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1-2 minutes  
A homeowner who called bee removal experts to investigate the insects in his back yard said he was shocked to learn there were 100,000 to 150,000 bees living in a 70-pound hive under his shed.
Herb Herbert of El Cajon said he first started noticing bees in his back yard about two years ago, and the insects returned each year. Image result for 70-pound beehive found under California man's garden shed
"The bees were coming in and out of a small hole at the bottom of my shed," Herbert told KGTV.
Herbert called Bee Nice Wildlife Management and a technician pulled back a corner of the shed to discover a 70-pound beehive measuring about 30 inches long.
"His estimate was there were probably 100,000 bees at least and 20 to 25 per minute going into the hive," Herbert told the Sacramento Bee. "That puts it at 1,200 an hour. Only 10 percent of the bees leave the hive. The other 90 percent stay in and work."
The hive and bees were safely relocated without damaging the colony, Herbert said.
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2 minutes
 Porsche, Genesis, Subaru and Mazda led Consumer Reports' ranking in a survey, released Friday, of 33 vehicle brands.Porsche leads Consumer Reports' ranking of vehicle brands
The annual ranking by the nonprofit organization dedicated to unbiased research and product testing concentrates on makes of cars and trucks, and not individual models.
Mazda finished fourth in the ranking. Consumer Reports said it recommended purchase of all the models of Porsche, Genesis and Mazda tested, but noted "the below-average predicted reliability" of Subarus's WRX sedan.
Tesla, in 19th position last year, is 11th on the 2020 list, and is the highest ranked U.S. brand. Jeep, Mitsubishi and Fiat finished in 31st, 32nd and 33rd place, respectively.
Overall scores are based on over 50 factors learned in road tests; reliability predictions taken from problems reported in 17 areas; owner satisfaction surveys; and safety aspects, including identification of advanced safety features and crash test results. The final report card gave Porsche 86 points, Genesis 84, Subaru 81 and Mazda 79. Of those at the bottom of the list, Jeep had 49 points, Mitsubishi had 46 and Fiat had 43.
Fiat came in last for the fourth consecutive year. Buick finished 19th, the highest of all General Motors' brands.
"The brands at the top of our rankings do a great job of producing cars that perform well in our road tests, and are reliable, safe, and highly satisfying," said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports' senior director of automotive testing.
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Protesters gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 to denounce its ruling to uphold President Donald Trump's travel ban. File photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE
3 minutes
 An expanded travel ban covering six new countries came into effect Friday under an executive order issued last month by President Donald Trump, who said the move is necessary to maintain U.S. security.
Under the order, people from Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Nigeria are banned from receiving immigrant visas, while those from Sudan and Tanzania are excluded from a lottery program through which a small number of visas are available each year for citizens of countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.
The proclamation was an expansion of an executive order Trump issued in 2017 limiting travel by people from six countries deemed security risks. That measure placed a ban on tourist or business visas for people from Libya and Yemen as well as a ban on Somalis traveling under immigrant visas.
The first version of the ban was criticized for targeting Muslim-majority countries and sparked a lengthy legal challenge. A modified version of the ban was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018.
Critics contend the original ban as well as its extension are racist and xenophobic, ultimately hurting those from poor countries who would otherwise meet immigration criteria.
Administration officials say the countries added to the travel ban are failing to meet minimum "identity-management and information-sharing" criteria to prevent the movement of terrorists or are part of a "recalcitrant country" list -- nations that refuse to take back their nationals when the U.S. wants to deport them.
Nigeria on Thursday appealed to Washington to remove it from the ban, citing the "long-standing relationship between the two countries."
Nigerian Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola met with U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Mary Leonard in Abuja, promising closer cooperation with the United States to help address its concerns about Nigeria's control over the issuance of visas, passports and other travel documents.
The House Judiciary Committee voted this month to advance the "No BAN Act," which would repeal the administration's travel ban and would limit the president from imposing future restrictions based on religion.
The measure advanced to the full House, but if passed there is expected to stall in the Republican-led Senate.
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Chinese patients who were discharged from hospitals are testing positive for COVID-19, according to Chinese state media. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
2-3 minutes Several patients of the deadly coronavirus in China who were discharged from care are testing positive for COVID-19 again, according to Chinese state media.
Beijing-owned newspaper People's Daily reported Friday a former patient in Szechuan Province in southwest China tested positive for the killer virus behind more than 2,200 deaths in the country.
The patient was discharged from a local hospital and was quarantined for 14 days at home, an apartment in the city of Chengdu, according to the report.
On the 10th day of the isolation period, which was Wednesday, the patient was confirmed for the virus, following a DNA test at a designated hospital.
The patient and the patient's family reportedly never left the apartment under quarantine, and had items delivered to their home by the building's management, according to Chinese state media.
The reinfection case in Chengdu is not unique, according to physician Zhao Jianping, a respiratory and critical care specialist at Tongji Hospital in Wuhan. Zhao said one his patients tested positive for the virus after being discharged.
Zhao told Chinese state media a discharge judgment should be "made carefully."
Ceng Yan, a professor of medicine at Wuhan University of Science and Technology, said false negative test results continue to be a source of problems in the city that is at the epicenter of the Chinese epidemic.
China is also struggling with COVID-19 outbreaks in prisons, where inmates are clustered in cells.
Beijing's Prison Administration Bureau said Friday at a press briefing five prisons in the provinces of Hubei, Shandong and Zhejiang are reporting outbreaks of COVID-19 among inmates.
The Chinese prisons affected include an all-women's prison in Wuhan with 230 patients, a prison in Wujin, Hubei Province with 41 confirmed patients and nine suspected patients, and Rencheng Prison in Shandong Province with 200 confirmed patients and 10 suspected cases.
Shilifeng Prison, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, has 34 confirmed patients. The outbreak at the prison began after a prison guard "concealed" he had visited Wuhan from Jan. 14 to 19, Chinese authorities said.
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2 minutes  
An Illinois family said a wall in their 9-year-old daughter's bedroom has been picking up radio signals for years - and no one knows why.Image result for Radio signals picked up inside Illinois girl's bedroom wall
Richard Smith said voices and music were repeatedly heard inside the wall in daughter Brianna's room at their Lockport home, and the family eventually determined something inside the wall was picking up a local AM radio station.
The station, Christian radio station AM 1160, owned by Salem Media Group, sent out an engineer to investigate, but was unable to identify the issue.
"He said, 'I got to be honest with you. I don't know what is acting as a speaker. There is nothing I can explain of why you're actually hearing it,'" Smith told WLS-TV.
He said the wall was opened up and the electrical grounding was examined, but the family was still unable to figure out where the radio station was being picked up.
"Sometimes when we think we've arrived at a solution, the next season comes around, and it's back," Smith said.
Household objects have been known to pick up radio signals in the past. A man reported in 2018 that radio signals were being picked up by the metal components in a household fan while the power was off.
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The re-election of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani could jeopardize the chance of intra-Afghan negotiations with the Taliban.  File Photo by Jawad Jalali/EPA-EFE
3-4 minutes
 WASHINGTON -- With the possible signing of a U.S.-Taliban peace deal in the works, the disputed results of the recent Afghan election could complicate the ability of government representatives to negotiate with the Taliban, experts on the 19-year U.S. involvement in Afghanistan say.
After weeks of discussions, the United States reached an "understanding" with the Taliban, negotiating a "significant, nationwide reduction in violence," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.
The week of reduced violence in the region is expected to begin midnight Friday, officials said.
"Upon a successful implementation of this understanding, signing of the U.S.-Taliban agreement is expected to move forward," Pompeo added. "We are preparing for the signing to take place on Feb. 29."
A key part of any peace deal, however, would be talks between the Taliban and the elected Afghan government, which Pompeo said would start after the signing of any deal between the United States and the Taliban.
"Getting the intra-Afghan talks successfully off the ground is an enormous mountain to climb," Marvin Weinbaum, an analyst at the Middle East Institute, said.
The Taliban have maintained that it would only participate in intra-Afghan talks after the completion of a deal with the United States. The Taliban have never recognized the legitimacy of either the Afghan government or President Ashraf Ghani, who was acknowledged Tuesday as the winner of the presidential elections conducted in September.
Neither the Taliban nor Ghani's political opponents are happy with the result.
"The Muslim Afghan nation shall make decisions about their domestic affairs and chart their own political course following the end of occupation," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement
Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan's chief executive and Ghani's main opponent in the election, dismissed the result and said he would "form an inclusive government."
"The election results could spell trouble for Afghanistan at the worst possible time: A moment when it's closer than ever before to launching a peace process to end a rapidly intensifying war," said Michael Kugelman, an expert at The Wilson Center, a liberal think tank.
While the internal divisions won't affect the bilateral U.S.-Taliban talks, future efforts to "launch an intra-Afghan dialogue could be set back if not ruled out, because of a serious crisis that divides the political class and even in a worst-case scenario risks some form of civil war," Kugelman said.
The last time the United States was this close to signing a peace deal with the Taliban was in September. However, after the Taliban bombing of Kabul, which resulted in the death of a U.S. service member and 11 others, President Donald Trump called off the deal.
At the time, the Taliban said that since no cease-fire had been announced they didn't believe they were violating any agreements with the United States.
However, in the recent negotiations, the insurgent group has said that "both parties will create a suitable security situation in advance of agreement signing date."
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3-4 minutes

The big picture: Microsoft's monochromatic app icons have spent quite some time in Windows 10, but things are soon set to change for consumers, given that the company started pushing out new colorful icons to users in the Windows Insider program. The changes come as part of a design revamp meant to visually unify Windows 10 with Microsoft's offerings on other platforms, and more importantly, with the company's own foldable-friendly Windows 10X coming later this year.

We learned about Microsoft's plan to redesign 100+ Windows app icons in December last year, with a few of them appearing in Windows 10X preview screens. The company's Office apps made their Fluent Design transition even before that, and now other icon redesigns are making their way to Fast Ring insiders, meaning that a sea of Windows 10 users will soon get to experience them as well.

Alarms & Clock, Calculator, Calendar, Groove Music, Mail, Movies & TV, and Voice Recorder are the first built-in apps to get new icons, with plenty more to follow. They all bear consistent design cues like rounded corners and color patterns of the company's fluent design language, and it would be nice to see this visual uniformity reflected across more places in Windows 10, even if Microsoft's primary focus seems to be redesigning its cross-platform apps.

In her Medium post, Microsoft's Design Leader for Windows and Devices, Christina Koehn, discusses the evolution of Windows and its icons and notes that with four connected devices per person (estimated), there is a need for simplicity at the systems level for Windows designers. She also comments on Windows 10's Start Menu and tile interface:

Flat, monochrome icons look great in context of colorful tiles, but as more icon styles enter the ecosystem, this approach needs to evolve. When icons in the taskbar and Start menu are different styles, it creates more cognitive load to scan and find applications. We needed to incorporate more visual cues into the icon design language using our modernized Fluent Design Language.

Windows Start menu and tiles on desktops could further take influence from Windows 10X UI

It remains to be seen how Microsoft evolves the design of its core features like the Start Menu, File Explorer and even the controversial Metro-era tiles interface, among several others, but the new icons should start appearing to Release Preview testers anytime now, alongside a new Windows Update interface that lists optional driver updates from partners to let users decide on their download and installation, giving them more control over updates.
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2-3 minutes
Wells Fargo agreed to pay $3 billion to resolve allegations the bank pressured employees to meet "unrealistic" sales goals, leading to the creation of millions of fake customer accounts, the Justice Department announced Friday.Wells Fargo to pay $3B to settle fake customer account scam
In the settlement, the company admitted it collected millions of dollars in fees and interest through the fake accounts and other products to which it wasn't entitled. The U.S. Attorney's Office in the Central District of California said Wells Fargo also harmed the credit ratings of some customers and unlawfully used customers' personal information in the process.
"This case illustrates a complete failure of leadership at multiple levels within the bank. Simply put, Wells Fargo traded its hard-earned reputation for short-term profits, and harmed untold numbers of customers along the way," U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said. "We are hopeful that this $3 billion penalty, along with the personnel and structural changes at the bank, will ensure that such conduct will not reoccur."
Wells Fargo came under scrutiny for its practices in 2015 after a lawsuit accused the company of illegal sales tactics. The lawsuit pointed to a brochure encouraging employees to make sure customers on average had eight open accounts with Wells Fargo as part of its "Going for gr-eight" campaign.
Employees created thousands of phony accounts and manipulated some real accounts to boost sales figures and earn bonuses. The bank responded by firing more than 5,000 workers and pledged to end sales goals.
CEO John Stumpf resigned a year later amid backlash over the scandal and last month was fined $17.5 million for his role.
As part of the settlement, the Justice Department said it won't prosecute Wells Fargo for the scam during a three-year period if the company complies with certain conditions, including cooperating with ongoing investigations.
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1-2 minutes
Another Mexican detainee has died in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency said Friday -- the seventh since October.
Officials said David Hernandez Colula was found unresponsive in his cell on Thursday at the Northeast Correctional Center in Youngstown, Ohio, a privately-run, medium-security facility. Efforts to revive him failed.
The agency said the man's death is under investigation, but officials believe he killed himself.
Colula was taken into ICE custody in December after his arrest in Michigan. Officials said he was first apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol in in Rochester, N.Y., in 2014.
After reports of inadequate medical attention for migrant detainees, the U.S. Congress opened an investigation into the matter in December.
"ICE is firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody and is undertaking a comprehensive agency-wide review of this incident, as it does in all such cases," the agency said in a statement.
Colula died while in custody at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center, ICE said. Photo courtesy CoreCivic/Facebook
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The final release will boost privacy with iOS-style permissions
By Adrian Potoroaca
Something to look forward to: While Android 11 is still in the early stages of development and not at all recommended for normal users, developers have a lot to be excited about in terms of new features and APIs. However, some new privacy and security improvements will disrupt apps that require a lot of permissions and access to storage.
Google launched the Android 11 Developer Preview a little early, as everyone expected it to drop sometime in the second week of March. Interestingly, Google refers to it simply as "Android 11," which means the company may be dropping the letter from the name, after abandoning dessert-themed names with Android 10 in its marketing last year.
The new version of the mobile operating system that runs on 2.5 billion devices will also have several preview and beta stages in the lead up to release, as the company wants to dedicate more time to polishing new features and ironing out any potential issues.
That means that until Google's I/O conference in May, you won't see any major changes to the overall experience when testing the previews. And at least for now, you'll only be able to install the developer preview images by flashing them on a Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 devices (include the 3a variants). If you don't have one of these devices, there's always the Android Emulator.
Android 11 will include some nice system-level additions that will allow developers to make their apps more aware of the type of connection they're using, especially when it comes to 5G and data usage. Google is also adding support for foldable displays with a unified API, low-latency video decoding for things like Stadia, efficient image formats like HEIF, and an improved API for neural networks.
Google is taking a page from Apple's book to improve privacy and security, too. For example, it will now ask you for permission to use your location every time an app needs it, while allowing users to choose whether they want that to be the default behavior, or if they want location access to be available only while using the app.
Then there is something called "scoped storage," which was introduced with Android 10 and will get even more restrictive in Android 11. This essentially isolates apps in silos, preventing them from having easy access to storage beyond their own bubble, unless explicitly allowed by the user. This will likely disrupt a lot of apps, considering that more than 1,000 apps were found to harvest your data even after you deny them permission to do so.
Other security improvements in Android 11 include secure app data storage, platform hardening, support for different levels of biometric authentication and storing your electronic ID/driver license.
Google is also making small tweaks to the Android UI, for example by adding a dedicated section in the notification shade for messaging apps and Activity Bubbles, which are part of the company's digital wellbeing experiment. But more importantly, it's advancing Project Mainline, which means the company will be able to update even more Android system components via Google Play.
The company expects to have a stable Android build in June, but that will go through one more round of beta testing before being released to the general public sometime between July and September.
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 2 minutes
In context: It’s no secret that deepfakes have been getting better in recent times, especially when it comes to placing people into movies and TV shows. The latest example sees Amazon boss Jeff Bezos and Tesla CEO Elon Musk dropped into the pilot episode of the original Star Trek, and it’s quite an eye-opener. Image result for Check out this convincing deepfake of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk in Star Trek
Deepfakes, for those unfamiliar with the term, is the manipulation of images and videos using machine learning, usually involving the superimposing of a person’s face over the source material. When it first came to light, it was quite easy to spot a doctored video—but the quality is improving.
In the clip, Bezos plays a Talosian alien. Its big, bald head likely made it easier to insert the Amazon CEO. We also see Musk as Captain Christopher Pike, captain of the USS Enterprise before Kirk. There are several characters involved in the scene, but they’ve been cut out, which is why the conversation seems a bit bizarre.
An equally impressive recent deepfake saw an altered version of 80s classic Back to the Future. In it, Spider-Man Tom Holland is pasted into the Michael J. Fox role, while Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. takes over from Christopher Lloyd.
While these clips are fun, there’s concern that deepfakes could be used to put words into the mouths of public figures, thereby spreading false news or worse. It's also been used to place the faces of Hollywood actresses onto porn stars in adult movies—something that's been classed as nonconsensual content.
A deepfakes pioneer last September said we were six months away from “perfectly real” videos, and it looks as if he might be right.
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2-3 minutes
HBO Max confirmed Friday that a Friends reunion special is officially happening, with original cast members Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer participating.Jennifer Aniston will join her Friends costars in a reunion special for HBO Max. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Aniston fueled rumors of a reunion when she posed for a selfie with her five Friends co-stars. Later, on an appearance on Ellen on Oct. 28, she told Ellen Degeneres and singer Charlie Puth, "We would love for there to be something, but we don't know what that something is. We're working on something."
HBO Max Chief Content Officer Kevin Reilly has been trying to secure the special. He told the Television Critics Association on Jan. 15 that it was still a "maybe." On Friday, HBO Max confirmed the special in a news release.
The six original Friends will reunite on Stage 24 on the Warner Bros. studio lot in Burbank, Calif., where the original NBC series filmed for 10 seasons. The special will be available at the launch of HBO Max in May.
HBO Max will also become the streaming home for all 10 seasons of Friends. The episodes were previously on Netflix. TBS currently broadcasts reruns on TV and streams them on the TBS app.
"Guess you could call this the one where they all got back together," Reilly said in the news release. He was making a reference to the naming of every Friends episode whose titles began either "The One With..." or "The One Where..."
Creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane return as executive producers, along with Kevin Bright and Ben Winston as EPs. Winston will direct the special.
Friends began in 1994 and anchored NBC's Thursday night comedy lineup for 10 years. Rachel (Aniston), Monica (Cox), Phoebe (Kudrow), Joey (LeBlanc), Chandler (Perry) and Ross (Schwimmer) lived in New York apartments across the hall from each other and gathered at the coffee shop Central Perk.
Ross and Rachel were a series-long will they/won't they. Chandler and Monica ended up married by the show's end. Phoebe was a singer with fan-favorite tunes like "Smelly Cat." And a Joey spinoff ran two years after Friends ended.
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6-8 minutes
South Korea saw its total number of new coronavirus infections nearly double for a second consecutive day with 100 new cases reported on Friday, bringing the country's overall total up to 204, according to the Korean Center for Disease Control.A hospital worker in a biohazard suit works at a makeshift reception area to receive potential COVID-19 patients at Daegu Medical Center in South Korea on Friday. Photo by Thomas Maresca/UPI
The country, which reported its first virus-related death on Thursday, now has the largest cluster outside mainland China and the cruise ship docked off Japan.
Of the 100 new cases, 86 were from the southeastern city of Daegu and its surrounding area. The city, with a population of 2.5 million, found itself struggling to deal with the fallout on Friday, as most of the new cases continue to be linked to a 61-year-old woman who is considered a "super spreader" of the virus.
The woman, who was confirmed as South Korea's 31st patient on Tuesday, is believed to have infected potentially hundreds during mass religious services at the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Daegu, a controversial new religious movement that the KCDC referred to as a "cult" in a press statement.
Of the total COVID-19 cases so far, 144 are believed to be linked to the Shincheonji church.
On Friday, South Korea designated Daegu and the nearby city of Cheongdo in North Gyeongsang Province as "special care zones" following the sudden spike in infections in the last two days.
Prime Minister Chung Se-kyun said the government will send support to the region to help with a need for more hospital beds, medical personnel and equipment.
Streets were much quieter than normal on Friday in South Korea's fourth-largest city as many residents appeared to be heeding Daegu Mayor Kwon Young-jin's plea for them to stay home. Almost all who were out in public were wearing face masks.
Dongseong-ro, normally one of the city's busiest shopping districts, had only small clusters of pedestrians passing through during the afternoon and the normally bustling plaza at the city's main train station was virtually empty.
Kindergartens, public libraries and museums were closed, and thermal scanners were set up in public locations such as subway stations to measure the body temperature of passers-by.
A representative of Daegu's transportation authority told UPI ridership has dropped drastically since the number of COVID-19 cases in Daegu began soaring on Wednesday, falling by almost half on Thursday.
Platforms and subway cars were nearly empty during the middle of the day on Friday, with only a handful of riders. One passenger, 12th-grader Kim Ju-an was on her way to an appointment with a traditional medicine doctor to receive acupuncture treatment meant to help ward off the coronavirus.
She said was "dumbfounded and surprised" by the sudden jump in new cases and expressed concern.
"I'm trying to stay at home as much as possible," she said.
Daegu has delayed the reopening of hundreds of elementary and secondary schools in the city for the new academic semester next month. The Shincheonji church where the 61-year-old woman was reported to have attended prayer services on Feb. 9 and Sunday, was shuttered on Friday.
An owner of a nearby grocery store said business has been extremely slow.
"All the citizens are scared and business is so bad," said the owner, who asked that her name not be used. "I am keeping the store open because I have to make a living."
She said she is nervous because of her location near the epicenter of the virus in Daegu.
"When I get a customer, I don't know if they're from the church or not," she said.
Many in the city have begun looking at the Shincheonji church, which claims some 200,000 members worldwide, with a mix of suspicion and blame.
"Most people didn't know anything about the Shincheonji church before," said Woo Tae-wook, a news photographer based in Daegu. "But now they have a very negative view since it has become the hotbed of the illness."
The number of COVID-19 patients from the church is expected to continue to rise, as 409 members of the congregation report having symptoms, while another 343 could still not be reached, according to the KCDC.
At Daegu Medical Center, a public hospital that is treating 10 confirmed COVID-19 cases, a makeshift reception and testing area was set up outdoors to handle the increasing numbers of people reporting symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath.
On Friday, dozens of patients were waiting to go through a screening process that included a temperature reading and medical evaluation, which could then lead to a chest X-ray and further tests. Workers in biohazard suits checked patients in while hospital staff scurried to retrieve more chairs for the overflow, some of whom were arriving by ambulance after reporting feeling feverish.
Park Ji-min, director of the hospital's public affairs department, told UPI that the hospital is in the process of being transformed for use solely as a quarantine for potential COVID-19 patients and treatment center for those with the illness. She said that there were around 200 patients with other ailments in the hospital still waiting to be relocated.
Park said that the hospital has had experience in dealing with outbreaks such as MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) in 2015 and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in 2003.
"This is a public health center, and we've dealt with these types of incidents before," she said. "This center was built for cases like this, and we have experience. We are cautious, but the medical staff here is keeping calm."
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon announced Friday morning that Seoul would shut down four Sincheonji churches located in the capital and ban rallies at three pubic squares, as part of "urgent and firm measures in order to prevent the virus from spreading in local communities."
The number of people being checked for the virus and under quarantine was at 3,180 by Friday, the KCDC said, up from 2,707 a day earlier.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Friday that it was important to take quick and prompt action to contain the spread because the situation has become "severe in many ways."
The World Health Organization said Thursday the situation in South Korea is still under control.
"With measures they can take, which is proportionate to the public health risk they have, I think the number of cases are really manageable," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva.
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It'll cost $49.99 on release  
By Cohen Coberly,
Highly anticipated: In the realm of upcoming PC RPGs, few games are as highly-anticipated as Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord (except, perhaps, Cyberpunk 2077). It's been in development for close to a decade, but at long last, its release day is just around the corner.
The medieval-focused sandbox RPG was slated for a March 2020 release date, however, aside from the fact that the game will launch in Early Access (more on that in a moment) we didn't know much more until this week. Yesterday, that finally changed -- in a blog post, developer TaleWorlds revealed that Bannerlord will launch on Steam and the TaleWorlds website for $50.
Pre-orders aren't open yet, but that's the norm for most Early Access games. Either way, since March 31 is only a little over a month away, we won't have to wait long to throw our money at this long-awaited title.
Before explaining what Early Access means for Bannerlord, here's a quick refresher for those who don't know much about the game: Bannerlord is the latest entry in the long-running Mount & Blade franchise, which does its best to blend multiple genres into one compelling package. There are heavy sandbox elements, RPG progression systems, intense directional combat mechanics, tactical battles, and plenty of grand strategy features such as diplomacy and kingdom building.

No matter which Mount & Blade game you pick up, all of these features will be present in a reactive world filled with competing NPCs. Every lord, lady, and king has his or her own agenda and personality -- some are honorable, while others are opportunistic. Based on the decisions the player makes throughout the game, the world (and each character's stance within it) will change. Factions will thrive or die off, and NPCs will switch allegiances or remain loyal based on interpersonal relationships and the overall world state.
Bannerlord isn't looking to shake that core formula up too much. All the features you've seen in previous Mount & Blade games are returning here; they'll just be improved in some way. There's still a character creation system, but your options have been greatly expanded. The directional combat is sticking around, but it's now faster and more responsive than before. And, of course, the graphics have been completely overhauled (complete with cloth and hair physics).

We aren't sure exactly how much of the "full experience" will be playable when Bannerlord hits Early Access next month. Personally, I expect the game to be mostly feature-complete, based on my past experiences with the developers and the Mount & Blade series.
There may be a few feature additions throughout the game's Early Access tenure, but overall, I'm willing to bet TaleWorlds just wants to use the system as a way to polish the game and make small tweaks based on user feedback. Either way, we'll all find out soon enough.
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But not a lot 
  By Rob Thubron
In a nutshell: There’s been plenty of controversy over tech firms listening to and transcribing our voice recordings, but Facebook is taking a different approach to the process. Not only is it asking users for their voice samples, but it’s also paying for the audio.
It seems pretty much every big company, including Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, has been listening to and transcribing users’ voice recordings without their consent. It’s a way to improve speech recognition systems, but many customers were angry at not being informed.
Facebook and other firms are now more open about their audio reviews, making it optional in some cases or pausing the programs altogether. The social network will be paying people for their voice recordings through a program called “Pronunciations,” which will be part of its Viewpoints market research app. The company introduced the application, which pays people for their data, back in November. It was meant to replace its controversial Onavo VPN app that was removed from the Play Store after it was found to collect a lot of information about its users.
Qualifying users will have to record the phrase “Hey Portal,” followed by the first name of a friend from their friends list. They’ll be able to repeat this with the names of up to ten friends, and they have to record each statement twice to get 200 points in the Viewpoint app.
The Verge writes that you shouldn’t expect to make a living from selling your voice to Facebook. It takes 1,000 points before you can cash out, and that only pays $5 via PayPal. Facebook says users may be offered the opportunity to make up to five sets of recordings, allowing them to reach the payment threshold. In case you’re wondering, each recording works out at five cents.
Facebook says recordings will not be connected to users’ Facebook profiles. The program will only be available to those in the US aged 18 and older with over 75 Facebook friends.
Earlier this week, a former Amazon executive said he always turns off his Alexa speaker when discussing anything private or sensitive. “I don’t want certain conversations to be heard by humans,” admitted former Amazon Web Services manager Robert Fredrick. “Conversations that I know for a fact are not things that should be shared then I turn off those particular listening devices.”
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The author disputes Apple's claims By Rob Thubron, 
Why it matters: Being one of the largest companies in the world means Apple’s lawyers are kept busy. It’s not just patent trolls and IP thieves it has they deal with; the firm is also trying to stop sales of a book written by a former executive.
The book, called "App Store Confidential," is written by Tom Sadowski. He was Apple's App Store leader for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland from 2014 until he was fired by the company in December 2019.
Reuters describes Sadowski as a self-styled German rapper, ski instructor and marketing manager, while the book is called “part autobiography and part self-help guide for Generation Z readers looking to navigate their way into the tech scene.”
German publication Der Zeit writes that Sadowski and his publisher say that after the book was published in Germany this week, Apple’s lawyers sent a cease and desist letter that demanded they stop delivering the book to stores, recall all copies already sold, and destroy all manuscripts. Apple says it contains "business secrets" of "considerable economic value."
Sadowski said he thought the book would benefit Apple rather than damage the company, adding that he shared the manuscript with Cupertino in advance of its publication.
While the book contains tips for app developers on how to pitch to Apple, along with details of Sadowski’s meetings with CEO Tim Cook, it reveals little to no secrets related to how Apple does business.
"I really enjoyed working for Apple [...] I never had any intention of betraying any secrets or harming Apple, as anyone who has read the book will tell you,” Sadowski told Reuters. “But I also believe in the freedom of the press and freedom of speech and that every person and every company is equal before the law, and therefore I resist Apple’s demands."
In a statement, Apple said it had long promoted a free press and supported authors of all types. "While we regret the way this longstanding Apple employee violated our working relationship, his actions left us with no other option but to terminate his employment — a decision agreed upon by the works council."
This isn’t the first ex-employee Apple has gone after. Back in December, it sued former high-level chip designer Gerard Williams, who was in charge of A-series processors used in iPhones and iPads, for allegedly violated his contract and is exploiting Apple technology in his new venture.
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3-4 minutes
The big picture: Microsoft's monochromatic app icons have spent quite some time in Windows 10, but things are soon set to change for consumers, given that the company started pushing out new colorful icons to users in the Windows Insider program. The changes come as part of a design revamp meant to visually unify Windows 10 with Microsoft's offerings on other platforms, and more importantly, with the company's own foldable-friendly Windows 10X coming later this year.
We learned about Microsoft's plan to redesign 100+ Windows app icons in December last year, with a few of them appearing in Windows 10X preview screens. The company's Office apps made their Fluent Design transition even before that, and now other icon redesigns are making their way to Fast Ring insiders, meaning that a sea of Windows 10 users will soon get to experience them as well.
Alarms & Clock, Calculator, Calendar, Groove Music, Mail, Movies & TV, and Voice Recorder are the first built-in apps to get new icons, with plenty more to follow. They all bear consistent design cues like rounded corners and color patterns of the company's fluent design language, and it would be nice to see this visual uniformity reflected across more places in Windows 10, even if Microsoft's primary focus seems to be redesigning its cross-platform apps.

In her Medium post, Microsoft's Design Leader for Windows and Devices, Christina Koehn, discusses the evolution of Windows and its icons and notes that with four connected devices per person (estimated), there is a need for simplicity at the systems level for Windows designers. She also comments on Windows 10's Start Menu and tile interface:
Flat, monochrome icons look great in context of colorful tiles, but as more icon styles enter the ecosystem, this approach needs to evolve. When icons in the taskbar and Start menu are different styles, it creates more cognitive load to scan and find applications. We needed to incorporate more visual cues into the icon design language using our modernized Fluent Design Language.

Windows Start menu and tiles on desktops could further take influence from Windows 10X UI
It remains to be seen how Microsoft evolves the design of its core features like the Start Menu, File Explorer and even the controversial Metro-era tiles interface, among several others, but the new icons should start appearing to Release Preview testers anytime now, alongside a new Windows Update interface that lists optional driver updates from partners to let users decide on their download and installation, giving them more control over updates.
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3 minutes
In a nutshell: We’ve seen 3D printing techniques create a multitude of items, and now the process has been used to build a hypercar for the first time. The Czinger 21C will be officially shown off at the Geneva Motor Show in around two weeks, but its full details have been revealed.
While the entire car doesn’t come from a 3D printer, obviously, large portions of the chassis were created using the technology. That does save on production costs, but you'll still need $1.7 million to buy one of the 80 models (25 track, 55 road).

The Czinger (the ‘C’ is silent) 21C uses an in-house developed 2.9-litre twin-turbo V8 engine that produces 937 bhp and can be revved up to 11,000rpm. It’s a hybrid, meaning there are also two electric motors on the front axle powered by a 2kWh lithium-titanate battery that’s kept supplied with juice by a rear-mounted generator.
The extra horsepower added by the electric motors brings the 21C’s total to 1,233bhp, more than the McLaren F1, Bugatti Veyron, and Aston Martin Valkyrie.

With a weight of just 1,250kg (2,755 pounds) wet, the 21C has a power-to-weight ratio better than 1:1 in the track version. Performance-wise, the hypercar can accelerate to 62mph from a standing start in 1.9 seconds, complete a quarter-mile in 8.3 seconds at 170mph, and reach a top speed of 268mph. It produces 551 pounds of downforce at 155 mph.

The mid-engine car uses a 1+1 layout, which means the driver seat is in a central position with the passenger seat located directly behind it, like a fighter jet. It won't be uncomfortable, either, as a collaboration with material-maker Alcantara and US furniture designers Vitra AG should mean a luxurious cabin.

In addition to being more rigid and costing less to produce, the 3D materials used in the 21C are easily recyclable, meaning more car manufacturers could follow suit. “I want to build really bad-ass stuff, but if you’re a craftsman who is actually a technologist, you need to create the right tools. I want this car company Czinger to be five blocks ahead of anybody else on the planet in creating these tools and expressing them as the cutting edge of the mind.” CEO Kevin Czinger told Top Gear.
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