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Sometimes simple explanations aren’t enough. That’s certainly the case with a North Carolina lawsuit the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider. The case, Moore v. Harper, is asking the high court to affirm that the North Carolina legislature has absolute and irrefutable power for passing laws regarding elections, especially in setting district boundaries. Read more

North Carolina endured the wrath of yet another powerful hurricane last week. And while it comes as little solace to those who lost homes, businesses or, in a few tragic cases, loved ones, on the whole, the situation could have been much, much worse. One need only glance at the devastation that Ian inflicted on southwestern Florida to be reminded of what these storms can dish out and how fortunate we were in comparison. Read more

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State AP Stories

North Carolina’s two top Democratic state officials are urging the Republican-led legislature to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana in light of President Joe Biden’s pardon of thousands of Americans convicted of “simple possession” under federal law. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein shared their support for the president’s decision at a Friday task force meeting on racial equity in criminal justice. Although the task force has previously recommended that lawmakers reduce the charge for possession of a small amount of marijuana, the General Assembly did not follow through with this recommendation. House Speaker Tim Moore said in June that the chamber would wait until 2023 to reconsider legalizing medical marijuana.

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A North Carolina man has pleaded guilty to plotting with other members of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group to violently stop the transfer of presidential power after the 2020 election. Jeremy Joseph Bertino is the first Proud Boys member to plead guilty to a seditious conspiracy charge. Bertino also pleaded guilty on Thursday to a charge of unlawfully possessing firearms. Bertino has agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigation of the role that Proud Boys leaders played in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Former Proud Boys national chairman Henry “Ënrique” Tarrio and four other group members also have been charged with seditious conspiracy.

President Joe Biden is working to create a manufacturing revival. He's even helping to put factory jobs in Republican territory under the belief it can help restore faith in U.S. democracy. The latest development came Tuesday, when chipmaker Micron announced an investment of up to $100 billion over the next 20-plus years to build a plant in upstate New York that could create 9,000 factory jobs. It’s a commitment made in a GOP congressional district that Biden and the company credited to the recently enacted $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act. Biden's goal is to keep opening new factories in states where Democrats’ footholds are shaky at best.

In Georgia’s pivotal U.S. Senate race, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, have each sought to cast the other as an abortion extremist. At the same time, they deflect questions about the details of their own positions on the issue. The sidestepping reflects the sensitivity of abortion politics in a post-Roe v. Wade America, where the procedure is open to regulation by state governments and, potentially, by Congress. But Walker’s strategy may not work much longer after The Daily Beast reported Monday that he paid for a girlfriend’s 2009 abortion — a blatant contradiction of his claims that there’s “no excuse” for a procedure he characterizes as “killing.” Walker called the report a lie.

National & World AP Stories

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A series of explosions have rocked the eastern Ukraine city of Kharkiv, sending towering plumes of illuminated smoke in the sky and triggering a series of secondary explosions. The blasts came just after midnight as Russia concentrated attacks Friday in its increasingly troubled invasion of Ukraine on areas it illegally annexed. Meanwhile, the death toll from earlier missile strikes on apartment buildings in the southern city of Zaporizhzhia rose to 14. It is not immediately clear what caused the Kharkiv blasts or what was hit.

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A judge says an Ohio law that bans virtually all abortions will remain blocked while a state constitutional challenge proceeds. Hamilton County Judge Christian Jenkins took the action from the bench Friday after a daylong hearing. The 2019 “heartbeat” abortion ban was briefly able to take effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, but it was later put on temporary hold. Jenkins’ decision means abortions through 20 weeks’ gestation may continue in Ohio for now. Abortion providers who have sued will try to prove through their litigation that the law violates protections contained in Ohio’s Constitution.

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Wall Street lost more ground on worries that a still-strong U.S jobs market may actually make a recession more likely. The S&P 500 fell 2.8% Friday after the government said employers hired more workers last month than expected. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq also fell sharply, and Treasury yields rose. Markets are worried the Federal Reserve could see the jobs report as proof the economy hasn’t slowed enough yet to get inflation under control. That could clear the way for continued, aggressive hikes to interest rates, something that risks causing a recession if done too severely.

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William Wellema drove all the way from New Jersey to Florida's Gulf Coast to see if his vacation home on Fort Myers Beach survived Hurricane Ian. But after four days, he's still waiting for permission to cross the bridge to Estero Island. His wait is a reminder that the death toll from the storm, already at 101, could still grow. Fort Myers Beach officials have said allowing more people onto the island would hinder their efforts to search for those injured and killed in the storm. Florida has recorded 92 storm-related deaths so far. Five people were also killed in North Carolina, three in Cuba and one in Virginia.