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Houston woman accused of killing friend, taking baby as her own

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A Houston woman who police said stabbed her friend to death, stole the mother’s six-week-old baby girl and tried to pass the infant off as her own was arrested on Thursday, the same day authorities said they had found the missing child alive.

Erika Miranda-Alvarez, 28, apparently took the baby to hide from her boyfriend and family that she had a miscarriage, police said. Due to deliver in January, she came home on Tuesday with the stolen infant, telling family that she delivered early.

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“Lo and behold, on Dec. 19, she showed up with a baby and pretended it was hers,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told a news conference.

She has been charged with capital murder, which could bring the death penalty, in the stabbing death of Carolina Flores, 33, who was found dead on Tuesday.

There was no lawyer listed for Miranda-Alvarez and she has not issued a statement to the media.

The baby, Shamali Flores, was recovered from a Houston apartment complex after an extensive manhunt by Houston police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The child showed no signs of abuse or neglect, Acevedo said.

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“We saw that little angel just sitting there that doesn’t have a clue of what is going on,” he said of the recovery.

Acevedo said detectives put together a theory, which turned out to accurate, that the person responsible for the murder was an area woman who recently lost a child. Clues and the cooperation of the immigrant community where the mother and infant lived led investigators to the apartment complex where the infant girl was found, he said.

It was a joyous occasion to find the child alive, he added.

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“When you can find a silver lining out of a tragedy as this – a young woman was brutally murdered – you have got to take what you can,” he said.

“That is what keeps our sanity as police officers.”

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; editing by Colleen Jenkins and G Crosse)

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Science now supports the deadly serious warnings the Victorians gave about sleep

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“Sleeplessness is one of the torments of our age and generation.” You might presume that this is a quote from a contemporary commentator, and no wonder: the World Health Organisation has diagnosed a global epidemic of sleeplessness, and it is difficult to escape accounts, both popular and scientific, of the dangers to health of our 24/7 lifestyle in the modern digital age. But it was actually the neurologist Sir William Broadbent who wrote these words, in 1900.

So our concerns are evidently far from new. The Victorian era experienced not only the extraordinary upheavals of the industrial revolution, but also the arrival of gas and then electric lighting, turning night into day. The creation of an international telegraph network similarly revolutionised systems of communication, establishing global connectivity and, for groups such as businessmen, financiers and politicians, a flow of telegrams at all hours.

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The new Rambo movie is essentially a MAGA fever dream of bigotry

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"Rambo: Last Blood," the latest in the long-running franchise about a traumatized war veteran (Sylvester Stallone) turned on-demand badass, is less an escapist action movie and more a dramatized manifestation of the most notorious sentences from Donald Trump's presidential campaign announcement speech: "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people." Even for a series that has always been shaped by a right wing worldview, the only reason for this latest sequel to exist — besides generating profits from die-hard Stallone fans — is to validate MAGA-world bigotries about Mexicans.This article first appeared in Salon.

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University of Texas Rio Grande Valley to provide free tuition for students with household incomes under $75,000

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The tuition assistance program is expected to cover tuition and fees for about half of UTRGV students in the 2020-2021 academic year.

Beginning in the next academic year, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will provide free tuition and cover mandatory fees for qualifying students with household incomes under $75,000, the university announced Monday.

The UTRGV Tuition Advantage program is expected to alleviate tuition costs for more than half of the university's 21,459 undergraduate students, UTRGV President Guy Bailey said in the release. Funding will be available to incoming, returning and transfer in-state undergraduate students.

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