Monday, May 21, 2018
News Roundup

Obama warns Afghan presidential candidates

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has taken the unusual step of intervening in a foreign election, asking both candidates in Afghanistan's disputed presidential race to allow the process for investigating fraud claims to go forward and threatening a cutoff in aid if "extra-constitutional measures" are taken.

Obama called the leading candidate, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, on Tuesday, the day after he spoke to Ahmadzai's opponent, Abdullah Abdullah. The White House said Obama told both candidates that the United States expects fraud allegations to be thoroughly reviewed, urging the two men to seek a resolution that doesn't undermine Afghanistan's fragile national unity.

"He also noted that there is no justification for resorting to violent or extra-constitutional means, which would result in the end of U.S. assistance to Afghanistan," the White House said in a statement.

The warning appeared to be directed mostly at Abdullah, who told thousands of supporters on Tuesday that he will declare victory, amid calls from some of his supporters for Abdullah to form a "parallel government."

Abdullah, a former foreign minister, claims massive electoral fraud is behind the preliminary results from a runoff vote June 14 that put him a million votes behind Ahmadzai, a former finance minister. Abdullah said Tuesday that he doesn't accept the results of the vote.

It is unusual for a U.S. president to speak to foreign political candidates during an election, but Obama thought it was important to reach out given the seriousness of the situation and the U.S. interest in maintaining stability in Afghanistan, the White House said.

The Afghan Independent Election Commission released preliminary election results Monday showing Ahmadzai well in the lead but said no winner could be declared because millions of ballots were being audited for fraud. Ahmadzai had about 56 percent of the vote to Abdullah's 44 percent.

The results marked a sharp turnaround from the first round April 5, when Abdullah garnered the most votes, with 46 percent to Ahmadzai's 31.6 percent. But Abdullah failed to win the majority needed to avoid the runoff.

Comments
Florida has a gem of an idea to move traffic on and off I-75. It's called diverging diamonds

Florida has a gem of an idea to move traffic on and off I-75. It's called diverging diamonds

TAMPA — Driving on the wrong side of the road isn’t just for the British any more under an innovative plan for moving traffic through three local Interstate 75 interchanges. Construction will soon begin on a $37 million, three-year proje...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
PolitiFact Florida: Did Gwen Graham vote against President Obama 52 percent of the time?

PolitiFact Florida: Did Gwen Graham vote against President Obama 52 percent of the time?

A progressive super PAC slammed the congressional record of Democrat Gwen Graham as too conservative for Florida’s next governor.The Collective super PAC paid for the 30-second spot. The group supports black, progressive candidates and is backing Tal...
Updated: 8 hours ago

The Daystarter: Lightning back in DC for Game 6; crisscross interchange comes to I-75 near Wesley Chapel; Scott omits mentions of Trump in speeches; Kendrick Lamar here Tuesday

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• The week ahead sees rain and storm chances every day with highs in the lower to middle 80s, according to the National Weather Service. • As you head out for your morning commute, chec...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Hooper: Vote against the politics of division

My friend says instead of boycotting Publix, people upset about the company’s support of gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam should back voter registration drives and get more people to the polls.And when they register those voters, ask if they suppo...
Published: 05/21/18
Traffic lights restored at Pinellas Park intersection

Traffic lights restored at Pinellas Park intersection

PINELLAS PARK — Traffic lights have been restored at the intersection of 66th Street N and Park Boulevard, police said. About 5:45 p.m., Pinellas Park Police announced the outage. 
Updated: 4 minutes ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Angels game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Angels game

* It's always interesting to think of how many amazing plays you see made in a game, then often a simple one — such as the fourth-inning comebacker to Rays RHP Matt Andriese — gets messed up and costs teams heavily, as that led to two run...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays journal: Pitching plan works, until Sergio Romo leaves in second inning

Rays journal: Pitching plan works, until Sergio Romo leaves in second inning

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Doubling down on their innovativeness and starting veteran reliever Sergio Romo for a second straight day worked out fine Sunday for the Rays.It was the less-effective pitchers who followed, plus the ineffectiveness of their h...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Expansion Vegas advances to Stanley Cup final

Expansion Vegas advances to Stanley Cup final

WINNIPEG — The Vegas Golden Knights are going to the Stanley Cup final — with a chip on their shoulder."Everybody on this team has something to prove," forward Ryan Reaves said. "We call ourselves 'The Golden Misfits' for a reason. We're ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
What a long, strange and winning road trip it was for Rays

What a long, strange and winning road trip it was for Rays

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The nearly Yanny-vs.-Laurel level national debate over their latest pitching strategy innovation of starting relievers isn't quite as entertaining today. The In-N-Out burgers in the clubhouse after the game weren't as tasty. T...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Chief US hurricane forecaster: Education key to storm prep

Chief US hurricane forecaster: Education key to storm prep

WEST PALM BEACH — The new U.S. National Hurricane Center director says learning about specific storm hazards is key to preparing for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season. Ken Graham leads the U.S. government’s hurricane forecasting hub in Miami. At...
Updated: 9 hours ago