BC-TX--Texas News Digest,2nd Ld-Writethru, TX

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News,Science and Technology

Texas news at 10 p.m. CDT.

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New and updated this digest:

HIPMUNK-CRANDALL

DALLAS — Former American Airlines chief executive Robert Crandall has joined the board of travel-search startup Hipmunk Inc. The company's website sorts flights on a visual timeline with graphics that show at a glance whether connections are involved, the plane has Internet access, and other details. It does something similar with hotels, showing a map with nearby alternatives and links to TripAdvisor reviews. It also sells a service called "Business Class" for $9.99 a month that lets a corporate travel coordinator integrate employees' online calendars to help plan trips. The traveler gets an email listing flight and hotel options for approval. By Airlines Writer David Koenig.

Also:

— TAX COLLECTOR GUILTY — A Central Texas county official has been sentenced to five years' probation for trading a county-owned truck for thousands less than its value so his friend could buy it.

From previous digest:

AMERICAN AIRLINES-CANCELATIONS

DALLAS — American Airlines and American Eagle say they will cancel 300 flights this week to cope with a high number of pilots reporting sick and an increase in maintenance reports filed by crews. That's 1.25 percent of the 24,000 flights that were scheduled by the two airlines, which are owned by AMR Corp. The two airlines had already canceled 249 flights this week by Wednesday afternoon, a flight-tracking service said, suggesting that cancelations might far exceed American's estimate. AMR said Wednesday that it canceled the flights in advance to avoid inconveniencing passengers. Earlier this week, American said it would cut its schedule through the end of October by up to 2 percent. By Airlines Writer David Koenig.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS-TEXAS

NEW ORLEANS — A Dallas suburb asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to uphold an ordinance that would ban illegal immigrants from renting homes in the town. The full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to rehear the case after a three-judge panel from the court ruled in March that Farmers Branch's ordinance is unconstitutional and impermissibly interferes with the federal immigration system. The court's 15 judges didn't indicate when they would rule after hearing arguments Wednesday from attorneys for the town and a group of landlords and tenants who sued to block the ordinance's enforcement. By Michael Kunzelman.

AP photos.

FAST AND FURIOUS

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department's internal watchdog on Wednesday faulted the agency for misguided strategies, errors in judgment and management failures during a bungled gun-trafficking probe in Arizona that disregarded public safety and resulted in hundreds of weapons turning up at crime scenes in the U.S. and Mexico. A former head of the department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and a deputy assistant attorney general in Justice's criminal division in Washington left the department upon the report's release — the first by retirement, the second by resignation. The report did not criticize Attorney General Eric Holder, but said lower-level officials should have briefed him about the investigation much earlier. By Pete Yost.

AP photos, audio.

MEXICO-PIPELINE FIRE

REYNOSA, Mexico — The death toll in a pipeline fire at a distribution plant near the U.S. border has risen to 29, Mexico's state-owned oil company said Wednesday. At least 46 others were injured, and more might be missing. Juan Jose Suarez, director of the state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos company, told local media earlier in the day that at least five workers had not been seen since the blast. On Tuesday, the company, known as Pemex, said in its Twitter account that a total of seven people were unaccounted for. President Felipe Calderon said the quick reaction of emergency teams prevented a "real catastrophe," by controlling the fire before it reached the huge tanks of a neighboring gas processing plant. By Christopher Sherman.

AP photos.

SPACE SHUTTLE-LAST STOP

HOUSTON — Waving American flags and space shuttle toys, hundreds of people lined the streets and crowded the airport Wednesday as they watched space shuttle Endeavour touch down in Houston on its way to be permanently displayed in California. But for many, the experience was bittersweet, tinged with an aftertaste of having been cheated of something they believe should rightfully have been theirs. By Ramit Plushnick-Masti

AP photos.

DALLAS-911 CALLER KILLED

DALLAS — The family of a Dallas woman who tried to call 911 and was later found slain inside her home filed a lawsuit Wednesday over the handling of her case. The relatives of Deanna Cook sued the city of Dallas and others, alleging police were late responding to the call and relied on inexperienced officers who didn't properly investigate. Cook was found dead by her family two days after her frantic call to 911 because only knocked on the door when following up on the initial call. Cook's ex-husband is jailed on a murder charge. By Nomaan Merchant.

AP photos.

TEXAS EXECUTION

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Arrested and then fired for exposing himself to a customer at a Dallas-area car wash where he'd worked for 10 months, Robert Wayne Harris borrowed a car and gun from acquaintances and returned a week later just before it was to open for the day. He was arrested the next day and charged with murder after five bodies were discovered at the Mi-T-Fine Car Wash in Irving. Harris, 40, was set for execution Thursday evening for the carnage. By Michael Graczyk.

AP photo.

JFK EXHIBIT

DALLAS — Waking up on the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy realized that their Fort Worth hotel suite featured an extraordinary array of artwork — from a painting by Vincent van Gogh to a bronze by Pablo Picasso. Next year, almost all of those works the Kennedy's admired in their last private moments before he was assassinated in Dallas will be reunited for an exhibit that will open at the Dallas Museum of Art in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the assassination. By Jamie Stengle.

AP photos.

MARS CURIOSITY

WASHINGTON — On Mars, a partial eclipse of the sun isn't quite as rare as on Earth. So NASA's Mars Curiosity rover is snapping hundreds of pictures of the spectacle for the folks back home to ooh and aah over. Two moons zip around the red planet and they're closer and faster than our lumbering moon, so eclipses are more common. Scientists say there's even somewhat of an eclipse season on Mars, and it's that time of year when those Martian moons take turns taking bites of the sun. Texas A&M University scientist Mark Lemmon said the eclipse pictures will help scientists track the fate of the larger Martian moon, Phobos, which is slowing down in its orbit around Mars. In 10 to 15 million years, Phobos will get so close to Mars it will break up and crash into the planet. These moons aren't mere curiosity factors. They get so close to Mars that "they change Mars' shape ever so slightly" with their pull, Lemmon said. By Science Writer Seth Borenstein.

AP photos.

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES-LABOR

DALLAS — A union representing about 8,500 ground workers at Southwest Airlines and the airline itself are asking federal mediators to break a standoff in contract talks. The Transport Workers Union said Wednesday that there's been almost no progress made in 14 months of negotiations. Both sides say they asked the National Mediation Board to step in. The union says Southwest is asking workers for contract concessions including outsourcing of jobs and hiring more part-timers while not offering pay raises. Charles Cerf, president of the union local that represents the workers, called Southwest's proposals "entirely unacceptable." By Airlines Writer David Koenig.

LSU-BOMB THREAT

BATON ROUGE, La. — Police have arrested a suspect in the bomb threat that led to the evacuation of the LSU campus earlier this week but don't believe he is connected to threats made against three other universities recently. LSU Police Capt. Corey Lalonde said officers arrested William Bouvay Jr., 42, of Baton Rouge late Tuesday night after an investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies. Lalonde said Bouvay was not an LSU student and appeared to have no connection to the campus. He did not know what the suspect's motive might have been. Investigators don't think Bouvay is connected to threats made last week at college campuses in Texas, North Dakota and Ohio. By Sheila V Kumar.

With:

— LSU-BOMB THREAT-TEXAS — Police at Louisiana State University say they don't believe a suspect arrested in a campus bomb threat is connected to a similar call that led to an evacuation at the University of Texas at Austin last week.

GULF FISHERIES

NEW ORLEANS — Gulf of Mexico fishing boats hauled in far more menhaden last year than in 2010. Catches of some other important species were above pre-spill levels in some Gulf Coast states. But a federal official says it's too early to rule out long-term effects from the spill. A national report released Wednesday says the Gulf's menhaden catch last year was nearly 66 percent above that in 2010. Other species also showed increases. Roy Crabtree of NOAA Fisheries says that's guardedly good news. But he says it's probably too soon to tell whether the spill killed eggs and immature fish. If that happened, the loss would show up when fish hatched in 2010 were due to spawn. Maturity rates vary widely. So do annual catches. By Janet McConnaughey.

MENTALLY DISABLED WORKERS

IOWA CITY, Iowa — A Texas company that profited for decades by supplying mentally disabled workers to an Iowa turkey plant at wages of 41 cents per hour must pay the men $1.37 million in back wages, a federal judge ruled late Tuesday. The judgment against Henry's Turkey Service of Goldthwaite, Texas, is the third of more than $1 million against the company after state authorities in 2009 shut down a dilapidated bunkhouse in rural Iowa where the men had lived since the 1970s. By Ryan J. Foley.

EXCHANGE-MINISTER-FAMILY CEMETERY

UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas — Before the brick homes and shaded yards, the tree swings and the trimmed hedges, before there was even a town, there was a family cemetery. Daniel Family Cemetery has existed almost as long as Texas has been a state, and its more than 90 tombstones span the changes that have occurred outside its locked gates at Airline Road and Milton Avenue. By Melissa Repko, The Dallas Morning News.

Also:

— MEXICO-PRISON BREAK — A judge in Mexico has ordered the detention of 16 guards and officials at a prison near the U.S. border where the brutal Zetas drug cartel orchestrated a mass tunnel escape of more than 130 inmates.

— WEST NILE-TEXAS — A suburban Dallas county has reported its fourth West Nile-related death and at least the 55th reported in Texas.

— TEXAS SUPREME COURT — Texas Supreme Court Justice Dale Wainwright is resigning effective Sept. 30 to go into private law practice.

— AUSTIN-WOMAN KILLED — A jury has found an Austin-area man guilty of capital murder in the death of his mother, whom he hit with his truck as she was being loaded onto an ambulance stretcher.

— POLICE-SEX DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT — Leaders of a South Texas city have approved a $700,000 settlement of a gender discrimination complaint from the Justice Department over female police applicants who failed a physical ability test.

— SUPREME COURT-TEXAS REDISTRICTING — The Supreme Court is allowing Texas to use congressional districts that were drawn by a lower federal court for the November election. The court declined without comment Wednesday a request from a Latino rights group to block use of those districts.

— FATHER CHARGED-DEATH — A Texas Panhandle woman whose 4-year-old grandson died after beatings by her son must serve 90 days in jail for not seeking medical help for the boy. Gayle Edes of Clarendon pleaded guilty to felony injury to a child by omission.

— DRUG SMUGGLING SENTENCE — A Texas man has been sentenced in Lafayette to life in prison for his role in a drug trafficking operation. A federal jury convicted 45-year-old Antonio Luna Valdez, of Weslaco, Texas, of a conspiracy charge in February

— SOUTHWEST AIRLINES-LABOR — A union representing about 8,500 ground workers at Southwest Airlines and the airline itself are asking federal mediators to break a standoff in contract talks. The Transport Workers Union said Wednesday that there's been almost no progress made in 14 months of negotiations.

SPORTS REFER:

— FBN--COWBOYS-FELIX'S FUTURE — Felix Jones fumbled away the opening kickoff, then tripped while runnng alone after a catch on the game's last play. The Dallas Cowboys' first-round pick in 2008, who failed his initial conditioning test at the start of training camp this year, has one rushing attempt for no gain. Not a good start in the last season his rookie contract. By Stephen Hawkins.

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