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For decades, conservative politicians had a free ride on the abortion issue. They could tell their “pro-life” base that they were doing all they could to ban the procedure — while not scaring the pro-choice majority. As long as Roe v. Wade protected the right to an abortion, the talk about outlawing it was just talk. Read more

Today, I want to talk about Kansas. Not about its corn as high as an elephant’s eye, nor about Dorothy and Toto trying to find their way home, but about Kansas as the geographic and Republican center of America, Kansas as the vintage Norman Rockwell core of America, Kansas as what the Republican Party was before being hijacked by Newt Gingrich and then mugged by a New York real estate con artist. Read more

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State AP Stories

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The campaign committee of North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein plans to ask a federal court to block enforcement of a state law looming in a probe of a TV ad aired against Stein's election rival in 2020. The state law makes it illegal to knowingly circulate false reports to damage a candidate’s election chances. Stein beat Republican Jim O'Neill that November. A Stein committee attorney filed the notice Wednesday, after a judge refused to stop a district attorney from potentially using the law to prosecute anyone over the disputed 2020 campaign ad. No one's been charged. Stein's committee argues the law is overly broad and chills political speech.

The North Carolina attorney general’s office is asking a federal court not to restore the state's 20-week abortion ban after the judge suggested his previous injunction “may now be contrary to law.” The attorney general’s office argued in a brief filed late Monday that reinstating restrictions in the aftermath of the June U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade would create “significant risk of public confusion” about the availability and legality of abortion services in North Carolina. Staff attorneys in Stein’s office filed the brief without the attorney general’s involvement.

National & World AP Stories

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Congress is poised to pass a transformative climate change fighting bill. Friday's vote would be the first major climate package in the U.S. and would include close to $375 billion in spending. Most of the bill is aimed at infusions of cash, subsidies and tax breaks to make green energy eventually so cheap it's nearly irresistible. It would slice U.S. carbon emissions by about 40%. This compromise bill comes 34 years after Congress was warned that climate change was a serious threat. Since then there have been 308 weather disasters that each cost $1 billion.

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Authorities are working to determine the cause of a house explosion in a southern Indiana neighborhood that killed three people and left another person hospitalized. The explosion Wednesday afternoon in Evansville damaged 39 homes. Fire Chief Mike Connelly told reporters that crews completed a secondary search Thursday morning of buildings that had been left unstable by the explosion and no more victims were found. He says 11 of the damaged homes were uninhabitable and finding a cause is expected to be a “very tedious" and lengthy process. Connelly says injuries to the fourth victim weren’t considered life-threatening. Evansville is located along Indiana’s border with Kentucky and the blast left debris strewn over a 100-foot radius.

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A hostage standoff in which a gunman demanded a Beirut bank let him withdraw his trapped savings has ended with the man's surrender and no injuries. Authorities say 42 year-old Bassam al-Sheikh Hussein entered the bank branch with a shotgun and a canister of gasoline and threatened to set himself on fire unless we allowed to take out his money. After hours of negotiations, he accepted an offer from the bank to receive part of his savings. He then released his hostages and surrendered.

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Brazilians poured into the University of Sao Paulo’s law school to hear a manifesto denouncing the brutal military dictatorship and calling for a prompt return of the rule of law. That was 1977. Almost half a century later to the day, thousands are expected to rally at that same stage Thursday for readings of two documents inspired by the original “Letter to the Brazilians.” Both new manifestos defend the nation’s democratic institutions and electronic voting system, which far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has relentlessly attacked ahead of his reelection bid. While the incumbent isn’t named in either document, it is abundantly clear to whom they are directed.