BC-TX--Texas News Digest, TX

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Associated Press

Posted on February 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Texas news at 7:30 p.m. CST.

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NEW AND UPDATED THIS DIGEST:

— Sniper Author-Shooting.

— AMR-US Airways.

BUSH-EMAILS HACKED

HOUSTON — Turns out even former presidents can fall prey to hackers. A mysterious email hacker apparently accessed private photos and messages sent between members of the Bush family, including both retired commanders in chief. The Secret Service is investigating the breach, which appeared to yield little more than a few snapshots and some family discussions. But the incident illustrated how easily hackers can pry into private lives, even those of one of the nation's most prominent and closely guarded political clans. By Michael Graczyk.

AP photos.

WRONGFUL CONVICTION-PROSECUTOR

GEORGETOWN, Texas — A former Texas district attorney whose prosecution led to an innocent man spending 25 years in prison for his wife's murder looked the man in the eye Friday and said "the system obviously screwed up" but offered no apology. Now a judge in Georgetown, north of Austin, Ken Anderson said he couldn't imagine doing anything differently in the case of Michael Morton, who was freed in 2011 after new DNA tests tied someone else to his wife Christine's beating death in 1986. By Will Weissert.

AP photos

TEXAS EXECUTION-AFFAIR

DALLAS — A Texas death row inmate whose conviction was complicated by revelations that his trial judge and the prosecutor had been involved in a romantic relationship has pleaded guilty and agreed to a life sentence to settle his case. A new sentencing trial for Charles Dean Hood had been set for next week. But under the plea deal, Hood — who has insisted he was innocent — will not receive credit for the 23 years he spent on death row, the Dallas Morning News reported Friday. Eds: Not for online use in the Dallas area.

SNIPER AUTHOR-SHOOTING

MIDLOTHIAN, Texas — The family of a man slain at a remote shooting range in North Texas defended the notion of helping troubled war veterans by exposing them to firearms for use in target practice. Chad Littlefield's family spoke Friday following funeral services for the 35-year-old in Midlothian, about 25 miles southwest of Dallas. Investigators say Littlefield was with former Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle on Feb. 2 as they tried to help a former Marine work through post-traumatic stress disorder. By David Warren.

AP photos.

STATE TROOPER MISCONDUCT

AUSTIN, Texas — The founder of a large Texas bank who is also a wealthy political donor has accused state troopers of harassment during traffic stops. IBC Bank CEO Renato Ramirez said Friday the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety has arranged to speak with him about the allegations, which surfaced this week when a state senator and Ramirez benefactor mentioned them at a public hearing. By Paul J. Weber.

REPUBLICANS-IMMIGRATION

LITTLETON, Colo. — It was little surprise when freshman Republican Rep. Mike Coffman in 2010 voted against a bill to grant citizenship to some young illegal immigrants. After all, the Marine Corps veteran had just won the seat in Congress formerly held by firebrand Rep. Tom Tancredo, who had pushed the GOP to take a harsher stance against illegal immigration. The bill, known as the DREAM Act, died in the Senate. Now Coffman has changed course. He has introduced legislation to let unauthorized immigrants brought into the country as children earn citizenship if they serve in the military. And he spoke hopefully about an immigration overhaul that a bipartisan group of senators outlined last week. By Nicholas Riccardi.

IMMIGRATION-BIPARTISAN GROUP

WASHINGTON — Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is part of a new bipartisan group that will push for an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws and a path to citizenship for estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. The other co-chairs of the new effort are former Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell; former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros, a Democrat; and former Republican Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, several people involved told The Associated Press on Friday. By Erica Werner.

Also:

— JUDICIAL BRIBERY SCANDAL — A federal judge has revoked the bond of an Austin lawyer standing trial on racketeering charges in Corpus Christi.

— TEXAS-TESTING SCANDAL — Two West Texas legislators have testified in favor of the state's removal of trustees from a district mired in a testing scandal that sent an educator to prison.

— TEXAS EDUCATION — A prominent Republican lawmaker says changes are being made to a curriculum system used in Texas schools that critics claim promotes anti-American values and stifles classroom flexibility.

— TEXAS-SPECIAL ELECTION — A Houston runoff between two Democrats vying to replace the late state Sen. Mario Gallegos will be March 2.

— STAPLES-BOOK — Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples has published a new book on border security as the Republican prepares for a crowded 2014 race for lieutenant governor.

— TRUCK DRIVER-DEATH — Police say a waste services company truck driver who apparently had some type of medical problem died after being run over by his vehicle.

— KIDNAPPING-CRASH — A Central Texas man has been convicted of killing the mother of his ex-girlfriend in an attack a few weeks after the couple broke up.

— HEROIN-AIRLINE PASSENGER — A 21-year-old airline passenger from Mexico caught in Texas with nearly 4 pounds of heroin in her suitcases has pleaded guilty in an international drug smuggling case.

BUSINESS:

AMR-US AIRWAYS

DALLAS — The boards of American Airlines parent AMR Corp. and US Airways could decide early next week whether to merge their two companies and create an airline rivaling the world's biggest. The AMR board is scheduled to meet Monday, and directors of US Airways Group Inc. planned to meet over the weekend or Monday, people close to the matter said on Friday. The two sides have been trying to resolve two major outstanding issues — the division of ownership and management roles, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are private. By Airlines Writer David Koenig.

With:

— US AIRWAYS-PILOTS — US Airways pilots have overwhelmingly approved an agreement that would result in pay raises if their company merges with American Airlines.

DELL-ACQUISITION

SAN FRANCISCO — Dell Inc.'s decision to sell itself for $24.4 billion to a group led by its founder and CEO is being ridiculed as a rotten deal by a major shareholder who estimates the slumping personal computer maker is really worth $42 billion. The missive launched Friday by Southeastern Asset Management Inc. threatens to complicate the Round Rock, Texas-based computer maker's efforts to end its 25-year history as a public company. In a letter to Dell's board of directors, Southeastern CEO O. Mason Hawkins threatened to lead a shareholder mutiny unless the company came up with an alternative to the deal announced earlier this week. By Technology Writer Michael Liedtke.

With summary box.

OIL PIPELINE-KERRY

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday promised a "fair and transparent" review of a Canadian company's plan to pipe oil from western Canada to refineries in Texas. In his first comments about the controversial Keystone XL pipeline since becoming secretary of state, Kerry said he is waiting for a review begun by his predecessor, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and hopes to make a decision in the "near term." The State Department has jurisdiction over the $7 billion pipeline because it crosses an international border. Kerry, who met with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird on Friday, praised Canada as a close ally and the largest energy supplier to the U.S. He declined to comment on the pipeline's merits, but he said the review process begun under Clinton is well under way. By Matthew Daly.

AP photo.

SPORTS REFER:

BKN--TRAIL BLAZERS-ROCKETS

HOUSTON — The Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets face off at the Toyota Center. The teams are separated by only one game for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference. Developing from 7 p.m. tipoff. By Chris Duncan.

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