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"Arrests at the southern border will set new records this year," Joe Walsh reports at Forbes. "Border Patrol apprehended 1.998 million people at the U.S.-Mexico border from October to August, already blowing past the 1.659 million arrested in all of fiscal year 2021, which was the agency’s busiest year on record." Read more

Georgia Meloni’s right-wing populist coalition just defeated the establishment in Italian parliamentary elections, despite European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s comment a few days ago suggesting that the European Union has “tools” to deal with those who don’t fall in line with the agenda of unelected authoritarian bureaucrats like her. Read more

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State AP Stories

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The head of a national group working to elect women who support abortion rights is backing efforts in North Carolina. EMILY’s List President Laphonza Butler spoke at a Raleigh news conference on Tuesday with Gov. Roy Cooper and state legislative candidates. She also planned to visit college campuses with Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cheri Beasley. An arm of EMILY's List already spent $2.7 million on pro-Beasley ads. Butler says General Assembly races will determine whether abortion restrictions that Republicans are likely to seek can be vetoed by Cooper. Republicans could earn veto-proof majorities if they win two more Senate seats and three more House seats.

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Leaders of College Park Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, thought it was odd when the Southern Baptist Convention recently sent queries about the congregation's LGBTQ-affirming ministry. The church itself had voted to leave the conservative denomination 23 years ago. But it was still on the SBC rolls until last week. That's when the convention's Executive Committee voted to cut ties because of the congregation's “affirmation ... of homosexual behavior.” The Rev. Michael Usey of College Park said the congregation was ousted for the right reason. Said Usey, “It’s good when people reject you because they understand clearly who you are."

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Experts say the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling overturning Roe v. Wade appears to be sending more teens to their doctors in search of birth control, including long-acting reversible forms like intrauterine devices and implants. Waits for appointments are growing in some areas, Planned Parenthood is getting a flood of questions and doctors report demand even among teens who aren’t sexually active. Some patients are especially fearful because some of the new abortion laws don’t include exceptions for sexual assault. Dr. Peggy Stager said dedicated spots for insertion of the Nexplanon implant are consistently filled at her Ohio practice and requests for contraceptive refills have increased 30% to 40% since the Court's June ruling.

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Four people have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors for their roles in absentee ballot fraud in rural North Carolina during the 2016 and 2018 elections. These convictions Monday stemmed from an investigation that in part resulted in a do-over congressional election. The defendants were associated with Leslie McCrae Dowless, a political operative in Bladen County whom authorities called the ringleader of the ballot scheme. Dowless died this year before his case went to trial. The State Board of Elections has ordered a new election for the 2018 9th Congressional District because of all the fraud allegations. Cases against six other defendants are pending.

National & World AP Stories

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Hurricane Ian has left a path of destruction in southwest Florida, trapping people in flooded homes, damaging the roof of a hospital intensive care unit and knocking out power to 2.5 million people. It's now aiming for the Atlantic Coast as a tropical storm. One person is confirmed dead and a Florida sheriff said he believes fatalities are in the hundreds. One of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the U.S. is drenching the Florida peninsula overnight, threatening catastrophic flooding.  Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said they still cannot access many of the people that are in need.

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A Dutch magazine has reported that a Nobel Peace Prize-winning Catholic bishop has been accused of sexually abusing boys in East Timor in the 1990s. The report has rocked the Catholic Church in the impoverished nation and forced officials at the Vatican and Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo’s religious order to scramble to provide answers. Dutch magazine De Groene Amsterdammer said two alleged victims, identified only as Paulo and Roberto, reported being abused by Belo and said other boys also were alleged victims. It said its investigation showed that Belo’s abuse was known to East Timorese government, and to humanitarian and church workers.

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Russia has confirmed it will formally annex parts of Ukraine where occupied areas held a Kremlin-orchestrated “referendum” on living under Moscow’s rule that the Ukrainian government and the West denounced as illegal and rigged. Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend a ceremony on Friday in the Kremlin when four regions of Ukraine will be officially folded into Russia. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov says the pro-Moscow administrators of the regions will sign treaties to join Russia during the ceremony at the Kremlin’s St. George’s Hall.

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European stocks are lower and Asian markets were mixed after British Prime Minister Liz Truss defended a tax-cut plan that rattled investors. London’s market benchmark plunged 2.3% and Frankfurt lost 1.9% in early trading. Shanghai and Hong Kong also declined. Tokyo and Seoul advanced. The future for Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index was down 1.3%. Oil prices lost more than $1 per barrel after jumping more than $3 the previous day. Investors worry Truss's tax cuts will push up already high inflation. Truss shrugged off criticism and a public appeal by the International Monetary Fund to scrap the tax cut plans. Truss said she is willing to make “difficult decisions” to get the economy growing.