Malaysia Airlines
10:57 am
Thu July 17, 2014

U.S. Officials: Malaysian Airliner Likely Shot Down

A woman at Kuala Lumpur International Airport reacts to news of crash. The flight was on its way to the Malaysian capital.
Samsul Said Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 11:31 am

This post was last updated at 6:40 p.m. ET.

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 298 passengers and crew aboard has crashed in eastern Ukraine in an area of the country that has been wracked by a separatist insurgency.

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Life & Arts
10:47 am
Thu July 17, 2014

‘Breaking Bad’ Star Bryan Cranston on Walter White, LBJ and the JFK Assassination (Update)

Bryan Cranston at an event Thursday at the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum. Cranston plays LBJ in "All the Way" – a play on its way to Broadway.
Cody Rea for KUT

Update: Those who weren't able to check out the play "All the Way" during its run on Broadway will have a second chance when Bryan Cranston reprises his role of President Lyndon B. Johnson in an HBO adaptation (an air date has not yet been announced).

Cranston researched the role at the LBJ Library and Museum in Austin – and it must have paid off – he won a Tony Award for his performance. The play itself also won a Tony. It was written by Austin playwright Robert Schenkkan. Click Here to check out KUT's interview with Schenkkan.

Highlights from a November press appearance with Cranston are below:

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Middle East
8:02 am
Thu July 17, 2014

A 5-Hour Truce Between Hamas And Israel Ends, And Fighting Begins

A Palestinian municipality worker sweeps the street as a United Nations vehicle drives past a damaged money exchange post. Israel and Hamas took a break from fighting Thursday for humanitarian reasons.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 3:12 pm

This post was updated at 4:10 p.m. ET: Ground Offenses Begin

Israel has sent ground forces into Gaza on Thursday, which we are covering in this post.

Update at 1:15 p.m. ET: Hostilities Resume

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Music
7:37 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Blues Guitarist Johnny Winter Dies At 70

Legendary blues guitarist Johnny Winter, seen here performing in Valencia in 2008, has died at age 70.
Diego Tuson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 10:08 am

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Health
6:33 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Dogs Carry Kissing Bug Disease In Texas And Latin America

Dogs throughout Latin America carry the Chagas parasite — and boost the risk of people catching it. And it's not just shelter dogs, like these in Mexico, who are at risk. Even family dogs get the deadly disease.
Jose Luis Gonzalez Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 10:47 am

We often think about people spreading diseases around the world. This spring, vacationers brought chikungunya from the Caribbean to the United States. Businessmen have likely spread Ebola across international borders in West Africa. And health care workers have carried a new virus from the Middle East to Asia and Europe.

But what about (wo)man's best friend?

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UT Austin
5:44 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

UT Regent Investigation Focuses Less on Wallace Hall, More on Powers’ Resignation

UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa told state lawmakers asking UT-Austin President Bill Powers to resign was in the "best interest of the university."
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

In what's become the never-ending story of state higher education news, the Texas House Transparency Committee continued to hash out details of the fractured relationship between the UT System Board of Regents and UT-Austin leadership Wednesday, as it investigates the actions of UT Regent Wallace Hall.

The committee is deciding if it should file impeachment proceedings against Hall, who some believe abused his powers as regent, but Wednesday's meeting also focused on last week's agreement for UT Austin President Bill Powers to resign at the end of the 2014-2015 school year.

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Elections 2014
4:59 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Can Democrats Really Keep Up With Republicans in the Fundraising Race?

Texas Democrats may be raising more money from individual donors, but Republican campaigns have proven adept at consistently garnering campaign-sustaining contributions.
Photo by KUT News

Both candidates in the race for governor have raised $11 million since late February. In the race for lieutenant governor, the Democratic candidate beat out the heavily-favored Republican nominee in fundraising over the last campaign finance reporting period. To some that could appear to be a watershed moment in Texas politics for red state Democrats, but The Austin American-Statesman's chief political writer Jonathan Tilove says the moment is a bit misleading, if not one-sided.  

Tilove spoke with The Texas Standard's David Brown about whether the Democrats' historic fundraising efforts will be enough to defeat their Republican opponents in November. 

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Austin
3:32 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

UIL Moves Basketball Championships to the Alamodome Because of SXSW Crowds

The Frank Erwin Center has hosted UIL basketball championships since 1978.
Dave Wilson Photography http://davewilsonphotography.com/

Believe it or not, some young people in Austin during the second week of South by Southwest aren’t necessarily in town for free beer, live music and free (and occasionally questionable) promotional materials. Some brave the traffic and throngs of people in the hopes of winning a championship.

The University Interscholastic League – the state’s host and organizer of high school academic and athletic competitions – has held its UIL Basketball State Tournaments in Austin for more than 90 years. But, because of waning attendance and the high cost of Austin hotels during South by, UIL has decided to move the championship from the Frank Erwin Center down I-35 to San Antonio’s Alamodome starting next year. 

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Border & Immigration
12:25 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

La Bestia: Hit Song Warning Immigrants Was Made for U.S. Border Patrol

Many Central American immigrants catch freight trains on the way to the U.S.-Mexico border. These trains are commonly known as "La Bestia." A song of the same name refers to the dangerous journey many find aboard such trains.
flickr.com/peterhaden

There’s a new hit song in Central America. It’s called “La Bestia” and people in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador are requesting it from their radio stations.

But guess what? The U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioned it.

“La Bestia” refers to a dangerous train called “The Beast” where thousands of immigrants ride to cross the U.S. – risking assaults, robbery, murder, kidnapping and rape. The catchy, upbeat cumbia song is part of Border Patrol’s multi-million dollar Dangers Awareness Campaign, meant to deter immigrants from entering the U.S.

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Hydraulic Fracturing
10:01 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Denton Council Punts Fracking Ban Proposal To Voters

World Resources Institute via Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

DENTON – Voters will decide whether this North Texas college town will become the state's first city to ban hydraulic fracturing. 

After a public hearing Tuesday night that stretched into Wednesday morning, the Denton City Council rejected a proposal to ban the method of oil and gas extraction inside the city, which sits on the edge of the gas-rich Barnett Shale. The 5-2 vote kicked the question to the city’s November ballot, the next step in a high-profile property rights clash that will likely be resolved outside of Denton.   

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