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Mar 20, 2014

Texas executes aspiring rapper for murdering studio manager

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Texas on Wednesday executed Ray Jasper, a 33-year-old aspiring rap musician convicted of stabbing to death a San Antonio music studio owner after slitting his throat so he could rob him of equipment.

Texas, which executes more people than any other state in the United States, said Jasper died at 6:31 p.m. CDT (2331 GMT) after receiving a lethal injection at its death chamber in Huntsville.

Mar 17, 2014

Third person dies from South by Southwest crash in Texas capital

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A third person has died as a result of a motorist plowing his car into a crowd of people outside a nightclub last week at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, officials said on Monday.

University Medical Center Brackenridge and Austin police a 26-year-old woman, Sandy Thuy Le, has died. She was one of the five people listed as being in critical condition after the incident last Thursday.

Mar 13, 2014

’12 Years a Slave’ Oscar winner spotlights rock legend Jimi Hendrix

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – At nearly the same time filming of “12 Years a Slave” began in Louisiana, the man who would win an Academy Award for writing its screenplay was in Dublin to start shooting his movie about the year that changed the life of rock guitar icon Jimi Hendrix.

“Jimi: All Is by My Side” from writer and director John Ridley was shown this week at the South by Southwest film festival in Austin, Texas. The small film drew much greater attention thanks to Ridley’s Academy Award.

Mar 13, 2014

Car slams into crowd near Texas SXSW festival, two killed, 23 injured

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A car evading a police sobriety checkpoint plowed into a crowd at high speed outside a nightclub in Austin on Thursday, killing two people and injuring 23 near the South by Southwest festival, police said.

The driver, identified only as a black male, fled from police and was subdued by an officer using a stun gun after the incident near the SXSW festival. He will face two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle, police said.

Mar 11, 2014

Snowden: Proposed NSA reforms vindicate my data leaks

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Former security contractor Edward Snowden, addressing a sympathetic crowd at a tech-heavy event in Austin, Texas, on Monday from a secret location in Russia, said proposed reforms at the National Security Agency show that he was vindicated in leaking classified material.

Snowden, who faces arrest if he steps foot on U.S. soil, spoke via a video link to a packed house at the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) gathering of tech industry experts, filmmakers and musicians. He said the U.S. government still has no idea what material he has provided to journalists.

Mar 10, 2014

Snowden: reforms vindicate my classified data leaks

AUSTIN, Texas, March 10 (Reuters) – Former security
contractor Edward Snowden, facing arrest if he steps foot on
U.S. soil, said the changes the American government and private
companies have made about managing massive amounts of data
helped vindicate his leaks of classified material.

Speaking to a sympathetic and tech-savvy crowd at the South
by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, via a video link from
Russia, Snowden added that the U.S. government still has no idea
what material he has provided to journalists.

Mar 9, 2014

Favreau goes from “Iron Man” to stainless steel food truck in new film

AUSTIN, Texas, March 9 (Reuters) – Actor, director and
screenwriter Jon Favreau traded the high-flying super hero
antics of his “Iron Man” movies for a quieter new film about a
celebrated chef who quits his job at a top-flight restaurant and
takes to the road in a food truck.

“Chef,” a small-budget, independent comedy with a big-name
cast, including Iron Man veterans Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett
Johansson, made its premiere at the South by Southwest film
festival in Austin this weekend.

Mar 7, 2014

Michigan woman dead for six years found only after money runs out

By Jon Herskovitz

(Reuters) – For six years the bills were paid, the grass was cut and no one noticed the body of the dead woman sitting in the back seat of a car in a garage of a residential Pontiac, Michigan neighborhood.

Her mummified body was finally found this week by someone dispatched to check on the property that fell into foreclosure after the money ran out of her account and the mortgage payments stopped, police said on Friday.

Mar 5, 2014

College-entrance SAT exam set for major overhaul in 2016

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – An obligatory essay, arcane vocabulary words and penalties for wrong answers will be gone from the widely used SAT exam as of 2016 as administrators try to make the standardized test more reflective of a student’s readiness for college.

The College Board, which oversees the exam required by most colleges and universities for admission, wants the test to focus more on what students learn in high school and their ability to think analytically, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

Mar 5, 2014

Big names set to win in Texas primaries shaken by Tea Party influence

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Texans went to the polls on Tuesday in primary elections where the top candidates for governor were projected to post easy wins and favorites of the conservative Tea Party movement shook up several races with established Republicans.

U.S. Senator John Cornyn, a Republican, will win his race by a wide margin, local media projected. Attorney General Greg Abbott, the leading Republican candidate for governor, and state Senator Wendy Davis, the top Democratic Party candidate, were also projected to win in landslides, they said.