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Advocates: Transgender woman sexually assaulted at ICE site

PHOENIX (AP) — Advocates say a transgender woman seeking asylum should be released after she was sexually assaulted and harassed while being detained in an Arizona immigration facility for nine months. Several groups say the woman from Mexico is suffering from PTSD and should be released on humanitarian grounds while she awaits an appeal to her asylum denial. They say transgender immigrants face unsafe conditions in detention and none are being held with members of the gender they identify with. ICE says it prioritizes the health, safety, and welfare of all of those in its care and custody, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people.


Debate moves from Phoenix to DC over coronavirus concerns

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic National Committee is moving Sunday's presidential debate from Arizona to Washington because of concerns about the coronavirus. The party had already announced that the debate between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders would be held without a live audience. Now the location is changing because of concerns about cross-country travel. In addition, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos no longer will moderate the debate because he was in proximity to a person who was in direct contact with another individual who tested positive for the virus. The DNC says Ramos is not symptomatic. The debate will be the first one-on-one contest between Biden and Sanders.


Montana, Navajo company reach deal on mine to waive immunity

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana regulators have reached a deal allowing the state to enforce environmental laws at a large coal mine bought last year by a Navajo-owned company. Company executives and state officials had been at odds for months over demands that the Navajo Transitional Energy Company waive its immunity as a tribal entity from future lawsuits. Thursday's agreement came a day before a temporary waiver for the Spring Creek mine was set to expire. The 275-worker strip mine is one the of the largest in the U.S. Litigation is a key tool to enforce many environmental laws. But tribal entities can't normally be sued in state court.


Virus concerns spur some Arizona schools to plan closures

PHOENIX (AP) — Four large school districts in metro Phoenix announced late Thursday that they would shut down because of the new virus, despite the governor’s decision for schools to remain open. State health officials said a statewide shutdown is not necessary now because there isn't a broad spread of the new virus. Pima Unified School District closed after a report that an unspecified number of elementary school students were possibly exposed to an unknown illness. Other Arizona developments Thursday include canceling remaining spring training games, delaying the regular season by at least two weeks and moving Sunday's Democratic presidential debate from Phoenix to Washington, D.C.


House joins Senate in approving school voucher bill

PHOENIX (AP) — Democrats opposed to the expansion of school vouchers in Arizona failed to block a Republican-backed measure that would slightly increase the reach of the state's current program. The House approved the expansion on a party-line vote Thursday after an hours-long debate. It now goes to Republican Gov. Doug Ducey for his expected signature since the Senate already approved the measure. The proposal allows students on Indian reservations to attend schools in neighboring states if they're within 2 miles of the Arizona border. It's billed as a permanent fix for a handful of Navajo Nation students attending a Christian school in New Mexico but now applies to any reservation student.


Wife accused of killing husband; lawyers claim self-defense

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A judge has released a woman accused of fatally shooting her husband ahead of trial after her lawyers claimed self-defense. The Arizona Daily Sun reported that Casey Dark was charged with second-degree murder in the death of her 45-year-old husband Joshua Dark stemming from a domestic violence incident in December at their home east of Flagstaff. Prosecutors say Casey Dark escalated a fight between herself and her husband when she brought a gun. But her lawyers say her husband had a history of violence. Judge Ted Reed decided to release Dark under the condition she appear at all court hearings. A trial date is currently scheduled for February 2021.


Health emergency declared for Navajo Nation because of virus

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation is now under a public health state of emergency declared by tribal President Jonathan Nez due to the growing spread of the coronavirus outbreak. Nev's office said in a statement announcing the declaration Wednesday that there were no confirmed cases on the the tribé's sprawling reservation that includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. But Nez said the declaration is a “proactive measure to help ensure the Navajo Nation’s preparedness and the health and well-being of the Navajo people." Nez also imposed travel restrictions for all executive-branch employees For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. But for some,  it can cause more severe illness.


Man gets prison for assault on corrections officer in Tucson

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A Honduran man has been sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison for assaulting a female corrections officer in Tucson in 2016. Prosecutors say 43-year-old Wilmer Martin Flores was given an 87-month prison term. A jury previously found Flores guilty of assault on a federal officer. Prosecutors say Flores was charged with assaulting a U.S. Bureau of Prisons corrections officer in June 2016. They say the woman suffered serious injuries. At the time of the assault, Flores was serving a nearly 20-year sentence for sex trafficking and kidnapping.