Trump Plans To Invite Putin For Autumn Visit, Top Spy Boss Coats Caught Off Guard

Updated at 5:20 p.m. ET President Trump wants to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin for a visit to Washington this autumn, the White House said on Thursday. Press secretary Sarah Sanders said that Trump and Putin had agreed at their summit on Monday in Finland that their security staffs would have an "ongoing working-level dialogue" and as part of that, Trump told national security adviser John Bolton to invite Putin to the United States. That came as news to Director of National...

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The State of Things

“The State of Things” covers diverse issues & topics in NC. Frank Stasio talks to authors, musicians, politicians, & citizens about subjects that matter to North Carolinians.
Duke Energy

Duke Energy is in the process of completing the installtion of more than 1-million so-called 'smart meters' in Buncombe County.  The meters will allow Duke to record power usage directly without having to send someone to read the meter.  A handful of customers in Buncombe County have tried to opt out of using the meters - an action that has consequences.  Jason Sandford of AshVegas spoke with those customers to see what happened to them. 

It has been an epic clash of media titans worthy of a blockbuster movie itself like, say, the X-Men — notably a property of 21st Century Fox. And as with any blockbuster franchise, there are already sequels lined up.

The broadband, cable and entertainment giant Comcast announced Thursday that it would withdraw from the field, conceding defeat in its audacious bidding war for most of the entertainment assets of Fox, controlled by the Murdoch family.

In closely divided North Carolina, an intense power struggle between Republican lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper will shift from the General Assembly and courts to voting booths this fall.

British police examining CCTV footage have reportedly identified multiple Russian suspects believed to have carried out the March nerve-agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

The Skripals were found slumped on a bench at a shopping center in Salisbury, in southern England, on March 4. Subsequent investigation indicated they were poisoned by a nerve agent of the type Novichok, a group of deadly chemicals developed in the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 80s.

Bill Browder was not surprised Vladimir Putin called him out by name at Monday's press conference with Donald Trump in Helsinki.

Updated at 12:10 p.m. ET

President Trump is getting a strong reaction after a Fox News interview in which he appeared to question the need to honor NATO's collective defense clause, while suggesting that newest alliance member Montenegro is a country of "aggressive people" who could trigger World War III.

Rachael McRae, a fifth-grade teacher in central Illinois, was sitting on the couch the other day with her 4-month-old when she saw the email.

"He was having a fussy day," she says, "so I was bouncing him in one arm, and started going through my emails on my phone, just to feel like I was getting something done." In her spam folder, she found an email from an organization called My Pay, My Say, urging her to drop her union membership.

House Republicans claimed a political victory Wednesday after the House voted 244-35 in favor of officially supporting the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, a vote intended to force Democrats to take a position amid calls from progressives to abolish the agency.

A pyrotechnic week of geopolitical intrigue has yielded new clarity about the whys and wherefores of the Russia imbroglio, including one insight straight from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Why did Putin order the campaign of "active measures" that have been directed against the United States and the West since before the 2016 election?

FBI Director Christopher Wray said Wednesday that he stands by the U.S. intelligence agencies' assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, and he warned that the Kremlin has not stopped trying to undermine American democracy.

"My view has not changed, which is that Russia attempted to interfere with the last election and that it continues to engage in malign influence operations to this day," Wray said. "It's a threat that we need to take extremely seriously and respond to with fierce determination and focus."

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Arts & Performance

Eakin Howard


Brooklyn Reese is 12 years old and, when she’s healthy, she’s sort of a second mother to her younger sister and brother.

“Before I got sick, I had a lot of responsibility, because Izzy, she had trouble with math and homework, so when we got home from school, I’d help her with her homework,” she said. “And I’d take care of Jackson and give him a sippy and make him a peanut butter sandwich.”

Holly Kays


Holly Kays studied creative fiction in college and saw herself on a path to becoming a novelist.

 

“Everybody who likes to write is writing a book at some point,” she said. “Most of those books never actually wind up being written.”
 

Like most budding novelists, Kays has another job to pay her bills. Unlike most, Kays works for a sympathetic boss.

Natural Born Leaders


Mike Martinez doesn’t like talking about growing up in Union, N.J., but he will say moving to Hendersonville as an 18-year-old saved his life.

“I was getting in trouble in ways I don’t necessarily want to talk about, but I was not headed on a good path,” he said. “I’m not even sure I’d be alive if I lived in New Jersey.”

UNC-Asheville


Jeb Hedgecock didn’t intend to devote his senior year at UNC-Asheville to someone else’s sculptural project. But that someone else was the acclaimed conceptual artist Mel Chin, so Hedgecock figured he might learn more by helping a master realize his vision.

“It’s a completely different thing investing yourself into something you want to into something you don’t necessarily want to but need to,” Hedgecock said.