The number 13 could be lucky for Florida’s economy should the nation avoid slipping into a new recession. The new year – 2013 – has all the signs indicative of increasing momentum for Florida’s economy with housing starts growing, employment improving and the state’s population growth continuing to fuel the state’s economy, said University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith. Read more at UCF and the Orlando Business Journal.
The Cuban government Thursday denounced what it called the “unjust and illegal” multi-million dollar fines the U.S. government slapped on two foreign banks for violating Washington’s sanctions on the island. The U.S. actions show that its “ferocious persecution of financial and commercial transactions by Cuba and those with legitimate relations … has only changed but has hardened,” a Foreign Ministry official said in a statement. [Source: Miami Herald]
Malpractice defendants must not try to circumvent a Florida law that bars them from obtaining confidential medical information about plaintiffs from other doctors or dentists who are treating them, the state Supreme Court said in a ruling Thursday. [Source: AP]
Home sales in Florida and across the nation bucked the traditional holiday slowdown in November, with a tight supply and shrinking foreclosure rates also giving way to higher prices. More from the Sarasota Herald Tribune, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Miami Herald and the Gainesville Sun.
As the Christmas holiday season hits its stride, travelers will be greeted by good and bad news. The bad news is that a winter snowstorm is pounding the Midwest, interrupting plans for thousands of travelers. The good news is that anyone foregoing planes and traveling by highway will see the lowest gas prices in several months. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› 'Tough love' approach for new men's shelter sparks controversy [Orlando Sentinel]
When plans for a new 250-bed men's shelter at the Coalition for the Homeless were announced in May 2010, the place was envisioned as a "beacon of hope" for those struggling to find their way back from the streets. But at the moment, the $6.6 million facility under construction in Orlando has become more of a beacon of controversy.
› South Florida now has 200 LEED projects [South Florida Business Journal]
South Florida now has at least 200 building projects that have been certified under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and it is the most common measuring stick for progressive builders and property managers attempting to conserve resources and energy.
› Some businesses say 'Bah, Humbug' to holiday parties, bonuses [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Not quite half of Florida businesses surveyed are saying, "Bah, Humbug!" to holiday parties and bonuses because they're not optimistic after President Obama's re-election.
› Bill to tax online sales not gaining momentum [Naples Daily News]
'Tis the season for online shopping, but in the frenzy to find the perfect gift Floridians could unwittingly be breaking the law. A 2011 report found the state was unable to capture between $450 million and $454 million in sales tax revenue because of online sales.
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› Film studio gets over the hump with circus shoot [South Florida Business Journal]
South Florida's warm weather often attracts snowbirds from the north, but it was a surprise to see a group of camels trotting around Palm Springs. No, we didn't catch them sunbathing, instead they were brought in for a movie shoot at G-Star Studios.
› Florida Legislature seeks budget transparency for stage agencies — but not for itself [Tampa Bay Times]
Florida's lawmakers say they want to make the state's $70 billion budget process more transparent but when it comes to handling contracts and disclosing state salaries, neither Senate President Don Gaetz nor House Speaker Will Weatherford is quite ready to require the legislature be held to the same standards that it imposes on state agencies.
› Carnival fourth-quarter profits tumble [AP]
Cruise operator Carnival Corp. said Thursday that its fiscal fourth-quarter net income tumbled 57 percent, hurt by lower ticket prices and higher fuel costs. Despite the drop, the results beat Wall Street predictions.
› Rand Eye warned to change online advertising [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Rand Eye Institute in Deerfield Beach was one of five vision correction companies that recently received a warning letter from the FDA about its "misleading" advertising practices.