Wednesday, May 23, 2018
News Roundup

U.S. evacuates embassy in Libya, citing militia violence

WASHINGTON — The State Department on Saturday evacuated all U.S. personnel from its embassy in Libya after clashes among rival militias in the capital intensified in recent days in the vicinity of the diplomatic mission, officials said.

Traveling in Paris, Secretary of State John Kerry cited the threat posed by "freewheeling militia violence" near the embassy in Tripoli. Kerry said some embassy functions will continue from neighboring Tunisia, where diplomats were taken.

"We will return the moment the security situation permits us to," Kerry said.

The evacuation of diplomats and other government personnel by land lasted five hours and was carried out with U.S. military aircraft providing security from the air, officials said. The decision was not made lightly, the State Department said.

"Security has to come first," spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement.

The State Department also issued a new travel warning for U.S. citizens, advising against all travel to the country and recommending that Americans in Libya leave now.

Saturday's closure of the embassy in Tripoli marked the second time the State Department has shuttered its Libya mission since 2011, when U.S. personnel left as the country's civil war broke out.

The decision was rich in symbolism, coming less than two years after militants in the eastern city of Benghazi stormed two U.S. government compounds, killing the American ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three of his colleagues.

Since that attack, which ignited a political firestorm, the Obama administration has bolstered security measures for its diplomats in Libya and has sought to take steps to stabilize the oil-rich nation reeling from decades of despotic rule.

The evacuation drew a mixed response from Rep. Edward Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who said it "seems like the right call" given the chaotic security situation in Libya, but added that it also reflected a lack of direction on the administration's part.

"Our diplomatic absence will make the hard task of achieving political stability in Libya even harder," Royce said.

In the State Department statement, Harf characterized the evacuation as "temporary" but provided no time frame for a possible return.

Comments
John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

It’s been 50 years since John Fogerty wrote Fortunate Son, one of the most scathing protest songs from the Vietnam War era. Writing another one with that kind of impact has been a challenge ever since. "Back in the ’80s, I had a couple o...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Bucs bring back Lakewood’s Bernard Reedy to compete for WR/KR job

Bucs bring back Lakewood’s Bernard Reedy to compete for WR/KR job

Lakewood grad Bernard Reedy, who handled the Bucs' kickoff and punt returns for much of last season, is back with Tampa Bay again.Reedy, 26, was signed on Wednesday, one day after the Bucs began OTA workouts. Thomas Sperbeck, the former Boise State r...
Updated: 12 minutes ago

Updated: 24 minutes ago
Ex-wife said heart attack, but court record says Hillsborough developer was strangled in North Carolina home

Ex-wife said heart attack, but court record says Hillsborough developer was strangled in North Carolina home

A prominent Hillsborough County developer who died last month in North Carolina was strangled and police are investigating his death as suspicious, court records show. William "Bill" Bishop died in a hospital three days after his 16-year-old son repo...
Updated: 1 hour ago
For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Archer facing Price

For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Archer facing Price

The Rays are set to take on the Red Sox again tonight with a bit of a student-mentor framing as Chris Archer takes on former Tampa Bay ace David Price.The Rays announced they are putting RHP Jake Faria on the 10-day DL due to the oblique strain he su...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Stock up for hurricanes, Buckhorn warns, or ‘we may be coming for you in a body bag’

Stock up for hurricanes, Buckhorn warns, or ‘we may be coming for you in a body bag’

TAMPA — Stuff that hurricane kit full of batteries, pen that emergency plan and, for goodness sake, get as many gallons stored in the garage as possible while the skies are blue and clouds are fluffy white. That was the message Tampa Mayor Bob Buckh...
Updated: 1 hour ago
‘I didn’t care if they cut my leg off or not’: Kilauea lava bomb survivor describes agony

‘I didn’t care if they cut my leg off or not’: Kilauea lava bomb survivor describes agony

The sheer force of the lava bomb was what Darryl Clinton remembered feeling first, more powerful than any waves he had ever encountered in the ocean surrounding Hawaii.It knocked him backward on the third-floor lanai of his neighbor’s home on the eas...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Mother fatally struck while pushing stroller on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa

Mother fatally struck while pushing stroller on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa

TAMPA— A mother was killed Wednesday when she was struck by a vehicle while pushing a stroller on Bayshore Boulevard, according to the Tampa Police Department.The mother and 2-year-old girl were struck by a northbound car around 11:43 a.m. near W Kni...
Updated: 1 hour ago
State softball: Land O’Lakes advances to second straight title game

State softball: Land O’Lakes advances to second straight title game

VERO BEACH — Land O'Lakes had just finished a hard-fought 5-0 victory over Clay in the Class 6A state semifinal. Callie Turner threw a no-hitter. Jolene Bodner had a two-run single.The win was big, clinching the Gators' second straight champion...
Updated: 1 hour ago
State baseball: Carrollwood Day comes up a run short in semifinals

State baseball: Carrollwood Day comes up a run short in semifinals

FORT MYERS — One swing.That's all it took for Carrollwood Day's historic season to come to an end.With two outs and two runners on in the third inning of the Class 3A state semifinal against Tallahassee North Florida Christian, Patriots starter...
Updated: 2 hours ago