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News at noon: ISIS in America; new downtown Publix; gas prices fall; new Holiday Desserts; World AIDS Day

Nepalese women and children from Maiti Nepal, a rehabilitation center for victims of sex trafficking, light candles on the eve of World AIDS Day in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Monday. World AIDS Day is observed on Dec. 1 every year to raise the awareness in the fight against HIV.[Niranjan Shrestha | Associated Press]

Nepalese women and children from Maiti Nepal, a rehabilitation center for victims of sex trafficking, light candles on the eve of World AIDS Day in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Monday. World AIDS Day is observed on Dec. 1 every year to raise the awareness in the fight against HIV.[Niranjan Shrestha | Associated Press]

U.S. authorities this year have arrested nearly five dozen people in the United States for helping to support or plot with the Islamic State, according to a new study, the largest number of terrorism-related arrests in the country in a single year since September 2001.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn once called it the "tipping point" for downtown growth. No, not a baseball stadium. He was talking about a grocery store. And it's finally happening. A 37,600-square-foot Publix is expected to open in the fall of 2017 in the Channel District.

A Pinellas judge is expected to decide today if U.S. Army Maj. Roman Izzo, accused in a Clearwater murder, will be allowed to return to base before his trial starts.

Bringing added cheer to the holidays, the average Tampa Bay area price for gas just fell under $2 a gallon. It's a gift for consumers and businesses, savings that are in effect a raise for wage-flat households and a confidence booster during the seasonal shopping season.

St. Petersburg is already home to the largest gay pride event in the state, and come 2017, the city will host the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association's Annual Global Convention for the first time. The IGLTA's board of directors selected the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club as the site for the convention, which will take place May 3-6 2017.

Today we launch our inaugural Holiday Desserts issue of Taste. We have expanded our annual Christmas cookie issue to more kinds of desserts. And we're putting an emphasis on the stories that accompany them. The goal is to highlight those food-family connections the holidays tend to conjure up. Find them all here.

Kenny Leon's path to The Wiz Live! wasn't entirely paved with yellow bricks. His journey began in Jim Crow's Tallahassee, winding through boyhood on 18th Street S in a desegregating St. Petersburg. Leon, 59, eases on today as a Tony award-winning director, now entrusted with NBC's live telecast Thursday of a Broadway classic. "To me, I'm sort of like Dorothy in The Wiz," Leon said by telephone from New York. "It kind of parallels my life.

We finally got back to the Blumquists in Monday night's hilarious and suspenseful episode of Fargo. The rest of the characters took a back seat, and it was a little refreshing to stay on one storyline.

Steve Persall writes that Lenny Abrahamson's Room is a startling movie experience, peculiar in setting and profoundly simple. It's a story of love born out of unseen horror, of nurture conquering nature. Room must be felt to be believed.

PHOTO GALLERY

Around the globe, people pause for World AIDS Day.

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.

News at noon: ISIS in America; new downtown Publix; gas prices fall; new Holiday Desserts; World AIDS Day 12/01/15 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 1, 2015 12:13pm]
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  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. No lack of issues facing St. Petersburg's six council candidates

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — The six candidates for City Council gathered Monday evening in the very chamber to which they aspire to serve.

    St. Petersburg City Council candidates (from left)  Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless in District 2; Jerick Johnston and incumbent council member Darden Rice in District 4; and Justin Bean and Gina Driscoll of District 6. All six candidates appeared at Monday night's forum at City Hall sponsored by the League of Women Voters. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  3. Iraq's Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears

    World

    IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark referendum on supporting independence, a move billed by the Kurdish leadership as an exercise in self-determination but viewed as a hostile act by Iraq's central government. Neighboring Turkey even threatened a military response.

    People celebrate Monday after voting closed in a referendum on independence in Irbil, Iraq.
  4. North Korean diplomat says Trump has 'declared war'

    War

    UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet was a "declaration of war" and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday.
  5. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]