Thursday, April 19, 2018
News Roundup

Shiite leader in Iraq urges quick decision on new government

BAGHDAD — Iraq's top Shiite cleric on Friday urged the country's divided political factions to select a new prime minister by early next week, in a public call for a political solution that increases pressure on the embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Speaking from the holy city of Karbala, Abdul-Mahdi al-Karbalaie, a cleric representing Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called on Iraq's political blocs to select a new leader before the recently elected parliament sits Monday.

Delivering the message from the grand ayatollah, he also urged the factions to select a parliamentary speaker and a president, and for the country to remain whole.

"Iraqis have passed bigger crises than this in the past history," he said. "We must not think of dividing Iraq as part of a solution for the current crises, the solution must protect the unity of Iraq and the rights of all its sects."

The grand ayatollah's message came as Massoud Barzani, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan, challenged the central government's authority and the cleric's wishes. On a tour of Kirkuk, the long-contested and oil-rich northern city that Kurds claim as their own, Barzani said Thursday that the city would remain in Kurdish hands. He repeated his position Friday.

The challenges to Maliki, a Shiite, underscored the intractable nature of Iraq's political problems even as fighting rages in many areas of the country and large swaths of territory are out of government control.

No obvious or broadly supported successor to Maliki has emerged, making it uncertain how political blocs might select a new prime minister by the grand ayatollah's suggested deadline.

Maliki, for his part, did not address the grand ayatollah's message. In a taped speech televised Friday afternoon, he said parliament would meet Monday and Iraq's security forces were guarding the capital. It was not clear whether his address had been taped before or after the grand ayatollah's message.

Comments
Hernando County Commissioner arrested on prostitution charges

Hernando County Commissioner arrested on prostitution charges

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County Commissioner Nick Nicholson, 71, was arrested Thursday by the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office on multiple prostitution charges.Nicholson was booked into the Hernando County Detention Center on one count of operating a l...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

TAMPA — At the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City, hotelier Ian Schrager transformed a Jazz Age building with its own rich history into a destination offering even more heady experiences — extravagant, edgy and bohemian.In Tampa, Schrager will have...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Out early: Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

Out early: Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

The Bucs' 2018 schedule won't be officially released until 8 p.m. with the rest of the league, but the Times has obtained a copy of the schedule, which shows a challenging start for Tampa Bay.The Bucs open with three division champions back-to-back &...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Anyone looking to make Hillsborough County government bigger, costlier, more dysfunctional and less of a regional force should love the idea that Commissioner Sandy Murman rolled out this week. She proposes enlarging the seven-member board to nine, e...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as CEO

Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as CEO

CLEARWATER — A longtime IBM executive is becoming the new leader of Tampa Bay’s largest public company. Tech Data on Thursday named Richard "Rich" Hume as its new CEO effective June 6. Hume joined Tech Data two years ago and is currently the chief op...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Updated: 2 hours ago

Sally Bradshaw, Kathleen Shanahan column: Barbara Bush was role model who loved Florida

Barbara Pierce Bush loved Florida.With a son as governor, she was practically an honorary Floridian! No one was prouder of former Gov. Jeb Bush than his mom, and no one a more honest critic when she felt he needed some constructive feedback! But we t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Hundreds mourn Durant High athlete killed at Brandon gas station

Hundreds mourn Durant High athlete killed at Brandon gas station

PLANT CITY — Many remembered Durant High School football player Grover Wills, 18, for his talent on the field, but almost as many remembered his penchant for bursting into dance and song. After practice or on team trips, Wills would mesmerize those a...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Child, 19 months, hospitalized after being found in New Port Richey pond

Child, 19 months, hospitalized after being found in New Port Richey pond

NEW PORT RICHEY — A 19-month-old child was transported to a local hospital Thursday after being found unattended in a pond, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies said they were dispatched to a pond behind a home in the 4700 block of...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Column: No-win fishery bills would undermine businesses and innovation

The federal government delivered good news for anglers this week. Under newly approved two-year pilot programs, Florida and the other Gulf Coast states will manage red snapper fishing for private anglers. This means states can test ways to improve ac...
Updated: 3 hours ago