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Because I am an inveterate optimist who likes to think the best of other folks, I’m going to assume for the sake of the following argument that North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and former governors Jim Hunt, Mike Easley, and Bev Perdue sometimes sign documents they’ve not closely read. Read more

Various top rankings for North Carolina’s business climates have predictably — and once again — been the cause of partisan tug-of-wars in our state. When the state scores highly under one party’s control, the ruling crowd trumpets vindication and the out-party waxes dismissive. But the truth is that North Carolina typically does well in these rankings, and neither party is being entirely honest when they marshal our success as a talking point. Read more

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

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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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Taiwan has warned that Chinese military drills aren’t just a rehearsal for an invasion of the self-governing island but also reflect ambitions to control large swaths of the western Pacific. The warning came as Taipei conducted its own exercises Tuesday to underscore it’s ready to defend itself. Angered by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan, China has sent military ships and planes across the midline that separates the two sides in the Taiwan Strait. It has also launched missiles into waters surrounding the island. The drills began Thursday. They have disrupted flights and shipping in one of the busiest zones for global trade.

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The Palestinian Health Ministry says Israeli troops killed three Palestinians in a shootout in the occupied West Bank, during an arrest operation in the city of Nablus. Israel said its troops killed two Palestinian gunmen in the clashes in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday. The clash came a day after a cease-fire ended three days of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group in the Gaza Strip. Israel has conducted near nightly arrest raids in the West Bank in recent months as part of a crackdown on Palestinian militant groups in the aftermath of a string of deadly attacks targeting Israelis earlier this year.

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Kenyans are voting in an unusual presidential election. A longtime opposition leader who is backed by the outgoing president faces the deputy president who styles himself as the outsider. East Africa’s economic hub could see a presidential runoff for the first time. Economic issues could be more important than the ethnic tensions that have marked past votes with sometimes deadly results. The top candidates are Raila Odinga who has vied for the presidency for a quarter-century and Deputy President William Ruto who stresses his journey from a humble childhood to appeal to millions of struggling Kenyans long accustomed to political dynasties.

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The birds no longer sing. The cows die. And if the people in this northern Myanmar forest complain, they too face the threat of death from militias. This forest is the source of key metallic elements known as rare earths, often called the vitamins of the modern world. Rare earths turn up in everything from hard drives to elevators, and are vital to the fast-growing field of green energy. But an AP investigation found their cost is environmental destruction, the theft of land and the funneling of money to brutal militias. The AP tied rare earths from Myanmar to the supply chains of 78 companies. Nearly all who responded said they took environmental protection and human rights seriously.