Skip to main content

Two local robotics teams received honors at the recent FIRST Tech Challenge competition hosted by Pitt County Schools. Held Jan. 28 at Hope Middle School, the competition drew two dozen teams from across the state.

Local Events

Hena Khan was raised in the Washington suburbs, the daughter of immigrants from Pakistan, and she describes the experience this way: “When I was growing up, it was really more about feeling invisible and not thinking my culture mattered. Nobody at school knew anything about being a Muslim, b…

The two most common themes of MAGA sorehead emails I received last year were the inevitability of an anti-Biden landslide in 2022, and the certainty of Hillary Clinton’s prosecution by “independent counsel” John Durham, supposedly for falsifying evidence against Donald Trump during the “Russ…

Q I live in Boston, and the news here seems to be fixated on a brand-new COVID-19 variant. Omicron was all everyone talked about for a long time. Does this mean the new variant we are hearing about is worse? What are we supposed to do to protect ourselves?

State AP Stories

  • Updated

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. But the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee says “clearly this was an attempt by China to gather information, to defeat our command and control of our sensitive missile defense and nuclear weapon sites.” A missile from an F-22 fighter jet downed the balloon on Saturday off the South Carolina coast.

  • Updated

China is threatening what it calls “further actions” after an American fighter jet shot down a suspected spy balloon off the East Coast of the United States on Saturday. The U.S. says the massive balloon was a surveillance craft that spent days crossing over sensitive military sites in North America. The White House says President Joe Biden approved the downing, and followed the advice of military officials by waiting to bring down the craft over water rather than risk debris falling on populated areas. But China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs insists again that the craft was civilian and its flight an accident. It is criticizing the U.S. for what it terms “an obvious overreaction and a serious violation of international practice.”

  • Updated

Eyes were locked on the Carolina skies Saturday as a suspected Chinese spy balloon ended a weeklong traverse over the U.S., drifted over the Atlantic Ocean and was shot down by a fighter jet. In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina people lined a boardwalk and cheered as a missile from an F-22 fighter struck the balloon and it plummeted into the water. As the balloon came over Myrtle Beach, software consultant Haley Walsh says she saw it floating in the clear blue sky. She felt and heard a boom and ran outside where she saw the balloon tumbling down.

  • Updated

The car owned by a missing 74-year-old Florida Lyft driver has been found in North Carolina and the man who was driving it is wanted in connection with a homicide last week in southwest Florida. Authorities said Friday that Gary Levin has been missing since Monday, when his family believes he picked up a customer in Palm Beach County, Florida. His red 2022 Kia Stinger was spotted in Miami that day and later in north Florida. The vehicle was then seen Thursday evening in North Carolina and driver Matthew Flores was arrested following a police chase. Flores is a suspect in a slaying that occurred nearly a week before Levin went missing.

  • Updated

North Carolina’s newly seated Supreme Court has heard arguments on whether people convicted of felonies should be permitted to vote if they aren’t in prison but still are serving probation or parole or have yet to pay fines. The justices listened Thursday to their first high-profile case since the court flipped to Republican control in January. They didn’t immediately rule. The case stems from 2019 litigation that challenged a 1973 state law automatically restoring voting rights only after the “unconditional discharge of an inmate, of a probationer, or of a parolee.” Roughly 56,000 people could be affected by the outcome.

  • Updated

Critics of a North Carolina bill that advanced in the state Senate say it could jeopardize the mental health and physical safety of LGBTQ students who could be outed to their parents without consent. The bill would require schools to alert parents prior to a change in the name or pronouns used for their child. Several mental and behavioral health experts, parents and teachers told the Senate health care committee on Thursday that the bill would force teachers to violate the trust of their students and could create life-threatening situations for students without affirming home environments. The proposal now heads to the Senate rules committee.

Some North Carolina senators want tougher punishments for intentionally damaging utility equipment in light of the December attacks on two Duke Energy substations in Moore County that left 45,000 customers without power. The legislators filed a bill on Wednesday that would make it a high-grade felony to intentionally destroy or damage any “energy facility.” Current state law only makes it a misdemeanor to vandalize equipment that interrupts the transmission of electricity. A perpetrator also would face a $250,000 fine and potential lawsuits. Someone also fired at an electric cooperative's substation in Randolph County two weeks ago, causing damages but no outages. No arrests have been in either attack.

National & World AP Stories

  • Updated

Pope Francis accused some of his critics Sunday of taking advantage of retired Pope Benedict XVI’s death to score ideological points in the latest salvo in the partisan divide of the Catholic Church. During an airborne news conference returning from South Sudan, Francis was asked about the criticism that accelerated after the Dec. 31 death of Benedict, who lived in the Vatican as an emeritus pope alongside Francis for the first 10 years of his pontificate. Benedict’s longtime secretary and some conservative cardinals came out with books, interviews and memos criticizing Francis’ papacy. The commentary had the effect of pitting the recently departed former pope, who remained a point of reference for conservatives and traditionalists, against the current pope.

  • Updated

Ukraine’s defense minister is expressing confidence in securing Western allies’ agreement to his country’s latest weapons request, warplanes to fight off Russian forces that invaded nearly a year ago. Oleksii Reznikov told a news conference in Kyiv on Sunday that Ukraine has already received everything from its “wish list to Santa,” except planes. He predicted confidently: “There will be planes, too.” So far, Ukraine has won support from Baltic nations and Poland in its quest to obtain Western fighter jets. But several Western leaders have expressed concern that providing warplanes could provoke the Kremlin and draw their countries deeper into the conflict. German-made tanks are on the way to Ukraine. Reznikov said his forces would begin training on Leopard tanks on Monday.

  • Updated

Temperatures in many areas of the Northeast U.S. are climbing into the mid-40s Fahrenheit, a day after the region suffered through temperatures that plummeted into the negative teens. In some places Saturday it felt like minus 45 to minus 50 degrees with the wind chill. Atop Mount Washington in New Hampshire, the temperature rose to a relatively balmy 18 degrees on Sunday after nosediving to minus 47 a day earlier. The wind chill there was measured in excess of minus 108 degrees. There was some collateral damage from the extreme cold, including at a Boston hospital that closed its emergency department when a pipe froze and burst.

  • Updated

For the first time in almost two months, the box office doesn’t belong to blue people. After seven weeks as the top film in theaters, “Avatar: The Way of Water” was finally knocked out of the No. 1 spot by the M. Night Shyamalan thriller “Knock at the Cabin” and the octogenarian comedy “80 for Brady.” “Knock at the Cabin" dethroned James Cameron’s 3-D sci-fi epic with an estimated $14.2 million in ticket sales. Second place went to “80 for Brady,” a comedy about four friends who take a trip to the 2017 Super Bowl. It opened with an estimated $12.5 million. “Avatar: The Way of Water” slid to third with $10.8 million in its eighth weekend.

  • Updated

The downing of a suspected Chinese spy balloon just off South Carolina’s coast created a spectacle over one of the state’s tourism hubs that drew reactions ranging from bewilderment to cheers. The balloon was struck by a missile from an F-22 fighter just off Myrtle Beach, fascinating sky-watchers across a populous area known as the Grand Strand for its miles of beaches that draw retirees and vacationers. Crowds gathered in neighborhoods, hotel parking lots and beaches to watch the balloon hover, with some cheering just after it went down. The festive mood belied the seriousness of the situation, with law enforcement around the county of 366,000 warning people not to touch any debris and to instead call dispatchers.

  • Updated

Pope Francis, the head of the Anglican Communion and the top Presbyterian minister have spoken out on LGBTQ rights. They together denounced the criminalization of homosexuality on Sunday and said gay people should be welcomed by their churches. The three Christian leaders spoke out during an unprecedented joint airborne news conference returning home from South Sudan. They were there to take part in a three-day ecumenical pilgrimage to try to nudge the young country’s peace process forward. They were asked about Francis’ recent comments to The Associated Press, in which he declared that laws that criminalize gay people were “unjust” and that “being homosexual is not a crime.”

  • Updated

Pope Francis is planning to visit India next year and is studying a possible trip to Mongolia later this year. Francis outlined his upcoming travel schedule during his flight back to Rome from South Sudan, confirming also that he would be in Lisbon, Portugal for World Youth Day the first week of August and in Marseille, France on Sept. 23. Without providing details, Francis said he thought he would visit India in 2024, after preliminary plans for a trip in 2017 fell apart.

Overwhelmed by thousands of Cubans crowding its southern border after making the dangerous trip through Central America and an increase in makeshift boats crossing the Florida Straits, the United States in early January approved a policy change that makes migrants request a permit online before arriving with the sponsorship of a relative or friend in the U.S. Although the parole program also applies to Nicaraguans, Haitians and Venezuelans, Cubans have especially taken advantage of it, launching a search for sponsors and lines to obtain documents. Backers hope it will help would-be migrants avoid the risks of the route through Mexico and bring order to the migrant flow.