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NEW AND UPDATED THIS DIGEST:
— AG-Voting Rights.
— Voting Rights-Texas Elections.
— XGR--Special Session.
— Elderly Captives-Texas.
— NYC Nose Gear Collapse.
— Gulf Shipwreck.
— Gas Well Leak.
— Iraqi Wife Beaten.
— Unlicensed Dentist.
— Prison Population.
— Dallas Police-Laser Pointer.
— Gulf Oil Spill-Halliburton.
— Halliburton-Baker Hughes-DOJ.
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration opened an aggressive new front in the battle over voter protection Thursday, singling out Texas for legal action and promising broader efforts to come after last month's Supreme Court ruling that wiped out a major provision of the Voting Rights Act. It was the administration's first legal response to counter the justices' 5-4 decision, but Attorney General Eric Holder pledged that "it will not be our last." By Pete Yost and Keith Collins.
— VOTING RIGHTS-TEXAS ELECTIONS — Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says a new voting maps challenge by the Obama administration shouldn't wreak havoc on the 2014 elections calendar.
AUSTIN, Texas — The heads of the Texas House and Senate expressed confidence Thursday that both chambers will reach an agreement boosting funding for road construction by $800-plus million annually, but an impasse on how best to do that remains unresolved. Time is running out on the second special session of the summer, even though lawmakers have completed everything on their legislative to-do list mandated by Gov. Rick Perry except for passing a major transportation funding proposal. Perry's office says if the legislation is not passed he will summon lawmakers back for a third, 30-day special session. By Will Weissert and Chris Tomlinson.
ARLINGTON, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys say their billion-dollar complex will be renamed AT&T Stadium as part of a multi-year deal with the telecommunications giant. An emotional Jerry Jones, the team's owner and general manager, said Thursday he wants "this building to be more familiar than the White House." By Uriel J. Garcia.
HOUSTON — The former nonprofit operating out of the purple-trimmed, one-story brick home in north Houston apparently started with the best of intentions: to feed and shelter homeless individuals. But Regina's Faith Ministries soon ran afoul of its philanthropic goals as it lost its nonprofit status, violated state licensing regulations and, according to authorities, ended up turning its shelter into a dungeon-like prison where three men say they were held against their will so their captor could cash public assistance checks. By Juan A. Lozano.
NYC NOSE GEAR COLLAPSE
NEW YORK — Federal investigators say it appears the nose gear of a Southwest Airlines jet that made a hard landing at New York's LaGuardia Airport hit the ground before the main landing gear. The finding was released by the National Transportation Safety Board on Thursday.
GALVESTON, Texas — Marine archaeologists said Thursday they were thrilled to examine a well-preserved 200-year-old shipwreck three-quarters of a mile deep in the Gulf of Mexico and then became "blown away" when they discovered this week two more vessels believed to all be related. Researchers led by a team from Texas State University in San Marcos are calling it the deepest shipwrecks — 4,363 feet down — that archaeologists have systematically investigated in the Gulf of Mexico and in North America. By Michael Graczyk.
GAS WELL LEAK
NEW ORLEANS — A drilling rig that caught fire after a natural gas blowout in the Gulf of Mexico appears stable now that the fire is out, and there was no sign of any oil sheen on a fly-over Thursday morning, a rig company executive said. By Janet McConnaughey and Kevin McGill
IRAQI WIFE BEATEN
EL CAJON, Calif. — The eldest daughter of an Iraqi-American man accused of fatally bludgeoning her mother at their California home testified Thursday that her father could not accept that his wife wanted to get divorced and move to Texas. The daughter, identified only as Fatima, struggled to not cry on the stand at a preliminary hearing for her father, Kassim Alhimidi, who is charged with murder. He has pleaded not guilty. By Julie Watson.
OKLAHOMA CITY — A mother and daughter from Texas have pleaded guilty to performing dentistry without a license after hours at an Oklahoma City clinic. Prosecutors allege that Elizabeth Hinojosa of Jourdanton, Texas, worked as a dental assistant during the day. Her daughter, Monica Salazar Orozco, worked as the clinic's receptionist.
— PRISON POPULATION — The government says the U.S. prison population dropped for the third straight year in 2012. Texas, however, was one of nine states that saw their prison populations drop by more than 1,000.
— DALLAS POLICE-LASER POINTER — A 22-year-old Dallas man has been sentenced to 2½ years in prison for aiming a green laser beam at a Dallas police helicopter.
— AMARILLO-PLANE CRASH — Police say one person has died in the crash of a small plane in a Texas Panhandle neighborhood. AP Photos.
— GAS PRICES — Retail gasoline prices across Texas have risen a penny this week while the nationwide tally declined.
— TARP-WRAPPED GIRL'S BODY-DETECTIVE — A North Texas police officer has been moved out of intensive care as he continues to recover after being shot by a teenager accused of sexually assaulting and then suffocating a 6-year-old Saginaw girl.
— SEX TRAFFICKING-HOMELAND SECURITY — A group of New Mexico sheriffs and a dozen Texas state troopers are meeting with adult club owners in Albuquerque to discuss ways to battle sex trafficking.
— SOCORRO POLICE-RAID — Multiple charges against two former West Texas officers have been dismissed by a judge who determined the case against them lacked sufficient evidence.
— HEALTH CARE FRAUD — A former employee of a now-defunct South Texas medical equipment company has been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for fraud and identity theft.
— MOTEL POOL-DROWNING — Investigators say a 4-year-old boy has drowned while swimming in a Southeast Texas motel pool with his family.
— HUNTSVILLE-DOUBLE SLAYING — Authorities say a woman and her 2-year-old grandson have been found slain in a rural Central Texas home. The Texas Department of Public Safety says no one has been arrested over the killings near Huntsville.
GULF OIL SPILL-HALLIBURTON
WASHINGTON — Halliburton Energy Services has agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence in connection with the 2010 Gulf oil spill, the Department of Justice said Thursday. Federal officials said in a news release that a criminal information charging Houston-based Hallburton with one count of destruction of evidence was filed in federal court in Louisiana.
HOUSTON — Federal officials have contacted Halliburton Co. and Baker Hughes Inc. as part of an antitrust investigation into an oil and gas drilling process used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Halliburton spokeswoman Beverly Blohm Stafford said Thursday that the company received what's called a civil investigative demand from the Justice Department's antitrust division during the April-to-June quarter regarding pressure pumping services and is responding to the request.
DALLAS — Southwest Airlines is getting a small break at the fuel pump, and that's helping it to slightly beat Wall Street expectations for profit. The company saved 16 cents a gallon on fuel in the second quarter, which added up to $88 million. That made a difference in a quarter during which revenue barely grew. CEO Gary Kelly said Thursday that demand is still suffering from automatic federal spending cuts that have reduced government travel and from higher taxes, but he said third-quarter trends "are encouraging." By David Koenig.
— SOUTHWEST-UNRULY PASSENGER — An unruly passenger on a Southwest Airlines jet bound from California to Texas faces prison for interfering with the crew during the May flight.
HOUSTON — The Houston Texans report to camp on Thursday with uncertainty concerning when safety Ed Reed will be ready to play. Reed, a nine-time Pro Bowler who left Baltimore to sign with Houston this offseason, is recovering from surgery to repair a partly torn labrum on April 30. By Kristie Rieken.
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