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I can understand those who say they would rather “push a Ford than drive a Chevy.” And it is acceptable that some prefer Coke to Pepsi. There’s even space for those misguided souls who would rather have a Big Mac than a Whopper. Those are personal preferences and subject to personal opinion. Read more

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State AP Stories

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A revived Hurricane Ian has pounded coastal South Carolina after causing catastrophic damage in Florida. The storm washed away parts of piers and flooded streets in parts of South Carolina. The U.S. death toll from Hurricane Ian rose to at least 27 as Florida authorities confirmed several drowning deaths and other fatalities. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Friday that the deaths included a 22-year-old woman ejected in an ATV rollover because of a road washout. Many other deaths were drownings, including that of a 68-year-old woman swept into the ocean by a wave. Authorities expect the death toll to rise further.

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The GOP is pursuing its latest legal challenge to North Carolina electoral procedures established by the Democrat-led State Board of Elections. Republicans made the move one week before North Carolina election officials begin processing by-mail ballots in the closely watched Southern swing state. The North Carolina Republican Party filed two motions in Wake County Superior Court this week, asking the court to block the board from enforcing its prohibition of county election officials scrutinizing signatures on absentee voting documents. The GOP motions mark Republicans’ latest attempts to mold election laws to their liking in a state that could shift the political balance locally and nationwide.

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision striking down a constitutional right to abortion and sending the issue to the states has groups on both sides of the debate focusing more than ever on races this fall for state supreme courts. Whether abortion access is maintained, restricted or eliminated in any state could depend on whether a state's high court has a majority of Democratic or Republican justices. Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina and Ohio are among the states where the races are drawing heavy interest and spending as the midterm elections approach.

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The U.S. death toll from Hurricane Ian’s passage has risen to four overall after an official said late Thursday that two residents of a hard-hit barrier island on Florida’s western coast were confirmed dead. Dana Souza, city manager of Sanibel, said the deaths were confirmed by fire officials but offered no other specifics.Two other people have also died. A 38-year old man from Lake County died Wednesday in a motor vehicle accident after his vehicle hydroplaned and a 72-year old man in Deltona was confirmed dead on Thursday. Officials with the Volusia sheriff’s office said the man went outside to drain his pool and fell into a canal.

National & World AP Stories

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Gunshots rang out in Burkina Faso’s capital and soldiers deployed in the streets as tensions lingered a day after military officers overthrew the man who had seized power in a coup only nine months earlier in the West African nation. Uncertainty prevailed Saturday amid signs of lingering tensions in Ouagadougou, the capital. Roads remained blocked off and a helicopter could be heard flying overhead. The international community, meanwhile, condemned the ouster of Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba. The officers who seized control late Friday said Damiba had failed to improve the security situation in Burkina Faso, which has been struggling to tamp down violence by Islamic extremists.

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This week, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Zion, Illinois, opened its doors to the city's first mosque. Members view this as a significant event because of their faith's century-old connection to Zion's founder and faith healer John Alexander Dowie. The evangelist envisioned Zion as a Christian theocracy and made hostile remarks about Muslims. This drew the ire of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The Ahmadis view Zion as the site of a holy miracle where their founder defended Islam and defeated Dowie in a prayer duel that ended with the latter's death in 1907.  They have named the mosque Fath-e-Azeem, which means “a great victory” in Arabic.

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Rescuers continue to search for survivors in flooded homes in Florida after Hurricane Ian's passage earlier this week. Meanwhile, authorities in South Carolina began the long process of assessing damage Saturday. The powerful storm terrorized millions of people for most of the week and officials say it's blamed for at least 27 deaths in Florida, three deaths in Cuba and one in North Carolina. But authorities say they expect the death toll to rise further. As of Saturday, more than 1,000 people had been rescued from flooded homes near Florida's southwestern coast alone.

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The University of Mississippi is paying tribute to James Meredith 60 years after integration. White protesters erupted into violence in 1962 as he became the first Black student to enroll in what was then a bastion of Deep South segregation. A local resident and a French journalist were killed in the violence on the Oxford campus. The 89-year-old Meredith was honored Saturday at an Ole Miss football game. The university is having several other events to mark six decades of integration. Meredith spoke at a celebration Wednesday, saying it was the best day he ever lived. But he also said problems remain and he wants people to abide by the Ten Commandments.