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New and updated this digest:
SPRINGTOWN, Texas — Like many cities in Texas, Springtown schools use paddling as a form of punishment. But when two teenage girls there reportedly suffered bruises after being paddled by male assistant principals, some parents complained. They weren't upset about the punishment itself, but instead that the school violated the policy requiring an educator of the same sex as the student to dole out the paddling. So the school district has changed its policy — to expand, not abolish, corporal punishment. Board members voted Monday night to let administrators paddle students of the opposite sex, after Superintendent Michael Kelley cited a lack of women administrators to carry out spankings. By Angela K. Brown.
AP photos, video.
DALLAS — There could be progress in breaking the standoff between American Airlines and its pilots, which appears to have caused a spike in canceled and delayed flights. American officials have been saying they wanted to resume negotiations on a new labor contract, and they put that in writing this week at the request of the pilots' union. A union spokesman said the group's board will meet Wednesday to decide on the next step. Pilots and management at American have been bickering for years, but the conflict came to a head this month when a federal bankruptcy judge allowed the airline to break its contract with pilots. American set new pay and work rules that could lead to outsourcing more flying to other airlines. By Airlines Writer David Koenig.
HUNTSVILLE, Texas — A former Army recruiter has been executed in Texas for participating in the shooting death of a woman he and a buddy met 10 years ago at a Fort Worth bar. Texas prison officials gave Cleve Foster a lethal injection at 6:43 p.m. CDT Tuesday, just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to postpone his punishment for a fourth time. Once previously he was moments from being led to the death chamber before the justices intervened. In its ruling Tuesday, the court said three of the nine justices would have stopped the punishment again. Foster's attorneys argued he was innocent of the slaying of Nyaneur Pal, a 30-year-old immigrant from Sudan. They also said he had deficient legal help at his trial and in the early stages of his appeals. By Michael Grazyk.
BBROWNSVILLE, Texas — Motivated by an internal rivalry and the hope of avoiding a life sentence, the nephew of a former Mexican Gulf cartel kingpin testified Tuesday that he has been cooperating with U.S. authorities since his arrest in October. Rafael Cardenas Vela, nephew of former Gulf cartel boss Osiel Cardenas Guillen, made it clear to jurors that he hopes his cooperation, which includes weekly interviews over a period of months, will translate to less time in prison. He also said he has no qualms about testifying against Juan Roberto Rincon-Rincon, a cartel colleague who stood on the opposite side of an internal rift and is charged with conspiring to possess and import cocaine and marijuana. By Christopher Sherman.
OPEN MEETINGS LAWSUIT
AUSTIN, Texas — A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld Texas' open meetings law, rejecting a lawsuit that argued it stifles free speech for government officials and subjects them to criminal penalties for talking business in informal settings. The 1967 Texas Open Meetings Act prohibits a quorum of members of a governmental body from deliberating in secret. Violations are punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.
WASHINGTON — NASA's future plans to explore Mars may end up using astronauts as space messengers. The new idea surfaced as a special team looking for a new Mars robotic exploration plan released a preliminary report Tuesday. One of the option calls for a Martian robotic rover to collect rocks on the red planet. Later, astronauts in a newly built spaceship would be used to pick them up from a cosmic delivery point somewhere between Earth and Mars and return them home. By Science Writer Seth Borenstein.
AUSTIN, Texas — A Hindu guru who became a fugitive after being convicted of molesting two teenagers at his Texas ashram fled to India with the help of spiritual followers who are now under investigation by federal prosecutors. The Austin American-Statesman reported Tuesday that Prakashanand Saraswati likely snuck into India nearly a year ago decreasing the chances he will be captured and returned to Texas. State investigators have marveled at how a network of devotees apparently schemed to keep their 83-year-old guru from likely spending the rest of his life in prison. Newly filed court documents obtained by the newspaper reveal that Prakashanand, who uses a wheelchair, apparently snuck into Mexico two days after the March 2011 conviction while free on a $1 million bond. He is then believed to have flown to India eight months later with a fake passport.
— TEXANS-FAN DEATH — A Texas coroner says the fan who fell to his death at the Houston Texans' stadium during a preseason game had a blood-alcohol level that was twice the legal limit for driving at the time of the accident.
— IMMIGRANT HOSTAGES — A purported leader and two others in an alleged immigrant smuggling operation have been sentenced for kidnapping 18 illegal immigrants and holding them for ransom in South Texas last year.
— BUSH-WARRIOR OPEN — Former President George W. Bush has wrapped up a two-day golf tournament for wounded U.S. military members.
— TV-BACHELOR-LOWE — ABC says the next star of "The Bachelor" will be 28-year-old Dallas businessman Sean Lowe, who was dumped on "The Bachelorette."
From previous digest:
FIREFIGHTERS' TRIBUTE-BOY DIES
DALLAS — A 4-year-old Dallas boy whose battle with cancer inspired his father's firefighting crew, then firefighters from across the country to post photos of support for him on his Facebook page has died. Dameon Burcie, who is a lieutenant in the Dallas Fire Department, said his son Dyrk died peacefully on Monday at the family home in Dallas. By Terry Wallace.
WACO, Texas — St. Louis Catholic School has a special challenge on its hands this year, with four students who speak only French. But school officials and the students' family say the challenge is really a great experience for everyone involved. Louis and Laure Chevallier Chantepie moved their family to Waco from Nantes, France, in early August, kicking off a three-year stint while Louis works on a special project at Manitou Waco, a company that makes forklifts. By Wendy Gragg, Waco Tribune-Herald.
AP member photos planned.
— SOLDIER SLAIN-HICCUPS — One Central Texas soldier has been charged with killing another in gunfire while allegedly trying to help cure the victim's hiccups. Killeen police say the Fort Hood soldiers were drinking alcohol and watching football when the incident happened Sunday night.
— TEXAS DROUGHT-TREES — An updated ground and aerial survey indicates about 301 million trees have died in rural Texas because of the 2011 drought. The Texas A&M Forest Service said Tuesday that the figure comes from an examination of hundreds of forested plots statewide.
— BOOKS-PEROT — H. Ross Perot is again getting down to brass tacks — this time in print. The 82-year-old Texas billionaire and former presidential candidate has a deal with Simon & Schuster for his autobiography titled "Ross Perot: My Life" and scheduled to come out in January.
— HEALTH CARE FRAUD SCHEME — A co-defendant of a Dallas-area doctor charged with a massive Medicare and Medicaid fraud scheme has pleaded guilty to recruiting patients and billing for unnecessary medical services.
— BABY MAULED — A 3-month-old North Texas boy has died after being mauled by a family dog as police investigated a domestic disturbance. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office on Tuesday identified the victim as Bruce Rayden of Burleson.
— BOOKS-WILLIE NELSON — Willie Nelson has proven to be one of America's most prolific songwriters. Turns out he's no slouch when it comes to memoirs, either: He has a new one due in November.
— SHERMAN HEMSLEY-BODY — A Texas judge has ordered DNA testing on a man who claims to be the brother of the late "The Jeffersons" star Sherman Hemsley. Richard Thornton is challenging the validity of Hemsley's will.
— BBA--ATHLETICS-RANGERS — The AL West-leading Texas Rangers look to stretch their division lead against the Oakland Athletics in the second game of a key four-game series. Game starts 7:05 p.m. CT. AP photos.