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State AP Stories

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Two power substations in a North Carolina county were damaged by gunfire in what is being investigated as a criminal act. A spokesman for Duke Energy said at a news conference with local officials on Sunday that the damage caused the night before could take days to repair. Power was out for roughly 37,000 customers Sunday. In response, officials announced a state of emergency that included a curfew from 9 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday. County schools will be closed Monday. Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields says authorities have not determined a motivation.

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The Supreme Court is about to confront a new elections case that could dramatically alter voting in 2024 and beyond. A Republican-led challenge is asking the justices for a novel ruling that could significantly increase the power of state lawmakers over elections for Congress and the presidency. The court is hearing arguments Wednesday in a case from highly competitive North Carolina, where Republican efforts to draw congressional districts heavily in their favor were blocked by a Democratic majority on the state Supreme Court. The question for the justices is whether the U.S. Constitution’s provision giving state legislatures the power to make the rules about the “times, places and manner” of congressional elections cuts state courts out of the process.

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The nation’s largest public utility is recommending replacing an aging coal burning power plant with natural gas, ignoring calls for the Tennessee Valley Authority to speed its transition to renewable energy. TVA on Friday announced the completion of its environmental impact statement for replacing the Cumberland Fossil Plant near Cumberland City, Tennessee. TVA says in a news release that solar and battery storage would be more costly and time-consuming than gas. The recommendation still needs the approval of TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash. He has previously spoken in favor of gas. The announcement drew immediate backlash from groups that include the Center for Biological Diversity, which calls the plan “reckless.”

National & World AP Stories

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Indonesia’s Parliament has unanimously passed a long-awaited and controversial revision of its penal code that criminalizes extramarital sex. After Tuesday’s passage, the law needs the president’s signature and is given a maximum of three years to transition from the old code to the new one. Sex outside of marriage will be punishable by jail, and the law applies to citizens and foreign visitors alike. It will also preserve the death penalty and make insults to the country’s president illegal. The code maintains that abortion is a crime. But it adds exceptions for women with life-threatening medical conditions and for rape, provided that the fetus is less than 12 weeks old.

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China's leaders have eulogized the late Jiang Zemin as a loyal Marxist-Leninist who oversaw their country's rapid economic rise while maintaining rigid Communist Party control over society. President and party leader Xi Jinping praised Jiang in an hour-long address at Beijing's Great Hall of the People as senior officials and military brass stood at attention. Xi emphasized Jiang's role in maintaining political stability in allusion to his rise to be top leader just ahead of the army's bloody suppression of the 1989 student-led pro-democracy movement centered on Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Jiang died just days after China's largest street protests since 1989, which were fueled by anger over draconian COVID-19 restrictions.

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Stocks are mostly lower in Asia after Wall Street pulled back as surprisingly strong economic reports highlighted the difficulty of the Federal Reserve’s fight against inflation. Tokyo rose while other regional markets declined. U.S. futures gained and oil prices also advanced. The S&P 500 fell 1.8% Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.4% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gave back 1.9%. Small-company stocks fell even more. The services sector, which makes up the biggest part of the U.S. economy, showed surprising growth in November. At the same time, markets have been lifted by expectations China will press ahead with easing its stringent pandemic restrictions, relieving pressures on trade, manufacturing and consumer spending.