AP-NC Newswatch

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December 23, 2020
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December 23, 2020
AP-NC Newswatch



Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment



Governor warns of holiday COVID spread; no new restrictions
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is warning of increased transmission of the coronavirus over the Christmas holiday period. But he imposed no new restrictions on travel or gatherings as he spoke about the pandemic at a news conference Tuesday. All but eight of the North Carolina’s 100 counties are presently seeing substantial or critical levels of community spread. The state is also seeing more people in the hospital due to COVID-19 than ever before since the start of the pandemic. Cooper says he will limit his Christmas gathering to immediate family and remain at his home in Raleigh to celebrate.



NC Supreme Court removing portrait of slave owner ex-justice
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina Supreme Court says it will remove portrait from its courtroom of a former slave-owning chief justice who once defended slavery through his court rulings. The ex-justice Thomas Ruffin argued in one case that a slaveholder should not be guilty of assault or battery of an enslaved person – and that an owner’s power over his slave was absolute. An advisory commission recently recommended Ruffin’s portrait be taken down. Outgoing state Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley says it will be replaced with the seal of the court. Beasley is the second Black chief justice in the court’s history.



Police: Child who was struck by BB or pellet gun has died
STONY POINT, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say that an 8-year-old girl has died after being struck in the chest by “a single shot from a BB or pellet gun.” The Hickory Daily Record reports that the incident occurred Sunday near a family’s home in Stony Point. The Alexander County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that the shooting appears to be accidental. Initial findings from the investigation indicate that two juveniles, ages 8 and 7, were shooting a BB gun and a pellet rifle at targets when the 8-year-old was struck. The child was being transferred to a hospital in Winston-Salem when the child went into cardiac and later died. 



North Carolina girl recovering after attack by multiple dogs
MAXTON, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in North Carolina say a 10-year-old girl is recovering in the hospital after she was attacked by as many as five dogs in her neighborhood last week. News outlets report the girl, whose name hasn’t been released, was taken by helicopter to UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill, where she was listed in critical but stable condition. Robeson County Sheriff’s Maj. Damien McLean says the dogs involved in the attack on Friday have been seized and an investigation into the incident is underway. Animal control officials say the dogs will be held for observation to determine if their bites were life-threatening.



Trump pardons security contractors in deadly Iraq shooting
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump has pardoned four former government contractors convicted in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad that left more than a dozen Iraqi civilians dead and caused an international uproar over the use of private security guards in a war zone. Supporters of the former contractors at Blackwater Worldwide had lobbied for the pardons, arguing that the men had been excessively punished in an investigation and prosecution they said was tainted. All four were serving lengthy prison sentences. The pardons reflect Trump’s apparent willingness to give the benefit of the doubt to American servicemembers and contractors when it comes to acts of violence in warzones against civilians.



Deputies: Man shoots up family home hallucinating a burglary
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man who deputies say fired a shotgun in his home while hallucinating on drugs about an imaginary burglary has been charged with child abuse. The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office said in a Monday statement John-Michael Scott Coppola fired while his newborn child was at the Mooresville home. Officials say 27-year-old Coppola and the child’s mother, Kaylee Brianna Wilhelm, were using meth and marijuana. Deputies found both of them “impaired” when they arrived at the home for a welfare check. Wilhelm was also charged with child abuse and a $7,500 bond has been set for the couple. It was not immediately clear if they have an attorney to comment on their behalf.



North Carolina stores OK’d to deliver alcohol, sell curbside
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has signed an executive order making it easier for businesses to sell alcohol without customers having to show up in person. The order will remain in effect through the end of January as a step to help fight the coronavirus. It lets restaurants, hotels, clubs, bars and some distilleries holding certain permits from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission sell alcoholic products to-go or for delivery. Cooper’s order promoting curbside and delivery options aims to let residents purchase alcohol in a safer way. Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have surged in North Carolina over the past month.



Chairman says tribe won’t get federal recognition this year
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The chairman of North Carolina’s Lumbee Tribe says it appears that the tribe will not be getting federal recognition this year. The Charlotte Observer reported that chairman Harvey Godwin Jr. posted a statement on Facebook on Sunday. He said that federal recognition would not be included in Congress’ year-end spending bill. There had been optimism earlier this year that the tribe would get recognition. There was support from President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden. There was passage of a recognition bill in the U.S. House. North Carolina’s U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis also backed the effort. Many of the tribe’s members live in North Carolina’s Robeson, Cumberland, Hoke and Scotland counties.



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