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A Lying Jailhouse Snitch Sent A Man To Prison; Texas Passed A Law To Prevent That

John Nolley always insisted he didn't kill his friend. He spent nearly 19 years locked up for the gruesome murder. Then, a judge released him from prison, citing evidence that undermined the jailhouse informant who testified against him – evidence never given to his lawyers during the trial.

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The High Five

KERA takes a look at five stories that have North Texas talking — buzz from D-FW and across the state.

When 2-month-old Isaac Enrique Sanchez was diagnosed with pyloric stenosis, a condition that causes vomiting, dehydration and weight loss in infants, his parents were told that their son's condition was curable. The problem was that no hospital in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas had a pediatric surgery team capable of performing the operation on his stomach.

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The top local stories this afternoon from KERA News:

A team of researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington is working to identify and fight “fake news” with a focus on Twitter bots. Professors Chengkai Li and Mark Tremayne are on the team that's funded by a UT-Austin grant, and they spoke with KERA's Justin Martin.

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A team of researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington is developing algorithms to detect automated accounts — also known as "bots" — that spread misinformation online.

The project focuses on Twitter bots that spread fake news and their threat to national security. But identifying the characteristics of these bots can help the everyday social media user, too.

From Texas Standard:

Certain events in history have changed the lives of Texans forever. The Great Storm of 1900 in Galveston is still the deadliest hurricane on record. On a day in Dallas, in 1963, a nation lost a president. In 1966, a shooter atop the UT Tower terrorized a city by committing the first mass murder on a college campus. And now Harvey. These defining moments are embedded in the memories of those who lived them, but for everyone else, we rely on the written record.

Republicans' complex health care calculations are coming down to simple math.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs 50 of the chamber's 52 Republicans to vote for a bill that aims to repeal most of the Affordable Care Act and drastically reshape the Medicaid system. McConnell's office is planning to bring the bill up for a vote next week.

A federal program that provides health insurance for about 390,000 Texas children must be reauthorized by Congress by the end of the month.

Lauren Silverman / KERA

Amazon’s Alexa voice platform is getting smarter. At the start of the year, she knew how to do only 7,000 things. Now, she has more than 15,000 so-called skills. These include everything from turning off your lights, to finding a restaurant nearby, to playing NPR.

Updated at 8:10 p.m. ET

The head of Puerto Rico's emergency management agency says Hurricane Maria may have knocked out critical high-voltage power lines on the island — which would mean that essentially all of Puerto Rico could be without power.

"When we can get outside, we will find our island destroyed," Abner Gómez of the emergency management agency said at a news conference Wednesday. "The information we received is not encouraging. It's a system that has destroyed everything it has had in its wake."

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

The top local stories this morning from KERA News: City officials are closing the downtown Dallas shelter hosting Hurricane Harvey evacuees today.

Thousands of patients at Parkland Health & Hospital were mailed letters urging them to be screened for colon cancer. Some received an at-home test kit as well.
UT Southwestern Medical Center

What, if anything, can convince people to get tested for colorectal cancer?

 

Researchers have tried a variety of methods — from reminding patients during yearly checkups to paying them — but there may be a cheaper, easier way to boost screening rates, using snail mail.

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When 2-month-old Isaac Enrique Sanchez was diagnosed with pyloric stenosis, a condition that causes vomiting, dehydration and weight loss in infants, his parents were told that their son's condition was curable. The problem was that no hospital in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas had a pediatric surgery team capable of performing the operation on his stomach.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

When the fourth-graders in Mrs. Marlem Diaz-Brown's class returned to school on Monday, they were tasked with writing their first essay of the year. The topic was familiar: Hurricane Irma.

By the time I visited, they had worked out their introduction and evidence paragraphs and were brainstorming their personal experiences. To help them remember, Mrs. D-B had them draw out a timeline — starting Friday before the storm. Then, based on their drawings, they could start to talk about — and eventually, write about — what they experienced.

Russia puts Kalashnikov on a pedestal

3 hours ago

Russia is putting Kalashnikov on a pedestal, literally and metaphorically.

Literally, a statue of Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of the iconic AK-47 rifle, was unveiled in downtown Moscow on Tuesday. Metaphorically, the Kremlin is pushing his rifle as “a true cultural brand of Russia.”

The Kalashnikov rifle, in all its forms, is the most popular weapon ever made. It's killed more people than any other single weapon, including the atomic bomb. And yet, now you can buy Kalashnikov tchotchkes at a special souvenir shop at the Moscow International Airport.

Rescue teams are frantically working to save people trapped by rubble after a powerful earthquake hit Mexico Tuesday.

The 7.1 magnitude quake was centered about 100 miles from Mexico City, but caused about 45 buildings in the capital to collapse.

Think

History, science, politics, books and more with Krys Boyd.

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Here Are 39 Things You Should Do In Texas Before You Die

Texas Independence Day is March 2. (On that day, back in 1836, the Texas Declaration of Independence was adopted at Washington-on-the-Brazos.) So, to celebrate, the KERA News staff figured we’d come up with a list of quintessential Texas experiences – a list of things you should do in the Lone Star State before you kick the bucket.

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One Crisis Away: No Place To Go

West Dallas has been on the financial edge for generations. And that's just now starting to change.