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Pope Francis Calls For Same-Sex Civil Union Law In New Documentary

Updated at 2:42 p.m. ET Pope Francis has called for legislation to protect same-sex couples, according to comments he made in a new documentary that mark a break from Catholic doctrine. "Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They are children of God and have a right to a family," the pope said in an interview in the documentary Francesco , which premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival. "What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered."...

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Facebook / White House

  WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump spent a decade unsuccessfully pursuing projects in China, operating an office there during his first run for president and forging a partnership with a major government-controlled company. That's according to a report in The New York Times Tuesday. China is one of only three foreign nations — the others are Britain and Ireland — where Trump maintains a bank account, according to a Times analysis of the president’s tax records. The foreign accounts do not show up on Trump’s public financial disclosures, where he must list personal assets, because they are held under corporate names.

On your ballot this fall, you’ll see some judges in contested elections, and others up for what’s called judicial retention. That’s because after a judge is appointed, they must run in a partisan election. After their first term, in order to stay on the bench, they just need 57% of voters to approve. For voters unsure of whether to check ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on a judge, the volunteer Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission (JPEC) was charged by the state Supreme Court to make recommendations on judicial retention. JPEC vice chair and retired district judge Jim Hall says the panel evaluates each judge in four major areas. 

Department of Energy

  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — State environmental regulators are reviewing an application from the federal government to renew its permit to operate the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico. It will be next year before a final decision made, but watchdog groups raised concerns with state lawmakers during a meeting Wednesday. They say the U.S. Energy Department wants to make operations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant open-ended, removing any reference in the permit to 2024 as the date when closure and decommissioning were supposed to start. They say allowing the change will mark another step toward solidifying New Mexico as the nation's dumping ground for nuclear waste.

  A voting rights group says that caravans of flag-waving President Donald Trump supporters appeared to obstruct and intimidate voters at two polling location in predominantly ethnic-minority neighborhoods last weekend in the Albuquerque area. Common Cause New Mexico Director Heather Ferguson said Wednesday that the incidents took place on the first day of balloting at voter convenience centers in the South Valley area and the western reaches of Central Avenue. The areas are heavily Latino. She estimates that dozens of potential voters in each location left without voting as a result of the incidents. Local prosecutors say they are investigating.

El Paso's Workforce Solutions Borderplex Closes All Centers

48 minutes ago

In response to concerns related to the surge of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, Workforce Solutions Borderplex (WSB) announces that all job centers will be closing effective immediately.  All centers will be closed to the public and resource rooms will no longer be available for internet, printing and computer access.   WSB is still eager to assist with case management and job assistance, but all support will be handled virtually. 

For updates, please visit the WSB resource website at www.borderplexjobs.com/covid-19 or email WSB at callcenter@borderplexjobs.com.  The general WSB website, www.borderplexjobs.com, also serves clients through its chatbot feature on the bottom right corner of the page.

New Mexico COVID-19 update: 827 new cases, totaling 38,715

4 hours ago

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Wednesday announced 827 additional COVID-19 cases and 8 deaths.

As of today, there are 202 individuals hospitalized in New Mexico for COVID-19. This number may include individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 out of state but are currently hospitalized in New Mexico. This number does not include New Mexicans who tested positive for COVID-19 and may have been transferred to a hospital out of state.

John Swicinski

Second grade teacher John Swicinski will be the first to tell you of the positive strides being made within the education system this year.

“I think the overall positive effect is COVID caused our administrators, our state, the government to start spending more money so that every single kid has a computer now,” Swicinski said. “Prior to that, I had five computers I shared with 20 kids, and rotated them every day. Now each child has their own computer.”

Yet, for all the new technology, the Truth or Consequences Elementary School teacher will freely admit to the struggles many in the teaching community have been facing during the pandemic.

Sierra County, NM - On Tuesday at approximately 10:45 p.m., New Mexico State Police officers were requested by the United States Border Patrol for assistance in apprehending a male subject driving a black passenger car that had fled from the U.S Border Patrol checkpoint located on Interstate 25 near milepost 26 north of Las Cruces, NM.

In an attempt to safely stop the fleeing vehicle, a New Mexico State Police officer and a Sierra County Sheriff’s deputy deployed tire deflation devices near milepost 68 on Interstate 25. The suspect drove the vehicle over the tire deflation devices but continued to flee north on Interstate 25.

  SANTA FE – New Mexico has been awarded two federal grants: $6 million from the Department of Justice to support those impacted by illicit opioids, stimulants and other drugs of abuse and, $3.6 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to address the growing behavioral health needs of the homeless and justice-involved population impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Mexico Human Services Department announced today.

 

“These two grants will help the state and local providers respond to the pressing behavioral health needs of so many New Mexicans who are facing difficult challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Neal Bowen director for the Behavioral Health Services Division.

 

Las Cruces Museum System Temporary Closure

6 hours ago

Consistent with the latest public health recommendations from the Governor’s office, the Las Cruces Museums has opted to close to the public effective October 23 through November 14, 2020.
 
The Branigan Cultural Center, Las Cruces Museum of Art, Museum of Nature & Science, and Railroad Museum are closing to on-site visitation temporarily in our ongoing effort to minimize the risk of community spread of the COVID-19 virus. We continue to offer free programs and experiences online via our Facebook and Instagram @LCMuseums. You can also find activities on our website at museums.las-cruces.org.
 

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NPR News

The Supreme Court has sided with Alabama state officials who banned curbside voting intended to accommodate individuals with disabilities and those at risk from the COVID-19 virus.

The high court issued its order Wednesday night, without explanation, over the dissent of the court's three liberal justices.

At issue was the decision by the Alabama secretary of state to ban counties from allowing curbside voting, even for those voters with disabilities and those for whom COVID-19 is disproportionately likely to be fatal.

Updated at 8:33 p.m. ET

Iranian influence specialists are behind threatening emails sent to voters in Alaska and Florida, U.S. officials said on Wednesday evening and suggested that more such interference could be in store from Russia.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said the U.S. intelligence community believes Iranian and Russian operatives obtained voter-record information, which enabled Iran to target some people with intimidating emails based on party registration about how they'd better vote for President Trump "or else."

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The U.S. government said tonight that Iran and Russia have taken specific actions to influence public opinion related to U.S. elections. Here's director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHN RATCLIFFE: These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries.

SHAPIRO: This development comes after voters in Alaska and Florida reported receiving threatening emails this week. NPR's Miles Parks covers voting and election security and joins us now with more.

Hi, Miles.

In the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, the hardest hit areas were big cities, from Seattle to New York. But now, eight months after the crisis hit the U.S, new cases are surging in some small towns and rural areas around the country.

Colorado is among more than a dozen states that set a seven-day record for positive COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The U.S. government said tonight that Iran and Russia have taken specific actions to influence public opinion related to U.S. elections. Here's director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHN RATCLIFFE: These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries.

SHAPIRO: This development comes after voters in Alaska and Florida reported receiving threatening emails this week. NPR's Miles Parks covers voting and election security and joins us now with more.

Hi, Miles.

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Strapped In Together

Oct 20, 2020

Commentary: The newborn phase is a bit like war: no sleep, an unknown opponent, meeting different layers of yourself through caffeine and adrenaline, and learning to distinguish the urgency of loud yelling.

For both of my kids, the car was an elixir of relief, first for me and then for them, once they were lulled to sleep. They realized that no amount of yelling would stop the ride. Thanks to them, I also know all the circular routes in a 70-mile radius, the length of which I chose depending on the cantankerous need of my kid and the length of a podcast.

Report: Declining Oil & Gas Industry Unlikely to Recover

Oct 20, 2020
Laura Paskus, New Mexico In Depth

Commentary: James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, issued the following statement regarding the report on the outlook of the oil and gas industry in New Mexico, released today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA): 

“For too long New Mexico has been whipsawed by volatile oil and natural gas markets that our policymakers have no power to control. Once again low oil and gas prices are causing shortfalls in dollars needed in the state budget for our schools, public safety, health care, and more. The IEEFA report released today makes it clear that we cannot simply blame COVID-19 for our revenue shortfall and expect New Mexico to recover when the pandemic subsides. The signs that the oil and gas industry is in decline go back almost a decade. New Mexico needs to diversify its economy in order to reduce our reliance on a declining industry now. 

 Commentary: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's earlier idealism has worn off. But he still views social media as a force for good in the world. I can envision him employing the analogy of automobiles. Many people believed that they would mark the end of civility; that they would be a distraction, cause social anxiety, and impede sleep. Yet who can envision the world today without motorized transportation? Although Zuckerberg has acknowledged that there will be accidents and unintended consequences along the way. He ultimately views his creation as an indispensable tool of communication, commerce, and even democracy itself.

Sobering Restaurant Statistics Show The Damage Caused By The Pandemic

Oct 19, 2020

Commentary: So much has changed for all of us in the last six months.  It is time to take a look at the raw numbers of the restaurant industry.

To be sure, restaurants are taking the virus seriously. They are cleaning, sanitizing, social distancing, following the CSP’s, and wearing masks. The safety of restaurant employees and customers has been and always will be our top priority in restaurants. 

Unfortunately, the economics are not in our favor. According to the New Mexico Economic Development Department’s quarterly summary, the accommodation and food service industries have lost $574 million since January.  This is a 31% decrease from 2019.

 


  Commentary: It was less than a year ago that Russell Allen, vice president of operations for Allen Theaters, announced a major expansion for the Telson 12 complex in Las Cruces.

Along with a new game room, bar, restaurant and party room, the 31,000-square-foot project also called for a 16-lane bowling alley, bringing bowling back to Las Cruces for the first time since 2018, when 10 Pin Alley closed.

More Viewpoints
Covering the big stories in New Mexico and Texas. Friday at 1pm on KRWG-FM, call in with your questions on Voice Of The Public with KC Counts.
Join Fred Martino for the region's in-depth television news Thursday at 7pm, Saturday at 5pm and Sunday at 11am on KRWG-TV. E-mail story ideas to feedback@nmsu.edu

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