but ...
Updated: 15 minutes ago

Tampa forum focuses on reforming Florida’s juvenile justice system

TAMPA — Changing the way Florida treats juvenile offenders was the focus of Monday night’s forum on criminal justice reform."We send more children to adult prison than any other state," said Raymer Maguire IV, manager of the ACLU’s Florida Campaign f...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

TAMPA — A 24-year-old aide at Buchanan Middle School was arrested Monday and charged with using Instagram to ask for sex and nude photos from female students at the school, deputies said.Between Sept. 1 and the time of his arrest, Quinton J. Bradford...
Updated: 1 hour ago
New tracking system could help put a dent in juvenile car theft epidemic

New tracking system could help put a dent in juvenile car theft epidemic

LAKE MARY — Hundreds more juveniles who steal cars each year could be kept off the streets under a new tool approved by a Department of Juvenile Justice committee Tuesday, a move that could put a dent in a dangerous local car theft epidemic.Secretary...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Pinellas construction board prepares to lose independence

Pinellas construction board prepares to lose independence

LARGO — Members of the Pinellas County agency that oversees contractor licensing cried foul in January when elected officials sought to fold the board into county government.They were mostly quiet this week as they received word on plans to make that...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tampa police looking for Plant City girl, 15, considered to be in danger

Tampa police looking for Plant City girl, 15, considered to be in danger

TAMPA — Police were searching Tuesday for a missing 15-year-old Plant City girl who disappeared from a Tampa girls school.Zoe Warren was last seen about 8 a.m. Monday at the PACE Center for Girls, 1933 E. Hillsborough Ave., where she attends school, ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Defendant asks jurors: Do I look like Charles Manson?

Defendant asks jurors: Do I look like Charles Manson?

LARGO — Daniel Richards, on trial for the murder of his 83-year-old mother, began his own criminal defense on Tuesday by asking a few questions to the pool of prospective jurors."If you were accused of killing your mother, would you want to represent...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Two of St. Petersburg’s assistant police chiefs leaving next month

Two of St. Petersburg’s assistant police chiefs leaving next month

ST. PETERSBURG — Two assistant police chiefs are stepping down next month, leaving two of the three of the second-in-command jobs vacant at the St. Petersburg Police Department.Assistant Chief Jim Previtera announced this week that he will resign fro...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Ex-Facebook VP: Social media destroying society with ‘dopamine-driven feedback loops’

Ex-Facebook VP: Social media destroying society with ‘dopamine-driven feedback loops’

Washington PostA former Facebook executive is making waves after he spoke out about his "tremendous guilt" over growing the social network, which he feels has eroded "the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other."Chamath Paliha...
Updated: 2 hours ago