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November 30, 2018 - 12:00 am

IMMIGRATION-TEEN DETENTION CAMP

Lawmakers call for detention camp reforms

Lawmakers Thursday called for stricter background checks, more mental health support and a public hearing to further investigate problems at a massive detention camp for migrant teens raised by a federal watchdog report and an Associated Press investigation earlier this week.

More than 2,300 teens are being held at the remote tent city in Tornillo, Texas. It opened in June as a temporary, emergency shelter but now appears to be becoming more permanent, the AP reported Tuesday.

The Department of Health and Human Service's Office of Inspector General has raised concerns that the private contractor running Tornillo has not put its 2,100 staffers through FBI background checks, and have just one mental health clinician for every 100 children.

House Democrats are calling for a public hearing early next year.

TECH COLLEGE-DONATION

Donation, new apprenticeship at Lake Charles tech college

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — A Houston-based liquefied natural gas company is making a $250,000 donation to a technical community college in southwest Louisiana, and launching a new apprenticeship program with the school.

Cheniere Energy and SOWELA Technical Community College announced the plans Thursday in Lake Charles. In a news release, they said the apprenticeship program will give 22 SOWELA students a chance to use their training in jobs at Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass operation.

The apprenticeship partnership is to begin in January. The release says the $250,000 donation will be used to buy equipment for SOWELA's new Center for Industrial and Process Technology.

SERIAL KILLER-INVESTIGATION

FBI: Man confessed to 90 killings in effort to move prisons

DALLAS (AP) — The FBI says a 78-year-old inmate who says he killed more than 90 people as he moved around the country for nearly four decades offered his confessions as a bargaining chip to be moved from a California prison.

The agency said in a statement Tuesday that Samuel Little offered the deal in exchange for being moved from California State Prison in Los Angeles County, but it didn't say why he requested the transfer, where he asked to go or whether his offer was accepted.

Little is in poor health and the FBI says he'll likely stay in jail until his death in Texas, where he was brought in September to face charges in a 1994 killing in Odessa.

Little was convicted in 2014 of killing three women in separate attacks in Los Angeles County in the 1980s.

SEVERE WEATHER THREAT

Strong storms expected in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A strong storm system is expected to bring hail, heavy rain and possibly tornadoes to parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

The National Weather Service says the storms are expected to develop Friday afternoon and could impact northern Texas, eastern Oklahoma and most of Arkansas.

Golf ball sized hail, damaging wind gusts and heavy rains creating a risk of flash flooding are the primary risks, but the weather service says isolated tornadoes are also possible throughout the region.

The weather service says the severe weather is expected to end on Saturday.

ARREST-CRYPTOCURRENCY SCHEME

Dallas CEO arrested in cryptocurrency scheme

DALLAS (AP) — Federal prosecutors say the CEO of Dallas-based AriseBank has been arrested in a cryptocurrency scheme that tricked hundreds of investors out of more than $4 million.

Authorities say Jared Rice Sr. was arrested Wednesday and faces multiple counts of wire fraud and securities fraud. Prosecutors say Rice claimed AriseBank could offer consumers FDIC-insured accounts and Visa-brand debit and credit cards, on top of cryptocurrency services. But they say AriseBank was not FDIC insured and "did not have any sort of partnership with Visa."

Rice is accused of converting investor funds and spending the money on clothing, food and hotels.

Online court records tied to the case did not list an attorney for Rice.

PANTEX PLANT-TEXAS A&M

Texas A&M engineering experts to advise Pantex nuclear plant

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) — The Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station will provide technical advice and workforce training at the nation's top site for assembly, disassembly and maintenance of nuclear weapons.

The Texas A&M University System on Thursday announced the agreement with the Pantex Plant near Amarillo.

Consolidated Nuclear Security manages and operates Pantex, which has nearly 4,000 workers. Texas A&M University System regents in April authorized the engineering state agency to sublease up to 16,000 square feet (1486.44 sq. meters) of space at the adjacent John C. Drummond Center.

Chancellor John Sharp says it's a natural extension of the System's commitment to the nuclear weapons industry. The System is a partner with Triad National Security, which manages and operates the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

MIGRANT CARAVAN-PROSECUTIONS

APNewsBreak: No one arrested in border clash is prosecuted

SAN DIEGO (AP) — No criminal charges will be filed against any of the 42 people associated with a caravan of Central American migrants who were arrested in a clash that ended with U.S. authorities firing tear gas into Mexico.

The Associated Press has learned that the federal government decided not to prosecute the migrants despite proclamations from the Trump administration that it will not tolerate lawlessness over the caravan.

Customs and Border Protection declines to say why no one was prosecuted but a U.S. official says many came as families — which are generally exempt. The official said that in other cases, authorities didn't collect enough information to pursue charges, including names of the arresting officers. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The official says two of the 42 were referred to the Justice Department for prosecution but charges weren't filed because the accused had medical conditions.

FATAL DRUG BUST

2 dead following undercover drug bust in east Houston

HOUSTON (AP) — Police say two men are dead following an undercover drug bust in east Houston.

Police Chief Art Acevedo says undercover officers met with nine men Wednesday night at a warehouse and when officers identified themselves one man opened fire and was fatally shot by police.

Acevedo says a second man fled in a vehicle, but later crashed, then died after suffering an apparent heart attack after being arrested.

Acevedo says the other seven men surrendered and that no law enforcement officers were injured.

No names have been released.

Acevedo says the officer who fatally shot the man at the warehouse will be placed on paid leave pending an investigation.

FORT HOOD SOLDIERS-IMMIGRANTS

Mexican gets 20 months for immigrant smuggling by soldiers

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A Mexican man living in the U.S. illegally must serve 20 months in prison for arranging immigrants to be smuggled by Fort Hood soldiers through a Texas border checkpoint.

Victoriano Zamora-Jasso was sentenced Wednesday in Brownsville. The 54-year-old Zamora-Jasso in January pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport and harbor immigrants and illegal re-entry after deportation.

Investigators say four soldiers from the Central Texas post in 2014 showed Army identification and hid immigrants under military gear to get through the Sarita (suh-REE'-tuh) checkpoint.

Records show Zamora-Jasso was deported in 2013, but returned to Texas. He was indicted in 2016 and arrested last year near Houston.

The soldiers were convicted of immigrant smuggling-related counts, with sentences ranging from probation to 20 months in prison. Another civilian was sentenced to six years in prison.

UNINSURED CHILDREN-SPIKE

Report: Number of uninsured kids spikes to 3.9M in US

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A new report by Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families says the number of uninsured children in the United States has increased for the first time in nearly a decade.

In Florida, the uninsured rate went from 288,000 in 2016 to 325,000 in 2017. South Dakota, Utah, Texas and Georgia also saw significant increases.

Nationally, the number of uninsured children increased by an estimated 276,000 to about 3.9 million in 2017. That compares to a historic low in 2016 when 4.7 children were uninsured.

Experts say the newly uninsured children are clustered in states like Florida that did not expand Medicaid. Under President Obama's Affordable Care Act, Florida could have received federal funding to help pay for health coverage for nearly 900,000 people, but the Republican-led Legislature voted against it.

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