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CAMDEN — For Juan Castillo, being principal at Camden Early College dovetails well with his goals as an educator and what he enjoys most about working with students.


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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.

Donald Trump now has the Senate nominees he wanted to win Republican primaries. We’ll soon learn if they can win in November, or if candidates with little experience and a focus on Trump’s 2020 grievances will cost the party majority control for another two years.

In many cases, the difference between a “right-wing conspiracy” or “disinformation” and the truth is about six months’ time. It never ceases to amaze me the lengths that the news media and social media companies will go to protect President Joe Biden and this incompetent administration.

Features

The College of The Albemarle Board of Trustees will meet in Room 208 of Building AE at COA-Elizabeth City, today at 5:30 p.m. Prior to the meeting, the board’s Building and Grounds Committee will meet in the president’s boardroom, Room 100, in Building A, at 4 p.m.

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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More than 1,000 firefighters are struggling to contain a major wildfire that has burned a large area of pine forest in southwestern France in a region that was already ravaged by flames last month. Local authorities said more than 68 square kilometers (26 square miles) have burned since Tuesday in the Gironde region and the neighboring Landes as France like other European countries swelters through a hot and dry summer. Temperatures were expected to reach 40 C (104 F) on Thursday in the region. The blaze forced the evacuation of about 10,000 people and destroyed at least 16 houses.

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The European Union’s full ban on Russian coal imports kicks in at a time when British defense intelligence says that Western sanctions are increasingly having an impact. That includes even Russia’s defense exports. Britain says that Moscow was already strained by the need to produce armored fighting vehicles for its troops in Ukraine and hence “is highly unlikely to be capable of fulfilling some export orders” in a sector it has long taken pride in. The British intelligence update on Thursday highlighted “the increasing effect of Western sanctions.”

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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.

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Africa’s national parks, home to thousands of wildlife species such as lions, elephants and buffaloes, are increasingly threatened by from below-average rainfall and new infrastructure projects, stressing habitats and the species that rely on them. A prolonged drought in much of the continent’s east, exacerbated by climate change, and large-scale developments, including oil drilling and livestock grazing, are hampering conservation efforts in protected areas, several environmental experts say. The parks not only protect flora and fauna but also act as natural carbon sinks — storing carbon dioxide emitted into the air and reducing the effects of global warming.

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Shares have mostly advanced in Europe and Asia after Wall Street benchmarks closed at three-month highs. Investors were cheering a report showing inflation cooled more than expected in July. U.S. futures edged higher Thursday and oil prices also advanced. The S&P 500 jumped 2.1% Wednesday on expectations that slower inflation will mean the Federal Reserve won’t hike interest rates as much as feared. It was a welcome respite for technology stocks, cryptocurrencies and other investments that have been among the year’s biggest losers due to aggressive rate hikes meant to tamp down price increases. The government said consumer inflation jumped 8.5% in July from a year earlier. But that was down from June's four-decade high of 9.1%.

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Authorities say three people were killed when a house exploded in the southern Indiana city of Evansville. David Anson, chief deputy coroner for Vanderburgh County, told The Associated Press that the identities of the people who died in the explosion Wednesday will not be released until the next of kin has been notified. Evansville police spokeswoman Sgt. Anna Gray says at least one other person was injured. Fire Chief Mike Connelly has said a total of 39 houses were damaged by the explosion at around 1 p.m. He said the department has not confirmed how many of the houses were occupied when the explosion. The cause of the explosion has not been determined, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating.

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Some of the world’s most prized works of contemporary Western art have been unveiled for the first time in decades — in Tehran. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-line cleric, rails against the influence of the West. And the Islamic Republic has plunged further into confrontation with the United States and Europe as it rapidly accelerates its nuclear program and diplomatic efforts stall. But contradictions abound in the Iranian capital, where thousands of well-heeled men and hijab-clad women marveled at 19th- and 20th-century American and European minimalist and conceptual masterpieces. They're on display this summer for the first time at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared victory over COVID-19 at a national meeting where his sister, in an especially combative speech, said Kim had suffered a fever himself and laid dubious blame against South Korea while vowing deadly retaliation. The North’s official media said Kim ordered preventive measures eased just three months after the country first acknowledged an outbreak, claiming the country’s widely disputed success would be recognized as a global health miracle. There were no details about his supposed fever. Experts say Kim's sister's remarks may portend a provocation. Seoul called the comments disrespectful and threatening.