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Texas school children have come into contact with the first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola on US soil, Governor Rick Perry has said.

At a news conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Gov. Rick Perry said the children were being monitored “at home” for symptoms.

The patient is thought to have contracted the virus in Liberia before coming to the US nearly two weeks ago.

He is in a serious condition, a spokeswoman for the hospital said.

“Today we learned that some school-age children had been identified as having had contact with the patient and are now being monitored at home for any signs of the disease,” Rick Perry said.

“Parents are extremely concerned about that development. These children have been identified and they are being monitored.”

Rick Perry emphasized the disease could not be transmitted before a patient showed signs of the disease, and he said Texas had the medical infrastructure to prevent an outbreak.

“The public should have every confidence that the highly trained professional will succeed in this very important mission,” he said.

Texas school children have come into contact with the first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola on US soil

Texas school children have come into contact with the first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola on US soil

Meanwhile, in Liberia a government spokesman said the country had put in place “stringent screening” at the airport, where the man showed no symptoms or fever as he departed the country.

“What this incident demonstrates is the clear international dimension of this Ebola crisis,” Lewis Brown, Liberia’s information minister, said in a statement.

“For months, the Liberian government has been stressing that this disease is not simply a Liberian or West African problem.”

More than 3,000 people have already died of Ebola in West Africa and small number of US aid workers have recovered after being flown to the US.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the Ebola virus seems to have been contained in Senegal and Nigeria, with no new cases reported there for almost a month.

CDC Director Thomas Frieden confirmed the Ebola case on September 30, saying the unnamed patient left Liberia on September 19 and arrived in the US the next day to visit relatives, without displaying any symptoms of the virus.

Symptoms became apparent in the patient on September 24, and on September 28 he was admitted to a Texas hospital and put in isolation.

The unnamed patient was described as critically ill on September 30, suggesting the hospital has upgraded his condition.

Health officials are working to identify all people who came into contact with the unnamed patient while he was infectious, including relatives and a “couple” community members.

Those people will then be monitored for 21 days to see if an Ebola-related fever develops.

However, they will not be monitoring passengers on the man’s flight, where Dr. Thomas Frieden said there was “zero risk of transmission” as the man had been checked for fever before boarding.

According to Thomas Frieden, it is possible a family member who came in direct contact with the patient may develop Ebola in the coming weeks.


On October 1, Zachary Thompson, the director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, told local broadcaster WFAA “there may be another case that is a close associate with this particular patient”.

In an interview with CNN, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, suggested the hospital which initially saw the patient should have asked about international travel.

“If the ER physician had asked for a travel history, [and said], <<Do you have any recent travel outside of the country?>> And if the person said, <<Well, I just came back from Liberia>>, that would have been an enormous red flag for anybody, given the publicity that we have,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told the broadcaster.

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Texas Governor Rick Perry is sending 1,000 National Guard troops to the US border with Mexico to protect against what he described as criminals, human traffickers and drug cartels.

Republican Rick Perry said he had to act because the federal government had failed to secure the border.

He said the troops would work alongside law enforcement.

The move comes after a surge of unaccompanied Central American children crossed the border illegally.

More than 57,000 children, many fleeing gang violence and extreme poverty at home, have crossed the border since October.

In a news conference, Rick Perry said criminals would see the influx of children as an opportunity to be exploited. And he said that more than 203,000 “criminal aliens” had been held in Texas jails since 2008.

Texas Governor Rick Perry is sending 1,000 National Guard troops to the US border with Mexico

Texas Governor Rick Perry is sending 1,000 National Guard troops to the US border with Mexico

“There can be no national security without border security, and Texans have paid too high a price for the federal government’s failure to secure our border,” said Rick Perry, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 and has been named as a possible contender in 2016.

“The action I am ordering today will tackle this crisis head-on by multiplying our efforts to combat the cartel activity, human traffickers and individual criminals who threaten the safety of people across Texas and America.”

The Texas National Guard deployment will cost the state of Texas as much as $12 million per month.

President Barack Obama, a Democrat, has called for comprehensive immigration reform that would provide some path to legal status for the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the US as well as strengthen security at the border.

In response to the recent flood of illegal-immigrant children, Barack Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion to hire extra immigration judges, provide drone surveillance of the border, and fund medical services. Republicans in Congress rejected the request.

In Texas, a spokesman for the Texas Democratic Party accused Rick Perry of “photo-op politics” that ignored the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

“Local law enforcement, elected officials, and faith and community leaders in the Rio Grande Valley have expressed concerned about militarizing the border, the need to create a short-term humanitarian solution, and solving the long-term need for comprehensive immigration reform,” Emmanuel Garcia said.

“Today, Governor Rick Perry ignored those voices.”

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Ronald Lee Haskell, who is accused of shooting dead a family of six, including four children, near Houston, Texas, has been charged with multiple counts of murder.

Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, gave himself up to police late Wednesday following a chase and a three-hour stand-off.

A 15-year-old girl is also in a critical condition after being shot in the head, but was able to direct police to him.

Police earlier identified Ronald Lee Haskell as the father of the children, but have corrected that report.

Harris County Constable Ron Hickman said the adults killed were the children’s parents and Roland Lee Haskell was estranged from a woman related to the couple.

“I have not personally in 40 years seen a tragedy in one family that is this horrific,” he said.

Ronald Lee Haskell is accused of shooting dead a family of six near Houston

Ronald Lee Haskell is accused of shooting dead a family of six near Houston (photo KNXV TV)

Police had been called to a house about 6 PM and found three children and two adults dead, a Harris County Sheriff’s Office statement said.

A fourth child died in hospital. Those killed were two boys ages 4 and 14, two girls 7 and 9 and their parents. They have not yet been identified.

Ron Hickman said Roland Lee Haskell had allegedly persuaded the children he was a FedEx parcel delivery man to gain access to their home in Spring, Texas. He was wearing a shirt with the company’s logo.

He then “gathered up the children that were here and awaited the arrival of the parents”, Ron Hickman told reporters.

In a statement, the parcel firm said Roland Lee Haskell “formerly provided service” for the company, but had not done so since January.

The injured 15-year-old daughter of the couple then called police, telling them the gunman was en route to shoot other members of their family.

She was in a critical condition in hospital on Thursday.

Police earlier described the shooting suspect as a man in his 30s with a beard who was “cool as a cucumber”.

When approached by officers he was “just sitting in his car looking out at us,” said Sgt. Thomas Gilliland.

There followed “hours of constant talking with a man armed with a pistol to his head and who had just killed six people”, he added.

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Texas police have detained a gunman after allegedly shooting dead six people, including four of his own children in Spring, near Houston.

One of the suspect’s daughters is in a critical condition after being shot in the head, but she was able to direct police to him.

After a 20-minute chase, the man’s car was surrounded and he gave himself up following a two-hour stand-off.

Police said the incident appeared to have started over a domestic dispute.

A father is suspected of shooting six dead near Houston

A father is suspected of shooting six dead near Houston

“It appears this stems from a domestic issue with a breakup in the family, from what our witness has told us,” a police press spokesman said.

The gunman and his wife were estranged and she was not in the state of Texas at the time, police said.

Police described the suspect as a man in his 30s with a beard who was “cool as a cucumber”.

When approached by officers he was “just sitting in his car looking out at us,” said Sgt Thomas Gilliland.

There followed “two hours of constant talking with a man armed with a pistol to his head and who had just killed six people”.

Police had been called to a house about 18:00 and found three children and two adults dead, a Harris County Sheriff’s Office statement said.

A fourth child died in hospital. The children ranged in age from 4 to 13. The two adults are also believed to be related to the suspect.

Two of the children who died had been adopted.

The suspect’s 15-year old daughter, who alerted police to the shooting, is currently in critical condition in hospital.

She warned police that her father was heading for her grandparents’ home, allowing them to intercept him on the way.

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Phil Collins has donated his extensive collection of Alamo memorabilia to the Battle of the Alamo historic site in San Antonio, Texas.

Phil Collins, 63, said he had amassed more than 200 artifacts after becoming fascinated with the 1836 battle as a child.

The former Genesis star said he was donating the collection – thought to be the largest in private hands – to ensure it was better cared for in the future.

It includes items such as a rifle owned by folk hero Davy Crockett.

Phil Collins has donated his extensive collection of Alamo memorabilia to the Battle of the Alamo historic site in San Antonio

Phil Collins has donated his extensive collection of Alamo memorabilia to the Battle of the Alamo historic site in San Antonio

At an event announcing the donation in San Antonio, Phil Collins joked he had spent “all the money I made from music” on his collection related to the battle where 1,500 Mexican troops laid siege to 200 Texans fighting for Texas independence.

“Some people would buy Ferraris, some people would buy houses, I bought old bits of metal and old bits of paper,” he said.

Phil Collins explained he first became interested in the Alamo after watching the 1950s TV series Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier.

“I’ve had a love affair with this place since I was about 5 years old. It’s [all] at my home, in my basement in Switzerland. I look at it every day, but no one else was enjoying it.”

The collection also includes Davy Crockett’s leather shot pouch, a pair of powder horns which the soldier is believed to have given to a Mexican officer before his death, muskets belonging to Mexican soldiers and one of the original Bowie knives, made famous by Alamo defender Jim Bowie.

Texas land commissioner Jerry Patterson said Phil Collins would pay to ship the collection to Texas with the understanding the state would use public funding and private donations to redevelop the Alamo site – including a new building to house the collection.

The collection will begin arriving in Texas in the next few months and will be displayed on a rotating basis at the museum.

Phil Collins said he would continue buying Alamo memorabilia and “once I’ve lived with whatever I buy for a month, I’ll ship it over here”.

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A multiple-day severe weather outbreak will begin this weekend over the South Central states and will include the potential for nighttime tornadoes in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.

A storm will move slowly across the US over the next seven to 10 days. The storm will affect Southern California with locally drenching rain and mountain snow on Friday. Its next stop will be the Central states this weekend.

While the central and southern Plains are in need of rain, it will come with the price tag of violent storms.

Since the parent storm will not arrive on the scene until late in the day Saturday, most storms are not forecast to ignite until the late-day and nighttime hours.

A multiple-day severe weather outbreak will begin this weekend over the South Central states and will include the potential for nighttime tornadoes

A multiple-day severe weather outbreak will begin this weekend over the South Central states and will include the potential for nighttime tornadoes (photo AccuWeather)

Major cities at risk for severe weather this weekend include Dallas, Oklahoma City, Wichita, Kansas, Omaha, Nebraska, and Kansas City, Missouri.

Because the storms will be passing through large metropolitan areas, the storms have the potential to bring extensive damage, risk to a great number of lives and significant travel disruptions.

According to AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions Storm Warning Meteorologist Scott Breit, “Supercell thunderstorms will develop along the dry line from west-central Kansas to the Oklahoma Panhandle and northwestern Texas late Saturday afternoon with large hail and tornadoes a good bet.”

A dry line marks the boundary between desert air to the west and moist Gulf of Mexico air to the east. A supercell thunderstorm is a long-lived, intense storm that often develops rotation and has an elevated risk of producing tornadoes, damaging winds gusts, frequent lightning strikes and very large hail.

Aiding the development of severe thunderstorms will be a surge of warm, humid air on Saturday.

The threat for violent storms, including a few supercells, will continue to push eastward Saturday night across rural and populated areas of central Kansas, central Nebraska, central Oklahoma and central Texas.

The storms are likely to shift to the east of Oklahoma City in time for the Memorial Marathon Sunday morning. However, if the storms are slower to leave than expected, or damage occurred from the night before, a delayed start cannot be ruled-out.

Because many of the most violent storms will continue after dark, there is an elevated danger factor. People may not see that a tornado is approaching their location.

Anyone traveling through the area or spending time outdoors will want to keep an eye out for rapidly changing weather conditions.

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A giant gingerbread house in Bryan, Texas, has been declared the biggest ever by Guinness World Records.

Coming in at 35.8 million calories and covering an area of 2520 square feet, or nearly the size of a tennis court, the 21-foot high gingerbread house in Bryan, 90 miles northwest of Houston, has been declared the biggest ever by Guinness World Records.

The house, with an edible exterior mounted over a wooden frame, was built by the Traditions Club near Texas A&M University to help raise money for a trauma center at the regional St. Joseph’s Hospital.

The giant gingerbread house in Bryan, Texas, has been declared the biggest ever by Guinness World Records

The giant gingerbread house in Bryan, Texas, has been declared the biggest ever by Guinness World Records

The Texas creation topped the previous record holder for gingerbread houses, a 36,600-cubic-foot model constructed in Bloomington, Minnesota’s Mall of America in 2012.

The recipe is simple. Mix 1,800 pounds of butter, 2,925 pounds of brown sugar, 7,200 eggs, 7,200 pounds all-purpose flour, 1,080 ounces ground ginger and a few other ingredients, bake and form into panels for mounting.

The bakers tried to cut back on the butter and baking soda as much as possible to help the gingerbread better stand up to the weather.

The edible and aromatic panels, icing and candy were mounted over the wooden frame and have so far stood up to the Texas sun as well as a few storms.

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The US is marking 50 years since President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, Texas.

Dallas, which has long struggled with the legacy of the murder, hosts a series of official events on Friday.

John F. Kennedy is often ranked among the nation’s most revered presidents, though he served less than three years.

He is commemorated for his youthful vigor, his leadership through the Cuban missile crisis, and his challenge to America to put a man on the Moon.

But he is also remembered for ordering one of the most disastrous episodes of the Cold War, the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of communist Cuba by a CIA-trained paramilitary force of Cuban exiles.

JFK’s family members laid a wreath on his grave at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington DC on Friday. His wife Jackie Kennedy and two of their children are also buried there.

Nearby, President Barack Obama ordered the White House flag be flown at half mast.

Among official events in Dallas on Friday, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra will perform, Mayor Michael Rawlings will give an address, and bells will toll at the minute of Kennedy’s death.

Those events and others conclude a week of tributes to the slain US leader.

John F. Kennedy is often ranked among the nation's most revered presidents, though he served less than three years

John F. Kennedy is often ranked among the nation’s most revered presidents, though he served less than three years

Kennedy, a Democrat, was part of one of the most prominent US political dynasties of the 20th Century.

His father, Joseph, was a wealthy businessman who served in senior positions in the government of President Franklin Roosevelt, including as ambassador to Britain.

Two of his brothers later served as US senators and ran for president. One of them, Robert, was himself assassinated in 1968. Edward Kennedy, who died in 2009, was a champion of progressive causes including universal healthcare.

JFK’s daughter Caroline is now the US ambassador to Japan.

On November 22, 1963, JFK and his wife Jackie travelled to Dallas for early campaigning ahead of the following year’s election.

Crowds of supporters lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the couple. As the presidential motorcade entered Dealey Plaza at around 12:30 local time, JFK’s convertible passed the Texas School Book Depository.

Gunshots rang out across the plaza. Bullets struck the president in the head and neck. Half an hour later, JFK was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Soon after, Vice-President Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as president aboard Air Force One.

Lee Harvey Oswald, an employee at the depository, was arrested in connection with the shooting.

On November 24, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald was scheduled to be transferred from police headquarters to a county jail when he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby, a local nightclub owner.

Although JFK’s murder has provided endless fodder for conspiracy theorists, official inquiries have determined Lee Harvey Oswald alone was responsible for the assassination.

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Texas officials have announced that 12 bodies have been recovered from the site of Wednesday’s deadly blast at West Fertilizer plant.

About 200 people are now thought to have been injured in the blast.

Earlier, the town’s mayor said he believed four firefighters who attended the original fire were among the dead, though this has not been confirmed.

Dozens of buildings were destroyed by the blast in the town of West, near Waco.

Jason Reyes of the Texas Department of Public Safety said search and rescue efforts were ongoing.

Twelve bodies have been recovered from the site of deadly blast at West Fertilizer plant in Texas

Twelve bodies have been recovered from the site of deadly blast at West Fertilizer plant in Texas

The explosion produced a tremor similar to a small earthquake.

There is no indication that the blast and a fire which preceded it were anything other than industrial accidents, according to police.

However, they have said that the site is being treated as a crime scene.

Texas Governor Rick Perry earlier said he was declaring the area a disaster and would request an emergency declaration for federal aid from President Barack Obama, who has offered any help needed.

Air quality and gas pipelines are being monitored for safety, and gas supplies have also been disconnected until any risk has passed.

Emergency services officials earlier said the explosion may have been caused by the chemical ammonia.

The explosion devastated the West Fertilizer Company, about 20 miles north of Waco, in central Texas.

Dozens of homes were levelled and other buildings – including a school and nursing home a few hundred metres from the plant – were badly damaged.