• World rings in 2012 and bids adieu to a tough year

    NEW YORK (AP) — With glittering fireworks and star-studded celebrations from New Zealand to Times Square, the world eagerly welcomed a new year and hoped for a better future Saturday, saying goodbye to a year of hurricanes, tsunamis and economic turmoil that many would rather forget.

    Revelers in Australia, Asia, Europe, South America and the South Pacific island nation of Samoa, which jumped across the international dateline to be first to celebrate, welcomed 2012 with booming pyrotechnic displays. Fireworks soared and sparked over Moscow's Red Square, crowds on Paris' Champs-Elysees boulevard popped Champagne corks at midnight, and up to a million revelers were expected to jam New York's Times Square for the famed crystal-paneled ball drop.

  • NM lawmaker joins call for taxing online purchases

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico lawmaker says one way to help the state pull itself out of a financial hardship is to tax online purchases.

    This year, $30 billion wasn't spent in malls, it was spent online. New Mexico Rep. Eleanor Chavez of Bernalillo says some of that is tax money the state is losing out on.

    Chavez is one of several lawmakers who will be sponsoring legislation this upcoming session that will allow New Mexico to tax online retailers.

    Chavez tells KOAT-TV online purchases create unfair competition, so what lawmakers really want to do is level the playing field and at the same time help small businesses in the state.

  • Congress yanks cash away from CMRR nuke lab

    LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — It will be about a year before construction can start on a new plutonium laboratory at Los Alamos after Congress pulled back funding for the project and restricted how the money can be spent.

    The Albuquerque Journal reports the congressional action also raises questions about the long-term prospects for the new Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility.

    The final congressional report said that no construction activities are funded for the CMRR-Nuclear Facility during Fiscal Year 2012.

  • Obama signs 2-month payroll tax cut extension

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed legislation extending a payroll tax cut for two months. The action concludes an end-of-year drama that split Republicans and threatened a tax hike on 160 million Americans.

    Obama acted Friday after the House and Senate approved the tax cut extension, which will maintain the Social Security tax at 4.2 percent. The legislation also extends unemployment insurance for jobless workers and forces Obama to make a decision within 60 days on whether to permit construction of an oil pipeline opposed by environmental groups.

  • Ashley Inn becomes a Motel 6

    Changing names but not its ownership, the 50-room Ashley Hotel & Suites at 2175 Trinity Dr. is now a Motel 6 franchise. WiFi and free morning coffee are included in the national chain’s trademark “no frills” style.

    The continental breakfast once provided by Ashley Suites is now gone.

    “We’ve now stopped serving the continental breakfast and that’s about the only thing that’s changed since we became a Motel 6,” said Nichole Richerson, who has managed the property for a year. “We also still have fridges and microwaves in some of our rooms.”

  • Congress flips dimmer switch on light bulb law

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans in Congress are flipping the dimmer switch on a law that sets new energy-savings standards for light bulbs.

    They've reached a deal to delay until October enforcement of standards that some fear will bring about the end of old-style 100-watt bulbs. GOP lawmakers say they're trying to head off more government interference in people's lives.

    But environmentalists and the light bulb industry say the move is not too bright.

    Language postponing enforcement of the light bulb law — it was set to take effect Jan. 1 — was included in a massive spending bill that funds the government through September. The House passed the measure on Friday, with approval expected Saturday in the Senate.

  • VIDEO: Dip in Euro Makes Travel Cheaper... or Not

    With the Euro hovering at an 11-month low, tourists on both sides of the Atlantic are watching their buying power fluctuate.

  • Los Alamos tops pay scale study

    Los Alamos County continues to compile records as one of the wealthiest places in the state and the country.

    The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released a study that said the total compensation in Los Alamos County is the highest in the Southwestern United States.

    Los Alamos County, with the help of the lab, ranked first among 379 counties in the region with a total average annual compensation of $86,465.

    Foard County, Texas had the lowest average compensation at $29,117.

    Total compensation is the sum of wage and salary disbursements, and wage and salary supplements.

  • Census shows 1 in 2 Americans are poor or low-income

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans — nearly 1 in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.

    The latest census data depict a middle class that's shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have impacted millions of families.

  • VIDEO: Fedex Expects 17 Million Shipments

    FedEx says it expects to have its busiest day ever Monday with a projected 17 million shipments globally, almost double the usual daily amount.