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Taking A Great Ape's Blood Pressure Isn't Easy. The Dallas Zoo Has Been Trying For Years

For the past few years, the Dallas Zoo has been trying to get an accurate blood pressure reading for their gorillas – without having to put them to sleep. It’s part of a national effort across several accredited zoos to better understand cardiovascular health in apes to prevent heart disease in captivity.

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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.

Police in Oklahoma City on Tuesday night fatally shot a deaf man who they say was advancing toward them with a metal pipe as witnesses yelled that the man was deaf and could not hear them.

It's the fifth officer-involved shooting in the city this year, according to the Oklahoma City Police Department.

Officers were responding to a hit-and-run accident around 8:15 p.m., Capt. Bo Mathews, the police department's public information officer, told reporters Wednesday. A witness of the accident told police a vehicle involved went to a nearby address.

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 2:45 a.m. ET Thursday

Hurricane Maria has damaged Puerto Rico's power infrastructure in ways that, in a worst-case scenario, could take months to repair, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló told CNN late Wednesday.

"Our telecommunications system is partially down," he said. "Our energy infrastructure is completely down."

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.

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When President Trump announced a ban on travel for citizens from several predominantly Muslim countries in January, a coalition of officials from various blue states quickly rallied to fight it.

"We just started talking to each other Friday afternoon," recalls New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. "By Sunday morning, we had 17 states signed on to say, 'This is unconstitutional. We're going into court to stop it.' And we went into courts all over the country and eventually got it struck down."

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

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Puerto Rico is in full-on disaster-response mode after powerful Hurricane Maria hit yesterday. There is no power on the entire island and almost no running water. There have been landslides, flooding and widespread structural damage.

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Olivier Boitet/The Associated Press 

When Vincent Lancisi and his wife were traveling in the south of France earlier this year, they began chatting with their driver. And he told them a story about his former employer.

“He said, ‘I was a driver for a famous man,’” Lancisi said. “‘You probably don’t know his name but there’s a movie about him made with Jeremy Irons called 'M. Butterfly.'"

“My wife looked at me, her jaw dropped.”

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi will not be going home anytime soon. His opinion piece in The Washington Post has drawn fire in the Saudi press, all because he dared write about a crackdown on free speech in the kingdom.

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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.