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Associated Press

National Hurricane Center

Tropical Storm Edouard has formed in the far eastern Atlantic and is expected to remain out to sea.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said late Thursday that the fifth named tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season had sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) and was centered 1,020 miles (1,645 kms) west of the Cape Verde Islands.

The storm was moving northwest about 13 mph (20 kph).

No coastal warnings or watches are in effect. Edouard is forecast to stay over the open waters of the north central Atlantic.

Brendan Fitterer / AP Photo/Pool, Tampa Bay Times

A Florida judge set a tentative trial date on Wednesday in the case of a 72-year-old man accused of fatally shooting another man during an argument in a movie theater.

Judge Pat Siracusa set a March 2 trial date and said he wants to move the case along as quickly as possible for the sake of the families involved. Another hearing to confirm the date is set for Oct. 15. Siracusa said he expects the trial to last three weeks and garner significant national media attention.

AP Photo

An Israeli police officer has been charged in the beating of a Tampa teenager during a violent protest in Jerusalem in July, the nation’s Justice Ministry said.

The ministry said Wednesday a police investigation concluded that “evidence was found supporting the guilt of the police officer suspected of severe violent crimes.”

Tariq Abu Khdeir, an American citizen of Palestinian descent who was visiting from Tampa with his family, was beaten at an east Jerusalem protest that followed the gruesome death of his cousin.

University of Florida Police

Four separate but similar attacks on women on or around the University of Florida campus over the past nine days has the school on edge and police searching for a man they believe is responsible for all of them.

The most recent attack happened Sunday evening, just before 9 p.m., when a man tackled a woman walking on campus. The victim, a 20-year-old, kicked the suspect in the groin before he ran away.

The Florida Supreme Court won't consider the constitutionality of the state's gay marriage ban in order to settle a same-sex divorce case.

The high court said Friday the 2nd District Court of Appeal first should rule on the case, in which a lesbian couple married in Massachusetts and is now seeking a divorce in Florida.

A lower court judge ruled that the couple couldn't get divorced in Florida because the state's constitution doesn't recognize gay marriage.

Alan Diaz / Associated Press

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has been crossing the state this past week, vowing at campaign stops that if he's re-elected he will enact another $1 billion in tax cuts over the next two years.

Scott has said he can enact the tax cuts as well as boost spending on education and pay for new projects to help the environment because the state has a budget surplus.

"We know there's no question about it, it's your money, it's not government money," Scott said about his tax-cutting plans during a campaign stop held in Plant City.

BP bears the majority of responsibility among the companies involved in the nation’s worst offshore oil spill, a federal judge ruled Thursday, citing the energy giant’s reckless conduct in a ruling that exposes the company to billions of dollars in penalties.

BP PLC already has agreed to pay billions of dollars in criminal fines and compensation to people and businesses affected by the disaster. But U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier’s ruling could nearly quadruple what the London-based company has to pay in civil fines for polluting the Gulf of Mexico during the 2010 spill.

More than 200,000 immigrants who bought insurance through President Barack Obama's health care initiative could lose their coverage this month if they don't submit proof this week they are legally in the country, but language barriers and computer glitches are hindering efforts to alert them.

The government mailed letters in English and Spanish last month notifying about 300,000 people that if immigration and citizenship documents aren't submitted by Friday, their coverage under the Affordable Care Act will end Sept. 30.

AP Photo

An Internet video posted online Tuesday purported to show the beheading by the Islamic State group of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff, who went missing in Syria last year.

The extremist group, which has claimed wide swaths of territory across Syria and Iraq and declared itself a caliphate, said Sotloff’s killing was retribution for continued U.S. airstrikes targeting its fighters in Iraq. It brazenly killed American journalist James Foley last month in the same manner and again threatened to kill another hostage, this one they identified as a British citizen.

Republicans have had control of the Florida Legislature and governor's office since 1999 and have used their power to restrict abortions, loosen gun laws, strip state workers of benefits, allow private school vouchers and enact a slew of other policy changes that Democrats opposed but could do nothing to stop.

Now Democrats, desperate for relevancy again, are trying to stop the Republican agenda by defeating Gov. Rick Scott while essentially ignoring the rest of the ballot.

Associated Press

Florida's highest court is being asked to rule on whether the state's ban on gay marriage is constitutional.

A majority of judges with the state's 2nd District Court of Appeal on Wednesday asked the Florida Supreme Court to settle the question due to "great public importance."

Former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist used a decisive primary victory to cast aside doubts about whether Democrats will accept his political conversion. Now his challenge will be motivating them as he takes on a tougher task — beating Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

Crist has already been the target of millions of dollars in attacks by Scott and they'll likely be ramped up over the next 10 weeks in what has become one of the state's nastiest races — Crist says he doesn't know of any Florida candidate that's faced as many negative attacks.

Lynne Sladky/AP

The tourists stream to Florida in their cars, intent on a week at Disney or a sugar-sand seashore or a nonstop party on South Beach. Road weary and thirsty, they pull over at one of the state’s five official welcome centers. They walk inside, and then they look up.

“The best start under the sun,” reads a big sign. “FLORIDA ORANGE JUICE.”

Behind a counter, a woman sits with a stack of paper cups. “Welcome to Florida,” she says with a big smile. “Orange or grapefruit?”

The juice is cold and sweet. It tastes like the Sunshine State.

Ricardo Arduengo / AP Photo

A strengthening tropical depression that dumped heavy rains on parts of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic was upgraded early Sunday to Tropical Storm Cristobal as it passed closer to the Bahamas, the U.S. Hurricane Center said.

Cristobal originally formed as depression over the Turks and Caicos Islands on Saturday. It was the fourth depression of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Alan Diaz / Associated Press

Hammered by his chief rival over cuts to school budgets, Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday made an election-year promise to boost money for public schools if he's re-elected.

Scott vowed to recommend a roughly $700 million increase to public schools for 2015 — which would push the amount of money for each student to record levels and bring total state and local funding to just under $20 billion.

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Former Sen. Nan Rich is hoping a solid lifetime record as a Democrat, 28 months of campaigning and outreach to the hardcore grassroots of her party are enough to overcome the name recognition and millions of dollars raised by Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat former Gov. Charlie Crist in Tuesday's primary for governor.

 A California billionaire environmentalist is pouring millions of dollars into the Florida governor's race to buy television ads attacking Gov. Rick Scott as a friend of polluters and utility companies, giving the campaign of Democratic front-runner Charlie Crist a boost as polls show a tightening race.

Eckerd College

Five scientists who met with Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday are convinced that climate change is real, but what they are less sure about is whether the governor believes them.

The scientists had 30 minutes to make a presentation in Scott's office and the first seven minutes were taken up by small talk.

Florida had a record number of visitors during this past spring.

Gov. Rick Scott announced Tuesday that 24 million tourists visited the state during the second quarter of 2014.

That's a three percent jump over the same time period a year ago, and the largest second quarter ever for the state.

Community Health Systems, which operates 24 hospitals in Florida, said a cyber attack took information on more than 4 million patients from its computer network earlier this year.

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