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Just days after declaring pregnancy a sacrament, the Supreme Court announced a bold ruling in favor of performative Christianity. Never mind this tiresome business about no establishment of religion; the holy Republican majority in their priestly robes have liberated the nation’s public school football coaches to get on with the serious business of saving souls. Read more

National polls show former President Donald Trump with a commanding lead over all other Republicans for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. The group includes Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is in a distant second place but is widely seen as the new front-runner should Trump decide not to run. Read more

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State AP Stories

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Tropical Storm Colin has brought rain and winds to parts of North and South Carolina, though the storm has weakened and conditions are expected to improve by Monday's July Fourth celebrations. Separately, the center of Tropical Storm Bonnie rolled into the Pacific on Saturday after a rapid march across Central America, where it caused flooding, downed trees and forced thousands of people to evacuate in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Forecasters say Bonnie is likely to become a hurricane by Monday off the southern coast of Mexico, but it is unlikely to make a direct hit on land.

North Carolina's Democratic attorney general has not yet indicated whether he will ask a court to lift the injunction on a state law banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Attorney General Josh Stein told Republican lawmakers on Friday that his department’s attorneys are reviewing the litigation that led a federal court to strike down the 20-week ban. His letter responds to GOP demands that he take immediate action in the wake of last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned abortion protections. Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore warned last week Stein's inaction would lead them to get involved.

National & World AP Stories

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Independence Day has arrived as the United States is roiled by hearings over the Jan. 6 insurrection, awash in turmoil over abortion and guns and struggling to maintain the common bonds that keep it together. Yet many also see cause for celebration. President Joe Biden says the holiday is a “time to celebrate the goodness of our nation.” July 4 marks the nation's 246th birthday and anniversary of independence from British rule. It’s a day when people of all stripes flock to parades, devour hot dogs at backyard barbecues and gather under a canopy of stars and exploding fireworks.

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Police say a gunman who killed three people when he opened fire in a crowded shopping mall acted alone and apparently selected his victims at random. They all but ruled out that Sunday's attack was related to terrorism. Authorities on Monday filed preliminary charges of murder and attempted murder against a 22-year-old Danish man. Prosecutor Søren Harbo told reporters that the man will be held for 24 days in a secure mental health facility while authorities investigate the crime. After the custody hearing, defense lawyer Luise Høj said she agreed to have her client undergo a mental exam. She did not comment on the charges.

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Italian officials in an Alpine resort town say 14 people are still unaccounted for and seven hikers were killed a day earlier by an avalanche of ice and stone unleashed when a massive piece of glacier broke off on a mountaintop.  Regional official Maurizio Fuggati told reporters Monday afternoon that people had contacted authorities to say loved ones didn't return. Eleven of those unaccounted are Italian, three are from Czechia and one from Austria. Premier Mario Draghi says climate was a factor. The dead were being identified at a morgue set up in an ice rink in the town of Canazei. Earlier Monday, thunderstorms made it too difficult for rescue teams, their search dogs or drones to operate in the area.