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Tis’ the season for cautious optimism. Others refer to it as football season, but they aren’t fans of the Tar Heels and Dolphins.

Opinion

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget reports that the Inflation Reduction Act, passed by the Senate and set for passage through the House, does so many good things for our country and our people that it should be celebrated for the monumental legislation it is.

In a way, there’s something almost quaint about the investment strategy that North Carolina’s conservative Republican treasurer, Dale Folwell, pursues for the massive pension funds he oversees for the state’s public employees and retirees.

For decades, conservative politicians had a free ride on the abortion issue. They could tell their “pro-life” base that they were doing all they could to ban the procedure — while not scaring the pro-choice majority. As long as Roe v. Wade protected the right to an abortion, the talk about outlawing it was just talk.

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State AP Stories

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The campaign committee of North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein plans to ask a federal court to block enforcement of a state law looming in a probe of a TV ad aired against Stein's election rival in 2020. The state law makes it illegal to knowingly circulate false reports to damage a candidate’s election chances. Stein beat Republican Jim O'Neill that November. A Stein committee attorney filed the notice Wednesday, after a judge refused to stop a district attorney from potentially using the law to prosecute anyone over the disputed 2020 campaign ad. No one's been charged. Stein's committee argues the law is overly broad and chills political speech.

The North Carolina attorney general’s office is asking a federal court not to restore the state's 20-week abortion ban after the judge suggested his previous injunction “may now be contrary to law.” The attorney general’s office argued in a brief filed late Monday that reinstating restrictions in the aftermath of the June U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade would create “significant risk of public confusion” about the availability and legality of abortion services in North Carolina. Staff attorneys in Stein’s office filed the brief without the attorney general’s involvement.

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.

National & World AP Stories

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An afternoon pullback left stock indexes on Wall Street mixed, erasing most of their morning gains following another encouraging report about inflation. The S&P 500 closed 0.1% lower Thursday. The Nasdaq also fell, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose slightly. Investors weighed new data showing inflation at the wholesale level slowed more than economists expected in July. That bolstered hopes that inflation may be close to a peak and that the Federal Reserve will be less aggressive about raising interest rates than feared. Stocks pared their gains after Treasury yields climbed. The Walt Disney Co. rallied after reporting stronger quarterly results than expected.

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SAO PAULO (AP) — Thousands of Brazilians flocked to a law school Thursday in defense of the nation’s democratic institutions, an event that carried echoes of a gathering nearly 45 years ago when citizens joined together at the same site to denounce a brutal military dictatorship.

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DETROIT (AP) — A judge declared a mistrial Thursday after jurors said they couldn't reach a unanimous verdict in a dispute over whether two engineering firms should bear some responsibility for Flint's lead-contaminated water.

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Authorities say a man has been in a standoff with law enforcement for hours and has “unknown injuries” after he tried to breach the FBI's Cincinnati office, fled and exchanged gunfire with law enforcement. The Ohio State Highway Patrol said Thursday that no one else was hurt. Officials say the man was wearing body armor and was chased onto Interstate 71. Officials say the man abandoned his car on nearby roads and exchanged gunfire with police. It happened a day after the FBI director warned against threats online against agents and the Justice Department following the agency’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.

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The nation’s top public health agency is relaxing its COVID-19 guidelines and dropping the recommendation that Americans quarantine themselves if they come into close contact with an infected person. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said Thursday that people no longer need to stay at least 6 feet away from others. The changes come more than 2 1/2 years after the start of the pandemic. They are driven by a recognition that an estimated 95% of Americans 16 and older have acquired some level of immunity, either from being vaccinated or infected.

Prosecutors in South Florida have announced a second-degree murder charge against social media model Courtney Clenney related to the fatal stabbing of her live-in boyfriend. Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced the charge against the 26-year-old model during a Thursday news conference. Clenney was arrested Wednesday in Hawaii. Fernandez Rundle says Clenney, who goes by the name Courtney Tailor on platforms like Instagram and OnlyFans, remains jailed in Hawaii while authorities work to have her extradited to Florida. Fernandez Rundle characterized Christian Obumseli’s April 3 death at the couple’s Miami apartment as the culmination of a “tempestuous and combative relationship” that began in November 2020.

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U.S. gas prices have dipped under $4 a gallon for the first time in more than five months. AAA says the national average is $3.99 for a gallon of regular. That's down 15 cents in just the last week, and 68 cents in the last month. Gasoline peaked at around $5.02 a gallon on June 14. Motorists in California and Hawaii are still paying above $5, and other states in the West are paying close to that. The cheapest gas is in Texas and several other states in the South and Midwest. The decline reflects falling prices for crude oil, which have dipped close to $90 a barrel from over $120 a barrel in June.

Bill Russell’s No. 6 jersey is being retired across the NBA, a first for the league. The league and the National Basketball Players Association announced Thursday that the number worn by the 11-time champion, civil rights activist and person good enough to be enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach was being permanently retired by all 30 teams. Major League Baseball permanently retired No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson, who broke the big league’s color barrier. And the NHL retired Wayne Gretzky’s No. 99 in honor of that sport’s all-time scoring leader. NBA players who currently wear No. 6 — including the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James — may continue doing so. But the number cannot be issued again.