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North Carolina endured the wrath of yet another powerful hurricane last week. And while it comes as little solace to those who lost homes, businesses or, in a few tragic cases, loved ones, on the whole, the situation could have been much, much worse. One need only glance at the devastation that Ian inflicted on southwestern Florida to be reminded of what these storms can dish out and how fortunate we were in comparison. Read more

No, polio is not a threat to the vast majority of Americans. That’s because the vast majority has received a very effective polio vaccine. And that’s also why public officials should stop turning a concern centered on a few under-vaxxed communities into everyone’s problem. Read more

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State AP Stories

President Joe Biden is working to create a manufacturing revival. He's even helping to put factory jobs in Republican territory under the belief it can help restore faith in U.S. democracy. The latest development came Tuesday, when chipmaker Micron announced an investment of up to $100 billion over the next 20-plus years to build a plant in upstate New York that could create 9,000 factory jobs. It’s a commitment made in a GOP congressional district that Biden and the company credited to the recently enacted $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act. Biden's goal is to keep opening new factories in states where Democrats’ footholds are shaky at best.

In Georgia’s pivotal U.S. Senate race, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, have each sought to cast the other as an abortion extremist. At the same time, they deflect questions about the details of their own positions on the issue. The sidestepping reflects the sensitivity of abortion politics in a post-Roe v. Wade America, where the procedure is open to regulation by state governments and, potentially, by Congress. But Walker’s strategy may not work much longer after The Daily Beast reported Monday that he paid for a girlfriend’s 2009 abortion — a blatant contradiction of his claims that there’s “no excuse” for a procedure he characterizes as “killing.” Walker called the report a lie.

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Advocates say schools increasingly are removing children with disabilities from the classroom because of behavior issues related to their disability but not recording the actions as suspension. The practice is known as informal removal, which advocates say amounts to a form of off-the-books, de facto denial of education that evades accountability. Because the removals aren’t recorded, there’s no way to quantify how often they happen. But the assistant secretary for the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights, Catherine E. Lhamon, says the practice has "taken hold in a way that is dangerous for students and needs to be addressed.”

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A Delaware judge says cigarette manufacturer ITG Brands assumed liability for tobacco settlement payments to the state of Florida when it acquired four brands from Reynolds American in 2015. Vice Chancellor Lori Will also said in Friday's ruling that ITG must compensate Reynolds American for losses due to that assumed liability. Reynolds sold the Kool, Winston, Salem and Maverick brands to ITG in 2014 to gain federal regulators' approval of Reynolds’ acquisition of Lorillard Inc. Before the sale closed, Reynolds American affiliate R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. was making payments under a preexisting settlement agreement with Florida for reimbursement of smoking-related health care costs.

National & World AP Stories

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Even as the Kremlin moved to absorb parts of Ukraine in a sharp escalation of the conflict, the Russian military suffered new defeats that highlighted its deep problems on the battlefield and opened rifts at the top of the Russian government. The setbacks have badly dented the image of a powerful Russian military and added to the tensions surrounding an ill-planned military mobilization. They have also fueled fighting among Kremlin insiders and left Russian President Vladimir Putin increasingly cornered.

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This year’s Nobel Prize in literature has been awarded to French author Annie Ernaux. The Swedish Academy said Ernaux, 82, was recognized for “the courage and clinical acuity” of her writing. Ernaux's more than 20 books, most of them very short, chronicle events in her life and the lives of those around her in Normandy in northwest France. They present uncompromising portraits of sexual encounters, abortion, illness and the deaths of her parents. The Nobel literature chairman said “she writes about things that no one else writes about." Ernaux is just the 17th woman among the 119 Nobel literature laureates.  She is one of France’s most-honored authors and a prominent feminist voice. The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday.

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Stocks are off to a slightly higher start on Wall Street as investors consider more data on the job market and how it might influence the Federal Reserve's effort to fight inflation with higher interest rates. Major U.S. indexes shook off some early weakness and some were tentatively peeking into the green in early trading Thursday. The S&P 500 was up 0.2%, the Dow Jones Industrials were little changed and the Nasdaq was up 0.5%. The government reported that more Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, and on Friday it will release its closely watched monthly report on the job market.

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A regional leader says Russia launched two missile attacks that hit apartment blocks in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia on Thursday, killing three people and wounding at least 12 in the city close to Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant. The morning strikes Thursday came hours after Ukraine’s president announced that the country’s military had retaken three more villages in one of the regions illegally annexed by Russia. Zaporizhzhia is home to Europe’s largest nuclear plant, now under Russian occupation. The city of the same name remains under Ukrainian control. The head of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog is expected to visit Kyiv this week to discuss the situation at the power plant.