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News In Brief

2 Tornadoes Confirmed In N.C.; House GOP Budget Leaves Out Senate Funding Cuts

The National Weather Service has confirmed at least two tornadoes Wednesday in North Carolina. The first touched down at 4:20 p.m. just southwest of Monroe in Union County, tracking northeast for 7.7 miles. With average wind speeds of 100 mph, the tornado downed trees and tore the roof and sides off a barn. Few other structures were damaged.

The second tornado occurred Wednesday afternoon in Davie County and crossed into Yadkin County. TV station WFMY broadcast images of damaged homes and uprooted trees. One home had its roof torn off. The weather service is still working to confirm the tornado's wind speeds.

A third tornado may have occurred in Iredell County, a weather service spokesman said. Two teams of surveyors were deployed to the area Thursday morning to investigate the damage and determine whether a tornado touched down.

Republicans In NC House Release New Details In Budget Plan

Republicans in the North Carolina House have unveiled large sections of their budget proposal.

The plan leaves out several spending cuts that the Senate had proposed in its budget, among them, a 25 percent cut to the Department of Public Instruction’s funding and a 30 percent cut in funding for the UNC law school.

The House also is leaving out plans by the Senate to eliminate more than 40 positions in the Department of Environmental Quality. A Senate provision that could eliminate food stamps to more than 100,000 people also is absent. The full House is expected to vote on the budget plan next week.

NC's Blue Cross Seeks 23 Percent Hike On Individual Policies

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is seeking to raise premiums for its Obamacare plans by an average 23 percent next year - a double digit increase it blames mostly on Congress. The state’s largest health insurer says two-thirds of its rate increase is because Congress isn’t funding promised subsidies that provide consumers with extra financial help for out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and co-payments.

The health insurer is also citing increases in the cost of medicine and physicians' fees. In its rate increase request, Blue Cross says it currently plans to provide policies in all of the state’s 100 counties, though that could change depending on what happens to the Republicans' American Health Care Act in Congress.

UNC Responds to 3rd Set of NCAA Charges in Academic Case

The University of North Carolina has responded to the third set of charges it received from the NCAA in the long-running academic fraud case.

The 102-page document released Thursday marked the latest step in the seven-year investigation. UNC faces five top-level charges, including lack of institutional control, in the multi-year probe centered on irregular courses in an academic department.

In an argument that mirrors its response last August to its second Notice of Allegations, North Carolina is challenging the NCAA's jurisdiction to pursue charges for issues the school says "are academic in nature" and "lie beyond the reach of the bylaws belatedly invoked" by the NCAA.

The NCAA enforcement staff has until July 17 to file a response.