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This Hour: Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment

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NC attorney general won't defend gay marriage ban

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina's attorney general says his office will no longer defend the state's voter-approved ban on same sex marriage in court after a federal appeals court ruled a similar prohibition in neighboring Virginia unconstitutional.

Attorney General Roy Cooper said Monday that the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling made it highly likely North Carolina's ban will be overturned. North Carolina is part of the 4th Circuit. Cooper said any federal judge in North Carolina would be bound by the ruling.

Cooper, a Democrat, said further opposition to the four federal lawsuits challenging his state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage would be "futile."

Cooper had previously said he personally opposes the marriage ban, but his duty as attorney general was to defend the state law approved by voters in 2012.


NC Senate leaders hint at budget details

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina Senate leaders say they hope to have a final budget to vote on this week.

Senate Leader Phil Berger said Monday both chambers are working together to finalize the budget and says he hopes the Senate will have a draft to consider by Thursday.

Berger said the budget does include some reforms to how teachers are paid. The Senate and the House have agreed to a compromise pay raise for teachers. The budget also uses $25 million in non-recurring money from the lottery to preserve teacher assistant positions, which was a major priority of the previous House budget.

Berger said the budget does not include Medicaid reform. The Senate approved the Medicaid reform in a separate bill last week and took a final vote on it Monday.


Officials: Little risk of Ebola outbreak in US

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. health officials are monitoring the Ebola outbreak in Africa but say the risk of the deadly germ spreading to the United States is remote.

The Centers for Disease Control on Monday sent a health alert to U.S. doctors about the outbreak. There are no travel restrictions to the West Africa region hit by the disease. But last month, the CDC issued a mid-level travel advisory for health workers.

Two American aid workers in Liberia have tested positive for the virus and are being treated there.

One of those workers who is sick has ties to Samaritan's Purse with headquarters in Boone, North Carolina. The group's vice president says Dr. Kent Brantly recognized the symptoms of Ebola and sought speedy treatment.

Officials stressed people are not contagious until they show symptoms, and the doctor's family left Liberia days before he got sick.


Authorities say soldiers get $92M in debt relief

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York and 12 other states have settled an investigation into improper lending with a court agreement to shut down the company and expected to provide $92 million in debt relief for 17,800 U.S. military personnel.

New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says deceptive practices by Rome Finance Co. based in California and Georgia included failing to accurately disclose charges and interest rates and helping retailers inflate prices, with repayments taken from soldiers' paychecks.

Authorities say military personnel will keep financed merchandise like computers and gaming systems with debt forgiven, including $2.2 million for more than 550 New York residents.

Rome Finance did business recently as Colfax Capital Corp. and Culver Capital LLC.

Other states are Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont.


Kernersville woman cleared of elder abuse charge

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) - A 72-year-old Kernersville woman has been cleared on charges that she neglected her 92-year-old mother.

The Winston-Salem Journal reported that a Forsyth County jury concluded that Nannie Ballard Kollar did not neglect her mother to the point that bed sores contributed to her death.

Kollar was charged with abuse of a disabled or elderly person causing serious injury and neglect of a disabled or elderly person causing serious injury.

Kernersville police arrested Kollar the day after her mother died in 2011.

Prosecutors contended that neglect led to the bed sores that contributed to the death of Mildred McGee Ballard.

But Kollar's attorney said she had spent more than 30 years caring for her mother and there was no sign of neglect.


Greenville police say dog shot over parking space

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) - Greenville police have arrested a man on an animal cruelty charge after they say he shot a dog he said would not leave a parking space.

Twenty-seven-year-old Devon Smith of Greenville is accused of shooting a dog twice with a pistol after he tried to park in a space at a town house complex Sunday afternoon.

Police spokeswoman Kristen Hunter said the witnesses told the officers the dog had been playing with children that afternoon and had not been aggressive.

Officers called to the scene found a female boxer mix that had been seriously injured. The dog was euthanized later Sunday.

Smith is charged with felony animal cruelty and firing a gun in the city. It was not clear if he has an attorney.


NC father charged with assaulting softball coach

SALISBURY, N.C. (AP) - Salisbury police have arrested a man and accused him of assaulting a softball coach.

Forty-one-year-old James Leon Roberts of Cleveland (North Carolina) has been charged with misdemeanor simple assault.

Police say Roberts said he heard someone make a comment about his daughter, who has breast cancer and was playing in a softball tournament late Saturday afternoon.

Roberts also said he was hit in the head with something.

Police say Roberts hit the coach of another team.

It was unclear if he has an attorney.


Senate confirms Harris nomination to appeals court

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The U.S. Senate has confirmed the nomination of Pamela Harris to the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Harris fills a vacancy on the court created when Judge Andre Davis took senior status in February.

The Fourth Circuit is based in Richmond and has appellate jurisdiction over district courts in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

Harris is a visiting professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. She previously served in the Office of Legal Policy at the Department of Justice.

The Potomac, Maryland, resident earned bachelor's and law degrees from Yale.

The Senate confirmed the nomination Monday.

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