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This Hour: Latest Texas news, sports, business and entertainment

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San Antonio councilwoman voted city's next mayor

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - The City Council has voted to appoint Councilwoman Ivy Taylor as the next mayor of San Antonio, replacing the departing Julian Castro.

An initial vote Tuesday by the council drew some support for Councilman Ray Lopez but he then withdrew from consideration, clearing the path for Taylor to become the first African-American woman to lead the city.

The San Antonio Express-News reports the mayoral term concludes next year and Taylor has pledged not to run.

Taylor is a graduate of Yale University who was elected to the council in 2009.

The U.S. Senate earlier this month easily confirmed Castro to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development, boosting the national profile of a Democrat with a compelling biography who's considered a vice presidential contender in 2016.


Cartel associates get 1-year sentence for bribery

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Federal prosecutors say two Mexican citizens have been sentenced to one year and one day in prison for attempting to bribe a federal judge.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement Tuesday that drug cartel associates Francisco Agustin Colorado Cebado and Ramon Segura Flores each must also pay a $10,000 fine.

Both defendants and Francisco Antonio Colorado Cessa, the father of Francisco Agustin Colorado, pleaded guilty in March to attempting to offer a $1.2 million bribe to the judge in exchange for a reduced sentence for the elder Colorado, who's now serving 20 years for laundering drug money by purchasing race horses.

Prosecutors say the judge did not participate in the scheme.

Paul Nugent, Segura's attorney, says the defendants are scheduled to be deported following their release.


Exxon Mobil says it'll follow new anti-bias rules

IRVING, Texas (AP) - Exxon Mobil Corp. says it will comply with new protections for gay and transgender employees required of federal contractors, but isn't saying whether it will formalize that wording in its corporate policies.

President Barack Obama signed the executive order with the new protections Monday.

The energy company, which has hundreds of millions in federal contracts, has resisted pressure from civil rights groups and shareholders to enumerate such protections in its formal policy.

Many companies have added anti-gay bias as an explicit part of their non-discrimination policies. Exxon Mobil has maintained that its stated zero-tolerance standards ensure protections without having to specifically name them.

Exxon Mobil spokesman Alan Jeffers said Tuesday the company will "comply with all governmental laws." He wouldn't say if that meant changing the formal policy's language.


Real estate heir charged for urinating on candy

HOUSTON (AP) - A New York City real estate heir who admitted killing his neighbor a decade ago in Texas is facing a new charge in Houston that accuses him of urinating on candy at a drug store.

Authorities say 71-year-old Robert Durst was arrested Sunday after arguing with store employees. They say he was charged with criminal mischief after urinating on at least $100 worth of candy.

His attorney, Chip Lewis, said in a statement Tuesday that they will address the allegations in court.

In 2001, Durst was arrested as a fugitive and admitted killing his neighbor and dumping the remains in Galveston Bay. He claimed self-defense and was acquitted of homicide charges.

Durst's family runs The Durst Organization, a privately held billion-dollar real estate company that owns several New York skyscrapers.


September election will fill Duncan's senate seat

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A special election to replace longtime Texas state Sen. Robert Duncan of Lubbock will be held Sept. 9.

Duncan is leaving the Legislature after more than two decades to become chancellor of the Texas Tech University System. His successor will fill the remainder of his term that expires in 2017.

State Rep. Charles Perry has already signaled that he'll run for the Senate seat. All candidates must file with applications with the Secretary of State no later than Aug. 1.

Duncan's absence will be among many changes in the Senate when lawmakers reconvene in January. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst will no longer preside over the chamber after losing his bid for a fourth term.

Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee for governor, also won't be returning.


Explosion levels home in Central Texas; 3 hurt

WILLIS, Texas (AP) - Officials say an explosion that destroyed a house in Central Texas resonated for miles, and yet three occupants survived the blast.

The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office says the fiery blast happened before dawn Tuesday at a home near Willis, about 40 miles north of Houston.

Montgomery County Fire Marshal Jimmy Williams says it could be weeks before investigators determine the cause of the explosion that was felt several miles away.

Williams says two men and a woman suffered severe burns and were transported to a hospital. Their names and details on their conditions have not been released.

Williams says investigators are trying to determine if any nearby homes have been damaged.


TCU's Fields investigated for alleged assault

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - TCU has suspended defensive end Devonte Fields pending results of a police investigation into whether he punched a former girlfriend in the head and threatened her with a gun.

Officers reported that 20-year-old Haley Brown's right check was swollen and she had a cut under her eye when they arrived at a Fort Worth home early Sunday.

Police on Tuesday said that no charges have been filed and Fields, the Big 12's preseason defensive player of the year, has not been arrested.

An emailed statement from TCU says the school doesn't tolerate harassment or misconduct by a student and that the allegations against Fields will be go through an internal discipline process.

Brown told police that she and Fields dated for two years and broke up June 1.


Medical code workers testify against Texas doctor

TYLER, Texas (AP) - Some medical workers responsible for treatment billing codes say they felt pressured by a Dallas-area doctor to allegedly falsify data to get more money from Medicare.

Testimony continues in the Tyler health care fraud trial of Dr. Tariq Mahmood, who's denied wrongdoing.

Federal prosecutors say the hospital chain owner conspired to submit more than $1.1 million in false billings.

The Dallas Morning News ( reports Norma Longley testified Monday that she balked at changing billing codes for Renaissance Hospital Terrell (TEHR'-ehl) patients.

Longley says Mahmood insisted diagnoses by other doctors be altered to reflect more expensive treatments. She later discovered her codes for Medicare reimbursements were altered.

Cynthia Kennemer Plumlee testified she was fired after refusing to let Mahmood be "involved" in reviewing patient codes. She cited professional ethics.


'Texas 7' gang member set for February execution

HOUSTON (AP) - One of the infamous "Texas 7" gang of escapees now has an execution date.

State District Judge Rick Magnis has signed an order scheduling 52-year-old condemned inmate Donald Newbury for lethal injection on Feb. 4.

Newbury and six other convicts engineered the biggest prison escape in Texas history when they broke out of a South Texas prison in December 2000. Eleven days later, on Christmas Eve, they killed Irving officer Aubrey Hawkins while robbing a sporting goods store in the Dallas suburb.

When the gang was captured in Colorado a month later, one member committed suicide as police closed in. The six others all received death sentences for Hawkins' slaying. Two of them have been executed.

At the time of the escape, Newbury was serving 99 years for aggravated robbery.


Ground broken for Fort Hood shootings memorial

KILLEEN, Texas (AP) - Ground has been broken for a Central Texas memorial to victims of the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage that left 13 people dead and more than 30 wounded.

Ceremonies were held Tuesday for the Fort Hood November 5 Memorial near the Killeen Civic and Conference Center

The proposal calls for a more than $400,000 memorial pavilion and bronze sculptures honoring the 13 people who were slain. An organizational website also recognizes those who were wounded in the attack blamed on Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan (nih-DAHL' hah-SAHN').

Hasan was convicted and sentenced to death last year for the Nov. 5, 2009, mass shootings. Hasan, who was a major at the time of the gunfire, said he acted to protect Islamic insurgents abroad from American aggression.

Memorial organizers are still accepting donations.


2 Houston women charged with bank fraud

HOUSTON (AP) - A U.S. attorney says two Houston women have been charged with committing bank fraud and identity theft.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson says 38-year-old Tonya Beverly and 43-year-old Leatrice Reynaud were arrested on charges of bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. They're expected to make a first appearance in court Tuesday. Court records didn't indicate if the women had attorneys.

Officials say both women made at least 33 fake identities using information from unsuspecting people to transfer money into bank accounts they controlled.

Authorities say they used identification data of at least eight people.

Another Houston woman, who authorities say was a co-conspirator, is charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud. She's expected to surrender to police Wednesday.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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