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News at Noon: Supreme Court to hear TX abortion case; ISIS operative captured; Rubio in Motor City; Rays opener live; Weekend planner

In this photo taken Feb. 22, Ellie Hermann stands near the street, protesting the West Alabama Women's Center, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. [Associated Press]

In this photo taken Feb. 22, Ellie Hermann stands near the street, protesting the West Alabama Women's Center, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. [Associated Press]

• The Supreme Court Justices are taking up the biggest case on abortion in nearly a quarter century today, considering whether a Texas law that regulates abortion clinics hampers a woman's constitutional right to obtain an abortion. Less than three weeks after Justice Antonin Scalia's death and a raucous presidential campaign, the case comes at a heated political time.

• Developing story: AP reports that debris found in Mozambique matches missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

• An elite U.S. Special Operations force has captured a significant Islamic State operative in Iraq and is expected to apprehend and interrogate a number of others in the coming months, ushering in a new and potentially fraught phase in the fight against the extremist Sunni militant group.

• Marco Rubio will begin his recovery attempt today in a place that knows hardship and rebirth: Detroit, Michigan.

• Yesterday, voters in 12 states solidified the standing of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as the front-runners in their parties' nominating contests. Here are some takeaways from the biggest day of voting so far in the 2016 election.

• The president and vice president of the United States are backing U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy in his bid for Marco Rubio's U.S. Senate seat. What Obama and Biden might see in the young, democratic candidate.

• From the moment she unpacked her pink footstool and stepped up to the lectern Wednesday, 10-year-old Megan Sorbo had the attention of Hillsborough County commissioners. Sorbo passionately urged Hillsborough County commissioners to take a stand against the Florida bear hunt.

• Preservationists determined to save two historic downtown buildings, the cheesegraters, are appealing a recommendation that would allow them to be demolished.

• Was Tampa Bay's ranking on U.S. News' report of best places to live too high or too low? How did Tampa Bay fare in U.S. News' list of top places to live?

• Foodies listen up: There's a new restaurant opening in St. Petersburg's up-and-coming Edge District. Hawkers Asian Street Fare brings sidewalk peddlers' food to St. Pete.

• The Colorado-based chain Sports Authority, which operates nearly 50 stores in Florida and eight in the greater Tampa Bay market, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy today.

• The Rays play in their opener at 1 p.m. today against the Nationals in Port Charlotte. Follow our live blog for updates and photos.

• One outlaw country legend will fill in for another at this year's Florida Strawberry Festival. With Merle Haggard out, Kris Kristofferson is in at the Plant City festival.

• You can look forward to events such as pay-what-you-like museum entrance, Murder for Two on the stage and outdoor plans for Bahia Honda Key. Find our critics' top picks for the stage, the movies, dining out and more in our Weekend Planner page.

• Unseasonably heavy rains have damaged Cuba's tobacco crop and raised questions about iconic cigar brands that some aficionados hope will not suffer from declining quality amid higher demand. The sights of the tobacco fields are beautiful and are the reason for a burgeoning tourism industry.

Ramon Espinosa | Associated Press

In this Feb. 27, 2016 photo, Raul Valdes Villasusa, 76, smokes a cigar as he collects tobacco leaves on his farm in Vinales in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Farmers earn money from the government for their tobacco crop, and keep a small portion for their own use.

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: Supreme Court to hear TX abortion case; ISIS operative captured; Rubio in Motor City; Rays opener live; Weekend planner 03/02/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 2, 2016 1:20pm]
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