Tuesday, December 12, 2017
News Roundup

Report faults officials in Fast and Furious

Washington

report faults officials in fast, furious

An inspector general's report on Operation Fast and Furious has concluded that dozens of senior-level U.S. government officials turned a blind eye to public safety as they pursued an ill-conceived and poorly managed investigation into gun trafficking in Mexico, Fox News Channel reported Tuesday. Fox said it had obtained portions of the Justice Department inspector general's report. The report and accompanying accounts cite a failure in leadership and a lack of accountability and oversight up and down the chain of command at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Justice Department, according to Fox.

NEW YORK

Moody's warns of downgrade of debt

Moody's Investor Service on Tuesday said it would likely cut its AAA rating on U.S. government debt, probably by one notch, if budget negotiations fail to deal. If Congress and the White House don't reach a budget deal, $1.2 trillion in spending cuts and tax increases will automatically kick in starting Jan. 2, a scenario dubbed the "fiscal cliff," because it is likely to send the economy back into recession and drive up unemployment. In August, rival agency Standard & Poor's took the drastic step of stripping the government of its AAA rating on its bonds after the protracted stalemate over raising the nation's statutory borrowing limit.

Statue of Liberty interior to reopen

Visitors to the Statue of Liberty will once again be able to go inside the monument, starting Oct. 28, the superintendent of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island announced Tuesday. The interior has been closed off to visitors since October 2011 as part of a renovation project.

WASHINGTON

Gitmo detainee had sought release

The detainee who died Saturday at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was a Yemeni man who had been ordered freed in 2010 by a federal district court judge but remained in captivity after the ruling was overturned by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last year. The military Tuesday identified the detainee, whose death was announced a day earlier, as Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif. He was captured at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in December 2001. He had a history of depression and erratic behavior. He was the ninth detainee to die at the prison.

West Bank

Price, tax cuts aim to halt protests

Scrambling to head off protests against the high cost of living in the West Bank, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced price and tax cuts Tuesday, and said his government was doing its best to alleviate rising costs for fuel and food. The protests turned violent Monday when rioters attacked police stations and government buildings in Hebron and Nablus.

HOUSTON

Man who fled rape trial is captured

A man who fled his trial a day before being convicted and sentenced in the repeated group sexual assault of an 11-year-old southeast Texas girl was captured Tuesday after being a fugitive for nearly two weeks, authorities said. Eric McGowen, 20, was arrested after being found in an apartment in Houston, the Marshals Service said.

Times wires

Comments
The Bucs’ problem isn’t how they finish; it’s how they start

The Bucs’ problem isn’t how they finish; it’s how they start

For the second straight week, the Buccaneers had the ball in the final minutes of a tie game.For the second straight week, they could not finish.As disappointing as that might be, they have a larger problem, and one that has existed all season: The B...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Tampa forum focuses on reforming Florida’s juvenile justice system

TAMPA — Changing the way Florida treats juvenile offenders was the focus of Monday night’s public forum on criminal justice reform."We send more children to adult prison than any other state," said Raymer Maguire IV, manager of the ACLU’s Florida Cam...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
French group to take over Westfield malls for $15.7 billion

French group to take over Westfield malls for $15.7 billion

Three Tampa Bay malls may soon be under new management. French real estate company Unibail-Rodamco has agreed to buy Australia-based shopping mall operator Westfield Corp. for $15.7 billion in cash and shares."Westfield would arguably be the best or ...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Pinellas construction board prepares to lose independence

Pinellas construction board prepares to lose independence

LARGO –– Members of the Pinellas County agency that oversees contractor licensing cried foul in January when elected officials sought to fold the board into county government.They were mostly quiet this week as they received word on plans to make tha...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
Prosecutors likely to decide by Jan. 25 on death penalty in Seminole Heights murders

Prosecutors likely to decide by Jan. 25 on death penalty in Seminole Heights murders

TAMPA — Prosecutors will likely know before the end of January whether they will seek the death penalty for the man accused in the four Seminole Heights murders.A judge set the next court appearance for Howell Emanuel Donaldson III for Jan. 25 and as...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Police searching for robber who hit three North Tampa hotels

TAMPA — Police believe the same armed man committed early morning robberies at three North Tampa hotels within half a mile of one another, the latest just before 4 a.m. Tuesday.In the latest heist, the robber pointed a gun at a clerk in the West Wing...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay’s mortgage delinquency rate crept up in September

Tampa Bay’s mortgage delinquency rate crept up in September

Times Staff WriterThe percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners who are late on their mortgage payments rose slightly in September, probably due to Hurricane Irma. According to CoreLogic, 7 percent of bay area mortgages were delinquent by at least 30 days c...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

TAMPA — A 24-year-old aide at Buchanan Middle School was arrested Monday and charged with using Instagram to ask for sex and nude photos from female students at the school, deputies said.Between Sept. 1 and the time of his arrest, Quinton J. Bradford...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Column: Trump’s Kirsten Gillibrand tweet is just the beginning of the #MeToo backlash

Column: Trump’s Kirsten Gillibrand tweet is just the beginning of the #MeToo backlash

With all the prominent men being accused of various forms of sexual harassment and abuse, we’ve gotten used to a certain kind of statement the men make when the news breaks.Sometimes they deny the accusations, sometimes they apologize if their behavi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Fire at Tampa townhome complex caused by faulty air-conditioner unit

Fire at Tampa townhome complex caused by faulty air-conditioner unit

TAMPA — A malfunctioning air conditioning unit sparked the fire that damaged several homes at the Brookshire Townhomes on Monday, authorities said.Investigators concluded the fire started on the back patio of unit B103 when the power supply of a cond...
Updated: 2 hours ago