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Because I am an inveterate optimist who likes to think the best of other folks, I’m going to assume for the sake of the following argument that North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and former governors Jim Hunt, Mike Easley, and Bev Perdue sometimes sign documents they’ve not closely read. Read more

Various top rankings for North Carolina’s business climates have predictably — and once again — been the cause of partisan tug-of-wars in our state. When the state scores highly under one party’s control, the ruling crowd trumpets vindication and the out-party waxes dismissive. But the truth is that North Carolina typically does well in these rankings, and neither party is being entirely honest when they marshal our success as a talking point. Read more

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point in order to battle inflation, even as the economy has begun to slow. This follows a quarter-point move in March, another half a point in May, and three-quarters of a point in June. The Fed also signaled in its post-meeting statement that more rate increases are to come, probably in September, saying that it “anticipates that ongoing increases in the target range will be appropriate.” Read more

You have probably heard about the sideshow put on by Alabama prison officials just before a scheduled execution late last month: A female reporter was hounded and humiliated over her skirt and her shoes. But you may have heard less about the main event, the execution, which was carried out despite pleas for mercy from the family of the victim. Read more

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State AP Stories

North Carolina Democrats have asked a state court to overturn an elections board vote granting the Green Party official recognition despite allegations of fraud. Democrats have been accused by the Green Party of meddling in its petitioning process to qualify candidates for the November ballot. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Wake County Superior Court, precedes the first hearing next Monday in a Green Party lawsuit against the North Carolina State Board of Elections, when the newly certified party will fight for an extension to a statutory deadline preventing its candidates from appearing on the ballot.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is pushing back against Republican General Assembly leaders’ allegations that he neglected his duty to defend state law by refusing to seek enforcement of a blocked 20-week abortion ban after the fall of Roe v. Wade. Attorneys for Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore filed a brief last week asking U.S. District Judge William Osteen to lift an injunction on a 1973 state law banning nearly all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.  Stein, an abortion rights supporter, says he will continue to recuse himself from the case, drawing criticisms from Republicans who say he is refusing to do his job.

National & World AP Stories

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Serena Williams says she is preparing to step away from tennis after winning 23 Grand Slam titles, turning her focus to having another child and her business interests. “I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give,” Williams wrote in an essay released Tuesday by Vogue magazine. Williams said she does not like the word retirement and prefers to think of this stage of her life as “evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.” Williams is playing this week in Toronto, at a hard-court tournament that leads into the U.S. Open, the year’s last Grand Slam event, which begins in New York on Aug. 29.

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Stocks fell on Wall Street as disappointing earnings reports weighed on technology and travel companies and investors await the latest updates on inflation. The S&P 500 fell 0.4%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq also slipped Tuesday morning. Chipmaker Micron Technology fell after warning investors that revenue could fall short of forecasts because of weakening demand. Norwegian Cruise Line plunged after reporting disappointing financial results and giving investors a weak revenue forecast. Investors are awaiting two reports on prices due later this week, which could signal whether the Federal Reserve’s aggressive rate hikes this year have brought inflation under control.

Jury selection has started in the second trial of two men charged with conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020 over their disgust with restrictions early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Prosecutors are putting Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. on trial again after a jury in April couldn’t reach a verdict. Two other men were acquitted and two more pleaded guilty. Prospective jurors reported Tuesday to the federal courthouse in Grand Rapids. The government says the plot to kidnap the Democratic governor followed training in Wisconsin and Michigan and two trips to scout her second home in northern Michigan. Defense attorneys will hammer away at the credibility of undercover FBI agents and informants. They say Fox and Croft were victims of entrapment.

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A tax credit of up to $7,500 could be used to defray the cost of an electric vehicle under the Inflation Reduction Act now moving toward final approval in Congress. But the auto industry warns that the vast majority of EV purchases won’t qualify for a tax credit that large. That’s mainly because of the bill’s requirement that, to qualify for the credit, an electric vehicle must contain a battery built in North America with minerals mined or recycled on the continent. And those rules become more stringent over time — to the point where, in a few years, it’s possible that no EVs would qualify for the tax credit.