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A rising force in state politics, Carolina Forward — a center-left policy organization to which I am also a contributor — held a recent post-election discussion forum that yielded provocative insights about the state of North Carolina’s political field.

A rising force in state politics, Carolina Forward — a center-left policy organization to which I am also a contributor — held a recent post-election discussion forum that yielded provocative insights about the state of North Carolina’s political field. If I could distill a single message from the panel, it would be: “Democrats, don’t stop fighting.” The party has certainly struggled recently to surmount North Carolina’s conservative rut, but our state is not beyond the reach of a progressive renaissance.

Have you ever encountered a klansman at the grocery store? I have. I instantly recognized him as a member of the Ku Klux Klan because I’d seen him speak (sans hood) at a Klan rally (I was one of the protesters, not one of the klansmen) and on local TV repping the organization.

Features

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the rev…

State AP Stories

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Incoming and returning Republicans to the North Carolina Senate have chosen a key lawmaker on tax, voting and energy issues to become majority leader for the next two years. The Senate Republican Caucus on Monday elected Sen. Paul Newton of Cabarrus County to the post. Newton succeeds Sen. Kathy Harrington, who didn't seek reelection this fall to her Gaston County seat. The caucus also agreed to nominate Phil Berger to a seventh term as president pro tempore when the session convenes in January. He has held the job since 2011. Senate Democrats meeting separately Monday reelected Sen. Dan Blue of Wake County as minority leader.

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A memorial service will be held this weekend for Betty Ray McCain. She was a longtime North Carolina Democratic Party activist and counselor to former four-time Gov. Jim Hunt who died last week at age 91. McCain was the first woman to chair the state Democratic Party in the 1970s. Hunt named McCain secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources in 1993. She also served multiple terms on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and on many boards and commissions. Current Gov. Roy Cooper called McCain a “trailblazer for women and a powerful force for good in the arts, education and public service."

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Democrats celebrated winning North Carolina's lone toss-up race for the U.S. House this month as Wiley Nickel won the 13th District seat. The victory creates a 7-7 split in the state’s delegation — the best showing for Democrats in a decade. But there’s a good chance Nickel’s district and others will be altered for the 2024 elections, returning the advantage to Republicans. The current lines are only being used for these elections. New lines will be drawn by Republicans, who still control the General Assembly. And a new GOP majority on the state Supreme Court likely will be more skeptical of legal challenges that scuttled previous boundaries.

CHERRYVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A Cherryville woman’s first birthday party ever at age 105 turned out just perfect. Line dancers and square dancers performed routines to entertain her, 12-year-old Lily brought her 10-week-old yellow Labrador named Nina for her to pet and she even got the chance to …

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A helicopter pilot and a meteorologist who worked for a North Carolina television station died following the crash of the station’s helicopter next to an interstate highway in the Charlotte area. WBTV broadcasters who had been reporting on the crash identified their colleagues on air Tuesday about three hours following the deadly incident. The men were identified as meteorologist Jason Myers and pilot Chip Tayag. The crash occurred along Interstate 77. Johnny Jennings, chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, said no vehicles were involved in the incident. The chief said preliminary witness accounts indicate that the pilot made some “diversionary” maneuvers and “probably saved some lives."

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It's holiday time at the White House, and President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, are plunging into the season. Biden participated in the annual pardoning of a Thanksgiving turkey on Monday. The first lady accepted delivery of the official White House Christmas tree. And both Bidens visited North Carolina later in the day to share an early Thanksgiving meal with members of the military and their families at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point. The burst of holiday activity follows the president's granddaughter's White House wedding and his 80th birthday over the weekend.

The man who was driving a truck that fatally hit a girl in a North Carolina holiday parade has been released on bond. The News & Record reports that Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman confirms that 20-year-old Landen Glass was released on a $4,000 bond. Glass is scheduled to return to court Jan. 26. Raleigh police say the driver of a white pickup truck towing a float in the Raleigh Christmas parade on Saturday morning lost control and hit the girl. She died from her injuries. Glass was charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, careless and reckless driving and other offenses. A family member told WRAL-TV that Glass would not be making a statement.

National & World AP Stories

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Chinese universities are sending students home and police are fanning out in Beijing and Shanghai to prevent more protests. That comes after crowds angered by severe anti-virus restrictions called for leader Xi Jinping to resign in the biggest show of public dissent in decades. Authorities have eased some controls after demonstrations in at least eight mainland cities and Hong Kong. But they showed no sign of backing off their larger “zero-COVID” strategy that has confined millions of people to their homes for months at a time. Security forces have detained an unknown number of people and stepped up surveillance. With police out in force, there was no word of protests Tuesday in Beijing, Shanghai or other major cities that saw crowds gather over the weekend.

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — A top Qatari official involved in the country's World Cup organization has put the number of worker deaths for the tournament “between 400 and 500” for the first time, a drastically higher number than any other previously offered by Doha.

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says war-torn Ukraine will one day become a member of the world’s largest security alliance. It's a commitment that NATO leaders made to Ukraine 14 years ago. But some say it led in part to Russia's invasion. Stoltenberg's remarks came as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his NATO counterparts gathered Tuesday in Romania to drum up urgently needed support for Ukraine, including deliveries of electrical components for the war-torn country's devastated power transmission network. Ukraine’s grid has been battered since early October by targeted Russian strikes. Stoltenberg says Russian President Vladimir Putin “is trying to use winter as a weapon of war against Ukraine.”

Soccer is not human society itself, with all its thorny issues. But it is at times a reflection of  the entire planet. Nations, their disputes and their aspirations don't just go away when the World Cup begins. The political issues have been coming fast and furious on a near-daily basis at one of the most heavily scrutinized World Cups in the tournament’s history. And outside the tournament bubble, the world itself has kept turning in some of its harshest ways. The rest of the world, it turns out, doesn’t end where the soccer pitch begins.

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Global shares are mostly higher as jitters over protests in China about its stringent anti-COVID policies fade. Hong Kong's benchmark gained 5.2% and most other markets in Europe and Asia advanced. U.S. futures edged higher. Oil prices rose more than $1 per barrel. China's economy has been stifled by a “zero COVID” policy which includes lockdowns that have intermittently threatened the global supply chain. The Conference Board will release its consumer confidence index for November later Tuesday. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will speak at the Brookings Institution about the outlook for the U.S. economy and the labor market on Wednesday.

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The last World Cup clash between the United States and Iran 24 years ago is considered one of the most politically charged matches in soccer history.This time, the political overtones are just as strong and relations perhaps even more fraught as the U.S. and Iran face off once again on Tuesday in Qatar.Iran’s nationwide protests, its expanding nuclear program and regional and international attacks linked back to Tehran have pushed the match beyond the stadium and into geopolitics.

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Qatar's soccer team was the first World Cup host nation to lose its opening match and followed that with a second loss that knocked it from the tournament before the end of the group stage. It is only the second host to be eliminated in group play. But rating it a disappointment depends on the expectations of the young program and the overall goals of the Qatar government in hosting the World Cup. Qatar didn't bid on the World Cup to win the tournament but rather to showcase its country to the world.

Ukraine has rolled out hundreds of “Points of Invincibility” — a defiant name for makeshift centers often no larger than an executive's conference room where beleaguered citizens can warm up, charge up, feed and drink up, and entertain themselves as they hunker down to wait out Russian President Vladimir Putin's war on their country. Ukraine’s State Emergencies Service has said nearly 1,000 such centers have been erected across the country since the program was first launched Nov. 18. Its website offers an online map to show Ukraine's beleaguered residents where they are located.