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A rising force in state politics, Carolina Forward — a center-left policy organization to which I am also a contributor — held a recent post-election discussion forum that yielded provocative insights about the state of North Carolina’s political field. If I could distill a single message from the panel, it would be: “Democrats, don’t stop fighting.” The party has certainly struggled recently to surmount North Carolina’s conservative rut, but our state is not beyond the reach of a progressive renaissance. Read moreAlexander H. Jones: Don't quit, Dems — N.C. remains purple

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State AP Stories

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Incoming and returning Republicans to the North Carolina Senate have chosen a key lawmaker on tax, voting and energy issues to become majority leader for the next two years. The Senate Republican Caucus on Monday elected Sen. Paul Newton of Cabarrus County to the post. Newton succeeds Sen. Kathy Harrington, who didn't seek reelection this fall to her Gaston County seat. The caucus also agreed to nominate Phil Berger to a seventh term as president pro tempore when the session convenes in January. He has held the job since 2011. Senate Democrats meeting separately Monday reelected Sen. Dan Blue of Wake County as minority leader.

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A memorial service will be held this weekend for Betty Ray McCain. She was a longtime North Carolina Democratic Party activist and counselor to former four-time Gov. Jim Hunt who died last week at age 91. McCain was the first woman to chair the state Democratic Party in the 1970s. Hunt named McCain secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources in 1993. She also served multiple terms on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and on many boards and commissions. Current Gov. Roy Cooper called McCain a “trailblazer for women and a powerful force for good in the arts, education and public service."

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Democrats celebrated winning North Carolina's lone toss-up race for the U.S. House this month as Wiley Nickel won the 13th District seat. The victory creates a 7-7 split in the state’s delegation — the best showing for Democrats in a decade. But there’s a good chance Nickel’s district and others will be altered for the 2024 elections, returning the advantage to Republicans. The current lines are only being used for these elections. New lines will be drawn by Republicans, who still control the General Assembly. And a new GOP majority on the state Supreme Court likely will be more skeptical of legal challenges that scuttled previous boundaries.

CHERRYVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A Cherryville woman’s first birthday party ever at age 105 turned out just perfect. Line dancers and square dancers performed routines to entertain her, 12-year-old Lily brought her 10-week-old yellow Labrador named Nina for her to pet and she even got the chance to …

National & World AP Stories

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Stocks edged lower in unsteady trading on Wall Street as investors closely watch developments in China and economic data amid worries about stubbornly hot inflation. The S&P 500 fell 0.4% in afternoon trading Tuesday. The Dow and the Nasdaq also slipped. Small-company stocks were mostly higher. Energy stocks rose as crude oil prices climbed about 2.5%. Several big health care and technology stocks slipped and checked gains within the broader market. Hong Kong's benchmark index jumped overnight and other Asian markets also rose. Treasury yields were higher. A business group reported that consumer confidence remained strong in November.

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The latest U.K. census has found that less than half of people in England and Wales consider themselves Christian. It is first time the country’s official religion has been followed by a minority of the population. Figures released Tuesday show that 46.2% of the population of England and Wales described themselves as Christian in the 2021 census, down from 59.3% in 2011. Some 37% said they had no religion, up from 25% in 2011. Secularism campaigners said the shift should trigger a rethink of the way religion is entrenched in British society. Almost 82% of people in England and Wales identified as white in the census, down from 86% in 2011.

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Chinese universities are sending students home and police are fanning out in Beijing and Shanghai to prevent more protests. That comes after crowds angered by severe anti-virus restrictions called for leader Xi Jinping to resign in the biggest show of public dissent in decades. Authorities have eased some controls after demonstrations in at least eight mainland cities and Hong Kong. But they showed no sign of backing off their larger “zero-COVID” strategy that has confined millions of people to their homes for months at a time. Security forces have detained an unknown number of people and stepped up surveillance. With police out in force, there was no word of protests Tuesday in Beijing, Shanghai or other major mainland cities. A small group gathered at a university in Hong Kong.

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — An uneasy calm hung over Kyiv on Tuesday as residents of the Ukrainian capital prepared for Russian missile attacks aiming to take out more energy infrastructure as winter sets in.