Wednesday, July 18, 2018
News Roundup

News at noon: Obama in Cuba; Rays in Cuba; Clinton and Trump at AIPAC; next phase of Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker; Mock Draft Monday; and eggs

The initial public event of President Barack Obama's first full day in Cuba will be at Havana's sprawling Revolution Square, where the president is set to lay a ceremonial wreath at the Monument to Jose Marti, a poet and independence hero considered Cuba's founding father. Obama will also meet with Cuban President Raul Castro and later attend a state dinner. Find the latest developments here.

Hillary Clinton addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference and takes a few veiled shots at her Republican rival Donald Trump. Trump, Cruz and Kasich all address the group later today.

Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge Brian M. Cogan is urging the Obama administration to protect from public disclosure federal court records related to Felix Sater, a former Donald Trump business associate who had pleaded guilty in a major Mafia-linked stock fraud scheme and cooperated with the government. In a highly unusual order the judge says that unless the Justice Department acts before April 18, he will decide whether to make the court files public under the assumption that federal prosecutors don't care.

The jury that awarded Hulk Hogan $115 million for invasion of privacy by Gawker Media today considers whether to award him punitive damages. If they find in his favor, the already large award could grow even greater. Follow the live blog here.

An onlooker in a New Jersey mall recorded a fistfight between an apparent shopper and the mall's Easter bunny on Sunday. The video has gone viral.

Tampa Bay homes prices soared again in February, continuing a robust start to the year driven by the meager supply of homes on the market. The median price of a single family home jumped to $180,000, a 16.1 percent increase from the same month a year ago. Total sales, though, were up just 4.9 percent year over year.

Marriott won over Starwood with a sweetened bid worth more than $14.4 billion just days after a Chinese insurance company appeared to steal it away from the hotel chain with a more lucrative offer. The buyout, which may still be contested by China's Anbang, would create the world's biggest hotel company and give Marriott a stable of tony properties run by Starwood, like the St. Regis New York.

Apple is kicking off a busy week: Today the giant tech company will host reporters and analysts at its Silicon Valley headquarters for a product launch event. CEO Tim Cook is expected to show off some new additions to the current family of iPhone and iPad devices.

After a one-week break, Mock Draft Monday is back with a familiar conclusion: Vernon Hargreaves could be coming home. The former Florida/Wharton High star seems to be the favorite for the Bucs' selection with the No. 9 overall pick — assuming he lasts that long.

A rainy day in Havana means the Tampa Bay Rays aren't getting much of a workout at Estadio Latinoamericano, where they will play on Tuesday. But at least they got to see the field. Later today, the team will tour Havana. Follow the latest from Marc Topkin and Will Vragovic in our live blog.

When did buying eggs at the grocery store become so complicated? There are white ones. And brown ones. Medium, large or extra large. Organic. Omega-3. And now the pricing scale comes with animal welfare guilt, too. Beginning next month, Publix Super Markets will sell pasture-raised eggs for the first time. The Fresh Market made a pledge this month to sell only cage-free eggs by 2020. Tampa-based Bloomin' Brands, which operates chain restaurants like Bonefish Grill, Carrabba's Italian Grill and Outback Steakhouse, follows McDonald's, Chick-fil-A and other brands in shifting to use only cage-free eggs by 2025. What does this all mean, anyway? We'll tell you!

There's quite a bit of concert news today. R&B superstar R. Kelly is coming back to Tampa, with a just-announced concert at Amalie Arena on May 27. Def Leppard will join Kiss atop the lineup for the inaugural Moonstone Music Festival, April 30-May 1 in Orlando, and then the British rockers headline an event in August with REO Speedwagon and Tesla at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater. And, the Go-Go's have announced a farewell summer tour that includes an Aug. 2 stop at Clearwater's Capitol Theatre.

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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