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City Drops Bid For GOP Convention

North Carolina and Charlotte officials say they’re giving up an effort to land the 2016 Republican National Convention. Gov. Pat McCrory and Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon say the Queen City won't submit a bid to host the big meeting. Charlotte hosted the Democratic National Convention in 2012. The event hasn't led to a rush of new business for the city's convention center.

BLUE CROSS CANCELS POLICIES FOR GAY/LESBIAN FAMILIES

North Carolina's largest insurer is canceling family insurance policies sold to gay and lesbian couples under the new federal health care law.  The Raleigh News & Observer reports Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina invalidated policies for 20 couples because of standard policy language that defines "spouse" as "opposite sex." 

The move is a bit surprising: Gay-rights advocates point out the insurer offers domestic partner benefits to its own employees. And Blue Cross insurance plans offered by the state’s big companies also include health benefits for employees and same-sex partners.  The only other insurer selling subsidized policies on North Carolina's federally run marketplace for private coverage is Coventry Health. A spokesman says Coventry doesn't bar same-sex couples from buying family policies.

FOOTBALL PLAYER DIES IN S.C. STATE SHOOTING

South Carolina State University says the engineering technology student shot to death on campus Friday also played on the school's football team.  20-year-old Brandon Robinson was a defensive specialist who appeared in four games. He was shot in the neck and died Friday outside a dorm at the campus in Orangeburg.   State police say Robinson was shot after arguing with 19-year-old Justin Singleton of Charleston. Singleton was arrested Saturday and charged with murder.  South Carolina State is a historically black university with about 3,200 students in Orangeburg, about 40 miles south of Columbia.

McCRORY OPPOSES APPEAL OF ULTRASOUND RULING

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says he doesn’t think the state should appeal a federal judge’s ruling on January 17th that struck down a state law requiring women seeking abortions to watch an ultrasound of the fetus. The Raleigh News & Observer reports that McCrory said Saturday an appeal would be too expensive, and he thinks most of the 2011 abortion law remains intact.

BENEFITS NOT OBVIOUS FOR S.C. GOVERNMENT OVERHAUL

A bill being praised as the largest overhaul of South Carolina state government in 20 years is on its way to Gov. Nikki Haley's desk. But explaining how taxpayers benefit won't be easy when she and her Democratic opponent talk about it on the campaign trail.    The measure won't produce immediate savings, as layoffs are expected. The law initially will require additional spending. Supporters say the soon-to-be-signed law eventually will save the state millions of dollars through centralized purchasing and technology services.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO HATTERAS LIGHT STONES

Out at the North Carolina coast, there’s more concern over erosion near Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The lighthouse itself is safe – it was moved 15 years ago. The massive stones that held up the famous beacon were left behind and a nonprofit group paid to have them engraved with the names of the 83 light keepers. The stones were then placed in a circle that became a popular spot for weddings and other events.  But erosion continues and sand from storms such as Isabel and Sandy now covers the stones. Hatteras Island residents want the stones moved to the lighthouse so that they are protected and publicly visible year-round. The decision rests with the National Park Service, and so far there is no indication that the stones will be moved.

KRZYZEWSKI WINS 900th

In college basketball Saturday, there was a big milestone at Duke. Rodney Hood scored 18 points to help the Blue Devils beat Florida State 78-56, and give coach Mike Krzyzewski his 900th victory in his 34th season at the school.