Jon's Feed
Aug 1, 2015

Killing of Cecil pressures United States to protect African lion

By Barbara Liston and Jon Herskovitz

(Reuters) – The killing of Cecil the lion by a U.S. hunter in Zimbabwe has turned up the pressure on Washington to extend legal protection to the African lion by declaring it an endangered species, but some hunting advocates said that would lead to more regulations that could ultimately harm the big cats.

The United States has the world’s most powerful animal protection law, the Endangered Species Act, which has been extended by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to many non-U.S. species including the African elephant and cheetah.

Jul 30, 2015

Texas county where incarcerated woman died cited by jail monitor

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – The Texas county where a black woman died in an apparent jail suicide that garnered national attention had been cited by a state monitor for not doing enough to keep an eye on inmates and properly filling out intake forms, an official said on Thursday.

Sandra Bland was found hanged in her cell three days after her July 10 arrest for a minor traffic offense in Waller County, about 50 miles northwest of Houston, an incident activists say is another example of police brutality toward minorities.

Jul 30, 2015

African hunting dreams collide with Cecil the lion protests

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Hunters longing to shoot big game in the African wild may choose a different target after public backlash against a Minnesota dentist who killed Zimbabwe’s Cecil the lion just outside a national wildlife preserve.

African hunts are booked months in advance and pricey affairs, often costing $8,000 to $50,000, with approval needed from U.S. and U.N. agencies to bring back trophies such as the head of a lion to the United States.

Jul 29, 2015

Death of woman in jail cell prompts Texas House committee meeting

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A Texas House of Representative committee plans to meet on Thursday to look into conditions that led to the death of Sandra Bland, a black motorist whose apparent suicide in jail has raised questions about what role race played in her treatment.

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw and a county sheriff who has been a critic of inadequate jail facilities were expected to testify at the Texas House Committee of County Affairs hearing.

Jul 28, 2015

Texas county releases video to dispel rumors over woman’s death

By David Bailey and Jon Herskovitz

(Reuters) – A Texas county released video on Tuesday of Sandra Bland arriving at Waller County Jail, as officials sought to dispel rumors circulating on social media that she was already dead by the time records show she was booked.

Bland, who was black, was found hanged in an apparent suicide in a cell three days after her July 10 arrest for a minor traffic offense, an incident activists say is another example of police brutality toward minorities.

Jul 28, 2015

Second suspect in 10 days dies in custody of Houston police

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Houston police are investigating the deaths of two suspects in their custody in the past 10 days, incidents that have come as national attention has been focused on Texas police after a black woman was found hanged in a jail cell in a nearby county.

One of the two who died was white and the other was an African-American, according to the local medical examiner.

Jul 28, 2015

Texas grand jury convenes in securities case against attorney general

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A Texas grand jury convened on
Tuesday to hear evidence presented by special prosecutors and
gathered by the Texas Rangers over whether the state’s Attorney
General Ken Paxton violated securities law, a local television
station reported.

The grand jury will decide whether there is enough evidence
to indict Paxton, a Republican who came to office earlier this
year with strong Tea Party support, on first-degree felony
charges.

Jul 15, 2015

Gary Mack, JFK assassination expert and museum curator, dies at 68

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Gary Mack, the former journalist who was the long-time curator of the Dallas museum dedicated to the assassination and legacy of President John F. Kennedy, died on Wednesday at the age 68 after suffering from a prolonged illness, the museum said.

Mack, considered one of the foremost authorities on the assassination, was the curator of The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, located in the former Texas School Book Depository Building from which the official Warren Commission concluded Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

Jul 15, 2015

U.S. Army special ops drills begin under cloud of Texas suspicion

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – U.S. Army drills to train special operations forces for conflicts overseas began on Wednesday in several states including Texas, where fears of military overreach prompted the governor to ask the State Guard to monitor the exercises.

The Jade Helm 15 exercises run through Sept. 15 on public and private land with about 1,200 troops training in an area that sprawls for more than 1,000 miles. It was the first time the Army has undertaken such large-scale special ops drills, military officials said.

Jul 13, 2015

Massachusetts prosecutor to charge bomber Tsarnaev with murder

By Jon Herskovitz

(Reuters) – A Massachusetts district attorney plans to bring
state murder charges against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who has been
sentenced to death in a federal trial for a deadly bomb attack
on the 2013 Boston Marathon, her office said on Saturday.

The Boston Globe reported that Middlesex District Attorney
Marian Ryan said she would charge Tsarnaev with murdering MIT
police officer Sean Collier and for other crimes in the
aftermath of the marathon attacks.