Wednesday, September 26, 2018
News Roundup

News at noon: Father-son detainees in Iran; Trump doles out work visas to Palm Beach employees; SeaWorld employees pose as activists; The Great Cereal Debate; Lightning podcast

• A U.S. citizen whose son has been detained in Iran for the past four months was also taken into custody after returning to the country this week, his lawyer confirmed Thursday in what is the first such action against an American national in Iran since last month's prisoner swap between the two countries.

• Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, describes itself as "one of the most highly regarded private clubs in the world," and it is not just the very-well-to-do who want to get in. The catch: In all but a handful of cases, Mar-a-Lago sought to fill jobs with hundreds of foreign guest workers from Romania and other countries.

• A newly released poll by Quinnipiac University finds Donald Trump overwhelmingly leading native son Marco Rubio Florida, 44 percent to 28 percent among likely Republic an voters. Even with Jeb Bush no longer in the race (though his name is on the ballot), Rubio has an uphill climb Florida's must-win March 15 primary, although nearly one in three Republicans say they might change their minds, 5 percent are undecided and more than one in five say they definitely would not support Trump.

• Today Florida Sen. Bill Nelson added his voice to those calling for Apple to unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino attackers.

• Among a slate of bills the Florida Senate's large Appropriations Committee will take up today are two relatively simple education bills that Sen. Don Gaetz wants to transform into sweeping measures that include many of the most high-profile education policy changes lawmakers are considering this session.

• In a finding sure to bolster the argument for removing them from the endangered species list, Florida scientists counted a record number of manatees last week during the annual winter aerial survey.

• Earlier this week, Starbucks stumbled with customers after they announced a change to their loyalty program, which starting in April will emphasize dollars spent instead of visits made. Twitter revolted. But we spoke with analysts who say the blowback may not matter all that much, because real loyalty is being developed in other ways.

• SeaWorld admitted that employees posed as animal activists to spy on critics. Why the company's CEO acknowledged the tactic -- and said it would be ending -- in an earnings conference call.

• HSN thinks you've been distracted by the presidential election, the warm weather and the crazy stock market. Have you? And do you think they'll be able to get you to buy more from them?

• It took three tries but it appears that a bike share program is coming to St. Petersburg. It was a non-binding vote, but Kriseman's proposal hit a higher note with City Council members when the price was right.

• If cereal really is on its way out, our Food Editor Michelle Stark had to weigh in. "The idea that people aren't eating certain foods because they can't run a bowl under the sink is ridiculous, and depressing."

• Universal Orlando has revealed more details on Skull Island: Reign of Kong. The giant attraction set to open at Islands of Adventure this summer will take riders into the home of King Kong.

• Our movie critic has reviewed Triple 9 and calls it "a giant waste of acting talent" and probably not worth your time.

• In this week's Lightning Strikes podcast, we look at the Lightning's plans heading into the Feb. 29 NHL trade deadline. What is it looking for? Will Jonathan Drouin be dealt? We discuss our conversation with GM Steve Yzerman, and special guest is wing Ryan Callahan, who reflects back on his experience getting traded by the Rangers to Tampa two years ago at the deadline in the Marty St. Louis deal.'

• Visit our photo blog to see striking images like this one and others from staff photographers.

News at noon is a weekday feature from tampabay.com. Check in Monday through Friday for updates and information on the biggest stories of the day.

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