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The usual summer lull in political activity has turned out, this year, to be more of a spike. Democrats, having entered the humid season deep in a funk, now sense that because of a series of transformative events, their future political prospects may be far less dire than most of them had imagined before the summer began. Both in the state of North Carolina and from coast to American coast, the Democratic party looks as if it may just have the power to blunt Republicans’ midterm momentum and sustain a smaller blow to their majorities than almost everyone in the political class had confidently predicted last year. Read more

You’ve probably heard Republicans say the Inflation Reduction Act — the massive spending bill just passed by Senate Democrats — includes provisions to hire 87,000 new Internal Revenue Service agents. The number seems too big too believe. The IRS has just 93,654 employees, according to the Office of Personnel Management. Why would Congress, in one bill, increase the IRS workforce by something like 92%? It doesn’t seem possible. It certainly doesn’t seem wise. Read more

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State AP Stories

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A $100,000 reward is being offered in the case of a North Carolina sheriff’s deputy found fatally shot along a dark stretch of road last week. “Horrified” by a string of shootings that have injured and killed several deputies in the state in recent weeks, on Monday the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association announced the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the killing of Wake County Sheriff’s Deputy Ned Byrd. Authorities say they're trying to learn why Byrd stopped there. The sheriff's office says there’s still an active investigation that now includes the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

North Carolina’s state of emergency for COVID-19 is officially ending more than two years after Gov. Roy Cooper issued his first order. Cooper signed an executive order Monday terminating the emergency at the end of the day. He already announced last month it would end now because the state budget law contained health care provisions that would allow his administration to keep responding robustly to the virus. Cooper's initial order was signed on March 10, 2020. Republican legislators complained about his powers under the orders. A 2021 law will give the Council of State and the General Assembly more say-so about long-term emergencies.

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The “Wellness District” is a place where customer service means taking care of the customer from the inside out. The North Asheville neighborhood is flush with businesses promoting healthy lifestyles all within walking distance of each other.

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Police in eastern North Carolina say two customers at a two fast-food restaurant died when a vehicle crashed into the building. It happened Sunday morning at a Hardee's in Wilson, which is about 40 miles east of Raleigh. The sport utility vehicle struck 58-year-old Christopher Ruffin and 62-year-old Clay Ruffin, both of Wilson. One died at the scene, while the other died at a Greenville hospital. Police identified the driver as 78-year-old Jesse Lawrence of Wilson. He was treated at a hospital and released. Police say they don't believe the crash to be medical- or impairment-related, and no charges had been announced late Sunday afternoon.

National & World AP Stories

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran said Tuesday it submitted a “written response” to what has been described as a final roadmap to restore its tattered nuclear deal with world powers.

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After a string of arrests and erratic behavior that spanned Hawaii to Vermont, “Flash” actor Ezra Miller said they have begun treatment for “complex mental health issues.” The 29-year-old Miller, who identifies as non-binary, issued a statement late Monday. On Sept. 26, Miller is due to appear for arraignment in Vermont Superior Court after being cited for felony burglary in Stamford, Vermont. Authorities last week said Miller had taken several bottles of alcohol from a residence while the homeowners weren’t present. Miller was also arrested twice earlier this year in Hawaii, including for disorderly conduct and harassment at a karaoke bar. The second incident was for second-degree assault.

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First lady Jill Biden has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing “mild symptoms.” The White House announced it on Tuesday. The first lady has been vacationing with President Joe Biden in South Carolina and began experiencing symptoms Monday. She has been prescribed the antiviral drug Paxlovid and will isolate at the vacation home for at least five days. Joe Biden tested negative for the virus on Tuesday morning but will wear a mask indoors for 10 days in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. The president recovered from a rebound case of the virus Aug. 7. The Bidens have been twice-vaccinated and twice-boosted with the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

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Federal officials on Tuesday are expected to announce water cuts that would further reduce how much Colorado River water some users in the seven U.S. states reliant on the river and Mexico receive. Cities, farms and water managers in Arizona, Nevada and Mexico are widely anticipating Tuesday’s reductions. They are based on a plan states signed in 2019 to help keep more water in one of the river's key storage reservoirs. But the cuts come as Western states grapple with another, larger looming deadline on the Colorado River about how to share the dwindling water source as it yields less and less to go around.