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I love being in the presence of smart, articulate and visionary folks, even on a rainy, unseasonably cool mid-November evening. A large crowd gathered at Wait Chapel on the campus of Wake Forest University for their acclaimed Face-to-Face lecture series. The featured speaker was noted author and NY Times foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman.

Unlike other federal judges, the justices on the Supreme Court are subject to no code of conduct. It is time for the court, led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., to set ethics standards for itself that are transparent, consistent and actually work. At stake is no less than its legitimacy, which has been battered by growing public doubts that it truly operates as an apolitical arbiter of the law.

Thank God for all Santas as they continue to amaze and baffle us at the same time. They cover most of the surface of the earth. I’m so glad that I don’t see too many of them in the unemployment line.

One of the few issues most Americans can agree on when it comes to the thorny topic of immigration is that longtime residents who were brought into the United States illegally as children should be granted permanent status. Congress should seize the opportunity during the lame-duck session to pass such legislation before the end of the year.

It’s an age-old, chicken-and-egg discussion: Is it extant societal forces of exclusion, hatred and reaction that give rise to authoritarian politicians who in turn foment division, prejudice, and violence? Ir does it work the other way around?

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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Police in Raleigh, North Carolina, have released body camera video from a shootout with a 15-year-old boy suspected of fatally shooting five people and wounding two more. Police spent several hours searching for the armed suspect after the rampage seven weeks ago. The teen was ultimately found in a shed behind a residential property. The newly released video images show officers surrounding the structure. Multiple shots ring out from the building, and officers return fire. The video also shows Raleigh Police Officer Casey Clark being shot in the right knee and then dragged to safety behind another building.

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Since the recovery of sunken treasure began decades ago from an 1857 shipwreck off the coast of South Carolina, tens of millions of dollars worth of gold has been sold. But scientists, historians and collectors say that the real fortunes will begin to hit the auction block on Saturday in Reno. For the first time, hundreds of Gold Rush-era artifacts entombed in the S.S. Central America, known as the “Ship of Gold,” will go on public sale. A few of the items from the pre-Civil War steamship, which sank in a hurricane on its way from Panama to New York City, could fetch as much as $1 million.

North Carolina government is appealing a judge’s order that demands by certain dates many more community services for people with intellectual and development disabilities who otherwise live at institutions. Health and Human Services Secretary Kody Kinsley announced the formal challenge on Wednesday. He says his agency has grave concerns about some directives issued four weeks ago by Judge Allen Baddour. One in particular says new admissions to new admissions for people with such disabilities in state-run development centers, privately intermediate care facilities and certain adult care homes must end by January 2028. Kinsley says the decision could shutter small facilities and leave clients without accommodations.

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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 …

National & World AP Stories

An army of engineers from Ukraine’s phone companies has mobilized to help the public and policymakers stay in touch during repeated Russian missile and drone strikes. The engineers who typically go unseen and unsung in peacetime often work around the clock to maintain or restore service, sometimes braving minefields to do so. After Russian strikes took out the electricity that cellphone towers usually run on, they revved up diesel generators. A team from Ukrainian telecommunications company Kyivstar offered a glimpse of their new daily routines this week. They checked an app on their own phones to monitor the cell towers in the Kyiv area. One entry read, in English, “Low Fuel.”

Glowing lava from the world’s largest volcano is a sight to behold, but for many Native Hawaiians, Mauna Loa’s eruption is a time to pray, make offerings and honor both the natural and spiritual worlds. An eruption of a volcano like Mauna Loa has a deep yet very personal cultural significance for many Native Hawaiians. It can be an opportunity to feel a connection with creation itself through the way lava gives birth to new land, as well as a time to reflect on their own place in the world and the people who came before them.

BEIJING (AP) — Former NBA star Jeremy Lin, who plays for a Chinese team, was fined 10,000 yuan ($1,400) for “inappropriate remarks” on social media about quarantine facilities ahead of a game, China’s professional league announced Friday, as the government tries to stop protests against anti…

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Shares have retreated in Asia after a mixed day on Wall Street. Optimism over moves by China to ease strict pandemic controls faded, replaced by worries over data suggesting recession may be looming. A U.S. measure of inflation that’s closely watched by the Federal Reserve eased in October, raising questions over the central bank's determination to keep raising interest rates to tame price increases. The S&P 500 ended 0.1% lower Thursday, a day after markets rallied as Fed Chair Jerome Powell indicated the central bank could dial back the pace of its interest rate increases.

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The small Cconchaccota lagoon has been the axis of life in Vilma Huamaní's community high in Peru's southern Andes. It was a source of trout, fun for children eager to swim, beauty as flamingos flew from over the mountains and water for thirsty sheep. Nowadays, though, all Huamaní sees of the lagoon is a plain of cracked and broken soil surrounded by yellow grass. The rainy season in this part of South America should have started in September. But the area is experiencing its driest period in almost a half century, affecting more than 3,000 communities in the central and southern Andes of Peru.

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The European Union is edging closer to a $60-per-barrel price cap on Russian oil. It's a highly anticipated and complex political and economic maneuver designed to keep Russian oil flowing into global markets while clamping down on President Vladimir Putin’s ability to fund his war in Ukraine. EU nations sought to push the cap across the finish line Thursday after Poland held out to get as low a figure as possible. There's a deadline to set the price for discounted oil by Monday, when a European embargo on seaborne Russian crude and a ban on shipping insurance for those supplies take effect.

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The spectacle of incandescent lava spewing from Hawaii's Mauna Loa has drawn thousands of visitors and is turning into a tourism boon for a Big Island town near the world’s largest volcano. Some hotels in and around Hilo are becoming fully booked in what is normally a slower time of the year for business. Helicopter tours of Mauna Loa, which began erupting Sunday after being quiet for 38 years, are also in high demand by tourists and journalists. Hawaii's travel industry normally falls off this time of year between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Street protests that broke out in several Chinese cities over the weekend may have come as a surprise, but the ruling Communist Party has been preparing for this moment for years, decades even. Ever since the last major demonstrations culminated in the bloody military crackdown of 1989, China has been building an internal security force aimed at overwhelming, intimidating, imprisoning and silencing all challenges. By most estimates, China spends more on internal security than on national defense. This includes police, paramilitary troops and internet spies that have honed their skills against minority rights activists, pro-democracy advocates and independent labor organizers. That's what faces anyone daring to protest China's severe anti-COVID-19 measures.