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News at noon: Russian space capsule; Closed Los Angeles school district; GOP debate preview; Tampa Bay borrowers gain home equity; Tom Jones column; Reader's Digest version of Star Wars

The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz TMA-19M space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, blasts off Tuesday at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Russian rocket carries British astronaut Tim Peake, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and U.S. astronaut Tim Kopra. [Associated Press]

The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz TMA-19M space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, blasts off Tuesday at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Russian rocket carries British astronaut Tim Peake, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and U.S. astronaut Tim Kopra. [Associated Press]

A Russian space capsule carrying three astronauts from the United States, Britain and Russia has blasted off for the International Space Station. The Soyuz capsule is scheduled to dock with the station today at 12:23 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Aboard are Russian Yuri Malenchenko, Timothy Kopra of NASA and Briton Timothy Peake, representing the European Space Agency.

All Los Angeles Unified School District schools have been ordered closed Tuesday due to an unspecified threat, school district officials said at a news conference Tuesday morning. Follow here for updates.

In BaltimoreOfficer William Porter's lawyers say he's not to blame for Gray's death.On the other side, prosecutors say it would have taken just two clicks for Officer William Porter to save Freddie Gray's life: one click to buckle him into the back of a transport van and another click of his police radio to call for medical help.

Coverage of tonight's early Republican presidential debate begins at 6 p.m. on CNN. Here's what you need to know: Five things to watch in tonight's GOP debate

The Federal Reserve begins its final meeting of 2015 Tuesday, and it's poised to raise interest rates Wednesday for the first time in 9.5 years. It may not take so long to know whether its decision was correct.

More Tampa Bay borrowers are gaining equity in their homes. Read why the increase in positive equity is good news for both the real estate market and the overall economy.

The bodies of a man and woman were found in the apartment attached to a Town 'n Country home. Read the story: Authorities: Couple dead in Tampa apartment Late Monday, a pedestrian was found dead in a Pinellas Park ditch after hit-and-run.

Who do you think will win this week's NFL games? Now readers of the chance to chime in with their picks each week, as well as throwing their names in the hat to win a $20 dining gift certificate.

Later this afternoon: Tom Jones takes a look at this year's cover of Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year. While Serena Williams deserved the cover, it would have been nice to see her in a more powerful, less provocative pose.

So you bought your weekend Star Wars tickets but don't totally remember all of the previous movies? Today we've got the reader's digest version of the series. With the seventh part in the Star Wars saga, The Force Awakens, arriving in theaters this week, we're celebrating all things geeky from a galaxy far, far away.

Six weeks after joining Taylor Swift onstage in front of the biggest crowd she's ever seen, Alessia Cara still sounds dazed by the experience. Read her interview here

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: Russian space capsule; Closed Los Angeles school district; GOP debate preview; Tampa Bay borrowers gain home equity; Tom Jones column; Reader's Digest version of Star Wars 12/15/15 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 15, 2015 12:00pm]
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  1. Tuesday's Nothing More concert moved from the State Theatre to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

    Blogs

    Nothing More was one of the highlights of April's 98 Rockfest, a thoroughly entertaining rock outfit with a larger-than-live stage presence.

    Nothing More performed at 98 Rockfest 2017 in Tampa.
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    Bucs

    "None of us really know how this group of 53 guys is going to come together and how we're going to play this season."

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    Corporate

    ST. PETERSBURG — Triad Retail Media, a St. Petersburg-based digital ads company, said CEO Roger Berdusco is "leaving the company to pursue new opportunities" and a member of the executive team, Sherry Smith, is taking over.

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    Blogs

    September temperatures are still creeping into the 90s, but fall officially started a few days ago. And with that designation comes the avalanche of new and returning TV shows. The Big Bang Theory fans get a double dose of Sheldon Cooper's nerdisms with the return of the titular series for an eleventh season and …

    Sean Hayes, Debra Messing and Megan Mullally in Will & Grace.
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    Macdill

    TAMPA — The number of KC-135 refueling jets at MacDill Air Force Base will grow from 18 to 24 with the return of a squadron that once called Tampa home.

    A KC-135 Stratotanker, a military aerial refueling jet, undergoes maintenance at MacDill Air Force Base. The planes, many flying since the late 1950s, are now being flown more than twice as much as scheduled because of ongoing foreign conflicts. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]