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Mississippi vows further appeal after loss on abortion ban
Mississippi’s governor says he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Mississippi’s ban on abortion at 15 weeks. Republican Phil Bryant made the announcement on Twitter. The vow comes Saturday, a day after a federal appeals court ruled the ban was unconstitutional. But Mississippi has been aiming for the Supreme Court all along. Leaders hope conservative justices will spur the high court to overturn its 1973 ruling legalizing abortion rights nationwide. Mississippi’s ban at 15 weeks of pregnancy has never taken effect. It was blocked by a lower court judge.
HIGHER EDUCATION BOARD
Entergy Louisiana CEO named to state higher education board
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s top higher education board has a new member. Gov. John Bel Edwards has appointed Entergy Louisiana President and CEO Phillip May of New Orleans as his latest appointee to the Louisiana Board of Regents. May was sworn in Wednesday at the board’s meeting. The Board of Regents is the policy-making board for public colleges in the state. It devises the financing formula that divvies up most state dollars for campuses and develops the master plan for higher education. The governor appoints the board’s 15 members for staggered, six-year terms. Edwards also reappointed former state Sen. Marty Chabert of Houma, who currently serves as chairman.
IMMIGRATION-FOOD PLANT RAIDS
Guatemalan cardinal to visit Mississippi after migrant raids
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Guatemalan cardinal who advocates for migrants will visit Mississippi following immigration raids last summer that prompted 680 arrests. The Rev. Roberto Mena announced the visit Saturday. Pope Francis raised Alvaro Ramazzini to the rank of cardinal in October. Ramazzini has spoken out for decades against exploitation of poor rural people in regions he has ministered to. A majority of those arrested in the raids of seven Mississippi chicken processing plants in August was Guatemalan. Some speak Mayan dialects instead of Spanish. Mena says Ramazzini is “coming to be present” with affected families.
HIGH SCHOOL-COLLEGE CREDIT
Louisiana education leaders set early college credit goal
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana education leaders are pushing for all high school graduates by 2029 to leave school with college credit or an industry-based credential. The state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and its Board of Regents adopted the goal Wednesday during a joint meeting. If accomplished, the goal would double the current achievement level. The courses are known as dual-enrollment classes. Students take college-level courses for both high school and college credit. The education department says half of the high school graduating class of 2018 earned at least one course of college credit or an industry credential. But expansion of dual enrollment offerings will come with a price tag that is currently unclear.
Nearly 80 authors on tap for New Orleans Book Festival
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Nearly 80 authors will be featured at the inaugural New Orleans Book Festival next year. Organizers announced Wednesday that 30 more authors agreed to participate in the festival which will be held March 19-21 at Tulane University. The latest group includes several names familiar to the New Orleans community, including Poppy Tooker, John Pope, Susan Langenhenning, Cheryl Gerber and Chris Granger. Event Co-chair Cheryl Landrieu says the list of new participants meets the festival’s goal of connecting emerging and well-established writers with diverse readers in the New Orleans community.
Louisiana sues California over alligator ban
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana is suing the state of California over a law banning the import and sale of alligator products. In a lawsuit filed Thursday, Louisiana’s attorney general says the law set to go into effect in January would have a devastating effect on an important Louisiana industry. The state says that California’s large economy often means that their product standards become de facto national standards so California’s alligator ban will have effects in other states. Louisiana also argues the ban will ultimately hurt Louisiana’s coastal wetlands because it will remove economic incentives to protect the habitat.
Cyberattack, ransomware hobbles New Orleans city government
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans officials say investigators have discovered ransomware as they investigate a suspected cyberattack that led to a shutdown of city computers. The city has not received a ransom demand, however. It’s unclear whether Friday’s attack did any damage to the city system. Officials said employees noticed “suspicious activity” on computer systems as early as 5 a.m. A decision to shut down computers came around 11 a.m. Officials stressed that city financial records are on a cloud-based backup system. And they say police, fire and ambulance services are operating normally.
Florida city mum on ransom demands by cyberattackers
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