Sunday, June 24, 2018
News Roundup

Your DayStarter: Gunmen seize guests at a hotel in Mali; also, today's weather — and it's a big day for the gyrocopter mailman

A cold front in the gulf will park just south of the Tampa Bay area today, bringing us highs in the low 80s and partly sunny skies, according to WTSP 10Weather. Another cold front sweeps through late Saturday, meaning strong thunderstorms in the evening that may continue through Sunday.

• At least three people are confirmed dead this morning after men shouting "God is great" in Arabic and armed with guns and grenades stormed a hotel in Mali's capital this morning and trapped guests inside. The company that operates the hotel said the assailants had "locked in" 140 guests and 30 employees, though Malian army commander Modibo Nama Traore later said that 20 people had been released. Just after 7 a.m., CNN was reporting that at least 80 had been released. Any number of Muslim extremist groups could be behind the attack, which unfolded one week after the attacks on Paris that killed 129 people. A handful of jihadi groups seized the northern half of Mali in 2012 but were ousted from cities and towns by a French military intervention.

• By the time the United States withdrew from Iraq in 2010, it thought it had declawed the Islamic State, which had many names and incarnations but at the time was neither fearsome nor a state. Yet five years later, the Islamic State is on a very different trajectory, achieving its resurgence through two single-minded means: control of territory and, by design, unspeakable cruelty. Today, we explore the origins of ISIS.

• At 10 this morning, Gov. Rick Scott will release the latest snapshot on Florida's employment picture — including its unemployment rate and jobs created statewide. And the head of the agency overseeing efforts to drive down unemployment is coming to Safety Harbor to discuss how Tampa Bay fared. Follow @Times_Levesque and check back at tampabay.com/money for the latest.

Time to plan your weekend! Our critics have mapped out their top picks for music (Mavis Staples, George Winston and tributes to legend Allen Toussaints), on stage (the Florida Orchestra salutes Sinatra) and outdoor fun (sand sculptures on Treasure Island, a Bourbon and Brew fest in the park and more).

Thomas Bassinger provides his scouting report on the Bucs game at Philadelphia. Look for it by lunchtime at tampabay.com/bucs.

• Doug Hughes, the Ruskin mailman who made headlines when he landed a gyrocopter on the U.S. Capitol lawn this year, plans to plead guilty in federal court at 11:30 this morning.

• Former spy Jonathan Pollard is set to be released from a federal prison in North Carolina today, 30 years after he was caught selling American intelligence secrets to Israel. He's expected to settle in the New York area while he spends at least the next five years on parole. He will be barred from traveling outside the country and from using the Internet.

• Follow the latest high school football playoff action tonight at our HomeTeam page.

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