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I can understand those who say they would rather “push a Ford than drive a Chevy.” And it is acceptable that some prefer Coke to Pepsi. There’s even space for those misguided souls who would rather have a Big Mac than a Whopper. Those are personal preferences and subject to personal opinion. Read more

"Arrests at the southern border will set new records this year," Joe Walsh reports at Forbes. "Border Patrol apprehended 1.998 million people at the U.S.-Mexico border from October to August, already blowing past the 1.659 million arrested in all of fiscal year 2021, which was the agency’s busiest year on record." Read more

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State AP Stories

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The U.S. death toll from Hurricane Ian’s passage has risen to four overall after an official said late Thursday that two residents of a hard-hit barrier island on Florida’s western coast were confirmed dead. Dana Souza, city manager of Sanibel, said the deaths were confirmed by fire officials but offered no other specifics.Two other people have also died. A 38-year old man from Lake County died Wednesday in a motor vehicle accident after his vehicle hydroplaned and a 72-year old man in Deltona was confirmed dead on Thursday. Officials with the Volusia sheriff’s office said the man went outside to drain his pool and fell into a canal.

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The head of a national group working to elect women who support abortion rights is backing efforts in North Carolina. EMILY’s List President Laphonza Butler spoke at a Raleigh news conference on Tuesday with Gov. Roy Cooper and state legislative candidates. She also planned to visit college campuses with Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cheri Beasley. An arm of EMILY's List already spent $2.7 million on pro-Beasley ads. Butler says General Assembly races will determine whether abortion restrictions that Republicans are likely to seek can be vetoed by Cooper. Republicans could earn veto-proof majorities if they win two more Senate seats and three more House seats.

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Leaders of College Park Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, thought it was odd when the Southern Baptist Convention recently sent queries about the congregation's LGBTQ-affirming ministry. The church itself had voted to leave the conservative denomination 23 years ago. But it was still on the SBC rolls until last week. That's when the convention's Executive Committee voted to cut ties because of the congregation's “affirmation ... of homosexual behavior.” The Rev. Michael Usey of College Park said the congregation was ousted for the right reason. Said Usey, “It’s good when people reject you because they understand clearly who you are."

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Experts say the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling overturning Roe v. Wade appears to be sending more teens to their doctors in search of birth control, including long-acting reversible forms like intrauterine devices and implants. Waits for appointments are growing in some areas, Planned Parenthood is getting a flood of questions and doctors report demand even among teens who aren’t sexually active. Some patients are especially fearful because some of the new abortion laws don’t include exceptions for sexual assault. Dr. Peggy Stager said dedicated spots for insertion of the Nexplanon implant are consistently filled at her Ohio practice and requests for contraceptive refills have increased 30% to 40% since the Court's June ruling.

National & World AP Stories

A Ukrainian official says a Russian strike on the city of Zaporizhzhia has killed at least 23 people and wounded 28. Zaporizhzhia Regional Governor Oleksandr Starukh made the announcement in an online statement Friday. He said Russian forces targeted a humanitarian convoy heading to Russian-occupied territory. He posted images of burned out vehicles and bodies lying in the road. Russia did not immediately acknowledge the strike. It comes as Moscow prepares to annex four regions into Russia after an internationally criticized, gunpoint referendum vote as part of its invasion of Ukraine.

Lebanon is the most water-rich country in the Middle East, but its farming communities are struggling to keep their soil from drying. The small town of Harf Beit Hasna, up on a mountain in the north, has long survived by creating ponds to hold rain water. It relies on them completely to water their crops because the government never connected the town to the water system or provided other basic services. In the past, the pools were enough to grow profitable crops and livestock. But with rain dwindling, families struggle to grow enough to survive.

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A revived Hurricane Ian is bearing down on South Carolina’s coast and the historic city of Charleston, with forecasters predicting a storm surge and floods. Earlier, the megastorm caused catastrophic damage in Florida, leaving people trapped in flooded homes and causing at least four deaths. With South Carolina’s coast under a hurricane warning, shopkeepers sandbagged storefronts in flood-prone areas and a steady stream of vehicles left Charleston for higher ground. In Florida, meanwhile, rescue crews piloted boats through inundated streets to save thousands from flooded homes and shattered buildings. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says at least 700 rescues were conducted in his state already, mostly by air.

Asian stocks have sunk again after German inflation spiked higher, British Prime Minister Liz Truss defended a tax-cut plan that rattled investors and Chinese manufacturing weakened. Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney retreated. Oil prices edged lower. Wall Street fell to its lowest level in almost two years after strong U.S. jobs data reinforced expectations the Federal Reserve will stick to plans for more interest rate hikes. Investors worry the global economy will tip into recession following interest rate hikes by central banks to cool inflation that is at multi-decade highs. Global export demand is weakening and Russia’s attack on Ukraine has disrupted oil and gas markets.