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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

Former longtime North Carolina state Sen. Jerry Tillman has died at age 82. A funeral home confirmed Monday that Tillman died Saturday at a Greensboro health facility from natural causes. The Randolph County Republican was a retired public schoolteacher, administrator and coach first elected to the Senate in 2002. He served as a Senate majority whip, education budget writer and finance committee co-chair after Republicans took over the Senate. Tillman often pressed for legislation that promoted school choice and tax relief. He retired in mid-2020. A funeral is set for later this month in Archdale.

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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.”

National & World AP Stories

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Former “Dances With Wolves” actor Nathan Chasing Horse has been formally charged in Nevada with eight felonies and two misdemeanors. The charges include sex trafficking, sexual assault and child abuse. Las Vegas police say the 46-year-old sexually abused Indigenous girls and women, and ran a cult for two decades. A judge at his arraignment Monday ordered Chasing Horse to return to court Wednesday for a bail hearing. The judge could hear from investigators, victims and Chasing Horse's relatives before deciding whether to grant him bail. Chasing Horse played a young Sioux tribe member Smiles a Lot in Kevin Costner’s 1990 Oscar-winning film. He was arrested Jan. 31 near the North Las Vegas home he shares with five wives after a monthslong investigation by Las Vegas police.

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Rescuers in Turkey and war-ravaged Syria are searching through the frigid night, hoping to pull more survivors from the rubble. A 7.8 magnitude earthquake early Monday killed more than 4,000 people and toppled thousands of buildings. It brought even more misery to a wide region transformed by Syria’s 12-year civil war and refugee crisis. Survivors cried out for help from within mountains of debris as first responders contended with rain and snow. Seismic activity continued to rattle the region, including another jolt nearly as powerful as the initial quake. Several countries pledged aid as first responders raced against the elements to reach survivors.

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DARKUSH, Syria (AP) — A steady stream of injured flowed into an overwhelmed hospital in the town of Darkush, in rebel-held northwestern Syria on Monday, after a deadly earthquake struck the region. Mothers hovered over crying children.