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A screening of the documentary “After Trayvon, A Brave Short Film” followed by a panel discussion at ECU and a celebration of African American authors from Winterville are among events celebrating Black History Month.

Vietnam vets: The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 272 holds its monthly membership meeting Thursday at The Hut, 2805 Cemetery Road, Greenville, with a free meal at 6 p.m. and meeting at 6:30 p.m. Membership is open to all Vietnam-era veterans. Bring your DD214.

Pitt County commissioners directed staff to develop a request for proposal to seek options for recycling services after an executive for the current provider said the county would have to pay “significantly more.”

Local Events

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A battle of the top two teams in the Eastern Plains 2A conference showed Farmville Central remains on another level as it took down Greene Central 85-75 to capture a conference championship for the 10th straight season and lock up the top seed in the NCHSAA 2A state playoffs.

At the Feb. 1 funeral of her son, Tyre Nichols, RowVaughn Wells was a portrait of dignity and restraint, as she has been over the last several weeks. As she spoke, tears rolled down her cheeks and her voice broke, but she managed to convey purpose, insisting that Congress pass a federal poli…

Imagine if the Republican Party rigged its presidential nominating calendar to help Donald Trump slide past states where he’s politically weak. Would that go down easily with the GOP or the press corps? That’s essentially what Democrats are doing to help President Biden — to little protest o…

The late comedian Tim Wilson had a comedy routine about his Uncle B.S. It was his opinion that every family has one braggadocious relative that would insert himself into important events. For example, his Uncle B.S. drove Rosa Parks’ bus, was a co-worker of Lee Harvey Oswald at the book depo…

The first Confederate statues were monuments to victory in a war of Southern aggression. Defeated at Appomattox, Southern whites regrouped by organizing terrorist militias and ransacking the region’s newly biracial local and state governments. As the North soured on Reconstruction and white …

There is no cure for long COVID at this time. Being vaccinated and boosted is your best bet to avoid it. Also, eating fruits and vegetables (canned, fresh, frozen or dried) every day, staying rested and getting some outdoor time will help you resist viruses.

I love light. I have twinkle lights all over the yard and keep lights burning inside and outside most of the time. When I look around at the lamps we have, I realize they tell a story of the life Tom and I have lived together for nearly 58 years.

State AP Stories

Hundreds of thousands of students who have dropped off public school rolls since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic are unaccounted for. An analysis by The Associated Press, Stanford University’s Big Local News project and Stanford education professor Thomas Dee found 240,000 students in 21 states who have gone missing from schools. They did not move out of state, and did not sign up for private school or home-school. Early in the pandemic, school staff went door-to-door to reengage kids, but most such efforts have ended. Dee says the data suggests a need to understand more about the children who aren’t in school and how that will affect their development.

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A federal appeals court has sided again with North Carolina’s attorney general in a lawsuit involving a libel law that a district attorney sought to use to attempt to prosecute Josh Stein over a 2020 campaign commercial. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed on Wednesday with Stein and others associated with his political committee and said the 1931 law is most likely unconstitutional. Stein's campaign committee sued last summer because it was worried Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman’s office could soon seek indictments. The same panel granted a temporary injunction against Freeman in August. Stein is running for governor next year.

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A bill increasing punishments for violent protests following the 2020 demonstrations over George Floyd’s murder passed the House despite harsh criticism from social justice advocates. Some bipartisan support for Wednesday's measure signals a potential override of any veto by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who issued one that blocked similar legislation two years ago. The bills have been spearheaded by Republican House Speaker Tim Moore. Wednesday's measure now goes to the Senate. Democrats who opposed the measure and representatives of advocacy groups said the changes were unnecessary or attempts to discourage minority and low-income residents from speaking out. Some amendments were approved to address concerns of Democratic lawmakers.

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North Carolina’s Republican-controlled Senate has passed a bill requiring teachers to alert parents in most circumstances before calling a student by a different name or pronoun. Sponsors say the bill is needed to keep parents informed about what their children are being taught in public schools. Critics say it would make schools unsafe spaces for LGBTQ and questioning children to explore their identities. The proposal passed the Senate 29-18 on Tuesday. It would also prohibit instruction about gender identity and sexuality in K-4 classrooms. It now heads to the state House, where Republicans likely would need some Democratic support to push it through.

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The daughter of a South Florida Lyft driver who went missing more than a week ago has confirmed that the man has died. Lindsay DiBetta posted on Facebook on Tuesday that the family would be announcing information on services for her father, 74-year-old Gary Levin, in the next few days. Levin went missing Jan. 30 after dropping off a customer north of Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. His family reported him missing when he didn’t return home. Levin’s red 2022 Kia Stinger was spotted in Miami, Okeechobee and Gainesville, in north Florida last week. It was stopped Thursday night in North Carolina, and the driver is being held on $2 million bond.

Former longtime North Carolina state Sen. Jerry Tillman has died at age 82. A funeral home confirmed Monday that Tillman died Saturday at a Greensboro health facility from natural causes. The Randolph County Republican was a retired public schoolteacher, administrator and coach first elected to the Senate in 2002. He served as a Senate majority whip, education budget writer and finance committee co-chair after Republicans took over the Senate. Tillman often pressed for legislation that promoted school choice and tax relief. He retired in mid-2020. A funeral is set for later this month in Archdale.

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Republican lawmakers are accusing China of deliberately surveilling sensitive U.S. military sites with a suspected spy balloon. And they say the Biden administration has given Beijing an intelligence opening by not downing the balloon during its high-altitude drift through American airspace. Democrats are defending Biden and they note that there were similar incursions while Donald Trump was president. A missile from an F-22 fighter jet downed the balloon on Saturday off the South Carolina coast. A U.S. official tells The Associated Press that those involved in the recovery of the balloon are planning to take it to the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia, for further analysis.

National & World AP Stories

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The fire chief in Ohio's small town of East Palestine says Wednesday that evacuated residents can safely return to the area where crews burned toxic chemicals after a train derailed five days ago near the Pennsylvania state line. Authorities in East Palestine had warned that burning vinyl chloride that was in five of the derailed tanker cars would send hydrogen chloride and the toxic gas phosgene into the air. They said Wednesday subsequent air monitoring hasn’t detected dangerous levels inside or outside the mile-radius evacuation zone, which stretched into Pennsylvania. Many nearby residents left shortly after the derailment, and others were ordered out before the controlled release of the chemicals because of concerns about serious health risks from it.

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For years, the people of Aleppo bore the brunt of bombardment and fighting when their city, once Syria’s largest and most cosmopolitan, was among the civil war’s fiercest battle zones. Even that didn’t prepare them for the devastation and terror wreaked by this week’s earthquake. The natural disaster piled further suffering on Aleppo and Syria more broadly. Many also say that the earthquake has been more terrible than the war in its destruction and aftermath. In the words of Wissam Zarqa, an opposition supporter: “The destruction of natural disasters is all pain and nothing else but pain.”

With concerns about war, drought and the environment raising new worries about food supplies, the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization has christened 2023 as the “Year of Millets” — grains that have been cultivated in all corners of the globe for millennia but have been largely pushed aside. Such grains are getting a new look at a time when drought swept across much of eastern Africa; war between Russia and Ukraine raised prices of foodstuffs and fertilizer from Europe’s breadbasket; worries rose about environmental fallout of cross-globe shipments of farm goods; and many chefs and consumers want diversify diets.

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The Los Angeles Lakers are trading Russell Westbrook to Utah and reacquiring guard D’Angelo Russell from Minnesota in a three-team, eight-player deal, a person with knowledge of the trade told The Associated Press. Los Angeles is also getting guard Malik Beasley and forward Jarred Vanderbilt from the Jazz, bolstering its core around LeBron James in a bid to jump-start its sputtering season. Minnesota is getting Mike Conley Jr. and Nickeil Alexander-Walker from Utah along with three second-round picks, while the Lakers are sending Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones and their first-round pick in 2027 to Utah with Westbrook. Westbrook’s tenure with his hometown team lasted just 130 tumultuous games.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un brought his young daughter to a huge military parade showing off the latest hardware of his fast-growing nuclear arsenal, including intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to reach the U.S. North Korean photos showed Kim smiling and raising his hand from a balcony as thousands of troops lined up in a brightly illuminated square in Pyongyang. The parade marked the 75th founding anniversary of North Korea’s army and came after weeks of preparations involving huge numbers of troops and civilians. Analysts say the promotion of his daughter at recent military events is intended as a reminder of his intent to use his nuclear arsenal to extend his dynastic rule.

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — An international team of investigators said Wednesday it found “strong indications” that Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the supply of heavy anti-aircraft weapons to Ukrainian separatists who shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014 with a Russian…