Saturday, February 24, 2018
News Roundup

SpaceX rocket blows up after problem found

McGregor, Texas

SpaceX rocket blows up after problem found

An unmanned SpaceX rocket self-destructed shortly after launching on a test flight at a central Texas development site, the company said Friday. At its facility in the central Texas town of McGregor, the company was testing a three-engine version of the F9R test vehicle, the successor of its reusable Grasshopper rocket, which was designed to launch and then land on the same site. During the flight, an anomaly was detected in the vehicle and the flight termination system automatically terminated the mission," said John Taylor, a spokesman for Elon Musk's upstart space company. The rocket never veered off course, and there were no injuries or near injuries, the company said. A representative from the Federal Aviation Administration was on site during the test flight. The company stressed that rooting out problems like the one exposed during the flight is the whole purpose of the test program.

Cuba

Colombia military, rebels hold talks

Members of Colombia's military met face-to-face Friday with Marxist rebel leaders for the first time as talks aimed at ending a half-century war enter a decisive phase. Peace negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia taking place in Havana the past two years still face a number of obstacles. Among those is widespread concern in Colombia that atrocities committed by the FARC will go unpunished, and Colombians are likely to be given the right to vote on any deal in a referendum. But reflecting mounting optimism that a deal is within reach, recently re-elected President Juan Manuel Santos decided to send some of the Colombian military's most-decorated officers to Cuba to begin informal discussion on how to carry out any end to hostilities and an eventual cease-fire.

Oklahoma City

Officer accused of serial sex assaults

An Oklahoma City police officer arrested on charges of serial sexual assault preyed on women in the rundown neighborhoods he was assigned to patrol, according to an affidavit released Friday. Former star football player Daniel Ken Holtzclaw, 27, raped one woman and either fondled others or forced them to expose themselves, investigators said. He made others perform sex acts on him. Police said there could be more victims than the seven already identified.

Miami

Storm predicted to miss U.S. coast

A storm system cruising across the Atlantic and dumping heavy rain is expected to become a tropical depression over the weekend. The system, making its way west as a sloppy wet system, has drifted northwest, prompting most tracking models to point it away from the U.S. coast. The National Hurricane Center said Friday that the storm was expected to sideswipe Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The island, already soaked by the wet season, could get heavy rain.

Elsewhere

India: The government on Friday blocked the release of a film on the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, saying it glorifies her killers and could trigger violent protests.

Mexico: The government launched a special 5,000-strong police force Friday to combat industrial, farm and business crime that has extended throughout the economy, strangling commerce in some regions.

Times wires

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High school scoreboard for Feb. 23

Friday’s scoreboardSoftballSpringstead 2, Crystal River 0BaseballCalvary Christian 9, Countryside 2Northeast 15, Tarpon Springs 1
Updated: 3 hours ago
Florida Capitol Republicans promise ‘complete investigation’ of what went wrong

Florida Capitol Republicans promise ‘complete investigation’ of what went wrong

TALLAHASSEE — A bombshell that South Florida police ignored tips that a teenager was planning an assault on a school and then failed to stop him when he attacked seems destined to complicate the election-year discussion around mass shootings.Even in ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Top Justice official alerted White House 2 weeks ago to ongoing issues in Kushner’s security clearance

Top Justice official alerted White House 2 weeks ago to ongoing issues in Kushner’s security clearance

WASHINGTON — A top Justice Department official alerted the White House two weeks ago that significant information requiring additional investigation would further delay the security clearance process of senior adviser Jared Kushner, three people fami...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Indiana man killed, two hurt as boats collide on Little Manatee River

Indiana man killed, two hurt as boats collide on Little Manatee River

RUSKIN — Arthur D. Showley, 75, went fishing early Friday morning, something he did two or three times a week, friends said. When they saw his car and trailer still parked near a community boat ramp at 2 p.m., they thought that was strange."He never ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Here are the GOP’s responses to the Parkland massacre. Would any have worked?

Here are the GOP’s responses to the Parkland massacre. Would any have worked?

Gov. Rick Scott and Republican leadership in the Florida Legislature have rolled out their ideas for change in response to the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. But would these measures have made a difference in the worst mass...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Former Florida congressmen say gun control measures need to go much further

Former Florida congressmen say gun control measures need to go much further

TAMPA — A bipartisan pair of former congressmen spoke Friday about gun safety measures that are more drastic than those being considered following the Parkland school shootings, and about hopes for a national youth movement comparable to the 1960s an...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Restricting bullets rather than guns might cut toll of school shootings, some experts say

Restricting bullets rather than guns might cut toll of school shootings, some experts say

This is the sad new math in the age of school slaughter.If one student comes to school with a firearm and 10 ammunition magazines filled with 30 bullets each, and another comes with a firearm and 30 magazines filled with 10 bullets each, who can crea...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Epilogue: Lee Davis, businessman and adventurer, survived many a scrape

Epilogue: Lee Davis, businessman and adventurer, survived many a scrape

TAMPA — Friends and family have a saying about Lee Thornton Davis Jr. Once you met him, even for just a moment, you knew him forever."He was the most outgoing person I’d ever met," Dick Greco said, which is something coming from Tampa’s gregarious, 8...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

The head of the Pinellas and Hillsborough career centers under multiple investigations into the way they report job placement figures says he has no intention of stepping down.That’s unless he is paid five months severance.In a letter from his attorn...
Updated: 8 hours ago
She’s taught at the Parkland high school for 14 years. Can she go back?

She’s taught at the Parkland high school for 14 years. Can she go back?

PARKLAND — She was afraid of what it would feel like, but she needed to know, so Melissa Falkowski pulled into the faculty parking lot. She took a deep breath in through her nose and climbed out of her car. She was back, in front of Marjory Stoneman ...
Updated: 8 hours ago