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The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point in order to battle inflation, even as the economy has begun to slow. This follows a quarter-point move in March, another half a point in May, and three-quarters of a point in June. The Fed also signaled in its post-meeting statement that more rate increases are to come, probably in September, saying that it “anticipates that ongoing increases in the target range will be appropriate.” Read more

You have probably heard about the sideshow put on by Alabama prison officials just before a scheduled execution late last month: A female reporter was hounded and humiliated over her skirt and her shoes. But you may have heard less about the main event, the execution, which was carried out despite pleas for mercy from the family of the victim. Read more

An odd atmosphere has descended on Washington, D.C. At the precise moment the government announced that the economy shrank for the second consecutive quarter — the popular definition of a recession — Washington pundits began talking about what a great week President Joe Biden was having. And they meant it sincerely, not ironically. Read more

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State AP Stories

North Carolina Democrats have asked a state court to overturn an elections board vote granting the Green Party official recognition despite allegations of fraud. Democrats have been accused by the Green Party of meddling in its petitioning process to qualify candidates for the November ballot. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Wake County Superior Court, precedes the first hearing next Monday in a Green Party lawsuit against the North Carolina State Board of Elections, when the newly certified party will fight for an extension to a statutory deadline preventing its candidates from appearing on the ballot.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is pushing back against Republican General Assembly leaders’ allegations that he neglected his duty to defend state law by refusing to seek enforcement of a blocked 20-week abortion ban after the fall of Roe v. Wade. Attorneys for Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore filed a brief last week asking U.S. District Judge William Osteen to lift an injunction on a 1973 state law banning nearly all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.  Stein, an abortion rights supporter, says he will continue to recuse himself from the case, drawing criticisms from Republicans who say he is refusing to do his job.

National & World AP Stories

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Cuban firefighters have been joined by special teams sent by Mexico and Venezuela as they battle for a second day to control a fire blazing at a big oil tank farm. Authorities say one firefighter is dead and others are missing since lightning struck a storage tank Friday night, setting off a fire that spread to a second tank early Saturday and triggered a series of explosions. A total of 122 people have been treated for injuries, including five in critical condition. The Matanzas province governor said Sunday that 4,946 people have been evacuated, mostly from the Dubrocq neighborhood, which is next to the oil storage facility.

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Democratic hopefuls in Wisconsin see abortion as the issue that will carry them to election wins in November, but efforts to reach Black voters on the topic are sparse. Several organizing groups said it's a complicated issue in the Black community, with a legacy of views long handed down from the more prominent and conservative denominations in the Black church. Polling data shows that abortion is a slightly more potent issue for white voters in the Democratic coalition than for Black voters. Most of the groups organizing in the Milwaukee area, a critical area for Democrats to win statewide races, are steering away from messaging solely on the issue.

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While millions across Europe sweat through a summer of record-breaking heat, other people are skiing in Africa. This isn’t another sign of climate change but rather the fascinating anomaly of Lesotho. Lesotho is a tiny mountain kingdom completely surrounded by South Africa. It's the only country on Earth where every inch of its territory sits more than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) above sea level. That gives Lesotho snow and led to the creation of Afriski in the Maluti Mountains, which is Africa’s only operating ski resort south of the equator. It draws people from neighboring South Africa and further afield by offering the unique experience of skiing in southern Africa.

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Colombia’s first leftist President will be sworn into office on Sunday, in a colorful ceremony that marks a turning point in the South American nation’s history. Sen. Gustavo Petro, a former member of the M-19 guerrilla group, won the presidential election in June by beating conservative parties that offered moderate changes to the nation’s market friendly economy, but were unable to connect with voters frustrated with growing rates of poverty and increasing violence against activists. Petro now joins a cadre of left wing politicians and political outsiders who have been winning elections in Latin America since the pandemic broke out and hurt incumbents who struggled with its economic aftershocks.