Bill Chappell

Olympic athletes, team staff and journalists who arrive at the Beijing 2022 Winter Games next February will be required to be vaccinated — or face a three-week "hard quarantine" period that lasts longer than the Games themselves. That's according to new guidelines from the International Olympic Committee.

A hard quarantine requires a participant to remain in a tightly controlled area, such as a hotel room. To avoid that requirement, anyone visiting China for the Olympics will need to be vaccinated at least 14 days before arrival.

It's the stuff of nightmares, or science fiction: a parasite that wants to get inside an animal's mouth, where it attacks — and replaces — the tongue. That's the incredibly specific, terribly icky job of the tongue-eating louse.

Luckily for humans, the isopod doesn't affect people. But the Atlantic croaker and other fish are less fortunate, as a recent Facebook posting by the Galveston Island State Park in Texas shows.

A former science teacher who's been blind for 16 years became able to see letters, discern objects' edges — and even play a Maggie Simpson video game — thanks to a visual prosthesis that includes a camera and a brain implant, according to American and Spanish researchers who collaborated on the project.

Sheriff's deputies arrested Terry Turner on a warrant accusing him of murdering Adil Dghoughi outside of Turner's house in Martindale, Texas. Turner reportedly shot Dghoughi, a native of Morocco who was not armed, through the window of Dghoughi's car.

Drone operators were preparing to launch a daring rescue mission to carry several dogs out of a volcano's lava zone when they realized something had changed: All of the dogs were already gone.

It was apparently the work of a group of mysterious rescuers who left a spray-painted banner reading, "The dogs are fine." The message was signed "A Team."

The dogs' plight has made headlines for weeks after emergency teams realized the animals had been stranded by lava from a volcano's prolonged eruption on the island of La Palma, Spain.

Nikolas Cruz pleaded guilty Wednesday to killing 17 people — 14 students and three staff members — at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., avoiding a trial but setting up a fight over his punishment for the 2018 attack.

Cruz's defense team is hoping to avoid the death sentence that prosecutors are seeking.

Several dogs that are stranded by lava from a volcano on the island of La Palma, Spain, could soon be rescued, if a drone company has its way. Aerocamaras says its team of drone operators has now received the permits it needs to try a unique rescue, in which a drone will drop a net on each dog, then whisk it to safety.

"Our pilots are conducting tests together with the emergency teams at this moment," the company said on Tuesday, after it announced that the operation had been given the green light.

People with mild or moderate hearing loss could soon be able to buy hearing aids without a medical exam or special fitting, under a new rule being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration. The agency says 37.5 million American adults have difficulty hearing.

A Thomas Jefferson statue is on its way out of New York's City Council Chamber, after members of the Public Design Commission agreed to take the nation's third president and well-known slaveowner off of his pedestal.

The statue currently occupies a prominent spot near the chamber's main dais, where Jefferson has towered over council members for more than 100 years.

U.S. women's volleyball is second to none, sitting atop the world rankings. The game is thriving from the youth level up to the Olympics. But every year, the top U.S. women head to international leagues after college.

That's because the rest of the world has something the U.S. does not: dozens of women's pro volleyball leagues that are crucial for players to reach the highest level of their sport.

"We have 400 girls that have to go abroad if they want to continue in the world of volleyball," Katlyn Gao, the CEO of a new pro league called League One Volleyball, told NPR.

Updated October 15, 2021 at 3:20 PM ET

A British bakery has been forced to pull its top-selling cookies from the market, after regulators informed the owner that the sprinkles are illegal. The U.S.-made sprinkles contain a coloring that's legal for some uses — but not for sprinkling.

Nikolas Cruz will plead guilty next Wednesday to killing 14 students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., his defense team says.

With the admission of guilt in the 2018 mass shooting, Cruz's legal team will focus on the penalty phase of the trial, hoping to secure a punishment of 17 consecutive life sentences for their client, rather than the death penalty that prosecutors are seeking.

Texas lawmakers are considering legislation that would give workers legal grounds to refuse COVID-19 vaccine mandates for "reasons of conscience" — and to sue their employers if they don't agree. The measure would codify Gov. Greg Abbott's ban on vaccine mandates into state law.

Jon Gruden's exit as an NFL coach is prompting calls for the league to release more information from the investigation that unearthed years' worth of misogynistic, homophobic and racist emails.

Some of the loudest calls are coming from former cheerleaders and other employees whose mistreatment by the Washington Football Team (WFT) prompted the NFL inquiry in the first place.

Parents whose children have been infected with the coronavirus in Wisconsin have an unlikely ally: a brewery and its super PAC.

Filing lawsuits in both of Wisconsin's federal court districts, the parents are suing school districts for rescinding mask requirements and flouting other federal and state health guidance. They're backed by the Minocqua Brewing Company of Minocqua, Wis., which sells what it calls "progressive beer" — and whose owner is using its political action committee to help fund the legal fight.

Updated October 12, 2021 at 3:38 PM ET

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents will no longer conduct mass raids on workplaces where undocumented immigrants are employed, according to a new order by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

The real problem, Mayorkas said in a memorandum released Tuesday, are "exploitative employers," not unauthorized workers.

Norway just hit a record in its move to phase out cars that rely on fossil fuels.

More than 9 in 10 new cars sold there in September were either electric or rechargeable hybrids, according to the Norwegian Information Council for Road Traffic, or OFV. Of all new passenger cars sold so far in 2021, less than 5% are gas-powered. A slightly smaller percentage use diesel.

A large hospital system in Colorado says people on its organ transplant wait list won't be offered an organ if they refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine, citing the "significant risk the virus poses to transplant recipients."

UCHealth, which operates 12 hospitals from its headquarters in Aurora, Colo., says it has long been standard practice to require many organ recipients or donors to get vaccines such as hepatitis B or the MMR shot.

Jannique Martinez's home sits in a tidy cul-de-sac in Virginia Beach, Va., where she lives with her husband and kids and hosts the occasional bake sale. There's just one problem, and it's a loud one: a man who lives next door blares monkey sounds, banjo music and racist slurs at Martinez and her family — a situation that went on for months.

The police said there was nothing they could do to stop the offensive noise. But since the community held a rally to support Martinez on her block, the cacophony has gotten much quieter.

They went pound for pound, gut to gut. Coming into the final round, both animals had fervent support online. But in the end, 480 Otis was crowned the winner of the Fat Bear Week tournament — a competition made all the more unique by the fact that none of its entrants have any idea it exists.

Fat Bear Week is put on in Alaska by the Katmai National Park and Preserve, explore.org and the Katmai Conservancy, as a way to highlight the park's natural beauty and to share the story of its large brown bear population.

When Facebook suffered an outage of about six hours on Monday, businesses suffered along with it. The platform and its Instagram and WhatsApp siblings play key roles in commerce, with some companies relying on Facebook's network instead of their own websites.

But on Monday, that network came crashing down. It wasn't a hack, Facebook said, but rather a self-inflicted problem.

Captain James T. Kirk is blasting off into the final frontier. In the latest sign of the strange new world we inhabit, the actor William Shatner will join the crew of Blue Origin's New Shepard on a spaceflight that's slated to launch on Oct. 12.

"Yes, it's true," Shatner said on Twitter. "I'm going to be a 'rocket man!' "

Anyone looking to celebrate the fall and winter holidays without spreading COVID-19 should consider a window fan or a walk-by greeting, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. The suggestions are part of the agency's list of safe ways to get festive — sort of an epidemiologist's take on Martha Stewart's Home for the Holidays.

It seems unlikely, but it did indeed happen: A man "wearing full ninja garb" attacked members of a U.S. Army special operations unit in the middle of the night in the California desert, setting off a scramble for safety and resulting in at least two injuries, according to police and other records.

The incident occurred a little after 1 a.m. on Sept. 18, when authorities in Ridgecrest, Calif., got word of a sword-wielding man dressed as a ninja on the loose at the Inyokern Airport in Kern County, north of Los Angeles.

The governors of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin are joining forces to build a new network for charging electric vehicles. The bipartisan plan aims to improve the region's economy while also reducing toxic emissions from cars and trucks.

The new plan is called REV Midwest — the Regional Electric Vehicle Midwest Coalition. In addition to creating jobs and improving public health, its backers say it will help the Midwest compete for both private investment and federal funding.

Tommy Kirk, whose prolific work as a child actor included classic movies such as Old Yeller, The Shaggy Dog and Swiss Family Robinson, has died at age 79. Kirk's death was announced by his friend and fellow Mickey Mouse Club alum Paul Petersen, who said the actor was found dead in his home in Las Vegas.

Generations of children, and more than a few adults, cried along with Kirk when his character Travis Coates tearfully pulled the trigger to end his beloved dog's life in Old Yeller in 1957.

The two Belarusian coaches accused of trying to punish sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya by forcing her to fly home early from the Tokyo Olympics are now under investigation, the International Olympic Committee announced Thursday.

The money was supposed to be used to create modern art. And it was — but not in the way a Danish museum expected when it gave an artist the equivalent of $84,000. In return, it received two empty canvases.

The artist, Jens Haaning, says the blank canvases make up a new work of art — titled "Take the Money and Run" — that he calls a commentary on poor wages. One thing it's not, he says, is a theft.

Pfizer and BioNTech are another step closer to seeking authorization for young children to receive the COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine, submitting data to the Food and Drug Administration that shows a "robust" antibody response and "favorable" safety outcomes in kids ages 5 to 11 who received the two-dose regimen in clinical trials.

Updated September 28, 2021 at 3:10 PM ET

A judge in Maryland has sentenced the gunman who killed five people in the Capital Gazette newsroom in 2018 to five life sentences without parole, along with other prison time. A jury found Jarrod Ramos criminally responsible for the massacre in July, rejecting his insanity plea.

Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters died in the attack.

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