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State AP Stories

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Two power substations in a North Carolina county were damaged by gunfire in what is being investigated as a criminal act. A spokesman for Duke Energy said at a news conference with local officials on Sunday that the damage caused the night before could take days to repair. Power was out for roughly 37,000 customers Sunday. In response, officials announced a state of emergency that included a curfew from 9 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday. County schools will be closed Monday. Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields says authorities have not determined a motivation.

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The Supreme Court is about to confront a new elections case that could dramatically alter voting in 2024 and beyond. A Republican-led challenge is asking the justices for a novel ruling that could significantly increase the power of state lawmakers over elections for Congress and the presidency. The court is hearing arguments Wednesday in a case from highly competitive North Carolina, where Republican efforts to draw congressional districts heavily in their favor were blocked by a Democratic majority on the state Supreme Court. The question for the justices is whether the U.S. Constitution’s provision giving state legislatures the power to make the rules about the “times, places and manner” of congressional elections cuts state courts out of the process.

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The nation’s largest public utility is recommending replacing an aging coal burning power plant with natural gas, ignoring calls for the Tennessee Valley Authority to speed its transition to renewable energy. TVA on Friday announced the completion of its environmental impact statement for replacing the Cumberland Fossil Plant near Cumberland City, Tennessee. TVA says in a news release that solar and battery storage would be more costly and time-consuming than gas. The recommendation still needs the approval of TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash. He has previously spoken in favor of gas. The announcement drew immediate backlash from groups that include the Center for Biological Diversity, which calls the plan “reckless.”

National & World AP Stories

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China is easing some of the world’s most stringent anti-COVID controls and authorities say new variants are weaker. But they have yet to say when they might end a "zero-COVID“ strategy that confines millions of people to their homes and set off protests and demands for President Xi Jinping to resign. Commuters in Beijing and at least 16 other cities are allowed to board buses and subways without a virus test in the previous 48 hours for the first time in months. The government announced plans to vaccinate millions of elderly people. That spurred hopes for quick reopening of the country. But health experts and economists warn it will be mid-2023 and possibly 2024 before “zero COVID” ends.

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DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The leader of the United Arab Emirates made a surprise visit on Monday to Qatar as it is hosting the World Cup — his first since leading a yearslong four-nation boycott of Doha over a political dispute that poisoned regional relations.

Sudan’s ruling generals and the main pro-democracy group have signed a framework deal meant to take the country to its next elections but key dissenters have stayed out of the agreement. It pledges to establish a new, civilian-led transitional government and offers a path forward in the wake of Sudan’s stalled transition to democracy following the October 2021 coup. The deal — the first of at least two planned accords — was signed by Sudan’s two top generals and the largest pro-democracy group, Forces of Freedom and Change, in Khartoum on Monday. But several of Sudan’s key dissenters have boycotted the deal, including Sudan’s grassroots pro-democracy network, which has continually refused to negotiate with the ruling generals.