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GUWAHATI, India (AP) — Anilya Boro may not have won the crown at India's Miss Trans NE pageant this year, but having her parents there in support was a validation in its own right.

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The United States soccer team captivated the nation with its brief World Cup run. That run ended Saturday with a 3-1 loss to the Netherlands in the round of 16. The second-youngest team at the tournament played only four games but it was enough to thrill diehard supporters in Doha and briefly unite a fractured nation back home. Fans gathered outside the stadium ahead of Saturday's match to bond over the American team before they marched in together as a collective fan club. United States captain Tyler Adams says “the support has been amazing."

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The Albert Einstein hospital says Brazilian soccer great Pelé is responding well to treatment for a respiratory infection and his health condition has not worsened over the latest 24 hours. The 82-year-old Pelé has been at the hospital since Tuesday.  Get well messages have poured in from around the world for the three-time World Cup winner as he also undergoes cancer treatment. Pelé's daughter posted several pictures on Instagram from Brazil fans in Qatar wishing her father well with flags and banners. Buildings in the Middle Eastern nation also displayed messages in support of the former soccer great.

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Chinese authorities have announced a further easing of COVID-19 curbs with major cities such as Shenzhen and Beijing no longer requiring negative tests to take public transport. The slight relaxation of testing requirements comes even as daily virus infections reach near-record highs and follows weekend protests across the country by residents frustrated by the rigid enforcement of anti-virus restrictions. Along with the relaxation in the capital Beijing, the southern city of Shenzhen said Saturday that commuters no longer need to show a negative COVID-19 test result to use public transport or when entering pharmacies, parks and tourist attractions.

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Ukraine has won victories on the battlefield against Russia but faces a looming challenge on the economic front. The government has been relying on the central bank to print money to cover its huge deficits caused by the war. Tax revenue has fallen, and defense spending has soared for next year's budget. Kyiv is looking for ways to pay for its war effort at least through next year. By then, hopes are that a price cap on Russian oil sales will put Moscow on the economic defensive. Until then, Ukraine is turning to its allies for more money to avoid worsening inflation that hurts ordinary people.

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What started as an unplanned vigil last weekend in Shanghai by fewer than a dozen people grew hours later into a rowdy crowd of hundreds. The protesters expressed anger over China's harsh COVID-19 policies that they believed played a role in a deadly fire on Nov. 24 in a city in the far west. Then, a woman defiantly shouted for Chinese leader Xi Jinping to resign, emboldening others. Before dawn, police moved in to break up the gathering. The Nov. 26 protest in Shanghai wasn’t the first or the largest. But it was notable for the bold calls for the leadership change — the most open defiance of the ruling Communist Party in decades.

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South Korean prosecutors arrested the country’s former national security director over suspicions he engaged in a cover-up to hide details and distort the circumstances surrounding North Korea’s killing of a South Korean fisheries official near the rivals’ sea boundary in 2020. Suh Hoon’s arrest came as President Yoon Suk Yeol’s conservative government investigates his liberal predecessor’s handling of that killing and another border incident the year before that prompted criticism that Seoul was desperately trying to appease the North to improve relations. Former President Moon Jae-in has reacted angrily to the investigation, accusing Yoon’s government of raising groundless allegations and politicizing security matters.

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The Amazon region has lost 10% of its vegetation in nearly four decades, according to a new report. That's an area roughly the size of Texas, From 1985 to 2021, the deforested area surged from 490,000 square kilometers (190,000 square miles) to 1,250,000 square kilometers (482,000 square miles), unprecedented destruction in the region. The vegetation loss was detailed in a report released Friday by the Amazon Network of Georeferenced Socio-Environmental Information, or Raisg, a consortium of civil society organizations from the region’s countries.

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The United States plays the Netherlands on Saturday for a spot in the quarterfinals of the World Cup. The last time the Americans advanced that far in the tournament was 2002 and the team has relished its ability to prove to the audience back home that it can actually compete in soccer on the biggest stage. The Dutch squad is battling the flu ahead of the match and took a day off from training. United States player Christian Pulisic is a game-day decision but few expect him not to play. Argentina and Lionel Messi also play Saturday against Australia.

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The most controversial goal of the World Cup so far was scored by Japan and it eliminated Germany. The Japanese came from behind to beat Spain 2-1 on Thursday and advance to the round of 16 on a goal that many felt went out of play before the ball went into the net. The victory also meant that four-time champion Germany was knocked out of the competition in Qatar. FIFA has confirmed that an overhead camera positioned along the goal line verified the ball stayed in play.