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Today's News

  • State budget ripples through economies and communities

    We complain that they aren’t competent. But now we have reason to worry that there aren’t enough of them.
    Government employees, that is ­— specifically, the front-line regulators who are charged with keeping us safe and keeping our institutions honest. This is an effect of the looming cuts in the state budget.

  • More governments advising citizens to leave Tokyo

    TOKYO (AP) — Australia advised its citizens in Japan on Wednesday to consider leaving Tokyo and earthquake-affected areas, joining a growing number of governments and businesses telling their people it may be safer elsewhere.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a travel advice update that Australians with no need to be in the area should think about leaving but added that the decision had nothing to do with the threat of nuclear contamination from a damaged nuclear power plant.

  • Stocks fall on weak economic reports, Japan crisis

    NEW YORK (AP) — Disappointing U.S. economic news and more worries about the nuclear crisis in Japan sent stocks lower Wednesday.

    The Commerce Department reported that new home construction fell to the second-lowest level on record in February, reflecting weak demand. Homebuilder Lennar Corp. fell 3 percent, while Pulte Group Inc. and D.R. Horton Inc. each fell 2 percent.

  • Official defends new consumer bureau against GOP

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration official assembling the new federal agency overseeing credit cards, mortgages and other financial products is rebuffing banking industry claims that the agency is too powerful and lacks accountability.

    Elizabeth Warren, who is putting together the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is also giving little ground against Republicans who say she's played an inappropriate role as federal agencies and states try pressuring big U.S. banks to overhaul how they modify mortgages and handle foreclosures.

  • Japan prepares to restart work at nuclear plant

    FUKUSHIMA, Japan (AP) — Surging radiation levels forced Japan to order emergency workers to temporarily withdraw from its crippled nuclear plant Wednesday, losing time in a desperate operation to cool the overheating reactors — the most urgent crisis from last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

    The technicians were dousing the nuclear reactors with seawater in a frantic effort to cool them when they had to retreat in the late morning. The plant's operator ordered the technicians back to the site in the evening after radiation levels subsided.

  • Japan tsunami: Nothing to do but run

    SHIZUGAWA, Japan (AP) — Growing up in this small fishing town on Japan's northeastern coast, 16-year-old Minami Sato never took the annual tsunami drills seriously.

    She thought the town's thick, two-story-high harbor walls would protect against any big wave. Besides, her home was perched on a hilltop more than a mile (about two kilometers) from the water's edge. It was also just below a designated "tsunami refuge" — an elevated patch of grass that looked safely down across the town's highest four-story buildings.

  • Senate approves state budget that cuts spending

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — State spending will be cut 2.7 percent next year under a $5.4 billion budget proposal approved by the New Mexico Senate on Wednesday.

    Sen. John Arthur Smith, a Deming Democrat and Finance Committee chairman, said the budget was balanced without worker layoffs or furloughs, and without a general tax increase.

  • House votes 3-week stopgap federal spending bill

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Tuesday passed a measure blending $6 billion in budget cuts with enough money to keep the government running for an additional three weeks.

    The measure would buy additional time for talks between Capitol Hill Republicans and the Obama administration on a bill to fund the day-to-day operations of the government through the end of September. Those negotiations haven't gotten very far yet and House GOP leaders haven't shown much flexibility.

  • NM House OKs pension overhaul for public employees

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The House approved a proposal Tuesday to improve the solvency of New Mexico's public employee pension programs by establishing a minimum retirement age of 55 and limiting cost-of-living increases in some government workers' and educators' retirement benefits.

    The changes would apply to employees who have worked for state or local governments, school districts or colleges for less than five years as of July.

  • Obama defends nuclear energy

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Tuesday defended the use of nuclear energy despite the calamity in Japan where a nuclear power plant leaked radiation in the wake of a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

    The president told Pittsburgh television station KDKA that all energy sources have their downsides but that the U.S. — which gets 20 percent of its electricity from nuclear power — needs to look at the full array of them.