13 SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — In Costa Rica, officials are encouraging those infected with the coronavirus to skip voting in upcoming national elections. On the other side of the world, Beijing is locking down residential communities as the country anxiously awaits the start of the Winter Olympics on Feb. 4. In Latin America and Asia, where the omicron variant is making its latest appearance, some countries are imposing such restrictions while others are loath to place new limits on populations already exhausted by previous constraints. Omicron quickly swept through the places it first hit, such as South Africa, the U.K. and the United States, pushing daily cases far higher than at any time during the pandemic. The Americas reported nearly 7.2 million new COVID infections and more than 15,000 COVID-related deaths over the past week, the Pan American Health Organization said Wednesday. … [Read more...] about Latin America, Asia, latest to get hit with omicron surge
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For a decade, Atif Mahr mentored young people, preaching the virtues of anti-violence even as the streets of his north St. Louis neighborhood echoed ever more often with the crack of gunfire. Then one day last October, those bullets tore a jagged hole in Mahr's own family. His daughter Isis was dropping off a friend when a gunman unloaded on her car. The soccer standout, who had been saving money to pay her way through nursing school, was 19. "I always feared it," Mahr said. "I never imagined it." Isis's death filled him with hurt. The reaction from the community, however, gave him hope. The past two years have been dreadful for public safety in U.S. cities as homicide numbers soared - in some cases to record levels. Experts say a constellation of factors is to blame, including the pandemic's scars and a breakdown in trust between police and the communities they serve during the social unrest of 2020. But as 2022 kicks off, city leaders from coast to coast say the stars may … [Read more...] about Homicide rates have soared nationwide, but mayors see a chance for a turnaround in 2022
3 John Beck has always considered himself a "solid B-plus" when it comes to trivia, so he was absolutely thrilled when he won $117,099 over five consecutive games of "Jeopardy!" in 2003. The show had a five-win limit at the time, and it felt like the ultimate victory. But as he sat in the studio audience and watched the next trio of contestants play, he couldn't help but think: "I'm pretty sure I would have won that game, too." Of course, the concept was a non-starter. Until a few months later, when it suddenly wasn't. The show kicked off its 20th season by instituting a new "sky's the limit" rule - "a deliberate ploy by the show to beef up ratings," Claire McNear wrote in her "Jeopardy!" history book "Answers in the Form of Questions" - allowing contestants to win as many games as possible. Soon, a mild-mannered computer engineer named Ken Jennings arrived on the scene and stayed put, steamrolling contestants week after week after week, causing some to … [Read more...] about Amy Schneider rules the ‘Jeopardy!’ super-champ era. Some former 5-day winners are jealous they never got the chance.