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U.S. envoy talks with China about North Korea

Denise Avrutik gets a hug from daughter Julianne as their Superstorm Sandy-damaged home is demolished in Ortley Beach, N.J. Mrs. Avrutik’s family owned it since 1959 when she was 3.

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Denise Avrutik gets a hug from daughter Julianne as their Superstorm Sandy-damaged home is demolished in Ortley Beach, N.J. Mrs. Avrutik’s family owned it since 1959 when she was 3.


U.S. envoy talks N. korea with china

The State Department's senior envoy on North Korea said Wednesday he discussed "all aspects of the North Korea issue" with Chinese officials, including sanctions on the North, during a one-day visit to Beijing. "The Chinese have said to us that they will faithfully implement U.N. Security Council sanctions and are doing so. And, as I've said before, we take them at their word," Glyn B. Davies said. His trip to China appeared to be part of a U.S. effort to work closely with Beijing to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula after North Korea's third nuclear test in February.

Granbury, Texas

Severe storms cause 'multiple fatalities'

A tornado slammed into a North Texas lakefront town Wednesday night, demolishing homes and killing and injuring an undetermined number of people, officials said. The tornado hit the scenic Brazos River town in North Texas about 8 p.m. Hood County sheriff's Lt. Kathy Jiveden reported the multiple fatalities, but she had no estimate of dead or injured. She said crews "are going house to house" looking for those trapped, injured or dead in the rubble of demolished homes.


Egypt: Bomb suspects targeted embassies

Egyptian state prosecutors say three suspected al-Qaida-linked militants detained over the weekend were plotting to attack the U.S. and French embassies in Cairo using car bombs. The prosecutors were quoted Wednesday by the official MENA press agency.

Los Angeles

Traffic stop leads to 17 homemade explosives

A police bomb squad detonated 17 homemade explosive devices found in an apartment Wednesday after officers spotted an explosive liquid in a man's car during a routine traffic stop. Robert Wilson, 29, was charged with felony possession of a destructive device, police Sgt. Rudy Lopez said. Authorities said there were no signs he planned to use the devices. They think he acted alone and had no apparent link to terrorism.

Manama, Bahrain

Bahrain convicts 6 of Twitter insults

A lawyer says Bahraini courts convicted and sentenced six people to a year in prison Wednesday on charges of making Twitter posts deemed offensive to the Persian Gulf nation's king.

Times wires


Report: Feds' warnings about Superstorm Sandy were confusing

Federal weather forecasts for Superstorm Sandy were exceptionally accurate, but the warnings were confusing, an internal review found. The gigantic October storm lost tropical characteristics hours before landfall in New Jersey, so the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stopped calling it a hurricane. It shifted focus to flooding and high wind warnings and moved responsibility from the National Hurricane Center in Miami to local weather offices. NOAA's self-assessment said that led to confusion by the public and the media, a complaint made by independent meteorologists. The 66-page report uses the word "confusion" 88 times. The report said future hurricane warnings should continue from the hurricane center even when a storm is downgraded. NOAA adopted the change in April.

U.S. envoy talks with China about North Korea 05/15/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 11:56pm]
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  1. Hernando sheriff: Orlando mother turns in 18-year-old son in pawn shop burglary


    Times Staff Writer

    SPRING HILL — Hernando deputies have arrested a fourth person in connection with a pawn shop burglary, but they really didn't have to do anything to find him.

    Elijah Pickard, 18, of Orlando, was turned in by his own mother in connection with a pawn shop burglary, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office [Courtesy of Hernando County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Bob Buckhorn and Tampa council say county vote on Confederate statue doesn't speak for them


    TAMPA — It was the Hillsborough County Commission that voted not to remove a statue honoring the Confederacy, but Tampa officials are worried that the city, not the county, will pay the price.

    The Hillsborough County Commission voted 4-to-3 this week to leave in place a Confederate monument outside the old county courthouse. It was dedicated in 1911 with a speech calling African-Americans "ignorant and inferior'' and saying a president who would appoint a black resident to a job in the South "engenders sectional bitterness, encourages lynchings, injures the negro," and is "a traitor to the Anglo-Saxon race." CHRIS URSO   |   Times
  3. Who's behind the mysterious butt graffiti all over St. Petersburg?

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first butts, perhaps, appeared in April on some steps behind the Sundial shopping plaza.

    A photo of the butt graffiti that has been cropping up around St. Petersburg in the past several months. [CHRISTOPHER SPATA | STAFF]
  4. During the most expensive mayoral election ever, St. Petersburg City Council wants to limit PAC money


    ST. PETERSBURG — In front of a large group of red-shirted campaign finance reform supporters, the St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday started the ball rolling on an ordinance that would limit individual campaign contributions to $5,000 from political action committees.

    A large crowd gathered Thursday to support passage of a controversial measure to limit campaign spending in city elections
  5. Minority business accelerator launch by Tampa chamber to aid black, Hispanic businesses


    A "minority business accelerator" program was launched Thursday by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce geared toward helping black and Hispanic business owners identify and overcome barriers to grow their companies. The accelerator, known as MBA, will provide participants with business tools to cultivate opportunities …

    Bemetra Simmons is a senior private banker at Wells Fargo, The Private Bank. She is also chair of the new minority business accelerator program for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. [Photo, LinkedIn]