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FRANKFURT, Germany — The OPEC+ alliance of oil-exporting countries decided Wednesday to sharply cut production to prop up sagging oil prices, a move analysts said could deal the struggling global economy another blow and raise pump prices for U.S. drivers just ahead of key national elections.

Chow Down: The Farmville Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center will host the Chow Down for the Chamber fundraiser for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Friday. Restaurants in town will donate a percentage of sales to the chamber to encourage people to go out to eat. 

Local Events

Russell Reeves and his partner, Ray Novicki of Southern Pines, tied for ninth place in the 11th Carolinas Super Senior Four-Ball tournament at Walnut Creek Country Club in Goldsboro last week.

Wake up Greenville! The N.C. Department of Transportation has started “Operation Crash Reduction” to crack down on speeders in the state. Does information like this even reach our city government or do they just ignore it? I think we all know the answer. Give us candidates in the next electi…

I believe in climate change. It always has. I have yet to find someone to explain how mankind caused the Ice Age and Great Flood. However, we should be good stewards of Mother Earth.

No, polio is not a threat to the vast majority of Americans. That’s because the vast majority has received a very effective polio vaccine. And that’s also why public officials should stop turning a concern centered on a few under-vaxxed communities into everyone’s problem.

North Carolina endured the wrath of yet another powerful hurricane last week. And while it comes as little solace to those who lost homes, businesses or, in a few tragic cases, loved ones, on the whole, the situation could have been much, much worse. One need only glance at the devastation t…

Bless our hearts. I see from the state election judicial guide that judges for the state Supreme and Appeals Court seats are running by party. Seems that Democrat judges vote the party line same as Democrat politicians. If the voters want their decisions upheld, it is time to get rid of prog…

Don’t underestimate the lentil. These tiny, pebble-like legumes may be a tad frumpy in appearance, but any perceived drabness or lumpiness shouldn’t deter you from eating them. Lentils are rich in plant-based protein and fiber and are an excellent source of B vitamins, magnesium and potassiu…

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State AP Stories

A North Carolina man has pleaded guilty to plotting with other members of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group to violently stop the transfer of presidential power after the 2020 election. Jeremy Joseph Bertino is the first Proud Boys member to plead guilty to a seditious conspiracy charge. Bertino also pleaded guilty on Thursday to a charge of unlawfully possessing firearms. Bertino has agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigation of the role that Proud Boys leaders played in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Former Proud Boys national chairman Henry “Ënrique” Tarrio and four other group members also have been charged with seditious conspiracy.

President Joe Biden is working to create a manufacturing revival. He's even helping to put factory jobs in Republican territory under the belief it can help restore faith in U.S. democracy. The latest development came Tuesday, when chipmaker Micron announced an investment of up to $100 billion over the next 20-plus years to build a plant in upstate New York that could create 9,000 factory jobs. It’s a commitment made in a GOP congressional district that Biden and the company credited to the recently enacted $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act. Biden's goal is to keep opening new factories in states where Democrats’ footholds are shaky at best.

In Georgia’s pivotal U.S. Senate race, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, have each sought to cast the other as an abortion extremist. At the same time, they deflect questions about the details of their own positions on the issue. The sidestepping reflects the sensitivity of abortion politics in a post-Roe v. Wade America, where the procedure is open to regulation by state governments and, potentially, by Congress. But Walker’s strategy may not work much longer after The Daily Beast reported Monday that he paid for a girlfriend’s 2009 abortion — a blatant contradiction of his claims that there’s “no excuse” for a procedure he characterizes as “killing.” Walker called the report a lie.

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Advocates say schools increasingly are removing children with disabilities from the classroom because of behavior issues related to their disability but not recording the actions as suspension. The practice is known as informal removal, which advocates say amounts to a form of off-the-books, de facto denial of education that evades accountability. Because the removals aren’t recorded, there’s no way to quantify how often they happen. But the assistant secretary for the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights, Catherine E. Lhamon, says the practice has "taken hold in a way that is dangerous for students and needs to be addressed.”

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A Delaware judge says cigarette manufacturer ITG Brands assumed liability for tobacco settlement payments to the state of Florida when it acquired four brands from Reynolds American in 2015. Vice Chancellor Lori Will also said in Friday's ruling that ITG must compensate Reynolds American for losses due to that assumed liability. Reynolds sold the Kool, Winston, Salem and Maverick brands to ITG in 2014 to gain federal regulators' approval of Reynolds’ acquisition of Lorillard Inc. Before the sale closed, Reynolds American affiliate R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. was making payments under a preexisting settlement agreement with Florida for reimbursement of smoking-related health care costs.

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North Carolina’s State Board of Elections is directing county election officials not to engage in signature matching when reviewing absentee ballot envelopes this fall after a judge rejected the GOP appeal of a state board ruling prohibiting the practice. According to a directive sent to county election directors from the board’s legal counsel Paul Cox, the judge’s ruling maintains the status quo outlined in state law. Superior Court Judge Stephan Futrell ruled from the bench Monday afternoon, denying the party’s motion for a temporary restraining order and preventing the use of signature matching in the 2022 general election, state board spokesperson Pat Gannon said.

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Emergency responders are seeking to evacuate residents from the largest barrier island off Florida's Gulf Coast, and survivors there spoke of the terror of riding out Hurricane Ian in flooded homes and howling winds. A volunteer group, Medic Corps, was flying residents off Pine island by helicopter on Saturday. The bridge to Pine Island was heavily damaged by the hurricane, leaving it reachable only by boat or air. Some residents said they hadn’t seen anyone from outside the island for days and spoke of being trapped in flooded homes as boats and other debris crashed around their houses in the storm surge. Some feared they wouldn't make it.

Local election officials across the United States are bracing for a wave of confrontations on Election Day in November. Emboldened Republican poll watchers, including many who embrace former President Donald Trump’s falsehoods about the 2020 election, are expected to flood election offices and polling places. The Republican Party and conservative activists have been holding poll watcher training sessions, but in many states they've barred the media from observing those sessions. Some Republican-led states passed laws after the 2020 election that require local election offices to allow poll watchers and give them expanded access to observe and challenge ballots.

National & World AP Stories

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Stocks closed lower again on Wall Street but still managed to hold onto sizable gains for the week. The S&P 500 fell 1% Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost a bit more than 1% and the Nasdaq gave back 0.7%. Bond yields moved higher. Investors were reviewing the latest data on jobs. More Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, but the labor market remains strong in the face of persistent inflation and a slowing overall U.S. economy. Traders will be watching closely on Friday when the government releases its monthly survey on the job market.

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Police say a baby girl, her parents and uncle have been found dead in a central California orchard two days after they were kidnapped at gunpoint from their business. Sheriff Vern Warnke announced Wednesday that the bodies were found in a Merced County orchard and told reporters: “Our worst fears have been confirmed.” Warnke said the victims were close to each other when found by a farm worker tending to an almond orchard in a remote area. The announcement came after authorities released surveillance video of a man kidnapping the 8-month-old, her parents and uncle on Monday. Authorities say they were taken by a convicted robber who tried to kill himself a day after the kidnappings.

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NEW YORK (AP) — Elon Musk’s lawyers said Thursday that Twitter is refusing to accept the Tesla billionaire’s renewed $44 billion bid for the social media company and are asking a Delaware court to halt an upcoming trial.

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Uvalde school officials have abruptly fired a former Texas state trooper who was on scene of the Robb Elementary School massacre in May and then hired by the school district. The firing Thursday came after CNN first reported that Crimson Elizondo had been hired by the Uvalde school district following one of the deadliest classroom shootings in U.S. history. In a statement, the school district said it apologized for “the pain that this revelation has caused.” Texas state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, whose district includes Uvalde, said Elizondo’s hiring “slapped this community in the face.”

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For the first time, the major U.S. theater chains will play a Netflix release after exhibitors and the streaming service reached a deal for a nationwide sneak-peak run of Rian Johnson’s “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.” Netflix announced Thursday that AMC, Regal Cinemas and Cinemark will all carry the “Knives Out” sequel for an exclusive one-week run beginning Nov. 23, one month before it begins streaming on Dec. 23. Up until now, those chains have largely refused to program Netflix releases. The deal stops short of a full theatrical release window for “Glass Onion." The film will play in about 600 domestic theaters.

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Russian missile attacks have hit apartments in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, killing three people and wounding at least 12. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskky called the attacks “absolute evil.” The head of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog said Thursday in Kyiv his agency will increase the number of inspectors at Ukraine's largest nuclear power plant from two to four. Ukrainian forces say they retook 400 square kilometers (154 square miles) of territory from the Russians in the Kherson region this month. Kherson is one of four regions Russia has illegally annexed. Elsewhere, several hundred Ukrainians fleeing Russian-occupied areas reportedly were detained near the Russian-Estonian border and taken on Russian trucks to an unknown destination.

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New York's attorney general says her office will appeal a federal judge's ruling that halted key provisions of the state's new rules on guns. The judge ordered a temporary hold earlier Thursday over restrictions on where people can carry weapons and a requirement for permit applicants to hand over social media information. The rules were part of a sweeping gun law that went into effect Sept. 1 and was designed to protect public safety while adhering to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that invalidated New York’s old system.

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A Connecticut jury has heard closing arguments in conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ defamation trial over his calling the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School a hoax. The three men and three women on the jury are expected to receive instructions from the judge and begin deliberating later Thursday on how much in damages Jones and his company Free Speech Systems should pay relatives of eight victims of the massacre, as well as an FBI agent who responded to the shooting. Jones was found liable for damages last year. The plaintiffs testified they have been harassed by hoax believers, including receiving death and rape threats. Jones has bashed the trial as a “kangaroo court” and is vowing to appeal.