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    Marcella "Marcie" Haun of Goreville will celebrate her 80th birthday at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 19 at Walt's in Marion, with family and friends .

      Clyde Brymer of Johnston City will celebrate his 93rd birthday with family.

        Dorothy Heilig of Carbondale celebrated her 100th birthday at a party for family and friends at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, in Liberty Village in Carbondale.

          Dorothy Heilig of Carbondale will celebrate her 100th birthday at a party for family and friends at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, in Liberty Village in Carbondale.

            Editor's Note: This ran in Sunday's edition. We're reprinting it because of a mistake in a daughter's name.

            The FBI says that scammers prefer to prey on vulnerable populations. That's why it's so important to keep yourself informed. Here are some ways to keep your personal information safe and avoid being duped out of cash.

            In a move that caught many by surprise, China announced a potentially major easing of its rigid “zero-COVID" restrictions. But it didn't abandon the policy altogether. The move follows the widest-spread protests against the ruling Communist Party in more than 30 years. Many protesters were fed up with constant testing, rolling lockdowns and business closures. One major change allows people who test positive for COVID-19, but show no or only mild symptoms, to recuperate at home. The old policy would have required admission to one of the government field hospitals that have become notorious for overcrowding and poor food and hygiene. Considerable ambiguity remains, however, and it's not clear if the new rules entirely override earlier mandates.

            Shares are mostly lower in Asia after Wall Street sagged under weakness in tech stocks.  Japan revised upward its GDP data to show the economy contracted less than earlier reported in July-September. Shares rose in Hong Kong as investors studied the potential impact of a rollback of many pandemic restrictions on the Chinese mainland. U.S. futures edged lower while oil prices rebounded. On Wednesday, the S&P 500 ended 0.2% lower while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite lost 0.5%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended just barely in the green. More data on inflation and consumer sentiment is due at the end of the week.

            Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois will work in isolation through the end of this week after being diagnosed with COVID-19. She said Wednesday that a doctor rercommended the step to keep her “family, colleagues and staff as safe as possible.” Duckworth says her symptoms remain mild and she's thankful that she's fully vaccinated and double boosted. She says she cannot encourage her ”fellow Americans more strongly to get vaccinated and continue getting your boosters as advised by medical professionals." Other members of Congress from Illinois who've also tested positive for COVID-19 include Lauren Underwood, Brad Schneider, Sean Casten and Bobby Rush.

            As coronavirus cases rose in Shanghai earlier this year and the city’s lockdown stretched from weeks to months, Leah Zhang’s feeling of suffocation grew. Though she could walk around campus freely, she was robbed of weekends spent seeing concerts in the city. She couldn’t stomach the cafeteria food. When her boyfriend told her he would “always trust” Shanghai’s government, she broke up with him. Zhang knows that her experience was hardly unique or even particularly extreme. But it gives a glimpse of how China’s stringent “zero-COVID” policy pushed ordinary people to a breaking point. That led to nationwide protests late last month.

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            Need gift ideas to help with the ladies in your life? This list will surely help you make the grade.

            With the holiday season in full swing, you may be planning to travel a long distance to spend the holidays with family and friends. When it comes to taking your pet along, you may wonder if flying is the best option.  Flying is definitely a quick and seemingly simple way to get you and your pet to where you’re going.  Instead of spending hours driving, you and your furry sidekick will spend a lot less actual travel time when you are on a plane.  However, like all travel methods, flying does pose some potential obstacles and risks to take into consideration.

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