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A rising force in state politics, Carolina Forward — a center-left policy organization to which I am also a contributor — held a recent post-election discussion forum that yielded provocative insights about the state of North Carolina’s political field. If I could distill a single message from the panel, it would be: “Democrats, don’t stop fighting.” The party has certainly struggled recently to surmount North Carolina’s conservative rut, but our state is not beyond the reach of a progressive renaissance. Read moreAlexander H. Jones: Don't quit, Dems — N.C. remains purple

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State AP Stories

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Incoming and returning Republicans to the North Carolina Senate have chosen a key lawmaker on tax, voting and energy issues to become majority leader for the next two years. The Senate Republican Caucus on Monday elected Sen. Paul Newton of Cabarrus County to the post. Newton succeeds Sen. Kathy Harrington, who didn't seek reelection this fall to her Gaston County seat. The caucus also agreed to nominate Phil Berger to a seventh term as president pro tempore when the session convenes in January. He has held the job since 2011. Senate Democrats meeting separately Monday reelected Sen. Dan Blue of Wake County as minority leader.

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A memorial service will be held this weekend for Betty Ray McCain. She was a longtime North Carolina Democratic Party activist and counselor to former four-time Gov. Jim Hunt who died last week at age 91. McCain was the first woman to chair the state Democratic Party in the 1970s. Hunt named McCain secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources in 1993. She also served multiple terms on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and on many boards and commissions. Current Gov. Roy Cooper called McCain a “trailblazer for women and a powerful force for good in the arts, education and public service."

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Democrats celebrated winning North Carolina's lone toss-up race for the U.S. House this month as Wiley Nickel won the 13th District seat. The victory creates a 7-7 split in the state’s delegation — the best showing for Democrats in a decade. But there’s a good chance Nickel’s district and others will be altered for the 2024 elections, returning the advantage to Republicans. The current lines are only being used for these elections. New lines will be drawn by Republicans, who still control the General Assembly. And a new GOP majority on the state Supreme Court likely will be more skeptical of legal challenges that scuttled previous boundaries.

CHERRYVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A Cherryville woman’s first birthday party ever at age 105 turned out just perfect. Line dancers and square dancers performed routines to entertain her, 12-year-old Lily brought her 10-week-old yellow Labrador named Nina for her to pet and she even got the chance to …

National & World AP Stories

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Three Chinese astronauts have docked with their country's space station where they will overlap for several days with the three-member crew already onboard and expand the facility to its maximum size. The latest crew includes the veteran of a 2005 space mission and two first-time astronauts. They docked with the Tiangong station at 5:42 a.m. Wednesday. The six-month mission will be the last in the construction phase of China’s space station. The station’s third and final module docked with the station earlier this month, one of the last steps in China’s effort to maintain a constant crewed presence in orbit. Tiangong can accommodate six astronauts at a time and the handover will take about a week. That marks the station’s first in-orbit crew rotation.

In a picturesque corner of western Wisconsin, a growing right-wing conservative movement has rocketed to prominence. They see America as a dark place, dangerous, where democracy is under attack by a tyrannical government. They say few officials can be trusted, and believe neighbors might someday have to band together to protect one another. They have felt the contempt of people who see them as fanatics. But they insist they are just normal people who aren't so different from the rest of America. And their views haven't been swayed - not at all - by midterm elections that failed to see the sweeping Republican victories that many had predicted.

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China's ruling Communist Party has vowed to “resolutely crack down on infiltration and sabotage activities by hostile forces." The Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission statement was released late Tuesday, after the largest street demonstrations in decades were staged by citizens fed up with strict anti-virus restrictions. While it did not directly address protests, the statement serves as a reminder of the party's determination to enforce its rule. There has been a massive show of force by the internal security services to deter a reoccurrence of protests that broke out over the weekend in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and other cities. Security forces have conducted random ID checks and searched mobile phones for evidence of participation in demonstrations.

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Asian shares are trading mostly lower ahead of a closely watched speech by the Federal Reserve chief that may give clues about future interest rate hikes. Markets are also eyeing developments in China, where protests have erupted recently over the “zero-COVID” strategy that has confined millions of people to their homes, sometimes for months. Shares fell in Tokyo but were higher in Sydney, Seoul, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Authorities in China have eased some controls after demonstrations in at least eight mainland cities and Hong Kong. Security forces have detained an unknown number of people. Wall Street finished mixed.