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News at noon: Debate preview; Zika virus; Open-carry bill; St. Pete city council on noise ordinances and marijuana; Barbie's got a new, realistic figure; Lightning podcast

Mattel, the maker of the famous plastic doll, said it will start selling Barbie's in three new body types: tall, curvy and petite. She'll also come in seven skin tones, 22 eye colors and 24 hairstyles. [Mattel via AP]

Mattel, the maker of the famous plastic doll, said it will start selling Barbie's in three new body types: tall, curvy and petite. She'll also come in seven skin tones, 22 eye colors and 24 hairstyles. [Mattel via AP]

GOP DEBATE: Donald Trump may not show because of Fox News' Megyn Kelly, but that doesn't mean PolitiFact won't be watching what the other candidates say. Check back to our live fact-checking starting around 8 p.m. ET tonight.

FROM THE EDITORIAL BOARD: TIMES RECOMMENDS JEB BUSH

It's time to stop treating the election of the next president of the United States like a game show without serious consequences. After more than a year of constant fundraising, meaningless opinion polls and reckless rhetoric from so many candidates, voters finally will make their voices heard starting Monday in the Iowa caucuses and eight days later in the New Hampshire primary. For Republicans fighting for both the soul of their party and the White House, the best choice is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

The World Health Organization says it is convening an emergency committee on Monday to decide if the Zika virus outbreak should be declared an international health emergency. So far, officials doubt the virus will be widespread in the U.S.

A controversial Florida Legislature proposal— backed by the National Rifle Association and gun-rights advocates — that would allow more than 1.4 million people in Florida to openly carry guns is going before its third and final House committee this morning.

Florida Governor Rick Scott wraps D.C. visit as transparency expert at a conservative think tank. His two-day visit to the nation's capital was a busy one and culminates with a speech to AEI later this afternoon.

Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco is being admitted to Florida Hospital last week with pain that may be related to a hernia, his family said Thursday. Greco is now recovering from surgery.

Almost 170,000 Tampa Bay homeowners are still "seriously" underwater on their mortgages even as rising home values are making others "equity rich."

ST. PETE LOCAL GOVERNMENT: A City Council committee voted unanimously to require downtown businesses to lower the volume on their outdoor speakers after 11 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends. Another committee voted unanimously to have city attorneys draft an ordinance for the St. Pete to start a civil citation program for marijuana.

Lightning goalie Ben Bishop is headed to his first NHL All-Star game, and it is well deserved. In the latest podcast, Joe Smith discusses the latest developments in the Stamkos contract saga, breaking down the potential of a Jonathan Drouin trade.

Curvy has caught on. Mattel, the maker of the iconic plastic doll, said it will begin selling Barbie in three new body types — curvy, tall, and petite. She'll also be available in seven skin tones, 22 eye colors and 24 hairstyles.

British actor Joseph Fiennes will star as Michael Jackson in a one-off TV comedy set to broadcast later this year — a casting decision that has added fuel to a raging debate about opportunities for non-white actors in movies and TV.

Persall: Truth is duller than fiction in The Finest Hours, a film of real-life Coast Guard heroism that coasts on patriotic goodwill.

If you can't make it to Gasparilla 2016, our

News at noon: Debate preview; Zika virus; Open-carry bill; St. Pete city council on noise ordinances and marijuana; Barbie's got a new, realistic figure; Lightning podcast 01/28/16 [Last modified: Thursday, January 28, 2016 2:01pm]
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  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

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    Hurricanes

    UPDATE: At 11 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

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    Blogs

    Politico reports:

     A longtime political consultant for Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam is behind a website calling one of his rivals in the race, state Sen. Jack Latvala, a “liberal.”

  4. Council gives in to pension dispute with St. Pete firefighters

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council was forced to consider its first labor dispute in years Thursday when it gave the firefighters union most of the pension enhancements it has long asked for.

    The firefighters’ union won a pension victory at Thursday’s City Council meeting. [SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES]
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    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE

    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.