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There's 🍞, 🥐 and 🥖, but where's the bagel? AP Tech Writer Barbara Ortutay looks at the emoji approval process (complete with lobbying and campaigning).

How can our emotional vocabulary be complete without a teddy bear, a lobster, a petri dish or a tooth?
  • "These are the kind of questions that trigger heated debates ... among members of the group burdened with deciding which new emojis make it onto our phones and computer screens each year."
  • "The Unicode Consortium is tasked with setting the global standard for the icons. ... The nonprofit group [is] mostly made up of people from large tech companies like Apple, Google and Facebook."
  • Why it matters: "Not since the printing press has something changed written language as much as emojis have, says Lauren Collister, a scholarly communications librarian at the University of Pittsburgh. 'Emoji is one way language is growing.'"
  • Former N.Y. Times reporter Jennifer 8. Lee "didn't understand how there could be no dumpling. ... The process took almost two years, including research, many meetings and a written, illustrated proposal that reads a bit like an academic paper, complete with research on dumpling history and popularity."
  • "But thanks largely to her efforts, the 🥟 was added to the Unicode Standard this year. "

Go deeper

New Zealand aims to create smoke-free generation with tobacco ban

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a December news conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand officials announced Thursday legislative plans to outlaw smoking by making it illegal to sell or supply tobacco products to the next generation as part of a lifetime ban.

Why it matters: "People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco," Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in a statement announcing the proposed law, part of the Smokefree 2025 Action Plan.

FDA approves AstraZeneca COVID drug for people with immune problems

Photo: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for an AstraZeneca COVID-19 antibody drug for people with compromised immune systems.

Why it matters: The drug, Evusheld, is the first antibody therapy authorized in the U.S. to prevent coronavirus symptoms before virus exposure.

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.