Bill Chappell

Novak Djokovic's rivals are reacting to the latest twists in his fight to compete in the Australian Open with a mix of sympathy and a desire for a final resolution, to put the focus back on the Grand Slam tournament.

Quebec's plan to put a "significant" health tax on unvaccinated people — who account for a large share of COVID-19 hospitalizations — quickly drove a rush of new appointments this week, health officials say.

"It's encouraging!" said Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé, in a tweet announcing the new gains.

Dubé said the number of new vaccine appointments shot up in the 48 hours around the announcement, reaching what he called a record for several days.

Updated January 13, 2022 at 12:59 PM ET

One day after Prince Andrew lost his bid to quash a sex-abuse lawsuit, he has been stripped of his military affiliations and royal patronages, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday.

The move comes with Queen Elizabeth II's "approval and agreement," the palace said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is apologizing for 10 Downing Street, his official residence, hosting a happy-hour party in May 2020, when the rest of the country was under a strict COVID-19 lockdown. For the first time, Johnson said he was at the party — but the admission didn't appease his rivals, who called it one more reason for him to resign.

Updated January 12, 2022 at 10:46 AM ET

Virginia Giuffre's lawsuit against Britain's Prince Andrew can continue, a federal judge has ruled, denying "in all respects" the Duke of York's request to dismiss the case.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office is under fire after an email emerged showing his private secretary invited people to a lawn party at 10 Downing Street when the rest of the country was under a strict COVID-19 lockdown. Martin Reynolds' email concluded, "bring your own booze!"

The house that anchored the 1984 horror classic A Nightmare on Elm Street has been sold after nearly three months on the market, going for $2,980,000.

Despite its nightmarish movie ties, the house can be seen as a dream home, with 3 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, along with a pool and a guest house.

The idea that Ukraine, Russia's neighbor, might someday join NATO "is one of the areas where we have the greatest difference of views with the U.S.," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday, after an hours-long discussion with his U.S. counterpart, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.

The pilot of a small airplane was lucky to survive a crash on a Los Angeles street Sunday — and he was even luckier when he was yanked out of the aircraft just seconds before a train hit the plane, which had come to rest on railroad tracks.

A Los Angeles police officer's body camera video captured the dramatic sequence, showing police and a bystander working to free the man from the wreckage as an oncoming Metrolink train's horn blares.

Updated January 7, 2022 at 5:57 PM ET

Travis and Greg McMichael, who were convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. William "Roddie" Bryan, who was also convicted in the case, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole — meaning he must serve at least 30 years before he's eligible for release.

Every small town should have a dream. And in Mineral Point, Wis., the long-running dream was that some day, Betty White would come back for a visit.

The local brewpub was ready. On its chalkboard that tracks beers people buy in advance for buddies who might pop in, White's name has long been the most popular on the list.

In 2019, she had more than 40 beers waiting for her at the Commerce Street Brewery, just in case she stopped by.

On the eve of the Jan. 6 anniversary, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz called the riot "a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol," drawing the ire of several Republican pundits, including Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson.

"Of all the things that Jan. 6 was, it was definitely not a violent terrorist attack," Carlson said Wednesday night. "It wasn't an insurrection. Was it a riot? Sure. It was not a violent terrorist attack — sorry!"

Updated January 5, 2022 at 5:47 PM ET

In normal times, Novak Djokovic would be warmly welcomed to the Australian Open, as the world No. 1 and the tournament's defending champion. But now, the reigning Australian Open men's champion — who is famously skeptical about the COVID vaccine and received a medical exemption from being vaccinated — is being barred entry to the country.

Novak Djokovic, the top-ranked men's tennis player who is also famously skeptical about coronavirus vaccination, will play in the Australian Open later this month, after receiving a special exemption from COVID-19 requirements.

"I'm heading Down Under with an exemption permission. Let's go 2022!" Djokovic announced on several social media platforms Tuesday.

Updated January 3, 2022 at 12:22 PM ET

The settlement deal between disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein and Virginia Giuffre, one of his main accusers, was publicly released Monday, after being kept secret for more than a decade.

Ghislaine Maxwell's defense attorneys rested their case Friday, after just two days of calling witnesses to the stand. Maxwell herself did not testify. The British socialite is accused of facilitating trafficking and sexual abuse of minors at the hands of financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Closing arguments in the case will begin on Monday, meaning the jury could reach a verdict before Christmas — which also happens to be Maxwell's birthday.

Howling winds tore across the central U.S. on Wednesday, setting a record for the highest number of hurricane-force thunderstorm wind gusts in a day since 2004, the National Weather Service says. At least 55 gusts surpassed the 74-mph threshold for hurricane winds.

"The previous record was from August 10, 2020 with 53," the NWS Storm Prediction Center said.

Urban Meyer's tumultuous stint as an NFL coach is over, after the Jacksonville Jaguars fired him Wednesday night, 13 games into the season. Meyer posted a 2-11 record — and he was fired after a former Jaguars player publicly accused the coach of kicking him and calling him vulgar names.

Derek Chauvin has pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of George Floyd, the man he was found guilty of murdering. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, is white; Floyd was Black.

Chauvin is currently in prison, serving a 22 ½-year sentence that a Minnesota judge handed down in June. Chauvin appeared in court Wednesday to change his plea in the federal case, which had been poised to go to trial next month.

If you're worried about the new omicron coronavirus variant, you're far from alone: The World Health Organization is warning that omicron is spreading like no other strain of COVID-19 has before.

"Omicron is spreading at a rate we have not seen with any previous variant," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news briefing.

Schoolteachers grabbed at dollar bills in a "dash for cash" during intermission at a hockey game in South Dakota, sparking controversy for turning teachers' need to pay for classroom supplies into a public spectacle.

"As a teacher, I find this humiliating," a commenter wrote after video of the event was posted to Twitter. "Scrambling against others on the ground for a few $1 bills? How about honoring teachers with genuine donations rather than turning us into silly entertainment for fans?"

Updated December 9, 2021 at 8:50 PM ET

A jury in Cook County, Ill., has found actor Jussie Smollett guilty of felony disorderly conduct for staging a fake hate crime nearly three years ago.

Prosecutors said the former Empire star arranged for two men to attack him, wrap a noose around his neck and douse him with bleach in downtown Chicago, yelling racist and homophobic slurs — and that Smollett repeatedly lied to the police about the incident.

The family of Riley Franz, a student who was shot in the neck at Oxford High School last week, is suing the school district and school officials in Oxford, Mich., for $100 million, saying they failed to prevent the mass shooting that killed four students and injured seven people, despite multiple warnings and signs for concern.

Updated December 9, 2021 at 7:44 AM ET

Facebook has worked for years to revamp its handling of political ads — but researchers who conducted a comprehensive audit of millions of ads say the social media company's efforts have had uneven results.

The problems, they say, include overcounting political ads in the U.S. — and undercounting them in other countries.

The Blanco Transform Fault Zone off Oregon's coast is famously active, and it has not disappointed in the past 24 hours, generating at least 50 earthquakes, including two at a 5.8 magnitude.

That sounds like a lot — but scientists say the fault is virtually incapable of generating a cataclysm, by either a tsunami or a powerful quake affecting the U.S. mainland.

The fast-spreading omicron variant of the coronavirus has now been reported in 50 countries and 19 states, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She added, "we expect that number to continue to increase."

States that have detected the variant range from Hawaii to Texas to Massachusetts. The reports are part of a new surge in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. that now tops 100,000 cases per day.

Michigan's attempts to lower its famously high insurance rates seem to be working: Every driver in the state will be refunded $400 for each vehicle they own, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says.

The money comes from a projected $5 billion surplus held by the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association, a nonprofit that reimburses auto insurers for personal injury medical costs.

NASA announced 10 astronaut candidates on Monday, selecting a group from more than 12,000 applications. The group, which includes four women, will train in hopes of being named to NASA's first human missions to the moon in more than 50 years.

The would-be astronauts reflect a broad stretch of America, from Alaska to Puerto Rico.

Rep. Thomas Massie, a pro-gun Republican lawmaker from Kentucky, is being criticized for posting a photo to social media that shows his family holding powerful guns, just four days after a teenager killed four students at Oxford High School in Michigan. In that attack, the shooter used a gun his father had bought as an early Christmas gift for his son.

"Merry Christmas!" Massie wrote as he posted his photo, adding, "ps. Santa, please bring ammo."

The Portland Trail Blazers have fired Neil Olshey as their general manager, a dismissal that takes effect immediately. Olshey had been under investigation after workers reportedly accused him of creating a hostile work environment.

The Blazers said Olshey violated their code of conduct, in a brief statement the team issued on Friday.

The NBA team didn't provide details of Olshey's misdeeds, stating, "Out of respect for those who candidly participated in that privileged investigation, we will not release or discuss it."

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