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Jul 11, 2012

Ex-Haiti official sentenced in telecom bribery probe

MIAMI (Reuters) – A former executive at Haiti’s state-owned telecommunications company has been sentenced to a year in prison for accepting bribes from two U.S. companies awarded lucrative long-distance phone contracts in the poor Caribbean country.

Patrick Joseph, the former director general of Haiti Teleco, pleaded guilty to bribery charges in February. Court documents show he is cooperating with U.S. authorities in a high-profile probe involving several former officials who served under former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Jul 3, 2012

Florida man pleads not guilty in Venezuela military parts case

MIAMI (Reuters) – The owner of a Florida company pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges he illegally exported aircraft parts to Venezuela’s military in a probe that has also led to charges against a former Venezuelan Air Force officer and two other men.

Kirk Drellich, president of SkyHigh Accessories, Inc., based in Davie, Florida, faces up to five years in jail and a fine of $250,000 if found guilty.

Jun 26, 2012

Trayvon Martin’s killer never identified himself: police

MIAMI (Reuters) – George Zimmerman, the man charged in the killing of Trayvon Martin, failed on at least two opportunities to identify himself as a neighborhood watch volunteer before he shot the unarmed teenager, a police investigator wrote in a report made public on Tuesday.

Pages of the report were among a batch of new evidence released in the case by Florida’s state attorney’s office. The records included video and audio recordings of Zimmerman and written statements by him and police.

Jun 26, 2012

Debby threatens more floods, tornadoes in Florida

MIAMI (Reuters) – Slow-moving Tropical Storm Debby buffeted parts of Florida with driving rains and high winds on Monday, and threatened more flooding and tornadoes on Tuesday as it hovered off the state’s northern Gulf of Mexico coast.

With tropical storm-force winds extending outward up to 240 miles from its center off the northwest coastal town of Apalachicola late Monday night, forecasters said Debby menaced a broad swath of inland territory with flash floods.

Jun 25, 2012

Tropical storm threatens floods, tornadoes in Florida

MIAMI (Reuters) – Tropical Storm Debby pounded parts of Florida with heavy rains on Monday, threatening to trigger more flooding and tornadoes as it hovered off the state’s northern Gulf of Mexico coast.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency and a tropical storm warning was in effect along much of the Gulf coastline, from the Florida Panhandle on down through the central west coast.

Jun 24, 2012

Zumba no longer just exercise, it’s big business

MIAMI (Reuters) – Alberto Perez started out as a street performer and then an aerobics teacher in Colombia, making extra cash on the side teaching the wives of businessmen how to dance in nightclubs in his hometown, Cali.

Today, he stands at the center of the Zumba exercise craze, having helped transform Zumba Fitness, a private company, into a rapidly growing fitness empire with heavyweight investor backing.

Jun 13, 2012

Victim in Miami face-eating attack may be blind

MIAMI (Reuters) – A 65-year-old homeless man who was the victim of a gruesome face-eating attack in Miami is temporarily blind but recovering well after suffering devastating injuries to nearly half of his face, doctors said on Monday.

Hospital officials released two pictures of Ronald Poppo, who remains in the hospital in stable condition after the horrific Memorial Day weekend attack on the off-ramp of a bridge in downtown Miami.

Jun 12, 2012

Victim in Miami face-eating attack is temporarily blind

MIAMI (Reuters) – A 65-year-old homeless man who was the victim of a gruesome face-eating attack in Miami is temporarily blind but recovering well after suffering devastating injuries on nearly half of his face, doctors said on Tuesday.

Hospital officials released two pictures of Ronald Poppo, who remains in the hospital in stable condition after the horrific Memorial Day weekend attack on the off-ramp of a bridge in downtown Miami.

Jun 12, 2012

U.S., Florida face off over voter purge effort

MIAMI (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department and Florida exchanged legal salvoes on Monday over the state’s controversial effort to remove non-U.S. citizens from its voter rolls ahead of this year’s presidential election.

Florida fired the first shot, filing a lawsuit against the federal government seeking access to a national database detailing citizenship information as part of its drive to verify whether non-citizens are illegally registered to vote in the state.

Jun 5, 2012

Brazil’s Odebrecht sues Florida over Cuba, Syria law

MIAMI (Reuters) – The U.S. subsidiary of Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht has filed a lawsuit challenging a recently signed Florida law barring local governments from hiring companies that do business in Cuba or Syria.

The lawsuit, filed on Monday in Miami federal court, claims the measure is “unconstitutional and unenforceable” and argues that the federal government, not states, has the authority to enact laws involving foreign affairs.