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Inflation occurs when the demand for goods and services exceeds the supply. The Federal Reserve’s solution is to reduce demand by forcing interest rates higher. The higher rates will reduce the demand for items which are typically financed, like cars and houses. And some of the workers who m…

For the next few weeks, Washington faces a brief, and important, window of opportunity. Suspended in time between an election that’s just over and another that’s already starting, the lame duck session of Congress has a critical question to answer.

Back when my wife and I moved to the country, many of our citified friends were alarmed. One well-meaning fellow even questioned if I’d be safe out in rural Perry County, Arkansas, given my political apostasy. (Trump won 75% of the 2020 vote there.)

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State AP Stories

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Two power substations in a North Carolina county were damaged by gunfire in what is being investigated as a criminal act. A spokesman for Duke Energy said at a news conference with local officials on Sunday that the damage caused the night before could take days to repair. Power was out for roughly 37,000 customers Sunday. In response, officials announced a state of emergency that included a curfew from 9 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday. County schools will be closed Monday. Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields says authorities have not determined a motivation.

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The Supreme Court is about to confront a new elections case that could dramatically alter voting in 2024 and beyond. A Republican-led challenge is asking the justices for a novel ruling that could significantly increase the power of state lawmakers over elections for Congress and the presidency. The court is hearing arguments Wednesday in a case from highly competitive North Carolina, where Republican efforts to draw congressional districts heavily in their favor were blocked by a Democratic majority on the state Supreme Court. The question for the justices is whether the U.S. Constitution’s provision giving state legislatures the power to make the rules about the “times, places and manner” of congressional elections cuts state courts out of the process.

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The nation’s largest public utility is recommending replacing an aging coal burning power plant with natural gas, ignoring calls for the Tennessee Valley Authority to speed its transition to renewable energy. TVA on Friday announced the completion of its environmental impact statement for replacing the Cumberland Fossil Plant near Cumberland City, Tennessee. TVA says in a news release that solar and battery storage would be more costly and time-consuming than gas. The recommendation still needs the approval of TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash. He has previously spoken in favor of gas. The announcement drew immediate backlash from groups that include the Center for Biological Diversity, which calls the plan “reckless.”

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Eight years into a U.S. program to control damage from feral pigs, the invasive animals are still a multibillion-dollar plague on farmers, wildlife and the environment. They've been wiped out in 11 of the 41 states where they were reported in 2014 or 2015. And there are fewer in parts of the other 30. But in spite of more than $100 million in federal money, officials estimate there are still 6 million to 9 million hogs gone wild nationwide and in three U.S. territories, doing at least $2.5 billion a year in U.S. damages. Estimates in 2014 were 5 million hogs and $1.5 billion in damages. Experts say the bigger figures are due to better estimates, not increases.

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Police in Raleigh, North Carolina, have released body camera video from a shootout with a 15-year-old boy suspected of fatally shooting five people and wounding two more. Police spent several hours searching for the armed suspect after the rampage seven weeks ago. The teen was ultimately found in a shed behind a residential property. The newly released video images show officers surrounding the structure. Multiple shots ring out from the building, and officers return fire. The video also shows Raleigh Police Officer Casey Clark being shot in the right knee and then dragged to safety behind another building.

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Since the recovery of sunken treasure began decades ago from an 1857 shipwreck off the coast of South Carolina, tens of millions of dollars worth of gold has been sold. But scientists, historians and collectors say that the real fortunes will begin to hit the auction block on Saturday in Reno. For the first time, hundreds of Gold Rush-era artifacts entombed in the S.S. Central America, known as the “Ship of Gold,” will go on public sale. A few of the items from the pre-Civil War steamship, which sank in a hurricane on its way from Panama to New York City, could fetch as much as $1 million.

North Carolina government is appealing a judge’s order that demands by certain dates many more community services for people with intellectual and development disabilities who otherwise live at institutions. Health and Human Services Secretary Kody Kinsley announced the formal challenge on Wednesday. He says his agency has grave concerns about some directives issued four weeks ago by Judge Allen Baddour. One in particular says new admissions to new admissions for people with such disabilities in state-run development centers, privately intermediate care facilities and certain adult care homes must end by January 2028. Kinsley says the decision could shutter small facilities and leave clients without accommodations.

National & World AP Stories

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China is easing some of the world’s most stringent anti-COVID controls and authorities say new variants are weaker. But they have yet to say when they might end a "zero-COVID“ strategy that confines millions of people to their homes and set off protests and demands for President Xi Jinping to resign. Commuters in Beijing and at least 16 other cities are allowed to board buses and subways without a virus test in the previous 48 hours for the first time in months. The government announced plans to vaccinate millions of elderly people. That spurred hopes for quick reopening of the country. But health experts and economists warn it will be mid-2023 and possibly 2024 before “zero COVID” ends.

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DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The leader of the United Arab Emirates made a surprise visit on Monday to Qatar as it is hosting the World Cup — his first since leading a yearslong four-nation boycott of Doha over a political dispute that poisoned regional relations.

Sudan’s ruling generals and the main pro-democracy group have signed a framework deal meant to take the country to its next elections but key dissenters have stayed out of the agreement. It pledges to establish a new, civilian-led transitional government and offers a path forward in the wake of Sudan’s stalled transition to democracy following the October 2021 coup. The deal — the first of at least two planned accords — was signed by Sudan’s two top generals and the largest pro-democracy group, Forces of Freedom and Change, in Khartoum on Monday. But several of Sudan’s key dissenters have boycotted the deal, including Sudan’s grassroots pro-democracy network, which has continually refused to negotiate with the ruling generals.

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SUMBERWULUH, Indonesia (AP) — Improved weather conditions Monday allowed rescuers to resume evacuation efforts and a search for possible victims after the highest volcano on Indonesia’s most densely populated island erupted, triggered by monsoon rains.

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Actor, musician and children’s author widely known for his portrayal of one of the first regular characters on the children’s show “Sesame Street,” Bob McGrath, has died at the age of 90. McGrath’s passing was confirmed by his family who posted on his Facebook page on Sunday. Sesame Workshop tweeted Sunday evening that it “mourns the passing of Bob McGrath, a beloved member of the Sesame Street family for over 50 years.” McGrath was a founding cast member of “Sesame Street” when the show premiered in 1969. He is survived by his wife, Ann Logan Sperry, and their five children.

Qatar's strict rules regarding alcohol have drawn attention as it hosts the World Cup. Fans cannot buy beers at stadiums in the Muslim country, but they can in the fan zones. There are also hotel bars and night clubs serving alcoholic beverages. In addition, there’s a liquor store where non-Muslim residents and visitors can shop after applying for a government-issued license. Drinking alcohol is considered haram, or forbidden, in Islam.

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World shares are mixed and oil prices have risen after the European Union and the Group of Seven agreed on a boycott of most Russian oil and committed to a price cap of $60 per barrel on Russian exports. Shares fell in Paris and Frankfurt but rose in London and Tokyo. Hong Kong's benchmark jumped 4.5% and the Shanghai Composite added 1.8% as more Chinese cities eased away pandemic precautions in a potential boon to the economy. Shares were mixed Friday on Wall Street, as investors fretted over inflation after a report showed U.S. wages were accelerating.