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5 things for Houstonians to know for Thursday, Oct. 22

J.J. Watt enters the field before the game against the New York Giants at NRG Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Houston, Texas.
J.J. Watt enters the field before the game against the New York Giants at NRG Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (2018 Getty Images)

Here are things to know for Thursday, Oct. 22:

1. Francis becomes 1st pope to endorse same-sex civil unions

Pope Francis became the first pontiff to endorse same-sex civil unions in comments for a documentary that premiered Wednesday, sparking cheers from gay Catholics and demands for clarification from conservatives, given the Vatican’s official teaching on the issue.

“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God,” Francis said. “You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”

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2. Parents of 545 children separated at border can’t be found

Court-appointed lawyers said Tuesday that they have been unable to find parents of 545 children who were separated at the U.S. border with Mexico early in the Trump administration.

The children were separated between July 1, 2017, and June 26, 2018, when a federal judge in San Diego ordered that children in government custody be reunited with their parents.

Children from that period are difficult to find because the government had inadequate tracking systems. Volunteers have searched for them and their parents by going door-to-door in Guatemala and Honduras.

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3. HPD Police Chief says No. 1 focus is the capital murder investigation for fallen sergeant Preston

The man accused in a shooting that killed one Houston police officer and wounded another appears to have been hit by gunfire returned from the officer who died, officials said Wednesday.

Houston police Chief Art Acevedo said it appears that the gunshot wound Elmer Manzano suffered during Tuesday’s shooting was from gunfire returned by HPD Sgt. Harold Preston, who died after being shot by Manzano.

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4. University of Texas Longhorn band won’t play “Eyes of Texas” this weekend after some members say they’re unwilling

The Longhorn Band will not play the “The Eyes of Texas” at this Saturday’s football game between the University of Texas at Austin and Baylor University after a survey of members revealed several students are unwilling to play the traditional alma mater song, according to The Daily Texan.

The survey was sent to band members asking if they would be willing to play “The Eyes,” a song that has divided the university community in recent months over its ties to minstrel shows where performers wore blackface. The Daily Texan reported that a message sent to band members by leader Scott Hanna said the survey results wouldn’t affect whether the band performs at future games. The band has yet to play at a football game this season, due to safety restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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5. JJ Watt among Texans that could be traded as NFL deadline looms

The Houston Texans are 1-5 with severe cap issues heading into 2021, meaning the team could be a seller at the NFL Trade Deadline on November 3.

Watt is on the books for $17.5 million in 2021 with no dead cap (meaning the Texans could cut Watt without paying anything).

Watt may not be a Defensive Player of the Year candidate anymore, but he’s still one of the top pass rushers and 3-4 defensive ends in football.

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