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The usual summer lull in political activity has turned out, this year, to be more of a spike. Democrats, having entered the humid season deep in a funk, now sense that because of a series of transformative events, their future political prospects may be far less dire than most of them had imagined before the summer began. Both in the state of North Carolina and from coast to American coast, the Democratic party looks as if it may just have the power to blunt Republicans’ midterm momentum and sustain a smaller blow to their majorities than almost everyone in the political class had confidently predicted last year. Read more

You’ve probably heard Republicans say the Inflation Reduction Act — the massive spending bill just passed by Senate Democrats — includes provisions to hire 87,000 new Internal Revenue Service agents. The number seems too big too believe. The IRS has just 93,654 employees, according to the Office of Personnel Management. Why would Congress, in one bill, increase the IRS workforce by something like 92%? It doesn’t seem possible. It certainly doesn’t seem wise. 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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Explosions and fires have ripped through an ammunition depot in Russia-annexed Crimea in the second suspected Ukrainian attack on the peninsula in just over a week. The blasts forced the evacuation of more than 3,000 people. Russia is blaming the explosions on an “act of sabotage” without naming the perpetrators. Ukraine stopped short of publicly claiming responsibility. Last week's explosions destroyed nine Russian planes at another Crimean air base. Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and has used it to launch attacks against the country in the war that began nearly six months ago. If Ukrainian forces were, in fact, behind the explosions, they would represent a significant escalation in the war.

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Stocks ended mostly higher on Wall Street Tuesday after another bumpy day as investors cautiously reviewed mostly encouraging financial results from major retailers. The S&P 500 index wound up with a modest gain of 0.2%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose, mostly due to gains in Walmart and Home Depot following encouraging financial updates. Technology, health care and energy stocks fell, limiting the broader market’s advance. Retailers and consumer product makers rose. European markets rose broadly and Asian markets closed mixed overnight. U.S. crude oil prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose.

Kraft Heinz is recalling thousands of pouches of Capri Sun in the U.S. after some cleaning solution accidentally mixed with the juice on a production line.  The company says it’s recalling about 5,760 cases of Capri Sun Wild Cherry flavored juice blend. The “Best When Used By” date on the packages is June 25, 2023. Kraft Heinz says the diluted cleaning solution is used on its food processing equipment. The company says it discovered the problem after getting consumer complaints about the juice's taste. Consumers who bought the affected drinks should return them to the store where they were purchased to receive a refund.

Health officials are warning people who are infected with monkeypox to stay away from household pets, since the animals could be at risk of catching the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has had the advice in place as monkeypox spreads in the U.S. It gained new attention after a report from France, published last week in the medical journal Lancet, about an Italian greyhound that caught the virus. Infections have been detected in rodents and other wild animals. But the authors called it the first report of monkeypox infection in a domesticated animal like a dog or cat.