Friday, December 15, 2017
News Roundup

House passes bill allowing suits against Saudis

Washington

House passes bill allowing suits against Saudis

Congress sent President Barack Obama a bipartisan bill that would allow families of Sept. 11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia, putting lawmakers on a collision course with the White House on the eve of the 15th anniversary of the attacks. The House passed the legislation Friday by voice vote, about four months after the measure cleared the Senate despite vehement objections from Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals. The legislation gives victims' families the right to sue in U.S. court for any role that elements of the Saudi government may have played in the 2001 attacks that killed thousands in New York, the Washington, D.C., area and Pennsylvania. The White House has signaled Obama would veto the legislation over the potential for it to backfire and apprehension about undermining a long-standing yet strained relationship with a critical U.S. ally in the Middle East. The Obama administration has warned that if U.S. citizens can take the Saudis to court, then a foreign country could in turn sue the United States.

Appeals court blocks voting requirement

A federal appeals court on Friday blocked Kansas, Georgia and Alabama from requiring residents to prove they are U.S. citizens when registering to vote using a national form. The 2-1 ruling is a victory for voting rights groups who said a U.S. election official illegally changed proof-of-citizenship requirements on the federal registration form at the behest of the three states. People registering to vote in other states are only required to swear that that they are citizens, not show documentary proof. The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia acted swiftly in the case, issuing a two-page, unsigned ruling just a day after hearing oral arguments.

Fresno, Calif.: A U.S. lawmaker accused Yosemite National Park of breaking federal law by adding 400 acres for a wildlife preserve without clearing it through Congress, but federal park officials said Friday that he's misinterpreting the law. The claim was made by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah.

France

Tourists rescued after overnight cable car ordeal

Dozens of tourists, including three children, were rescued Friday after being trapped overnight in cable cars dangling above the slopes of Mont Blanc in the Alps, French officials said. Their return to land ended an extraordinarily complex and vertiginous rescue effort over two days amid the spectacular but dangerous landscape of Western Europe's tallest mountains. The last passengers were brought down Friday morning, after emergency workers managed to untangle cables that had jammed Thursday, according to the mayor of the French town of Chamonix. With the cables now straightened, the cable cars were able to resume their journey Friday, at very slow speeds and under close surveillance, and delivered the passengers to the nearest ground stations, Mayor Eric Fournier said. The passengers were then flown by helicopter to Chamonix and the Italian town of Courmayeur. The ordeal began Thursday afternoon, when cables on the Panoramic Mont Blanc cable car service got twisted, trapping 110 people in a string of cars. French and Italian helicopters flew in rescuers who dropped down on cables onto the tops of the cars, and lifted out passengers one by one.

Indonesia

Leader tells Obama he never cursed him

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Friday he told President Barack Obama during their encounter in Laos that he never cursed him. On a visit to Indonesia, Duterte told the Filipino community there that he told Obama: "President Obama, I'm President Duterte. I never made that statement, check it out." He said that Obama responded: " 'My men will talk to you,' and he replied 'Okay.' " Duterte blamed the media for distorting his words, saying he did utter "son of a b----" but it was not directed at Obama. Before traveling to Laos for regional summits, Duterte said Monday that Obama should not question him about the rising death toll in his war on drugs, which has been criticized abroad and by Duterte's opponents in the Philippines. More than 2,800 suspected drug dealers and users have been killed since Duterte took office.

Associated Press

Comments
Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay girls swim teams

Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay girls swim teams

Hillsborough County Swimmer of the Year: Morgan Tankersley, Sr., PlantTankersley defended her state title in the 500 free (4:44.75) and placed second in one of the country’s fastest 200 free races in 1:46.75, 2.07 seconds behind Buchholz junior Isa...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Festivus 2017: Submit your grievances and complaints here

Festivus 2017: Submit your grievances and complaints here

When Seinfeld writer Dan O’Keefe penned the classic 1997 episode The Strike he probably had no idea people would be celebrating sitcom character Frank Costanza’s made-up, anti-commercialization holiday nearly two decades later, but here w...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Love of science is the goal, now that every Pinellas elementary school has a lab

Love of science is the goal, now that every Pinellas elementary school has a lab

SEMINOLE — It was hard for the second-graders at Orange Grove Elementary to resist the urge to rush into the school’s science lab and tinker with the colorful objects neatly arranged on each table.Thursday was just their second time in the lab this y...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, later found in swamp

Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, later found in swamp

DOVER — Two Plant City men, with several outstanding warrants, face additional charges after Hillsborough County deputies said they were driving a stolen car when they fled an attempted traffic stop on Thursday afternoon.The men ran away from deputie...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Why the Bucs need a Dungy more than a Gruden

Why the Bucs need a Dungy more than a Gruden

TAMPA — The worst week of Dirk Koetter’s life rolls on.It’s Gruden Week, just like Shark Week, only with smaller teeth and a bigger playbook. It’s the big build-up to Gruden’s induction into the Buc Ring of Honor this Monday night, with the accompany...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Arrest made as former gay bathhouse in Ybor City is hit by arson a third time

Arrest made as former gay bathhouse in Ybor City is hit by arson a third time

TAMPA — Tampa police arrested a man Friday on charges he set fire to a vacant Ybor City bathhouse hit by at least two earlier arsons this year.Police said Carroll DeMoss, 46, was found early Friday inside the building at 1512 E 8th Ave. after patrols...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The meta-soap opera of Omarosa Manigault’s White House exit

The meta-soap opera of Omarosa Manigault’s White House exit

WASHINGTON — As the spooling drama of Omarosa Manigault Newman’s White House departure spun into its 36th hour, Washington began asking itself: "Does it actually matter whether Omarosa quit or was fired?"Dumbest story ever," tweeted John Harwood, the...
Updated: 1 hour ago
How the Disney/Fox deal will shake up Hollywood

How the Disney/Fox deal will shake up Hollywood

Associated Press NEW YORK — After years of tremors, the earthquake that had long been predicted finally shook Hollywood. Disney’s deal to purchase most of 21st Century Fox ends the era of the "Big Six" major movie studios, toppling one ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Being your own lawyer: bad idea. People in Tampa Bay do it anyway.

Being your own lawyer: bad idea. People in Tampa Bay do it anyway.

LARGO — Daniel Richards walked into the courtroom in his orange jail scrubs. Carrying a stack of papers, he stood in front of Pinellas Circuit judge Chris Helinger as she glanced at the handwritten documents he filed days earlier."I foresee foul play...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry May 19

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry May 19

LONDON — Kensington Palace says the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be held on May 19. The palace announced the date Friday and confirmed the ceremony will take place in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The couple announced their...
Updated: 3 hours ago