Judicial Redistricting Hits Another Roadblock

It appears that judicial redistricting is again stalled in the North Carolina General Assembly. That comes after a recent show of confidence from leading state Republicans that the issue might pick up momentum.

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The News & Observer of Raleigh

Federal judges on Friday approved changes a court-appointed expert made to two dozen North Carolina legislative districts, agreeing that maps approved by Republican lawmakers last summer didn’t fully remove previous illegal racial bias.

The Trump administration must decide by next week whether to impose tariffs on the imports of solar panel components.

Some U.S. manufacturers have complained that cheap imports are forcing them out of business, while domestic installers oppose tariffs because cheap, imported solar panels have driven the industry's recent growth.

The global approval rating for U.S. leadership now stands at 30 percent — lower in President Trump's first year in office than it was under former President George W. Bush, according to the Gallup World Poll. The image of America's leadership now trails both Germany and China, Gallup says.

International regard for U.S. leadership fell sharply from the 48 percent approval rating for 2016, former President Barack Obama's last year in office. The previous low of 34 percent was reached at the end of the Bush administration.

Black Star Line Brewing, the first black-owned brewery in Western North Carolina, closed its Hendersonville location.  A post on the brewery's Facebook page on Thursday said "Thanks for the love Hendersonville.  At this time we will no longer be operating on 131 3rd Ave W.  We'll let you know updates as soon as they are available.  Thank you."

Carl Higbie, who was appointed by President Trump to serve in the federal agency that runs AmeriCorps and other volunteer service programs, has resigned his high-level post and apologized after a report emerged quoting racist and anti-Muslim remarks he made in 2013.

Updated at 5:08 p.m. ET

So, here we go again.

The federal government is once more on the verge of a shutdown, and just like the last time, in October 2013, there will some things you'll notice that are shuttered and others you won't.

The Pentagon unveiled its National Defense Strategy, a document that focuses on the "eroding" U.S. military advantage with regard to Russia and China, and will likely influence future spending on weapons systems and other military hardware.

"The department needs to focus on Russia and China," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development Elbridge Colby, during a question and answer session with reporters at the Pentagon. "The erosion of our military advantage is the problem."

Updated at 11:16 p.m. ET

A partial government shutdown now looks inevitable after the Senate lacks the votes on a stopgap spending bill late Friday night.

The vote was 50-48 in favor of the measure with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., yet to vote.

If President Trump's first year in office seemed chaotic from a staffing perspective, there's a reason. Turnover among top-level staff in the Trump White House was off the charts, according to a new Brookings Institution report.

On Sunday, people around the country will mark one year since the Women's March on Washington, D.C. Last year it brought hundreds of thousands of liberals to the capital, many wearing pink knitted caps in solidarity. Others marched in hundreds of cities and towns across the United States and more than 80 other countries.

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Arts & Performance

Isaac Harrel

There are t-shirts and bumper stickers, and no doubt city politicians have run on the campaign slogan -- Keep Asheville Weird.

“Asheville walks that fine line of being proud to be weird, but some people are also like ‘But I don’t want weird,’ you know?” said Jocelyn Reese, talking about the city’s annual bow to unabashed weirdness called the Asheville Fringe Arts Festival. Reese and her partner Jim Julien are co-directors.

There are likely enough singer-songwriters in Asheville to fill every coffeeshop and street corner in the city. But amid the region’s bluegrass, Americana and jam music, there’s a new effort to turn people onto the Asheville’s indie rock and punk scene.

 

Matt Peiken | BPR News

Every other Thursday during the school year, a dozen or so teenagers of color meet in a repurposed classroom at Asheville’s Arthur Edington Center.

Matt Peiken | BPR News

In 1967, school board members from a Brooklyn neighborhood were headed to England. They wanted to study how administrators there handled segregation and racial representation in the classroom.