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  1. Inside the Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio ambassadorial proxy war

    National

    WASHINGTON — Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio aren't only taking their campaigns onward to South Carolina. While the next Republican primary commands the public's attention, both are also running for president by mounting quiet symbolic protests at American embassies around the world. …

    Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who is running for president, speaks with reporters Wednesday after a vote on the Senate floor concerning sanctions for North Korea on Capitol Hill in Washington. [Drew Angerer | New York Times]
  2. Tampa, Pasco look to connect Mansfield Boulevard and Kinnan Street

    Roads

    WESLEY CHAPEL — A long-stalled connection between Mansfield Boulevard in Pasco County and Kinnan Street in Tampa is advancing again, with both government and private-sector representatives eager to make the missing link. …

    Pasco County Commis?sioner Mike Moore sees advantages to the link for Pasco.
  3. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Feb. 11

    Events

    Andrea Bocelli: The legendary tenor combines arias, crossover hits, special love songs and new music from his latest album, Cinema to celebrate the romance and magic of Valentine's Day. 7:30 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $75-$365. (813) 301-2500. …

    MILAN, ITALY - OCTOBER 25: Andrea Bocelli sings on stage during the MTV EMA's 2015 at the Mediolanum Forum on October 25, 2015 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Brian Rasic/Getty Images for MTV)
  4. Fish and Wildlife dispatcher arrested on arson, aggravated stalking charges

    Crime

    PLANT CITY — The first fire at the house on Howard Street erupted the day after Christmas, at 2:42 a.m. Someone had poured gasoline and lit a flame. Three adults and an infant were sleeping inside. …

    The Fish and Wildlife agency fired Ryan Elliott Butler, 29.
[Photo courtesy of Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office]
  5. Authorities arrest two Hillsborough students on gun charges in separate incidents

    Crime

    SEFFNER — An 18-year-old alternative school student was arrested Wednesday morning after deputies learned he was seen loading a gun on a school bus, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. …

    Jamarcus Kareem Simms, 18, of Tampa was seen loading a gun on a school bus, deputies say.
[Photo courtesy of Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office]
  6. Dakota Johnson, left, and Rebel Wilson star in How to Be Single.
  7. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Feb. 10

    Events

    Diana Ross: One of the most iconic female singers of all time began her journey five decades ago as the leader singer of The Supremes. 8 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $58.75-$128.75. (727) 791-7400. …

    Diana Ross attends the 2014 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles, California,  November 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO/FREDERIC J. BROWN        (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
  8. China struggles to rein in North Korean leader

    World

    BEIJING — When veteran Chinese diplomat Wu Dawei left for North Korea last week, he probably knew he had been dispatched on mission impossible: to persuade the country's young leader, Kim Jong Un, to climb down from his threat to launch a rocket as part of his quest to develop ballistic missile technologies. …

    China’s United Nations Ambassador Liu Jieyi, right, talks with the media following a Security Council meeting Sunday to discuss North Korea’s launch of a long-range missile.
  9. Manziel's ex-girlfriend says he hit her repeatedly

    Bucs

    FORT WORTH, Texas — Acting as if he were "on some kind of drugs," Johnny Manziel's ex-girlfriend told police he repeatedly struck her after a fight that began at a Dallas hotel and continued as he drove her home to Fort Worth, according to a police report released Thursday. …

  10. Arrest report: Burglar caught after dropping phone at crime scene

    Crime

    LARGO in his haste to escape, suspect left behind an obvious clue A 19-year-old Largo man is accused of breaking into a home and gun safe before being interrupted and fleeing the scene Jan. 15. Left behind was a key piece of evidence: his phone. …

  11. Now it's Marco Rubio vs. the governors in New Hampshire (w/video)

    Elections

    NASHUA, N.H. Now it's Marco Rubio versus the governors. The volatile Republican presidential primary has shifted to New Hampshire where Rubio faces three governors — Chris Christie of New Jersey, John Kasich of Ohio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — determined to take him down next week. …

    
  12. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Feb. 3

    Events

    Shatner's World: The One Man Show: The actor who originated the role of Star Trek's Captain James T. Kirk is known as much for his unique persona as for his extensive body of work. His show takes the audience on a voyage through his life and career. 7:30 p.m., Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $59.50-$79.50. (727) 893-7832. …

    Handout photo of William Shatner in "Shatner's World: We Just Live In It," a one-man show coming to the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Feb. 3, 2016. Credit: Melis Productions.
  13. ISIS former sex slaves faced 'virginity tests'

    World

    An abusive act Former ISIS sex slaves faced 'virginity tests' Some women enslaved by the Islamic State were forced to undergo grim procedures even after they escaped the jihadists' clutches. …

  14. Zika: the latest disease we failed to anticipate

    Opinion

    Every time there is a major infectious disease outbreak that scares us — Ebola in West Africa in 2014, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome on the Arabian Peninsula in 2012 and in South Korea in 2015, and now the Zika virus in South and Central America and the Caribbean — government leaders, the public and the media demand explanations, guidance and predictions, and often express indignation that not enough was done to prevent it. Today everyone is asking about Zika: How did this crisis happen, and what do we need to do to make it go away? We immediately forget about the outbreak that came before it and don't plan for the ones we know are on the horizon. Almost no one wants to talk about Ebola or MERS now, or what we have or haven't done to try to prevent an ugly recurrence. …

    An infant with microcephaly in Recife, Brazil. In affected nations, the disease can cause serious brain impairment in newborns.
  15. Boys soccer: Sunlake 6, Nature Coast 0

    Preps

    LAND O'LAKES — Friday night marked the first in a line of steps Sunlake needed to fulfill before reaching the state semifinals for a fourth straight season, and it was done convincingly. Opening the Class 3A region quarterfinals, the Seahawks dispatched Nature Coast 6-0 in front of the home crowd. …

  16. 'Open carry' gun law ready for vote in Florida House

    Stateroundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Despite discord among the state's law enforcement officers and passionate efforts to derail it, a National Rifle Association-backed measure to allow nearly 1.5 million people to openly carry guns in Florida is ready for consideration by the full state House. …

    State Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, left, confers with gun-rights lobbyists -- Marion Hammer, the National Rifle Association's longtime Tallahassee representative, and Florida Carry's attorney Eric Friday -- about a late-filed amendment proposed to Gaetz's open-carry gun legislation on Thursday during a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee. [KRISTEN M. CLARK | Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau]
  17. Man charged in attack of ex-girlfriend and her mother in Spring Hill subdivision

    Crime

    SPRING HILL — A man terrorized and injured his ex-girlfriend and her mother Tuesday afternoon at a house inside a gated Spring Hill community, according to Hernando County sheriff's officials. …

    Panarese
  18. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Jan. 28

    Events

    Jitney: The ninth installment in August Wilson's Century Cycle tells of a taxi dispatch business serving African-Americans in 1977 Pittsburgh. Through Feb. 21. 8 p.m., American Stage Theatre Company at Raymond James Theater, 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. $29-$59, $20 students. (727) 823-7529.  …

    Photo by Chad Jacobs. Adrian Roberts (left) and Mujahid Abdul-Rashid play a recently released prisoner and his father in August Wilson's Jitney.
  19. Educating retirees drives Sun City Center resource deputy

    Publicsafety

    SUN CITY CENTER — Jeffery E. Merry, the Hillsborough County sheriff's community resource officer for this retirement community, spends a lot of time worrying about golf carts. And it's not because he's out on the links with his golf bag. …

    Hillsborough sheriff’s resource Deputy Jeffery E. Merry, 40, holds seminars on golf cart safety in Sun City Center.
  20. Hernando sheriff: Two seriously injured, suspect captured in Spring Hill home invasion

    Crime

    SPRING HILL — Two people were flown to trauma centers with serious injuries on Tuesday after they were injured in a home invasion in a gated golf community, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office. …

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