New Mexico

USA: In historic pick, Biden taps Haaland as interior secretary

(AP) --- President-elect Joe Biden selected New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland as his nominee for interior secretary on Thursday, a historic pick that would make her the first Native American to lead the powerful federal agency that has wielded influence over the nation’s tribes for generations.

‘Lost connection’ hampers Virgin Galactic’s test flight

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Virgin Galactic test flight Saturday ended prematurely as the spacecraft’s rocket motor failed to ignite and it then glided down safely to its landing site in southern New Mexico.

The spacecraft’s engine is supposed to ignite moments after the craft is released from a special carrier jet, sending it in a near-vertical climb toward the edge of space.

Cut off: School closings leave rural students isolated: USA

CUBA, N.M. (AP) — The midday arrival of a school bus at Cyliss Castillo’s home on the remote edge of a mesa breaks up the long days of boredom and isolation for the high school senior.

The driver hands over food in white plastic bags, collects Castillo’s school assignments and offers some welcome conversation before setting out for another home.

USA: Voting, virus, race are hot topics in state high court races

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court isn’t the nation’s only judicial battleground.

The high courts in a number of states are on the ballot Tuesday in races that will determine whether Republicans or Democrats have a majority, and the stakes are high for both sides. This year alone, state supreme courts have been thrust into the spotlight to decide politically charged cases over voting rights, race and governors’ coronavirus orders.

Next year, it could be abortion, health care and redistricting.

USA: Anniversary of world’s 1st atomic test fuels nuclear debate

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Transported in the backseat of a blacked-out Plymouth sedan was the culmination of years of feverish work — a hefty plutonium core that would soon be used to trigger the world’s first atomic explosion.

Within days of being taken in 1945 from a top secret installation in the mountains of northern New Mexico to a desert outpost more than 200 miles away, the core and other components were assembled for what was code-named the Trinity test.

USA: Man shot during protest over Spanish conqueror’s statue

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A man was shot Monday night as protesters in New Mexico’s largest city tried to tear down a bronze statue of a Spanish conquistador outside the Albuquerque Museum, prompting the city to announce that the statue would be removed until officials determine the next steps.

The man was taken to a hospital but his condition was not immediately unknown, said Albuquerque police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos.

Cleanup of US nuclear waste takes back seat as virus spreads

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. government’s efforts to clean up Cold War-era waste from nuclear research and bomb making at federal sites around the country has lumbered along for decades, often at a pace that watchdogs and other critics say threatens public health and the environment.

Now, fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic is resulting in more challenges as the nation’s only underground repository for nuclear waste finished ramping down operations Wednesday to keep workers safe.

Endangered gray wolf population on the rise in southwest US

THE EDGE OF THE GILA WILDERNESS, N.M. (AP) — A voice interrupted the crackle of the radio at basecamp: “Starting pursuit.”

The rest of the team on the ground was anxious to hear those words after the low-flying helicopter crew had been working all morning to get close to one of the Mexican gray wolves that had been targeted as part of an annual survey of the endangered predators.

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