Tuesday, January 16, 2018
News Roundup

Rebels in Syria seek U.S. help against ISIS

Lebanon

Rebels in Syria seek U.S. help against ISIS

Syria's Western-backed opposition on Saturday called for U.S. airstrikes against fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria as the jihadists captured three northern villages, putting them within striking distance of a mainstream rebel stronghold. ISIS fighters have overran nearly a dozen towns and villages in Aleppo province last week, crushing what little resistance they have encountered. With the mainstream rebels' foothold in the city of Aleppo becoming increasingly precarious, the Syrian National Coalition said in a statement, "We call on the international community to use the American Air Force, or those of any other country to support the Free Syrian Army." The rebels are also under assault by President Bashar Assad's forces.

Helena, Mont.

Democrats pick Senate candidate

Montana's Democrats, scrambling to salvage their political fortunes after plagiarism charges forced Sen. John Walsh to end his election bid, chose a high school math teacher and one-term state legislator on Saturday as their nominee for the Senate seat. Amanda Curtis, 34, will face Republican opponent Rep. Steve Daines, 51, a first-term congressman.

Vietnam

To offset China, U.S. courts old foe

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, courted Vietnam over the past several days, the first chairman in more than 40 years to visit the old enemy, now envisioned as a new partner that will acquire American weapons and help offset the power of China. A long-standing embargo on lethal weapons sales by the United States was likely to be eased, Dempsey said. "We do think we should have a steady improvement in our relationship with the Vietnamese military," he told a group of reporters Saturday in Ho Chi Minh City.

San Antonio, Texas

More time for Bergdahl inquiry

A general investigating the disappearance of a U.S. Army sergeant in Afghanistan is getting several more weeks to complete his inquiry. Army spokesman Wayne Hall said Saturday that the final draft of the report on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will take three more weeks to complete. Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl had 60 days from his June 16 appointment to finish his work. That deadline was Friday. Bergdahl was held as a prisoner of war in Afghanistan for five years. His exchange for five Taliban leaders has generated criticism due to allegations Bergdahl was a deserter.

Elsewhere

Russia: Hundreds of trucks in a Russian aid convoy waited Saturday near the Ukrainian border as procedures dragged on for allowing them into eastern Ukraine to help civilians suffering amid fighting between Ukrainian forces and separatists.

Mali: The United Nations said Saturday that two peacekeepers were killed and seven wounded in a suicide attack in Mali.

Times wires

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Italian Butterfingers? Nestle selling candy business for $2.9B

Italian Butterfingers? Nestle selling candy business for $2.9B

Associated PressNEW YORK — Swiss food and drink giant Nestle is selling its U.S. candy business to Italy’s Ferrero for about $2.9 billion in cash. Ferrero will take over iconic chocolate brands Butterfinger and Crunch bars, as well as the sugary Nerd...
Updated: 1 hour ago
In major shift, House bill would turn three USF universities into one

In major shift, House bill would turn three USF universities into one

Separate accreditation has long been a point of pride and a stamp of independence for the St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee branches of the University of South Florida.Graduates of those schools frame diplomas bearing the name of their own universi...
Updated: 1 hour ago

St. Pete officer suspended for month after pushing concert guard

ST. PETERSBURG — A police officer was suspended for a month after he pushed a security guard at a summer concert in Tampa, according to St. Petersburg police.It could have been worse: Chief Tony Holloway determined Officer Curtis Wright could have be...
Updated: 1 hour ago
School board member is ‘dumbfounded’ by Times report on Hillsborough substitute teachers

School board member is ‘dumbfounded’ by Times report on Hillsborough substitute teachers

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District should reconsider how it hires substitute teachers, and that conversation should happen publicly, School Board member Lynn Gray said Tuesday.Responding to a Tampa Bay Times article published Sunday , G...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Video captures basketball game between kids, St. Petersburg officers

ST. PETERSBURG — Teamwork wins games, they say. And basketball can bridge gaps.That’s what makes the Facebook video of three St. Petersburg police officers playing a game of pickup in the street against three kids so compelling. The officers, who wer...
Updated: 1 hour ago
23 seek vacant PSC post

23 seek vacant PSC post

There is another Mariano seeking a job in Tallahassee.Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano, the father of state Rep. Amber Mariano, R-Hudson, is seeking an appointment to the Florida Public Service Commission, the powerful board regulating Florida ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tampa judge denies ‘stand your ground’ claim in Lyfe Coleman murder case

Tampa judge denies ‘stand your ground’ claim in Lyfe Coleman murder case

TAMPA — A judge has declined to grant immunity to Reginald Bowman, the man who admitted last month that he fatally shot 18-year-old Lyfe Coleman and invoked the state’s "stand your ground" law to argue it was self-defense.At a brief hearing Tuesday, ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
St. Petersburg’s apartment boom is spreading west

St. Petersburg’s apartment boom is spreading west

ST. PETERSBURG — Still more apartments are coming to St. Petersburg, this time to the Edge and Grand Central Districts just west of downtown. The new projects, all by out-of-state developers and more moderately priced than those downtown, will...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Hillsborough County firefighter gets the ax after investigators find ties to motorcycle gang

Hillsborough County firefighter gets the ax after investigators find ties to motorcycle gang

TAMPA — Hillsborough County officials fired a Fire Rescue medic Tuesday after an internal investigation concluded he had "unwavering loyalty" to the Outlaws Motorcycle Club — the state’s dominant biker gang. Clinton Neal Walker, 33, of Bradenton, is ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Florida raises insurance regulation grade from C to B

Florida raises insurance regulation grade from C to B

When it comes to regulating insurance, Florida is slowly improving. The Sunshine State raised its grade from a C in 2016 to a B in 2017 on the "R Street 2017 Insurance Regulation Report Card." It ranked No. 15 among all states.The annual report, writ...
Updated: 2 hours ago