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    The World Cup has become a political lightning rod in Qatar. So it comes as no surprise that soccer fans’ sartorial style has sparked controversy. Fans from around the world have refashioned traditional Gulf Arab headdresses and thobes at the first World Cup in the Middle East. Western women have tried out hijabs. England fans have donned crusader costumes. The politically-minded have made statements with rainbow accessories in a country that criminalizes homosexuality. Fan fashion has drawn a range of reactions from locals in the tiny Muslim emirate that has seen nothing remotely like the spectacle of the World Cup before. The outfits have elicited amusement and excitement in some cases. They have brought backlash in other instances.

      Scientists along the West Coast are seeking action to help sunflower sea stars recover from catastrophic population declines. The Astorian reports experts say a wasting disease epidemic that started in 2013 has decimated about 95% of the population from the Aleutian Islands of Alaska to Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. The source is unknown, but some say warming waters due to human-caused climate change could have triggered the outbreak. The National Marine Fisheries Service is expected to announce by early next year whether the species should be listed under the Endangered Species Act. Without sea stars to keep them in check, sea urchins are causing a troubling decline in kelp forests that provide food and shelter.

        A daunting canoe voyage — covering almost 500 kilometers, or about 300 miles across a stretch of the Pacific Ocean — is underway. It’s the Hoki Mai Challenge, which started in Rapa Nui, a territory in the Pacific that is part of Chile and is better known as Easter Island. The event consists of a canoe voyage by nine Rapanuis, two Chileans and one Hawaiian seeking to celebrate the union of the islands of Polynesia. The 12 athletes have been training six days a week since mid-September, preparing for a three-day voyage that will take them from Rapa Nui to Motu Motiro Hiva, another island in the mid-Pacific that belongs to Chile.

          Noodle, a senior pug who went viral on TikTok for deciding whether it would be a bones day or a no bones day, has died. His owner, Jonathan Graziano, posted on Instagram that the 14-year-old dog died Friday. The little dog became famous in 2021 when Graziano began posting morning videos of Noodle deciding whether he was going to stand up or flop down in his soft dog bed. This coined the phrase “a no bones day” if Noodle decided to sleep in. Graziano would encourage his fans to follow his lead and treat themselves to soft pants and self care. Graziano said Noodle lived 14 and a half years and made millions of people happy.

            New York’s state health commissioner will resign Jan. 1 after 13 months in the job to return to Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Mary Bassett said in a statement Friday that she was leaving so the next commissioner can lead the department for a full four-year term under Gov. Kathy Hochul, who won election to her first full term last month. Hochul says in a statement that Bassett led the Health Department during a challenging time, battling the coronavirus, mpox and polio outbreaks. Bassett is a former New York City health commissioner and became the state commissioner in December 2021 after leaving Harvard.

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            As Elon Musk is finding out, running a global social media platform requires more than a few good algorithms. It also presents tough decisions about what kind of content to allow, and how to handle users who break the rules. Since Musk purchased Twitter, however, the rules have become unclear and enforcement inconsistent. The platform announced it was ending its COVID-19 misinformation policy, only to say no policies had changed. Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, was banished from Twitter for posting antisemitic content, even as the platform reinstated the account belonging to a neo-Nazi leader. Social media experts say the lack of clear and enforceable content rules could hurt Twitter if users start to lose trust.

            Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is making clear he wants to keep the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place to protect the health of the troops, as Republican governors and lawmakers press to rescind it. This past week more than 20 Republican governors wrote to President Joe Biden asking that the administration remove the mandate. They say it has hurt the U.S. National Guard’s ability to recruit troops. Congress may consider legislation this coming week to end the mandate as a requirement to gather enough support to pass this years’ defense budget, which is already two months late. Austin says the mandate has kept the forces healthy.

            It's now a lot easier and cheaper for Americans to get hearing aids. The government recently began allowing the sale of hearing aids without a prescription. These over-the-counter hearing aids began hitting the market in October at prices that can be thousands of dollars lower than prescription hearing aids. They are for people with mild-to-moderate hearing problems — not those with more severe hearing loss. The Food and Drug Administration estimates that around 30 million people in the United States deal with hearing loss. Only about 20% of the people who could use a hearing aid seek help.

            The holiday season is here, and that means decorations, food and festivities. All of this can be exciting and maybe a bit tempting for your cat. Here are some tips to ensure a safe and happy holiday season for the feline members of your household.

            Lincoln Animal Ambassadors is partnering with the Capital Humane Society on CHS’s new Pawsitive Impact Project, which is designed to help owners with financial needs provide their pets with preventative veterinary care.

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