Monday, January 22, 2018
News Roundup

The DayStarter: Authorities say an EgyptAir hijacker is 'in love,' the Florida Cabinet looks for a new insurance boss — and new plans for the Straz

Gear up for some rain. 10Weather WTSP forecasters predict a soggy, gray day, thanks to the front parked over Tampa Bay from about 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tomorrow, at least, should be a little drier.

• An Egyptian man hijacked an EgyptAir plane Tuesday and forced it to land in Cyprus, where most passengers were eventually allowed to get off, though four crew members and three passengers remained on board with the hijacker, Egyptian and Cypriot officials said. The man's motivation was unclear, but Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said the hijacking was "not something that has to do with terrorism" and a Cyprus government official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said the man "seems (to be) in love."

• As the number of victims in the Brussels suicide attacks rose to 35, Belgian police released a video of a mysterious man in a dark hat seen in the company of the bombers who attacked Brussels Airport, indicating that he is still at large. The video's release came as a Belgian magistrate also ruled that a man arrested during police raids that followed the March 22 attacks who had been thought to be the man in the dark hat could be released. The Belgian magistrate ruled that new evidence uncovered by investigators revealed there were no grounds to keep Faycal C. in custody and he was released, the Belgian Federal Prosecutor's Office said.

• The Florida Cabinet meets at 9 a.m. in Tallahassee where priority No. 1 will be choosing the state's next insurance commissioner. Pinellas County resident Jeffrey Bragg and state Rep. Bill Hager, R-Delray Beach, will both be interviewed and a vote is expected as well. Follow Times staff writer Jeremy Wallace on Twitter (@JeremySWallace) for the latest.

• This morning, leaders with Tampa's Straz Center will offer a look at the latest version of their master plan for the future. A version they discussed a year ago proposed that more events and activities should be held outside, next to the Hillsborough River. Richard Danielson gave readers a glimpse of those plans, and will cover this morning's event. Follow him on Twitter (@Danielson_Times) for updates.

• The Hillsborough County School Board meets at 3 p.m., and this Times story about Hillsborough Superintendent Jeff Eakins telling 13 of the district's top administrators to re-apply for their jobs might come up. Follow reporter Marlene Sokol on Twitter (@Marlenesokol) to follow today's discussion.

• Focusing on treatment for tens of thousands of people addicted to opioids, President Barack Obama will participate in a panel discussion today moderated by Dr. Sanjay Gupta at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta.

• Argentina's government celebrated yesterday's decision by a U.N. commission that expanded the South American country's maritime territory in the South Atlantic Ocean by 35 percent — including the disputed Falkland islands and beyond. The Argentine foreign ministry said that its waters had increased by 0.66 million square miles. The decision will be key in its dispute with Britain over the Falklands. Argentina lost a brief, bloody 1982 war with Britain after Argentine troops seized the South Atlantic archipelago (which Latin Americans call the Malvinas).

• Hundreds of Islamic extremists who earlier violently protested in Islamabad over the hanging of a man who killed a secular governor continued their demonstrations in Pakistan's capital today, despite warnings from the government targeting extremists. The protesters are demanding Pakistan strictly enforce Sharia, or Islamic law, after the hanging of a police officer who killed Gov. Salman Taseer in 2011. The group also demands a Christian woman named Aasia Bibi, who is accused of blasphemy and who Taseer supported, be hanged. The sit-in continued despite Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's overnight warning that his government will fight extremists after Sunday's suicide bombing that targeted Christians gathered for Easter in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore, an attack that killed 72 people. More than 300 suspects have been detained in the past 48 hours, a security official said. Another official also confirmed nearly 300 arrests and said most of those detained were suspected to belong to outlawed militant and extremist groups.

• Our barfly checked out the spring break scene at The Shipwreck in Clearwater Beach, and he found a colorful, upbeat beach dive popular with locals and tourists venturing off the beaten path.

• Here are the top things to do today around Tampa Bay, including a free inline speed skating class and a comedic musical mystery at the Straz Center.

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Crisco, dune buggy and a face-plant: Fired-up Philly fans take to the streets

Crisco, dune buggy and a face-plant: Fired-up Philly fans take to the streets

PHILADELPHIA — Not even a coat of Crisco on light poles across the city could keep Philadelphia Eagles fans from scaling new heights in celebrating their team’s first Super Bowl appearance in 13 years and setting up a rematch with the AFC champion N...
Updated: 5 minutes ago
Deputies seek hit-and-run driver who seriously injured bicyclist in Plant City

Deputies seek hit-and-run driver who seriously injured bicyclist in Plant City

Hillsborough County deputies are searching for the driver who seriously injured a bicyclist in a hit-and-run crash in Dover on Monday morning.Deputies say the suspect was driving a Toyota Camry that is now missing part of its right front air dam afte...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lessons of another Belichick-Brady Super Bowl

Lessons of another Belichick-Brady Super Bowl

TAMPA — Next victim, please.Shouldn't we just start penciling the Patriots into the Super Bowl before every season?It would save us a lot of time.Mind you, the rest of the NFL is fighting Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and this foregone conclus...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Clearwater police investigate taxi jacking near Crest Lake Park

Clearwater police investigate taxi jacking near Crest Lake Park

CLEARWATER — Investigators are searching for a suspect in a taxi carjacking Monday morning near Crest Lake Park.Clearwater police spokesman Rob Shaw said the taxi was taken about 7:40 a.m. and abandoned a few blocks away. No one was injured, Shaw sai...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Woman, 35, struck and killed while walking across SR 60 in Valrico

VALRICO — A 35-year-old Thonotosassa woman was struck and killed by a car while walking across State Road 60 west of Mount Carmel Road on Sunday night, the Florida Highway Patrol said.Brandi Eckelstafer was walking south across SR 60 just after 8 p....
Updated: 2 hours ago

Hooper: Deal with sea-level rise or prepare to be inundated

When fans again flock to Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard for the annual Gasparilla Festival on Saturday, I hope they ask a question: Will the floats need flotation devices in 2035?Erika Spanger-Siegfried, Astrid Caldas and Kate Cell, members of the Union ...
Updated: 3 hours ago

The Daystarter: PolitiFact Florida analyzes prison costs; breaking down the Super Bowl matchup; free dental clinic services in high demand; Arrrrr you ready for Gasparilla?

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• We’ll have a mild and sunny start to the week, with highs in the upper 70s, according to 10Weather WTSP. A weak cold front brings a chance of rain on Tuesday and slightly coo...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Police: 2 IEDs detonated at a Florida mall, no injuries

LAKE WALES — Police say two improvised explosive devices ignited inside a mall in central Florida on Sunday do not appear to be an act of terrorism.Lake Wales police Deputy Chief Troy Schulze tells news outlets that at 5:22 p.m., the Lake Wales Fire ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
St. Pete spilled 266,000 gallons of waste into Smacks Bayou

St. Pete spilled 266,000 gallons of waste into Smacks Bayou

ST. PETERSBURG — It may be a new year but the city finds itself still dealing with an old problem: spilled sewage.The city announced Thursday that two spills at its Northeast sewage plant at 1160 62nd Ave. NE had been contained.But the release — with...
Updated: 9 hours ago
PolitiFact Florida: Claims about prison price-gouging decry $17 soup, $18 tampons

PolitiFact Florida: Claims about prison price-gouging decry $17 soup, $18 tampons

Advocates of Florida prisoners protested outside of the Florida Department of Corrections in Tallahassee on Tuesday, demanding answers to questions of alleged price-gouging in prisons across the state.Protesters from dozens of grass roots organizatio...
Published: 01/22/18