AP-NC Newswatch

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April 16, 2018
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April 16, 2018
AP-NC Newswatch




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




2 stranded skydivers are rescued from tree in N. Carolina
(Information from: Salisbury Post, http://www.salisburypost.com)
SALISBURY, N.C. (AP) – Two skydivers who had a parachute malfunction that left them hanging in a North Carolina tree are thanking their lucky stars.
The Salisbury Post reports when Casey Ellis and her instructor, Derek Abernathy, leapt from the plane Saturday over the Rowan County Airport, something went wrong.
Ellis says they were spinning and falling out of control before they were caught in a tree off a sewer right-of-way.
Salisbury Fire Department Deputy Chief David Morris says the call came in around 7:58 p.m.
Emergency responders used a ladder to scale the tree and check on the skydivers. A hoist was setup to lift and lower the pair, who escaped with minor scratches.
Ellis, who drove with a friend from West Virginia to knock an item off their bucket list, says she won’t be skydiving again.




The Latest: State of emergency issued in North Carolina city
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say they’ve declared a local state of emergency in Greensboro, North Carolina, after an apparent tornado caused damage in several locations around that city.
Greensboro police said in a tweet that there also has been one storm-related fatality in Greensboro, but they gave no immediate details of that death. They did not elaborate on the damages. But earlier media reports said high winds damaged at least seven homes and destroyed one mobile classroom.
The statement says emergency crews are conducting emergency checks in the areas affected and urged anyone needing immediate shelter to head to a local high school. Separately the city of Greensboro tweeted that damage was “prominent” but that a tornado had not been immediately confirmed by the National Weather Service.





Downed trees, hail reported as storms cross the Carolinas
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Severe storms have blown down trees, caused airport delays and dropped hail on North and South Carolina.
The airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, said on Twitter Sunday that severe weather has caused a ground stop and forced air traffic controllers to leave their tower. The ground stop was later lifted. Meanwhile, television stations in Charlotte were posting images of large hail on Twitter.
The Charlotte Fire Department also reported that it’s “currently responding to numerous storm-related calls for trees and lines down.”
The Columbia, South Carolina, police department said on Twitter that multiple traffic lights were malfunctioning because of the severe weather. In nearby Lexington County, the sheriff’s office reported that downed trees were blocking roads in multiple locations.
Duke Energy said about 26,000 customers were without power in North Carolina, and another 10,000 in South Carolina.





AP Exclusive: Jailed Chinese pastor’s US family seeks mercy
BEIJING (AP) – For years, Rev. John Sanqiang Cao and fellow Chinese Christian teachers would cross the river on a bamboo raft into Myanmar, carrying with them notebooks, pencils and Bibles. During the ride on March 5, 2017, Cao saw Chinese security agents waiting on the shore. He threw his cellphone into the water, protecting the identities of Chinese teachers he had recruited.
But Cao himself could not escape. He was sentenced to seven years in prison for organizing illegal border crossings. His American sons and Christian colleagues spoke about the case for the first time to The Associated Press, arguing the pastor’s sentence should be reduced in light of his humanitarian work.
Beijing is making an effort to “sinicize” religions and align faiths more closely with the atheist Communist Party’s own doctrines.





US pastor on trial in Turkey for terror links


ALIAGA, Turkey (AP) – An American pastor is going on trial in Turkey accused of ties to terror groups and spying, in a case that has strained ties between Turkey and the United States.
Andrew Craig Brunson, a 50-year-old evangelical pastor from North Carolina, faces up to 35 years in prison on charges of “committing crimes on behalf of terror groups without being a member” and “espionage.”
The trial begins Monday in Aliaga, a town in western Turkey.
Brunson was arrested in December 2016 for alleged links to both outlawed Kurdish rebels and a network led by U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Turkey for a failed military coup that year.
Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for 23 years, rejects the accusations. Washington has demanded his release.





Man arrested in arson of North Carolina country club


DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Police have charged a man with setting a fire that engulfed the tennis building at a North Carolina country club.
A Durham Police news release said officers and firefighters arrived around 4 a.m. Sunday at Treyburn Country Club to find the tennis building ablaze. The release says the building “was totally engulfed in flames.”
The tennis complex, separate from the main clubhouse, has a sprawling redwood patio overlooking the courts, according to the Treyburn website.
Investigators deemed the fire an arson and used a witness account to identify the suspect. No one was injured.
Steven Watts, 18, was charged with arson of a commercial building, breaking and entering and larceny, according to police.
A phone listing for Watts was disconnected, and a message sent to an email address wasn’t returned.





Kay Hagan’s family accepts honors while she’s in hospital


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Former U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s family accepted honors on her behalf at a North Carolina Democratic Party event because she was hospitalized with pneumonia.
Hagan had planned to attend Saturday night’s annual Democratic “Unity Dinner” in Raleigh.
But party spokesman Robert Howard said in an email Sunday that she was hospitalized with pneumonia and couldn’t attend. Howard said she is doing well and should be released in the coming days.
She’s also continuing to recover from a brain inflammation condition.
Hagan was hospitalized in December 2016 and later received treatment in Georgia. Her family said Hagan’s encephalitis was caused by a virus spread by ticks from animals to humans.
The Greensboro Democrat defeated Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole in 2008. She lost her seat in 2014 to Republican Thom Tillis.





200 million eggs recalled because of salmonella concerns


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – More than 200 million eggs from a North Carolina farm have been recalled because of bacterial contamination.
A notice posted on the Food & Drug Administration website Friday says the eggs shipped to restaurants and grocery stores in nine states may be tainted with salmonella. The bacteria causes nausea, diarrhea and, in rare cases, death. Twenty-two illnesses have been reported.
The eggs were distributed from a farm in eastern North Carolina’s Hyde County by Indiana-based Rose Acre Farms.
The notice says the recalled eggs include varieties sold in Food Lion and Walmart stores, and served at Waffle House restaurants.
The recall came about after the illnesses were reported and the FDA inspected the North Carolina farm.
Rose Acre Farms officials didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.



AP-WF-04-16-18 1020GMT