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Dec 31, 2014

Suicide note of transgender Ohio teen inspires call to help others

AUSTIN, Texas, Dec 31 (Reuters) – A transgender Ohio teen
walked in front of an oncoming truck and was crushed to death on
Sunday morning, leaving behind a suicide note that has resonated
around the world and led to calls for a federal law to protect
other transgender adolescents.

Leelah Alcorn, born with the name Joshua, was 17 years old
and said she had been forced to undergo conversion therapy,
which seeks to change sexual orientation through counseling. The
practice has been banned in two states on grounds it is
medically unfounded and puts children in danger.

Dec 29, 2014

Former President Bush’s breathing returns to normal, he awaits discharge from hospital

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Former President George H.W. Bush’s breathing has returned to normal and he is awaiting doctors’ approval to be discharged from a Houston hospital where he has been receiving treatment for nearly a week, his office said on Monday.

“He will remain at the Houston Methodist Hospital tonight pending final approval from his doctors to return home,” said Jim McGrath, a spokesman for the 90-year-old former Republican president.

Dec 26, 2014

Long-delayed U.S. high-speed rail plans may ride on Texas express

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – With high-speed rail in the United States long on plans and short on construction, a Texas company is aiming to fast-track service between Dallas and Houston.

The Texas Central Railway Company plans to use private investment and Central Japan Railway bullet train technology to run a line between two of the largest U.S. cities. Company officials say service could begin in 2021.

Dec 24, 2014

Former President Bush, 90, hospitalized for shortness of breath

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, 90, was hospitalized in Houston, Texas, late on Tuesday after experiencing shortness of breath, a spokesman for the 41st commander-in-chief said in a statement.

Bush’s latest health scare came two years after he was struck by illness during the 2012 holiday season. He spent seven weeks in a Houston hospital for bronchitis and related ailments before his discharge in mid-January of 2013.

Dec 23, 2014

U.S. judge denies motion seeking halt to executions in Oklahoma

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A U.S. district judge on Monday denied an injunction seeking to halt executions in Oklahoma filed by attorneys for death row inmates who argued a troubled lethal injection in the state in April exposed deep flaws in the death chamber protocols.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot wrote that the lawyers failed to show inmates could suffer inhumane harm, adding in a court documents posted online “that entry of a preliminary injunction would not be in the public interest.”

Dec 23, 2014

U.S. judge denies injunction seeking halt to executions in Oklahoma

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A U.S. district judge on Monday
denied an injunction seeking to halt executions in Oklahoma
filed by attorneys for death row inmates who argued a troubled
lethal injection in the state in April exposed deep flaws in the
state’s death chamber protocols.

Lawyers for the inmates, four of whom are scheduled to be
executed next year, said the judge denied the motion. The
judge’s written decision has not yet been made available to the

Dec 16, 2014

Minnesota ex-governor Ventura sues HarperCollins over ‘Sniper’ book

AUSTIN, Texas, Dec 16 (Reuters) – Former Minnesota Governor
Jesse Ventura has sued HarperCollins Publishing, saying he was
defamed in passage from a book it put out from an ex-Navy SEAL
who claimed the two were in a bar fight.

Ventura, who in July won more than $1.8 million in damages
from the estate of former SEAL Chris Kyle, filed suit in federal
court in Minnesota on Monday against HarperCollins over the
best-selling book “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the
Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.”

Dec 12, 2014

Texas court rules prisons must disclose source of execution drugs

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A Texas court has ordered the state’s prison system to reveal the name of the supplier of drugs used in lethal injections, a lawyer for inmates on death row said on Friday, arguing the disclosure is needed for transparency.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said it would appeal the decision. A federal district court ruled in April the prison system needed to reveal the supplier, but the state and the prison system appealed and won a higher court decision allowing them to keep the name secret.

Dec 10, 2014

Smoking out Texas is full-time job for first U.S. barbecue critic

BUFFALO GAP, Texas, (Reuters) – In Texas, with its long traditions when it comes to cooking meat, it seemed inevitable that an arbiter of barbecue like Daniel Vaughn would emerge. The question is why did it take so long?

Vaughn is the first full-time barbecue editor at a major publication in the United States. He was named to his post at Texas Monthly in March 2013, taking up a job that has sent him traveling across the state sampling barbecue, with pit stops at the doctor to check his cholesterol.

Dec 8, 2014

Texas governor-elect seeks federal funds to cover immigration costs

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Texas has asked the White House for hundreds of millions of dollars illegal immigration has cost the state, Governor-elect Greg Abbott said on Monday, blaming President Barack Obama for not doing enough to secure the border.

Abbott, a Republican who takes office next month, met Obama last week shortly after he filed a lawsuit on behalf of states suing the administration over its executive order that eased the threat of deportation for millions of immigrants.