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ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) — Alamogordo City Commissioners approved a six month ban on constructing new billboards within city limits. The Alamogordo Daily News reports the resolution, which was approved Tuesday, is the latest development in the city's ongoing attempt to address residents' concerns with new billboards being erected around town. An ordinance was brought before commissioners on Aug. 22, stating the building of new billboards would be unlawful and billboards already in place would have five years to be removed.

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — Former officers say a southeastern New Mexico police department forced officers to target people of color to make quotas and retaliated against those who complained. The Hobbs News-Sun reports three former Hobbs officers filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging racial discrimination and retaliation within the Hobbs Police Department. Court documents say one black officer heard another officer used a racial slur, and another black officer was excluded during his training from eating lunch with white trainees.

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico agency charged with investigating judicial misconduct is seeking the removal of an Eddy County magistrate judge over racist and sexist emails. The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports New Mexico Judicial Standards Commission petitioned this week for a permanent removal from office of Eddy County Magistrate Court Judge Henry Castaneda. According to the petition, Castaneda allegedly used state-owned equipment to accept and forward emails through his court account that contained "offensive, degrading, pornographic, racist and sexist" content.

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — A California company has been awarded an $85 million contract to assess uranium contamination on and near the Navajo Nation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the contract Wednesday to Tetra Tech Inc., headquartered in Pasadena. The EPA says the company will assess 30 abandoned mines on the vast reservation where uranium was extracted for wartime weapons. Tetra Tech will work with Navajo Technical University to train Navajos on how to assess and clean up uranium waste.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico transportation officials want to establish a statewide bicycle network and they're asking for the public's help. The Transportation Department announced Wednesday that it has set up a website where cyclists and others can share information as part of the planning process for prioritizing routes that are safe and offer the most connectivity. The agency has contracted with Bohannan Huston, Inc. and Alta Planning + Design to develop the NM Bike Plan. It's scheduled to be done by summer 2018.

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Today, a federal court heard arguments from a group that wants it to issue a restraining order to stop Texas Gov. Rick Perry from sponsoring a prayer and fasting rally planned for Aug. 6 in Houston.

As we reported last month, Perry, a potential presidential candidate, called on his fellow Americans and his fellow governors to join in him in "asking God's forgiveness, wisdom and provision for our state and nation."

Scientists would like to know more about how cells work. But seeing what's happening inside a cell isn't easy. It's dark in there, and even if you shine a light, many of the critical chemical reactions are invisible.

Now, a team of researchers has found a way to reveal the invisible by attaching what amounts to a reflective tag to a chemical called RNA, a close relative of DNA. Molecules made of RNA have a variety of important jobs inside cells and frequently, doing those jobs requires the RNA to shuttle from one part of the cell to another.

Negotiating Palestinian statehood was an early priority for President Obama's administration. But these days, U.S. diplomats are spending much of their time trying to stop the Palestinians from going to the United Nations to try to win diplomatic recognition.

Palestinians say they have no other choice, since negotiations are deadlocked.

Some former Israeli officials came to Washington this week to urge the U.S. to help.

Rita Leistner is a photojournalist based in Toronto. A selection of her Basetrack photos are now featured in a digital book. Basetrack is supported by a 2010 News Challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

This evening is looking pretty dramatic for Congress. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who has been working hard to shore up the 217 votes he needs to get his budget bill through the House, will bring the bill to the floor of the House for a vote.

And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that if it passes, the Senate will take its own vote on the measure immediately after.

"As soon as the House completes its vote tonight, the Senate will move to take up that bill. It will be defeated," Reid said on the Senate floor.

Egypt's Mubarak Will Be Moved To Cairo To Face Trial

Jul 28, 2011

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will be brought to Cairo to stand trial next week, a top judiciary official said Thursday. It would be the first time he has returned to the capital since he was ousted from power this spring.

Mubarak, 83, faces charges in the deaths of hundreds of protesters during the revolution that toppled him. He will be tried, along with his sons and former interior minister, in proceedings set to begin Wednesday.

My What Big Eyes You Have, Up North

Jul 28, 2011

A survey of 55 skulls from the 1800s and regions across the globe finds that people who lived in high latitudes had bigger eyes and brains. Researchers at Oxford University say the variations are not due to differences in intelligence but are instead related to ambient light:

Rep. Todd Akin's constituents want to see a deal putting an end to the debt ceiling debate, but not just any deal.

Despite party pressures, the Missouri Republican is planning to vote against Speaker John Boehner's latest proposal to lift the debt ceiling. It doesn't do enough to "address the spending problem," according to Akin's spokesman Steve Taylor.

According the latest projections from National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Don is expected to make landfall along the South Texas coast Friday night into Saturday.

The Hurricane Center has issued tropical storm warnings for a good deal of the Texas coast, stretching from San Luis Pass near Galveston to Port Mansfield near Padre Island.

After 50 Years, Cuban Houses To Go Up For Sale

Jul 28, 2011

In the years after Fidel Castro's Cuban revolution, Havana's neighborhoods went through an extraordinary upheaval. As wealthy and middle-class families fled, poorer Cubans moved into their homes.

Now, communist authorities are preparing to legalize property sales for the first time in 50 years, and the city's old racial and class divisions are already creeping back.

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