Politics

ALEC in Dallas
11:00 am
Thu July 31, 2014

As Republican Leaders Meet In Dallas, Protesters Rally Outside

Protesters outside the Dallas Anatole opposing the meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Bill Zeeble KERA News

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 4:57 pm

Some of the nation’s most powerful Republican politicians are in Dallas this week for the annual convention of the American Legislative Exchange Council – known as ALEC. There was action inside and protests outside.

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Israel and Gaza
7:10 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Gaza Conflict: Shell Strikes U.N. School, Killing Up To 19 Who Sought Shelter

A Palestinian girl cries while receiving treatment Wednesday at a hospital in Beit Lahiya for her injuries caused by a strike at a U.N. school in the Jebaliya refugee camp.
Khalil Hamra AP

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 9:40 am

(This post was last updated at 3:04 p.m. ET.)

As many as 19 people were killed when a shell struck a United Nations-run school this morning in Gaza.

In a message on Twitter, the commissioner-general of UNRWA, which is responsible for the welfare of Palestinian refugees, blamed the attack on the Israeli military.

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Politics
6:38 am
Tue July 29, 2014

U.S. Accuses Russia Of Violating Nuclear Treaty

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 10:00 pm

The Obama administration says Russia has violated a 1987 nuclear pact by testing a ground-launched cruise missile.

An administration official called the matter "very serious" and says the U.S. is "prepared to discuss this in a senior-level bilateral dialogue immediately." The New York Times reports that President Obama notified Russian President Vladimir Putin of the finding in a letter Monday.

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Israel and Gaza
7:36 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Conflict In Gaza: Here's What You Need To Know Today

Palestinian Saeb Afana, 12, stands on the edge of a large crater from an Israeli missile strike that destroyed several graves, as he carries flowers at a cemetery in Gaza City on Monday.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 5:29 pm

(This post was last updated at 6:30 p.m. ET.)

In a resolution overnight, the United Nations Security Council called for an "immediate and unconditional" cease-fire in Gaza.

As USA Today reports, the Security Council called on both Israel and Hamas "to accept and fully implement the humanitarian cease-fire into the Eid period and beyond."

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Veterans Affairs
6:49 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Lawmakers Announce $17 Billion Deal Intended To Fix VA System

House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, a Florida Republican.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 2:36 pm

This post was updated at 3 p.m. ET:

House and Senate negotiators unveiled a $17 billion plan Monday to address the crisis in care for veterans.

The agreement would provide $10 billion to allow veterans to be treated outside the Veterans Affairs system, if they've had trouble getting appointments within it. More than two dozen clinics would be leased around the country, with $5 billion spent to hire additional doctors, nurses and other medical personnel at the VA.

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Immigration
8:56 am
Sun July 27, 2014

One Woman, 817 Children: Caring For Kids Of Undocumented Parents

Nora Sandigo sits with Ronald Soza and his sister Cecia in 2009, while the children were on a hunger strike to protest the deportation of their mother. Sandigo is the legal guardian of the Soza children (now 15 and 18) — and 815 other American children of undocumented immigrants.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Sun July 27, 2014 10:26 am

The recent increase in the number of unaccompanied, undocumented minors immigrating across the border has left tens of thousands of children waiting in limbo. But thousands of children who are already American citizens also face an uncertain future — because their parents are not in the country legally.

If their parents get deported, those minors could end up in foster care, or adopted by strangers.

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Israel and Gaza
8:19 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Kerry: Gaza Truce Still In Play

A Palestinian man cries after bringing a child, wounded in a strike on a compound housing a U.N. school, to the emergency room of the Kamal Adwan hospital in the Gaza Strip on Thursday.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 4:33 pm

Updated at 5:20 p.m. ET.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called reports that Israel's government had rejected a U.S. truce in Gaza "a mischievous leak" and said he's confident a deal can be reached.

Referring to earlier reports by Israeli TV that a seven-day cease-fire had been unanimously rejected, Kerry, speaking at a news conference in Cairo, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had assured him that the report is "an error and inaccurate.

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Israel And Gaza
4:07 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Gaza Conflict: What To Know For Friday

Smoke and flames from an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City on Thursday.
Adel Hana AP

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 4:34 pm

Updated at 5:35 p.m. ET.

As the conflict between Israel and Gaza approaches the three-week mark, the fighting seems to have only intensified. At least 119 Palestinians were killed Thursday, making it the bloodiest day of the war.

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Israel And Gaza
1:16 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

UT Students Stay in Israel Despite Ongoing Violence

UT-Austin hopes to allow students to finish their summer studies in Israel.
flickr.com/raondo

As the conflict between Israel and Palestine in Gaza continues, officials with the University of Texas International Office say they've been in close contact with graduate students and faculty conducting research in Israel.

“None of our students are anywhere near the Gaza Strip or the West Bank,” UT International Office risk analyst Erin Wolf says.

Wolf says six graduate students and a handful of faculty are doing research projects in Israel and that in addition to providing academic support, local universities are also giving them direction.

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Immigration
4:38 am
Thu July 24, 2014

To Cope With Child Immigrants, Competing Plans Emerge From Congress

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, with incoming Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., talks with reporters on Wednesday about House Republican plans to deal with the border crisis.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 9:36 pm

Divergent plans are now emerging from the House and Senate on how best to deal with the influx of unaccompanied children from Central America across the border.

Though both would offer the president less money than he asked for to deal with the crisis, a major battle has developed over whether to amend a 2008 law that makes it harder to speedily deport the children.

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Politics
4:58 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

The Pollsters Are Coming! What That Means for Texas Voters in November

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

In the Texas Tribune today, Aman Batheja reports on a significant change that has researchers and politicos drooling: Exit polls are returning to Texas.

Batheja writes:

This year, with a high-profile gubernatorial race on the November ballot, the National Election Pool confirmed on Tuesday that it plans to conduct more robust exit polling in Texas this year, giving researchers and political analysts the means to better examine the outcome. 

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2014 Texas Election
3:04 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Davis And State Dems Planning To Monitor For Voter Suppression, Discrimination

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 1:29 pm

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis and the Texas Democratic Party are launching a voter protection program to monitor voter suppression and discrimination on Election Day.

Davis predicts this election will have large voter turnout and she, along with the state party and Battleground Texas, are getting prepared for what could come down to a legal fight at the ballot box.

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Malaysia Airlines
6:18 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Train Carrying MH17 Victims' Remains Arrives In Government-Controlled City

Police officers secure a refrigerated train loaded with bodies of the passengers of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 as it arrives in a Kharkiv factory on Tuesday.
Olga Ivashchenko AP

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 8:03 am

A refrigerated train carrying the remains of the people who died aboard the downed Malaysia Airlines plane arrived in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Tuesday. That's a city controlled by the central government in Kiev and 17 hours away from the chaos of Hrabove, the eastern city controlled by pro-Russian separatists, where the debris and remains were scattered.

The New York Times sets the scene:

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Middle East
7:18 am
Mon July 21, 2014

A South Padre Man Dies in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Credit David Buimovitch AFP/Getty Images

This past weekend was the deadliest of the two-week-long combat operations in the Gaza Strip. Yesterday, 95 Palestinians were killed in fighting along with 13 soldiers fighting in the Israeli Defense Force, according to the Associated Press.

One of those soldiers killed in the conflict was 21-year-old South Padre, Texas native Sean Carmeli. Carmeli moved to Israel four years ago after finishing high school and was a member of the country's elite Golani Brigade along with California native Max Steinberg, who also died in fighting on the Gaza Strip. Both held American-Israeli citizenship.

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Middle East
6:43 am
Mon July 21, 2014

In Effort To Forge Cease-Fire Between Israel And Hamas, Kerry Heads To Egypt

A Palestinian overcome by emotion watches rescuers carry a body from the rubble of a house which was destroyed by an Israeli missile strike, in Gaza City, on Monday.
Khalil Hamra AP

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 7:26 pm

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is headed to Egypt today in an effort to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

In a statement, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Kerry would meet with Egyptian and other senior officials.

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Politics
2:50 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Downed Malaysian Jetliner: Does Russia Bear Ultimate Responsibility?

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed near the Ukrainian-Russian border today – reportedly brought down by rocket fire.
Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters /Landov

Both pro-Russian rebels and the Ukrainian government forces are denying any responsibility for downing the Malaysia Airlines jetliner carrying 295 passengers and crew. Multiple reports state the Boeing 777, traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, appeared to have broken up before impact, with the burning wreckage scattered over a wide area. All passengers are believed to have died. 

At a press event in Delaware, President Obama said he has directed national security advisors to stay close contact with the Ukrainian government. Reuters reports that just yesterday, the U.S. administration tightened its sanctions against Russia over the ongoing fighting in Ukraine. Shortly thereafter, Ukraine claimed that Russian had downed one of its war planes.

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Border & Immigration
1:50 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Patrick, Van de Putte Hone Their Immigration Messages

Democratic state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and Republican state Sen. Dan Patrick, who are facing off in a fiery race to become the state's next lieutenant governor, address delegates at their respective party's state conventions in June.
Bob Daemmrich / Alyssa Banata/Texas Tribune

As the recent surge of Central Americans entering the country illegally through Texas’ border with Mexico has drawn national attention, it has also become a major talking point for the 2014 candidates for lieutenant governor.

And while state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, and state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, have distinct differences on immigration and border security, political observers say they each have advantages as the issue remains at the forefront.

Van de Putte has indicated that the state should secure the border by providing local law enforcement with ample resources to ensure "that troopers can focus on catching criminals, not kids” while calling for immigration reform at the federal level to get to the root of illegal immigration.

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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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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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Politics
8:17 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Both Abbott & Davis Raise $11 Million in Most Recent Reporting Period

Wendy Davis (left) and Greg Abbott (right) have raised $27 million and $28 million respectively in their gubernatorial campaigns.
KUT

The latest campaign finance numbers are trickling in, and it looks like gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis are neck-and-neck in fundraising. At the end of the reporting period that ended on June 30, both drummed up about $11 million in the weeks following the May primaries, but Abbott's stockpile of campaign cash could give him the leg up come November.

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