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News at Noon: Cruises to Cuba from Tampa? Also: more on the Soaring Paws story, the Frozen Four and horseshoe crab sex.

Brilliance of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean International cruise ship, is seen docked at the Port of Tampa recently. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times

Brilliance of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean International cruise ship, is seen docked at the Port of Tampa recently. LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

• Airline service is not the only way local tourism boosters are vying to get American tourists to Cuba from Tampa Bay. Port Tampa Bay, already home to four seasonal cruise lines, hopes to lure a cruise ship that would take passengers to Cuba. Just as Tampa International competes with other airports to serve Cuba, Port Tampa Bay is competing with South Florida cruise ports like Miami and Fort Lauderdale — which are home to dozens of top tier cruise ships — for a spot in the line up. "There's no doubt Miami is No. 1, they have a critical mass of cruise lines there," said Edward Miyagishima, vice president of communications and external affairs at Port Tampa Bay. "But there are a lot of benefits to Tampa. We're only 300 nautical miles away from Cuba. It's a straight shot."

• You might have read our recent stories about animal rescue pilot Albert Lonzo Adams III, whose campaign for contributions to fund a new plane already had the state demanding financial records. Former allies had banded against him, and GoFundMe had suspended his collection drive. Now, just when things couldn't seem to get worse for his Soaring Paws charity, it's happened: Adams riled the Canadians.

• As the Frozen Four college hockey championship gears up in Tampa, Matt Baker takes a look at the University of North Dakota. When UND hockey players found out coach Dave Hakstol was leaving last May, they were admittedly nervous. How can you replace a well-respected figure who just took his team to a conference title and was hired away to become the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers? That uncertainty was quickly replaced with stability and, eventually, more victories.

• The bay area recently landed the corporate headquarters of Manitowoc Foodservice, an international commercial kitchen equipment manufacturer that spun off from its Wisconsin parent and went public March 4. The New Port Richey company, led by new CEO Hubertus Muehlhaeuser, generated $1.5 billion in revenue last year, placing it among the top 10 Tampa Bay area public companies in sales. Muehlhaeuser, 46, chatted with us about his impressions of the Tampa Bay area and his vision for the company in Florida.

• "They like to do it in the middle of the night, while the waves lap softly at the sandy beach, under the glow of a full moon," Katie Mettler writes this morning. "They do it in the middle of the day, too, sun bright, right where you can see them. Not spring breakers. We're talking about horseshoe crabs." And if you see the crabs copulating on the beach, officials ask that you don't avert your eyes. They want you to watch and report it — for science.

• Hillsborough County Fire Rescue crews fought a two-alarm fire this morning that damaged more than 20 units at a storage business in Town 'N Country. Crews doused flames in exterior storage units and then used an excavator to tear away sections of the roof to douse hot spots in units lining internal corridors, Revette said. An unknown number of additional units were affected by smoke.

Marc Topkin wraps up some loose ends from yesterday's Rays season opener, including MLB commish Rob Manfred on Montreal, Norm, Chris Archer and Papa John.

The release of a vast trove of documents and data on offshore financial dealings of wealthy, famous and powerful people around the world is raising questions over the widespread use of such tactics to avoid taxes and skirt financial oversight. Reports by an international coalition of media outlets on an investigation with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists brought to light details of offshore assets and services of politicians, businesses and celebrities, based on a cache of 11.5 million records. Among the countries with past or present political figures named in the reports are Iceland, Ukraine, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Argentina. Vladimir Putin's spokesman claimed that the Russian president was the "main target" of the investigation, which he suggested was the result of "Putinophobia" and aimed at smearing the country in a parliamentary election year. The ICIJ has links to the U.S. government, Dmitry Peskov suggested.

• A controversial European Union plan to curb migration and smash smuggling rings in Turkey began today as 202 migrants from two Greek islands were piled onto boats heading back to Turkey. Under heavy security, authorities on the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios began the deportations — the first in a plan that has drawn strong criticism from human rights advocates but is seen by some European nations as the only way to resolve the continent's migration crisis.

Chelsea Tatham recaps last night's cliffhangingest of cliffhangers in the season finale of The Walking Dead. To start with, all she can come up with is, "Whoa."

News at Noon: Cruises to Cuba from Tampa? Also: more on the Soaring Paws story, the Frozen Four and horseshoe crab sex. 04/04/16 [Last modified: Monday, April 4, 2016 12:58pm]
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