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Two leaders of the largest Native American reservation in the U.S. are in self-quarantine as the coronavirus outbreak sweeps across the Navajo Nation. The tribe has recorded more than 550 cases of the new coronavirus and 22 deaths among Navajos who live on the reservation that spans parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Navajo President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer quarantined themselves as a precaution after being in close proximity with a first responder who later tested positive. The tribe is imposing a weekend-long curfew that begins Friday evening. Violations could result in a fine up to $1,000 or jail time.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A philanthropic effort aimed at boosting access to scarce medical and protective equipment supplies on the Navajo Nation is being organized by former Gov. Bill Richardson. The coronavirus has swept with ferocity through the largest Native American reservation in the U.S., which spans parts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. Infections have surpassed 550 with 22 deaths. Richardson told The Associated Press Thursday that his enduring sense of gratitude and friendship with the Navajo people prompted his effort to provide seed money and launch the humanitarian effort in cooperation with Molina Healthcare and New Mexico Children's Foundation Latest Albequerque News.

AP-US-VIRUS-OUTBREAK-SOCIAL-DISTANCE-POWWOW
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The largest powwows in the country have been canceled and postponed amid the spread of the coronavirus. Tribal members have found a new outlet online with the Social Distance Powwow. They're sharing videos of colorful displays of culture and tradition that are at their essence meant to uplift people during difficult times. The posts have become a nearly daily dose of medicine, songs, dances, well wishes, humor and happy birthdays. The site also hosts a live powwow on the weekend where an emcee patches in drum groups, singers and dancers from across the country.


NURSING HOME ARBITRATION RULING
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled against a nursing home agreement requiring residents to settle their most likely claims, setting a precedent for consumers to dispute arbitration agreements. The Albuquerque Journal reported that the ruling stems from a case against multiple defendants, including the Rehabilitation Center of Albuquerque for requiring all legal claims to go to mediation and then move on to arbitration rather than to court. The agreement still allowed the facility to file lawsuits over its most likely claims against patients. The Supreme Court affirmed Monday that there was not enough evidence to show that the one-sidedness of the agreement was justified.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO-EASTER
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — While it pains him, the head of one of the oldest Catholic dioceses in the United States says this Holy Week will be different for tens of thousands of parishioners in New Mexico. It has to be. There will be no pilgrimages and no crowds packing the pews to celebrate Mass. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe has been pleading with the faithful to heed public health orders and stay home. Despite the rich traditions that culminate with Easter weekend, Archbishop John Wester says the new coronavirus is nothing to play around with. He says: "It doesn't take a day off for Good Friday or Easter Sunday."

UNEMPLOYMENT-NEW MEXICO
RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — Federal numbers show that nearly 73,000 people in New Mexico have lost their jobs over that last three weeks. The U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday 26,606 people in the state applied for unemployment benefits last week compared to a revised record of 27,849 the week before. The ongoing swell in applications in one of the poorest U.S. states represent more evidence that the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the economy. The Labor Department said 6.6 million Americans overall applied for unemployment benefits last week Press Release Distribution Service.

COPPER THEFTS-STREET LIGHTS
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Officials in New Mexico's largest city are warning that copper wiring thefts have put some street lights out of commission, resulting in dangerous conditions for pedestrians and drivers. In an effort to discourage would-be thieves, the city of Albuquerque is working with a lighting contractor to reinforce poles and switch out copper wiring for less valuable aluminum. Mayor Tim Keller says the copper thefts can create a safety problem as well as burden taxpayers. In February alone, the city saw $16,000 in copper theft, which accounted for more than one-quarter of all maintenance of street lights.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-BORDER ENFORCEMENT
U.S. authorities say they've sent nearly 10,000 Mexican and Central American border crossers back to Mexico under new rules designed to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The Trump administration has essentially shut down the nation's asylum system by setting aside decades of immigration laws. People seeking refuge in the U.S. are whisked to the nearest border crossing and returned to Mexico without a chance to seek asylum. The Trump administration is relying on a seldom-used public health law and has offered little detail on the rules. Fewer than 100 people are now in Customs and Border Protection custody. 

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