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News at noon: Rubio, Bush on different sides of Tillerson debate; abortion rights group sues state; what to know about 'Rogue One;' is it crisis time for Lightning?

Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil, speaks during a news conference in Dallas in May. [Ben Torres | The New York Times]

Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil, speaks during a news conference in Dallas in May. [Ben Torres | The New York Times]

President-elect Donald Trump this morning officially nominated Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, setting up a clash with fellow Republicans such as Sen. Marco Rubio, Alex Leary writes. "While Rex Tillerson is a respected businessman, I have serious concerns about his nomination," said Rubio, who says earlier criticized Tillerson's ties with Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, Jeb Bush laughed at the suggestion the Russians influenced the election. "The Ruskies are out there, what, sticking something in people's brains?' I mean, come on," he said yesterday in an interview with a TV station in Tennessee. In the interview with WJLH, Bush also praised Tillerson, saying the Exxon Mobile CEO has "vast experience" and calling him a "patriot."

ABORTION-RIGHTS GROUPS SUE STATE, SAY LAW VIOLATES FREE SPEECH

Abortion-rights advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union on Monday sued the state over abortion restrictions the groups say would have a chilling effect on free speech. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Tallahassee, asks a judge to throw out part of a law requiring agencies that refer women to abortion providers to register with and pay a fee to the state. It was passed this spring by the Legislature as part of a broader abortion measure and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott.

REVIEW: 'ROGUE ONE' WILL ENGAGE THE 'STAR WARS' DIEHARDS

Disney/Lucasfilm

Felicity Jones stars as Jyn Erso in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

And about the movie itself: As the first spinoff from George Lucas' original scheme, Rogue One doesn't have the luxury of nostalgia enjoyed by last year's The Force Awakens nor its reclaimed buoyancy, movie critic Steve Persall writes. It's the darkness of The Empire Strikes Back without A New Hope's establishment of mythic characters and quests, understandably as it turns out. See what grade Persall offers.

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT 'ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY'

For several reasons, the buildup to Rogue One — which hits theaters on Thursday – is not nearly as great as last year's to the long-awaited Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Caitlin O'Connor offers five things to know about the movie.

FENNELLY: CRISIS TIME ON CHANNELSIDE DRIVE

We have seen this Lightning scary movie, Martin Fennelly writes. The bedraggled bunch is in a serious slump. Steve Stamkos heading down a dressing room hall on crutches. Sooner or later, this is going to have a bad ending. This might be the season, Fennelly says.

INNOVATION: FOUR SCIENTISTS WITH USF TIES NAMED FELLOWS IN NATIONAL ACADEMY OF INVENTORS

Three University of South Florida faculty inventors whose work has led to advances in electronics, biometrics and anticancer drugs, as well as a USF alumnus who has created a range of cutting-edge technologies, have been selected as fellows in the National Academy of Inventors.

INTERVIEW: HENRY PAUL COMES HOME WITH THE OUTLAWS FOR A HOLIDAY CONCERT

Born in New York but raised in Tampa, Henry Paul hit the big time with not one but two bands — Southern rockers the Outlaws in the '70s and country vocal group BlackHawk in the '90s. On Friday, he'll return to revive both groups, along with his namesake Henry Paul Band, for his third annual sprawling, career-spanning holiday show at the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater.

12 BLOGS OF CHRISTMAS: WE DESPERATELY NEED A REPLACEMENT FOR CDS AS CHRISTMAS GIFTS

Times files

Sad, unwanted CDs sit on a rack at Best Buy in 2014.

CDs were the perfect Christmas gift, Christopher Spata writes. They fit inside a stocking and were small enough to send cheaply through the mail. They were easy to wrap. They were exactly the right price for staying within price limits of family and work gift exchanges, and yet they still allowed for a personalized, creative gift. But the music industry, and consumers, replaced CDs with digital music. This is a good thing, but sadly they never replaced the void CDs as a Christmas gift.

FLORIDA GATORS ASSISTANT GEOFF COLLINS TO BE TEMPLE'S NEXT COACH, ESPN REPORTS

Florida Gators defensive coordinator Geoff Collins will be the next head coach at Temple, ESPN reported. Collins will replace Matt Rhule, who took over Baylor last week. The move isn't a total surprise. Collins has made it clear that he would eventually like to be a head coach.

LANE KIFFIN, CHARLIE STRONG HIRES MAKE FLORIDA RECRUITING EVEN TOUGHER

With Florida Atlantic hiring Lane Kiffin on Monday, recruiting is about to intensify in the Sunshine State, Matt Baker writes. Maybe not for the Gators, Seminoles or Hurricanes, but for everybody else. With Butch Davis (Florida International), Charlie Strong (Florida) and Kiffin, that makes three big-name hires with big-time recruiting reputations, all in one of the three most talent-rich states in the country.

DIERKS BENTLEY, LITTLE BIG TOWN TO PERFORM IN TAMPA FOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

Mark down two more country stars for the College Football Playoff national championship game in Tampa. Dierks Bentley will headline the pregame Championship Tailgate outside Raymond James Stadium on Jan. 9, alongside the Shadowboxers. And inside the stadium, Little Big Town will sing the national anthem.

HIGH TEACHER TURNOVER ADDS TO PROBLEMS AT MOTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN BROOKSVILLE

Denise Rance said she had several reasons for resigning from her job as a second-grade teacher at troubled Moton Elementary School in Brooksville last month, including the need to devote more time to her family's business. But mostly, Rance said, she left because of the increased demands the school district and the school placed on teachers without adequate support or encouragement.

News at noon: Rubio, Bush on different sides of Tillerson debate; abortion rights group sues state; what to know about 'Rogue One;' is it crisis time for Lightning? 12/13/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 13, 2016 12:07pm]
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  1. Roosevelt Blvd closed at I-275 after truck hauling crane hits overpass

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — A truck transporting a construction crane hit the Interstate 275 overpass at Roosevelt Boulevard Tuesday.

  2. One Pasco County student arrested for bringing weapons to school, another for threatening shooting

    Crime

    Two Pasco County students from different schools were arrested Tuesday, one for having weapons on school grounds and the other for threatening a school shooting.

  3. It's official: Hillsborough high schools move to 8:30 a.m. start time, elementary schools to go earlier

    K12

    TAMPA — Hillsborough County high schools school will be in session from 8:30 a.m. to 3:25 p.m. starting in 2018-19, the School Board decided Tuesday in a 6-0 vote.

    The Hillsborough County School Board has decided to end a compressed bus schedule that caused an estimated 12,000 children to get to school late every day. Under the new schedule, high schools will start at 8:30 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m. Elementary schools will start at 7:40 a.m. and middle schools at 9:25 a.m. [Times files]
  4. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues

    Bucs

    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]
  5. The topic will be neighborhoods as Kriseman, Baker debate one more time

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker will face off, possibly for the last time before the Nov. 7 election, in a candidate forum on Wednesday hosted by the influential Council of Neighborhood Associations.

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, left, and former Mayor Rick Baker during a September forum. The two will will face off, possibly for the last time before the Nov. 7 election, during  a candidate forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Sunshine Center, 330 5th St. N. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]