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A lawyer for Donald Trump says he's been told that the former president has been indicted on charges involving payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to silence claims of an extramarital sexual encounter. It’s the first ever criminal case against a former U.S. president and a jolt to Trump’s bid to retake the White House in 2024. The specific charges were not immediately made public Thursday. Trump has insisted he “did absolutely nothing wrong.” He and his lawyers have said the charges are politically motivated and have suggested he was a victim of extortion.

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Some Elizabeth City City Council members want to look into the possibility of selling our sewer system to a private entity. There’s an attractive argument for it: the potential of a ton a new money to spend on programs and infrastructure. The thought of having, say, $50 million under their c…

I do. I want to rule the world. I mean “rule” like Joseph Stalin or Genghis Khan with an iron fist. I would love to make all the decisions and have all that power and control. Would I do good or evil? Would I start out kind and gentle then turn into an oppressor?

Twenty-five years ago, when a powerful state senator quietly and suddenly advanced a bill that would have allowed the leaders of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina to transform the giant and successful health insurance nonprofit into a for-profit company, advocates, consumers, average citizens, and ultimately, the full General Assembly, took a stand.


State AP Stories

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North Carolina state government budgets usually include policy or spending directives that give any sitting governor heartburn, and this year will be no exception. But those provisions will take on new importance given a budget must be passed for the coming year before Medicaid expansion in a law signed this week by Gov. Roy Cooper can be carried out. A House budget proposal debated Thursday contains provisions restricting the Democratic governor or his administration on environmmental policy, oversight of the State Bureau of Investigation and election administration. The competing Senate budget likely will have additional provisions that will give Cooper pause.

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Carl Lentz, the ousted pastor of Hillsong New York City, has landed on staff at Transformation Church. It is a predominantly Black, nondenominational megachurch in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that is led by pastor, author and popular YouTuber Michael Todd. Transformation is a juggernaut in a town replete with megachurches. The church has confirmed that Lentz, who was fired from Hillsong in 2020 when an extramarital affair came to light, has joined its staff. Lentz, 44, was once labeled a “hypepriest” by GQ Magazine for his fashionable attire and ministry to NBA players and celebrities such as Justin Bieber. He has been mostly silent since his firing.

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A funeral will be held this weekend for former Democratic U.S. Rep. Nick Galifianakis, who represented central North Carolina for several years before two unsuccessful Senate bids. An obituary from a funeral home said Galifianakis died on Monday at age 94. A family spokesman told a newspaper that Galifianakis died at a Raleigh retirement community. He served in the General Assembly and in Congress for over a decade. He unseated the Democratic incumbent in the 1972 Democratic primary but lost to archconservative Jesse Helms in the general election. Galifianakis also lost in the 1974 U.S. Senate primary to then-Attorney General Robert Morgan.

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Mississippi's Republican-led Senate has voted against confirming longtime educator Robert P. Taylor as state superintendent of education, angering some lawmakers. Some Black Democrats say they believe the rejection Wednesday was at least partly because Taylor is Black and because he wrote years ago about Mississippi's racist history. Taylor graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1990. His comments about race came in a 2020 article on the university's Center for Black Studies website. The state education board had announced Taylor as their unanimous choice for superintendent. Taylor told The Associated Press he's disappointed but respects the process. He said senators in the past have confirmed all previous nominees for state superintendent.

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A former longtime North Carolina state senator who led on tax and finance matters when Democrats last controlled the General Assembly has died. The son of David Hoyle confirmed his father died on Wednesday at age 84.  Hoyle served nine terms in the Senate, where he was a longtime co-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Hoyle was a small-town Gaston County mayor in his 20s and later served on the state Board of Transportation. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper served briefly with Hoyle in the Senate and said “North Carolina is a better place for his work.” Funeral arrangements were incomplete Wednesday.

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North Carolina residents can now buy a handgun without getting a permit from a local sheriff. The Republican-controlled state House on Wednesday overrode the Democratic governor’s veto. It’s the legislature’s first veto override since 2018. The GOP-led Senate already voted that way Tuesday. The bill scraps the longstanding requirement that sheriffs perform character evaluations and criminal history checks of pistol applicants. Bill supporters say the sheriff screening process is no longer necessary in light of updates to the national background check system. But Gov. Roy Cooper and other opponents say the repeal allows a greater number of dangerous people to obtain weapons through private sales.

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North Carolina House Republicans have unveiled a two-year spending proposal that includes sizeable raises for teachers. Wednesday's unveiling of the House budget plan comes two weeks after Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper offered his own proposal. GOP leaders had dismissed it as spending too much. Cooper’s plan seeks much higher pay raises for teachers. Speaker Tim Moore said a recession threat warrants a more conservative spending approach. House budget committees will consider amendments Thursday. House floor votes are expected next week. Senate Republicans will then advance their own spending plan. The two chambers ultimately will negotiate a final plan to present to Cooper.

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An FBI informant who marched to the U.S. Capitol with fellow Proud Boys members has testified that he didn’t know of any plans for the far-right extremist group to invade the building on Jan. 6. The informant identified himself in court only as “Aaron” when he testified on Wednesday as a defense witness. On trial for seditious conspiracy are former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and four lieutenants. The informant was communicating with his FBI handler as a mob of Trump supporters breached police barricades at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He told the handler that the Proud Boys didn't inspire the violence.

National & World AP Stories

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Asian stocks have followed Wall Street higher ahead of a United States inflation update that traders hope might prompt the Federal Reserve to ease plans for more interest rate hikes. Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced. Oil prices declined. Wall Street rose Thursday as worries about the global financial system eased following the collapse of two U.S. banks and one in Switzerland. Traders hope a measure of U.S. inflation that is closely watched by the Federal Reserve will show upward pressure on prices easing. That might prompt the Fed to postpone plans for a possible rate hike at its May meeting.

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In a glittering splash of luxury fashion, Dior transformed Mumbai’s grand Gateway of India monument into a runway laden with celebrity, beauty and craftsmanship. Flanked by the brightly lit, iconic Taj Mahal Hotel, the spectacular decor turned the heritage site in India’s entertainment and business capital into a blend of color and style as the models lined up Thursday to showcase the Paris fashion house’s 2023 pre-fall collection. The runway, lined with traditional Indian floral designs, reverberated with fusion beats from live musicians as Indian artistry and craftsmanship took center stage in creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri’s collection.

Thirty-five bodies have been found inside a well after a structure built over it collapsed at a temple in central India where Hindus had gathered to pray at a festival for the widely worshipped deity Rama. Dozens of people fell into the well and were covered by falling debris when the collapse occurred Thursday. A district official said the rescue effort was continuing Friday. Eighteen people were hospitalized with injuries. Nearly 140 rescuers used ropes and ladders to pull out the bodies from the well after pumping out the water. A narrow path and debris made the task difficult. The Times of India reported the rescue work was expedited after underwater cameras showed bodies floating in the muddy waters of the well.

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Russia’s security service has arrested an American reporter for The Wall Street Journal on espionage charges. It's the first time a U.S. correspondent has been detained on spying accusations since the Cold War. The newspaper denied the allegations and demanded his release. Thirty-one-year-old Evan Gershkovich was detained in Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city, about 1,670 kilometers (1,035 miles) east of Moscow. Russia’s Federal Security Service accused him of trying to obtain classified information. Known by the acronym FSB, the service is the top domestic security agency and main successor to the Soviet-era KGB.

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A trove of FBI documents made public this week offers a new view into high-stakes gambler Stephen Paddock’s mindset before he carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern America. Sixty people were killed and hundreds more were wounded in the shooting on Oct. 1, 2017, on the Las Vegas Strip. A fellow gambler told the FBI that Paddock was very upset about how the casinos in Las Vegas had been treating him in recent years despite his high-roller status. The unidentified gambler says he believes the stress could’ve easily caused Paddock to snap. Paddock was a video poker player who relied on gambling as his main source of income. Las Vegas police dismissed the importance of the documents, saying speculation on a motive causes more harm to victims, survivors and their families.

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Authorities have released 911 recordings that capture the terror inside a Nashville elementary school during a mass shooting this week. Callers are heard pleading for help in hushed voices while sirens, crying and gunfire can be heard in the background. Police on Thursday released recordings of three emergency calls made during Monday’s attack at The Covenant School, in which three children and three adults were killed. In one, a man tells the dispatcher that he saw a man dressed in camoflauge firing an “assault rifle” through the door. Authorities say police shot and killed the assailant. Meanwhile, hundreds of people protested Thursday for stricter gun controls at the state Capitol.

One of the world’s highest inflation rates is making it more difficult to make ends meet in Argentina. At the end of last year, nearly four of every 10 Argentines, including more than half of under age 15, were poor, according to official figures released Thursday. The national statistics agency says poverty increased to 39.2% of the population in the second half of 2022, a nearly three percentage point increase from the first six months of 2022.