Saturday, February 24, 2018
News Roundup

Senator vows to block Iran's choice of envoy

Washington

Senator vows to block Iran's choice of envoy

Iran has chosen a former hostage-taker involved in the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran to serve as its ambassador at the United Nations, Sen. Ted Cruz said Tuesday in vowing to bar him from entering the United States. Cruz said it was outrageous that Iran had selected Hamid Aboutalebi, who was a member of a Muslim student group that held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days, and was seeking a visa for him. The Texas Republican said he was offering legislation to ensure that Aboutalebi would be prevented from entering the country. "This person is an acknowledged terrorist." Cruz said in a speech on the Senate floor. Hamid Babaei, a spokesman for Iran's Mission to the United Nations, had no comment Tuesday on his government's choice for ambassador. Cruz said Aboutalebi has insisted his involvement in the group was limited to translation and negotiation.

Arlington, Wash.

Mudslide toll climbs to 28

The official death toll from Washington state's mudslide has increased to 28, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office said Tuesday. Of the 28 victims, 22 have been identified. Officials said the number of people who are missing now stands at 20. Receding floodwaters near the rural community of Oso are helping in the search for human remains by exposing more sites that can be examined, officials said.

Lebanon

Syria war toll put at 150,000

The Syrian civil war has claimed the lives of at least 150,344 people, most of them rebel or government fighters, as it enters its fourth year, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced Tuesday. According to the observatory, an organization based in Britain that collects information from monitors deployed around Syria, 51,212 civilians have died since the violence started in March 2011. That's 34 percent of the total.

Elsewhere

Washington: In a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden released Tuesday, director of national intelligence James Clapper acknowledged that the National Security Agency has searched for Americans' communications without warrants in databases that gather emails and phone calls of foreign targets. He did not provide the number of searches.

San Francisco: Pacific Gas and Electric Co. was charged Tuesday with federal felony counts involving safety violations linked to a natural gas pipeline blast in the San Francisco area that killed eight people in 2010.

Guinea: An outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the West African nation of Guinea has reached the crowded capital, Conakry, prompting new fears about its spread, health officials said Tuesday.

Times wires

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High school scoreboard for Feb. 23

Friday’s scoreboardSoftballSpringstead 2, Crystal River 0BaseballCalvary Christian 9, Countryside 2Northeast 15, Tarpon Springs 1
Updated: 4 hours ago
Florida Capitol Republicans promise ‘complete investigation’ of what went wrong

Florida Capitol Republicans promise ‘complete investigation’ of what went wrong

TALLAHASSEE — A bombshell that South Florida police ignored tips that a teenager was planning an assault on a school and then failed to stop him when he attacked seems destined to complicate the election-year discussion around mass shootings.Even in ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Top Justice official alerted White House 2 weeks ago to ongoing issues in Kushner’s security clearance

Top Justice official alerted White House 2 weeks ago to ongoing issues in Kushner’s security clearance

WASHINGTON — A top Justice Department official alerted the White House two weeks ago that significant information requiring additional investigation would further delay the security clearance process of senior adviser Jared Kushner, three people fami...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Indiana man killed, two hurt as boats collide on Little Manatee River

Indiana man killed, two hurt as boats collide on Little Manatee River

RUSKIN — Arthur D. Showley, 75, went fishing early Friday morning, something he did two or three times a week, friends said. When they saw his car and trailer still parked near a community boat ramp at 2 p.m., they thought that was strange."He never ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Here are the GOP’s responses to the Parkland massacre. Would any have worked?

Here are the GOP’s responses to the Parkland massacre. Would any have worked?

Gov. Rick Scott and Republican leadership in the Florida Legislature have rolled out their ideas for change in response to the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. But would these measures have made a difference in the worst mass...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Former Florida congressmen say gun control measures need to go much further

Former Florida congressmen say gun control measures need to go much further

TAMPA — A bipartisan pair of former congressmen spoke Friday about gun safety measures that are more drastic than those being considered following the Parkland school shootings, and about hopes for a national youth movement comparable to the 1960s an...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Restricting bullets rather than guns might cut toll of school shootings, some experts say

Restricting bullets rather than guns might cut toll of school shootings, some experts say

This is the sad new math in the age of school slaughter.If one student comes to school with a firearm and 10 ammunition magazines filled with 30 bullets each, and another comes with a firearm and 30 magazines filled with 10 bullets each, who can crea...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Epilogue: Lee Davis, businessman and adventurer, survived many a scrape

Epilogue: Lee Davis, businessman and adventurer, survived many a scrape

TAMPA — Friends and family have a saying about Lee Thornton Davis Jr. Once you met him, even for just a moment, you knew him forever."He was the most outgoing person I’d ever met," Dick Greco said, which is something coming from Tampa’s gregarious, 8...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

The head of the Pinellas and Hillsborough career centers under multiple investigations into the way they report job placement figures says he has no intention of stepping down.That’s unless he is paid five months severance.In a letter from his attorn...
Updated: 10 hours ago
She’s taught at the Parkland high school for 14 years. Can she go back?

She’s taught at the Parkland high school for 14 years. Can she go back?

PARKLAND — She was afraid of what it would feel like, but she needed to know, so Melissa Falkowski pulled into the faculty parking lot. She took a deep breath in through her nose and climbed out of her car. She was back, in front of Marjory Stoneman ...
Updated: 10 hours ago