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There are a few things this week worth mentioning, none more so than Jeff Charles having broadcast his 1,000th ECU basketball game the other day.

Opinion

The N.C. Local Government Commission revoked the charter of of the town of East Laurinburg. This effectively dissolved the town’s government because it had been unable to maintain adequate accounting controls, and the town had become financially insolvent. Scotland County was forced to assum…

Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as a justice of the Supreme Court more than four years ago, on Oct. 6, 2018. His oath followed perhaps the ugliest Supreme Court Senate confirmation process in history — and that, given the previous examples of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas, is saying something. But when it was all over, Kavanaugh settled in to the court, where he has, by all accounts, performed admirably ever since.

Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) quickly became a global punchline when his multiple, contradictory misrepresentations of his background were revealed after he was elected in November. But there’s nothing funny about Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s refusal to call on Santos to resign, as a few other Republicans have.

North Carolina faces many challenges. You and I may disagree with how to rank those challenges, or what to do about them, but we share a belief that our state could be in a better place than it is today.

Features

There are Ukrainian soldiers who pull triggers and launch missiles. There are soldiers who drive trucks, tanks and armored vehicles. There are soldiers who provide medical care. And there are soldiers who carry the dead. And, they are busy.

State AP Stories

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As mass shootings are again drawing public attention, states across the U.S. seem to be deepening their political divide on gun policies. A series of recent mass shootings in California come after a third straight year in which U.S. states recorded more than 600 mass shootings involving at least four deaths or injuries. Democratic-led states that already have restrictive gun laws have responded to home-state tragedies by enacting or proposing even more limits on guns. Many states with Republican-led legislatures appear unlikely to adopt any new gun policies after last year's local mass shootings. They're pinning the problem on violent individuals, not their weapons.

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The families of five passengers killed in a plane crash off the North Carolina coast have settled wrongful death lawsuits for $15 million. Their attorneys told the court the companies that owned the plane and employed the pilot paid the money. The suits claimed the pilot failed to properly fly the single-engine plane in weather conditions with limited visibility. All eight people aboard died off the Outer Banks. The passengers included four teenagers and two adults, returning from a hunting trip. The founder of the company that owned the plane was killed, and his family wasn't involved in the lawsuits.

A man who caused evacuations and an hourslong standoff with police on Capitol Hill when he claimed he had a bomb in his pickup truck outside the Library of Congress has pleaded guilty to a charge of threatening to use an explosive. Floyd Ray Roseberry, of Grover, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to the felony charge in Washington federal court. He faces up to 10 years behind bars and is scheduled to be sentenced in June. An email seeking comment was sent to his attorney on Friday. Roseberry drove a black pickup truck onto the sidewalk outside the Library of Congress in August 2021 and began shouting to people in the street that he had a bomb.

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North Carolina Democrats have introduced legislation to codify abortion protections into state law as Republicans are discussing early prospects for further restrictions. Their legislation, filed Wednesday in both chambers, would prohibit the state from imposing barriers that might restrict a patient’s ability to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy before fetal viability, which typically falls between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. Current state law bans nearly all abortions after 20 weeks, with narrow exceptions for urgent medical emergencies that do not include rape or incest. House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters he didn’t expect the Democrats’ bill to get considered.

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Supporters of abortion rights have filed separate lawsuits challenging abortion pill restrictions in North Carolina and West Virginia. The lawsuits were filed Wednesday. They are the opening salvo in what’s expected to a be a protracted legal battle over access to the medications. The lawsuits argue that state limits on the drugs run afoul of the federal authority of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The agency has approved the abortion pill as a safe and effective method for ending pregnancy. More than half of U.S. abortions are now done with pills rather than surgery.

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The University of Wisconsin System has joined a number of universities across the country in banning the popular social media app TikTok on school devicies. UW System officials made the announcement Tuesday. A number of other universities have banned TikTok in recent weeks, including Auburn, Arkansas State and Oklahoma. Nearly half the states have banned the app on state-owned devices, including Wisconsin, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana and South Dakota. Congress also recently banned TikTok from most U.S. government-issued devices over bipartisan concerns about security. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company that moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2020. Critics say the Chinese government could access user data.

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North Carolina’s elected state auditor has apologized for leaving the scene of a Raleigh accident last month after she drove her state-issued vehicle into a parked car. Monday's statement by Democratic Auditor Beth Wood is her first comment about charges against her that were made public last week. Wood called her decision “a serious mistake” and says she will continue serving as auditor. Wood was first elected to the job in 2008. Raleigh police cited Wood for a misdemeanor hit-and-run and another traffic-related charge. Her court date is later this week. Wood says the collision happened after she left a holiday gathering Dec. 8.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it will study whether to toughen regulation of large livestock farms that pollute waterways. The agency hasn't revised its rules dealing with the nation's largest hog, poultry and cattle operations since 2008. Farm manure and fertilizer runoff fouls lakes and streams. It's a leading cause of harmful algae blooms. EPA says it reconsidered its intention to leave existing rules in place after an environmental group filed a lawsuit. The agency says it will gather information on how bad the pollution is and what new methods might bring improvements.

National & World AP Stories

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced a series of punitive steps against the Palestinians in response to a pair of shootings in Jerusalem that killed seven Israelis and badly wounded five others.  The steps, announced late Saturday, include new moves to “strengthen” Jewish settlements, his office announced. The decision came ahead of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.  The Biden administration opposes Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem — territories dclaimed by the Palestinians for a future state.

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The Memphis police chief has disbanded the city’s so-called Scorpion unit after some of its officers beat to death Tyre Nichols. The announcement on Saturday reversed an earlier statement that the unit would remain intact. Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said she listened to Nichols’ relatives, community leaders and uninvolved officers in making the decision. She said the officers currently assigned to the unit “agree unreservedly” with the step. The unit is composed of three teams of about 30 officers who target violent offenders in areas beset by high crime. It had been inactive since Nichols’ Jan. 7 arrest.

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Authorities say three people were killed and four others wounded in a shooting at a multi-million dollar short-term rental home in Los Angeles early Saturday. The shooting happened just after 2:30 a.m. in the upscale Beverly Crest neighborhood. Los Angeles police say the three who were killed were in a vehicle. Police Sgt. Bruce Borihahn says investigators don't have any information on suspects in the shootings. Two people who were shot were taken to the hospital in private vehicles and two were transported by ambulance. Borihahn says two victims are in stable condition and two are listed as critical. This is at least the sixth mass shooting in California this month.

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If Vegas oddsmakers are correct — and there’s a reason those casinos are huge and luxurious — then football fans are in for a treat this weekend. The NFL’s conference championship weekend is here: The Philadelphia Eagles will host the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC title while the Kansas City Chiefs host the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC. Both games are Sunday. The gambling odds are tight for both games, though both home teams have a slight edge. The Eagles are a 2 1/2-point favorite while the Chiefs are favored by 1 1/2 points, according to odds from FanDuel Sportsbook. The winners will meet in the Super Bowl on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona.

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As mass shootings are again drawing public attention, states across the U.S. seem to be deepening their political divide on gun policies. A series of recent mass shootings in California come after a third straight year in which U.S. states recorded more than 600 mass shootings involving at least four deaths or injuries. Democratic-led states that already have restrictive gun laws have responded to home-state tragedies by enacting or proposing even more limits on guns. Many states with Republican-led legislatures appear unlikely to adopt any new gun policies after last year's local mass shootings. They're pinning the problem on violent individuals, not their weapons.

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Authorities in Memphis have released video showing Black motorist Tyre Nichols being beaten by five police officers who held him down and repeatedly struck him with fists, batons and boots. The footage released Friday also shows the Black officers pummeling the 29-year-old and leaving him propped against a squad car as they fist-bump and celebrate their actions. The officers have been charged with murder in the assault that the Nichols family legal team likened to the infamous 1991 police beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King. The chilling images of another Black man dying at the hands of police provoked tough questions about the nation’s policing culture.

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When Pope Francis arrives in Congo and South Sudan next week, thousands of people will take special note of a gesture more grounded than the sign of the cross. Watching from their wheelchairs, they will relate to the way he uses his. The pope began using a wheelchair last year. He is visiting two countries where years of conflict have disabled many. And yet Congo and South Sudan are among the world’s most difficult places to find accessibility and understanding. Among wheelchair users, his visit is heartening Catholics and non-Catholics alike. “He’s close to us,” one South Sudanese says.

A mobile app for migrants to seek asylum in the United States has been overwhelmed since it was introduced this month in one of several major changes to the government’s response to unprecedented migration flows. New appointments are made available daily. But migrants are increasingly frustrated by a variety of error messages. Many can’t log in. Others are hopeful when they get a date, only to be deflated when the screen freezes at final confirmation. The daily ritual resembles a race for concert tickets when online sales begin for a major act.