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For decades, conservative politicians had a free ride on the abortion issue. They could tell their “pro-life” base that they were doing all they could to ban the procedure — while not scaring the pro-choice majority. As long as Roe v. Wade protected the right to an abortion, the talk about outlawing it was just talk. Read more

Today, I want to talk about Kansas. Not about its corn as high as an elephant’s eye, nor about Dorothy and Toto trying to find their way home, but about Kansas as the geographic and Republican center of America, Kansas as the vintage Norman Rockwell core of America, Kansas as what the Republican Party was before being hijacked by Newt Gingrich and then mugged by a New York real estate con artist. Read more

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State AP Stories

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The campaign committee of North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein plans to ask a federal court to block enforcement of a state law looming in a probe of a TV ad aired against Stein's election rival in 2020. The state law makes it illegal to knowingly circulate false reports to damage a candidate’s election chances. Stein beat Republican Jim O'Neill that November. A Stein committee attorney filed the notice Wednesday, after a judge refused to stop a district attorney from potentially using the law to prosecute anyone over the disputed 2020 campaign ad. No one's been charged. Stein's committee argues the law is overly broad and chills political speech.

The North Carolina attorney general’s office is asking a federal court not to restore the state's 20-week abortion ban after the judge suggested his previous injunction “may now be contrary to law.” The attorney general’s office argued in a brief filed late Monday that reinstating restrictions in the aftermath of the June U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade would create “significant risk of public confusion” about the availability and legality of abortion services in North Carolina. Staff attorneys in Stein’s office filed the brief without the attorney general’s involvement.

National & World AP Stories

Authorities are working to determine the cause of a house explosion in a southern Indiana neighborhood that killed three people and left another person hospitalized. The explosion Wednesday afternoon in Evansville damaged 39 homes and Fire Chief Mike Connelly told reporters Thursday morning that crews had not yet completed thorough searches of all of them due to instability of the structures. He says 11 of the damaged homes were uninhabitable and finding a cause is expected to be a “very tedious" and lengthy process. Connelly says injuries to the fourth victim weren’t considered life-threatening. Evansville is located along Indiana’s border with Kentucky and the blast left debris strewn over a 100-foot radius.

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Wall Street is rallying again following another encouraging report about inflation. The S&P 500 was 1% higher after data showed inflation at the wholesale level slowed more than economists expected in July. It bolstered hopes that inflation may be close to a peak and that the Federal Reserve won’t be as aggressive about raising interest rates as feared. Treasury yields fell, and cryptocurrencies climbed in another echo of Wednesday’s trading, when a better-than-expected report on inflation at the consumer level triggered a rally across markets. The S&P 500 has more than halved its losses from earlier in the year.

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Canada arguably has the world’s most permissive euthanasia rules, but human rights advocates say those regulations devalue the lives of disabled people. They say the regulations also are prompting doctors and health workers to suggest the procedure to those who might not otherwise consider it. Families say that has led to disturbing conversations and controversial deaths. The current law allows people with serious disabilities to choose to be killed in the absence of any other medical issue. Next year, Canada is set to allow people to be killed exclusively for mental health reasons. Some critics say the system warrants further scrutiny.

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Africa’s national parks, home to thousands of wildlife species such as lions, elephants and buffaloes, are increasingly threatened by from below-average rainfall and new infrastructure projects, stressing habitats and the species that rely on them. A prolonged drought in much of the continent’s east, exacerbated by climate change, and large-scale developments, including oil drilling and livestock grazing, are hampering conservation efforts in protected areas, several environmental experts say. The parks not only protect flora and fauna but also act as natural carbon sinks — storing carbon dioxide emitted into the air and reducing the effects of global warming.