Local News

  • Help offered to homeowners in Ruidoso fire area

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Federal funds could help low- and moderate-income homeowners rebuild or remodel homes damaged by a fire this month in the Ruidoso area of southern New Mexico.

    USDA Rural Development says it can provide financial support to buy or repair a home.

    Its direct home loan program was created to help low-income people buy a house and its guaranteed rural housing loan program provides affordable home loans to moderate-income people.

  • Global markets dogged by Japan nuclear worries

    LONDON (AP) — Stocks fell sharply Tuesday after Japan said its nuclear crisis is as severe as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, while the euro pushed above $1.45 for the first time in 15 months after figures showed a disappointingly small narrowing in the U.S. trade deficit.

    In stock markets, the main focus was on Japan after the country's nuclear safety agency raised the severity of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant incident by two notches to level 7, the highest on the scale and the same rating as the Chernobyl incident.

    The move, along with continuing earthquake aftershocks which have interfered with recovery work, sent ripples of unease through markets.

  • Super jumbo jet clips another plane at JFK airport

    NEW YORK (AP) — Two jets involved in a fender bender at New York City's John F. Kennedy Airport will be inspected to determine the extent of their damage.

    Air France Flight 7, bound for Paris, was taxiing on a runway when its left wingtip clipped the tail of a Comair commuter jet just after 8 p.m. on Monday and spun it nearly 90 degrees. Comair Flight 6293 had just landed from Boston.

    Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters says there were no injuries. He says both jets were towed away and will be inspected.

  • NATO general: 'We're doing a great job' in Libya

    BRUSSELS (AP) — A NATO general sharply rejected French criticism Tuesday of the operation in Libya, saying the North Atlantic military alliance is performing well and protecting civilians effectively.

    French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe had said NATO should be doing more to take out strongman Moammar Gadhafi's heavy weaponry that is targeting civilians in Libya.

  • Oil drops to near $108 ahead of key demand reports

    SINGAPORE (AP) — Oil prices slumped to near $108 a barrel Tuesday in Asia, extending losses from the previous session ahead of key reports on the impact of rising fuel costs on global crude demand.

    Benchmark crude for May delivery was down $1.64 at $108.28 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost $2.87 to settle at $109.92 on Monday.

    In London, Brent crude for May delivery was down $1.51 to $122.47 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

  • Obama first to put tax increases on budget table

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Higher taxes have been missing from the fierce budget battle that nearly shut down the federal government. But President Barack Obama is about to put them on the table — at least a modest version that he had pushed before and then rested on the shelf.

    Most economists and budget analysts say a comprehensive mix of spending cuts and tax increases is essential to any viable deficit-reduction plan. Yet few players in the negotiations have gone there.

  • Japan ups nuke crisis severity to match Chernobyl--video extra

    TOKYO (AP) — Japan raised the crisis level at its crippled nuclear plant Tuesday to a severity on par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, citing high overall radiation leaks that have contaminated the air, tap water, vegetables and seawater.

    Japanese nuclear regulators said they raised the rating from 5 to 7 — the highest level on an international scale of nuclear accidents overseen by the International Atomic Energy Agency — after new assessments of radiation leaks from the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant since it was disabled by the March 11 tsunami.

  • Early warning prevented injuries in Iowa twister--video extra

    MAPLETON, Iowa (AP) — Residents of a small Iowa town had 15 minutes of warning before a tornado leveled more than half their community — a critical advantage in preventing any deaths or serious injuries, authorities said Monday.

    The storm barreled through Mapleton on Saturday night with winds of more than 130 mph. But the worst injury was a mere broken leg.

    Monona County Sheriff Jeff Pratt said he and his deputies, along with trained storm spotters, tracked the twister across the countryside and notified communities in its path to blow their warning sirens earlier than normal. That let people scramble into basements or seek other shelter.

  • Forces capture Ivory Coast strongman in bunker--video extra

    ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Ivory Coast's elected president used his troops and French tanks and air power to oust strongman Laurent Gbagbo, ending their four-month standoff on Monday by pulling him from his burning residence.

    Images of Gbagbo being led into a room in a white undershirt were broadcast on television as proof of his capture even as he refused to sign a statement formally ceding power after losing November's election.

    Residents of the commercial capital of Abidjan refrained from celebrating in public, still fearful of the hundreds of armed fighters that continued to prowl the streets, refusing to believe their leader had been arrested. Sporadic gunfire echoed across the city Monday night.

  • Japan shaken by quake after more evacuations urged--video extra

    SENDAI, Japan (AP) — A strong new earthquake rattled Japan's northeast Monday as the government urged more people living near a tsunami-crippled nuclear plant to leave, citing concerns about long-term health risks from radiation.

    The magnitude 7.0 aftershock came just hours after people bowed their heads and wept in somber ceremonies to mark a month since a massive earthquake and tsunami that killed up to 25,000 people and set off a crisis of radiation leaks at the nuclear plant by knocking out its cooling systems.