Monument designations protect federal land from energy development and other activities.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Republican Party of New Mexico headquarters has been hit with spray paint, and officials say two protesters are responsible.
New Mexico GOP spokesman Dominic Pacheco said Thursday a receptionist saw the demonstrators paint a red “A” on the Albuquerque headquarters building sign before fleeing.
The protesters arrived Thursday afternoon and held signs accusing Republicans of promoting “hatriotism.” The two female protesters told a reporter with The Associated Press they were from the group Betsy Riot.
The group’s website says members are “neosuffragists and punk patriots” whose mission is the rescue the country from President Donald Trump. The group says it engages in “street theater, disruption, and creative acts of trumpculture sabotage.”
No arrests have been made.
Betsy Riot said in a statement the protesters used red energy drink and the “A” stood for an expletive.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — For weeks, Native American writer Sherman Alexie has been on a book tour connected to his new, intense memoir about the dysfunctional relationship between him and his late mother.
Then, earlier this month, the 50-year-old novelist and poet abruptly announced in a social media post he was canceling the tour because of the emotional stress of reliving that relationship.
But Alexie promised to keep just a handful of engagements, and on Friday, Alexie is scheduled to speak in Santa Fe as part of a unique gathering of Native American writers. It is one of the few commitments he’s keeping follow his public, heartfelt announcement.
The Seattle-based writer is slated to address the Institute of American Indian Arts in connection with the school’s creative writing program’s summer reading series.
Jon Davis, the director of the creative writing program, said they were happy to host Alexie, who serves as a consultant.
Alexie had been on a book tour in the United States to promote the memoir, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me.” He had given a number of interviews in the U.S. and Canada, and often wept when recounting his tense relationship with his late mother, a recovering alcoholic who he says likely struggled with bipolar disorder.
Earlier this month, he wrote in a Facebook post he could no longer bear the emotional toll.
“I have been sobbing many times a day during this book tour. I have sobbed in private and I have sobbed onstage,” Alexie wrote in a post that went viral. “I have been rebreaking my heart night after night. I have, to use recovery vocabulary, been retraumatizing myself.”
The Friday appearance isn’t just about Alexie, organizers of the summer reading series say. He will be reading with two up-and-coming Native American writers — novelist Tommy Orange and memoirist Terese Mailhot.
The Low Residency Master of Fine Arts creative writing program at the Institute of American Indian Arts is now in its fourth year and has been supported by Alexie. The program allows graduate students the flexibility for campus instruction for weeks at a time.
The school’s summer reading series attracts some of the nation’s top Native American writers as readers and summer teachers. Alaska Native poet Joan Naviyuk Kane, for example, was among this year’s guests.
GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — The Gallup City Council has passed an ordinance limiting the timeframe that takeout alcohol can be purchased within city limits.
Alcohol not being consumed at an establishment such as a bar or that is packaged to be taken out of the establishment can only be purchased from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. effective August 24.
The Gallup Independent reports (http://bit.ly/2o70OE6) that City Attorney George Kozeliski says the ordinance is aimed at giving police officers a chance to “catch their breath.”
The purchase timeframe was cut by three hours, which is the maximum amount of time Class B counties are allowed to limit sales per a bill signed in March by Gov. Susana Martinez.
Gallup Police Department Deputy Chief Franklin Boyd says pushing the hours back will provide “tremendous relief.”
PORTALES, N.M. (AP) — A day care worker who is accused of leaving two toddlers in a hot car for over an hour said she found the children after she went back to fetch paperwork, court records showed.
Sandi Taylor, 31, and her mother Mary Taylor, 62, were charged with child abuse after a 22-month-old toddler died and another girl was in critical condition and unresponsive at a hospital, the Eastern New Mexico News reported Thursday (http://bit.ly/2w3XJIs).
The women operated a home day care in Portales, in eastern New Mexico. The Taylors left Maliyah Jones and Aubrianna Loya in the car after returning from lunch at a park with 10 other children Tuesday, according to an affidavit for arrest warrant. The two could not get out of their car seats without assistance.
About an hour and half later, Sandi Taylor returned to car to look for documents requested by the Child, Youth and Families Department and found Loya “slumped over toward the door”, the document said.
The day care has since remained close and will not remain, said Sandi Taylor’s brother, Mark Jones.
“We feel the loss, too,” he said. “We’re mourning, too. It’s just a horrible accident and I don’t know where we go from here.”
The temperature in Portales on Tuesday, the day the girls were left in the car, hit the mid-90s, according to the National Weather Service. Research meteorologist Jan Null said the temperature inside the car could have reached 135 degrees in an hour. People can suffer clinical heat stroke at a body temperature of 104 degrees and can die after a having a 107 degrees body temperature, according to Null.
Jones’ cousin, Janet Bradley described the young girl as a bright, sweet and happy child. She would have turned 2 in September.
Jones’ mother had Portales last fall for a job, and researched day care facilities for several weeks before deciding that her daughter would be well taken care of at Taylor Tots, Bradley said.
“No one expects to drop a child off and go to work and get called and told your child will be fighting for her life and then pass away …,” she said. “This is heartbreaking for all of us. It’s just a horrible thing that happened due to someone’s neglect and stupidity.”
Loya was breathing on her own as of Wednesday, but remained unresponsive and in critical condition, according to her family. She is under the age of 3.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Violence returned Thursday to a sacred site in Jerusalem as Palestinians gathering for prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound clashed with Israeli police nearly two weeks after a deadly attack there.
Earlier in the day, Palestinians had celebrated as Israel rolled back security measures and thousands of worshippers heeded a call by Muslim authorities to assemble for prayers at the mosque for the first time in 11 days.
But as crowds pushed at one of the gates to the compound in the Old City, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse them, with dozens reported wounded.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered police reinforcements in Jerusalem following the latest unrest, and police were weighing limiting entry of younger men in anticipation of mass protests for Friday prayers — the highlight of the Muslim religious week.
Israeli troops in the West Bank were put on high alert and prepared for more violence Friday, a military official said.
Tensions have been running high at the site sacred to both Muslims and Jews since three Israeli Arab gunmen killed two police officers on July 14, prompting Israel to install metal detectors and other security devices.
Israel said the measures were needed to prevent more attacks. Palestinians claimed Israel was trying to expand its control over the site, which Israel denied.
The security measures outraged Muslims and triggered protests, and low-level clashes have continued in and around Jerusalem since then, highlighting the deep distrust between Israel and the Palestinians over the holy site.
In protest, Palestinians have prayed in Jerusalem’s streets outside the shrine since the July 14 attack. Israel removed the devices Thursday and the crisis appeared to be easing as Muslim leaders told the faithful to return to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Droves of Palestinians entered for afternoon prayers. A handful scaled the roof the mosque and planted Palestinian flags above the entrance. Police later removed them.
Just before worship began, police shot tear gas and rubber bullets at the massing crowd. The Red Crescent said tensions rose as Israeli troops closed one of the gates to the compound as large numbers of worshippers tried to enter, and that 96 people were wounded in the melee. Police said officers were struck by stones and responded with riot dispersal methods, and a spokesman said at least two officers were wounded.
More clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces erupted after nightfall, with the Red Crescent saying at least eight people were hurt.
In addition, a 26-year-old Palestinian who was wounded earlier this week outside Jerusalem in a confrontation with Israeli troops has died, said Dr. Ahmad Betawi, head of a West Bank hospital. At least four other Palestinians have died in the past week in violent clashes with Israeli security forces.
Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas both issued calls earlier this week for mass protests on Friday.
The fate of the shrine is an emotional issue at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even the smallest perceived change to delicate arrangements pertaining to the site sparks tensions.
Jews revere the hilltop compound as the Temple Mount, site of the two Jewish biblical temples. It is the holiest site in Judaism and the nearby Western Wall, a remnant of one of the temples, is the holiest place where Jews can pray.
The walled compound is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. It is Islam’s third-holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. Muslims believe the site marks the spot where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.
Israel had faced intense pressure over the security devices and said it plans to install sophisticated cameras instead. Palestinian leaders and Muslim clerics had insisted Israel restore the situation at the shrine to what it was before the attack.
The simmering crisis has sparked some of the worst street clashes in years and threatened to draw Israel into conflict with other Arab and Muslim nations.
King Abdullah of Jordan, which is the Muslim custodian of the shrine, urged Israel to “respect the historical and legal situation in the holy shrine to prevent the recurrence of these crises.”
Abdullah criticized Israel’s handling of a deadly altercation last weekend at its embassy in Amman involving an Israeli security guard, calling Netanyahu’s conduct “provocative.”
He blasted Netanyahu for praising an Israeli security guard who killed two Jordanians at the embassy after a 16-year-old attacked the guard with a screwdriver.
“Such unacceptable and provocative behavior at all levels infuriates all of us, leads to insecurity and fuels extremism in the region,” Abdullah said.
Abdullah told senior officials that Netanyahu needs to take legal measures that “guarantee the trial of the murderer.”
He said the incident “will have a direct impact on the nature of our relations.”
The Islamic militant group that rules Gaza had praised the Israeli rollback of security at the sacred site. Izzat Risheq, a senior Hamas leader, tweeted that Palestinians achieved a “historic victory.”
Netanyahu is trying to halt a wave of unrest while not appearing to his hard-line base as capitulating.
He sought to fend off the criticism. He took a hard line against Palestinian violence by saying Thursday “the time has come for the death penalty for terrorists in extreme cases.”
A senior member of Netanyahu’s coalition government criticized Israel’s dismantling of the security devices, saying it could bring more violence.
Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home party, told Army Radio that “every time the state of Israel folds in a strategic way, we get hit with an Intifada. You seemingly benefit in the short term, but in the long term you harm deterrence.”
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran successfully launched its most advanced satellite-carrying rocket into space, the country’s state media reported Thursday, in what is likely the most significant step yet for the launch vehicle.
A confirmed launch of the “Simorgh” rocket would mark another step forward for the Islamic Republic’s young space program, but is likely to raise alarm among its adversaries, who fear the same technology could be used to produce long-range missiles.
The U.S. State Department called the launch “provocative.”
Iranian state television said the rocket, whose name means “phoenix” in Persian, is capable of carrying a satellite weighing 250 kilograms (550 pounds). The report did not elaborate on the rocket’s payload. Other state-linked agencies including the semi-official Fars news agency also described the launch as successful.
Media reports did not say when the launch took place at the Imam Khomeini National Space Station in Semnan, some 220 kilometers (138 miles) east of Tehran.
Iran frequently announces technological breakthroughs that are difficult to independently verify. It has carried out multiple tests of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles as well as other domestically produced weapons over the years.
The Simorgh is a two-stage rocket first revealed in 2010. It is larger than an earlier model known as the Safir, or “ambassador,” that Iran has used to launch satellites on previous occasions.
The launch comes as the United States has criticized Iran’s ballistic missile tests, which American officials argue violate the spirit of the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran struck with world powers. Under the agreement, which does not expressly prohibit missile tests, Iran agreed to limit its uranium enrichment program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. The U.S. said Thursday that such a rocket is inherently designed to be able to carry a nuclear warhead.
Iran has pursued a satellite launch program for years. The U.S. and its allies worry that the same technology could be used to develop long-range missiles.
The country has sent several short-lived satellites into orbit over the past decade, and in 2013 launched a monkey into space. But it recently abandoned plans to potentially send humans into orbit, saying in late May that the cost of doing so was prohibitive.
The U.S. National Air and Space Intelligence Center said in a report released last month that the Simorgh could act as a test bed for developing the technologies needed to produce an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM.
“Tehran’s desire to have a strategic counter to the United States could drive it to field an ICBM. Progress in Iran’s space program could shorten a pathway to an ICBM because space launch vehicles (SLV) use inherently similar technologies,” the report said.
Iran’s satellite-launch program falls under the responsibility of the defense ministry, which has denied that the space program is a cover for weapons development.
The head of Iran’s space agency in October expressed for the first time interest in cooperating with NASA. Iran has offered to share its scientific findings and satellite data with other countries.
Iran’s most recent known successful satellite rocket launch was in February 2015, when it put an imaging satellite known as “Fajr” into orbit. That launch happened while Iran was negotiating the nuclear deal.
It is believed to have carried out at least a partial test of the Simorgh rocket last year, though the exact details of that attempt were never made public.
Iran’s decision to announce the rocket launch now likely serves as a test of America’s reaction, said Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior Iran analyst with the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a conservative think tank long critical of the nuclear deal.
Taleblu said the launch announced Thursday had implications not only on Iran’s ability to launch satellites, but also in possibly building intercontinental ballistic missiles.
If Iran begins working on heat shields and other technology allowing for a rocket’s payload to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere, that would be a major warning sign, he said.
“This will take time, but the Iranian ballistic missile, nuclear, and space program shows that slow and steady always wins the race,” Taleblu said.
Asked about the Iran missile tests, China’s U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi, the current president of the U.N. Security Council, said that it was not “within the scope” of the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers.
“I think what’s important is that the agreement continues to be implemented and all the sides make constructive efforts to resolve whatever issues that still exist, and to completely and comprehensively implement the agreement,” Liu told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York.
Actress June Foray, who gave voice to Rocky the Flying Squirrel and hundreds of other cartoon characters and was sometimes known as the “female Mel Blanc,” has died in a Los Angeles hospital. She was 99.
Foray died Wednesday at West Hills Hospital in Los Angeles of cardiac arrest, but she had been in fragile health since a car accident two years ago, niece Robin Thaler said Thursday.
Foray was the best-known woman among the voice performers who contributed so much to the classic cartoons of Warner Bros., Disney, Hanna-Barbera and other studios. She had a galaxy of ways to create funny but believable characters, but could also be warm and wise in Disney’s “Mulan” or, in a memorable “Twilight Zone” episode, chilling.
She had over 300 credits as a voice actress, most recently doing one last turn as Rocky in a 2014 short.
Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, Foray was a teenager when she moved with her parents to Los Angeles. She had begun performing in radio as a child in Massachusetts and, once in Hollywood, became active in major radio programs such as “The Jimmy Durante Show.” She later called old-time radio a great training ground, forcing her to learn to be versatile and quick-thinking.
Among the legends she worked with were Chuck Jones and the other famed Warner’s animators; Jay Ward, creator of “Rocky and Bullwinkle”; Rod Serling, creator of “The Twilight Zone”; radio and recording satirist Stan Freberg; and such cartoon voice talents as Daws Butler (Huckleberry Hound) and Blanc (Bugs Bunny, Sylvester).
In his 1989 memoir, “Chuck Amuck,” Jones noted “the highly talented and versatile Mel Blanc” did voices for Bugs, Daffy, Porky, Tweety, Yosemite Sam and others, “except female voices, which were done by the equally talented June Foray.”
Perhaps inevitably, Rocky — with his trademark exclamation “Hokey Smoke!” — was Foray’s favorite.
“Everybody asks me that,” she said in a 2000 Associated Press interview. “I think the fans kind of answer that for me. Everybody loves Rocky. I get letters from Belgium, Germany, all over. People don’t think of him as a squirrel. They think of him as a person. And he’s a good little person.”
The diminutive Foray wore a gold Rocky pendent around her neck that she delighted in pointing out to people.
She was also fond of Rocky’s pal, voiced by Bill Scott, as well. “Bullwinkle was a very sweet creature,” Foray said. “He was not a stupid person. He was extremely ingenious. He was very faithful.”
The original “Rocky and Bullwinkle” aired in 326 short installments as part of a series featuring other cartoon creations by Ward. The Cold War conflict pitted the moose and squirrel against the bumbling spies Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale, to whom Foray also gave a voice.
“Rocky and His Friends” ran on ABC weekday afternoons from 1959 through 1961, and then “The Bullwinkle Show” was on NBC from 1961 to 1964, first in prime-time and later in daytime.
Besides Bullwinkle J. Moose and Rocket J. Squirrel, the show featured such sequences as “Fractured Fairy Tales”; “Peabody’s Improbable History”; “Aesop and Son”; and “Adventures of Dudley Do- Right.”
“The shows were on two plateaus,” Foray once said. “The children enjoyed it because of the humorous look of the characters and the sounds of the voices. The adults find it so inventive because of the puns, the satire. … It was a show that was different from everything that came before it or after it.”
In 1966, Foray was the voice of Cindy Lou Who in the much-revived TV holiday special “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” based on the Dr. Seuss book, directed by Jones and narrated by Boris Karloff. She worked with Jones on another classic children’s story in 1973, voicing the mother in “The Cricket in Times Square.”
Earlier, she worked with Freberg on his 1953 hit record, “St. George and the Dragonet,” a parody of the “Dragnet” series, and teamed with Freberg again for his acclaimed historical comedy records “Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America. Vol. 1” in 1961 and “Vol. 2” in 1996, portraying a host of historical characters. She also contributed her voice talents to one of the best-known “Twilight Zone” episodes, a 1963 chiller about a talking doll that turns murderous.
“I’m Talky Tina … and I’m going to kill you,” the doll says to the hapless victim (played by Telly Savalas, later famous as “Kojak.”)
For Walt Disney, her contributions included the voice of Lucifer the cat on his 1950 “Cinderella.” At Warner Bros., she was the voice of Witch Hazel in several Jones films and Granny, the owner of Tweety Bird and Sylvester, in many cartoons, though Bea Benadaret (the voice of Betty Rubble on “The Flintstones”) also voiced Granny in some early cartoons. For Walter Lantz she was Woody Woodpecker’s nephew and niece, Knothead and Splinter.
Later generations might know her voice best as Grandmother Fa in Disney’s “Mulan” from 1998.
As cartoon characters were recycled by Hollywood, Foray remained active into her 80s. She did Granny on “Tiny Toon Adventures” and reprised her Rocky role in the 2000 big-screen adaptation, “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle,” a mixture of cartoon and live action starring Rene Russo and Jason Alexander. The film was poorly received, but she thought it had a good story line and “all the charm of Rocky and Bullwinkle.”
There are five stages of grief in preparing to watch “The Emoji Movie.” The first is denial that this actually exists. The second is anger that now even storytelling has been reduced to those reductive blobs. The third is bargaining that, hey, they made “The Lego Movie” work against all odds so maybe some smart folks actually pulled this off. The fourth is depression that all movies ideas are just doomed to confuse “brands” for “ideas.” And the fifth is acceptance that, yes, of course that’s where we’re headed so let’s pull up a seat and make the most of it.
The good news is “The Emoji Movie,” co-written and directed by Tony Leondis, is not evil. The bad news is it’s just mediocre, or in emoji parlance, simply “meh.”
It does not come close to achieving the joy and wonder of, say, “Toy Story,” ”Inside Out” or “The Lego Movie” although it appears to borrow heavily from all in its central conceit that anthropomorphized emojis have families and ambitions but also exist solely to serve a particular smart phone owner. “The Emoji Movie” takes us into the world of Alex’s phone — he’s an awkward high school freshman who is stressed out about what to text the girl he has a crush on. His friend advises him that “words are stupid” so he goes for a good old emoji.
Little does he know in the emoji app it’s Gene’s first day of work. Gene (T.J. Miller) is supposed to be the “meh” symbol, but the excitable yellow blob alternates between all emotions and can’t stick to the one he’s supposed to have, like his parents Mary Meh (Jennifer Coolidge) and Mel Meh (Steven Wright), who deadpan lines like “I’m so mad at you right now.” Also, should we be thinking about the implications of aging and procreating emojis? Probably not, but it’s still a particularly weird and uncomfortable idea.
Anyway, Gene is basically the “Divergent” emoji, but there’s no choosing in this town and when he screws up his first time at bat, the sinister Smiler (Maya Rudolph) decides he’s a malfunction and must be deleted. Suddenly Gene is on the run, and hooks up with the past his prime Hi-5 (James Corden) and a hacker emoji Jailbreak (Anna Faris) to try to get into the cloud where they might fix him.
If you’re worried about whether or not this is some big smartphone advertisement, it only kind of is. There’s a whole journey through the Spotify app, and they have to get through a dance competition in the Just Dance app to get where they’re going, and there is a line that seems to have been written by marketing folks about how illegal malware can’t get into the protected DropBox app. Oh and while it’s not mentioned, the Sony-owned Crackle app is always on Alex’s home screen.
Gene might not be much, but Jailbreak is actually a decently conceived character — perhaps because she’s not constrained to being an emoji. It’s actually kind of a metaphor for the movie which shines when it just runs with an idea and not brand-service.
Parents might not learn anything about their kids’ habits on smartphones, and kids won’t get a better understanding of how their smartphone works. But it’s pretty inoffensive on the whole. It doesn’t dare go to the depths that a Pixar rendering might, or lean very far into meta-cleverness. Instead it stays surface level and in that way feels very, very young. It’s about being yourself and the importance of friends and, heck, it’s only 86 minutes long.
Also, the poop jokes are minimal.
“The Emoji Movie,” a Columbia Pictures release, is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for “rude humor.” Running time: 86 minutes. Two mehs out of four.
NEW YORK (AP) — Not that long ago, the clunky cable box looked like it was on its way out. The federal government was pressuring cable companies to open up their near-monopoly on boxes to more competition, and industry leader Comcast promised apps that could render some boxes obsolete.
That was then. Today, the vast majority of customers still need to rent a box to get full service from cable providers, and those box-replacing apps remain elusive. Here’s what happened.
DITCHING THE BOX
In 2015, tech companies and consumer advocates were pushing the Federal Communications Commission to open up the cable-box market. The goal was to let you buy a cable box the way you’d pick up a new smartphone, sparing you the expense of leasing them from cable companies for about $6 and up a month.
The cable industry and Hollywood hated the FCC’s February 2016 plan to “unlock the box.” They pointed out that TV-watching apps were already available — more on that below — and laid out an industry proposal for new apps that could replace cable boxes.
Amid industry pushback, the FCC’s proposed rules languished ahead of the 2016 election. Afterward, President Donald Trump’s new FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, shelved them permanently.
The industry is no longer pushing its app proposal with the FCC, said Brian Dietz, a spokesman for the cable lobby group NCTA. And he noted that some cable and satellite companies have launched apps that let customers watch video without a cable box.
WHERE, OH WHERE, ARE THOSE APPS?
But most cable TV customers still need a box. The industry has little motivation to get rid of rented cable boxes or to keep its promises without pressure from regulators, said John Bergmayer, senior counsel of the public advocacy group Public Knowledge, in a filing to the FCC.
Comcast said in April 2016 that it was working with Roku and Samsung to develop apps that, later that year, could replace cable boxes. And it did start testing a Roku app in January, although customers still need a cable box while the service is in “beta.” One more drawback: Using the Roku app won’t be free if customers want it to work with more than one TV.
The Samsung app remains under development.
In 2015, Charter and Time Warner Cable started offering apps that could replace cable boxes in some markets. Nearly two years later, Charter says it’s now “testing” such an app, Spectrum Stream, in nearly all markets. (Charter bought Time Warner Cable in 2016.) When the app was requested in New York City, a customer service rep pushed a more expensive traditional “triple play” TV, internet and phone package instead.
AT&T, the owner of DirecTV, and Verizon have no apps that can replace boxes entirely for traditional cable and satellite TV service.
Separately, in 2015, Comcast launched a box-free cable service in Boston called Stream, designed for phones, tablets and computers and aimed at younger users. At the time, the company said it would roll out to all users by early 2016. Stream remains limited to Boston and Chicago, although Comcast said Wednesday that it’s going to roll out a revamp, “Instant TV,” aimed at digital users, in the second half of the year.
The company says net neutrality rules and regulators under the Obama administration hindered Stream’s rollout. It wants the FCC to spike these rules, which bar internet providers from favoring their own content.
CABLE-BOX FREE TV GALORE
The cable lobby is right to point out that there are plenty of box-free TV apps available. Like Comcast’s Stream, they’re just not really aimed at the 94 million traditional cable and satellite customers stuck with box fees. They’re for “cord cutters.”
Online-cable services from Dish, Sony, Hulu and YouTube let you watch live TV and record it for later. (AT&T’s DirecTV Now’s DVR hasn’t launched yet.)
These services don’t fully replace traditional cable service. Major channels aren’t always available, there have been some service quality glitches, and they’ve only attracted an estimated few million subscribers.
To watch internet-based TV on a TV, you probably need a gadget like a Roku, a Chromecast stick or Apple TV. These don’t have monthly fees like cable boxes do.
COMCAST: THE BUNDLE EFFECT
Even without these apps made broadly available, Comcast has been able to draw video customers via its upgraded cable-box system, X1, which has integrated Netflix and is expected to add YouTube. It is also a master at getting customers to pay for more than one service.
In the second quarter, Comcast lost 34,000 video customers, a deeper loss than last year. It added customers for the full year in 2016, its first annual increase in a decade. Overall, cable and satellite TV have lost 4 million customers over the past two years, says research firm SNL Kagan.
Comcast’s internet customers rose 175,000. Revenue from the internet arm could get a further boost if Trump’s FCC rolls back net neutrality rules, as expected. Comcast is also opening new lines of business, such as a new cellphone service that started in May.
The film and theme park businesses in the NBCUniversal arm also grew sharply during the quarter.
Net income rose 24 percent to $2.51 billion, or 52 cents per share. Revenue increased 9.8 percent to $21.17 billion.
DALLAS (AP) — If you buy diapers online later this year, UPS begs you to avoid placing the order right around Thanksgiving or Christmas.
To drive home the point, the company with the big brown trucks will impose special surcharges for shipments during peak holiday weeks.
UPS executives gave more details about their planning for peak season on Thursday as they discussed second-quarter earnings, which rose 9 percent to $1.38 billion.
The profit topped Wall Street expectations, but UPS said earnings in the third quarter will be flat compared with a year ago, and tax benefits that helped fourth-quarter results last year won’t be repeated.
UPS shares fell 4 percent, closing down $4.50 at $107.79.
United Parcel Service Inc. and rival FedEx Corp. are riding a boom in online shopping. It’s what helped to lift UPS revenue in the crucial U.S. domestic package-delivery business by 8 percent.
Despite the better-than-expected second-quarter profit, UPS on Thursday stuck by its guidance for full-year earnings. That could reflect concern that the June quarter bump was exaggerated by fuel surcharge and workers compensation items, and that currency rates will continue to reduce overseas revenue.
The conservative forecast disheartened investors, who drove shares down 4 percent, to $107.77.
The holiday season is always critical for shippers. The growth of online shopping has filled their planes and trucks but also raised costs.
Dispatching trucks to deliver single packages to homes costs more than bigger shipments to businesses. If the delivery companies make a mistake in forecasting demand, they can wind up unable to carry the load or, on the flipside, overspend on seasonal workers and extra transportation.
UPS is gearing up by expanding and upgrade distribution hubs in Arizona and Kansas, and it broke ground recently on another regional hub in Indiana. The facilities will increase UPS capacity and are highly automated.
CEO David Abney said that e-commerce will continue to be a growing part of the company’s business, and that it must work harder with shipping customers to smooth out volumes during the peak season.
Last month UPS announced new fees for shipments in some of the weeks around Thanksgiving and Christmas. The company hopes to prod shippers to time promotions to avoid adding to the holiday bottleneck, especially for routine items. Like diapers.
“Instead of ordering and receiving those diapers the two weeks around Thanksgiving, if that order was made just before that, there is no surcharge,” Abney said in an interview.
“Especially Black Friday and that weekend, that’s not nearly as much about gifting to others,” Abney continued. “That’s a whole lot more about people taking advantage of savings and buying for themselves. Sometimes you can delay those shipments and no one gets real concerned about it.”
UPS reported that second-quarter profit rose to $1.58 per share. That beat the consensus forecast of $1.46 per share from analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.
Revenue climbed nearly 8 percent to $15.75 billion, topping the analysts’ forecast of $15.48 billion.
The Atlanta company stood by its forecast of full-year adjusted earnings between $5.80 and $6.10 per share.
“The results speak well for demand for the business. It just comes down to execution, mainly on the cost side,” said Logan Purk, an analyst for Edward Jones. He said the holidays were the wild card in whether UPS can hit full-year targets.
“This has been a heavy investment year in the network, especially on the ground (delivery) side,” he said in an interview. “They have positioned themselves to adequately handle booming e-commerce demand.”
UPS officials said business has picked up in Europe, where a key competitor, FedEx’s TNT Express unit, was hit by a cyberattack in late June that has slowed deliveries. Executives said on a call with analysts that there could be many factors to the pickup. They added that UPS has invested in updating technology to protect company data.
NEW YORK (AP) — Twitter has made it clear that it won’t ban Donald Trump from its service, whether the president follows its rules against harassment or not.
That’s no surprise: The president’s tweets draw attention to the struggling service, even if tweets mocking reporters and rivals undercut Twitter’s stated commitment to make the service a welcoming place.
The company has been cracking down on accounts that violate its terms, and Trump’s critics say he has broken Twitter’s rules multiple times.
Calls to ban Trump from Twitter, largely by liberal activists, writers and Twitter users, sounded even before he became president. They were renewed recently when the president posted a mock video of him “body slamming” a man whose face was covered by CNN logo. Groups such as the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press condemned the video as a threat against journalists (a White House aide said at the time that the tweet should not be seen as a threat).
THE CASE FOR TRUMP
Twitter does ban harassment and hateful conduct, but there is a lot of wiggle room as to what constitutes such behavior. For instance, though it may be crude to tweet that a TV host was “bleeding badly from a face-lift,” they are at best in a gray area when it comes to violating Twitter terms.
When asked about Trump, Twitter says it doesn’t comment on individual accounts. But CEO Jack Dorsey told NBC in May that it’s “really important to hear directly from leadership” to hold people accountable and have conversations out in the open, not behind closed doors.
It also makes business sense: Trump’s tweets are constantly in headlines, calling attention to Twitter and, ideally, getting more users to sign up.
For now, it doesn’t appear to be helping. On Thursday, Twitter said its monthly average user base in the April-June quarter grew 5 percent from the previous year to 328 million, but it was unchanged from the previous quarter. Twitter’s stock fell more than 9 percent to $17.75 in pre-market trading Thursday after the numbers came out.
Twitter has never turned a profit. On Thursday, the San Francisco-based company reported a second-quarter loss of $116 million, or 16 cents per share, compared with a loss of $107 million, or 15 cents per share, a year earlier.
Revenue declined 5 percent to $574 million from $602 million, inching past Wall Street’s muted expectations.
Free speech advocates agree it’s better for Trump to stay.
Emma Llanso, director of the Center for Democracy & Technology’s Free Expression Project, said Trump’s tweets are “very clearly politically relevant speech” and are even being cited in court cases challenging the president’s policies. For example, a U.S. appeals court used Trump’s tweets in June to block his travel ban on people from six predominantly Muslim countries.
Llanso said it’s understandable why there has been “so much pressure” on social media platforms to crack down on harassment. Long before Trump was elected, users and online safety advocates called on Twitter to do something about abuse on its service.
But when it comes to the president’s outsized presence on Twitter, she’d rather have a private company avoid deciding what should and shouldn’t be allowed. Rather, she said, “we should be looking to the instruments of our democracy as the appropriate place to hold the president accountable.”
SURVIVING THE CRACKDOWN
Twitter appears to agree. Earlier this month, the company announced that it is now taking some action, including suspensions, on 10 times the number of abusive accounts than it did a year ago (though it did not give a number). Trump, of course, was not in trouble.
In June, the president defended his use of social media, tweeting that the mainstream media doesn’t want him to get his “honest and unfiltered message out.” The White House did not immediately respond to a message for comment on Thursday morning.
IT WORKS BOTH WAYS
Twitter provides a platform for the president to interact with the world directly, without intermediaries such as the news media. But if it’s important for people to hear directly from Trump, free speech advocates say, it’s also important for Trump to listen — and to allow people to see his messages.
His blocking of individual users on the service is the subject of a lawsuit.
Comedian Dana Goldberg, who says she has been blocked by the president but is not part of the lawsuit, likened it to him “giving the State of the Union and blocking out the TV sets of people who voted for (Hillary) Clinton.”
Her offense? Goldberg, who has about 7,680 followers compared with Trump’s 34.6 million, said it was her tweet calling Trump “a sad man” after he wished Sen. John McCain well following a cancer diagnosis, despite deriding McCain’s war record before.
“The fact that I was blocked by the president of the United States, it’s insane,” she said.
Authorities have identified the man who allegedly opened fire at a Chaves County sheriff’s deputy Wednesday night along U.S. Route 380.
Chadwick Taylor, 40, of Conchas Dam, was located and taken into custody around 8 p.m. Wednesday night, according to a news release issued Thursday morning from New Mexico State Police.
Taylor was transported to the Chaves County Detention Center in Roswell, where he was booked and charged with one count of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and resisting/evading a police officer.
On Wednesday around 6:33 p.m., New Mexico State Police were informed of a shooting involving Chaves County Sheriff’s Office deputies on U.S. Route 380 near milepost 195.
Police said Taylor fired several shots from a handgun at the sheriff’s deputy, who returned fire.
After the exchange of gunfire, police said the suspect fled into neighboring sand dunes off U.S. Route 380. Taylor was found east of the shooting location a few hours later and arrested.
According to the news release, there were no injuries sustained by anyone involved in the incident.
State police said the name of the deputy involved in the shooting will not be released until interviews are completed and that the case is still under investigation.
Man and Chaves County Sheriff’s deputy exchange gunfire; Police say suspect opened fire at officer on highway
The New Mexico State Police are investigating a shooting between officers and a man in Chaves County late Wednesday afternoon. There were no injuries reported during the altercation.
The NMSP said what started as a courtesy check escalated to a man yelling and firing bullets towards a Chaves County sheriff’s deputy.
Following the exchange of gunfire, the man was captured three hours later and was arrested. The NMSP investigated the scene and closed off U.S. Route 380 Wednesday night from mile markers 162 to 201.
New Mexico State Police spokesman Carl Christiansen said the shooting happened around the 195 mile marker in a desert-like area, which is approximately 40 miles east of Roswell according to Chaves County Sheriff’s Office.
Chaves County Sheriff Britt Snyder wrote from the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page that at about 5:15 p.m., two deputies responded to investigate a suspicious subject near the rest area on U.S. Route 380.
“The deputies were not able to locate anybody,” Snyder wrote. “While the deputies were checking the area within a few miles of the rest area, one deputy found a person approximately one mile west of the rest which they had not seen when they passed that area previously.”
Snyder said the suspicious subject was on foot and no vehicles were in the area. After a deputy attempted to make contact, the man walked away and declined to speak, and then produced a handgun, the sheriff said.
“(He) fired several shots in the deputy’s direction as the deputy sought cover behind his vehicle,” Snyder wrote. “The deputy returned fire before the subject ran south, off the highway, and into the vast sand dunes.
“Additional deputies, New Mexico State Police and Lea County deputies responded to assist.
“The second deputy in the area arrived at the scene just as the subject began to flee on foot.”
Snyder said that the man was located at about 8 p.m., east of the original shooting location. He was taken into custody without further incident, the sheriff said.
“The subject was found to be uninjured and was taken into custody by the New Mexico State Police,” Snyder wrote.
The New Mexico State Police first mentioned the shooting through Twitter at 6:58 p.m. Wednesday where they said they were investigating a deputy-involved shooting in Chaves County.
“We went to go check on a — they reported an individual on the roadway, and we were just going to do a courtesy check to see, and that’s when they made contact,” Christiansen said. “The individual was in the roadway, yelling at the officers when they pulled up, and started shooting in the direction of the officers — the deputies.”
Snyder wrote that he was proud to report that the deputy involved was not harmed.
“Please keep our many law enforcement officers and their families in your prayers as they continue to serve and protect our communities,” Synder ended.
Christiansen said the highway had to be closed to preserve evidence from the scene.
The Chaves County Sheriff’s Office has turned the investigation over to the New Mexico State Police.
Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at email@example.com.
Tony Martinez met with about 30 citizens in Roswell Wednesday evening at Los Cerritos Mexican Kitchen as part of his campaign for Congress.
The 58-year-old Las Cruces Democrat, who announced earlier this month he was running for the 2nd Congressional District, listened to citizens’ concerns on issues ranging from universal health care, the legalization of marijuana and President Donald Trump’s recent ban on transgender individuals serving in the military.
Martinez is not the only Democrat in the race so far. Las Cruces Democrat David Baake announced earlier this month he will run for the 2nd Congressional District seat. Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-Hobbs, has announced his intent to run for governor, rather than for an eighth term in Congress.
New Mexico Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn and State Rep. Yvette Herrell of Alamogordo have announced their intent to run for the Republican nomination for the 2nd Congressional District.
The 2nd Congressional District includes all of Chaves, Catron, Cibola, De Baca, Doña Ana, Eddy, Grant, Guadalupe, Hidalgo, Lea, Lincoln, Luna, Otero, Sierra and Socorro counties, and portions of Bernalillo, McKinley, Roosevelt and Valencia counties.
A detailed article on Martinez and his visit in Roswell will be published in a future Daily Record edition.
The city of Roswell is considering a new policy that will change processes and require fees for many events, raising some questions about how it will affect charitable or smaller nonprofit events.
The proposed Special Events and Film Policy has been discussed at four meetings of two committees of the Roswell City Council, including at the Wednesday afternoon meeting of the General Services Committee. That group approved the policy to move forward.
City administrators describe the policy as needed to clarify and codify city policies, establish consistency in implementation and allow the city to recoup costs it spends on events requiring labor or equipment. They said it also is meant to improve planning and ease coordination for event organizers and production crews.
“I think (the policy) will streamline (the process) for the organizations,” said Juanita Jennings, director of public affairs for the city. “It will allow them to come to one person, rather than to many different offices, when trying to get the event or film production organized.”
The policy establishes a Special Event Team consisting of representatives of such city departments as police, fire, sanitation, parks and marketing. The team would be headed by the city’s tourism and event manager. Team members will review applications and guide them through the necessary departments, rather than requiring organizers themselves to approach each department. The Special Events Team also will direct applicants to make requests for lodgers tax funds to cover some costs if possible.
Fees for events are, for the most part, those passed in April 2015, Jennings said.
“The issue was that no one was enforcing them,” she said.
Administrative Director Elizabeth Stark-Rankins said that some fees have actually decreased from 2015 and that the only new fees are those associated with film crews, which weren’t a part of the 2015 policy.
The policy as written now requires a $35 application fee and a permit fee ranging from $200 to $1,500 depending on whether the organization is a for-profit or nonprofit and the estimated size of attendance. Fees are also charged for equipment and personnel, including security, which the city has the authority to require if public safety is considered an issue.
City Councilor Natasha Mackey, a member of the General Services Committee, raised several questions about fees. She said she wondered if such fees as $1,000 for the first day of use of a large mobile stage would prove prohibitive for nonprofit groups.
“One of my concerns is unintended consequences,” she said. “I know you have looked at all the different festivals that we have, but, of course, you can’t really guess about potential special events. … I am thinking about groups like the (shelter or Alzheimer’s Association). I haven’t looked at their paperwork, but I don’t see them being able to afford an additional $1,000 fee.”
Her questions were amplified because a previous version of the policy included wording to allow the city manager, at his or her discretion, to waive or reduce fees.
The Finance Committee rejected that provision at its July 6 meeting, according to Stark-Rankins and City Councilors Tabitha Denny and Steve Henderson, who serve on both the General Services and Finance committees.
Mackey suggested adding the wording about waivers back into the policy.
“I think with all the different events that we will have a potential event that would come up (where we would need) the city manager to have that loophole in the policy,” she said.
Mackey said she thought it would be much more difficult to change the policy after adoption to allow exceptions than to include a waiver provision from the start.
But Mackey was told that most likely the Finance Committee, due to hear the policy again Aug. 3, would not approve the policy without removing the waiver provision.
Denny explained that Finance Committee members had two major concerns with a waiver policy. Some were concerned with the onus such a policy would put on the city manager, opening him or her up to charges of favoritism, and some members thought allowances for nonprofit events were better addressed by allowing organizations to request in-kind contributions from the city in their application. The city often does not charge organizers of the annual Veterans Parade for all city equipment and services, for example.
After the meeting, Jennings said that the in-kind requests going through the Special Events Team will ensure consistency because city staff will be held accountable for decisions and would have to prove that all groups and events were treated fairly.
Mackey said she would wait until the matter appears before the full City Council before deciding whether to ask for re-introduction of the waiver provision.
Jennings expressed her understanding that groups not accustomed to paying fees might find the policies or enforcement of fees upsetting, but she also said that the city has been bearing much of the labor and equipment costs in the past, such as paying for people to set up barricades at night.
“The question is, who pays for it? Taxpayers are paying for it because they pay for city staff,” she said. “Should we expect the city to pay for everything at all events? That’s the question we have to answer.”
If the Finance Committee approves the policy on Aug. 3, the City Council will consider the matter at its Aug. 10 meeting.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Santa Fe-based civil and worker’s rights organization criticized the presence of immigration agents at a highway checkpoint Wednesday in eastern New Mexico, saying federal agents do not have the right to enforce immigration law.
In a news release, Somos Un Pueblo Unido, an immigrant-led civil and worker’s rights organization, argued the presence of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at the checkpoint on U.S. Highway 70 between Clovis and Portales was unnecessary.
The group claimed that local police cannot shift the scope of an investigation based solely on race, national origin, or language, nor do local police have the authority to enforce federal civil immigration laws.
The news release added that ICE agents do not have the power to randomly stop motorists without cause.
New Mexico State Police officers were checking driver licenses and insurance, according to the news release.
Members of Somos Un Pueblo Unido gathered in front of the federal building in Roswell Friday morning and protested raids conducted by ICE in Clovis last week.
The New Mexico Film Office and the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department are issuing residency cards to New Mexicans.
People interested can provide documentation requested on the current Declaration of Residency (such as a New Mexico driver’s license or a utility bill), and the state Taxation and Revenue Department will verify residency and proof of taxpayer status. New Mexico residents in the film and television industry then will be issued a card valid for one year.
State officials said the process will aid residents in obtaining work while also helping film and television production teams.
“We’re committed to making the system as friendly as possible for New Mexico’s taxpayers,” said John Monforte, acting cabinet secretary at the Taxation and Revenue Department. “This is just one more way we can improve the system and make New Mexico an easier place to find work.”
The application process is available at tax.newmexico.gov.
The Taxation and Revenue Department also will help with applications at the annual New Mexico Film and Media conference in Albuquerque Aug. 25 and Aug. 26. Information about the conference is online at nmfilm.com.
Ukie “JR” Watts, 77, went home to his Lord and Savior July 20, 2017, at the hospital in Lubbock, TX. Viewing will be Wednesday, July 26, 2017, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Anderson-Bethany Funeral Home. Services will be held on Thursday, July 27, 2017, at 10 a.m., at Anderson-Bethany Funeral Home Chapel. Interment will follow service at General Douglas L. McBride. A tribute of Ukie’s life may be found at andersonbethany.com where you may leave memories and expressions of sympathy for his family.
On May 26, 1942, Ukie was born to Ukie Watts Sr. and Opal Watts in Thoreau, New Mexico.
Those left to cherish Ukie’s memory are his wife of 14 years, Janice Watts; daughters: Marie Gantuz, Cecilia Watts; son, Harold Watts; stepdaughters: Debra Self, Tammy Frederick, Kathy Pedigo, Mary Rodgers; stepson, Barry Wilkinson; grandchildren: Luis Gantuz, Marlis Gantuz, Beth Hunt, Jennifer Brag, Timothy Burns, Tasha Beuning, Cheyenne Boldes, Shalynn Lewis, Jaron Pedigo, Crystal Prag, Denae Erwin, Barry W. Wilkinson, Skylor Wilkinson; and 20 great-grandchildren.
Those chosen as Honorary Pallbearers are: Howard Williams, Cruz Torres, Steve Bertin, Ornell Fuller Sr, Keith Rush, Donnie Rowland and Henry Grimm.
Pallbearers are: Skylor Wilkinson, Garland Wilkinson, Tim Fuller, Ron Fuller, Rue Hunt and Micheal Brisco.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Disabled American Veterans at DAV.org. Following the service, the Midway Baptist Church will host a luncheon.
This tribute was lovingly written in honor of Ukie by his family.