Local News

  • Fed leaves key interest rate unchanged, citing low inflation

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve is keeping U.S. interest rates at record lows in the face of threats from a weak global economy, persistently low inflation and unstable financial markets.

    Wrapping up a closely watched meeting, Fed officials say that while the U.S. job market is solid, recent global developments may "restrain economic activity" and further drag down already low inflation.

    Signs of a sharp slowdown in China have intensified fear among investors about the U.S. and global economy. And low oil prices and a high-priced dollar have kept inflation undesirably muted.

    Before year's end, many analysts still expect the Fed to raise its key short-term rate, which it's kept near zero since 2008. A higher Fed rate would eventually send rates up on many consumer and business loans.

  • Today in history Sept. 17
  • New Mexico official: EPA kept water data secret after spill

    BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A New Mexico official says federal regulators refused to share water quality data for weeks following a blowout of toxic wastewater from a Colorado mine that fouled rivers across the Southwest.

    Ryan Flynn, New Mexico Environment and Natural Resources secretary, said the move by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency aimed to downplay the severity of the spill, hobbling the state's response.

    Flynn's comments came in statements prepared for delivery Thursday before a U.S. House committee investigating the Aug. 5 accident.

    The spill was triggered by an EPA cleanup team as it was doing excavation work on an inactive mine near Silverton, Colorado. The pollution tainted with heavy metals flowed downstream to New Mexico and Utah.

    EPA spokeswoman Laura Allen says water-quality test results were made public as soon as they were validated.

  • US stocks rise; Anheuser-Busch jumps on deal proposal

    NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks edged higher in late afternoon Wednesday as investors waited to hear from the Federal Reserve and worked through company news. Beer companies gained on word of a possible deal between two giant brewers and energy stocks rose sharply following a big jump in the price of oil.

    KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 122 points, or 0.7 percent, to 16,721 as of 3:17 p.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 15 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,992 and the Nasdaq composite added 21 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,882.

    FED FOCUS: Investors are closely watching the Federal Reserve and the start of its two-day policy meeting Wednesday. The central bank could raise its benchmark interest rate for the first time in nearly a decade after the meeting.

    Investors' opinions are mixed on the chance of a rate increase.

    "I just don't think the economy is strong enough and inflation remains too low to justify a rate increase," said Tom di Galoma, head of fixed income rates trading at ED&F Man Capital.

  • House panel schedules meeting in secretary of state case

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The panel of New Mexico lawmakers that will be investigating fraud and other charges against one of the state's highest ranking officials as part of impeachment proceedings has scheduled its first meeting.

    The House Special Investigatory Committee will meet Sept. 28 at the State Capitol in Santa Fe. The bipartisan panel will be discussing the hiring of special legal counsel, rules for the investigation and a hearing schedule.

    The Legislative Council on Tuesday cleared the way for the committee to begin its work by approving up to $250,000 in state funds to finance the effort.

    Secretary of State Dianna Duran has been accused of funneling campaign contributions into personal bank accounts and later withdrawing large sums of money while frequenting casinos around the state. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

  • Today in history Sept. 16
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  • New Mexico lawmakers OK funds for impeachment

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — One of New Mexico’s highest-ranking officials pleaded not guilty to dozens of charges during a brief court appearance Tuesday as lawmakers cleared the way for an impeachment investigation into allegations that she embezzled money from campaign contributions.
    Two-term Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran sat silently next to her attorney, who entered the pleas on her behalf.
    It marked her first public appearance since she was accused more than two weeks ago of fraud, embezzlement, tampering with state records and other offenses.
    Prosecutors say Duran funneled campaign donations into personal bank accounts and withdrew large sums of cash while frequenting casinos around the state.
    The charges sent shockwaves through political circles and raised questions about enforcement of the state’s election and campaign finance reporting laws.
    Calls for Duran to resign continue, and the Legislative Council, which includes members of the state House and Senate, on Tuesday approved up to $250,000 in state funds to investigate the charges as part of impeachment proceedings.
    “It’s a solemn and very somber process, and it has to be done,” House Minority Floor Leader Rep. Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, said following the unanimous vote.

  • ‘Living Legend,’ war hero Hudson passes

    Bill Hudson, a Los Alamos man who was responsible for founding at least three Los Alamos institutions, passed this weekend. He was 90 years old.
    Though many have said his involvement in the community had a lot to do with making the “civilian” side of Los Alamos into the town it is today, he was humble about it.
    In August, Hudson penned an open letter to the community thanking Los Alamos for giving him a lot as well.
    “I want to say ‘thank you Los Alamos’ for being such a wonderful community with your awareness of the importance of learning, intellectualism, the fine arts, athletics, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, (Los Alamos) Little League, the county fair and for encouraging our young horse enthusiasts,” he said in his letter. “...I thank you for being the community you are. It is wonderful to have been a part of it all.”
    According to the man himself, he was involved in starting at least two athletic programs in Los Alamos as well as a credit union for teachers.
    He was one of the founding members of the Los Alamos Schools Credit Union, which was started with a little more than $300 60 years ago. Today, the credit union has about $16 million in assets and 1,100 members, as well as its own credit card.

  • Highly-enriched uranium returned to US from Switzerland

    The Department of Energy announced Tuesday the return to the U.S. of highly-enriched uranium from Switzerland, a move that the department hailed a milestone of the advancement in national security.
    The DOE worked with the Swiss government to remove 2.2 kilograms of U.S.-origin highly-enriched uranium from the University of Basel. The uranium is from AGN-211-P research reactor, which began operation in 1961, using the uranium Material Test Reactor-type fuel.
    “Our collaboration advances global efforts to secure, consolidate, and minimize the use of highly-enriched uranium, so that it does not fall into the hands of terrorists,” said DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration Deputy Administrator Anne Harrington.
    The university operated the reactor for decades for education and research purposes, but a decision was made to decommission the reactor and repatriate the fuel to the U.S., according to the DOE.
    The University of Basel, the Swiss Government, the Paul Sherrer Institute and NNSA’s Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation packaged and transported the 13 irradiated highly-enriched uranium fuel elements in a spent nuclear fuel cask that was then shipped to Charleston, South Carolina, in a specially outfitted, dedicated vessel.