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Pfizer says tweaking its COVID-19 vaccine to better target the omicron variant is safe and boosts protection. Saturday's announcement comes just days before regulators debate whether to offer Americans updated booster shots this fall. The current COVID-19 vaccines still offer strong protection against hospitalization and death. But protection against infection has dropped markedly with the omicron variant, and now its even more transmissible relatives are spreading. Pfizer says either an omicron-targeted booster or a combination shot that mixes the original vaccine with omicron protection substantially increases protection. Rival Moderna hopes to offer a similar combination shot.

The bipartisan bill signed by President Joe Biden that aims to address gun violence will incrementally toughen requirements for young people to buy guns, deny firearms from more domestic abusers and help local authorities temporarily take weapons away from people judged to be dangerous. Most of the measure's $13 billion cost will go to bolster mental health programs and for schools, which have been targeted in high-profile mass shootings. The bill omits tougher restrictions that Democrats have long championed, such as a ban on assault-type weapons and background checks for all gun transactions. Still, the bill is the most impactful firearms violence measure that Congress has approved since enacting a now-expired assault weapons ban in 1993.

The Chinese government says President Xi Jinping will participate in next week’s celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to China. But it left unclear whether he will visit the former British colony for the highly symbolic event after a crackdown on a pro-democracy movement inflamed tension with Washington and Europe. The official Xinhua News Agency says Xi will attend a meeting for the anniversary and the inauguration of newly appointed Chief Executive John Lee. Xi hasn't made a trip outside the Chinese mainland since the coronavirus pandemic began 2 1/2 years ago. Hong Kong faces a renewed rise in infections following a flood of cases earlier this year.

Up to 40,000 Army National Guard soldiers haven't yet gotten the mandated COVID-19 vaccine. That's about 13% of the force. And as the deadline for shots nears, at least 14,000 of them have flatly refused and could be forced out of the service. Guard soldiers have until this coming Thursday to get the vaccine. Data obtained by The Associated Press shows that between 20% to 30% of the Guard soldiers in six states aren't vaccinated and more than 10% in 43 other states still need shots. Guard leaders say states are doing all they can to encourage soldiers to get vaccinated by the time limit.

TikTok creator @risinggeminis saw a dated chair at Goodwill and knew it had potential. Cutting the curtain off and deep cleaning revealed a super cool midcentury modern chair.

You don’t need to buy an expensive vase to display your flowers. Instead, hit up a Goodwill for some old glasses like @genevavanderzeil and use paint to totally transform them.

If you love all things Victorian and dark academia @paintedblackdecor’s thrifted lamp transformation will inspire you. You can also use thrifted shirts to upgrade any lamp shade.

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