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Easter and Passover as brought to you by these lobbyists and political associations

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Grab your bonnet, pull out the seersucker and get ready for a good-old-fashion Easter egg hunt. Americans are expected to spend about $18.4 billion on Easter this year, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey. That projection is 6 percent higher than last year’s record of $17.3 billion and marks an all-time high in the 14 years the national organization has conducted the survey. The increase in spending is likely due to how late the holiday falls on the…

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Is demand for travel to Cuba flattening?

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Demand for travel to Cuba may be flattening, with soaring hotel prices on the island, American Airlines cutting some flights, and uncertainty over whether new travel restrictions could be imposed when Donald Trump takes office. Gregory Geronemus, co-CEO of smarTours, a tour company that’s taken 3,000 Americans to Cuba, confirms there has been a softening in demand. In part, he blamed hotel prices on the island, which have nearly doubled since 2015 and which are set by the government. “There’s…

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Rick Scott announces airliner entertainment company’s expansion, 500 jobs

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A company providing airline and airplane in-flight entertainment systems plans to expand its Brevard and Orange county operations and add as many as 500 new jobs over the next five years, Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday during a trade mission to England. Thales, a French aerospace, transportation, defense and security technology company, announced its plans to expand its InFlyt Experience unit, which has operations in both Melbourne and Orlando. The announcement came at the Farnborough Air Show in London. InFlyt also expects…

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U.S. gives tentative OK to flights to Cuba from 10 U.S. cities

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The U.S. government on Thursday tentatively approved scheduled commercial airline service to Havana from 10 American cities, further bridging the gulf between countries as close as an hour flight but long kept at a greater distance by the Cold War. The decision is another long stride in President Barack Obama‘s effort to normalize U.S.-Cuba relations. “Reopening travel relations with Cuba is about more than just restoring the freedom to travel there for all Americans — it’s about opening Cuba to…

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Tampa bypassed in approved U.S. flights to Cuba

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Six airlines won permission Friday to resume scheduled commercial air service from the U.S. to Cuba for the first time in more than five decades, another milestone in President Barack Obama‘s campaign to normalize relations between Cold War foes. The airlines — American, Frontier, JetBlue, Silver Airways, Southwest and Sun Country — were approved by the Department of Transportation for a total of 155 roundtrip flights per week. They’ll fly from five U.S. cities to nine cities in Cuba other…

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Jet fuel tax changes set to become law July 1, barring unlikely veto

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The future of Florida’s aviation fuel taxation regime is set for a major overhaul on July 1, if Gov. Rick Scott signs an omnibus tax bill into law as expected. For the state’s largest air carriers, that’s a good thing indeed. The bill removes exemptions to the state’s jet fuel tax, which currently apply to once-upstart carriers like Southwest Airlines and JetBlue beginning in 2018. It would also lower the overall rate for all carriers from 6.9 percent to 4.23 percent, in order to keep the change “revenue neutral,”…

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Today on Context Florida: Ralph Nader, Donald Trump, Salt Shaker Test, Bernie Sanders and budget turkeys

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Today on Context Florida: Some blamed hanging chad, others confusing ballots, but Peter Schorsch says the man many Democrats blame for Al Gore’s 537-vote defeat in Florida is Ralph Nader. Never mind those butterfly ballots that may have led to thousands of inadvertent votes for Pat Buchanan in Palm Beach County, nor the exit polls that showed more of his supporters would flock to George W. Bush than Gore. Bush’s 2000 victory was Nader’s fault. Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s acerbic speaking style on the campaign trail rankles…

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