Archive for February 23rd, 2020

Is COVID-19 the dreaded ‘Disease X’ scientists warned us about? –

February 23rd, 2020

Back in February 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) talked about a new virus that will emerge and wreak havoc across the globe. Disease X was the term used for this new unknown pathogen that might cause a future epidemic.

Two years later, the novel COVID-19 coronavirus, has evolved from a mild to deadly virus and is spreading across the globe. This begs the question, is COVID-19 the dreaded Disease X that the WHO predicted back in 2018?

Disease X is a placeholder name adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) for any new unknown pathogen that may cause disease and potentially an epidemic in the future.

Disease X is a placeholder name adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) for any new unknown pathogen that may cause disease and potentially an epidemic in the future. Image Credit: Lightspring

What is Disease X?

Disease X is a deadly plague and an outbreak of a flu-like illness, which can result in a pandemic that can kill millions of people worldwide. In 2018, the WHO classified Disease X as more deadly than the Lassa fever and the Ebola virus disease.

Disease X also represents the knowledge that a serious international epidemic could be caused by an unknown pathogen to cause morbidity and mortality. During that time, the diseases being studied by the WHO include the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), Lassa fever, Ebola virus disease, Marburg virus disease, Nipa and henipaviral diseases, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-Cov), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Rift Valley fever (RVF), and the Zika virus.

Coronavirus infection magnitude

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is thought to have emerged in late December 2019 in a seafood market in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. Since then, the virus has spread to 30 countries across the globe.

As of writing, there are 79,152 confirmed cases of the deadly virus, and it has killed 2,470 people, most of whom in the epicenter of the outbreak in Hubei Province. The majority of the cases were in mainland China, while outside the country, South Korea reported the greatest number of infections, with 763 cases, followed by Italy with 155 cases.

The WHO has declared the coronavirus a global health emergency on Jan. 30 due to the rapid spread of the virus. Many countries have already closed their borders from countries with many confirmed cases.

South Korea has seen the rapid spread of the disease in the country, prompting officials to declare the highest alert advisory. The number of cases increased from 31 on Feb. 18 to a staggering 763 six days after. The sudden spike in infections can be traced to the city of Daegu. Officials have identified a religious group, the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, as a coronavirus hotbed, where an infected woman attended masses for several occasions.

The virus has spread to 30 countries, including South Korea, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Iran, Thailand, United States, Taiwan, Australia, Malaysia, Germany, Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates, France, Macau, Canada, the United Kingdom, Philippines, India, Russia, Spain, Lebanon, Nepal, Cambodia, Israel, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Egypt, and Sri Lanka.

Is the coronavirus the Disease X?

The coronavirus is fast spreading, and if it is not contained, it can become catastrophic. The WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus raises concern about the increasing number of the coronavirus without a clear epidemiologic link.

He added that what they fear is if the virus spreads to a country without a sound and strong healthcare system. He fears that if the virus reaches these countries, which have weak healthcare systems, it can be devastating.

Now, scientists caution that the virus’s way of infection is still unclear. During the first weeks of its spread, the incubation period was estimated to be a couple of days to 14 days, but new cases have emerged with longer incubation periods. Further, the disease can be transmitted from human to human, with aerosol and droplets as a possible mode of transmissions.

With several things still unclear about the virus and how it spreads, scientists say that the novel coronavirus fits the disease X category.

“Whether it will be contained or not, this outbreak is rapidly becoming the first true pandemic challenge that fits the disease X category, listed to the WHO’s priority list of diseases for which we need to prepare in our current globalized society,” Marion Koopmans, head of viroscience at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, and a member of the WHO’s emergency committee wrote in the journal Cell.

“Time will tell whether the consolidated efforts of the Chinese authorities and the international public health and research community will succeed. But we also need to understand how we make this model of preparedness future-proof,” she added.

World Health Organization (WHO). (2018). Prioritizing diseases for research and development in emergency contexts.

World Health Organization (WHO). (2020). Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report – 33.

Zhang, Y., Koopmans, M., Yuen, K., Andersen, K., Perlman, S., Hogue, B., and Eckerle, I. (2020). The Novel Coronavirus Outbreak: What We Know and What We Don’t. Cell.


Google tests new Pixel Launcher features in Android 11 – XDA Developers

February 23rd, 2020

Philipp Plein Criticized for Questionable Kobe Bryant Tribute – HYPEBEAST

February 23rd, 2020

Polarizing designer Philipp Plein is facing criticized for a questionable Kobe Bryant tribute included in his Fall/Winter 2020 presentation, which took place at Milan Fashion Week over the weekend.

Plein’s show featured — among many flashy, gold-drenched and gem-studded garments — Los Angeles Lakers-inspired jerseys and sweatshirts. The Swarovski crystal-riddled jerseys marked with Bryant’s number has drawn critical Tweets, as social media users decry the “distasteful” presentation as an attempt to profit from tragedy. Additionally, many were quick to point out a Plein-branded gold helicopter, plane and yacht featured on stage, citing the helicopter as another symbol of insensitivity.

Plein told Vogue that the gold-plated helicopters were out of his hands. “If I would have known what happened, after the accident, I would not have put helicopters there… I couldn’t cancel the helicopters.” The designer also reiterated on his Instagram that proceeds from the tribute capsule, which went on sale via Plein’s website immediately after the show, will be going to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.

Meanwhile, a more conventional Kobe Bryant public memorial is set to take place at the Staples Center this month.

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‘Better Call Saul’ Season Premiere Recap: ‘Magic Man’ – Rolling Stone

February 23rd, 2020

Better Call Saul is back for its fifth season. A review of the premiere, “Magic Man,” coming up just as soon as I hear good things about the new vending machine over by family court…

“See, this is why this works. I go too far, and you pull me back.” -Jimmy

Jimmy McGill.

Saul Goodman.

Gene Takovic.

One man, three names. Or is it three different men rightly using three different names?

Going back to when we first met Saul on Breaking Bad, Bob Odenkirk has played the character under multiple aliases. (And that’s not even counting “Viktor with a K,” Jimmy’s moniker whenever he and Kim/Giselle run a short con together.) This prequel series began with poor Gene trudging through his lonely, paranoid days at Cinnabon, then introduced us to Jimmy McGill, who turned out to be something more complicated than a pre-combover Saul Goodman. Though he eventually began using Saul Goodman as a work name while producing commercials and selling drop phones, he was still clearly the Jimmy we had come to know and love. It wasn’t until midway through last season that we briefly saw the true Saul Goodman, frantically preparing to exit his Albuquerque life near the end of the events of Breaking Bad.

So what separates these three, exactly? How much does it matter? And when will Jimmy McGill fully become Saul Goodman in this series’ present?

Gene is easy to carve off from the other two. He values survival above all else, and has divested himself of anything that might get him identified as Saul or Jimmy, even though those character traits were what once made his life worth living. We only glimpse him for a few minutes at the start of each season, but we can see how painfully empty his time in Omaha has become, and how simultaneously thrilled and terrified he feels whenever he lets one of his old identities slip out for a moment.

Saul, we know relatively well from his time on Breaking Bad. As Odenkirk has pointed out, we only saw the guy when he was involved in Walt and Jesse’s business, meaning it’s entirely possible that he went home to the wonderful Kim Wexler every night. But it doesn’t really seem that way, does it? The Saul Goodman we meet in Breaking Bad Season Two is a blithely ruthless individual, willing to sell out anyone and everyone who threatens him, and baffled that his most important clients aren’t prepared to do the same. He’s not a monster to the degree that Walt or Tuco or Gus are, but he is someone who fundamentally cares about getting and keeping what he feels entitled to above anything else. He is a fairly two-dimensional (if very entertaining) character, and those dimensions are extremely selfish ones.

Jimmy, though? Jimmy contains multitudes. He is a survivalist like Gene, and has done some terrible things in the name of self-preservation (and, occasionally, in the name of protecting people he cares about like Kim). And he is a con man at heart like Saul, often finding his greatest pleasure in getting over on his social superiors. But he’s also more empathetic and fundamentally kinder. He took genuine pleasure in talking with his eldercare law clients. He was a devoted caretaker to Chuck, despite how obviously his brother disapproved of him. His instincts still trend towards chicanery and other shortcuts, but there is a capacity for goodness and shame in him that’s utterly absent from Saul on Breaking Bad.

Throughout the run of Better Call Saul to this point, it’s been pretty easy to keep the three iterations separate. Gene is Gene. Jimmy is Jimmy. Saul is Saul. That’s how the writers refer to them in the scripts; even when Jimmy was calling himself Saul in recent seasons, the scripts still referred to him as Jimmy. The “Ozymandias”-era teaser from “Quite a Ride” was the only time so far the dialogue markers and stage directions used the name Saul.

Bob Odenkirk as Gene - Better Call Saul _ Season 5, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Warrick Page/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Bob Odenkirk

We are at a crossroads now, though. Last season concluded with Jimmy deciding to practice law under the Goodman name. Saul co-creator Peter Gould told me at the time that they considered the current status quo to be Jimmy using the new name as a marketing strategy, and that in the scripts, “My guess is that we’ll call him Jimmy as long as Kim does.”

Kim does, indeed, keep calling him Jimmy in this episode, though the first time we see them together, she’s still absorbing the implications of his professional name change. And later, while he and Kim are exchanging gifts, he even refers to Saul in the third person, as if he is a separate being — or, at least, a character that movie fan Jimmy McGill has chosen to play. So as far as Kim, Jimmy, and the scripts are concerned, he’s still Jimmy McGill. But is he really?

As I began watching “Magic Man,” I found myself unconsciously calling him Saul in my notes almost as often as I called him Jimmy — not just in scenes where he is presenting himself as an attorney, but at times when he’s just chatting with Kim. He’s certainly not gone the full Goodman yet, but there’s something more cavalier in his manner. Or, at least, there’s something more unnerving at seeing Chuck McGill’s worst fears realized: his brother is about to go full Slippin’ Jimmy on the Albuquerque legal community. It’s not that Jimmy was the most ethical and prim lawyer back in his Sandpiper days, but there was still a restraint to his behavior and his bearing that seem largely gone. Heck, he even introduces his criminal law practice to his lowlife drop phone clients by erecting a carnival tent in a parking lot. It’s all an act, and yet more and more, the act and the man seem indistinguishable. If it walks like a Goodman, talks like a Goodman, and calls itself Goodman, how far can it really be from being a Goodman?

After all, in that same scene where he speaks of Saul in the third person, he does the same for his real name, telling Kim, “I can’t go back to being Jimmy McGill. Jimmy McGill the lawyer is always going to be Chuck McGill’s loser brother. I’m done with that.” He sees it as a matter of reputation, and maybe his argument sways Kim in the moment. But we know that the name represents something much worse than a fresh start and a cry for the respect that he didn’t feel he could get as Jimmy.

Jimmy’s early days as attorney Saul are very rough around the edges compared to the one operating out of the strip mall with Francesca. He puts on a big show under the circus tent for potential clients (with Huell to provide both security and testimony to his legal genius), and he even brings back his film crew pals to stage a scene involving hapless Albuquerque prosecutor Bill Oakley in an attempt to recruit even more clients. But he’s not quite a master salesman in the parking lot, and has to fall back on the 50% off promotion he had previously told Kim he wouldn’t use. And even his scam impulses remain frequently altruistic. When Kim’s pro bono client Bobby refuses to take a generous plea deal over her strong recommendation, Jimmy suggests tricking him into it with a bit of improv theater like the one he just ran on Bill. Kim has hustled free drinks out of Ken Wins, and even kept Huell out of prison through deception, but this seems a bridge too far for her. “I’m not scamming my clients,” she insists, sounding offended at the mere idea.

And then she does it, anyway — just without telling Jimmy about it. She hates herself for doing it, but her compassion for her clients is ultimately stronger than her sense of professional ethics, and she’s also been around Slippin’ Jimmy too long to be immune to his way of thinking.The episode’s present-day action opens with Jimmy taking a big step towards becoming Saul Goodman for real, and celebrating that transformation, but it ends with Kim catching her breath in a courthouse stairwell, aware that she is transforming, too, and in ways she’s not at all pleased about.

Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler- Better Call Saul _ Season 5, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Warrick Page/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Rhea Seehorn

Earlier in the episode, she gives him a monogrammed briefcase with his real initials, which he insists he can still use as Saul Goodman, since he’ll tell people that JMM stands for “Justice Matters More.” Along with it, she gives him a touched-up version of the “World’s 2nd-Best Lawyer” travel mug (now reading “World’s 2nd-Best Lawyer Again”) she gifted him back in Season Two. (You may recall that it didn’t fit the cupholder of his fancy new company car, which in many ways was the beginning of the end of his time at Davis & Main.) Both gifts are meant for Jimmy McGill, but Jimmy is on his way out the door to being Saul, and then Gene. We know it, and if Kim obviously doesn’t know it in that detail, she can at least see that something is happening here beyond a name change.

Speaking of Cinnabon Gene, this season’s opening visit with the mustachioed fugitive picks up moments after we  left him in the Season Four premiere, as he panics over realizing that Jeff the cab driver recognized him as Saul Goodman. He goes straight to DEFCON-2, packing a bag and his stash of diamonds and hiding out at a truck stop until he finds out whether the authorities have been alerted to his true identity. When it seems safe, he returns home and to work, only for Jeff to confront him at the mall and demand he deliver his infamous catchphrase — and, worse, makes clear that this won’t be their last encounter. (“Little rusty, but you’ll do better next time,” Jeff warns him with a menacing smile.) Now we’re in full panic mode, which includes a call to a vacuum repair shop back in Albuquerque where the unflappable disappearer, Ed, is on the other end of the line. For a moment, it seems like Gene’s story — and, thus, the story of Better Call Saul — will conclude with him adopting yet another name and persona. But as Ed begins giving him instructions about where and when to meet, Gene comes to a decision.

“I’ve changed my mind,” he tells Ed. “I’m gonna fix it myself.”

Myself, he says.

But to which self is he referring?

We don’t know Gene nearly as well as Jimmy or Saul, but this seems very uncharacteristic of someone determined to be human wallpaper. It seems much more the kind of move we’d expect from the guy we’ve watched for most of the previous four seasons, or at least from the guy Gene was immediately before moving to Omaha. Jimmy and Saul are both fighters, and it appears our man has decided to his own self be true, rather than continuing to cower as this shadow figure he has been transformed into by circumstance and his own bad choices.

Saul Goodman isn’t really a separate person from Jimmy McGill, obviously, any more than Heisenberg was from Walter White. They are just their characters’ respective darkest natures being given free rein — in both cases, out of wounded pride as much as anything else. And Gene Takovic is the same guy, too, even if he’s had to disguise himself emotionally as much as physically. But each represents decisions this one man made along the way, at great cost to himself and others.

With the recent announcement that the show has been renewed for a sixth and final season, “Magic Man” essentially begins the endgame for all things Better Call Saul. It’s a fool’s errand to predict where Gould, Vince Gilligan, and company are taking the story, especially since — based on how they’ve operated on both series — they probably don’t know everything themselves. But it feels sadly fitting that, as we are running out of time to spend with both Jimmy and Gene, it feels like both of their stories could conclude with them turning into Saul Goodman.

Some other thoughts:
* Depending on how you look at it, this final renewal means that Saul will have run slightly longer than Breaking Bad, or about the same. Breaking Bad officially only ran for five seasons, but that was an accounting trick to avoid giving most of the cast and crew their guild-mandated raises at the start of a new season. (The first eight episodes of Season Five were even written and produced a year apart from the remaining eight.) So Breaking Bad really also ran for six seasons, and also produced 62 episodes, where Saul should wind up with 63 (next season will be a longer one). And given that every Saul season has debuted at least a year after the previous one, and often later (it’s been 18 months since Season Four premiered), the prequel is guaranteed to last longer, calendar-wise, where Breaking Bad spanned five years and eight months from its first episode to its last.

* (Minor El Camino spoilers follow. Skip to the next bullet point if you haven’t seen it yet.) Originally, Gould wrote Gene and Ed’s phone call in a way where we would just hear Ed’s voice, because it didn’t seem practical to spend production money to rebuild the vacuum shop and fly Robert Forster into Albuquerque for such a brief scene. But then, Gould tells me, “Our brilliant producer, Melissa Bernstein, realized the there was a scene with Robert at the vacuum cleaner store in El Camino (this was months before Saul started shooting).  She asked me if I’d like to actually SEE Robert in the 501 teaser, instead of just hearing his voice. I said ‘Hell, yes!’  Vince agreed to shoot Robert’s half of the conversation in his El Camino schedule. I quickly rewrote the scene and Robert came on board.  It came together in a matter of days and I’m so glad it did.” Forster tragically died the day El Camino was released, and “Magic Man” concludes with a dedication to “our friend Robert Forster.” It is a lovely and bittersweet quirk of timing that we get this final glimpse of Ed, and I confess to getting very choked up when I realized whom Gene was calling, and that it was that reassuringly gravely voice on the other end of the line.

* As is often the case with Saul, the episode’s more plot-heavy sections take place over on the cartel side of things, which for the moment remains entirely disconnected from Jimmy/Saul’s legal career. Tony Dalton has been made a cast regular, and Lalo continues to be an enormous headache for both Nacho and Gus. As he was near the end of Season Four, Lalo is as tenacious as the other Salamancas, but he’s also smarter and more patient than Hector or (especially) Tuco. Gus goes to a lot of trouble to portray the late Werner Ziegler as a troublemaking employee who was killed for stealing from Gus’ meth supply, but Lalo sees right through the whole charade, and is pleased to finally get a look at the mysterious Michael.

* And speaking of our favorite ex-cop, Mike understandably has had enough of being part of the Fring organization in the wake of killing Werner. It’s an understandable response on a character level, given how close Mike and Werner became last season and how much it pained him to have to execute his friend. (Kai takes a nasty punch for speaking ill of the dead as he and the other workers are sent home with full pay.) But since we know Mike is destined to be Gus’s right-hand man, and soon, it’s one of those periodic moments where the series seems to be going in narrative circles to prevent characters from turning into their Breaking Bad selves too soon.

* The Breaking Bad writers and Giancarlo Esposito have insisted on an ambiguous view of the personal relationship between Gus and his murdered chemist/partner Max, opting to let viewers interpret their bond however they like. But Lalo’s conversation with Juan Bolsa makes clear that the cartel higher-ups share Hector’s opinion that Gus and Max were lovers.

* Director Brownwen Hughes returns to the Heisenberg-verse for the first time since “Crazy Handful of Nothin’,” the Season One Breaking Bad episode with the iconic scene where Walt blows up Tuco’s stronghold with fulminated mercury. Hughes and director of photography Marshall Adams continue the franchise’s long tradition of unconventional POV shots, including the image of drugs from Nacho’s stash house going down the drainpipe, and a shot from inside the courthouse vending machine as a bag of chips gets caught on the way down.

* Finally, it’s a nice touch for Jimmy to use a hotel bell to call in new potential clients during his carnival stunt. Hector Salamanca doesn’t have a monopoly on those things, even on this show.


‘Better Call Saul’ Season 5 Premiere Recap: Just Chilling – The New York Times

February 23rd, 2020

Welcome home, Saul-a-holics. It’s been a long time since we gathered here to unpack the rising and falling fortunes of our favorite con man turned corporate lawyer turned mobile phone dealer turned plaintiffs’ attorney. But judging from this first episode, the wait has been worth it.

Let’s just say it: That was the best season opener to date.

We commence, as ever, in the future and in black and white. Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) is a Cinnabon manager in Omaha named Gene Takovic. As miserable as his new life and identity appear, Mr. Takovic wants to keep it, despite the somewhat terrifying sense that a menacing cabby named Jeff has discovered Jimmy’s previous iteration as Albuquerque’s own Saul Goodman. It’s the same Jeff, played by Don Harvey, who gave Mr. Takovic a lift in last season’s opener, and this time it’s clear that the guy isn’t just trying to drum up fares.

Either Jeff is looking for a bounty or to shake down Saul — probably the latter. We leave this predicament after Saul calls the Disappearer, played with his understated gravity by the great Robert Forster, who has since passed away. Initially, Jimmy/Saul/Gene wants to buy yet another identity, his fourth. Then he decides to save his squirreled-away diamonds and “fix it” himself.

Here’s hoping we don’t need to wait an entire season to learn what happens next. Though that seems likely.

Cut to the show’s present. Which is the very moment we left Jimmy and Kim (Rhea Seehorn) at the end of Season 4, as Jimmy celebrates his masterful hoodwinking of the gatekeepers of the New Mexico State Bar. He’s been readmitted to practice, and his next move is to change his doing-business-as name to Saul Goodman. Kim is skeptical of Jimmy’s new career path, in particular his cellphone giveaway and half-price approach to finding clients.

But Jimmy seems like a man who has finally figured out his purpose in life, and he has a point when he says that if he walks the legit, corporate path he’ll always live in the shadow of his deceased and far more accomplished older brother.

So we get a montage scene of new customers, who have come for free phones and get a one-on-one pitch, in a tent. Worth noting: Once again the casting staffers on the show deliver, in this case one Fellini-meets-carnival-sideshow face at a time.

At the end of this episode, Kim has her moral compass titled Saul-ward when Jimmy improvises a con that convinces a client of Kim’s take a plea deal. While initially reluctant to roll with Jimmy’s plan, she quickly learns that his underhanded approach works where her honest approach does not.

Moral compromises — Kim is going to have to choose between them and Jimmy in episodes to come.

Plot-wise, the core of this episode, called “Magic Man,” centers on the looming conflict between Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) and Eduardo (Lalo) Salamanca (Tony Dalton). Lalo learns that customers are complaining that his minions are slinging diluted meth and he investigates. You know how a great sommelier has a great palate? Well, Lalo apparently has a great nose, and he can tell immediately which portion of his family’s cut of Fring’s product has been “stepped on.” Time to pay a visit to Gus to find out what has gone wrong, and whether it has any connection to the vanished German he’s heard about, and Fring’s surreptitious construction project.

What’s curious about the sit-down that follows, mediated by the Mexican cartel upper manager Juan Bolsa (Javier Grajeda), is that Lalo seems unsurprised that Fring has anticipated that he — Lalo — is angry about the stepped on meth. Either Fring knows about Lalo’s super discriminating nostrils or there is a spy in the House of Salamanca. There is, of course, and his name is Nacho Varga (Michael Mando), who was blackmailed into serving Fring as a double agent in Season 4 after Fring realized that Nacho had tried to murder the Salamanca overlord, Don Hector.

Lalo doesn’t bother hiding his distrust of Fring, even though, as ever, Fring has an alibi at the ready when it comes time to explain the construction project.

The vanished German was working on a chicken refrigerator, Fring explains, and to “prove” it, Gus has the German crew, which was previously building the meth superlab, clanging away at what is either a massive cooling warehouse for fouls or a Potemkin chiller.

Lalo isn’t buying this performance and he lets Fring know it.

“You know, it’s going to be a very nice chiller,” he says, winking. “South wall’s going to be beautiful.”

Fring knows that Lalo must be dealt with, and superlab construction is suspended until this Salamanca is either in the ground or back in Mexico. With nothing to do for the foreseeable future, the German crew is sent home. Mike (Jonathan Banks) hands out the tickets and punches the ever punchable Kai (Ben Bela Böhm) after he suggests that their now deceased leader, Werner Ziegler, whom Mike reluctantly killed at the end of last season, was “soft.” Casper (Stefan Kapicic) fares better by praising that leader (“He was worth 50 of you”) and daring Mike to hit him.

Bonus (Chicken) Nuggets:

  • Fun fact: The book that Gene is reading on his lunch break at the Omaha mall is “The Moon’s a Balloon,” a memoir by David Niven.

  • Season 5 is teed up beautifully in this episode. At long last, Jimmy has become Saul, at least during his professional hours. Whether he’ll be Saul off the clock isn’t clear because we didn’t spend a lot of private time with the man in “Breaking Bad.” His wardrobe, however, is evolving.

  • Lalo is a fantastic villain and foil. He’s ruthless, charming when necessary and smart enough to see through Fring in ways that Bolsa does not. His battles with Gus and Mike will be riveting.

  • As we revel in upbeat premonitions about what’s to come, your recapper would like viewer help with some questions about what we just watched.

    1.) Who “stepped on” Fring’s meth? Clearly there has been a major supply disruption, courtesy of the demise of Herr Ziegler. But how precisely does that translate into diluted product?

    2.) When Lalo is debriefing with Bolsa after the meeting with Fring, he says he doesn’t trust the Chilean. That’s ridiculous, Bolsa says. Fring is all business.

    “All business?” Lalo replies. “Like what happened in Santiago?”

    Uh, what happened in Santiago? It is the town where Max Arciniega, Fring’s murdered boyfriend, attended university, as we learn in “Breaking Bad.” But that murder occurred in Mexico. Is this Lalo’s oblique way of referencing that killing, which he’d just mentioned to Bolsa a moment earlier? Or did something else happen in Santiago — perhaps something that we viewers don’t know about yet?

    To quote Jimmy, “Is there some angle I’m not seeing here?”

Help a Saul-a-holic out in the comments section, and opine away on the episode.


Samsung temporarily shuts down a factory in South Korea due to Coronavirus – The Next Web

February 23rd, 2020

Coronavirus has caused plenty of manufacturing units in China to stop production. Now, the deadly virus is affecting manufacturing in other countries too. Samsung has temporarily shut down its factory in Gumi, South Korea.

According to a report by Reuters, the company found a confirmed case of Coronavirus in the factory last week. Due to the fast-spreading nature of the virus, the Korean giant decided to close the factory till February 24; the floor where the affected person worked, will be closed till February 25.

[Read: I hate Apple for making me shake my MacBook like a chump]

Samsung said it’s testing people who came in contact with the infected employee for possible infection:

The company has placed colleagues who came in contact with the infected employee in self-quarantine and taken steps to have them tested for possible infection.

The company produces high-end phones, such as the Galaxy Z Flip, in this factory for the domestic market. With the current shut down being temporary, it’s unlikely that production will take a major hit.

However, with the rising number of Covid-19 cases in South Korea, the firm might need to prepare for more possible shutdowns.

Over the past couple of years, Samsung has shifted the bulk of its device production to India and Vietnam. Last year, it inaugurated the world’s largest smartphone factory in Noida, India. There are no reports of these units being affected till now.

For more gear, gadget, and hardware news and reviews, follow Plugged on Twitter and Flipboard.

Published February 24, 2020 — 03:45 UTC

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Google officially warns Huawei device owners not to sideload its apps – TechRadar India

February 23rd, 2020

Justin Bieber Emotionally Sings With Kanye West’s Sunday Service Choir – E! NEWS

February 23rd, 2020

Justin Bieber is lending his vocal talents to Kanye West‘s Sunday Service choir.

The singer joined the famed choir on Sunday to sing Marvin Sapp‘s song “Never Would Have Made It” as the crowd watched in awe. As he began his performance, which Kim Kardashianrecorded on her Instagram Story, the singer stood by the piano in a red sweatshirt as North West and her friend Haidyn stood by him. The crowd cheered him on as he hit every single note with perfect pitch. After finishing his song, he got off the circular stage and embraced Kanye in the sea of singers. 

His performance was preceded by the Choir singing a revamped and decidedly cleaner version of Roddy Ricch‘s “The Box” and “Ballin,” in addition to “Love Come Down,” “Jesus Is King” and other songs that had the audience on their feet, including North who danced and sang along with the choir. 

Justin’s performance with Kanye comes just days after the release of his album Changes, which debuted at no. 1 on the Billboard 200 Chart, making this his seventh album to do so. 

According to Billboard, he’s the youngest solo artist to have seven no. 1 albums, having beaten out previous record-holder Elvis Presley.

It’s no wonder his album is already no. 1, after all, it’s basically a love letter to wife Hailey Bieber. He sings about their humble beginning, rocky end and their eventual marriage, with the help of artists like KehlaniPost Maloneand Quavo. Not to say it’s all about Hailey. He touches on his mental health struggles and the Changes he’s gone through in recent years, too. 

He shared on Instagram last week, “Good morning. Just wanted to say thank you for all the amazing support of #CHANGES. Thank you.”

Keeping Up With the Kardashians returns spring 2020, only on E!


Katy Perry Thanks First Responders After Collapsing on ‘American Idol’ Due to Gas Leak – Entertainment Tonight

February 23rd, 2020

Katy Perry Thanks First Responders After Collapsing on ‘American Idol’ Due to Gas Leak | Entertainment Tonight

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The global spread of the new coronavirus: Where is it? – The Australian Jewish News

February 23rd, 2020

The new coronavirus that emerged in central China at the end of last year has now killed more than 2,400 people and spread around the world.

Outside mainland China there have been 26 deaths and more than 1,500 infections reported, with cases concentrated in South Korea and the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined off Japan.

Here is a roundup of the areas where cases of COVID-19, the virus’s official designation, have been confirmed:


As of Sunday some 77,000 people had been infected and 2,442 had died across mainland China, the majority in and around Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, where the outbreak was first reported.

Two people have died and at least 70 people have been infected in Hong Kong.

Ten infections have been counted in Macao.

Korean tourists await a flight home from Ben-Gurion International airport amid fears they carry the coronavirus, Feb. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)


South Korea: 602 people have been infected by the virus and six people have died. The number of cases jumped sharply in recent days after an outbreak cluster in a religious sect in southern city Daegu.

Japan: more than 130 people have been infected and four have died. Three of those deaths were passengers who had been on the cruise ship Diamond Princess, quarantined off Japan, where the number of infections is now at 630.

Singapore: 89

Thailand: 35

Malaysia: 22

Taiwan: 26, including one death

Australia: 22

Vietnam: 16

Philippines: 3, including one death

India: 3

Nepal: 1

Sri Lanka: 1

Cambodia: 1

North America

United States: 35

Canada: 9

Police stop cars at the border of an area under quarantine due to a coronavirus outbreak in Casalpusterlengo, Northern Italy, Feb. 23, 2020. (Claudio Furlan/LaPresse via AP)


Italy: 149, three deaths. On Saturday Italy became the first country in Europe to put some of its citizens under quarantine, with over 50,000 residents in 11 towns in lockdown.

Germany: 16

France: 12, including one death

Britain: 13

Russia: 5

Spain: 2

Finland: 1

Sweden: 1

Belgium: 1

A commuter wears a mask amid coronavirus fears on a bus in Tehran, Iran, Feb. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Middle East

Iran: 43, 8 deaths, the largest number of fatalities of any country outside China.

United Arab Emirates: 13

Israel: 2

Lebanon: 1


Egypt: 1

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