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The two most common themes of MAGA sorehead emails I received last year were the inevitability of an anti-Biden landslide in 2022, and the certainty of Hillary Clinton’s prosecution by “independent counsel” John Durham, supposedly for falsifying evidence against Donald Trump during the “Russia, Russia, Russia hoax,” as Trump styles it. Read moreGene Lyons: GOP can't stop failing with conspiracy investigations

State AP Stories

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Republican lawmakers are accusing China of deliberately surveilling sensitive U.S. military sites with a suspected spy balloon. And they say the Biden administration has given Beijing an intelligence opening by not downing the balloon during its high-altitude drift through American airspace. Democrats are defending Biden and they note that there were similar incursions while Donald Trump was president. A missile from an F-22 fighter jet downed the balloon on Saturday off the South Carolina coast. A U.S. official tells The Associated Press that those involved in the recovery of the balloon are planning to take it to the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia, for further analysis.

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Amid high egg prices, social media users are claiming that common chicken feed products are preventing their own hens from laying eggs. Some have gone a step further to suggest that feed producers intentionally made their products deficient to stop backyard egg production and force consumers to buy eggs at inflated prices. But experts say high egg prices are caused by bird flu and inflation. And while feed quality can affect egg production, there are more mundane explanations for backyard flock owners’ reported low egg yields, including environmental reasons like cold weather or insufficient light, rather than a broad conspiracy.

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China is threatening what it calls “further actions” after an American fighter jet shot down a suspected spy balloon off the East Coast of the United States on Saturday. The U.S. says the massive balloon was a surveillance craft that spent days crossing over sensitive military sites in North America. The White House says President Joe Biden approved the downing, and followed the advice of military officials by waiting to bring down the craft over water rather than risk debris falling on populated areas. But China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs insists again that the craft was civilian and its flight an accident. It is criticizing the U.S. for what it terms “an obvious overreaction and a serious violation of international practice.”

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Eyes were locked on the Carolina skies Saturday as a suspected Chinese spy balloon ended a weeklong traverse over the U.S., drifted over the Atlantic Ocean and was shot down by a fighter jet. In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina people lined a boardwalk and cheered as a missile from an F-22 fighter struck the balloon and it plummeted into the water. As the balloon came over Myrtle Beach, software consultant Haley Walsh says she saw it floating in the clear blue sky. She felt and heard a boom and ran outside where she saw the balloon tumbling down.

National & World AP Stories

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A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake has rocked wide swaths of Turkey and neighboring Syria, killing more than 2,600 people and injuring thousands more. It toppled thousands of buildings and trapped residents under mounds of rubble or pancaked floors. Authorities feared the death toll would rise further as rescuers on both sides of the border searched Monday through tangles of metal and concrete for survivors. It's a region beset by more than a decade of Syria’s civil war and a refugee crisis. Residents jolted out of sleep by the pre-dawn quake rushed outside in the rain and snow to escape falling debris, while those who were trapped cried for help. Major aftershocks continued to rattle the region.

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For decades, Missouri executions played out in similar fashion: An inmate was strapped to a gurney in a drab room, alone except for the eyes of witnesses staring through thick glass as unidentified executioners administered the lethal chemical from behind a cinderblock wall. But in November, convicted killer Kevin Johnson spent his final moments speaking softly with a pastor, praying, being assured of forgiveness. When Amber McLaughlin was executed in the same room weeks later, her pastor stroked her hand, providing comfort even as McLaughlin expressed that something was causing her pain. A March Supreme Court ruling requires states to accommodate those who want spiritual advisers in the execution room, where they can pray together and even touch.

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The English Premier League vs Manchester City is a legal fixture for the ages. Soccer’s richest and most watched league challenged its defending champion on Monday in a case that could be unprecedented. The league alleged more than 100 breaches by City of financial rules and failures to cooperate with an investigation that took four years. Charges date from 2009 in the first full season City was owned by the Abu Dhabi ruling family. The league gave no timetable for a case that gives its disciplinary panel sweeping powers. City says it welcomes the chance to close the matter.

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Stocks are slipping again on Wall Street. The S&P 500 was 0.6% lower Monday. It’s on track for a second straight fall after a stunningly strong report on the U.S. jobs market dented the market’s hopes for easing interest rates. Some of the sharpest action was again in the bond market, where expectations are rising for the Federal Reserve to stay firm on keeping interest rates higher for longer to combat inflation. It’s something the Fed has been talking about for a long time, but also something the market has been stubborn about not believing fully.