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tv   Local 10 News at Noon  ABC  February 18, 2016 12:00pm-1:00pm EST

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and a hioric visit for president obama. he is headed to cuba next monthhe is headed to cuba next month. the fit time in more than 80 years that a sitting president will advice i hate it country.
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is planned from march 21-22 according to abc news. and in about 30 minutes, we will learn in a white house briefing, but first, let's go to our coverage. local 10 political reporter michael putney will hav more details on that trip, and sanelalasabovic will are reaction. first start with michael. >> reporter: constance and kristi, we have come down from a news conference of the office of ileana ross-lehtinen and another from miami was also there. cuban-americans. and, as would you expect, they are livid of this prospepeive trip to cuba by president obamatrip to cuba by president obama. they say it t not justified especially in light of the fact they say cuba has cracked down even harder in the last year on pro-democoacy dissidents. president obama and mrs. obama are scheduled to go to cuba march 21-22. this is the first time a u.s. president will have been on the
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1928. the white house says in a statement today in addition to holding a bilateral meeting tith cuban president raul castro, president obama will engage with members of civil ciety and entrepreneurs and cubans from different walks of life.. he will be welcomed there according to cuban diplomat josephina rival. >> to step forward in the improvement of reations between cuba and the united states. of course, in order for -- to achieve the normalization between the two countries, has to be lifted and occupied by naval base in bay has to be returned. >> reporter: so a leadnegotiator for cuba in the negotiations over the last year says the president will be welcomed.
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triumph for the castro regime, theirst american president to visit the island since 1928. we are live in kendall, michael putney, local 10 news. >> kristi: all right, michael cal. as you mentioiod president obama will be the first american president to visit since calvin coolidge. coolidge is seen on the left. t cubanthe cuban president at that time is on the right. as we just said, sparking a whole lot of debate near south florida. >> constance: people for and against it are obviously weighagainst it are obviously weighing in. sanela sabovic has our teach coverage in miami. >> reporter: cons stance and istis, once it became official from the white house that president obama will visit cuba next month. reaction here at caf versai were mixed. some that were for this historic change and many here say it is simply a waste of time.tensions running any little
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administration announced the president will visit cuba next nth. >> great. >> reporter: the long expected trip comes4 months after diplomatic ties of the u.s. and cuba were restored following a century of hostility. >> because president obama represents the most powerful country in the world. >> reporter: some cuban-americans here at cafe versailles believe this upcoming trip is a waste of time an won't do anything for either country. >> we haven't benefitted in everything in the supposed give or take that happened between the u.s. and the cuban government since the beginning of the opening of relations since last year. >> reporter: politicians from south florida were quck to criticize the planned trip including senator marco rubio. >> not with the free cuba. the problem with the cuban government not just communistic dictatorshibut anti-american dictatorship. >> i think it is a mistake. the president should be pushing for a free cube. a thpresident is trying
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have a different view of the castro regime, you are nut prison. >> reporter: and emotions versailles, and the president will become the first president in nerly 90 years to visit the island nation. reporting livefrom little 10 news. at 12:30, the president's national security advisor vin rhodes will be discussing the details of the trip and we will carry the news conference as it happens. you can petet local 10 there will be here this visit, joioin calvin hughes and hatzel vela who will be in cubain a month. breaking news out of the keys. the monroe county sheriff's office helps a coast guard inspect a dsabled tugboat. according key west citizen, a magazine out there, the boat was anchored south of marathon. it came disabled after assisting theetanker in the florida straits.
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on board he tugboat at the time. the boat is headed back to cubathe boat is headed back to cuba. new at noon, a crime crackdown. launching a new operation in one way. you. >> constance: north several arrests. local 10's ben kennedy is live in miami with all the details in noon. ben. >> reporter: good afternoon, constance and kristi. it is called eration cleanup and designed to cut down on gang activity, proitution and break-ins. so far this hour we hava seen five people arrested and sent to jail. miami police cracking down on crime. for 24hours, officers are stepping up patrols and targeting crrime in this area. >> starts at 22nd avenue and reaches to the palmetto expressway in the city of miamiexpressway in the city of miami. we are focusing on everything, quality of life, prostitution, narcotics. >> reporter: their efforts help take down 19-year-old manual camacho who confessed to breakcamacho who confessed to
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>> reporter: including her honda c r i really hahave anything in the car that is of value but the factmy privacy is completely violated. >> reporter: she said the crook was cuffed in her driveway. it was there that officers found camacho wearing a backpack and looking into a car window. >> they found he had all these items on him and he immediately starts confessing to vehicle break-ins. >> reporter: crimes like that miami pd is after. >> i think it is great. i think it is great. it is much-needed. and crime oversaul kind of takeand crime oversaul kind of taking a rise. >> reporter: we are in hour 7 of 249-hour nation will run until 1 a.m. friday morning. reporting live in miami, ben kennedy, local 10ews. you. >> kristi: ben, thank you so much. a eyonce boycott is coming in april. the miami fraternal order of police have now voted to have
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from the singers a's show at marlins park all because of the beyonce halftime show. it made references to the black lives matter music, malcolm x and the ack panthers. the performance as well as the video that goes along that new song "formation" are anti-lice messages. javier ortiz released a statement saying beyonce used this year's sfwoul divide americans by proting the black panthers and her anti-police message shows how she does not support law enforcement. we will have a closer look at this issue later on today at local 10 news beginning acht 4:00. danger in the water right here in south florida. >> consnsnce: . >> constance: yeah, sharks spotted at the coast today. details on this after the break. plus a sheriff deep tee caught on camera doing the unthinkable. who sent him? unfortunately, we have video right there. he is seen beating his k-9
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and, again there are less than 30 minutes, president obama deputy national security advisor will be late to by that podium and is expected to talk about the trip to cuba. a live look right now f rom the white house briefing room. when that happens. we will bring that to you ve. and tonight at 11:00. young girls lured to south florida. >> tolme about how nice life could be. >> and exploited for sex. >> took my family away from me. >> amy vitari rides along with investigators. what is being done to stop human trafficking tonight on
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walk in, or call in to world class care. because cleveland clinic florida is here for you. anytime, anywhere. find your way to the best care at clevelandclinicflorida.org breaking news regardidi pope francis and donald trump. >> kristi: jeff weinsier in the newsroom with this. >> jeff: the pope has been in mexico traveling back to the vatican now. the pope was askeed several questions by reporters. first, the issue of donald trump. pe francis said, quote, anyone who wants to build a border isn't a christn. pope francis also talked about women and the zika virus. the pope suggests any woman threatened by zika could actually use artificial contraceptives. donald trump is planning to tweet back, and we are waitii
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pope just saying on his lane on the his way back to the vatican says anyone who wants to build a border isn't a christn. live in the newsroom, jeff weinsier, local 10 news. >> kristi: jeff, thank you so much. new for you at noon, take a look. sharks coming dangerously close to shore on dania beach. sky 10 was over that scene north of the pier. you can spot two right there. a fewew more lingering nearby. experts say this is pretty normal behavior though. part of the shark's annual winter migratio n inetermine of warmer weather and looking for love, mating season. >> constance: jennifer and i were watching that and said, yee -- >> kristi: stay out of the water. they may like you. >> jennifer: looking to see if anybody was in the water b luckily that early in the morning it was so cool -- the water was to cold, that i don't think yone was swimming. a lot of people out on thebeach. a couple of dark, gray-looking clouds over ft. lauderdale. they are not producing any
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a few of these clouds over hollywood bringing a shade for a lot of you guys back over there. and the sun will be back really quickly. these are not producing any rainfall whatsoever. it is very sunny out there and temperatures are heating up first. upper 70s for pepbroke pines. mid-sfrevts miami down to kendall, low 70s to the keys. 71in key west. ft. lauderdale at 77 degrees. and here is a look at the satellite, you can see a line of -- the cumulus clou. they are a little grayer than -- than the oththr ones they have been seeing all morning long and so far no rain associated with this, that is good news. we will enjoy our lunch with dry conditions. and as we continue on for the rest of today, expect dry air to stay with us. the reason for that is high pressure has taken over across the eastern u.s. and down into the south as well, but now here is warm-up returnrng across the south with winds coming in out of the gulf of mexixi. and then a new system moving
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bringing in snow and even some rain. for us all across the u.s., we will be feeling th warmth because of a ridging occurring states.america. take a look at these temperatures, saturday, sunday, you san antonio up to 80 degrees on saturday, and then heading up to new york. much warmer temperatures in the 50s. that is a nice taste of spring. for us breezy throughoutoday and do expect to have a high rip current risk for beacoers out there. do be careful. highs 77 degres under mostly sunny skies. with a northeast wind. 10 to 15 -- or 10 to 20 miles per houou again, breezy through tonight. partly cloudy, and emperatures only dropping to the low 60s. so relatively warmer for us tonight and tomorrow morning. tomorrow'sighs 75 degrees. as we head into the weekend, staying nice and dry. but it won't last too long, but by the middle part of next week as early as tuday, highs will
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also, we do expect the threat to some strong storms, and this can lat until wednesday as well. so, of course, your weather authorory will keep you on track. our chief certified meteorologistmeteorologist betty davis will be back at 4:00 to continue totalk about the weekend forecast and what's comingnext week. >> constance: all right, jennifer, thank you so much. the breaking news regarding the pope and donald trump. >> kristi: you jeff weinsier in the newsroom with mr. trumpin the newsroom with mr. trump's response. >> jeff: the donald and the pope are going at it. go to the video. the pope flying back to mexico asked on his plane about donald trump. and the pope said, quote, anyone that wants to build a border wall isn't a christian. of course just minutes later now donald trump is responding saying the pope will wish and pray he was president if the vatican is attacked by an islamic state. ump goes continue to say for
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a person's faith is disgracefula person's faith is disgraceful. now donald trump going at it with the pope. donald trump releasing a statement just a few minutes ago chastizeing the pope for calling him -- not calling him a christian. we will get much more on this. local 10's glenna milberg will have much more at 4:00. in the newsroom, jeff weinsier, local 10 news. >> constance: all right, jeff. oh, social media. >> kristi: yes. and again president obama's deputy national security advisor will be talking about the upcoming trip to cuba that the president will be making. he will be on that podium any minute now. when we do have that, we will bring that you news confereee live.
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court where police say that someone tried to steal a atv. while the hohomeowner is alert by his dog. he fires a couple of rounds in the back yard. no word yet if that crook was hit. and right now a former ft. lauderdale police officer is fighting to get hisp job back. >> constance: he was fired last year over a raci video and then some text messages that he sent. two other officers were also charged, and they resigned. local 10 reporter shia labeouflocal 10 reporter -- shyann malone has more. >> reporter: day two as jason wells fights get his job back. a lot of back an forth on both sises and our cameras there were as one of the interna investigatoror on the case was questioned. >> so b!sically it created an issue within the department of officers -- created a racial divide basically. like i have never seen in our apartment. it was the knowledge based that
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internal affairs and four officers were relieved of duty based on it you. >> reporter: this video is an example of what investigators say caused that racial div@ide within the department. jason wells and four others investigated after a racist text messages, pictures and homemade video trailers showing other races, let's just say in not so positive of a light. wells onof three officers fired. the first go through the arbitration process. his own. i am told that chief aderle is set to testify in this case as well as wells, and our camera also certain be there and given you the latest information as we continue to follow this story. reporting live in ft. lauderdale, shyann malone, local 10 news. w are awaiting a press conference from president -- deputy national secretary advisor. he is expected to speak about the president's trip to cuba,
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we told but malacai love robinson after he was arrested for a second time. he sat down with an interview with abc news. when asked about the allegations, the 18-year-old walked spout are you in big trouble? seems like you have spoken to a lawyer who has prepared you for -- to talk not only to the media but the pice. >> i don't know where you are seeing this information from but it is inaccurate. i am sorry i am going to have to cut this interview short. i am going to have to shut this interview short. >> kristi: and so he did. robinson said he was shadowing doctors when he was accused of posing as an obgyn for a month last year. this time he was arrested for giving an undercover officer a medical exam. a minnesota sheriff deputy learns his fate after being caught on camera brutally beating and punching his k-9 partner. you s see it right there, but will the punishment fit the crime. animal advocate jacey birch
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and his sentencing of the you act. > reporter: it will pain you to see the deputy dog being beaten by the man he trusts most. and then it will somebody who to you find out a 18-year veteran sheriff deputy responsible for ttacking his partner. this happened back in june, captureon surveillance video. the minnesota deputy seen yankthe minnesota deputy y en yanking his partner by the neck and slamming him to the ground. evenhile wagging his tail and cowering o his handler, the beating proves to be just too much. the dog finally manages to run away, but when he is caught in these sliding glass doors, more abuse is thrown at him in the form of fists, at least six times. 48-year-old deputy bret barry was arrested and charged with animal cruelty and assaulting a public service dog, bothsdemeanors. >> you received a sentence that is commensurate with the crime he committed.
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1200 finend one year of probation instead of the jail time. `>> very disappointed in the judge took the plea and decided to stay his jai time. quite honestly the minnesota statute says 90 days in jail. >> reporter: the deputy pled guilty the animal cruelty admitted that he drunkenly beat his partner at a k-9 training convention. other assault charges was later dropped. the public outcry for this case calls for the deputy to serve jailtime were massive. hundreds of letters and e-mails were sent from around the world to carlton county demanding severe punishment, but that would not happen. >> we need to get our laws changed. as a ppublic we need to go to the legislature and demand that change, because otherwise@ this just happens again >> the sheriff deputy dispeak in court and only said, quote, i made a mistake. i am sorry before he heard his sentence. he is being forced to pay the dog's medical bills.
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thankfully he didid not sustain any lastingng injuries, but because of the abuse we see right here, we don't know that dog will ever be able to serve as a police officer again. i am jacey birch, animal advote for local 10 news. more breaking newp right now. we will going to get back over to jeff in thhe newsroom. >> jeff: two issues right now developing involving schools. start off in broward county in coral springs where sky 10 hd school. at 8505 west atlantic boulevardat 05 west atlantic boulevard. that schoo evacuated after someone called the school and said there was a bomb inhe school. students outside. parents picking up the students as we speak. you can see tables set up. this happed within the last hour, ramblewood middle school. a bomb threat. police were on the scene at the schools. coral springs police. we have seen a dog in the area possibly sniffing through the school. we don't know if it is a
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rescue units on the scene as well. ramblewood middle school on atlantic boulevard being evacuated because of any possible bomb threat. we are also getting some information out of miami-dade county from miami-dade fire rescue, specifically. four children vomiting taken to -- to jackson memorial hospital school. unear what is making those children sick. maya i think aiu elementary school where several have been taken to the hospital feeling ill, four of them vomiting. two others taken to another hospital as well. we are live in the newsroom, jeff weinsier, local 10 news. >> constance: thank you so much. right now we are awaiting a press conference from president obama's deputy national security advisor. he is expected to talk about
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new at noon, vice president joe biden will be talkg about who will replace the late antonin scalia on the court. biden said that president obama is looking to nominate someone and has past support from republicans. also weighing in is retired supreme court justice sandra day o'connor. she is urging the president to fill the vacant seat and quickly. the 85-year-old called the partisan chatter unnecessary and says the president should, quote, get on with the job at hand. and speaking of the president, a l le look from the white house and the briefing room where mr. obama's deputy national advisor will be talkinin any minute now about the upupcoming trip to cuba.
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mentioned we will b today, you can click in walk in, or call in to world class care. because cleveland clinic florida is here for you. anytime, anywhere. find your way to the best care at clevelandclinicflorida.org all right, we are taking a look here in is a live shot of
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obama's deputy national security advisor will be talking any minute now for the cuba. going there live.d in the meantime, three people are behind bars in connection with a spree of r thefts in hialeah. police say this trio responsible for eight car thefts in the last four months. they targeted ford pickup truus and many of which were stolen from the park casino parking lot. they were tracked down earl why they are week and arrested. a man accused of trying to break into a car in wilton manner neighborhood is behind bars as well. the first brush with the wall. back in december he was arrested for snatching an elderly woman's purse while she was praying in church. police arrested this guy 3police arrested this guy 31-year-old jonathan stanse earlier this week after neighbors reported his suspicious activity. look at this mess, a water main break in marathon forcinggallons of waters to fill into
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line of traffic on 126 street in marathon thouout shutdown while crews work on the repair. no word yet what may have caused that massive break. also in the keys, all the lanes on the seven-mile bridge are back open after crews worked on making the repairs. it was damaged during a back hoe pursuit. might have seen this video. warned of overnight traffic delays because of alllthe work. the man driving the back hoe he actually thr boulders on to the bridge. he was arrested and charged with fleeing and eluding. > chris bosh's future is up in the ware many moreuestions than answers as he isets to meet with his doctors. the heat has not said anything about the latest health scare only that he won't be traveling this week. he is dealing with another bloodblood clot like the one that sideline him last season and we are hearing well wishes from lebron james and d. wade. >> he is a great guy, professional. great guy.
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happen to h hm after he was clear, -- we had a great time an his health is the number one care. and obviously basketball comes secondary to what ses going through right now. so just tough >> the most important thing for all of us any timing is happens to a teammate, a friendd, as care about their -- their health, you know, d basketball comes second when it comes to that. >> kristi: bosh had to sit out last season because of blood thinners he took to get rid of the clot in his lungs. unclear if he will be in the around. of course our cameras will be at practice and we will kp you updated at that at 4:00. sad entertainment news to tell you about, reality star angela -- has lost her battle. the "mob wives" star passed away. he was 57. it returned as stage 4 lung and brain cancer. she just talked about it in an
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week on the r. oz" show. she said that rig set smoking led to the diagnosis. >> did your doctors think your cigarette caused your throat cancer? >> positively. i was smoking for 40 years. >> is that one of the reasons you wanted to speak up, to be public in a very difficult battle? >> yes, i think whoever smokes should quit, and if they didn't start, don't start. [applause] >> kristi: good advice there. she has a south florida connection too. she opened up a bar in south beach back in 2013, and some of the reality show called "miami monkey." florida extraordinary's legal fight is brewing after apple was ordered to help the fbi hack into the iphone used by gunman in the san bernandino shooting. the company is refusing to by is sparking a debate about privacy of millions of cell phone users. elizabethh urr also a the details. >> reporter: the white house
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california judge ordered, hack into the iphone used by that terror suspect in the san bernandino massacre and help investigators get some answers. >> they are not askining appear toll redesign its product or to create a new back door to one of their products. they are simply asking for something t tt would have an impact on th one device. >> ultimately i think bag good corporate citizen is important. >> reporter: some of the republican hopefuls are siding with the obama administration, these apple custors dia agreethese apple customers dia agree. >> what apple is doing is standing up for all of our securities. >> it isy to imagine hacker or identity thieves trying to gain access to it. >> reporter: apple is standing firm, vowing to appeal. ceo tim cook said the implication of the government's demands are chilling adding that the software is something that we, quote remember simply do not have and something we consider too dangerous to create, arguing if they find a way to break into that phone, they will be able then able to
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>> apple has made clear it is going to fight and i can guarantee you whoever loses that battle is going to appeal. this may end up in the supreme court. >> reporter: legal experts say that is a landmark case. microsoft and google are weighing in. they say they are with apple on this one and believe there should be no government back doors into your devices, elizabeth hurr, abc news, new york. a los angeles hospital has now paid thousands of dollars to hackers to get its computer systems back up and running. hollywood presbyterian medical centerer handed over about $17,000 worth of something called bit coins. digital curreely. staff noticedthat malwaree locked access in certain systems and preventing electronsystems and preventing electronic communication. they decided the quickest wa to fix it was to pay that ranto fix it was to pay that ransom. the father of the two of the leaders in the oregon refugee standoff has been
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separate armed standoff in 2014separate armed standoff in 2014. cliin bundy is accused of leading it over cattle g gzing fees in nevada. his sons iman and ryan bundy ho organized over land seizures in but oregon were inindicted. tables are turned on a rob tables are turned on a robber in florida. a boxing champ sprung into action during a robbery at a walgreen's. clifton french has the story. >> i wasn't trying to hurt anybody, you know. i have ust trying do what was right. >> reporter: video of a man making out robber at a pharmacymaking out robber at a pharmacy. turns out that man's girlfriend was behind the counter. >> i was protecting the one i love. >> reporter: 25-year-old david west. 12:30 on valenne's day. he was at this walgreen's to ask his girlfriend what she wanted for lunch. she said subway and literally right as she said subway, the gentleman walked around the counter and jumped on to the counter demanding, yu know, medication -- pain medicine.
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didn't realize david is a pretty good boxer. >> come ln, yeah! >> reporter: he holds two state titles. he posts his fights on youtube like this one. this was all instinct. >> he started fiddling with his hands and went to reach into his pants and i reacted. >> reporter: a bit of a tussle knockout. 26-year-old anthony nemus's mug26-year-old anthony nemus's mugshot. daviddavid held him giving the young man encouraging words while he waited i told him this, i hope he uses this as a turning point in his life. >> reporter: saying he knows people with the same problems and hopes this man gets the help he needs. >> constance: all right. well, also caught on camera, a crash land baying jacksonville burglar. the thief dropped in right through the ceiling in a pop eyes and spent hours trying to break open the safe. he was able to get it open and steal some money. deputydeputies are looking for the guy. look at this video, robbery
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restaurantntin houston. a gun-wielding robber yanking a woman by her hair. well, a second robber hits her with a chair. the brother picked up a chair of his own and began swinging thth around. three young men in hoodies ended up getting away a little bit of money from that pizza run. those are their faces. the spca has new guidelines on keeping the zika virus out of the u.s. blood supply. askiki people to traveled to latin america, central as and africa to wait four weeks before donating blo. this applies to everyone who had sexual contact with those kind of travelers. those infected byzy ca don't san mateo any signs, but should be enough for the immune system that clears out the virus. bill cosby has filed a wsuit against a woman whose 2lawsuit against a woman whose 2005 sexual assault accusation led to his recent arrest.
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andre that constan and her lawyer and mother and publisher of the "national enquirer." cosby's lawyers are not comment being on the nature of the allegations right now. a quick check of the stock market right now, and we are seeing a lot of red. dow down 18 points t@ 16,435. nasdaq down 25points to 4508 nasdaq down 25 points to 4508. snp 500 don about 4 points right there. and now a recall alert from toyota this afternoon. it is covering more than 1 million of of ra suv including the affected mods between 200and 2014 according to toyota. the company said a flaw that could cause rear seat beltsto they are doing this. however, toyota notes there has been no reports so far of any deaths nor injuries resulting in this particular problem. problems, pat holes may be
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ed for will give you an ideas to township con over them. a new shock absorber that automatically city ofens when sensnss detect a pothole in the road. for now, the feature comes with the 2017 fusion, the sports de san. most luxury vehicles come equipped with similar technology. the first mid-sized car of its class to offer it. comcast is owning up to a big mistake in offering a bill credit after service went out across the country earlier this week. the issue began monday mrning. people reported problems from their cable being out to internet issueue customers will receive a credit for a day's worth of service that only comes up to 2. but at least it is 2, right. credits will depend on how much the customers wwere impacted. well, in today's dr. oz problems.
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>> i am dr. oz.holding thing farther away to read them. presbytytian pee open i can't when the lenses -- prespiopia when eyes startto age. it is as common as wrinkle. ftentimes glasses are all that you need to bring the eyes back to focus. >> constance: don't miss the dr. oz show every weekday at 3:00 on local 10. a day to celebrate. you probably see your friends sharing this one on facebook. national drink wine day, everybody. >> constance: whoo-hoo.>> kristi: isn't every day drink wine day. >> consnsnce: i don't think so>> constance: i don't think so. >> kristi: lower risk of liver disease, heart attacks and strokes so raise a glass that one. while you are thinking about wine, head on over to our faceback page to enter and win free tickets to the southeast wine and food festivalwine and food festival. next weekend and running out of time sample meeltion made by super celebrity chefs. and outside -- actlly inside.
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that briefing room where the president and deputy national security advisor will be talking any minute now. this was supposed to happen 20 minutes look and they are `running a tad bit behind. just as soon as they are talking about thupcoming trip you live. tonight at 11:00, young girls lured to south florida. be. >> and exploited for sex. >> took my family away from me. >> local 10 y viviri rides
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is being done t to check out this amazing video out of australia showing homes being overrun by unlikely pests. take a look at that. that is tons of tumor aboutweed piling up n the streets and in people's yards. now the city council won't help clean the mess because it is considered not to be a fire risk. so those homeowners, guess whatso those homeowners, guess what, they got to clean it up themselves. location expect the tumbleweed is a farm nearby that has not been maintained. we are now, i beeve, going to go back to the white house where thatnews conference is just about ready to get under way. >> that next month president obama and the first lady will be travelling to cuba, and so pens here to talk about a little bit about what we hope to accomplish during the course of that trip, and he will stay
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you all have about that trip. i shoulalso point out that today is also the day that pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training in arizona. so i know a lot of royals fans that have opening day circled on their calendar because they are squaring off agait ben rosen's mets in new york city. you want to do a little topper and then we will take questionsand then we will take questions? >> josh, i would point out that sesidus will be reporting to the mets shere. a few opening comments. you saw the announcement that the president will be going to cuba with the first lady on march 21 and 22. this is the first president to visit cuba since calvin coolidge. as we noted, calvin coolidge traveled there on a battle ship so the optic will be quite
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but i just wanted to step back and put this in a little bit of context. clearly this has been a key change in term of u.s. -- u.s. and cuban relations the last year and a half since president obama and president castro announced on december 17, 2014, that we would have process of normalizing relations. and so to date since we made that announcement, there have been a number of steps forward. first of all, we intensely negotiated over several months the former establishment of diplomatic relations of secretary kerry travelling to havana and rising the flag over our embassy. this allowing us to actively engage the cuban people and the cuban government to facility facilitate travel to cuba from many different delegations of the united states and to pursue
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ongoing process of bilateralal dialogue with the cubans. what we have seen is enormous interest in the cuban people and of people in the united states and businesses travel down to cuba, state and local governments, academic exchange and a significant increase in the amount of american ttvel to cuba. a 54% increase in the number of americans v vsiting cuba since that announcement. and i think we also have seen that the opening to cuba holds out real promise time prove the life of the cuban people and that is really at the core of our policy. our judgment was that the embargo that was in place is doing nothing achieve its stated aimsof bring being political change in cuba. in ft, the castro government under fidel and raul castro has been in place for many decades and hurting the cuban people because thewere cut out from the united states and in many ways from the world and they
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policy and we are seeking to reverse that dynamic. we made a number of regulatory changes to increase travel and commerce to cuba. those, again, haave had some benefits. the increased -- significa increases in remittances that go to cuba that directly benefits cuban families. the increased travel benefits the private sector, shop owners, restaurant owners, u.s. companies like air b&b have gotten into cuba. this is their fastest growing market. travelers staying in cuban homes benefiting some people and increasingly as businesses have gone gown, and had discussions with the cuban government. we are finding out ways they can establish a presence and just earlier this week, cleburn announced it will operate the first u.s.-owned factory in cuba that will provide tractors for small farmers. some indication of the fact that increased trade, commerce and travel will benefit u.s.
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interested in operateinterested in operating in cubainterested in operating in cuba, but ultimately it is going to directly benefit the cuban people. now we have a potential to significantly increase those travel lengths with the announcement that was made earlier this week that we will be restoring direct flights between the united states and cuba that will allow 110 flights up to cuba a day. more people-to-people engagement and more opening between the our two countries. we raised a number issues with the cuban government of steps they can take to improve conditions on the island both economically and human rights. we have seen some progress with respect to internet access and wireless internet hot spots and efforts to link neighborhood -- neighborhoods to broadband connections, but we would like to see more in that space, so we continue to indicate to the cuban government that internet
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the ability of the cuban people to connect with the global econony. it also, again, advances their ability to access informatatn. we have also been supportive of the reforms that have created some more space for private sectors within cuba, self-employed cubans,self-employed cubans. and this is an area that we believe we can continueo increase our economic engagement, and see reforms within cuba that can empower the cuban people. at the same time, we, of cour, have can i go can't differences with cuba on issues related to human rights that we continues to raise directly with them. you know they took some steps in releasing political prisonersand hosting the. and we would like to see more respect for the basic fundamental rights for the people. freedom of assembly, freedom of

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