Politics

Jobs
11:20 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

South Florida Democrats Join National Effort For A $10 Minimum Wage

Florida's $7.93 minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum of $7.25. Efforts are underway around the country to bolster the minimum to more than $10 an hour.
Credit pbarcas/flickr

Florida’s minimum wage rose by 14 cents on Jan. 1, to $7.93 per hour. But two South Florida lawmakers say that doesn't go far enough.

They’ve filed bills to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The wage increase would also apply to workers who earn tips, like restaurant servers currently making $4.91 per hour.

Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Cutler Bay, and Rep. Cynthia Stafford, D-Opa-Locka, say they’re trying to get more people out of poverty.

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Commentary
11:12 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

The Miss Venezuela Murders: Maduro Needs To Create Police Instead Of Plots

Mónica Spear and ex-husband Thomas Henry Berry. Both were murdered by gunmen during a botched roadside robbery in Venezuela on Jan. 6.
Credit Thomas Henry Berry / Facebook

Latin American leaders don’t know how to stop their violent-crime epidemic, but they sure know how to spin it.

Former Miss Venezuela and telenovela star Mónica Spear and her ex-husband were murdered Monday night during a botched highway robbery near Puerto Cabello, Venezuela. Their 5-year-old daughter was shot, too, but survived. As the shocking news spread throughout Venezuela and then Miami, where Spear often lived and worked, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro hit a spin cycle I’ve seen countless other presidentes employ after high-profile homicides.

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Politics
5:47 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Caribbean Crusader: St. Vincent PM Gonsalves On Development And Disaster

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves assumed the Caricom chairmanship this month.
Credit secretariat.thecommonwealth.org

Christmas 2013 was the best and worst of times for Ralph Gonsalves.

Gonsalves, Prime Minister of the Caribbean island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Dec. 19. For Gonsalves, an outspoken populist who was about to take over as chairman of the Caribbean Community, or Caricom, it was a moment of valuable political cachet: Francis has proven a champion of poor global underdogs like the small republics of the Caribbean.

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Commentary
6:04 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Wise Men Say: Time For A Truce Between Atheists And Believers (And More Toys)

The Magi hand out toys at a Three Kings Day event in Miami's Little Havana.
Credit C.M. Guerrero / El Nuevo Herald

As a boy, I always envied Hispanics at Christmas. That’s because they got a bonus Santa Claus.

Three, actually: Los Reyes Magos, a.k.a. the Three Kings, the Wise Men, the Magi – the fellows who each Jan. 6 lavished an extra round of toys on every kid I knew who had a Spanish surname.

As an adult, I’m still a big fan of los Reyes. And I think Jan. 6 – Epiphany, the day that Christians, especially in Spain and Latin America, celebrate the Magis’ visit to the newborn Jesus – offers another potential bonus:

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The Florida Roundup
11:00 am
Fri January 3, 2014

The Year Ahead For South Florida

What are your predictions for Florida in 2014?
Credit april-mo / Creative Commons/Flickr

 

2014 is a big election year for the Sunshine State.  The governor’s race is expected to be a very expensive one. Jobs and the economy will be key issues.  And in the statehouse, medical marijuana, the cost of hurricane insurance, and water quality all are on the legislative agenda.

In our first show of the year, we'll look at what issues and news will be important in 2014.

 

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New Laws For 2014
7:59 am
Fri January 3, 2014

New Year, New Laws: Here's What's Changing In Florida's Rules

New laws take effect on Jan. 1 in Florida
Credit Hin255 / freedigitalphotos.net

Bills that crack down on human sex trafficking, address problems from the 2012 election, allow foster care children to remain in the program until 21, and provide an incentive for companies to expand their fleet of natural gas vehicles become law Wednesday.

While the bulk of the nearly 200 new laws approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott from the 2013 session hit the books in July and October, a few more kick in with the New Year.

Accompanying the handful of new laws is a slight increase in the paycheck for Florida's minimum-wage earners.

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Americas
8:26 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Caribbean Deluge Disaster Raises New Climate Change Warnings

A man in St. Vincent and the Grenadines inspects an SUV washed away in flooding and landslides on Christmas Eve
Credit Nibiru-PlanetX.com

On Christmas Eve, the islands of the eastern Caribbean were hammered by 15 inches of torrential rain. The flooding and landslides killed at least 13 people. South Florida’s Caribbean diaspora is gathering relief supplies - and officials are sounding the climate change alarm.

Ralph Gonsalves, the prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, calls last week’s downpour “a disaster of a proportion…we have not seen in living memory.” Gonsalves himself lost a cousin killed in a landslide.

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Flying To Venezuela
12:50 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Venezualan Flights Are Dirt Cheap ... If You Can Get A Ticket

At the official rate, 1 U.S. dollar is worth 6.3 Venezuelan bolivars. But in a country with runaway inflation, the black market rate is about 60 bolivars to the dollar. This has made airfares extremely cheap for those using currency acquired on the black market.
Juan Barreto AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 7:35 pm

Reporter John Otis was looking for a flight to Venezuela. That may sound like a simple task, but air travel to and from that Latin American country turns out to be extremely complicated these days. Here's his story.

A direct flight from my home in Bogotá, Colombia, to Caracas, Venezuela, takes about 90 minutes. But when I tried to buy a ticket recently, none were available. I was offered a flight with an overnight stop in Miami, but that would have cost $5,000.

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Commentary
9:45 am
Mon December 30, 2013

New World Pope Challenges Old World Church: Francis Is Top LatAm Story in 2013

Pope Francis wears an indigenous Pataxo headdress during his visit to Brazil last July for World Youth Day.
Credit L'Osservatore Romano

They say Americans will do anything for Latin America except read about it. But even gringos couldn’t ignore the noise next door in 2013.

Seemingly overnight, Brazil experienced violent anti-government unrest – then just as quickly it became the spokesnation for a world outraged by the U.S. surveillance overreach exposed by Edward Snowden.

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The Florida Roundup
12:15 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Take Our First Annual News Quiz On South Florida Stories From 2013

Images from some of the big stories from 2013 in Florida. Do you remember them?

    

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Politics
11:00 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Turks & Caicos Drownings Latest Sign Of Spike In Haitian Migration

Haitian migrants in an overloaded vessel similar to one that capsized off the Turks & Caicos Islands Christmas morning.
Credit rapadoo.com

Christmas Day turned tragic when a boat carrying Haitian migrants capsized off the Turks and Caicos Islands. Seventeen of the more than 50 passengers were killed, while some fled and are still being sought.

This is just the latest in a growing spate of Haitian disasters on the Caribbean. Last month 30 Haitians drowned in a similar incident off the Bahamas.

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Year In Review
7:12 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

LISTEN: Florida Lawmakers Reflect On Partisan 2013

Credit eGuide Travel / Flickr CC

This wasn’t a pretty year in Washington and Florida lawmakers are as upset about it as voters. Matt Laslo has this look back at the highs and lows from our congressional delegation. 

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Americas
2:54 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Latin America's Small Businesses Come To Miami To Thrive

Liliana Arevalo helps run a small company in El Salvador that makes artisanal wines. She has received technical assistance from SBNA-related groups.
Credit YouTube / U.S. State Department / SBNA

Six years ago I visited an indigenous village in southern Mexico called Santa Cruz Mixtepec. It was, or used to be, one of those impoverished rural hamlets that sent most of its population over the U.S. border to find living-wage work.

Until somebody got the bright idea to start promoting small businesses there. Through micro-lending and other assistance, Santa Cruz Mixtepec began sprouting small but viable enterprises. A carpentry shop. An irrigated tomato greenhouse. A window-frame maker.

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The Florida Roundup
12:02 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Florida High Court Approves Of New Drug Mix Used For Executions

Florida was second only to Texas in the number of people executed.
Credit Florida Department of Corrections/Doug Smith

On The Florida Roundup: The state Supreme Court approves a controversial new drug mix used in executions of Death Row inmates. Plus we look at the latest reports cards on South Florida public schools.

Join Tom Hudson as he speaks with Tia Mitchell of the Tampa Bay Times, Margie Menzel of the News Service of Florida, Brendan Farrington of the Associated Press, Sammy Mack of WLRN-Miami Herald News and Patricia Mazzei and Melissa Sanchez of the Miami Herald.

Share your thoughts on the week’s news below in a live chat  curated by our digital editor Maria Murriel.

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Politics
4:43 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Scott Faces Tough Decision On Next DCF Secretary

Credit FrauSchütze / Flickr CC

Gov. Rick Scott faces a difficult decision in naming a permanent secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, given the demands of the job, the lateness in his term and the scrutiny of lawmakers moving to respond to a rash of child deaths.

Scott has some breathing room after announcing last week that Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo will stay on the job through the end of the 2014 legislative session. He tapped the Miami-based attorney to lead the agency in mid-July, for 90 days, after David Wilkins resigned under fire.

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