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That Kansas voted to protect abortion rights guaranteed in its state constitution didn’t surprise me, although I certainly never expected a landslide. The original Jayhawkers, after all, waged a guerilla war to prevent Missourians from bringing slavery into the Kansas territory — a violent dress rehearsal for the Civil War. A good deal of the state’s well-known conservatism is grounded in stiff-necked independence. Read more

China, economically ascendant, has become increasingly assertive in pressing its economic, political and territorial claims. The United States, which long treated the country as something of a charity case, now regards it as a rival and, increasingly, as a threat. While some tension is inevitable, the rhetoric in both nations has taken a bellicose turn. There is little trust or cooperation even on issues of clear mutual interest, like combating the COVID-19 pandemic or addressing climate change. Read more

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State AP Stories

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Authorities in North Carolina are trying to determine who fired the shots that killed a sheriff's deputy along a dark highway late Thursday night. Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker said early Friday that the deputy was fatally wounded after 11 p.m. Thursday. Sheriff’s spokesperson Eric Curry says it happened on a dark section of road adjacent to open land about a quarter mile from a gas station. He says they're trying to learn why the deputy stopped there as they search for “the perpetrator or perpetrators.” Several sheriff’s deputies have been shot recently in North Carolina, including Wayne County Sheriff's Sgt. Matthew Fishman, who was killed last week.

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The campaign committee of North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein plans to ask a federal court to block enforcement of a state law looming in a probe of a TV ad aired against Stein's election rival in 2020. The state law makes it illegal to knowingly circulate false reports to damage a candidate’s election chances. Stein beat Republican Jim O'Neill that November. A Stein committee attorney filed the notice Wednesday, after a judge refused to stop a district attorney from potentially using the law to prosecute anyone over the disputed 2020 campaign ad. No one's been charged. Stein's committee argues the law is overly broad and chills political speech.

The North Carolina attorney general’s office is asking a federal court not to restore the state's 20-week abortion ban after the judge suggested his previous injunction “may now be contrary to law.” The attorney general’s office argued in a brief filed late Monday that reinstating restrictions in the aftermath of the June U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade would create “significant risk of public confusion” about the availability and legality of abortion services in North Carolina. Staff attorneys in Stein’s office filed the brief without the attorney general’s involvement.

National & World AP Stories

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Salman Rushdie, whose novel “The Satanic Verses” drew death threats from Iran in the 1980s, has been stabbed in the neck and abdomen by a man who rushed the stage as the author was about to give a lecture in western New York. The 75-year-old Rushdie was flown to a hospital and underwent surgery Friday. His agent, Andrew Wylie, said the writer was on a ventilator, with a damaged liver, severed nerves in an arm and an eye he was likely to lose. An Associated Press reporter witnessed the attacker confront Rushdie on stage at the Chautauqua Institution and punch or stab him 10 to 15 times as he was being introduced. Police arrested the attacker and identified him as 24-year-old Hadi Matar of Fairview, New Jersey. His lawyer declined to comment.

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The family of country singer Naomi Judd filed an amended court petition to seal police reports and recordings made during the investigation into her death. The family said Friday the records contain video and audio interviews with relatives in the immediate aftermath of her death and releasing such details would inflict "significant trauma and irreparable harm.” Judd died at the age of 76 on April 30 at her home in Tennessee. The court filing also included details about how Ashley Judd found her mother alive after she shot herself. Ashley stayed by her mother’s side for 30 minutes until help arrived.

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Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention say that several of their denomination’s major entities are under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. The SBC’s statement gave few details about the investigation, but indicated it dealt with sexual abuse. The SBC, the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., has been plagued by problems related to clergy sex abuse in recent years. Earlier this year, an SBC task force released a blistering 288-page report from outside consultant, Guidepost Solutions. The firm’s seven-month independent investigation found disturbing details about how denominational leaders mishandled sex abuse claims and mistreated victims.

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Officials in some parts of rural Nevada are vowing to bypass voting machines in favor of hand counting ballots this November and the Nevada secretary of state’s office is proposing statewide guidelines on how to do it. The communities pushing for hand-counting are in conservative rural parts of the state where election misinformation has grown. But four voting rights groups came out against the proposed rules Friday before the secretary of state holds a hearing seeking feedback. The groups, including the Brennan Center and ACLU Nevada, called on Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske to ban the practice outright.