Associated Press

People ride on a three-wheel vehicle in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Nov. 19 , 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Petros Giannakouris

Hunger causing more concern than COVID-19 in wintry Afghanistan, say aid agencies

Extreme hunger and malnutrition threaten more than half the population

People ride on a three-wheel vehicle in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Nov. 19 , 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Petros Giannakouris
In this photo provided by the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a 22 Wing member is seen showing how they track Santa on his sleigh on Christmas evening during a media preview at the Canadian Forces Base in North Bay on Dec. 9, 2021. In a Christmas Eve tradition going on its 66th year, a wildly popular program run by the U.S. and Canadian militaries is providing real-time updates on Santa’s progress around the globe — and fielding calls from children who want to know St. Nick’s exact whereabouts. (Sable Brown/NORAD via AP)

Yes, there is a Santa Claus. And no, COVID-19 won’t stop him

NORAD will provide real-time updates on Santa’s progress Dec. 24, pandemic or no pandemic

In this photo provided by the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a 22 Wing member is seen showing how they track Santa on his sleigh on Christmas evening during a media preview at the Canadian Forces Base in North Bay on Dec. 9, 2021. In a Christmas Eve tradition going on its 66th year, a wildly popular program run by the U.S. and Canadian militaries is providing real-time updates on Santa’s progress around the globe — and fielding calls from children who want to know St. Nick’s exact whereabouts. (Sable Brown/NORAD via AP)
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer Cecilia Morales jumps over a conveyor belt at security checkpoint to assist mother with unresponsive baby, performing life saving maneuver on Dec. 9, 2021 at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J. Morales, an EMT who has been a TSA officer for about two months, told the agency she performed the infant version of the Heimlich maneuver. (Transportation Security Administration via AP)

Security officer saves infant who stopped breathing at airport

Woman leaps conveyor belt to perform infant version of the Heimlich maneuver

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer Cecilia Morales jumps over a conveyor belt at security checkpoint to assist mother with unresponsive baby, performing life saving maneuver on Dec. 9, 2021 at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J. Morales, an EMT who has been a TSA officer for about two months, told the agency she performed the infant version of the Heimlich maneuver. (Transportation Security Administration via AP)
FILE - A group of migrant families walk from the Rio Grande, the river separating the U.S. and Mexico in Texas, near McAllen, Texas, March 14, 2019. A Biden administration effort to reunite children and parents who were separated under President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance border policy has made increasing progress as it nears the end of its first year. The Department of Homeland Security planned Thursday, Dec. 23, to announce that 100 children, mostly from Central America, are back with their families and about 350 more reunifications are in process after it adopted measures to enhance the program. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

U.S. has reunited 100 children taken from parents under Trump

350 more reunifications are in process after country adopted measures to enhance program

FILE - A group of migrant families walk from the Rio Grande, the river separating the U.S. and Mexico in Texas, near McAllen, Texas, March 14, 2019. A Biden administration effort to reunite children and parents who were separated under President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance border policy has made increasing progress as it nears the end of its first year. The Department of Homeland Security planned Thursday, Dec. 23, to announce that 100 children, mostly from Central America, are back with their families and about 350 more reunifications are in process after it adopted measures to enhance the program. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
FILE — A throat swab is taken from a patient to test for COVID-19 at a facility in Soweto, South Africa, Dec. 2, 2021. South Africa’s noticeable drop in new COVID-19 cases in recent days may signal that the country’s dramatic omicron-driven wave has passed its peak, medical experts say. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell, File)

Case drop may show South Africa’s omicron peak has passed

New, highly mutated omicron variant first surfaced in South Africa and was announced Nov. 25

FILE — A throat swab is taken from a patient to test for COVID-19 at a facility in Soweto, South Africa, Dec. 2, 2021. South Africa’s noticeable drop in new COVID-19 cases in recent days may signal that the country’s dramatic omicron-driven wave has passed its peak, medical experts say. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell, File)
The squirrels in Mears Park in St. Paul, Minn, like these on Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, are fat, bold, and accustomed to being fed by people. They have been chewing through wires on the Christmas lights, so Mears Park isn’t lit up as usual this holiday season. (Scott Takushi/Pioneer Press via AP)

Squirrels force US city to scale back holiday lights in public park

Group responsible for St. Paul display says blame the ‘tree rats’

The squirrels in Mears Park in St. Paul, Minn, like these on Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, are fat, bold, and accustomed to being fed by people. They have been chewing through wires on the Christmas lights, so Mears Park isn’t lit up as usual this holiday season. (Scott Takushi/Pioneer Press via AP)
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is shown on June 22, 2019. A British court on Tuesday ordered the ruler of Dubai to pay his ex-wife and their children about 550 million pounds ($730 million), in one of the most expensive divorce settlements in British history. The High Court said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum must pay 251.5 million pounds to his sixth wife, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, and make ongoing payments for their children Al Jalila, 14, and Zayed, 9 underpinned by a bank guarantee of 290 million pounds. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)

Dubai ruler must pay ex-wife $730M in divorce settlement

Judge says the family needed “water-tight security” of 11 million pounds annually

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is shown on June 22, 2019. A British court on Tuesday ordered the ruler of Dubai to pay his ex-wife and their children about 550 million pounds ($730 million), in one of the most expensive divorce settlements in British history. The High Court said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum must pay 251.5 million pounds to his sixth wife, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, and make ongoing payments for their children Al Jalila, 14, and Zayed, 9 underpinned by a bank guarantee of 290 million pounds. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)
The NFL’s approach to dealing with vaccinated, asymptomatic COVID cases will be closely watched. (Courtesy of the NFL)

NFL could become trend-setter for COVID-19 testing policies

Football league is scaling back testing for vaccinated players in alignment with CDC guidelines

The NFL’s approach to dealing with vaccinated, asymptomatic COVID cases will be closely watched. (Courtesy of the NFL)
Travelers wait for a shuttle but to arrive at the Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported more than 3,500 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday as the number of daily new cases tripled over the week. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Omicron sweeps across US, now 73% of country’s new COVID-19 cases

‘If you’re going to have any type of life, omicron will be something you encounter’

Travelers wait for a shuttle but to arrive at the Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported more than 3,500 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday as the number of daily new cases tripled over the week. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
This image released by Sony Pictures shows Tom Holland in Columbia Pictures' "Spider-Man: No Way Home." (Sony Pictures via AP)

‘Spider-Man’ swings to 2nd all-time at North American box office

No previous film in the pandemic era had opened over $100 million, new Spidey hit $260 million

This image released by Sony Pictures shows Tom Holland in Columbia Pictures' "Spider-Man: No Way Home." (Sony Pictures via AP)
FILE - A damaged inflatable small boat is pictured on the shore in Wimereux, northern France, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021 in Calais, northern France. The Paris prosecutor’s office said it has received a manslaughter lawsuit for failure to help in the tragic capsizing last month of a boat in the English Channel that cost the lives of at least 27 people trying to reach Britain. The manslaughter lawsuit, filed Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 by the French humanitarian organization Utopia 56, accuses the maritime prefect of the Channel and North Sea, the Regional Operational Centre for Surveillance and Rescue of Gris-Nez in the Pas-de-Calais and the British Coast Guard of not doing enough to prevent the deaths. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler, File)

English Channel rescuers accused of manslaughter in migrant deaths

Suit alleges people were abandoned ‘despite calls to the English and French rescue services,’ 27 died

FILE - A damaged inflatable small boat is pictured on the shore in Wimereux, northern France, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021 in Calais, northern France. The Paris prosecutor’s office said it has received a manslaughter lawsuit for failure to help in the tragic capsizing last month of a boat in the English Channel that cost the lives of at least 27 people trying to reach Britain. The manslaughter lawsuit, filed Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 by the French humanitarian organization Utopia 56, accuses the maritime prefect of the Channel and North Sea, the Regional Operational Centre for Surveillance and Rescue of Gris-Nez in the Pas-de-Calais and the British Coast Guard of not doing enough to prevent the deaths. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler, File)
More than 100 figurines and roughly 40,000 total lights adorn the yard outside Wiley Jones Irwin’s home. Luciano Marano | Bainbridge Island Review

Holiday season lights a bright spot amid pandemic resurgence

People and communities indulging in more and more elaborate light shows this holiday season

More than 100 figurines and roughly 40,000 total lights adorn the yard outside Wiley Jones Irwin’s home. Luciano Marano | Bainbridge Island Review
FILE - Robin Pecknold of the Fleet Foxes performs at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival on April 14, 2018, in Indio, Calif. The Fleet Foxes song “White Winter Hymnal,” written by Pecknold, and released in 2008, has become a modern holiday standard, sung by children’s choirs in countless school assemblies. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File)

Red snow? Song becomes a most unexpected modern standard for the holidays

Songwriter surprised at how ‘White Winter Hymnal’ has turned into a Christmas staple

FILE - Robin Pecknold of the Fleet Foxes performs at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival on April 14, 2018, in Indio, Calif. The Fleet Foxes song “White Winter Hymnal,” written by Pecknold, and released in 2008, has become a modern holiday standard, sung by children’s choirs in countless school assemblies. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File)
FILE - Peng Shuai of China reacts after scoring a point against Monica Niculescu of Romania during their women's singles match of the China Open tennis tournament at the Diamond Court in Beijing, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017. The head of the women’s professional tennis tour announced Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, that all WTA tournaments would be suspended in China because of concerns about the safety of Peng Shuai, a Grand Slam doubles champion who accused a former high-ranking government official in that country of sexual assault.(AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

Tennis star tells paper she never wrote of being assaulted by Chinese official

Peng Shuai denies highly detailed social media post accusing a former top Communist Party member

FILE - Peng Shuai of China reacts after scoring a point against Monica Niculescu of Romania during their women's singles match of the China Open tennis tournament at the Diamond Court in Beijing, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017. The head of the women’s professional tennis tour announced Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, that all WTA tournaments would be suspended in China because of concerns about the safety of Peng Shuai, a Grand Slam doubles champion who accused a former high-ranking government official in that country of sexual assault.(AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
Dr. Aldo Calvo, Medical Director of Family Medicine at Broward Health, shows a Regeneron monoclonal antibody infusion bag during a news conference, Aug. 19, 2021 at the Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. As strained U.S. hospitals brace for a new surge of omicron COVID-19 cases, doctors are warning of yet another challenge: the two standard drugs they’ve used to treat early coronavirus infections are unlikely to work against the new variant. For more than a year antibody drugs from Regeneron and Eli Lilly have been the go-to treatments for COVID-19, thanks to their ability to head off severe disease and keep patients out of the hospital. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File)

Omicron may sideline two leading drugs against COVID-19

Antibody drugs from Regeneron and Eli Lilly have been the go-to treatments for early COVID-19

Dr. Aldo Calvo, Medical Director of Family Medicine at Broward Health, shows a Regeneron monoclonal antibody infusion bag during a news conference, Aug. 19, 2021 at the Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. As strained U.S. hospitals brace for a new surge of omicron COVID-19 cases, doctors are warning of yet another challenge: the two standard drugs they’ve used to treat early coronavirus infections are unlikely to work against the new variant. For more than a year antibody drugs from Regeneron and Eli Lilly have been the go-to treatments for COVID-19, thanks to their ability to head off severe disease and keep patients out of the hospital. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File)
Clarence Iron, shown in a handout photo, always dreamt of being part of “Hockey Night in Canada,” but not even in his dreams did he envision calling games in his own language. Now the 60-year-old broadcaster from the Canoe Lake Cree Nation is set bring the sport he loves to his community in a whole new way with the debut of “Hockey Night in Canada in Cree.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-APTN
Clarence Iron, shown in a handout photo, always dreamt of being part of “Hockey Night in Canada,” but not even in his dreams did he envision calling games in his own language. Now the 60-year-old broadcaster from the Canoe Lake Cree Nation is set bring the sport he loves to his community in a whole new way with the debut of “Hockey Night in Canada in Cree.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-APTN

Canadian broadcaster hopes hockey call will help save his Cree language

‘Hockey Night in Canada in Cree’ will feature NHL games broadcast in Indigenous language

Clarence Iron, shown in a handout photo, always dreamt of being part of “Hockey Night in Canada,” but not even in his dreams did he envision calling games in his own language. Now the 60-year-old broadcaster from the Canoe Lake Cree Nation is set bring the sport he loves to his community in a whole new way with the debut of “Hockey Night in Canada in Cree.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-APTN
Clarence Iron, shown in a handout photo, always dreamt of being part of “Hockey Night in Canada,” but not even in his dreams did he envision calling games in his own language. Now the 60-year-old broadcaster from the Canoe Lake Cree Nation is set bring the sport he loves to his community in a whole new way with the debut of “Hockey Night in Canada in Cree.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-APTN
FILE - The names of the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, left, are displayed on the Stanley Cup in the lobby of the United Center during an NHL hockey news conference on June 11, 2013 in Chicago. Representatives for the Blackhawks and a former player who is suing the team over how it handled his allegations of sexual assault against an assistant coach were meeting with a mediator Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021 for the first time in hopes of resolving the case. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

Chicago Blackhawks settle lawsuit with Kyle Beach

The confidential settlement was announced after the sides met Wednesday with a mediator

FILE - The names of the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, left, are displayed on the Stanley Cup in the lobby of the United Center during an NHL hockey news conference on June 11, 2013 in Chicago. Representatives for the Blackhawks and a former player who is suing the team over how it handled his allegations of sexual assault against an assistant coach were meeting with a mediator Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021 for the first time in hopes of resolving the case. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
A man gets vaccinated against COVID-19 at a site near Johannesburg, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021 a day after South African President Cyril Ramaphosa tested positive receiving for mild COVID-19 symptoms after testing positive for the disease. Ramaphosa started feeling unwell Sunday and a test confirmed COVID-19. A statement said he has mild symptoms, is self-isolating in Cape Town and is being monitored by the South African Military Health Service. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

Early data indicating Omicron is milder, better at evading vaccines

The omicron variant is offering more hints about what it may have…

A man gets vaccinated against COVID-19 at a site near Johannesburg, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021 a day after South African President Cyril Ramaphosa tested positive receiving for mild COVID-19 symptoms after testing positive for the disease. Ramaphosa started feeling unwell Sunday and a test confirmed COVID-19. A statement said he has mild symptoms, is self-isolating in Cape Town and is being monitored by the South African Military Health Service. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)
FILE - Kids and adults wait for their booster or second dose of COVID-19 vaccine at Northwest Community Church in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021. The new omicron coronavirus mutant speeding around the world may bring another wave of chaos, threatening to further stretch hospital workers already struggling with a surge of delta cases and upend holiday plans for the second year in a row. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

U.S. faces a double coronavirus surge as omicron advances

Early data suggests omicron is more transmissible than delta, with a doubling time of about two days

FILE - Kids and adults wait for their booster or second dose of COVID-19 vaccine at Northwest Community Church in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021. The new omicron coronavirus mutant speeding around the world may bring another wave of chaos, threatening to further stretch hospital workers already struggling with a surge of delta cases and upend holiday plans for the second year in a row. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
Nathalie Charles poses for a portrait outside the Princeton University Chapel in Princeton, N.J. on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021. Charles left her Baptist church at the age of 15 because as a queer woman of Haitian descent, she felt unwelcome in her congregation, with its conservative views on immigration, gender and sexuality. The 18-year-old freshman at Princeton has since identified as atheist, and then agnostic, before embracing a spiritual but not religious life. (AP Photo/Luis Andres Henao)

What’s your religion? In US, a common reply now is ‘None’

‘Nones’ now constitutes 29% of American adults, up from 19% a decade ago

Nathalie Charles poses for a portrait outside the Princeton University Chapel in Princeton, N.J. on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021. Charles left her Baptist church at the age of 15 because as a queer woman of Haitian descent, she felt unwelcome in her congregation, with its conservative views on immigration, gender and sexuality. The 18-year-old freshman at Princeton has since identified as atheist, and then agnostic, before embracing a spiritual but not religious life. (AP Photo/Luis Andres Henao)