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The battle over Britney Spears

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Britney Spears' legal team was back in court over her conservatorship. Congress is still working to avert a government shutdown. And hide those picnic baskets! It's Fat Bear Week.

👋 Hey! It's Laura here, with Wednesday's news, just for you.

But first, knees weak, arms are heavy ... 🍝 Time to go eat "Mom's Spaghetti!" Eminem's long-rumored restaurant has opened a real-life brick-and-mortar location in downtown Detroit.

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Britney Spears' father suspended as conservator of her estate

Britney Spears is free of her father's much-loathed role in controlling her life and finances, but she's not yet completely free of the 13-year conservatorship, following a hearing in Los Angeles on Wednesday. The judge overseeing Britney Spears' conservatorship ordered the suspension of her father, James "Jamie" Spears, from his longtime role as her guardian, and ordered him to turn over all her assets, estimated at about $60 million, to a temporary conservator. Coming in the wake of two new documentaries about the conservatorship that has controlled the pop star's finances and major life decisions for the last 13 years, this hearing was one of the first times Spears' newly chosen attorney Mathew Rosengart argued on her behalf, rather than her former court-appointed lawyer Samuel Ingham III.

Britney Spears supporter Mona Montgomery of Glendale, Calif., demonstrates outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, in Los Angeles. A Los Angeles judge will hear arguments at a hearing Wednesday over removing Spears' father from the conservatorship that controls her life and money and whether the legal arrangement should be ended altogether.
Britney Spears supporter Mona Montgomery of Glendale, Calif., demonstrates outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, in Los Angeles. A Los Angeles judge will hear arguments at a hearing Wednesday over removing Spears' father from the conservatorship that controls her life and money and whether the legal arrangement should be ended altogether.

Vaccination rates among pregnant people low

Despite evidence that vaccines can prevent the "severe risk" of COVID-19, vaccination rates among those who are pregnant have been low. Only 18% of pregnant people have received a dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And while new data show overall racial disparities in COVID-19 vaccinations are improving, federal numbers show pregnant Black people are the least vaccinated compared to those expecting in other races. Patients giving birth while having COVID-19 had “significantly higher rates” of ICU admission, intubation, ventilation and death, according to a study. Scientists have said vaccines are safe to be taken at any time while pregnant or breastfeeding for both parent and baby.

A pregnant woman in a mask and gloves waits in line for groceries during a food drive at St. Mary's Church in Waltham, Mass.
A pregnant woman in a mask and gloves waits in line for groceries during a food drive at St. Mary's Church in Waltham, Mass.

What everyone's talking about

Clock ticking on government shutdown

Congress hasn't scheduled votes to extend funding the government as the clock ticks down on a shutdown, but leading lawmakers said Congress will likely take action Thursday before the midnight deadline. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the chamber could work quickly to extend funding until early December. The bill would then head to the House for a vote and to President Joe Biden for his signature. Government funding expires with the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30. The House had approved a combined spending extension and increase in the debt limit. But Senate Republicans blocked that measure Monday, arguing that Democrats should raise the debt limit on their own.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., talks to an aide following a Democratic policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 28, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., talks to an aide following a Democratic policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 28, 2021 in Washington, D.C.

No foreign fans allowed at 2022 Beijing Olympics

The International Olympic Committee on Wednesday offered a first glimpse of the COVID-19 protocols that will be in place at the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing – including lengthy quarantines for unvaccinated participants and daily COVID-19 testing. The countermeasures are similar to those at the recent Summer Games in some respects and more strict in others. Among the most notable differences: Unlike in Tokyo, where athletes mostly competed behind closed doors, Beijing 2022 organizers have indicated that some Chinese fans will be permitted to attend their Games, as long as they follow protocols. Foreign spectators, including athletes' family members and friends, will once again be barred from attending.

A crew member leaps to fix a logo for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics before a launch ceremony to reveal the motto for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. Organizers on Friday announced "Together for a Shared Future" as the motto of the next Olympics, which is scheduled to begin on Feb. 4 of next year. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
A crew member leaps to fix a logo for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics before a launch ceremony to reveal the motto for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. Organizers on Friday announced "Together for a Shared Future" as the motto of the next Olympics, which is scheduled to begin on Feb. 4 of next year. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Real quick

Hey, Boo Boo! 🐻 It's Fat Bear Week

Guard that pic-a-nic basket, there are chubby cubbies abound this time of year! In honor of Fat Bear Week, which started Wednesday, the Katmai National Park & Preserve in Alaska is sponsoring an un-bear-lievable bracket, inviting the public to vote on who they think is the heaviest bear of them all. A total of 12 bears are competing for the title. But hey! No fat-shaming, please. It's essential for bears to gain weight this time of year. With winter around the corner, hibernation means they won't be eating for a while. Ready to meet the bears? Check out the burly contenders here.

A break from the news

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Britney Spears, COVID-19 vaccines, government shutdown, Beijing Olympics and Fat Bear Week. It's Wednesday's news.

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