Monday News: Here we go again


TRUMP TO REVEAL HIS STRATEGY ON AFGHANISTAN WAR: President Donald Trump will use a nationally televised address to outline for a war-weary nation the strategy he believes will best position the U.S. to eventually declare victory in Afghanistan after 16 years of combat and lives lost. The speech Monday night will also give Trump a chance for a reset after one of the most difficult weeks of his short presidency. Trump tweeted Saturday that he had reached a decision on the way forward in Afghanistan, a day after he reviewed war options with his national security team at a meeting at Camp David, Maryland. The president offered no clues about whether he would send thousands more U.S. troops into Afghanistan or exercise his authority as commander in chief to order that they be withdrawn from America's longest war.

TRUMP'S RUSSIAN OLIGARCH FRIEND DECLARES BANKRUPTCY AT NC'S ALEVO MANUFACTURING PLANT: Two mysterious companies owned by the Russian oligarch who bought Donald Trump’s Palm Beach mansion filed for bankruptcy in North Carolina Friday, adding to the intrigue about the firms and the rich Russian behind them. Alevo’s management team had a few American energy veterans but was dominated by Russian cronies of Rybolovlev with no background in power generation, electricity markets or the grid. Few of the large batteries were delivered to clients: The Maryland city of Hagerstown is the only publicly acknowledged recipient of a GridBanks battery. The Delaware coastal city of Lewes has been waiting for months to receive its battery, which it planned to use to fill in power supply during times of peak usage or outages.

CHAD BAREFOOT ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT AFTER BEING DOUBLE-BUNKED ON NEW MAPS: Sen. Chad Barefoot, R-Franklin, on Sunday announced plans to retire from the General Assembly at the end of his term. In a statement, Barefoot said that, when he ran for a Senate seat six years ago, he knew it may not be something he and his family could do long-term, due to a growing family. “As my legislative responsibilities grew over the past five years, so did my responsibilities at home. I feel now is the right time for me to focus more on being a dad than a State Senator, and so I won’t be running for re-election in 2018,” he said. Barefoot, who represents the 18th District, is the co-chairman of the Senate Education and Higher Education Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education and Higher Education. The draft redistricting plan released Sunday night by the Senate would put Barefoot into the same district with Sen. John Alexander, R-Wake.

CONFEDERATE MONUMENT STANDOFF SATURDAY NIGHT IN GRAHAM TENSE, BUT NO VIOLENCE: In the end, after at least 150 people had gathered at the Confederate monument on Court Square, there was one misdemeanor arrest and not even very much trash on the ground. For more than three hours there were two growing groups on opposite corners of Court Square and North Main Street, and the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office, Graham police, the N.C. Highway Patrol and members of most other law enforcement agencies in the county were on hand to keep things from getting ugly. They succeeded with some help. The Times-News got a tip about 9 p.m. from a faithful reader and frequent critic that there was a demonstration at Court Square. At that point there were only four or five people, most of them young men, on the northeast corner. The crowd grew to more than 50. On the northwest corner, there were more than a dozen people, which grew to more than 70. People the Times-News spoke to on both sides Saturday said the incident was not about race. While no one claimed to represent a specific group, several people said they had been at Court Square to protect the monument since a group of demonstrators in Durham pulled down a monument to Confederate soldiers.

DURHAM SHERIFF TAKES HEAT OVER SPREADING RUMORS OF KKK RALLY: The Durham County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday responded to social media backlash concerning the way they handled the possibility of a white supremacist rally in the city on Friday. Attorneys Scott Holmes, who is representing several protesters who were arrested last week in connection with the vandalism of a Confederate monument, and T. Greg Doucette took to social media to accuse the sheriff’s office of causing chaos and spreading rumors that a white supremacist rally would be held in the city. Sheriff Mike Andrews took to Facebook on Sunday, stating that deputies shared the rumors of a white supremacy rally with “key individuals” and community leaders as a precautionary measure to avoid the possibility of groups with opposing viewpoints clashing. “Sharing that information with key individuals, including a representative of demonstrators who were staged outside the courthouse Friday morning, was in no way a signal for them to independently sound the alarm ahead of law enforcement, potentially triggering needless panic and anxiety,” Andrews wrote.