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Wildfires tear across several states, driven by high winds

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Firefighters across the country are battling multiple wildfires as tinder-dry conditions and high winds whip up flames from Arizona to Florida. That includes a prairie fire in rural southwestern Nebraska that officials say has killed one person, injured at least 15 firefighters and destroyed at least six homes. A break in the Midwestern weather allowed crews to make significant progress on that blaze Monday along the Nebraska-Kansas line. But hotter, windier weather is forecast Tuesday. More than 1,350 square miles have burned in wildfires across the country so far this year. Officials say that's outpacing the 10-year average by about 30%.

Justices hear fight over aslyum-seekers waiting in Mexico

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is seeking the Supreme Court's go-ahead to end a controversial Trump-era immigration program that forces some people seeking asylum in the U.S. to wait in Mexico for their hearings. The justices are hearing arguments Tuesday in the administration's appeal of lower-court rulings that require immigration officials to reinstate the "Remain in Mexico" policy. Republican-led states that sued to keep the program in place say it has helped reduce the flow of people into the U.S. President Donald Trump launched Migrant Protection Protocols, as it is formally known, in 2019. President Joe Biden suspended it on his first day in office.

Police release videos in probe of Baldwin film-set shooting

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Law enforcement officials have released a trove of video and photographic evidence in the investigation of a fatal October shooting of a cinematographer by actor and producer Alec Baldwin on the set of a Western movie. Data files released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office on Monday included videos of investigators debriefing Baldwin on the day of the shooting inside a compact office as well as apparent rehearsal clips that show the actor in costume as he practices a quick-draw maneuver with a gun. Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said the investigation remains open and ongoing as it awaits the results of ballistics analysis from the FBI.

Southwest wildfire outlook grim as flames char New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Months of grim wildfire weather are ahead for the Southwest as a handful of large wildfires march across drought-stricken New Mexico. The flames have blackened more than 215 square miles in just the last few days, burning homes and forcing evacuations. But crews got a break Monday as cooler weather, higher humidity and much lighter winds settled over the region. Red flag warnings have expired for now, but forecasters warn that fire danger remains high around the West. The probability is high for above-normal temperatures across the Southwest for the next three months, while chances are slim that a wide swath of the region will see anything close to normal precipitation.

Navajo President Jonathan Nez says he'll seek reelection

SHONTO, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez says he'll seek a second term in office. Nez's term as the tribe's top elected leader has been dominated by the coronavirus pandemic. He announced a reelection bid over the weekend from his hometown of Shonto. He highlighted his administration's handling of COVID-19 and says he wants to ensure that plans to rebuild the economy, and extend power and water lines continues. A handful of others have said they'll seek the position. The deadline for presidential hopefuls to file for the job is May 4. The primary election is in August.

New Mexico officials review plan to address potash pollution

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — State environmental regulators are reviewing plans submitted by Mosaic Potash to investigate and define the extent of groundwater contamination from discharges associated with potash mining along the Pecos River in southern New Mexico. The state Environment Department announced earlier this month that contamination had been detected in nearby groundwater monitoring wells and that the company was required to submit a plan for monitoring and dealing with the pollution. Potash mining is a main economic driver in Eddy County. A salt rich in potassium, potash is used mostly as a plant fertilizer and in animal feed.

Jurors reject array of defenses at Capitol riot trials

Juries have heard an array of defenses at the first trials for rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol. So far, all three juries to decide a Capitol riot case convicted each defendant of all charges. Retired New York City police officer Thomas Webster is the next to go on trial. Jury selection began Monday. Webster may have a novel defense of his own: He has claimed he was acting in self-defense when he tackled a police officer outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. But a judge has described Webster as an instigator who should have known better given his professional experience.

US begins phasing out COVID-driven asylum restrictions

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Biden administration has begun phasing out use of a pandemic-related public health rule that allows the expulsion of migrants without giving them an opportunity to seek asylum. The administration said Friday it has recently processed more single adults from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador under immigration laws, which include rights to seek asylum. Its acknowledgement came in a court filing in a lawsuit filed by Arizona, Louisiana and 19 other states that seeks to preserve the authority. The state of Texas filed its own challenge to the termination of the rule in federal court.