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Community Band: The Tar River Community Band will present a program of Christmas music at 7 p.m. today at the Greenville Mall, 714 S.E. Greenville Blvd., between Belk and Victoria’s Secret.

Federal investigators on Thursday announced they ruled the cause of a fire that shuttered the QVC Distribution Center as undetermined after a nearly yearlong investigation.

For more than 200 years, sailboats and fishing boats have unknowingly passed over the site of a presumed historic shipwreck off the southern coast of the island of Antigua. Now, East Carolina University maritime historians, underwater archaeologists, divers and students are researching the h…

Local Events

East Carolina’s women’s basketball team turned in another impressive defense-to-offense performance on Tuesday night and strolled past visiting Maryland Eastern Shore, 67-42, in Minges Coliseum.

Bless our hearts, if you-know-who takes the oath of office again, he will swear to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, except those times he terminates it.

The Respect for Marriage Act, codifying same-sex marriage as federal law, already decided as such by the Supreme Court in the Obergefell decision in 2015, has now passed the Senate. If it passes in the House, President Joe Biden will sign it into law.

Legislative leaders are baffled. We all should be. After pouring more than $200 million additional dollars into helping our children read at grade level, they (and we) want to know when we are going to see results. Just before Thanksgiving we learned that the 2021 test results showed only 47…

BOH. Why is no one talking about the sheer pleasure of coming home from vacation and using your own bathroom?

Most of a North Carolina community found itself in the dark Saturday night after someone ripped away a gate and riddled a pair of unmanned Duke Energy substations with bullets.

James Sprunt Community College would like to extend congratulations to Emily Craft, JSCC Foundation Presidential Scholar, for receiving Girl Scouting’s highest honor, the Girl Scout Gold Award.

I love sandwiches. They are easy to make, easy to eat, packed with a wheel of healthy colors and offer up a world of flavor combinations. It’s no wonder Americans consume millions of sandwiches per year. This brings me to this week’s Hot Dish. Let me introduce you to Kings Deli, located in t…

The holiday season is full of traditions. Traditions bring pleasure and reassurance. They give us something to look forward to, and in times of difficulty or uncertainty, traditions root and comfort us. Sharing and repeating traditions connect us to our past and reinforce our relationships w…

The seniors in Pitt County have done well in getting their vaccines; younger people not so much. If you are going to be around older adults this holiday, please get vaccinated and boosted. Eat healthily and be physically active. You don’t want to be sick and miss out on the holiday fun.

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State AP Stories

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North Carolina drag performers and LGBTQ community members fear for their safety after an attack on the electrical grid in Moore County left tens of thousands without power for several days. Authorities have said two power substations were shot up by one or more people with apparent criminal intent Saturday evening. The attack cut power to a drag show happening simultaneously in Southern Pines that had been the target of protests. While police have not drawn a connection between the drag event and the outages, the incident intensified concerns in the local LGBTQ community.

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Authorities in North Carolina are seeking search warrants related to the shooting of electric substations in Moore County that caused widespread power outages. FBI spokeswoman Shelley Lynch confirmed Thursday that the agency is seeking cell phone records that could indicate who was near the substations Saturday night. She said such search warrant applications “are a normal step in a law enforcement investigation.” Richard Maness, chief deputy of the Moore County Sheriff’s Office, told The News & Observer that detectives have requested court approval for several warrants. He declined to provide specifics. The shootings had cut power to 45,000 customers as well as schools and a hospital.

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One of the world's most ruthless pirates hid in plain sight in the American colonies, according to new evidence. A historian and metal detectorist in Rhode Island says that he’s unearthed 26 silver coins with Arabic inscriptions that notorious English pirate Henry Every once seized from an armed Indian ship. The 1695 heist made Every the target of the first worldwide manhunt. Detectorists say that before he fled to the Bahamas and then vanished, Every first hid out in New England.

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Duke Energy says it has completed repairs on substation equipment damaged in shootings over the weekend and restored power thousands of customers who lost electricity in a central North Carolina county.  All but a handful of households in Moore County had regained power as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to Duke Energy’s outage map. A peak of more than 45,000 customers lost power over the weekend. Authorities have said the outages began shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday night after one or more people drove up to two substations, breached the gates and opened fire on them. Police have not released a motive.

The Supreme Court seems skeptical of making a broad ruling that would leave state legislatures virtually unchecked when making rules for elections for Congress and the presidency. In nearly three hours of arguments Wednesday, liberal and conservative justices appeared to take issue with the main thrust of a challenge asking them to essentially eliminate the power of state courts to strike down legislature-drawn, gerrymandered congressional districts on grounds that they violate state constitutions. But it was harder to see exactly where the court would land. A trio of conservative justices who probably control the outcome, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, seemed open to simply limiting state court power in some circumstances.

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Duke Energy says it expects to be able to restore power by Wednesday night to a county where electric substations were attacked by gunfire. Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks said the company expects to have power back Wednesday just before midnight in Moore County. The company had previously estimated it would be restored Thursday morning. About 35,000 Duke energy customers were still without power Tuesday, down from more than 45,000 at the height of the outage Saturday. Authorities have said the outages began shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday night after one or more people drove up to two substations, breached the gates and opened fire on them.

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Two North Carolina Democratic government lawyers have argued on competing sides at an appeals court in a case over whether the Wake County district attorney can prosecute Attorney General Josh Stein or others for a 2020 campaign commercial. Private attorneys for Stein and Wake District Attorney Lorrin Freeman met Tuesday before a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. At issue is a state law that makes certain political speech a crime. Stein's campaign ad criticized his then-Republican challenger for AG over untested rape kits. Stein and his allies say the 1931 law is unconstitutional and want the judges to block its enforcement.

A U.S. Supreme Court case involving North Carolina's congressional districts could have ramifications for the way voting districts are drawn in other states. At issue in Wednesday's arguments is whether state courts can strike down U.S. House maps passed by state lawmakers for violating state constitutions. North Carolina's Republican legislative leaders are asserting an “independent state legislature” theory — claiming the U.S. Constitution gives no role to state courts in federal election disputes. The outcome could affect similar lawsuits pending in state courts in Kentucky, New Mexico and Utah. It also could have implications in New York and Ohio, where state courts previously struck down U.S. House districts.

National & World AP Stories

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The Colorado Springs gay nightclub shooter had charges dropped in a 2021 bomb threat case after family members who were terrorized in the incident refused to cooperate. That's according to the district attorney and court documents unsealed Thursday. The documents say the charges were dropped despite authorities finding more than 100 pounds of explosive materials and warnings from other relatives that Anderson Lee Aldrich was “certain” to hurt or kill a set of grandparents if freed. The district attorney said Aldrich tried to reclaim guns that were seized after the threat, but authorities did not return the weapons. The district attorney spoke hours after a judge unsealed the prior case.

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An international conservation organization says populations of a vulnerable species of marine mammal, numerous species of abalone and a type of Caribbean coral are now threatened with extinction. The International Union for Conservation of Nature announced the update Friday during the UN Convention on Biological Diversity conference in Montreal. The IUCN uses its Red List of Threatened Species to categorize which animals are approaching extinction. This year, the union is sounding the alarm about the dugong, which is a large and docile marine mammal that lives from the eastern coast of Africa to the western Pacific Ocean.

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Brittney Griner has returned to the United States, nearly 10 months after the basketball star’s detention in Russia made her the most high-profile American jailed abroad and set off a political firestorm. Griner’s status as an openly gay Black woman, her prominence in women’s basketball and her imprisonment in a country where authorities have been hostile to the LGBTQ community brought tremendous attention to her case. Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine after her arrest complicated matters further. The deal saw Griner exchanged Thursday for notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout. But the U.S. failed to win freedom for another American. Asked if more such swaps could happen, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that “everything is possible.”

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The head of NATO has expressed worry that the fighting in Ukraine could spin out of control and become a war between Russia and NATO. According to an interview released by Norwegian broadcaster NRK, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said: "If things go wrong, they can go horribly wrong.” He said that “it is a terrible war in Ukraine and it can become a war that spread into a major war between NATO and Russia.” He added NATO is working to avoid that. The Kremlin has accused NATO allies of effectively becoming a party to the conflict by giving Ukraine weapons, training its troops and feeding military intelligence to attack Russian forces.

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A senior official at the federal Bureau of Prisons has been repeatedly promoted, most recently to one of the highest posts in the agency. And this has happened despite his being accused of beating multiple Black inmates in the 1990s. Since then, people who know Thomas Ray Hinkle say he has repeatedly boasted about the beatings and being part of a violent, racist group of officers that called themselves “The Cowboys.” An Associated Press investigation has found the Bureau of Prisons has continued to promote Hinkle despite numerous red flags. It rewarded him again and again over a three-decade career while others who assaulted inmates lost their jobs and went to prison.

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BERLIN (AP) — German authorities said Friday that judges have confirmed the arrest of 23 people detained earlier this week on suspicion of planning to topple the government, while the extradition of two others detained abroad is being sought.

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Santa and Mrs. Claus left Rudolph at home to catch a ride recently on an Alaska Air National Guard cargo plane to visit the Inupiac village of Nuiqsut, about 30 miles south of the Arctic Ocean. The visit in late November was part of the Operation Santa Claus outreach program, in which the guard tries to bring  Christmas gifts to a few Alaska Native villages each year. The plane carried the important guests, but also more than 1,400 pounds of gifts for about 160 students at the town's school. The program dates back to 1956 and for some villages hit by adversity, it brings them Christmas itself.