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Texas Assault Conviction Could Be Overturned & Nightly Roundup

By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – A Texas man's 1986 conviction for sexual assault could be overturned after a hearing to consider recent DNA testing.

The Thursday hearing in front of state District Judge Gracie Lewis of Dallas will consider the case of 61-year-old Larry Sims, who was sentenced to 25 years for the crime.

Dallas County prosecutor Mike Ware supports allowing Sims to seek a new trial or a pardon.

The crime allegedly occurred after a night of drinking and smoking crack cocaine, and the alleged victim denied under oath that she had sex with another man in the group. The recent test, however, found DNA from the other man and not Sims.

Sims' attorney, Michelle Moore, says her client sought the testing when he was free on parole briefly last year.

Defense: Exam won't stop Fort Hood suspect's trial

The Fort Hood shooting suspect's attorney says a military panel's mental evaluation won't affect the Army's plans for a court martial.

Attorney John Galligan won't disclose the specifics of the report recently submitted to Army officials and defense attorneys. It determines Maj. Nidal Hasan's mental state during the November 2009 shootings and whether he's competent for a trial.

A decision hasn't been made on whether the Army psychiatrist should stand trial and face the death penalty for 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.

Experts say if a military panel finds that a defendant is incompetent to stand trial or has a severe mental illness preventing him from knowing his alleged actions were wrong, his case would be delayed or even dismissed.

EPA to Texas: Don't issue permit for plant

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is asking Texas' environmental regulatory agency to withhold a permit for a proposed coal-fired power plant in Corpus Christi.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is set on Wednesday to consider the permit application. In a letter dated Monday, the EPA said the TCEQ shouldn't issue the permit for the planned Las Brisas Energy Center until the TCEQ and the EPA can resolve various issues. EPA concerns include a lack of consultation with them and a lack of evidence that the plant won't violate air quality standards.

The letter says the EPA has "strong concerns about the public health and environmental impacts."

A Texas administrative panel has twice recommended that state regulators deny the permit.

TX RR Commissioner Jones enters race for US Senate

Texas Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones barnstormed the state Tuesday to announce her candidacy for the U.S. Senate in 2012.

Jones aims to replace U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who plans to retire when her current term expires. Jones joins a crowded field for the Republican nomination, which includes the current chairman of the Texas railroad commission, Michael Williams.

Jones stopped in Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio on Tuesday with plans to visit 10 more cities. Before being appointed to the Railroad Commission, she was elected three times to the state House of Representatives. She is originally from San Antonio.

Jones said she is running as a conservative Texan to "rein in out of control spending."

US airlines make money again by flying less

After a decade of multibillion-dollar losses, U.S. airlines appear likely to profit for years for a simple reason: They are flying less.

By grounding planes and eliminating flights, airlines have cut costs and pushed fares higher. As the global economy rebounds, travel demand is rising and planes are as full as they've been in decades.

The government says profit margins at big airlines are the highest in at least a decade. The eight largest U.S. airlines are forecast to earn more than $5 billion this year and $5.6 billion in 2012.

U.S. airlines are in the midst of reporting fourth-quarter results that should cap the industry's first moneymaking year since 2007.

The Air Transport Association says U.S. airlines lost about $60 billion and eliminated 160,000 jobs from 2000 through 2009.