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Across the state of North Carolina, fresh produce is grown and harvested throughout the year. Don’t forget that during the fall, there are still some delectable foods that can be purchased locally such as cabbage, sweet potatoes, greens, pumpkins, turnips and others.

State AP Stories

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The head of a national group working to elect women who support abortion rights is backing efforts in North Carolina. EMILY’s List President Laphonza Butler spoke at a Raleigh news conference on Tuesday with Gov. Roy Cooper and state legislative candidates. She also planned to visit college campuses with Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cheri Beasley. An arm of EMILY's List already spent $2.7 million on pro-Beasley ads. Butler says General Assembly races will determine whether abortion restrictions that Republicans are likely to seek can be vetoed by Cooper. Republicans could earn veto-proof majorities if they win two more Senate seats and three more House seats.

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Leaders of College Park Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, thought it was odd when the Southern Baptist Convention recently sent queries about the congregation's LGBTQ-affirming ministry. The church itself had voted to leave the conservative denomination 23 years ago. But it was still on the SBC rolls until last week. That's when the convention's Executive Committee voted to cut ties because of the congregation's “affirmation ... of homosexual behavior.” The Rev. Michael Usey of College Park said the congregation was ousted for the right reason. Said Usey, “It’s good when people reject you because they understand clearly who you are."

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Experts say the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling overturning Roe v. Wade appears to be sending more teens to their doctors in search of birth control, including long-acting reversible forms like intrauterine devices and implants. Waits for appointments are growing in some areas, Planned Parenthood is getting a flood of questions and doctors report demand even among teens who aren’t sexually active. Some patients are especially fearful because some of the new abortion laws don’t include exceptions for sexual assault. Dr. Peggy Stager said dedicated spots for insertion of the Nexplanon implant are consistently filled at her Ohio practice and requests for contraceptive refills have increased 30% to 40% since the Court's June ruling.

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Four people have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors for their roles in absentee ballot fraud in rural North Carolina during the 2016 and 2018 elections. These convictions Monday stemmed from an investigation that in part resulted in a do-over congressional election. The defendants were associated with Leslie McCrae Dowless, a political operative in Bladen County whom authorities called the ringleader of the ballot scheme. Dowless died this year before his case went to trial. The State Board of Elections has ordered a new election for the 2018 9th Congressional District because of all the fraud allegations. Cases against six other defendants are pending.

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Forty years after a predominantly Black community in Warren County, North Carolina, rallied against hosting a hazardous waste landfill, President Joe Biden’s top environment official has returned to what is widely considered the birthplace of the environmental justice movement to unveil a national office that will distribute $3 billion in block grants to underserved communities burdened by pollution. Joined by civil rights leaders and participants from the 1982 protests, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan announced Saturday that he is dedicating a new senior level of leadership to the environmental justice movement they ignited. The new Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights will merge three existing EPA programs.

National & World AP Stories

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The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Ian has rapidly intensified off Florida's coast, gaining top winds of 155 mph, just shy of the most devastating Category 5 hurricane status. Ian is pushing a storm surge that could cause catastrophic damage along the state’s heavily populated Gulf Coast from Bonita Beach to the Tampa Bay region. Forecasters say the stretch from Naples to Sarasota is at highest risk. At least 2.5 million people were ordered to evacuate. Winds and rain have begun intensifying, a day after Ian battered the western tip of Cuba, leaving the entire island without electricity.

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The Bank of England has moved to halt a slide in British government bonds that posed a “material risk to U.K. financial stability” after political leaders’ plans to slash taxes and increase borrowing spooked investors and sent the pound tumbling. The emergency intervention means the central bank will buy government bonds from Wednesday through Oct. 14 in an effort to stabilize the market and drive down the soaring cost of government borrowing. The move came after the International Monetary Fund issued a rare warning to a major world economy, urging Britain’s new government to “reevaluate” tax cuts that may fuel inflation and are likely to increase economic inequality.

Some historical battle re-enactors in New York are holding their musket fire because of worries over the state’s new gun rules. The law that went into effect this month declares parks, government property and a long list of other “sensitive” places off limits to guns. The law was geared more semiautomatic pistols than flintlock weapons, but re-enactors who fear they risk arrest if they publicly re-stage long-ago battles from the colonial era to the Civil War are staying off the field. Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration insists that historical battle re-enactments are still OK, and some have taken place this month.

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The European Union's top diplomat says the bloc suspects that damage to two underwater natural gas pipelines was sabotage and is warning of retaliation for any attack on Europe’s energy networks. Energy companies are beefing up security. Josep Borell said Wednesday that “all available information indicates those leaks are the result of a deliberate act,” He added that any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure "is utterly unacceptable and will be met with a robust and united response.” Seismologists say that explosions rattled the Baltic Sea before unusual leaks were discovered on two underwater natural gas pipelines running from Russia to Germany. The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines are leaking, but are not currently delivering fuel to Europe.

South Korea says North Korea has fired two ballistic missiles toward its eastern waters a day before a visit by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff say the missiles were launched Wednesday from its capital region. They are the second round of missile tests by North Korea this week. Harris is to visit the demilitarized zone separating the rival Koreas during her visit to South Korea. The launch also comes as U.S. and South Korean navy ships are conducting drills off the Korean Peninsula’s east coast.

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Russia is poised to formally annex areas of Ukraine where it has military control after referendums there reportedly endorsed Moscow’s rule. But the ballots were widely discredited and earned the Kremlin no relief Wednesday from international pressure over its assault on Ukraine. Pro-Moscow administrations of all four occupied regions of southern and eastern Ukraine said Tuesday night that their residents voted to join Russia in five days of Kremlin-orchestrated balloting. Western countries, however, dismissed the ballots as a meaningless pretense staged by Moscow in an attempt to legitimize its invasion of Ukraine seven months ago.

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World shares have tumbled after a wobbly day on Wall Street as markets churn over the prospect of a possible recession. U.S. futures and oil prices also fell. China's yuan also weakened sharply. Trading has been volatile since the Dow Jones Industrial Average followed other major U.S. indexes into a bear market earlier this week. Germany's DAX lost 1.3% and the FTSE 100 in London was also down 1.3%. Shares fell in Asia, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng sinking 3.4%. With just a few days left in September, stocks are heading for another losing month as investors fear that the higher interest rates being used to fight inflation could help knock the economy into a downturn.

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BOURJ HAMMOUD, Lebanon (AP) — Jihad Michlawi struggled to make ends meet as a chef in crisis-hit Beirut. The Palestinian had never considered taking a perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe until friends who did so persuaded him to try.