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Chase with stolen UPS truck ends with shootout, 4 dead

MIAMI (AP) — The FBI says four people, including a UPS driver, were killed after robbers stole the driver’s truck and led police on a chase that ended in gunfire at a busy Florida intersection during rush hour. FBI Special Agent in Charge George Piro says both robbers were shot and killed, and the fourth victim was in a nearby vehicle when shots rang out at a crowded intersection in Miramar. The incident began about 20 miles south during a robbery at a Coral Gables jewelry store.


Former FAA inspector gets 6 years for bribery, fraud scheme

MIAMI (AP) — A former Federal Aviation Administration safety inspector in South Florida has been sentenced to six years and three months in prison for his part in a bribery and fraud scheme. Court records show 42-year-old Manuel Fernandez was sentenced Thursday in Miami federal court. He was convicted in June of bribery, lying to a federal agency and wire fraud. From 2010 to 2013, Fernandez worked for the FAA while also working for AVCOM, a Miami aviation repair company. AVCOM's owners paid Fernandez more than $150,000. In exchange, he provided advance notice of inspections, disclosed financial information about AVCOM’s competitors and provided improperly obtained aviation repair manuals.


Crash on Interstate sends truck crashing into nearby house

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Highway Patrol says a pickup truck involved in a crash on Interstate 275 in St. Petersburg plowed through two fences before smashing into a house. Troopers say no one in the house was injured Thursday morning. But the truck driver suffered minor injuries. Troopers say the 32-year-old driver failed to slow down when traffic ahead of him came to a halt. He crashed into a car in front of him before veering off the highway and into a fence. The agency is continuing to investigate the crash and charges are pending.


Federal court considers bathroom use by transgender student

ATLANTA (AP) — A federal court in Atlanta is hearing a case involving bathroom access for a transgender student.  A lawyer told the court Thursday that the right to use the bathroom that matches the student's identify is about the right to equal dignity. But a Florida school district wants the court to overturn a lower judicial decision that granted the student access to the boys' bathroom. The St. Johns County school district wants to return to restricting which bathrooms transgender students can use, saying it needs to protect other students' privacy. The ruling by the 11th Circuit will apply to schools in Florida, Georgia and Alabama and could be an influential precedent for similar disputes nationwide.


SpaceX launches beer malt, caring robot and 'mighty mice'

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — SpaceX has launched a 3-ton shipment to the International Space Station, including “mighty mice" for a muscle study, a robot sensitive to astronauts' emotions and a miniature version of a brewery's malt house. The Dragon capsule also is delivering holiday goodies for the six station residents. The Falcon rocket blasted off Thursday from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and then landed on a barge in the Atlantic. While the Falcon is new, the recycled Dragon is making its third flight and should arrive at the space station Sunday. This is SpaceX's 19th supply run for NASA.


Police: Mom hit student on head during middle school fight

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say a Florida mother hit a student over the head with a stun gun after getting involved in a fight at the middle school her daughters attend. Susan Mary Strahmeier is accused of accused of child abuse and possession of a weapon on school property following Monday's incident at St. Petersburg's Azalea Middle School. Police say 42-year-old Strahmeier hit the child on the back of the head multiple times after her daughters got into fights with students at the school. Numerous students witnessed the fight and police were able to obtain video. The student suffered minor injuries.


Man accused of supporting ISIS through bomb-making video

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A man who moved from Florida to Virginia earlier this year has been indicted on a charge of attempting to support the Islamic State terrorist group by posting a video online for making explosives. Court records show 30-year-old Romeo Xavier Langhorne was formally charged Thursday in Jacksonville federal court. He faces up to 20 years in prison. The FBI says Langhorne began making the video in February, when he lived in St. Augustine. Investigators say he moved to Virginia in April and posted the tutorial video last month. Statements and images on Langhorne’s Facebook page first came to the attention of law enforcement in 2014.


Zimmerman sues Trayvon Martin's family, attorneys

BARTOW, Fla. (AP) — Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman is suing the parents of slain teenager Trayvon Martin and others. Zimmerman was acquitted of Martin’s 2012 killing. Zimmerman's lawsuit says he was defamed when a trial witness tried to incriminate him and pretended to be the last person to talk to Martin by phone when the witness was actually the half-sister of the caller. Zimmerman is suing the teens' parents, family attorney, the attorney's book publisher and prosecutors who tried his case. Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Martin's family, says the lawsuit is unfounded and reckless.


Miami Beach unveils traffic sculpture made of sand

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — It took artist Leandro Erlich two years and 330 tons of sand to create a giant traffic jam made entirely of sand. Erlich was commissioned by the city of Miami Beach to create the work, which was unveiled during Art Basel. The surreal traffic jam depicts 66 life-sized sculptures of cars and trucks stuck in an imaginary traffic jam on the oceanfront of popular Lincoln Road. The installation is meant to be a future relic, like a contemporary Pompeii, and alludes to Miami’s fragile position in the large universal canvas, touching on climate crisis and rising sea levels.


New projection: Faster rising seas forecast in South Florida

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — New scientific projections are predicting that ocean levels will rise even faster than previously forecast over the next four decades in low-lying southeastern Florida. The area is already prone to frequent flooding. The new prediction released Wednesday is for about 5 inches (12 centimeters) in additional sea level rise under a moderate outlook compared with estimates made in 2015. The projections came at the Southeast Florida Climate Leadership Summit, which covers densely populated Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties. Those governments are already spending hundreds of millions of dollars on such things as sea walls and massive water pumps.