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NO SHOT: Fewer than one in 10 people eligible for the new Covid-19 booster have actually received the shot, leaving more than 150 million doses unused ahead of an expected winter surge in the virus. Ashish Jha, the Biden administration's point person on Covid-19, said the White House had not set a goal for how many boosters should have been administered by now, "or at least I didn't have one."
HOLIDAY PLANNING: To protect yourself and loved ones over the holidays, experts suggest planning your precautions to protect those gathering who have the highest risk for severe infections, including people older than 60 and those with compromised immune systems. Experts also recommend getting the new booster, testing before gathering and masking while you travel.
2. LOAN FORGIVENESS
Federal student loan borrowers can now go online to apply for up to $20,000 in debt forgiveness after the Biden administration on Friday evening launched a beta version of the site. Millions had been waiting for the site since August, when Biden announced the program with few details about what steps borrowers should take to get the debt forgiven.
Excuse me for a moment, we have to fill out an application real quick.
3. RECESSION FORECAST
The U.S. is probably headed for a recession, according to economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal. The average probability that the U.S. economy will contract within the next year is 63%, the first time it has risen above 50% since July 2020. Nearly six in 10 economists surveyed believe that the Fed will raise interest rates beyond what is viewed as necessary to curb inflation, causing economic damage.
XI'S POWER: Chinese President Xi Jinping refused to rule out using force against Taiwan and said he would speed up the military's expansion in his address to the Communist Party congress, a weeklong meeting where he is expected to be granted a third term in office. Xi, who would become the only three-term leader since Mao Zedong, said the government will not change its "Zero-Covid" strategy known for lockdowns and travel restrictions.
UKRAINE WAR: Russia struck the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv again early today, this time using explosive Iranian drones that apparently targeted energy infrastructure but also hit at least one residential building. “Kamikaze” drone attacks were reported elsewhere in the country, and Ukraine said many were shot down. Meanwhile, the Russian region of Belgorod, which borders Ukraine's Kharkiv region, was the site of multiple attacks over the weekend, including airstrikes and a mass shooting at a Russian army training camp that killed 11 people and wounded 15.
5. RADIOACTIVE SCHOOL
A suburban St. Louis elementary school has dangerous amounts of radioactive contamination, according to samples taken from the site where nuclear weapons were made during World War II. Environmental investigators said levels of radioactive metals were much higher than expected and that the school will require "[a] significant remedial program." The majority of Jana Elementary School students in Florissant, Mo., qualify for free or reduced-price lunches and more than four in five of its students are Black, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
That new portable juicer or syringe-shaped pen you saw on TikTok and now absolutely must have? Americans may soon be able to do that without leaving the addictive social media platform. Cheddar News' Michelle Castillo reports that TikTok is looking to hire warehouse workers, a sign that it may be building up its e-commerce infrastructure in the U.S. as it has in Southeast Asia and the U.K.
Addictive app adds a way to impulse-buy. What could go wrong?
7. DISAPPEARING CRABS
The Alaskan snow crab fishing season has been canceled because there are too few to catch — "a consequence of global warming," according to a federal fisheries scientist. Alaska's wildlife agency said that from 2018 to 2021, the species' population fell from about 8 billion to 1 billion. As climate change warms oceans and melts sea ice, the Bering Sea off Alaska has become too hot for snow crabs to live there, said Michael Litzow, a fisheries scientist in Alaska for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
8. GALACTIC INDIGESTION
Years after eating a star, a black hole has been burping out energy at unusually high speeds, according to astronomers who have been watching the discomfort from a high-powered telescope in New Mexico. While unsure why the delayed burps are happening, astronomers are excited for the findings to "[open] up a new dimension in our understanding of physics," said Yvette Cendes, a researcher with the Center for Astrophysics and lead author of the study.
We all have Galactointestinal issues from time to time.
9. IN ENTERTAINMENT
BOX OFFICE: The latest installment in the Halloween franchise earned slightly less than expected, but its $41 million opening was strong enough to make it the weekend's top film. It's also continued proof that horror movies are a bankable option, especially with young people, despite theaters' struggle to fill seats like they did in pre-pandemic days.
Zoomers, isn't there enough to be scared of already?
MEGAN THEE STALLION: It was an intense week for the 27-year-old rapper whose Los Angeles home was burglarized two days before she hosted Saturday Night Live and performed as its musical guest. On Friday, she tweeted that she would be taking time off after SNL: "I'm so tired, physically and emotionally," she wrote.
10. NATIONAL PASTA DAY
If you woke up with an unusual desire to have linguine for breakfast, perhaps it was because today is National Pasta Day! If you want to celebrate without having to run to the grocery store for extra ingredients, try chef Sohla El-Waylly's Any Green, Any Bean, Any Pasta recipe.
Pasta is delicious, no matter what shape … orzo they say.
Corn mazes might seem like a quaint fall activity, but making them can be a complex technological affair. Cheddar News explains how farmers use super-precise GPS plotting and computerized planting to create such elaborate maize mazes, which have become a key source of revenue for some farms.