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Opinion

Let the games begin, and I’m not talking reindeer games here. I’m talking about the political gamesmanship already beginning in the congress. Most of the rhetoric of revenge and retribution is coming from one man and one political party. For any of us who hoped the 2020 election would end the reign of the orange king, boy were we wrong.

In a normal market, creditors demand higher interest from borrowers to whom they lend money for longer periods of time. That’s because these creditors are assuming more risk that they won’t be paid, and because a dollar of interest received tomorrow is usually more valuable than a dollar of interest received years from now.

Few tropes in North Carolina political discourse annoy me more than the claim that Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson is “fascinating.” In a state that elected Jesse Helms to five terms in the U.S. Senate, a political career fueled by bigotry hardly registers as unusual. The victims of Robinson’s — and Helms’s — myriad prejudices would not view the presence of a bigot in public office as an occasion for curiosity. Robinson is, in fact, a mere recrudescence of a familiar political type.

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State AP Stories

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Two North Carolina Democratic government lawyers have argued on competing sides at an appeals court in a case over whether the Wake County district attorney can prosecute Attorney General Josh Stein or others for a 2020 campaign commercial. Private attorneys for Stein and Wake District Attorney Lorrin Freeman met Tuesday before a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. At issue is a state law that makes certain political speech a crime. Stein's campaign ad criticized his then-Republican challenger for AG over untested rape kits. Stein and his allies say the 1931 law is unconstitutional and want the judges to block its enforcement.

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Duke Energy says crews are making progress on restoring power to a county where one or more vandals shot up substations, but the repairs won’t be complete until later in the week. Gov. Roy Cooper told reporters Tuesday that power should be restored throughout Moore County by Thursday morning, in line with previous estimates. He also called for a thorough assessment of the state’s critical infrastructure. Nearly 36,000 customers were without power in the county, down from a peak of around 45,000, according to poweroutage.us. Authorities have said the outages began shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday night after one or more people drove up to two substations, breached the gates and opened fire on them.

A U.S. Supreme Court case involving North Carolina's congressional districts could have ramifications for the way voting districts are drawn in other states. At issue in Wednesday's arguments is whether state courts can strike down U.S. House maps passed by state lawmakers for violating state constitutions. North Carolina's Republican legislative leaders are asserting an “independent state legislature” theory — claiming the U.S. Constitution gives no role to state courts in federal election disputes. The outcome could affect similar lawsuits pending in state courts in Kentucky, New Mexico and Utah. It also could have implications in New York and Ohio, where state courts previously struck down U.S. House districts.

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Two power substations in a North Carolina county were damaged by gunfire in what is being investigated as a criminal act. A spokesman for Duke Energy said at a news conference with local officials on Sunday that the damage caused the night before could take days to repair. Power was out for roughly 37,000 customers Sunday. In response, officials announced a state of emergency that included a curfew from 9 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday. County schools will be closed Monday. Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields says authorities have not determined a motivation.

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The Supreme Court is about to confront a new elections case that could dramatically alter voting in 2024 and beyond. A Republican-led challenge is asking the justices for a novel ruling that could significantly increase the power of state lawmakers over elections for Congress and the presidency. The court is hearing arguments Wednesday in a case from highly competitive North Carolina, where Republican efforts to draw congressional districts heavily in their favor were blocked by a Democratic majority on the state Supreme Court. The question for the justices is whether the U.S. Constitution’s provision giving state legislatures the power to make the rules about the “times, places and manner” of congressional elections cuts state courts out of the process.

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The nation’s largest public utility is recommending replacing an aging coal burning power plant with natural gas, ignoring calls for the Tennessee Valley Authority to speed its transition to renewable energy. TVA on Friday announced the completion of its environmental impact statement for replacing the Cumberland Fossil Plant near Cumberland City, Tennessee. TVA says in a news release that solar and battery storage would be more costly and time-consuming than gas. The recommendation still needs the approval of TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash. He has previously spoken in favor of gas. The announcement drew immediate backlash from groups that include the Center for Biological Diversity, which calls the plan “reckless.”

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Eight years into a U.S. program to control damage from feral pigs, the invasive animals are still a multibillion-dollar plague on farmers, wildlife and the environment. They've been wiped out in 11 of the 41 states where they were reported in 2014 or 2015. And there are fewer in parts of the other 30. But in spite of more than $100 million in federal money, officials estimate there are still 6 million to 9 million hogs gone wild nationwide and in three U.S. territories, doing at least $2.5 billion a year in U.S. damages. Estimates in 2014 were 5 million hogs and $1.5 billion in damages. Experts say the bigger figures are due to better estimates, not increases.

National & World AP Stories

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RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Exuberant Moroccans poured into the streets of their capital and in cities across Europe on Tuesday, waving flags and honking horns to celebrate their national soccer team's historic victory over Spain at the World Cup.

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Cristiano Ronaldo isn't in the starting lineup for Portugal’s game against Switzerland in the round of 16 of the World Cup. The move came a day after his coach expressed frustration about Ronaldo’s attitude in the last match. Gonçalo Ramos is starting in Ronaldo’s place at Lusail Stadium. Ronaldo showed obvious displeasure at being removed from the game against South Korea on Friday. The 21-year-old made his international debut three weeks ago and his first career start for Portugal came in Ronaldo’s place in the knockout round of the World Cup.

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The suspect accused of entering a Colorado Springs gay nightclub and killing five people and wounding 17 others was formally charged with 305 criminal counts including hate crimes and murder. The charges came as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich appeared in court on Tuesday. Investigators say Aldrich entered Club Q, a sanctuary for the LGBTQ community in largely conservative Colorado Springs, just before midnight on Nov. 19 and began shooting during a drag queen’s birthday celebration. The attack came on on the eve of an annual day of remembrance for transgender people lost to violence. According to defense lawyers, Aldrich is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns.

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Stocks fell on Wall Street as markets ponder the Federal Reserve’s next moves on fighting inflation. The drop comes a day after stocks pulled back as stronger-than-expected readings on the economy raised worries that the Fed has a ways to go in getting inflation under control. The Fed is doing that by intentionally slowing the economy with higher interest rates. The S&P 500 shed 1.5% Tuesday and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gave back 2%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.2%. European markets were mostly lower and Asian markets closed mixed. Bond yields mostly fell.

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A year and a half before the Colorado Springs gay nightclub shooting that left five dead, the alleged shooter was accused of threatening to kill grandparents if they stood in the way of plans to become “the next mass killer.” Sealed court documents verified by The Associated Press detail Anderson Lee Aldrich’s day of terror in 2021 that also included a bomb threat and a standoff with police. It stands as a glaring missed warning because charges over Aldrich's actions were dropped and there was no effort to seize the person’s weapons under Colorado’s “red flag” law for reasons authorities have yet to explain.

A 1,300-year-old gold and gemstone necklace uncovered near Northampton in central England is being hailed as a find of major significance. The necklace was found with other items on the site of a new housing development in central England. Archaeologists say it marks the grave of a powerful woman who may have been an early Christian religious leader. Scientists say the trove will shed new light on life in 7th century England, a time when Christianity was battling with paganism for people’s allegiance. The find has been dubbed the Harpole Treasure after the village where it was found. The plan is for the items to be displayed at a local museum once archaeologists have finished their work.

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Doctors say Brazilian soccer great Pelé is improving. The 82-year-old Pelé has been hospitalized for a week to treat a respiratory infection aggravated by COVID-19. He is expected to leave the hospital when he fully recovers from the infection. The Albert Einstein hospital says he has "stable vital signs, is conscious, and with no new complications.” Pelé is a three-time World Cup winner. He is also fighting cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy.

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Stephen Curry is known for hitting deep 3-point shots and buzzer-beaters from half-court — but even the celebrated Warriors guard didn't sink five consecutive full-court baskets, despite a convincingly edited video that swept social media this week.