Raul Castro Demands Return of Guantanamo, End of Radio and TV Marti, and Payments

Categories: La Habana

Courtesy of U.S. Navy
In 2009, President Barack Obama promised to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, and he still hasn't quite gotten around to it.

Now he has an even tougher and possibly more controversial decision to make. Cuban President Raul Castro has demanded that in order to officially normalize relations between the two countries, the U.S. must first return Guantanamo Bay back to Cuba. He also demanded the end of anti-Castro broadcasts in to the country from Miami-based Radio and TV Martí and made vague calls for economic compensation.

Yes, just when it seemed everything was smoothly sailing towards normalization, ol' Castro came in to shake things up.

See also: Fidel Castro Is Still Alive, Releases Statement Praising Diplomacy but Slamming Bill Gates

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State Department Is Moving Into the Freedom Tower

Categories: Politicks

Photo: MiamiTom | Wiki Commons CC2.0
After a 41-year hiatus, the federal government is moving back into the Freedom Tower. At least on a part-time basis.

The U.S. Department of State has reached an agreement with Miami Dade College, current owner of the iconic building in downtown Miami, to use portions of the tower as its Americas media hub. The State Department won't be setting up full-time in the building. Instead, it will use it periodically conduct interviews, meetings, and as a home base for U.S. diplomats engaging with Spanish-language media.

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305 Photo of the Day: Dusky

Today's photo comes from Jean Zephy's Flickr. If you'd like to see your photo here join our Flickr group.

Rick Scott Proposes Tax Cuts for Cell Phones, Cable, and Textbooks

Categories: Politicks

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Rick Scott unveiled his proposed budget today, and it contains $673 million in tax cuts at a time when the state is sitting on a $1 billion surplus. Interestingly, those cuts would most likely save the middle class some dough by lowering taxes on their cell phone and cable bills, and also gives college students a bit of a break by exempting textbooks from the state sales tax.

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Miami-Dade Police Shoot Two Pet Dogs, Kill One

Categories: The Badge

Police can't even seem to break up a dog fight without the use of bullets.

Miami-Dade Police opened fire on two escaped pet dogs that got into a fight with a police K9 yesterday afternoon. One of the dogs died, while the other is in an animal hospital requiring serious surgery.

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Hearings Raise New Questions About Investigation Into WaveRunner Killing

Categories: Crime

Four years after a fatal shooting shattered two families, new court documents add to the evidence that a Miami-Dade Police detective botched her investigation of the incident.

On May 21, 2011, 14-year-old Jack Davis fatally shot an unarmed Reynaldo Muñoz Jr. while Muñoz was trying to steal a WaveRunner. In an October 2013 article ("Dead in the Water"), New Times found that cops ignored evidence, mishandled information, and rushed to exculpate the wealthy, well-connected Davis family. Now civil trial depositions bolster that idea.

"This thing was never investigated," attorney Juan Lucas Alvarez says. "The Muñoz family never had a chance."

See also: Shot Dead on a Stolen WaveRunner

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Aventura PD Defends Officers Who Fired Into Unarmed Shoplifter's Car in Busy Lot

Categories: Crime

via Google Street View
This Aventura lot was busy with shoppers when police fired at the suspect yesterday.
The gunshots rang out around 10:30 a.m. yesterday, sending panicked customers at an Aventura shopping center with a Whole Foods, Target, and Best Buy running for cover. Only after the dust settled was it clear where the gunfire had originated: from two Aventura PD officers who had each fired rounds at a car driven by an unarmed man who'd allegedly just shoplifted videogames.

No bystanders were hit, but Aventura PD has faced questions over the decision to fire amid a busy midmorning crowd. Today, the department pushed back. The shots were fired, they say, because the suspect was threatening to use his car as a weapon.

See also: Miami-Dade Cops Shot Four People for Using Cars as Deadly Weapons

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Five Reasons Dan Marino's 1984 Season Was the Greatest Ever by a Quarterback

Categories: Sports

via YouTube
It's hard to believe this year marked the 30th anniversary of the last time the Miami Dolphins appeared in a Super Bowl, but here we are, three decades later. In 1984, Dan Marino punted just about every NFL record into the sun on his way to leading the Dolphins to a 14-2 record, an AFC Championship, and a trip to Super Bowl XIX to face off against Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers. The Dolphins would lose 38-16 in the big game, but it was assumed the Fins would be back in no time with a QB like Marino. Nope. Not since.

We sit here 30 years later wondering how it all went wrong and how Marino never got back to the Super Bowl. It's depressing to even think about.

What isn't depressing to think about is Marino's 1984 season. To this day, that season is the greatest a quarterback has ever had, Peyton Manning be damned.

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Miami Dolphins Just Eight Good Players Away From a Super Bowl

Categories: Sports

Here's the good news: The Miami Dolphins just need to add eight above-average players to their roster to be Super Bowl contenders. That's not that many.

The bad news? Of the 30 teams that didn't make the Super Bowl this year, the Dolphins rank 17th in how many "good" or "elite" players the team would need to add.

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305 Photo of the Day: Dirty Boots

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Miami Men's Lawsuit May Have Forced Apple to Make Major Change

Categories: Silicon Beach

via Apple
Those of you with Apple iPhones running iOS 8 were probably notified today there's an update to the operating system. Most of the updates are relatively minor, but there's one big one that may very well be a result of a class-action lawsuit brought upon the tech giant by two Miami men, Paul Orshan and Christopher Endara.

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New Miami Skyscraper Offers Views of Bahamas, Developer Claims

Categories: Unreal Estate

Miami may have tons of Cuban influence, but sometimes we forget that the closest foreign country to our shores is the Bahamas. Bimini is just a little more than 52 miles off the coast of downtown Miami (that's closer than West Palm Beach), and a developer claims you'll actually be able to see the island from the top of his new skyscraper.

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The U Has Failed to Attract Recruits From Miami

Categories: Luke's Gospel

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Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke breaks down the latest setback for the Hurricanes football program.

National Signing Day, February 4, is around the corner, yet the Miami Hurricanes' 2015 football recruiting class is nothing to get excited about. So far, the U has landed commitments from only two high-school All-Dade players from Miami, while losing dozens of others of the area's best players to schools like Alabama, Florida State, and Ohio State. These three teams made it to the new national championship playoff last season.

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Fidel Castro Is Still Alive, Releases Statement Praising Diplomacy but Slamming Bill Gates

Fidel Castro is alive.
Fidel Castro is not only still alive but also still cranky.

Earlier this month, false rumors of Castro's death spread like wildfire on the internet. The former Cuban leader hadn't been seen in more than a year, the argument went, and some dudes were cleaning a cemetery in Havana. So surely it was time for South Florida to celebrate El Comandante's demise.

Nope. The Cuban government dismissed the rumors. Now Granma, the state-run newspaper, has released Castro's first public statement in three months.

See also: Fidel Castro Is Dead, According to Viral Twitter Rumors

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Raquel Regalado Took On the Establishment; Now She Wants to Run It

Photo by Marta Xochilt Perez
Regalado on the set of her weekly TV show, Esta Semana con Raquel.
The Spanish-language radio station La Poderosa (670 AM) broadcasts from a large, square concrete-and-glass building on SW 27th Avenue in Little Havana. The building's cafeteria, Bocadito Express, is a poorly lit, one-room blue-collar spot on the ground floor where area workers drop in for cafecitos and medianoche sandwiches.

Raquel Regalado walks in wearing an elegant beige dress suit, tall brown leather boots, and a Louis Vuitton scarf around her neck. With her long auburn hair and porcelain features, she could be a European actress. But the man behind the counter doesn't glance twice -- Regalado is a regular.

In heavily Cuban-accented Spanish, she orders two croquetas, which the café worker loads from behind the warm glass onto a small plate. Regalado then promptly heads for a seat at the back of the room.

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#UseMeInstead: Lutheran Clergy Offers Pictures as Police Practice Targets

Categories: News

The revelation earlier this month that the North Miami Beach Police Department was using mug shots of African-American men as practice targets sent shock waves across the nation. After initially trying to downplay the controversy, the department apologized, and the city council voted to ban the practice.

However, the outrage hasn't died down, and the hashtag #UseMeInstead is gaining steam, with people posting their own pictures as targets to protest racial profiling. The somewhat-surprising instigators of the hashtag: members of the Lutheran clergy.

See also: North Miami Beach Bans Offensive Mug Shot Targets but Stops Short of Firing Police Chief

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Republican State Senator Files Medical Marijuana Bill

Categories: Drugs

Photo by Laurie Avacado via Wikimedia Commons | CC2.0
Medical marijuana supporters in Florida tried their hand at the ballot last year and fell just short, but perhaps they might find success in the Florida Legislature.

St. Petersburg Sen. Jeff Brandes, a Republican (!), has filed a bill that would legalize marijuana in Florida as a treatment option for those with serious ailments and others who have exhausted more traditional treatments.

See also: Medical Marijuana Supporters Take First Step to Getting Amendment Back on Ballot in 2016

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305 Photo of the Day: Wow! Much Leaves!

Today's photo comes from lostINmiami's Flickr. If you'd like to see your photo here, join our Flickr group.

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Two Former UM Organ Bank Employees Claim They Were "Karate Chopped" by Med School Vice Chair

via Google Street View
The midtown offices of the Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency.
Professional arguments over the proper way to run an organ bank allegedly turned to amateur displays of karate at the University of Miami.

Two former employees of the Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency, an organ bank run by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, are suing after they claim they were struck by Rafic Warwar, the vice chair of administration for the surgery department, in front of 50 people at a staff meeting in 2013.

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Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Could Be Released in Keys This Spring

Categories: Environmental

Courtesy of Oxitec
Scientists hope to wipe out dengue-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (left) using genetically modified bugs with green-and-red glowing larvae.
In the lab, the genetically modified mosquito larvae glow green and red to help researchers track them. The bugs' DNA has been tweaked with a killer gene that will wipe out the next generation of blood-suckers before they can latch onto humans. Millions of the scientifically created bugs are released into the wild, in theory putting a stop to wretched diseases such as dengue fever and chikungunya.

That may sound like the premise of a Michael Crichton plot, but in fact the GMO mosquitoes have already been released en masse in Brazil and the Cayman Islands. Now, researchers hope to do the same in the Florida Keys as early as this spring.

See also: Can Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Keep Dengue Fever Away From Key West?

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