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GUN PROSECUTION LOOPHOLE

Design of AR-15 could derail charges tied to popular rifle

DALLAS (AP) — A subtle design feature of the AR-15 rifle has raised a technical legal question that is derailing criminal cases tied to one of America's most popular weapons. At issue is whether a key piece of the AR-15 satisfies the definition of a gun that prosecutors have long relied on. That definition is critical in pursuit of people who are charged with illegally buying and sell parts for the rifle or building them. Federal law enforcement officials have long been concerned about the issue. Now they are increasingly worried that it could derail some criminal charges and undermine firearms regulations nationwide.

CHURCH SHOOTING-TEXAS-AWARD

Man who shot church gunman gets highest Texas civilian honor

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has presented the state's highest civilian honor to a 71-year-old man who shot and killed an armed attacker at a church in December. Abbott gave Jack Wilson the Governor's Medal of Courage on Monday. Wilson is a firearms instructor who trained the West Freeway Church of Christ's volunteer security team. He shot the attacker once in the head after the gunman opened fire with a shotgun in the church's sanctuary. Two parishioners were killed in the attack. Authorities later identified the attacker as 43-year-old Keith Thomas Kinnunen, who had a history of criminal and psychological trouble.

AP-US-ELECTION-2020-BIDEN-ALLRED-

Biden picks up Colin Allred as 10th Black Caucus endorser

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has picked up the endorsement of Texas Rep. Colin Allred, the 10th Congressional Black Caucus member to back the former vice president’s 2020 bid. Allred’s decision to endorse Biden on Monday underscores Biden’s advantage with a crucial Democratic constituency less than a month before 2020 voting begins. Allred also gives Biden support from another House freshman who flipped a Republican district in the 2018 midterms. Allred is the latest Texan to endorse Biden after having initially backed Texan Julián Castro, who ended his campaign this month. Castro has endorsed progressive Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

AP-BBA-ASTROS-SIGN-STEALING

Hinch, GM fired for Astros sign stealing after MLB bans pair

HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Astros fired manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow after the pair were suspended by Major League Baseball for a sign-stealing scheme during the Astros' run to the 2017 World Series title. Commissioner Rob Manfred strongly hinted that current Boston manager Alex Cora will face equal or more severe punishment. Cora was the Astros bench coach in 2017 and Manfred said he developed the electronic sign-stealing system used by the team. The Red Sox are under investigation for sign stealing in Cora's first season as manager in 2018, when Boston won the title. The Astros were fined $5 million and must forfeit their next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks as punishment.

AP-US-SEVERE-STORMS

Recovery begins after storms kill 11 in Midwest, South

Icy roads, deadly tornadoes, punishing waves were all part of the severe weekend weather blamed for 11 deaths and major damage in parts of the Midwest, South and Northeast. The death toll included tornado victims in Alabama and Louisiana and two first responders struck by a car at an icy Texas accident scene. Another icy road death was reported in Iowa. A drowning was reported in Oklahoma flooding. In Wisconsin, wind, waves and flooding caused major damage Saturday to Port Milwaukee on Lake Michigan. Officials spent Sunday assessing damage and working to restore power to tens of thousands.

BC-MISSING BOATER-SEARCH

Coast Guard: Missing Texas boater not missing after all

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard says a boater who had been believed to possibly be missing near Galveston along the Texas Gulf Coast was never actually missing. The Coast Guard and the Tiki Island police department became concerned after receiving a call around 2 a.m. Saturday about an unmanned 21-foot boat found near the east side of Jones Bay, located northwest of Galveston. Officials were unable to contact the boat’s owner and began searching for the individual. The owner of the boat learned of the search on social media and contacted officials, telling them his boat has broken away during Friday night storms.

AP-US-SEVERE-STORMS

Storms sweep southern US, Midwest as death toll rises to 11

HOUSTON (AP) — Authorities blame severe storms sweeping across southern portions of the U.S. and into the Midwest for the deaths of at least 11 people, including two first responders. High winds, tornadoes and unrelenting rain have battered large swaths of the country. Officials say a police officer and a firefighter in Lubbock, Texas, were killed Saturday after being hit by a vehicle at the scene of a traffic accident. Hundreds of thousands of people were left without power from Texas to Ohio, sections of flooded highways were closed in Oklahoma and Arkansas and hundreds of flights were canceled at Chicago's airports.

GREECE-US-TOURIST'S KILLING

Greek court postpones retrial in US tourist's beating death

ATHENS (AP) — A Greek court has postponed the retrial of seven suspects on murder charges over the 2017 fatal beating of a Texan tourist on an island resort. The delay was granted following a request by some of the defendants’ lawyers, who were trying separate cases on the same day. Monday’s postponement was the second, after the court in the western town of Patras deferred the case last week to give the newly hired lawyer representing the dead man’s family time to familiarize himself with the case. No new trial date has been set. Bakari Henderson, a 22-year-old from Austin, died in July 2017 after being beaten in the street following an argument in a bar in the Laganas resort area of Zakynthos island in western Greece.

AP-FBN-HALL-OF-FAME-JIMMY-JOHNSON

Super Bowl-winning coach Jimmy Johnson into Hall of Fame

Jimmy Johnson has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He who coached the Dallas Cowboys to two Super Bowl championships in the 1990s. The hall announced his selection as part of a centennial class that was chosen on Wednesday by a special committee. Former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher was revealed Saturday night as the other coach being inducted. Johnson was a successful college coach at Oklahoma State and Miami, where he won a national championship in 1987, before being hired in 1989 by new Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

AP-US-GAS-PRICES

Gas prices jump 4 cents per gallon to $2.64 in past 3 weeks

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline has jumped 4 cents per gallon to $2.64 over the past three weeks. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey says gas prices are unlikely to continue to increase because crude oil costs have dropped. The price at the pump is 33 cents higher than it was a year ago.  The highest average price in the nation for regular-grade gas is $3.58 per gallon in Honolulu. The lowest average is $2.21 in Houston. The average price of diesel is $3.08, up two cents.