Hady Karl Mawajdeh

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From Texas Standard:

Thanksgiving is just a few days away and many would-be passengers are hoping airlines will be trying to make the holiday flying experience somewhat less unpleasant. According to a new study by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), however, it looks like happy customers don’t really make airlines any more profitable.

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From Texas Standard:

Over the past several months, Texas has become home to hundreds of Syrian refugees. These people fled their homes because of terrible war conditions that made life dangerous, unstable and completely unpredictable – a far cry from the ideals of freedom that both Texas and France uphold today.

After Friday’s attacks, and a report that at least one of the Paris attackers slipped through Europe’s refugee screening system from Syria, many are beginning to wonder if Western countries will continue to be as welcoming.


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From Texas Standard:

On Monday President Barack Obama made the call to "ban the box" for federal job applicants with prison records so that they are given a chance to get through the door.

The box in question is the check box on job applications asking applicants if they have ever been convicted of a crime.


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From Texas Standard:

Yik Yak is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. A few days ago a student at Texas A&M yakked: "Don't go to campus... this will be my only warning." Officials filed an emergency subpoena to track down the poster, who was arrested for making terrorist threats.

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From Texas Standard:

Music is undergoing a transformation – chances are you've not only heard of Spotify and Pandora, you're a subscriber too. The vinyl of old is long gone.

At clubs and bars, the DJs – most of them are men – typically work fake turntables controlling mp3 files. That's just the way its done today.

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From Texas Standard:

If you haven't noticed, the state of Texas has caught a fever. It has nothing to do with mirrored balls or flare-legged pants, despite our fondest hopes. It's even better. Suffice to say that as two Texas teams – the Rangers and the Astros — get this close to advancing in the playoffs, we're excited.

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From Texas Standard

It may be one of the most innovative merit scholarship programs anywhere in America.

Audio Pending...

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From Texas Standard:

Today, the Houston hip-hop sound is known around the world: hypnotic, narcotic slow-motion beats, pioneered by DJ Screw, which have found their way from the bayous of Syrup City to the Billboard Top 10.

Image courtesy Dr. Edward Wozniak/DSHS

You know how some bugs – like mosquitos – can transmit illnesses, like the West Nile virus or malaria, through a bite?

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From Texas Standard

Only 32 percent of federal district court judges and 35 percent of federal appeals judges are female, according to the National Women's Law Center.

Courtesy of Abdulrahman Zetoun

From Texas Standard:  

Of the millions displaced by the Syrian civil war and the atrocities committed by ISIS terrorists, hundreds of those trying to escape the violence have ended up here, in Texas.

One of those individuals, Abdulrahman Zetoun, arrived in America back in January. In Syria, life was riddled with violence.

"We used to wake up and sleep with the sounds of bombs and explosions and machine guns," Zetoun says. "To see every day dead bodies and injured peoples on the sides of the roads."

As reported earlier this month, the Austin City Council got a look at the final version of a plan to redevelop the land along Waller Creek into a chain of parks.

They liked what they saw: Today, the council unanimously voted to approve the design plan developed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates with little argument.

Sinclair Black & Andrew Vernooy

Update (June 20): This morning Austin City Council members decided to go ahead and approve a resolution supporting a I-35 National Environmental Policy Act study for a plan to reconnect East & West Austin by submerging it from approximately River Street to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

Council also directed the City Manager to develop an economic impact study and look at associated financing options.

KUT News

Austin Energy is turning to the wind to power the city’s future.

Austin City Council members will look at a contract today that increases the amount of renewable energy purchased by Austin Energy to 35 percent from 25 percent.   


Today is the deadline for people in West to apply for federal assistance.

It’s been nearly eight weeks since the April 17 fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people and destroyed around 150 homes. So far, FEMA has registered 789 survivors and allocated $7.6 million to assist in the recovery.

Texas A&M Athletics

The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award, a 13.5-inch tall bronze trophy weighing 25 pounds, has been awarded to the most outstanding player in college football since 1935.

The Heisman, probably the most recognized individual award in all of sports, has had many suitors this college football season – but few as electrifying as the finalists: Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o and Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein.

Of the three finalists Manziel – a.k.a. Johnny Football – is the favorite to win college football's most prestigious award on Saturday night in Manhattan. If Manziel does win he would be the first freshman to win the Heisman and the first Texas A&M player since halfback John David Crow won the school's only Heisman in 1957.

The University of Texas’ graduation rate is under scrutiny as the school attempts different ways to increase the number of students graduating in four years.

In February a task force assembled by UT President Bill Powers offered 60 suggestions to encourage students to earn their degree more quickly.

In late August and early September, UT began a sort of branding campaign. The number 2016 (signifying the graduation date for incoming freshmen) began to appear all around campus: on shirts, on tote bags, and even on Twitter (as #2016 became a popular hashtag).


Update: The proposal addressing sex education standards has been withdrawn from the Round Rock school board agenda, according to the Austin American-Statesman. It writes that the health advisory committee that recommended the change was improperly assembled. It's uncertain at this time when (or if) the proposal will return for consideration.

Original post (11:57 a.m.): The Round Rock Independent School District’s Board of Education will be meeting tonight and sex education is on the agenda.

The board will discuss an implementation plan to teach students about contraceptives, a break from current "abstinence only" standards.

The discussion started back in August when the board received the School Health Advisory Committee’s annual report that recommended contraceptives be introduced at the eighth-grade level.

The board met again in October. Health professionals provided the board with data that indicated the number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases is increasing in Round Rock, compared with surrounding communities.

Good Thursday morning to all. We’ve got a beautiful day ahead of us as we rev up for the festivities Formula 1 is bringing our way. There will be partly sunny skies, with a high near 65. As for tonight, the skies will be cloudy, with low near 50.

Here are some stories KUT News and our partners have been working on this week:

Some of the 100,000 people expected for Austin’s first Formula One race have already started streaming into town. The international sporting event has a reputation of attracting the super rich, and there may be some truth to that. “We’re flying in our own celebrity DJ,” said Nicholas Frankl, an event promoter who with his sister runs My Yacht Group. “We have Lamborghini sponsoring the event. We have the most expensive Champagne available in America today, called Comte de Mazeray. It’s 24-karat gold-infused Champagne.”

DNA testing that death row inmate Hank Skinner sought for more than a decade further implicates him in the New Year’s Eve 1993 triple murder for which he was sentenced to die, according to an advisory that the Texas Attorney General’s Office filed Wednesday in Gray County state district court. But a lawyer for Skinner, who was convicted in 1995 of the murders of his live-in girlfriend, Twila Busby, and her two adult sons in Pampa, said the DNA testing is incomplete and indicates that another person may have been at the scene of the crimes.


Confused about Austin’s coming bag ban? You’re not alone.

Austin Resource Recovery, tasked with reaching the city’s zero waste by 2040, is hosting carryout bag training sessions for local businesses at the Austin City Hall this morning.

The training is designed prepare businesses for the plastic bag ban that takes effect in March 2013.

Originally, the ban barred the use of most single use paper and plastic bags, but late last week the City Council approved adding some exemptions. Now, restaurants will largely be exempt.