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The families of five passengers killed in a plane crash off the North Carolina coast have settled wrongful death lawsuits for $15 million. Their attorneys told the court the companies that owned the plane and employed the pilot paid the money. The suits claimed the pilot failed to properly fly the single-engine plane in weather conditions with limited visibility. All eight people aboard died off the Outer Banks. The passengers included four teenagers and two adults, returning from a hunting trip. The founder of the company that owned the plane was killed, and his family wasn't involved in the lawsuits.

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North Carolina Democrats have introduced legislation to codify abortion protections into state law as Republicans are discussing early prospects for further restrictions. Their legislation, filed Wednesday in both chambers, would prohibit the state from imposing barriers that might restrict a patient’s ability to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy before fetal viability, which typically falls between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. Current state law bans nearly all abortions after 20 weeks, with narrow exceptions for urgent medical emergencies that do not include rape or incest. House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters he didn’t expect the Democrats’ bill to get considered.

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Supporters of abortion rights have filed separate lawsuits challenging abortion pill restrictions in North Carolina and West Virginia. The lawsuits were filed Wednesday. They are the opening salvo in what’s expected to a be a protracted legal battle over access to the medications. The lawsuits argue that state limits on the drugs run afoul of the federal authority of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The agency has approved the abortion pill as a safe and effective method for ending pregnancy. More than half of U.S. abortions are now done with pills rather than surgery.

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A lawyer representing the leaders of North Carolina’s state employee health plan has defended its exclusion of gender affirming treatments before a federal appeals court. State Treasurer Dale Folwell and the State Health Plan’s executive administrator are seeking to overturn a trial court order demanding that the plan pay for “medically necessary services,” including hormone therapy and some surgeries, for transgender employees and their children. Attorney John Knepper told a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday that the plan routinely excludes some medically necessary procedures based on cost, but does not make any of those determinations based on sex or gender.

National & World AP Stories

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The city of Memphis and the nation are bracing for the release of a police video depicting five officers viciously beating a Black man who later died. Tyre Nichols' death prompted murder charges Thursday against the officers and outrage at the country’s latest instance of police brutality. Nichols died three days after a confrontation with the officers during a traffic stop on Jan. 7. Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy says video of the traffic stop will be released to the public sometime Friday evening. Nichols' family and the Memphis police chief say they expect protests, but urged people to demonstrate peacefully.

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The families of five passengers killed in a plane crash off the North Carolina coast have settled wrongful death lawsuits for $15 million. Their attorneys told the court the companies that owned the plane and employed the pilot paid the money. The suits claimed the pilot failed to properly fly the single-engine plane in weather conditions with limited visibility. All eight people aboard died off the Outer Banks. The passengers included four teenagers and two adults, returning from a hunting trip. The founder of the company that owned the plane was killed, and his family wasn't involved in the lawsuits.

Social media users shared a range of false claims this week. Here are the facts: Flavor enhancers added to food products do not contain aborted fetal tissue. Changes to Federal Aviation Administration requirements that airline pilots must meet for cardiac health were not prompted by COVID-19 vaccines. A video shows a train transporting tanks along a highway in Kansas, not in Poland after President Joe Biden announced the U.S. would send military vehicles to Ukraine. And medical experts say there's no link between the toxic pesticide DDT and the viral disease polio.

Ten Filipino men who worked for a major offshore oil industry employer under federally granted visas claim in a federal lawsuit they were treated like prisoners at a company bunkhouse and that some of them were abandoned there when Hurricane Ida struck the Louisiana Gulf Coast in August 2021. Their former employer denies the claims and has struck back with a counterclaim accusing the workers of defamation. The judge in the case dismissed the defamation allegations in a Jan. 20 order. The competing court filings at the U.S. District Court in New Orleans lay out starkly different views of life for Filipino workers at Louisiana-based Grand Isle Shipyard.