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The first Confederate statues were monuments to victory in a war of Southern aggression. Defeated at Appomattox, Southern whites regrouped by organizing terrorist militias and ransacking the region’s newly biracial local and state governments. As the North soured on Reconstruction and white Republicans finally abandoned the freed slaves, Southerners completed the “Redemption” of the old Confederacy with the imposition of a slavery-esque system of apartheid. Up went the statues to celebrate Dixie’s revenge. Read moreAlexander Jones: Conservatives are the cultural aggressors

State AP Stories

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A federal appeals court has sided again with North Carolina’s attorney general in a lawsuit involving a libel law that a district attorney sought to use to attempt to prosecute Josh Stein over a 2020 campaign commercial. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed on Wednesday with Stein and others associated with his political committee and said the 1931 law is most likely unconstitutional. Stein's campaign committee sued last summer because it was worried Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman’s office could soon seek indictments. The same panel granted a temporary injunction against Freeman in August. Stein is running for governor next year.

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A bill increasing punishments for violent protests following the 2020 demonstrations over George Floyd’s murder passed the House despite harsh criticism from social justice advocates. Some bipartisan support for Wednesday's measure signals a potential override of any veto by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who issued one that blocked similar legislation two years ago. The bills have been spearheaded by Republican House Speaker Tim Moore. Wednesday's measure now goes to the Senate. Democrats who opposed the measure and representatives of advocacy groups said the changes were unnecessary or attempts to discourage minority and low-income residents from speaking out. Some amendments were approved to address concerns of Democratic lawmakers.

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North Carolina’s Republican-controlled Senate has passed a bill requiring teachers to alert parents in most circumstances before calling a student by a different name or pronoun. Sponsors say the bill is needed to keep parents informed about what their children are being taught in public schools. Critics say it would make schools unsafe spaces for LGBTQ and questioning children to explore their identities. The proposal passed the Senate 29-18 on Tuesday. It would also prohibit instruction about gender identity and sexuality in K-4 classrooms. It now heads to the state House, where Republicans likely would need some Democratic support to push it through.

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The daughter of a South Florida Lyft driver who went missing more than a week ago has confirmed that the man has died. Lindsay DiBetta posted on Facebook on Tuesday that the family would be announcing information on services for her father, 74-year-old Gary Levin, in the next few days. Levin went missing Jan. 30 after dropping off a customer north of Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. His family reported him missing when he didn’t return home. Levin’s red 2022 Kia Stinger was spotted in Miami, Okeechobee and Gainesville, in north Florida last week. It was stopped Thursday night in North Carolina, and the driver is being held on $2 million bond.

National & World AP Stories

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A city bus has crashed into a day care center north of Montreal, killing two children and injuring six, authorities said. The driver was arrested and charged with first degree murder. A neighbor who ran to the center in Laval, Quebec, said she saw children screaming and crying and watched a mother collapse. Other panicked parents were diverted to a nearby elementary school. Immediately after the crash, the driver stepped out of the bus, ripped his clothes off and started screaming, another neighbor said. “He was just yelling; there were no words coming out of his mouth,” Hamdi Benchaabane said.

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — An international team of investigators said Wednesday it found “strong indications” that Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the supply of heavy anti-aircraft weapons to Ukrainian separatists who shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014 with a Russian…

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GAZIANTEP, Turkey (AP) — The president of Turkey on Wednesday acknowledged “shortcomings” in his country's response to the world’s deadliest earthquake in more than a decade as hope dwindled that more survivors would emerge from the rubble of thousands of toppled buildings.

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A former “Dances With Wolves” actor at the center of a sweeping sexual abuse probe in Nevada and Canada was charged Wednesday afternoon with federal crimes. Nathan Chasing Horse faces two counts of sexual exploitation of children and one count of child pornography. The new charges add to a growing list of criminal cases filed against the 46-year-old since his arrest on Jan. 31 near Las Vegas. In the Nevada case, he is charged with eight felonies, including sex trafficking and sexual assault. The federal charges came just hours after a North Las Vegas judge set bail in the state case at $300,000. If he posts bond, he will likely be taken into federal custody. His public defender hasn't commented on the new charges.