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TEXAS ROUNDUP: Security concerns after lawmaker blocks abortion bill


AUSTIN — A Texas sheriff’s department said Thursday it had “security concerns” over social media posts targeting a Republican lawmaker, who has come under fire by some conservative activists after blocking a bill that could lead to a woman being charged with homicide if she has an abortion.

It marks the second time this month that Texas law enforcement has taken protective measures involving Republican lawmakers, who in both cases have been blamed by frustrated groups for torpedoing divisive measures, first over guns and now abortion.

The latest episode involves Republican state Rep. Jeff Leach, who earlier this week refused to advance the anti-abortion bill in his committee. He said Thursday that local authorities were monitoring his house near Dallas but declined further comment, referring questions to authorities.

Leach, who chairs the House committee that held a public hearing on the measure, known as House Bill 896, said in a statement posted on Twitter that the bill would not advance. Prominent anti-abortion groups in Texas have also come out against the measure, including the Texas Alliance for Life, which noted that no states prosecuted women before the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.


Boeing makes 96 flights to test Max jet software

DALLAS — Boeing’s CEO says crews have made 96 flights to test a software update for its troubled 737 Max jet and will make more in coming weeks as the company attempts to convince regulators to let the plane fly again.

Dennis Muilenburg also said Thursday that the company has met with pilots and airline officials in the U.S. and abroad, holding flight-simulator sessions to demonstrate the software changes.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which will consider whether the plane can resume flying in the U.S., plans to meet Friday with safety officials and pilots from American, Southwest and United, the three U.S. carriers that were using the Max jet.

An FAA spokesman said the agency wants to hear from the airlines and pilots before deciding what Boeing must do before the plane is allowed to fly.

Regulators around the world grounded the Max last month after deadly crashes involving the plane in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

In both cases, faulty information from a sensor caused anti-stall automation to kick in when it wasn’t needed and push the plane’s nose down. Pilots struggled to counter the plane’s actions but were unable to avoid crashing.


George W. Bush to honor Bill and Melinda Gates

DALLAS — The George W. Bush Presidential Center is honoring Bill and Melinda Gates with its annual award for those who work to improve the lives of others.

Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush on Thursday evening in Dallas will present Bill and Melinda Gates with the George W. Bush Medal for Distinguished Leadership.

The center says this year’s daylong leadership forum will focus on those “tackling today’s most pressing challenges with compassion.”

Bill Gates, who co-founded Microsoft, and his wife formed the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation . A focus of the foundation is global health and development.

The Bush center presented its inaugural leadership medal last year to Bono , lead singer of the band U2, for his humanitarian work against poverty and diseases including HIV/AIDS.