Thursday, February 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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Employee tip leads police to body in Tarpon Springs parking lot

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Updated: 16 minutes ago
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Updated: 3 hours ago
Clearwater police chief forms special unit for repeat offenders

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Updated: 3 hours ago
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