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Texas has old, new candidates to offer as presidential hopefuls

The Republican Party has long been riven between its establishment and conservative wings, a split that plays out every four years in the race for the White House.

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Two from Fort Worth appointed by Gov. Abbott to university boards

Steve Hicks, a University of Texas System regent who has been a vocal opponent of regents who have criticized the system’s flagship campus in Austin, was reappointed to the board by Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday. 

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Fort Worth draws closer to deal with Lancaster developer

City staff are planning to introduce the developer Feb. 3 at a meeting of the City Council's Housing and Economic Development Committee.

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Compass BBVA names Happel CEO for Fort Worth

BBVA Compass has appointed Brian Happel, most recently the Fort Worth city president, its chief executive officer of Fort Worth.

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Two Fort Worth Baylor medical properties acquired

Baylor Surgical Hospital of Fort Worth and Baylor Surgical Hospital Integrated Medical Facility are among three facilities acquired by Carter Validus Mission Critical REIT II Inc.

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Texas AG details opposition to airline merger

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott

DAVID KOENIG,AP Airlines Writer


DALLAS (AP) — The Texas attorney general says he's suing to block a giant airline merger because comments by company executives show they think consolidation will lead to higher prices.

Texas and five other states joined the U.S. Justice Department in suing this week to block the proposed merger between American Airlines and US Airways.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's opposition is notable because Fort Worth-based American is a major employer in the state, and he's running for governor next year.

Abbott said he challenged the merger because top company executives said in internal emails and other comments that they think the merger and shrinking competition "will allow the airlines to pile even more bag fees, ticket change fees and increased fares on customers."

Abbott said that if American and US Airways merge, they would no longer compete on nearly 200 routes touching Texas. He said based on recent financial results, both are healthy and can compete without merging. The AG made the comments on his official website Friday and in a Dallas Morning News guest column.

The Justice Department cited comments such as one by the president of US Airways, who said in 2011 that airlines were able to raise prices several times because of consolidation — mergers that had reduced the number of competing airlines. In 2012, the same executive said consolidation allowed the industry to raise fees on things such as checking bags and changing reservations.

American declined to respond to Abbott's comments Friday, but lawyers for both airlines downplayed the executives' emails and remarks in a conference call with reporters this week.

"The emails have nothing to do with this merger," said Paul Denis, an antitrust lawyer hired by US Airways. "They're all taken from other contexts in the past ... what's relevant to this merger is the marketplace in which it is occurring and the level of competition that will be increased by putting these two companies together."

American and US Airways argue that the merger would actually increase competition by creating a new huge airline to rival United and Delta.

The companies expected to close their merger next month, but now the deal could be delayed several months or even scuttled by the Justice Department's lawsuit. Both the airlines and government officials said that they planned to take the case to trial, but they didn't rule out a negotiated settlement.
 

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