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World Cup news latest Japan dressing room pic goes viral Russia makes clear who it is supporting Brazil fans ditch famous yellow shirt

England’s Harry Kane is fit to face USA on Friday; OneLove armbands sell out after FIFA’S ban; Japan players cleaned their dressing room after they beat Germany; listen to our World Cup-themed edition of the Daily podcast while you scroll.

The blog you’re reading is a news blog – if you want live match updates on Portugal v Ghana, visit the Sky Sports blog…

FIFA has confirmed that rainbow bucket hats and rainbow flags will be allowed entry to the stadium for Wales’ match against Iran tomorrow, the Football Association of Wales has said.
The Welsh FA said venues in the country had been contacted and instructed to follow the agreed rules and regulations.

In a statement it added: “We remain with the belief that football is for everyone”.
Welsh footballer Gareth Bale has said becoming the most capped men’s player in Welsh football history will be “even more special” for him if Wales win against Iran tomorrow.

Bale, 33, is set to overtake Chris Gunter and win his 110th cap at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Doha on Friday’s match.

The footballer, who made his Wales debut in 2006 and is his country’s record scorer with 41 goals, said: “I haven’t really been focusing on the cap thing to be honest, just trying to focus on the game.

“On a personal level it’s an amazing achievement, it’s an honour to represent my country so many times.

“But it’s more important that we try and get the victory. Hopefully we can and it’ll make it even more special.”

Over to Portugal’s game against Ghana now where the first half ended just moments ago.
Much like the two other games we have seen today, neither team managed to score before the half-time whistle was blown.

Cristiano Ronaldo managed to get the ball in the net, but the goal was disallowed as he barged a defender out of the way.

Here are some pictures from the match so far…
England manager Gareth Southgate has said his team will have to “accept the criticism and move on” after dropping plans to wear the OneLove armband during the World Cup.
Seven European nations competing at the tournament rowed back on plans to wear the armband, which promotes diversity and inclusion, in Qatar, where same-sex relations are illegal.

The decisions came after FIFA threatened to hand yellow cards to the captains of the teams, including Harry Kane.

Speaking about the controversy at a news conference ahead of the Three Lions match against the USA on Friday, Southgate said: “We want to raise awareness and are supportive of our LGBTQ fanbase, and some may feel disappointed about the armband not being worn.
“We will be criticised for that, but we have to accept the criticism and move on.”
After FIFA’s ruling, Germany protested the decision by posing for a team photo with their hands covering their mouths.

But Southgate questioned if England needed to make a “better gesture”.
“There is a risk that everybody tries to escalate it,” he said. “If we are rushing to do something, we can make an error which doesn’t land well.

“For the players and myself, we have to be focusing on the games.

“The FA are taking is seriously, and we are not ducking any questions,” he added.
Harry Maguire will start for England against USA tomorrow, and is set to win his 50th cap.
A controversial – if unsurprising – selection for the starting XI in England’s opening-day win against Iran, Maguire put in one of his most assured performances of the season.
There were concerns about his fitness for the second Group B game after he was forced off against Iran through illness, but he has now recovered.

Speaking ahead of Friday’s game, he said: “I was disappointed to come off.
“I felt unwell in the second half and we have done all the appropriate actions and I have trained for two days and feel good. I am ready to go for tomorrow.”
Russia’s national football team have wished Serbia good luck in the World Cup ahead of their game against five-time champions Brazil later today.

“Good luck at the World Cup. We believe in your success brothers,” the Russian team wrote on their social media accounts.

The side were not allowed to take their place in a qualifying playoff because of a FIFA ban over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

At the Lusail stadium, some Serbia fans are expected to carry Russian flags, which are allowed under the Qatar World Cup regulations as long as they do not bear Russian military symbols.
Russia and Serbia have warm ties despite president Aleksandar Vucic telling Vladimir Putin that his country would not recognise the results of referendums held in four partly Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine in September.

A former member of the Iran national football team has been arrested for criticising the government and the country’s World Cup team, reports from state-linked media have suggested.

Voria Ghafouri, who was not chosen to go to the tournament in Qatar, has been an outspoken critic of Iranian authorities and policies throughout his career.

Iran has faced anti-government protests for more than two months now in the biggest challenge to its Islamic theocracy in more than a decade.

The reports of his arrest by the semi-official Fars and Tasnim news agencies came ahead of Friday’s World Cup match between Iran and Wales.

At Iran’s opening match against England, the members of the Iranian team declined to sing along to the national anthem, and some fans protested during the match.

The protests were ignited by the death of a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman in the custody of the country’s morality police in September.

Ghafouri is also a member of Iran’s Kurdish minority.

Officials have not said whether that was a factor in not selecting him for the national team.
Wales footballer Gareth Bale has expressed his disappointment at not being allowed to wear the OneLove armband, but has insisted his team is “all for creating awareness”.

Seven European nations competing at the World Cup – including England and Wales – dropped plans to wear the armband, which promotes diversity and inclusion,  following the threat of sporting sanctions from FIFA.

Yellow cards were threatened for the captains wearing the armbands in Qatar, where same-sex relations are illegal.

In Wales’s first match against USA,  Bale was booked in the first half for an illegal challenge.
“We weren’t too happy about (not wearing the armband), but if I had, I would have been sent off after 25 minutes,” he said.

“Of course we support if, but we are here to play football at the same time.
“By not wearing it, it doesn’t mean we don’t support it and we are all for creating awareness.”

French Football Federation President Noel Le Graet has defended Qatar as the host of the World Cup as criticism of the country’s human rights abuses continue to mount.

In an interview with the French channel RTL, he said there has been an “excessive campaign” against Qatar and believes the country “is what it is”.

“I look at the football side,” Le Graet said. “It is up to politicians to do their job.”
His comments contain a similar sentiment to the one FIFA President Gianni Infantino put across on the eve of the tournament, requesting countries “focus on the football” during the coming weeks.

Qatar won its bid to host the global football tournament in 2010 but has since faced a barrage of criticism over its human rights record and its treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.
The captains of seven European teams had planned to wear the rainbow-coloured armbands as part of the OneLove anti-discrimination campaign, but backed down after FIFA threatened to dish out yellow cards.

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A drug company abandoned a treatment for  ‘bubble boy disease.’ After a 5-year fight, this little girl is about to get it

Later this spring, a little girl in California who essentially has no immune system will receive a lifesaving treatment for “bubble boy disease” thanks to the persistence of a dogged group of parents, a pediatrician, a veteran newsman and a few episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Five-year-old Seersha Sulack has the same rare disease portrayed in the 1976 John Travolta movie, “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble.” A germ – even a common cold – could kill her, and so she stays away from anyone outside her immediate family.

The treatment she’s been waiting for had stunning, near-perfect results in a clinical trial, but it’s been sitting on the shelf for years in the US because the pharmaceutical company that once owned the license abandoned it when it decided not to not to pursue approval from the US Food and Drug Administration.

“It’s a pretty tough situation,” said Dr. P.J. Brooks, acting director of the Division of Rare Diseases Research Innovation at the National Institute of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. “You have an effective therapy like (this one) and people can’t get access to it.”

Seersha is expected to get the treatment next month. She’ll become only the second child in the US in the past five years to receive it; the first child received it earlier this month.

The treatment is for a particular type of severe combined immunodeficiency called ADA-SCID that’s extremely rare – in the US, eight babies a year are born with it. Currently, 26 children in the US and Canada are on the waiting list to get the therapy, according to Dr. Donald Kohn, a UCLA scientist who has been working on the treatment for nearly 40 years.

The treatment is a type of gene therapy: Doctors will give Seersha a normal copy of the defective gene that disabled Seersha’s immune system.

Gene therapies hold great hope for all sorts of diseases, but they’re very expensive to develop, and pharmaceutical companies can’t be sure that they’ll make a profit because health insurance companies haven’t always agreed to pay the multi-million dollar price tags.

“It has not escaped our attention at FDA that there have been some clouds on the horizon in gene therapy,” Dr. Peter Marks, head of the US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said at a biotech conference in California in October. “We really want to try to see what we can do to move things forward.”

The gene therapy Seersha’s been waiting for was once called OTL-101, for Orchard Therapeutics Limited. Orchard launched in 2016 with OTL-101 as its “lead candidate,” but four years later, the company announced it would “reduce investment” in the therapy and prioritize treatments for more common conditions.

“A lot of us were upset and angry,” said Seersha’s mother, Shayla Sulack, noting that OTL-101 was developed with millions of dollars in state and federal government aid.

“We were always, ‘it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen,’ ” she added. Then, after Orchard decided not to pursue the therapy, “a bunch of us SCID moms were like, ‘Excuse me?’ ”

In a statement to CNN, an Orchard spokesperson wrote that “after encountering technical challenges related to the commercial-grade manufacture of this particular therapy, we made the very difficult decision to limit additional investment in [the SCID gene therapy].” The spokesperson spoke on the condition of anonymity.

A mother’s ‘oh, crap’ moment
Shayla and her husband, Stephen Sulack IV, were high school sweethearts at Tehachapi High School, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. In 2010, when she was 18 and he was 19, they married at the Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas.

Stephen was in the Army, and over the next few years, the young couple moved to various military bases. Their daughter Skylar was born in 2012 and son Stephen V in 2014.

In 2017, the family moved to Hawaii for Stephen’s new post as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot at Schofield Barracks in Oahu. Two weeks later, Seersha was born at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu.

Weighing 6 pounds and 10 ounces, Seersha appeared perfectly healthy, and her parents took her on family outings, going to Dole Plantation and Waikiki Beach when she was five days old.

Strolling around the shops near the beach that day, the family went into a Tesla dealership just for fun. While sitting in a showroom car, Shayla got a phone call from a number she didn’t recognize.

It was a geneticist at Tripler. He told Shayla that a routine blood test, a prick on a newborn’s heel done in nearly every state, showed Seersha’s level of T cells – a type of white blood cell crucial to fighting off infections – was just five. Normal T cell levels for newborns are around 3,000.

This meant any infection, no matter how small, could kill Seersha. The geneticist said to bring her back to the hospital at Tripler immediately.

Shayla says her first reaction was: “Oh, crap.”

Not only had they been going everywhere with their new baby, but Seersha’s big brother and sister had been affectionately pawing all over her.

Shayla and Stephen left the Tesla dealership and made the 20-minute drive to the hospital while Shayla’s parents took the older two children home in their car.

At Tripler, doctors explained more about SCID, and a psychologist was on hand to help the Sulacks deal with the shocking news.

Only about one baby a year is born with the SCID in Hawaii, according to Sylvia Mann, genetics coordinator at the state’s department of health.

The next day, Shayla and Seersha were on a military medical transport flight to Los Angeles. Seersha was in an incubator in the front of the plane, and the other patients were kept in the back to decrease the chances they could get her sick.

An ambulance drove Shayla and Seersha to UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, one of 47 medical centers in the US and Canada that specialize in SCID as members of the Primary Immune Deficiency Treatment Consortium funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Once there, doctors laid out the options for saving Seersha’s life.

Options for Seersha
It turned out none of them were very good.

ADA-SCID is treated with regular injections to replace a missing enzyme that helps with immune function. They help a great deal, but they don’t give the child a full immune system, and their effectiveness can wane over time.

The UCLA doctors laid out two longer-term options. Seersha could receive a stem cell transplant, which is lifesaving and the standard treatment for SCID. Doctors would test her mother, father, brother, and sister and determine the best genetic match, and then would extract cells that specialize in forming blood cells and give them to Seersha.

Testing showed that any of her family members could donate to her, but none of them was a particularly good match. This was bad news for two reasons: One, the transplant likely wouldn’t be as effective. Two, Seersha would be more likely to suffer complications.

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Youssef Ramadan earns ACC Men’s Swimmer of the Year

After his historical season, Youssef Ramadan took the ACC Men’s Swimmer of the Year title for the 2022-23 season, the league announced Monday afternoon.

Ramadan became the first-ever national champion in program history, swimming the second-fastest 100 fly time in NCAA history at 43.15. He earned five All-American awards and two honorable mentions at NCAA’s.

Ramadan was named male MVP at ACC’s in February for the second year in a row, on top of two gold medals and two silver medals. He also took ACC Male Swimmer of the Week twice earlier in the season.

Throughout the 2022-23 season, he’s broken four individual school records and two relay records.

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Changes on tap for Americans who hunt waterfowl in Manitoba

Americans planning to hunt waterfowl this fall in Manitoba will be able to draw a seven-day license but must enter a lottery for a limited number of “foreign resident” licenses in subsequent years if they don’t book their trip through an outfitter, under new waterfowl regulations the province announced earlier this month.

“As part of the initial phase-in strategy for fall of 2023, Manitoba is ensuring that all applicants for the draw will receive a seven-day Foreign Resident Migratory Game Bird License,” Manitoba’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Northern Development said on its website. “In subsequent years the allocations for each license type will be determined based on license sales, hunter questionnaire data from all user groups and stakeholder input. The combination of the seven-day license and associated draw for freelance foreign resident hunters is intended to discourage visiting hunters from creating lasting systems of control that inhibit other hunters.”

The new regulations are a key component of the Waterfowl Hunting Modernization Project, a proposal the Manitoba government unveiled last fall before a 45-day comment period that ended Friday, Oct. 7.

American hunters will now have the opportunity to access the following Manitoba waterfowl and upland game bird licenses, the province said:

Foreign Resident Upland Game Bird License: Required to hunt upland birds and can be purchased online and is subject to the same regulatory framework as resident hunters.
Foreign Resident Migratory Game Bird License: Required to hunt migratory birds and is a seven-day license, which can be accessed either by entering a draw process or booking with a licensed outfitter.
Foreign Resident Legacy Migratory Game Bird License: A grandfathered opportunity for qualifying foreign resident landowners or lessees of Crown land.
To qualify for the special grandfathered provisions, Americans (and other foreign residents) must have owned property in Manitoba before Sept. 1, 2022, and still own that property; be a shareholder of a corporation owning registered property in Manitoba; or be a crown land lessee. Eligible land interest holders must also have hunted waterfowl in Manitoba during the previous five years between 2018 and 2022 to qualify for the legacy license.

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