Latest North Carolina News:
VIRUS OUTBREAK-DUKE SURGE
Duke University lifts stay-in-place order for undergraduates
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Duke University has lifted a stay-in-place order it issued last week for all undergraduate students following a spike in COVID-19 cases that officials blamed largely on students attending fraternity rush events. The order was lifted effective Sunday morning and means all in-person courses will resume their standard delivery method, whether in-person or hybrid. Students living in university-provided housing are again allowed to move about campus, but are being asked to leave campus only for essential travel and health-related activities through March 28.
INCOME TAX DEADLINE
NC income tax filers get another month for returns, too
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina tax filers will get another month to complete their individual state returns, in keeping with the IRS decision to push its April 15 deadline back to May. The state Department of Revenue announced this week the traditional tax filing and payment deadline is now May 17, just like the new federal date. Tax officials cite giving people more time to deal with unusual tax circumstances brought on by the pandemic for the delay. Unless state law is changed, filers who make payments after April 15 still must pay interest on what they owe.
NC federal attorneys: 24 more charged in voter-fraud probe
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A federal North Carolina prosecutor’s office that has been investigating allegations of voter-related fraud says 24 more people have been charged over the past 18 months. The government says two defendants were charged earlier this year with unlawful voting in the 2016 general election. More than 15 others face charges of falsely claiming U.S. citizenship to register to vote. Indictments against several defendants were unsealed Friday. Back in 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh announced charges against nearly 20 non-U.S. citizens accused of illegally voting in 2016. The prosecutor later asked for voting records from North Carolina election offices.
RUSSIAN MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME
Russian national in US pleads guilty to bribery, visa fraud
NEW BERN, N.C. (AP) – A Russian national living in North Carolina who had been accused by authorities of involvement in a $150 million kickback scheme while working for a Russian military contractor has pleaded guilty to unrelated charges. Authorities say Leonid Teyf of Raleigh pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in New Bern to bribery of a public official, visa fraud, and false statements on a tax return. Prosecutors alleged in a 2018 indictment that Teyf used his executive position with a military supplier to extract kickbacks. Under a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop all other charges against Teyf, including money laundering charges related to the alleged kickback scheme.
NC public education ‘remedial plan’ presented to judge
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A multibillion-dollar plan presented by North Carolina officials and designed to comply with legal rulings about public education is now in the hands of a judge. The State Board of Education and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration filed this week in court an action plan in what’s called the “Leandro” case. It envisions spending at least $5.6 billion on new education expenditures through 2028. The General Assembly would have to agree to any funding. The plan responds to state Supreme Court rulings that declared the state hasn’t lived up to the mandate of giving children the “opportunity to receive a sound basic education.”
DEAD WHALE-OUTER BANKS
Humpback whale washes ashore on North Carolina’s Outer Banks
RODANTHE, N.C. (AP) – A dead humpback whale has washed ashore on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The Charlotte Observer reported Thursday that the 18-foot whale was found on Pea Island about half-mile north of Rodanthe. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the carcass shows some evidence of shark bites. But a shark attack is not necessarily the cause of death and likely occurred after the mammal died. Biologists conducted a field assessment and collected tissue samples. The death will also be reported to the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Whale deaths are often blamed on vessel strikes and entanglement with fishing gear. But a cause of death has not been determined.
4 men linked to Proud Boys charged in plot to attack Capitol
Four men described by prosecutors as leaders of the far-right Proud Boys have been indicted on charges that they planned and carried out a coordinated attack on the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory. A federal indictment ordered unsealed Friday presents new evidence of how federal officials believe group members planned and carried out the Jan. 6 attack. It says more than 60 people used an encrypted messaging channel to communicate when they joined the mob that attacked the Capitol. With the new indictment, at least 19 Proud Boys leaders, members or associates have been charged with federal offenses related to the riots.
Storms send TV anchors scrambling off set in N Carolina
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – Storms that left splintered homes and broken trees across Alabama and Mississippi have moved into Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas. A storm with a tornado warning forced anchors at a TV station in High Point, North Carolina, to leave their studio for a few minutes. No serious damage or injuries were reported in the storms Thursday along the Atlantic Coast. At least two people were hurt Wednesday when an apparent tornado struck southwest Alabama, destroying a house. But the region appeared to escape the kind of horrific toll many feared after ominous predictions of monster twisters and huge hail.