Alain Stephens

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From Texas Standard:

A type of synthetic marijuana that is undetectable on standard drug tests is quickly becoming the most popular form of contraband in Texas prisons.

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From Texas Standard:

There are a lot of labels in the world of politics. There are Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives and even libertarians. But socialists is another thing altogether. Socialists are pretty close to communists, as some see it. 

For years, the socialist label has been something of a taboo, not just in Texas but in many parts of the country. Today though, many younger voters are leaning hard left, and they’re looking to old-school socialists for leadership and inspiration.

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From Texas Standard:

On Monday, Russia threatened to shoot down any coalition jets flying west of the Euphrates river, after the U.S. shot down a Syrian warplane over the weekend. Russia is also suspending its use of the hotline between the U.S. and Russia that was set up to prevent accidents in the Syrian combat zone. The U.S. has also suspended talks with Russia over resolution of the Syrian conflict.

 

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From Texas Standard:

Ever sat at the gas pump, and just wondered when enough is enough? Constantly fluctuating gas prices, the wasted time spent sitting at the pump – not to mention fumes, smog and other environmental factors – all lead to the search for a better alternative.

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From Texas Standard:

In the wake of last weekend’s terrorist attack in London that left seven people dead, Prime Minister Theresa May has gone beyond asking social media companies to vet content posted on their sites more fully. She’s raised the specter of holding social media platforms legally accountable for facilitating the spread of terrorist ideology.

From Texas Standard:

Five seconds and 50,000 volts – that's enough of a jolt to hijack your nervous system and contract every muscle in your body. Applying electricity in this way has become the tool of choice for police officers across the country. We're talking about conducted electrical weapons, better-known as tasers. They've rapidly moved from an obscure police technology, into the public consciousness. They've been hailed by law enforcement as a life-saving tool. But some critics say that's far from the case.

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From Texas Standard:

in 46 states, texting while driving is illegal. But not in Texas. It appears that could change on Tuesday. Though many cities in Texas ban using smartphones while driving, a bill is en route to the governor's desk that specifically outlaws texting while driving. But your apps and GPS might still be within legal reach.

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From Texas Standard:

It was May 17, 2015, shortly after noon in the parking lot of a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas. Little is known about what started it. Some say it was a fight over a parking space that led to a patron’s foot being run over. And suddenly in the mix – a flurry of gunfire.

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From Texas Standard:

On Saturday, 15-year-old Jordan Edwards went to a party near Balch Springs, Texas. He didn’t make it home that night. Officer Roy Oliver of the Balch Springs Police Department was responding to the sound of gunshots at the party when he opened fire on a car, killing Edwards, who was a passenger.

The officer reported that the vehicle was moving toward him aggressively. Now the police department says video evidence contradicts the initial report.

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From Texas Standard:

Texas is one of six states that tries 17-year-olds as adults. But a new bill wants Texas to follow the national trend of raising the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18.

House Bill 122, authored by Reps. Harold Dutton Jr. (D-Houston) and Gene Wu (D-Houston), passed the House last week and could be on its way to the Senate.


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From Texas Standard:

Many have expressed concern and outrage over the way police treat citizens, especially African-Americans and other minorities. The Black Lives Matter movement began in response to the deaths of African-Americans in police custody, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the arrest of Sandra Bland, who was later found dead in a Waller County jail, an apparent suicide.

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From Texas Standard:

The names of some of Mexico’s most infamous drug lords are well-known: Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada and Rafael Caro Quintero. Besides their profession and location, they have one other thing in common – they are all men. But those following the evolution of cartels in the country are noticing a demographic shift.

A portion of the south Texas border fence and remote surveillance cameras.
Donna Burton/U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. Government Work)

From Texas Standard:

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said just yesterday that it is "unlikely" that a wall along the United States' southern border will be built in full. That’s different from the Trump administration's original proposed plans to build a continuous 30-foot wall, regardless of the terrain and other potential obstacles.

 

The SpaceX complex at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
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From Texas Standard:

It’s a bird, it’s a plane…it’s a space shuttle filled with tourists? While that idea sounds like science fiction, the reality of sending tourists to space is right around the corner – at least if you believe Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos. He recently announced that Blue Origin, his private space company, could begin flying private citizens to the edge of the atmosphere by next year.

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From Texas Standard:

When Texas police are involved in a shooting – whether they shot the gun or not – they are mandated to report it to the attorney general’s office. But the legislator who sponsored the 2015 law acknowledges that it has no teeth. And one report has found that not all police departments are following the rules.

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From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump renewed a campaign pledge Thursday to sign a bill that would alter an aspect of the divide between church and state that's been in place since 1954. At a prayer breakfast in Washington, D.C. he said he would “get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution.”

Some conservatives and religious organizations, among them evangelical Protestants which have been at the forefront in pushing for the amendment’s repeal, argue that the Johnson Amendment infringes on the First Amendment’s right to free speech.

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From Texas Standard

A robbery turned fatal at the Rolling Oaks Mall in San Antonio on Sunday. The shooting has brought up questions about concealed carry and when it’s appropriate for people to intervene in such incidents.

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From Texas Standard:

Statistics of officer-involved shootings are scarce in Texas. But the investigations team at the Houston Chronicle has been examining the city's police force to get a handle on the numbers.

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From Texas Standard

Over the last few months, the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System has tanked, with reports saying the fund turned into a catastrophe after a string of bad real estate investments. To make matters worse, participants attempted to withdraw hundreds of millions of dollars, forcing Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to take legal action to stop the bleed off. Now Rawlings is asking for  a full-blown criminal investigation led by the Texas Rangers.

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From Texas Standard:

Miguel Navarro is 5’ 3’’ and small-framed. When reporters Alain Stephens and Hannah McBride speak to him, he’s in handcuffs and ankle restraints. He’s nervous and sweaty. His brown eyes well up with tears when they ask him about that night.

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