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In a world seemingly filled with disappointment at times, I will often go to the sports section of the newspaper to rejoice in the accomplishments of others and enjoy some positive news. If you do the same I want to apologize in advance, this isn’t our week.

Opinion

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.”

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.

Eighty-three is a pretty impressive number. That’s the percentage of Americans who favor empowering the federal government to negotiate prices with drugmakers. Even 7 of 10 Republicans agree, according to polling from KFF, a respected source of health news and statistics.

Features

Brigadier Gen. Billy Mitchell fought between the world wars to update our military through the use of aircraft. The First World War was “the war to end all wars,” and this new technology of planes felt like a luxury in a day so impressed with new guns and bombs.

I could easily imagine myself in this new Brad Pitt movie called “Bullet Train.” I’ve ridden the Shinkansen, the high-speed railway from Kyoto to Tokyo that’s featured in the movie. It was quite a trip, clipping along at close to 200 mph.

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.

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The remains of two children killed in the 1985 bombing of a Philadelphia home used as the headquarters of a Black radical group have been returned to their brother. Lionell Dotson told reporters Wednesday that the remains of 14-year-old Katricia and 12-year-old Zanetta Dotson will be cremated and taken to North Carolina to be buried. Dotson told WCAU-TV it was a “momentous occasion.” He said he could finally give his relatives “a resting place permanently." They were among five children killed when police bombed the MOVE organization’s headquarters and caused a fire that spread to more than 60 row homes.

A top official says the Justice Department has charged five people for making threats of violence against election workers amid a rising wave of harassment and intimidation tied to the 2020 presidential election. Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite tells a Senate committee that one charge has led to a conviction so far through a task force launched last year as reports of threats to election officials, workers and volunteers raised concerns about safety and the security of future elections. threatening messages directed at election workers since launching a task force a year ago. Overall, the department has investigated more than 1,000 harassing and threatening messages directed at election workers.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled that Gov. Roy Cooper’s secretary of health and human services is not immune from a lawsuit over the administration’s restrictions on large gatherings in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic. The Department of Health and Human Services temporarily shut down Ace Speedway in June 2020 after it repeatedly defied Cooper’s executive order limiting outdoor crowds to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The racetrack filed counterclaims that August, alleging the department unlawfully singled out the business and violated its employees’ constitutional right to earn a living. The court unanimously voted  Tuesday to uphold a January 2021 trial court ruling denying a DHHS motion to dismiss Ace Speedway’s claims.

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Officials say a single-engine plane made an emergency landing on a North Carolina highway, but no injuries were reported. News outlets report that the Washington County Sheriff’s Office says the plane had a problem and landed on Highway 64 west of Creswell on Monday. Lt. Charles Arnold says the pilot heading from Dare County to Plymouth experienced a loss of power and when he set the Piper Turbo Arrow down without landing gear, it skidded across the highway. Arnold says the pilot was, “The calmest I’ve ever seen,” after such an emergency. The Federal Aviation Administration was called in to investigate.

National & World AP Stories

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Colombia’s first leftist President was sworn into office in a colorful ceremony that marks a turning point in the South American nation’s history. Sen. Gustavo Petro, a former member of the M-19 guerrilla group, won the presidential election in June by beating conservative parties that offered moderate changes to the nation’s market friendly economy, but were unable to connect with voters frustrated with growing rates of poverty and increasing violence against activists. Petro now joins a cadre of leftist politicians and political outsiders who have been winning elections in Latin America since the pandemic broke out and hurt incumbents who struggled with its economic aftershocks.

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A cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants has taken effect in a bid to end nearly three days of violence that has killed dozens of Palestinians. Egyptian officials had worked to bring the sides to an agreement after the flare-up of fighting that saw Israeli aircraft pound targets in Gaza and militants fire hundreds of rockets that reached deep into Israel. Rocket fire and airstrikes continued until the scheduled start of the truce at 11:30 p.m. (2030 GMT; 4:30 p.m. EDT). More than 40 Palestinians were killed in the violence, including 15 children and four women. Israel began its offensive Friday and has kept up airstrikes since then, while militants have lobbed barrages of rockets into Israel.

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Cuban firefighters are working with special teams sent by Mexico and Venezuela as they battle for a second day to control a fire blazing at a big oil tank farm. The area's governor says efforts Sunday are focusing on preventing the flames from spreading further. Authorities say one firefighter is dead and others are missing since lightning struck a storage tank Friday night, setting off a fire that spread to a second tank early Saturday and triggered a series of explosions. A total of 122 people have been treated for injuries, including five in critical condition.

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Six more ships carrying agricultural cargo held up by the war in Ukraine have received authorization to leave the country’s Black Sea ports. The body that oversees an international deal intended to get 20 million tons of grain out of Ukraine to feed people around the world said the loaded vessels were cleared to depart on Sunday. Meanwhile analysts warn that Russia is moving troops and equipment in the direction of the ports to stave off a Ukrainian counteroffensive. A large nuclear power plant in Ukraine's southeast came under fire on Saturday night. Both sides accused each other of the attack.

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Sunday studio estimates say the Brad Pitt action romp “Bullet Train" arrived with a $30.1 million opening weekend as the last big movie of Hollywood’s summer recovery landed in theaters. The debut was solid but unspectacular for a movie that cost $90 million to make and was propelled by Pitt’s substantial star power. But even if it holds well in coming weeks, movie theaters have no major studio releases on the horizon for the rest of August, and few sure things to look forward to in early fall. The weekend’s other new wide release, “Easter Sunday,” struggled to catch on. It opened with $5.3 million.

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Democratic hopefuls in Wisconsin see abortion as the issue that will carry them to election wins in November, but efforts to reach Black voters on the topic are sparse. Several organizing groups said it's a complicated issue in the Black community, with a legacy of views long handed down from the more prominent and conservative denominations in the Black church. Polling data shows that abortion is a slightly more potent issue for white voters in the Democratic coalition than for Black voters. Most of the groups organizing in the Milwaukee area, a critical area for Democrats to win statewide races, are steering away from messaging solely on the issue.

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While millions across Europe sweat through a summer of record-breaking heat, other people are skiing in Africa. This isn’t another sign of climate change but rather the fascinating anomaly of Lesotho. Lesotho is a tiny mountain kingdom completely surrounded by South Africa. It's the only country on Earth where every inch of its territory sits more than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) above sea level. That gives Lesotho snow and led to the creation of Afriski in the Maluti Mountains, which is Africa’s only operating ski resort south of the equator. It draws people from neighboring South Africa and further afield by offering the unique experience of skiing in southern Africa.

U.S. demand for grocery delivery is cooling as food prices rise. Some shoppers are shifting to less expensive grocery pickup, while others are returning to the store. Experts say grocery delivery saw five years of growth in the first three months of the pandemic. In June 2020, grocery delivery was a $3.4 billion business. But by June 2022, that had fallen 26%. Consulting firm Chase Design says it's hard to get the delivery premium below $10 because of fuel and labor costs. That premium is tough for some consumers to swallow when food cost inflation is at a four-decade high.