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NEW AND UPDATED THIS DIGEST:
— Russian Adoptee Dead-Texas.
— Russian Adoptee Dead-Agency.
— Fort Hood Shooting.
— Oil Pipeline.
— Japan-US Military.
— Texas-Budget Battle-Defense Cuts.
— Budget Battle-Immigrants Release.
— Private Space.
— Texas-No Child Left Behind.
— Texas Tech-Presidency.
— Cincinnati Zoo-Baby Gorilla.
— Obit-Nancy Lee Bass.
— Van Cliburn-Funeral.
— Railroad Antitrust Lawsuit.
RUSSIAN ADOPTEE DEAD-TEXAS
ODESSA, Texas — The death of a 3-year-old adopted Russian boy has been ruled an accident by West Texas authorities, but officials said Friday they are still investigating a case that has become a flashpoint in the debate over international adoption. By Betsy Blaney.
With RUSSIAN ADOPTEE DEAD-AGENCY — State authorities say they found no violations at a Fort Worth agency that processed a West Texas family's adoption of a Russian boy who later died.
FORT HOOD SHOOTING
FORT HOOD, Texas — More than three years after the deadly shooting rampage at Fort Hood, an Army psychiatrist may soon describe details of the terrifying attack for the first time, if he's allowed to plead guilty to lesser charges. Maj. Nidal Hasan would be required to describe his actions and answer questions about the Nov. 5, 2009, attack on the Texas Army post if the judge allows him to plead guilty to the lesser charges, as his attorneys have said he wants to do. By Angela K. Brown.
WASHINGTON — The State Department on Friday raised no major objections to the Keystone XL oil pipeline and said other options to get the oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries are worse for climate change. But the latest environmental review stops short of recommending whether the project should be approved. State Department approval of the 1,700-mile pipeline is needed because it crosses a U.S. border. By Matthew Daly and Dina Cappiello.
HOUSTON — A divided federal appeals court panel has thrown out the capital murder conviction a former Fort Worth street gang leader sentenced to die for gunning down a Dallas father of four during an attempted robbery in 2001. A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 Friday that Nelson Gongora's constitutional rights were violated by comments from a Tarrant County assistant district attorney. By Michael Graczyk.
TOKYO — Two U.S. Navy sailors, including an East Texan, were convicted and sentenced to prison on Friday for raping and robbing a woman on Okinawa in a crime that outraged many on the southern Japanese island. By Eric Talmadge.
TEXAS-BUDGET BATTLE-DEFENSE CUTS
AUSTIN, Texas — Automatic government spending cuts could see military operations across Texas lose at least $1.7 billion before the end of the fiscal year, the U.S. Defense Department said late Friday. In a letter to Gov. Rick Perry obtained by The Associated Press, the department said that no deal in Congress to stave off $85 billion in federal budget reductions means $41 billion will evaporate from the Defense Department budget by Sept. 30. It said the Army would lose $233 million in base operations funding across Texas, including cuts at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Killeen's Fort Hood and Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. Meanwhile, Army weapons depot operations in Red River and Corpus Christi may lose far more than that — with reductions totaling as much as $1.4 billion. By Will Weissert.
BUDGET BATTLE-IMMIGRANTS RELEASE
WASHINGTON — The Homeland Security Department released from its jails more than 2,000 illegal immigrants facing deportation in recent weeks due to looming budget cuts and planned to release 3,000 more during March, The Associated Press has learned. The states where immigrants were released include Arizona, California, Georgia and Texas. By Alicia A. Caldwell.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A commercial vessel carrying a ton of supplies for the International Space Station ran into thruster trouble shortly after liftoff Friday, and flight controllers scrambled to fix the problem. Flight controllers managed to gain control, but were forced to delay its arrival at the orbiting lab. By Aerospace Writer Marcia Dunn.
— TEXAS-NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND — Texas has formally sought a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education to avoid accountability standards imposed by the No Child Left Behind law.
— TEXAS TECH-PRESIDENCY — Regents have chosen University of Idaho President M. Duane Nellis as the lone finalist for the Texas Tech University presidency.
— SHARING HOME SURVEILLANCE-POLICES — Suburban Dallas homeowner Scott Lindsey is hoping his home surveillance system will help police catch criminals or even save a life.
— POLICE CHIEF-INDICTED — The police chief of a suburban Dallas school district is facing five felony charges that include sexual assault.
— TEXAS SHERIFF-CORRUPTION — The sheriff of an East Texas county has been arrested in a public corruption investigation involving alleged theft, abuse of power and fraud.
— CINCINNATI ZOO-BABY GORILLA — A baby gorilla that was recently moved to the Cincinnati Zoo from Texas now has a name.
— OBIT-NANCY LEE BASS — Nancy Lee Bass, philanthropist and matriarch of Fort Worth's leading family, has died a week before her 96th birthday. With AP photos.
— VAN CLIBURN-FUNERAL — A weekend funeral is scheduled for Van Cliburn, the celebrated pianist whose virtuosity triumphed over the Cold War.
NEW YORK — It's been a tough week to be Ron Johnson. J.C. Penney's CEO was in the hot seat again on Friday in New York State Supreme Court after facing investors earlier this week over a dismal quarterly earnings performance that marked one year of snowballing losses and sharp sales declines since he came on board. This time, he was being grilled for four hours by lawyers from rival Macy's Inc. who presented emails that he wrote that they believe illustrate how he plotted to push home diva Martha Stewart to breach an exclusive deal with his rival. By Retail Writer Anne D'innocenzio.
RAILROAD ANTITRUST LAWSUIT
OMAHA, Neb. — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit that accused Union Pacific and BNSF Railways of price fixing. Oxbow Carbon & Minerals LLC said in its lawsuit that the two biggest railroads in the western U.S. worked to avoid direct competition with each other to keep rates high, and that Union Pacific has refused to ship coal from its Oxbow's Elk Creek Mine in western Colorado to avoid competing with Fort Worth, Texas-based BNSF. By Margery A. Beck.
PORT ALLEN, La. — Houston-based Waller Marine will build a small-scale liquefied natural gas facility at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge in Port Allen to supply vessels with the cleaner-burning fuel they will need to keep up with tougher environmental standards. The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/Z6vp1i ) the facility is small compared with the billion-dollar LNG projects announced in south Louisiana in recent years. Company officials said Thursday Waller Marine plans to spend $200 million initially, though that amount could double as it adds capacity.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin meets with the media a day before the Aggies begin spring football drills. Texas A&M is coming off its most successful season in more than a decade, which was highlighted by quarterback Johnny Manziel becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.
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