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Sen. Thom Tillis and Rep. Ted Budd recently sent a letter to North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, asking Stein to protect crisis pregnancy centers across the state from the “attacks” they have begun to experience since Roe v. Wade was overturned. Read more

My mother remembers polio. Growing up in rural Alabama, she knew people who were afflicted with it and crippled by it. Her generation had no qualms about rushing out to receive the life-saving vaccines or having their children stand in long lines to wait for a nurse to stick them in the arm with a scary-looking needle. I remember the needle. Read more

As kids across the U.S. head back to school, they face a new year of politisation. And the results for American society in general are devastating. The most recent U.S. government assessment, not even a quarter of graduating grade 12 students are considered proficient in math or science, and a dismal 12 percent of students are competent in U.S. history. Read more

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State AP Stories

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A $100,000 reward is being offered in the case of a North Carolina sheriff’s deputy found fatally shot along a dark stretch of road last week. “Horrified” by a string of shootings that have injured and killed several deputies in the state in recent weeks, on Monday the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association announced the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the killing of Wake County Sheriff’s Deputy Ned Byrd. Authorities say they're trying to learn why Byrd stopped there. The sheriff's office says there’s still an active investigation that now includes the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

North Carolina’s state of emergency for COVID-19 is officially ending more than two years after Gov. Roy Cooper issued his first order. Cooper signed an executive order Monday terminating the emergency at the end of the day. He already announced last month it would end now because the state budget law contained health care provisions that would allow his administration to keep responding robustly to the virus. Cooper's initial order was signed on March 10, 2020. Republican legislators complained about his powers under the orders. A 2021 law will give the Council of State and the General Assembly more say-so about long-term emergencies.

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The “Wellness District” is a place where customer service means taking care of the customer from the inside out. The North Asheville neighborhood is flush with businesses promoting healthy lifestyles all within walking distance of each other.

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Police in eastern North Carolina say two customers at a two fast-food restaurant died when a vehicle crashed into the building. It happened Sunday morning at a Hardee's in Wilson, which is about 40 miles east of Raleigh. The sport utility vehicle struck 58-year-old Christopher Ruffin and 62-year-old Clay Ruffin, both of Wilson. One died at the scene, while the other died at a Greenville hospital. Police identified the driver as 78-year-old Jesse Lawrence of Wilson. He was treated at a hospital and released. Police say they don't believe the crash to be medical- or impairment-related, and no charges had been announced late Sunday afternoon.

National & World AP Stories

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Stocks are opening lower on Wall Street Wednesday as traders absorb some discouraging news about how much Americans are spending. Major indexes were all lower in the first few minutes of trading after the government reported that sales at U.S. retailers were flat last month, even though forecasters were expecting an increase. Many households are spending more cautiously as inflation remains high and as interest rates rise. The S&P 500 was off 0.6%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nadsaq composite also fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.88%. European markets were also lower.

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Opening statements are giving prosecutors and R. Kelly’s attorneys their first chance to address jurors directly about charges that accuse the R&B singer of enticing minors for sex, producing child pornography and rigging his 2008 pornography trial. Both the prosecution and Kelly’s legal team told the judge they would like about an hour each on Wednesday for their respective openings. The evidentiary stage of the federal trial is expected to last about a month. Lawyers for two Kelly co-defendants will also address jurors before the government begins calling witnesses. Prosecutors haven’t said who they will call first.

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Elon Musk has caused a stir by tweeting that he was buying the English soccer team Manchester United. But several hours later on Wednesday, he said it was a joke. It comes as the billionaire Tesla CEO faces a legal battle in the U.S. after backing out of a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion. With his billions and seemingly unlimited potential to buy the best soccer players in the world, Musk would have been a welcome prospect for many Man United fans who want to see the club back at the top of the game. Many fans oppose the current owners.

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The world’s two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases are sparring on Twitter over climate policy, with China asking if the U.S. can deliver on the landmark climate legislation signed into law by President Joe Biden this week. U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns took to Twitter to say the U.S. was acting on climate change with its largest investment ever — and that China should follow. China’s Foreign Ministry responded with its own tweet: “Good to hear. But what matters is: Can the U.S. deliver?” The exchange is emblematic of a broader worry. U.S.-China cooperation is considered vital to the success of global climate efforts. With the breakdown in relations, some question whether the two sides can cooperate.