Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment
RACIST STUDENT CHAT
High school student infiltrates, uncovers racist online chat
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
WENDELL, N.C. (AP) – A black student at a North Carolina high school infiltrated and exposed a racist student online chat, but it’s unclear if everyone in the chat is facing consequences.
The News & Observer reports 14-year-old Cenayia Edwards uncovered slur laden conversations about killing black people and reviving slavery. The chat involved two students at Edward’s East Wake High and five others at Johnston County’s Corinth Holders High.
Edwards and her family say East Wake High Principal Stacey Alston told them he’s not disciplining anyone. County school officials on Thursday said federal student privacy laws prevent them from saying if disciplinary action was taken. In the past, district officials have revealed when students were disciplined for racist behavior.
Meanwhile, Johnston County school officials said the principal “issued consequences” and parents were notified.
US to keep funding Duke-UNC Middle East studies program
(Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com)
WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. Department of Education says it plans to continue funding a Middle East studies program at the University of North Carolina and Duke University that it had accused of advancing “ideological priorities.”
The Washington Post reports the Thursday announcement comes weeks after the department ordered the Duke-UNC consortium to change its offerings or risk losing a $235,000 federal grant.
The grant is one of many awarded through the National Resource Center program, which supports language and culture initiatives that prepare students for diplomatic and national security careers.
The department said the consortium overly emphasized understanding positive aspects of Islam, in comparison to other religions. The school defended the program against the claims, which some said amounted to ideological harassment.
OUTER BANKS-HIGHWAY CLOSURE
Rough coastal weather closes Outer Banks’ only highway
RODANTHE, N.C. (AP) – Two storms have merged off the coast of North Carolina, causing ocean water and sand to rush across lanes on the only highway connecting the barrier islands of the Outer Banks.
News outlets report transportation officials closed a portion of North Carolina Highway 12 near Rodanthe on Friday morning. The state’s Department of Transportation says the closure will continue until conditions improve.
The National Weather Service Newport/Morehead City said on social media that dangerous surf, strong rip currents, beach erosion and ocean overwash are expected to continue through Saturday evening. Officials said drivers should expect mild overwash especially during high tide.
WNCN-TV reports Cape Hatteras Elementary School and Cape Hatteras Secondary School were delayed for three hours Friday because of unsafe road conditions.
N Carolina voters want challenged Congress map blocked now
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina state judges soon will hear arguments on whether congressional districts challenged by voters who say the lines are tainted by excessive partisan bias shouldn’t be used in the 2020 elections
A three-judge panel on Thursday set an Oct. 24 hearing date on a request by the plaintiffs in a partisan gerrymandering lawsuit to block the maps now, rather than wait for a trial. The voters who sued say the legislature could redraw the state’s 13 U.S. House districts in time for use in the scheduled March primary.
The congressional lawsuit was filed three weeks after the same judges struck down state House and Senate maps on similar claims that Republican lawmakers violated the state constitution by deliberately drawing them to keep control of the General Assembly.
North Carolina confirms 2nd death from Legionnaires’ disease
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina health officials have confirmed a second death from Legionnaires’ disease linked to a hot tub display at a fair.
The Division of Public Health in the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services says that as of Wednesday, it has confirmed 134 cases in multiple states and North Carolina counties. The department says the cases are connected to people who attended the Mountain State Fair last month in Fletcher.
In addition to the two deaths, 88 people have been hospitalized.
According to the department, preliminary findings suggest exposure to Legionella bacteria occurred inside the Davis Event Center at the fair, specifically near the hot tubs and during the last five days of the event.
Muslim cleric convicted of supporting Taliban to be released
MIAMI (AP) – An ailing Florida Muslim cleric convicted of providing financial support to the Pakistani Taliban will be released early from prison on humanitarian grounds.
Miami U.S. District Judge Robert Scola ordered Friday that 84-year-old Hafiz Khan be released from a North Carolina prison to a hospice care facility. The order says Khan suffers from pneumonia, dementia, and cancer and cannot speak.
Khan was convicted in 2013 of providing at least $50,000 in support to the Pakistani Taliban, which is considered a terrorist group by the U.S. He was sentenced to a 25-year prison term.
Federal prosecutors argued that Khan remained a danger because he could still direct money to the extremists. But Scola found that he no longer poses a threat.
Khan will be released to a Raleigh, North Carolina hospice.
SOUTHERN DROUGHT-THE LATEST
The Latest: New report shows US ‘flash drought’ more intense
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. (AP) – Forecasters say a “flash drought” is intensifying across the southern United States.
A new report out Thursday shows that severe and extreme drought conditions are spreading into more parts of the South.
The U.S. Drought Monitor report also shows that nearly 56 million people in parts of 16 states are now living in some type of drought conditions.
The drought has drained ponds, hurt crops and worried farmers across several southern states.
Now, farmers are concerned about the long-term outlook as late October is typically among the driest periods in the South.
With less to lose, will retiring Republicans desert Trump?
WASHINGTON (AP) – Retiring congressional Republicans are a natural group to watch for defectors as Democrats’ impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump builds steam. But they’re not crumbling yet.
Four GOP senators and 17 House Republicans are not seeking reelection next year.
While most are leaving politics and feeling less pressure to defend Trump, they sound much like their GOP colleagues who are staying in Congress.
They’ve downplayed Democrats’ case against Trump, criticized the impeachment investigation, been vague or said nothing.
Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee is ending his four-decade political career. He’s respected as an independent voice and is considered a Republican bellwether on the issue.
Alexander said this week that it was “inappropriate” for Trump to have prodded foreign governments to investigate political opponents. But he called impeachment “a mistake.”