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No. No one planted the various top secret and/or classified documents in the University of Pennsylvania office of President Joe Biden or in Biden’s locked garage where he also keeps his Corvette. And no one planted the documents inside his Delaware home either. An overly zealot Black Democrat congressman recently put forth this inaccurate conspiracy theory. Read moreGary Franks: Biden’s got a classified documents problem

This awful story won’t generate the weeks’ worth of headlines prompted by the 6-year-old who shot his teacher, but it should: A 14-year-old Texas girl has been charged with murder for shooting an 11-year-old boy. She was firing at another 14-year-old girl, with whom she had been arguing. She missed, hitting the boy, according to Dallas police. Read moreCynthia Tucker: Gun lobby grows bolder even as violence escalates

State AP Stories

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North Carolina Democrats have introduced legislation to codify abortion protections into state law as Republicans are discussing early prospects for further restrictions. Their legislation, filed Wednesday in both chambers, would prohibit the state from imposing barriers that might restrict a patient’s ability to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy before fetal viability, which typically falls between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. Current state law bans nearly all abortions after 20 weeks, with narrow exceptions for urgent medical emergencies that do not include rape or incest. House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters he didn’t expect the Democrats’ bill to get considered.

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Supporters of abortion rights have filed separate lawsuits challenging abortion pill restrictions in North Carolina and West Virginia. The lawsuits were filed Wednesday. They are the opening salvo in what’s expected to a be a protracted legal battle over access to the medications. The lawsuits argue that state limits on the drugs run afoul of the federal authority of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The agency has approved the abortion pill as a safe and effective method for ending pregnancy. More than half of U.S. abortions are now done with pills rather than surgery.

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A lawyer representing the leaders of North Carolina’s state employee health plan has defended its exclusion of gender affirming treatments before a federal appeals court. State Treasurer Dale Folwell and the State Health Plan’s executive administrator are seeking to overturn a trial court order demanding that the plan pay for “medically necessary services,” including hormone therapy and some surgeries, for transgender employees and their children. Attorney John Knepper told a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday that the plan routinely excludes some medically necessary procedures based on cost, but does not make any of those determinations based on sex or gender.

National & World AP Stories

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Gaza militants fired rockets and Israel carried out airstrikes as tensions soared following an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank. The raid killed nine Palestinians, including at least seven militants and a 61-year-old woman. It was the deadliest single incursion in the territory in over two decades. The flare-up in violence poses an early test for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government and casts a shadow on U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s expected trip to the region next week. Palestinian militants fired five rockets at Israel, which carried out a series of airstrikes at what it said were militant targets. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

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Five fired Memphis police officers have been charged with murder and other crimes in the killing of Tyre Nichols, a Black motorist who died three days after a confrontation with the officers during a traffic stop. Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said although the officers each played different roles in the killing, “they are all responsible.” All of the officers are Black. Video of the Jan. 7 traffic stop will be released to the public sometime Friday evening. Nichols’ family and their lawyers say the footage shows officers savagely beating the 29-year-old father and FedEx worker for three minutes.

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Asian shares have advanced, boosted by a rally on Wall Street following reports suggesting the economy and corporate profits may be doing better than feared. Markets remained closed in Shanghai for the Lunar New Year holidays. In Tokyo, data showed the core consumer price index was up 4.3%, slightly higher than expected at 4.2%, and higher than the Bank of Japan’s target of 2%. On Thursday, Wall Street stocks climbed to their highest level in nearly eight weeks after the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. economy expanded at a 2.9% annual pace in the last quarter, ending 2022 with momentum despite higher interest rates and widespread fears of a looming recession.

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Public water agencies in California will be getting more water from the state because of recent heavy rain. State water officials on Thursday said public water agencies will be getting 30% of what they asked for. That’s up from the 5% state officials had announced in December. A series of powerful storms dumped an estimated 32 trillion gallons of water on California in just three weeks. The deluge has helped replenish the state’s reservoirs that had been at dangerously low levels. State officials warned that dry conditions could return. There are two months left in the state’s rainy season.