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miamiPro-cuba embargo donations flow

Supporters of tough U.S. sanctions against the Cuban government have given more than $10 million to congressional campaigns over the last seven years, according to a study released late Sunday night by a group supporting campaign finance reform.

The Washington-based nonprofit Public Campaign said the study shows how large sums of money from a small group can influence lawmakers.

"Perhaps it's the age-old story of money and politics, but 18 members switched their votes on the subject, some in very close proximity to when they got donations" from a political action committee that supports the U.S. embargo of the communist island, Public Campaign's David Donnelly said.

The study was released as opponents of the U.S. travel ban to the island prepare for congressional hearings this week on the issue.

milwaukee

Hero to governor?

Mayor Tom Barrett, hailed as a hero for confronting a metal-bar wielding man, is running for Wisconsin governor. Barrett, 55, was thrust into the national spotlight after being attacked in August while defending a woman outside the state fair. He needed 10 pins in his right hand and had the last two removed Friday.

Serbia

Patriarch dead

Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Pavle, who called for peace and conciliation during the Balkan ethnic wars of the 1990s but failed to openly condemn extreme Serb nationalism, died Sunday. He was 95.

kosovo

A peaceful vote

Kosovo's first independent elections ended peacefully, with Prime Minister Hashim Thaci claiming his party won convincingly and some minority Serbs ignoring a call to boycott and casting ballots alongside ethnic Albanians. The elections Sunday for city council and mayors in 36 municipalities were seen as a key test of the fledgling state's viability after its contested February 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia.

el salvador

Flood toll at 192

Authorities say at least 192 people were killed by floods and landslides that swept through the country last week. El Salvador's Civil Protection agency said in a statement that 89 of the victims were killed in the state of San Vicente, where days of heavy rains caused mud and boulders to sweep down the side of the Chichontepec volcano before dawn a week ago.

london

Scientist is call girl

A British scientist says she is Belle de Jour, the anonymous blogger whose accounts of life as a call girl were turned into books and a TV series, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, shown on Showtime. Brooke Magnanti, 34, was quoted by the Sunday Times as saying she decided to reveal her secret because she was afraid an ex-boyfriend would expose her.

Times wires

miamiPro-cuba embargo donations flow 11/15/09 [Last modified: Sunday, November 15, 2009 10:04pm]
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  1. Florida Insiders: The state parties are dying; 'I heard someone long for the leadership of Jim Greer'

    Blogs

    For all the attention on Florida Democratic Chairman Stephen Bittel's bone headed gaffe this week, the diminished state of the once mighty Florida GOP today compared to even a few years ago is arguably more striking than the condition of the long-suffering Florida Democratic Party. A decade ago, no one would have …

    Florida Insider Poll
  2. Florida Democrats surging with grassroots enthusiasm, but 2018 reality is grim

    State Roundup

    After Donald Trump's election, so many people started showing up at monthly Pinellas County Democratic Party meetings, the group had to start forking out more money for a bigger room.

    Former Vice President Joe Biden addresses Florida Democrats at the Leadership Blue Gala on June 17 in Hollywood, Fla. (Photo by Carol Porter)
  3. Will new laws protect condo owners from apartment conversions and rogue associations?

    Real Estate

    Danny Di Nicolantonio has lived in St. Petersburg's Calais Village Condominums for 33 years. Annoyed at times by the actions, or inaction, of the condo board and property managers, he has complained to the state agency that is supposed to investigate.

    That has left him even more annoyed.

    A bill passed by the Florida Legislature would affect places like The Slade in Tampa's Channelside district, where cCondominium owners have battled a plan to convert homes into apartments.
[Times file photo]
  4. Walmart opens first Pinellas County in-house training academy

    Retail

    Seminole — It had all the hallmarks of a typical graduation: robe-clad graduates marching in to Pomp and Circumstance, friends and family packed together under a sweltering tent and a lineup of speakers encouraging the graduates to take charge of their future.

    New Walmart Academy graduates are congratulated Thursday morning by associates during a graduation ceremony at the Walmart store, 10237 Bay Pines Boulevard, St. Petersburg. The Walmart location is one of the company's training academies where managers complete a one week retail course. David Shultz and Richard Sheehan, both from St. Petersburg, get high fives from the crowd.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  5. Four questions with Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith before he helps lead the St. Pete Pride parade

    Human Interest

    A decade ago, Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith was afraid to tell his friends and family he was gay.

    Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith will serve as a grand marshal at the St. Pete Pride parade on Saturday. [City of Largo]