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VIRUS OUTBREAK-ARKANSAS

Arkansas to allow its 3 casinos to reopen May 18

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas is allowing its three casinos to reopen May 18 but with new capacity limits and rules to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday said the casinos will be limited to one-third their capacity. The casinos include ones at a West Memphis dog track and a Hot Springs horse track. All have been closed since March 17. He didn’t say whether the requirements would restrict or prohibit certain types of games. Hutchinson has moved in recent days to allow businesses closed because of the pandemic to reopen. Gyms, barbershops and hair salons reopened this week.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ABORTION

Judge rejects abortion clinic's bid to block virus test rule

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal judge has rejected a request by Arkansas' only surgical abortion clinic to block a rule requiring a negative coronavirus test before a woman undergoes the procedure. U.S. District Judge Brian Miller rejected the motion to prevent the state from enforcing the requirement on three women nearing Arkansas' limit on when abortions can be performed. Arkansas bans abortions 20 weeks into a woman's pregnancy. Arkansas last week eased a ban on elective procedures that had prohibited surgical abortions. The state now requires a negative virus test within 48 hours of an elective procedure. The clinic says it contacted more than 15 testing locations but has been unable to find one that will test asymptomatic people and that’s able to have results within 48 hours.

ALCORN STATE-COACH

Alcorn hires Kilbert to lead women's basketball program

LORMAN, Miss. (AP) — Alcorn State has hired a new coach to lead its women’s basketball program. The school named Nathaniel Kilbert, who served as an assistant coach for the Lady Braves from 1991-2001, to the top position on Tuesday. Kilbert replaces Courtney Pruitt, whose contract was not renewed after five seasons. The team finished 13-18 last year with a 9-9 mark in the SWAC.

ARKANSAS-VOTER REGISTRATION

Arkansas to ensure voter registration records get updated

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas will begin ensuring that change-of-address information submitted for driver’s license purposes is used to update voter registration records under an agreement with the federal government. The state’s agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice is aimed at resolving claims that Arkansas didn’t provide certain opportunities to update voter-registration records as required by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. The law requires states to update voter records when the address on the driver’s license or other IDs is changed, unless the person chooses otherwise. But the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that a Justice Department investigation found the state didn’t comply with the update requirements.

MURDER HORNETS-ARKANSAS

University of Arkansas overwhelmed with calls about hornet

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An expert says the agricultural division at University of Arkansas has been overwhelmed with phone calls about whether the world’s largest hornet has landed in the state. Jon Zawislak, an apiary expert and entomologist at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said extension agents have been inundated with phone calls about the giant insect for four days. He says beekeepers have expressed concern about the potential impact the insect could have on their livelihoods or hobbies. Zawislak noted that he doubts the giant insect will arrive in Arkansas.

MURPHY OIL HEADQUARTERS

Murphy Oil moving headquarters from Arkansas to Texas

EL DORADO, Ark. (AP) — Murphy Oil Corp. is closing its El Dorado, Arkansas, headquarters and is moving to Houston. The independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company on Wednesday cited the steep drop in crude oil prices in its decision to close the El Dorado office, which has about 80 employees. The company said the move came after it exhausted other cost-saving measures, including cutting capital expenditures in half. The firm also is closing an office in Canada that employs 110 people and is consolidating all worldwide staff activities in its Houston office.