Special Coverage

Killeen
2:01 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Fake Explosive Found & Destroyed in Killeen; Police Say No Known Link to Fort Hood

The evacuation radius in Killeen, Texas, bounded from North Second Street east to North 10th Street and from East Dunn Avenue to East Harrison Avenue.
facebook.com/KilleenPD

Update: Device an 'Intentional Fake'

KWTX-TV News in Waco reports that what appeared to be an improvised explosive device was an "intentional fake:"

The device, a piece of pipe with wires attached, was intentionally made to look like a pipe bomb but was, in fact, inert and contained no explosive hazard, Carroll Smith, Killeen police spokeswoman said.

Original story (1:38 p.m.): The town of Killeen, Texas – on high-alert after yesterday's shooting at nearby Fort Hood left four dead – evacuated an area north of downtown after police found what they say "appears to be an Improvised Explosive Device." On Facebook, Killeen Police shared initial details. Police say "there is no known connection between this incident and the recent tragedy on Fort Hood."

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Unrest in Ukraine
10:23 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Russia Says It Doesn't Plan To Invade Ukraine

Senior high school students wearing Soviet-era navy uniform march during a daily ceremony of changing the guard of honor at the WW II Memorial to the Heroes of the defense of Sevastopol 1941-1942 in Sevastopol, Crimea, Saturday. Russia says it doesn't plant to invade mainland Ukraine.
Olga Maltseva AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 11:32 am

The Russian troops who are holding Crimea won't be sent into Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says. "We have absolutely no intention of — or interest in — crossing Ukraine's borders," Lavrov told a Russian TV station Saturday, according to a translation by Reuters.

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SXSW 2014
2:46 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Fourth Person Dies from SXSW Crash

A memorial outside the Mohawk nightclub, the site of a fatal crash which has now claimed four lives.
Andrew Huygen for KUT News

A fourth person has died from injuries sustained in an early morning crash on Red River Street during South by Southwest, allegedly caused by a drunk driver. 

DeAndre Tatum, 18, was put in a medically induced coma after the crash. He died today, according to Austin Police.

27 year-old Austinite Jamie Ranae West and 35 year-old Dutch visitor Steven Craenmehr were pronounced dead at the crash scene on March 13th.

Sandy Thuy Le, 26, of Austin died the following week.

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Borderlands
6:03 am
Wed March 26, 2014

From Pancho Villa To Panda Express: Life In A Border Town

Columbus, N.M., was raided by Pancho Villa in 1916 and by federal agents in 2011.
Kainaz Amaria/NPR

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 10:12 am

Columbus, N.M., is all about the border. It's an official border crossing. Its history centers on a cross-border raid. In more recent years, it was a transit point for illegal weapons heading south into Mexico.

It's also the destination for children heading north to a U.S. school.

All the different strands of Columbus came together when we spent the day with the new mayor of the village. Phillip Skinner, former real estate developer and maquiladora owner-turned politician and school bus driver, was inaugurated early this month, on the morning we rolled into town.

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Malaysia Airlines
10:48 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Analysis Shows Flight 370 'Ended' In Indian Ocean, Malaysia Says

Relatives of passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 embrace each other in a Beijing hotel after learning of news today that the flight ended in the southern Indian Ocean.
Rolex Dela Pena EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 7:14 pm

This post was updated at 8:14 p.m. ET.

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak said Monday that new analysis of the flight path of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 showed that it "ended in the southern Indian Ocean."

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Borderlands
4:34 am
Mon March 24, 2014

On The Mend, But Wounds Of Violence Still Scar Juarez

Workers arrive at an assembly plant located along the border.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 11:25 am

We had just finished our time in Juarez, Mexico, when we had dinner with some distant relations on the U.S. side of the border. "You," one of my relatives said, "are the first Juarez survivors we've seen in some time."

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Ukraine
7:32 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Split Decisions: Ukraine Signs Up With EU, Russia Wraps Up Crimea

As Russian soldiers walked one way in the distance, a departing Ukrainian soldier carried some of his belongings Friday at a military base in Perevalne, Crimea.
Ivan Sekretarev AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 9:57 am

There will be few days that better symbolize the crisis in Ukraine.

On Friday:

As Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk was signing an agreement on closer relations with the European Union ...

... Russian President Vladimir Putin was signing the laws his country has put in place to take Crimea from Ukraine and make it part of the Russian Federation.

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Borderlands
4:55 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Awash In Cash, Drug Cartels Rely On Big Banks To Launder Profits

A woman uses a cash machine at an HSBC bank office in Mexico City. The multi-national bank was heavily penalized several years ago for permitting huge transfers of drug cartel money between Mexico and the U.S.
Enric Marti AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 5:20 pm

The Sinaloa Cartel, headquartered on Mexico's northern Pacific Coast, is constantly exploring new ways to launder its gargantuan profits. The State Department reports that Mexican trafficking organizations earn between $19 and $29 billion every year from selling marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines on the streets of American cities.

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Westboro Baptist Church
12:43 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Westboro Baptist Church Founder Fred Phelps Sr. Dies

July 2007: The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr. prepares to protest outside the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, Kan.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 5:03 am

The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., whose tiny Westboro Baptist Church has protested outside the funerals of fallen soldiers and celebrities to spread its views about homosexuality and abortion, has died, according to news reports. He was 84.

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Borderlands
4:45 am
Thu March 20, 2014

At The Border, The Drugs Go North And The Cash Goes South

Many drug cartel members die young, and when they do, their families often spend lavishly to construct mausoleums that look like small condos.
John Burnett NPR

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 10:07 am

The international drug trade goes in two directions: Narcotics go north and money goes south. All the drug profits made on the streets of U.S. cities like Chicago and Atlanta and Dallas are funneled down to ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border where they're smuggled back into Mexico. In 2012, one federal agency alone, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, seized $411 million in cash hidden in vehicles, mostly heading south.

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Borderlands
6:37 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Borderland: A Journey Along The Changing Frontier

Dob Cunningham (right) and his friend Larry Johnson stand on the edge of Cunningham's 800-acre ranch in Quemado, Texas, which touches the Rio Grande. On the other side, Mexico.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 4:42 pm

My colleagues and I drove 2,428 miles and remained in the same place.

We gathered a team, rented a car, checked the batteries in our recorders and cameras. We moved from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. We crossed deserts, plains and mountains. But all the while, we were living in Borderland — zigzagging across the frontier between Mexico and the United States.

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Malaysia Airlines
11:45 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Fate Of Missing Malaysia Airlines Plane Still A Mystery

At Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Sunday, prayers were said for the 239 people who have been missing since flight MH370 disappeared.
Lai Seng Sin AP

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 2:26 pm

We'll be updating this post throughout the day on Monday.

Nearly three days after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, there's still no definitive trace of the Boeing 777 or the 239 people who were on board.

As of Monday evening in Malaysia, none of the clues so far had led searchers to the plane.

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Special Coverage
12:11 pm
Sat March 8, 2014

WATCH: Julian Assange Speaks at SXSW via Skype

Watch live as WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange speaks via satellite video at SXSW Interactive. Livestream is courtesy the Texas Tribune.

unrest in ukraine
1:36 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

Is It Too Late For Ukraine To Take Back Crimea?

A Russian naval landing vessel enters one of the bays of Sevastopol, Crimea, on Sunday.
Andrew Lubimov AP

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 2:27 pm

This post was updated at 1:20 p.m. ET.

Russian forces appear to be digging in after seizing key assets in the Ukrainian republic of Crimea, and despite tough talk from Kiev's new leaders, the former Soviet satellite's under-manned and under-equipped military is no match for Moscow's battle-tested troops, experts say.

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Unrest in Ukraine
9:16 am
Sat March 1, 2014

Russia's Parliament Approves Putin's Call For Troops In Ukraine

Young people look at pro-Russian armed men blocking access to the Ukrainian frontier guard base in Balaklava, a small city not far from Sevastopol, on Saturday.
Viktor Drachev AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 5:32 pm

This post was updated at 4:50 p.m. ET.

Russia's parliament has unanimously approved a request by President Vladimir Putin to authorize the intervention of Moscow's forces in Ukraine until "the normalization of the political situation" there. In response, Ukraine put its own forces on alert and warned that a Russian invasion would spark war between the two countries.

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Special Coverage
6:28 am
Thu February 20, 2014

#GoneToGhana: A Trip in Tweets

Jessica Opare Saforo, left, is a popular radio presenter at Citi FM in Accra, Ghana. I spent a few days at the station during my trip to Ghana.
Laura Rice, KUT News

I spent two weeks in the West African country of Ghana in late January and early February. The trip was part of an exchange program through the International Center for Journalists and was sponsored by the U.S. State Department.

The goal of my journey was to learn about the media climate of an another country and to collect stories to share via KUT. Along the way, I tweeted.

Here's a look at the story my tweets tell:

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Special Coverage
1:03 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Gone to Ghana: Answering Your Questions

The American journalists visiting Ghana are (left to right) Zoe Fox with Mashable, KUT's Laura Rice and Gwendolyn Glenn with WYPR. Vivian Affoah (far right) is with the Ghana-based host organization Media Foundation for West Africa.
Radio XYZ

My two-week visit to Ghana has come to an end. I was in the West African country with a program through the U.S. State Department and the International Center for Journalists.

The exchange program brought journalists from Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria and Kenya to the U.S. Then, a group of American journalists is visited those African countries. I'm grateful I was chosen to visit Ghana and in my short time there I learned much about the people and culture.

Along the way, I invited you to send me questions about things you'd like to know about Ghana. Here are the answers to a few of your questions:

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Community Forum
9:17 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Why Bother? Austin City Government 101

flickr.com/utcomm

Thanks to the passage of the "10-1" plan changing the Austin City Council to 10 members who each represent a different part of the city, Austin’s form of city government just got a big overhaul, and it can be confusing knowing who does what inside City Hall.

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Special Coverage
9:06 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Gone to Ghana: Journalism's Not a Dirty Word

Citi FM Director of News Programming Bernard Avle (left) practices interviewing skills with a young journalist at a workshop.
Laura Rice for KUT.

The purpose of my journey to Ghana is to learn about the media industry and the daily lives of journalists. The exchange program I'm on through the International Center for Journalists also sent Ghanaian journalists to the United States. Three other countries (Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda) are also part of the exchange.

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