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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

I’ve never worked in a bank where I was in charge of the money but I’m pretty sure that someone can account for every dollar at every bank. I’ve also never been in charge of a military armory, but I’m sure someone there is accountable for every weapon and its location. I think that many jobs…

Ideas that start on the progressive fringes have a way of becoming government policy these days, as President Biden’s $400 billion student loan cancellation shows. Lo, Democrats in Congress are now pressing the president to impose rent control nationwide.

Our senior senator, Thom Tillis, has a target on his back. Angry, disillusioned partisans are calling him a traitor, a betrayer. Curiously enough, those name callers aren’t Democrats, as might be expected, but Republicans — members of his own party!

Features

State AP Stories

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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.

Conservative political commentator Lynette Hardaway died earlier this month of a heart condition, according to a death certificate obtained by The Associated Press. Known by the moniker “Diamond” of the pro-Trump commentary duo Diamond and Silk, Hardaway, 51, died Jan. 8 of heart disease due to high blood pressure. The cause of Hardaway's death had become a topic of widespread speculation. A torrent of social media users suggested COVID-19 was to blame, while noting the sisters’ promotion of falsehoods about the virus. COVID-19 was not listed as a cause or contributing factor on Hardaway's death certificate.

National & World AP Stories

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Officials say a Palestinian gunman killed seven people and wounded three others near a synagogue in east Jerusalem in the deadliest attack on Israelis in years. The gunman was killed by police. The attack came a day after Israeli troops killed nine Palestinians during a raid at a refugee camp in the West Bank. The latest attack took place as worshippers were celebrating the Jewish Sabbath and set off public celebrations in both the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. The burst of violence poses an early challenge for Israel’s new government and casts a cloud over an upcoming visit by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

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Authorities in Memphis have released video showing Black motorist Tyre Nichols being beaten by 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-bumped and celebrated their actions. Five officers have been charged with murder in the assault that the Nichols family’s 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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After being held in detention in Texas for months during his legal fight to remain in the U.S., Afghan soldier Abdul Wasi Safi is now a free man as he works to secure asylum in America. Wasi Safi fled Afghanistan following the withdrawal of U.S. forces in August 2021, fearing reprisals from the Taliban. He was arrested in September near Eagle Pass, Texas, after crossing the Mexico border. He was freed earlier this week. On Friday, he told reporters in Houston that he looks forward to one day being able to live the American dream.

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IMSA is bringing North American sports car racing into the hybrid era starting with Saturday's Rolex 24 at Daytona. The twice-round-the-clock endurance race will be the first to use new hybrid engines in the top class. It makes IMSA the first North American racing series to use hybrid technology. The change lured new manufacturers to the class as automakers craved the pairing of a motorsports program that is in step with its road car program. Most automakers are shifting toward electric technology. But with the change comes concerns on durability for new cars with new engines in the longest and most prestigious race of the year.

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Alex Murdaugh’s comments to police about his whereabouts around the time his wife and son were fatally shot may not have been accurate. That's according to video evidence presented by prosecutors Friday at the South Carolina attorney’s murder trial. In cross examining one of the detectives who interviewed Murdaugh, his lawyer underlined that despite the gory scene of two people killed with powerful weapons at close range, Murdaugh didn’t appear to have any blood on him. The 54-year-old attorney is standing trial on two counts of murder in the shootings of his wife and son at their Colleton County home and hunting lodge on June 7, 2021.

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Protesters and police unions are condemning Memphis police after the public release of video showing five officers savagely beating Tyre Nichols, who later died. Protesters gathered Friday night in a park near the White House, in Memphis and other cities as the video was released. In Memphis, protesters chanted: “Say his name! Tyre Nichols!” and several dozen protesters blocked a heavily traveled bridge on Interstate 55 that is one of two main spans connecting Arkansas and Tennessee over the Mississippi River.

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The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration quietly ousted its former top official in Mexico last year over improper contact with lawyers for narcotraffickers. Nicholas Palmeri’s socializing and vacationing with Miami drug lawyers, detailed in confidential records obtained by the Associated Press, brought his ultimate downfall after just 14 months at the helm. But colleagues told the AP there were plenty of other red flags, including lax handling of the coronavirus pandemic that resulted in two sickened agents having to be airlifted out of the country. A separate internal probe found Palmeri used drug-fighting funds for inappropriate purposes, including to pay for his own birthday party.