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Just days after declaring pregnancy a sacrament, the Supreme Court announced a bold ruling in favor of performative Christianity. Never mind this tiresome business about no establishment of religion; the holy Republican majority in their priestly robes have liberated the nation’s public school football coaches to get on with the serious business of saving souls. Read more

National polls show former President Donald Trump with a commanding lead over all other Republicans for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. The group includes Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is in a distant second place but is widely seen as the new front-runner should Trump decide not to run. Read more

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State AP Stories

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Tropical Storm Colin has brought rain and winds to parts of North and South Carolina, though the storm has weakened and conditions are expected to improve by Monday's July Fourth celebrations. Separately, the center of Tropical Storm Bonnie rolled into the Pacific on Saturday after a rapid march across Central America, where it caused flooding, downed trees and forced thousands of people to evacuate in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Forecasters say Bonnie is likely to become a hurricane by Monday off the southern coast of Mexico, but it is unlikely to make a direct hit on land.

North Carolina's Democratic attorney general has not yet indicated whether he will ask a court to lift the injunction on a state law banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Attorney General Josh Stein told Republican lawmakers on Friday that his department’s attorneys are reviewing the litigation that led a federal court to strike down the 20-week ban. His letter responds to GOP demands that he take immediate action in the wake of last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned abortion protections. Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore warned last week Stein's inaction would lead them to get involved.

National & World AP Stories

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Independence Day celebrations in the United States have been rattled by a shooting that left at least six people dead at a parade in Illinois. The shooting further rocked a nation already awash in turmoil over high court rulings on abortion and guns as well as hearings on the Jan. 6 insurrection. Police say at least two dozen other people were wounded in the attack in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park. Authorities asked residents to seek shelter while they search for the suspect. News of yet another mass shooting came as the nation tried to find cause to celebrate its founding and the bonds that still hold it together.

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A gunman on a rooftop opened fire on an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago on Monday. He killed at least six people and wounded 24. Police say hundreds of marchers, parents with strollers and children on bicycles fled in terror. The suspect remained on the loose hours later as authorities scoured the area. Highland Park Police Commander Chris O’Neill urged people to shelter in place as authorities search for the suspect. Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said at a news conference that the gunman used a high-powered rifle that was recovered at the scene.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday declared victory in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk, one day after Ukrainian forces withdrew from their last remaining bulwark of resistance in the province. Putin's declaration came as Russian forces were trying to press their offensive deeper into eastern Ukraine after capturing the Luhansk stronghold of Lysychansk on Sunday. The Ukrainian General Staff said Russian forces are now focusing their efforts on pushing toward the line of Siversk, Fedorivka and Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, one of the two regions that make up the country’s eastern industrial heartland of Donbas. About half of Donetsk is controlled by Russia.

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Italian officials in an Alpine resort town say 13 people are still unaccounted for and seven hikers were killed a day earlier by an avalanche of ice and stone unleashed when a massive piece of glacier broke off on a mountaintop.  Regional official Maurizio Fuggati told reporters Monday afternoon that people had contacted authorities to say loved ones didn't return. Eleven of those unaccounted are Italian, three are from Czechia and one from Austria. Premier Mario Draghi says climate was a factor. The dead were being identified at a morgue set up in an ice rink in the town of Canazei. Earlier Monday, thunderstorms made it too difficult for rescue teams, their search dogs or drones to operate in the area.