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Just days after declaring pregnancy a sacrament, the Supreme Court announced a bold ruling in favor of performative Christianity. Never mind this tiresome business about no establishment of religion; the holy Republican majority in their priestly robes have liberated the nation’s public school football coaches to get on with the serious business of saving souls. Read more

National polls show former President Donald Trump with a commanding lead over all other Republicans for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. The group includes Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is in a distant second place but is widely seen as the new front-runner should Trump decide not to run. Read more

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State AP Stories

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Tropical Storm Colin has brought rain and winds to parts of North and South Carolina, though the storm has weakened and conditions are expected to improve by Monday's July Fourth celebrations. Separately, the center of Tropical Storm Bonnie rolled into the Pacific on Saturday after a rapid march across Central America, where it caused flooding, downed trees and forced thousands of people to evacuate in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Forecasters say Bonnie is likely to become a hurricane by Monday off the southern coast of Mexico, but it is unlikely to make a direct hit on land.

North Carolina's Democratic attorney general has not yet indicated whether he will ask a court to lift the injunction on a state law banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Attorney General Josh Stein told Republican lawmakers on Friday that his department’s attorneys are reviewing the litigation that led a federal court to strike down the 20-week ban. His letter responds to GOP demands that he take immediate action in the wake of last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned abortion protections. Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore warned last week Stein's inaction would lead them to get involved.

National & World AP Stories

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Russia has claimed control of the last major Ukrainian-held city in one of two eastern provinces that have been the focus of Moscow’s grinding war. A Ukrainian official denied Moscow’s control was complete. If confirmed, Russia’s claim that it seized the last stronghold of resistance in Luhansk province would bring its forces one step closer to achieving one of President Vladimir Putin’s major goals, capturing the entire Donbas. That is a pivotal battle of the war is unfolding. ,” According to a ministry statement published Sunday, Russia's defense minister told Putin that Russia’s troops, together with members of a local separatist militia have established full control over the city of Lysychansk.

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The Supreme Court’s latest climate change ruling could dampen efforts by federal agencies to rein in the tech industry, which went largely unregulated for decades as the government tried to catch up to changes wrought by the internet. Thursday’s 6-3 decision was narrowly tailored to the Environmental Protection Agency. The court ruled that the EPA doesn’t have broad authority to reduce power plant emissions that contribute to global warming. The precedent is widely expected to invite challenges of other rules set by government agencies.

The low-income Enchanted Valley community just outside Rio de Janeiro’s Tijuca Forest National Park has managed something no other favela has done: built its own biosystem to process its waste. The project could serve as an example in rural areas across Brazil, where many lack access to sewage treatment facilities. The federal government has a plan to improve sewage treatment throughout Brazil, which it is pursuing through private concessions of large urban areas. But that approach doesn’t help small, isolated communities like Enchanted Valley, where the smell of sewage is now gone and its nearby waterfall is clean for bathing.

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Pro-Russia separatists occupied the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk for months in 2014. Now, its people are preparing to defend the city again. Slovyansk could become the next major target in Moscow’s campaign to take Ukraine's predominantly Russian-speaking Donbas region. The loyalties of residents are split in the city, with some antagonistic toward Kyiv or nostalgic for Ukraine's Soviet past. But many fear what the Russians might do if they return to the city in Donetsk province. A 23-year-old accountant-turned-soldier says Ukrainian forces do not have the weapons to fight off the superior arsenal of the approaching army. “We know what’s coming,” he said recently as artillery explosions sounded a few kilometers away.