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January 29, 2019
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January 29, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch





Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EST



Lt. Gov. Forest takes next step in 2020 bid for governor
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest has taken another – but not surprising – step toward running for governor in 2020.
Forest unveiled a brief video Monday announcing that he has formed an “exploratory” committee to seek the GOP nomination.
There’s been little doubt since Forest was elected in 2012 that he would run. Every lieutenant governor in North Carolina of the last 50 years has tried to move up the ladder. Forest already has been raising campaign funds, but now he’s making clear that money would go for a potential governor’s run.
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to seek re-election. So far Cooper has outraised Forest. Campaign finance reports due last week show Cooper’s committee has nearly $1.8 million in the bank compared to $588,000 for Forest.



Republican in undecided Congress race released from hospital
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – An aide to the Republican candidate in the nation’s last undecided congressional election says he’s out of a hospital and recovering from infections that attacked his liver and blood.
Campaign spokesman Jason Williams said Mark Harris was released from a Charlotte hospital Monday, more than a week after falling ill. Williams says he expects Harris’ recovery will require rest.
Harris said in a Facebook statement Friday he was fighting an infection caused by what he called “a relatively uncommon form of strep bacteria.”
A reconstituted state elections board is expected to hold a hearing next month into whether Harris narrowly won November’s 9th Congressional District race over Democrat Dan McCready. Officials are investigating allegations that a worker for Harris’ campaign committed fraud involving mail-in ballots.



China questions warning to Duke students to use English
BEIJING (AP) – A Chinese government spokesman has questioned the appropriateness of an email sent by a Duke University medical school administrator warning Chinese students to speak in English.
Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Tuesday it would be abnormal if a Chinese university banned students from speaking English.
Duke has moved quickly to offer apologies, launch an investigation and reassure a core group of graduate scholars after the email raised an outcry on and off campus.
Thousands of people in China commented on social media. Some called it racial discrimination and said Chinese universities should ban speaking English.
The administrator’s message came at a time when elite U.S. universities are trying to remain attractive to top international students despite negative rhetoric toward foreigners by President Donald Trump and other politicians.



Man indicted in attack that left woman with slashed throat
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man has been indicted in an attack that left a woman with a slashed throat on the side of a highway.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports 35-year-old Rosendo Jimenez Santiago was indicted Monday on a charge of felony assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill, causing serious injury.
The indictment and authorities say the wounded woman was found in her car on the side of Business 40 one morning in May. Kernersville police say her throat was cut and she underwent surgery for serious wounds. They say Santiago and the woman knew each other. The nature of their relationship is unclear.
It’s unclear when Santiago will next appear in court.



DA: No wrongdoing found in payments to House speaker
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina prosecutor says she found no wrongdoing with payments to House Speaker Tim Moore from a pharmaceutical company and a bail agents’ group.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Monday she’s closing the inquiry she began last fall without further action. She had asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into the matters involving Moore, a Cleveland County attorney.
One involved Moore’s legal work for a company called KNOW Bio. Previously, Moore got legislation through that had rescued a Durham development project involving the company’s co-founder. Freeman also looked at Moore’s legal work for the North Carolina Bail Agents Association.
Freeman’s written statement says fees Moore received were for legal services as an attorney and there was “no misuse of public office for private gain.”



Duke professor issues apology to Chinese speakers
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – The Duke University professor and administrator who sparked an outcry by admonishing students for speaking Chinese has issued a personal apology amid an internal review by the school.
Megan Neely has stepped down as graduate studies director in the medical school’s biostatistics master’s degree program.
She apologized to students in the program in an email on Sunday. The apology came two days after she sent a message to a student email list urging students to commit to speaking English and suggesting possible consequences for those who didn’t.
Neely remains an assistant professor. In her apology Sunday, she said she regretted “the hurt my email has caused.”



Company shut down after price-gouging accusation
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s attorney general announced a Florida company accused of charging more than $37,000 to clear three trees after Tropical Storm Michael has been shut down.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reports Attorney General Josh Stein’s office won a preliminary injunction from a Wake County judge on Monday against National Emergency Restoration Services, meaning it can’t clear trees or collect payments.
According to the attorney general’s office, a Guilford County homeowner had three trees blown down on his property. A crew from National Emergency Restoration arrived and falsely told the homeowner the insurance company sent them.
The homeowner signed a contract, then got a $37,200 bill for three trees and a tarp.
Stein’s office has brought six complaints against tree-removal companies doing work since Hurricane Florence struck in September.



Martin departure brings musical chairs to N Carolina courts
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Next month’s resignation of North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin is causing judges to re-examine electoral plans in 2020.
Court of Appeals Judge Phil Berger Jr. announced Monday he’s interested in running for the associate justice position held by Paul Newby. Berger’s decision appears contingent on Newby seeking the chief justice’s seat, which will now be on next year’s ballot because Martin announced last Friday he’s leaving for a Virginia law school.
State Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse and the North State Journal said Newby told them he now intends to run for chief justice. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper will soon appoint someone as chief justice until the next election. Newby and Berger are registered Republicans. Newby didn’t return a phone call Monday to The Associated Press.



AP-WF-01-29-19 1121GMT