AP-NC Newswatch

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February 12, 2020
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February 12, 2020
AP-NC Newswatch



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



Inside Mike Bloomberg’s big play for black voters
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has been aggressively courting black voters while his rivals have been battling it out in majority-white Iowa and New Hampshire. The billionaire presidential candidate’s effort, backed by millions in ads, has taken him across Southern states that vote on Super Tuesday and where African American voters can decide a Democratic primary. The outreach aims squarely at former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s banking on black voters to resuscitate his bid after poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire. It’s also forcing Bloomberg to respond to criticism of his criminal justice policies as mayor of New York.



Ex-state NAACP leader denies harassment allegations in suit
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A former North Carolina NAACP leader accused of sexually harassing an employee has issued a statement denying the allegations and saying a lawsuit by the woman is baseless. The Rev. Curtis Gatewood issued a statement Monday referring to the suit filed earlier in the month as “baseless, frivolous, and outrageously nonfactual.” In her lawsuit, Jazmyne Childs is seeking at least $15 million for emotional and mental distress. She said that Gatewood harassed her over a period of months in 2017. An attorney for Childs declined to comment Tuesday on Gatewood’s statement, citing the pending litigation. 



President Trump makes pick for next ambassador to Canada
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump has nominated a retired North Carolina physician to be the next U.S. ambassador to Canada. News outlets report Dr. Aldona Wos has been tapped to fill the role vacated by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft. Wos has served on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships and was the ambassador to Estonia under former President George W. Bush. She has also served as secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. She has donated thousands of dollars to Republican candidates and causes and is married to a major GOP donor. Wos must be confirmed by the Senate.



Task force formed to monitor new coronavirus for N Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina state government has formed a new panel designed to monitor a new virus that has killed over 1,000 people in China. The new Novel Coronavirus Task Force unveiled this week by Gov. Roy Cooper will be led by State Health Director Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson and Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry.áCooper says the risk to North Carolina from the new coronavirus discovered in 2019 remains low, and there have been no confirmed cases of the virus in the state.áThe panel’s chief job will be to continue coordinated activities between state and local agencies and the federal government.



Trump campaigns as a 2nd Amendment warrior
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump is fully embracing the mantle of gun rights champion as he makes his pitch for reelection. In a campaign appearance Monday night in New Hampshire, Trump framed the right to bear arms as being as precious as the rights to privacy, free speech and religious freedom. It’s a stark turn from earlier moments in his presidency when he toyed with pushing Congress to enact stricter gun laws after mass shootings. Trump’s campaign advisers believe the Republican president can draw a sharp contrast on gun rights with the eventual Democratic presidential nominee.



Trump pays tribute to 2 soldiers killed in Afghanistan
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. (AP) – President Donald Trump traveled Monday night to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to pay respects to two U.S. soldiers killed Saturday in Afghanistan when a soldier dressed in an Afghan army uniform opened fire with a machine gun. The Defense Department has identified the dead American soldiers as 28-year-old Sgt. Javier Jaguar Gutierrez and 28-year-old Sgt. Antonio Rey Rodriguez. Trump saluted and Vice President Mike Pence placed his hand over his heart as transfer cases containing the remains were carried out of a plane and transferred to a transport vehicle.



North Carolina officer fired amid child porn investigation
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (AP) – Records show that a North Carolina police officer who was the subject of a child pornography investigation was fired last month. A termination notice obtained by news outlets Monday documents that the State Bureau of Investigation notified Wake Forest police on Jan. 10 that it was looking into Cpl. Alex Sims. The notice says Sims was fired three days later during an internal review. Investigators alleged Sims admitted to viewing child pornography and lied about fake profile names used on social media. He hasn’t been charged with a crime, and it’s unclear what the status of the agency’s investigation is. Sims couldn’t be reached for comment.



USGS: Five earthquakes rattle area near Great Smoky park
GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) – The U.S. Geological Survey reports five small earthquakes rattled an area near the Great SmokyiMountain National Park. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the USGS says the first quake registered at 2:48 a.m. on Tuesday and the last was reported at 6:56 a.m. The agency says all the quakes were small, between magnitude 1.3 and 1.7. The earthquake swarm hit in a small area about 25 miles southwest of Knoxville, Tennessee, near the North Carolina border and were deemed as likely too small to be felt by people in the area. 



AP-WF-02-12-20 1122GMT