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Fri April 27, 2012
Amazon, Texas Reach Deal To Settle Sales Tax Spat
Online retailer Amazon.com is doing an about-face in Texas, saying it will bring jobs back to the state and start paying sales tax barely a year after closing a distribution center in a dispute over the levies.
Amazon and Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said Friday they had an agreement for the company to bring at least 2,500 jobs and $200 million in capital investments. The company will begin collecting and paying sales tax on July 1.
The company said last year it was closing a Dallas-area distribution center and scrapping plans to expand Texas operations. A few months later, the state Legislature approved legislation to close a loophole that allowed online retailers to avoid paying sales tax in Texas.
Combs says the deal settles all tax disputes with Amazon.
Texas Forest Service unveils wildfire app
Texans will be armed with a new Internet tool this wildfire season designed to help anyone spot their wildfire risk and how to respond to it.
The Texas Forest Service on Friday unveiled the new app, the Texas Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal, or TxWRAP, on the steps of the state Capitol.
It uses mapping technology to allow not just emergency response officials but homeowners and the general public to spot acute wildfire risk within a 2-mile radius of where they live.
The projections are based on climate and topology factors that could make fire likely.
Some 26,000 fires across Texas since December 2010 have burned more than 3.9 million acres. The worst was in Bastrop, where monster blazes in September destroyed more than 1,600 homes and charred 33,000 acres.
Man gets 60-year prison term in deadly purse theft
A North Texas jury has sentenced a man to 60 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to murder in a deadly drive-by purse snatching in a Dallas store parking lot.
The Dallas County jury could have delivered a life sentence Thursday for Rogelio Belmonte of Denton. He pleaded guilty Tuesday in the dragging death of 76-year-old Sabra Leavy outside a Walmart in North Dallas in March 2011.
Leavy died three days after she was dragged about 40 yards and then run over by a truck as her purse was being stolen. Police later located the vehicle, which was parked, and arrested Belmonte when he returned to the truck.
Source says cartels expected at fight
A law enforcement official says a risk assessment of a now-canceled West Texas boxing match predicted it would draw leaders from two rival drug cartels, but that it noted the cartels had declared the event a "neutral zone."
The official told The Associated Press about the report Friday on condition of anonymity because the official isn't authorized to release the information. The official says the report was done by Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations and given to University of Texas at El Paso police.
University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa has said the fight between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Andy Lee couldn't be held at the university's Sun Bowl because of security risks.
UTEP police confirmed it received a federal report but wouldn't elaborate.