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Following through on promises to finally diversify the rank and file of the Academy of Motion Pictures, the Oscar-granting body has invited a record number of 928 new members, making the 2018 class the largest in history.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

North Florida counties led the state in the growth rate of Florida's Hispanic population last year, but traditional bastions in South Florida and central Florida led growth in pure numbers, according to figures released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Daylina Miller/WUSF News

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence of Tampa Bay will be participating in St. Petersburg Pride this weekend. The drag queens call themselves the "nuns of the gay, lesbian and supportive communities” and use entertainment to affirm people for who they are.

The National Park Service has approved an initial request for organizers to hold a second "Unite the Right" rally, this time across the street from the White House in August — one year after white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville, Va.

Each World Cup, the sportswear giant Adidas designs an official ball to be used in the tournament.

The first few matches of this year’s FIFA World Cup have been seismic.

Mexico literally shook the ground after beating Germany –a highlight for some fans like Susan Dirgins-Friend, who's from California and lives in Davie.

"Though I am not Latin, Mexico, Mexicans and Mexican Americans are close to my heart," she says.

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An elephant that once lived at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch briefly escaped its enclosure at a Florida zoo.

Moviegoers sitting down to see Incredibles 2 are in for a tasty treat in the form of an animated short called Bao. It tells the story of an empty nester who discovers joy — and sorrow — when a steamed bun she makes comes to life.

The story is pulled from the childhood of Domee Shi, who wrote and directed the Pixar film. Shi was born in China and raised in Toronto. She started working at Pixar as an intern in 2011, and now she's the first woman to direct a Pixar short.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off this week in Russia. Here's the nitty-gritty and a few stories to watch as 32 national soccer teams begin their pursuit of the copa mundial.

When does it start?

The tournament starts on Thursday, June 14, and runs through Sunday, July 15.

"Sometimes we take for granted that kids know how to wash dishes," says Susan Turgeson, president of the Association of Teacher Educators for family and consumer sciences. "I never thought I was going to have to explain, step by step, how to put the drain plug in, the amount of soap to be used."

Updated at 3:21 p.m. ET

For hours, her life was like a highlight reel of daring stunts and escapes — but now, a raccoon that mesmerized people by climbing a tall building in St. Paul, Minn., has been trapped and is safe.

"In our office we are just glad he is safe. We were all worried about him," said Sheila Donnelly-Coyne, an attorney whose firm, Paige Donnelly, is on the 23rd floor of the UBS building. (It was later determined that the critter is female.)

Tampa Theatre and the Tampa Downtown Partnership are hosting a block party before the premiere of Won't You Be My Neighbor?, a documentary on famed children's television show host Mr. Rogers.

Tampa Theatre

With the Tampa Theatre’s $6 million restoration now complete, members of The Florida Orchestra will perform live Saturday during the 1926 silent film The General.

The board of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has voted to fire its longtime president, Paige Patterson, who was ousted from the top post last week amid controversy over past counsel he had given women concerning marital abuse and rape.

The Fort Worth-based seminary's board voted a week ago to replace Patterson as president, appointing him instead "president emeritus with compensation."

President Trump praised the NFL's decision to mandate that players either stand for the national anthem or stay in the locker room in a TV interview that aired Thursday.

And he questioned whether players who choose not to stand "proudly" should be in the country at all.

Fifty years after his LOVE painting made Robert Indiana a sensation, the artist has died at the age of 89.

Indiana's two-row rendering of the word, with its tilted "O," became one of the most recognizable works of modern art in the world. The famous design emerged from deep influences in Indiana's life, from his early exposure to religion to his father's career.

The saga of the freighter El Faro became news when its captain ventured into the path of Hurricane Joaquin in 2015. Thirty-three people died after it sank to the bottom of the Atlantic. But the crew of another freighter fared very differently. And a Clearwater-based Coast Guard unit was instrumental in their rescue.

Benjamin Ealovega

Violinist James Ehnes made his reputation recording music like the Ravel Berceuse and other classical works, like Mozart's violin concertos.

But this weekend with the Florida Orchestra, he will play a work by James Newton Howard, who is best known for composing for the movies, like the Hunger Games franchise.

Wikimedia Commons

All drivers entering Key West are again being greeted by a large painted sign welcoming them to "Paradise USA."

A new exhibit that opens Monday at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum aims to honor a founding mission.

Five years in the making, "Americans and the Holocaust" contextualizes attitudes in the U.S. during 1930s and '40s persecution and mass murder of Jews in Europe.

Twenty-five years ago, when the building opened, noted Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel introduced the museum not as an answer to the horrors of genocide but to pose a glaring question: How could this happen?

This week, members of Congress grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about a data privacy scandal where millions of Facebook users data were compromised by a political consultant firm. Here's some of back and forth between Zuckerberg and Florida’s U.S. Senators and Representatives.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

The Tom and Mary James Museum for Western and Wildlife Art opens Saturday in downtown St. Petersburg. WUSF has a preview of what visitors can expect.


Florida arts organizations are saying they feel like losers in this year’s state budget process.

Wikimedia Commons

The National Park Service is considering adding a Bradenton park to its list of more than 600 locations considered part of the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.

Visit Central Florida

While the Florida Grand Prix is taking place in St. Petersburg this weekend, there will also be racing on two wheels elsewhere in the area - and it will happen, rain or shine.

There’s a high chance of storms in Winter Haven this Sunday, but that won’t stop bicyclists from competing in the Chain of Lakes Cycling Classic.

The AWP

More than 10,000 writers will be gathering in Tampa this week as The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) holds its annual conference downtown.

Tim Fanning / WUSF Public Media

Almost three decades ago, officials with the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg buried a pair of ancient mosaics for storage purposes. 

Now, a temporary excavation site has been set up just off Bayshore Drive, as they begin a months-long process of unearthing and restoring the 2,000-year-old relics. 

USF CVAST

A recording from 1972 has been uncovered in the University of South Florida Libraries Special Collections.

With the help of this recording, the USF Center for Visualization and Applied Spatial Technologies (CVAST) is building a virtual gallery that will bring Pablo Picasso’s vision of a 102-foot tall sculpture to life.

Julie DeMarre

Composer Michael Ippolito's early life in Florida was filled with music, in schools like Brandon's McLane Middle School. He says he was a little bit ahead of his classmates in music class and grew bored. That's when a teacher suggested he jot down the music in his head.

"Now, as an adult, I'm pretty sure my orchestra director was just trying to get me to be quiet, but she said, 'Why don't you write those down?' And it had never occurred to me  that one would write those things down," Ippolito said. "And it started from there."

Pasco Pride Facebook page

Pasco Pride is planning its first LGBT event for October, and organizers say it’s long overdue for the county.

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