Apple fined $12M by Italy over iPhone water-resistance claims – CNET

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Apple

Italy has fined Apple 10 million euros (~$12 million) over "aggressive and misleading" business practices centring around the iPhone's water-resistance, according to the country's national competition authority.

In a statement published on Monday, the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) said Apple has marketed several of its iPhones as water-resistant for years, but has failed to clarify that it only applied under certain circumstances. AGCM says that some iPhone models did not prove to be water-resistant for thirty minutes at a depth of up to 4 meters (13 feet) depending on the model, as Apple has advertised. Those claims, it said, only held up in lab-controlled tests with pure water as opposed to real-world conditions. 

Apple's claims date back several years and span several generations including the iPhone 8  iPhone 11 lines, according to AGCM. The Italian regulator also labelled Apple's practice of not covering water damage of iPhones under warranty as "aggressive."

Apple could not immediately be reached for comment, but Apple has long advised against swimming and bathing with its iPhones in its fine print and support pages

This is not the first time Apple has fallen afoul with the Italian watchdog. In 2018, Apple was hit with 5 million euro fine (~$5.9 million) for releasing software updates that "significantly reduced" the performance of its iPhones.

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The Undoing finale: That ending broken down and more questions answered – CNET

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Nicole Kidman as Grace Fraser in The Undoing. Turns out marriage hasn't been so good to her. 

HBO

HBO miniseries The Undoing, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant as a wealthy Manhattan couple in big legal trouble, is now over. After six episodes that had the internet spinning endless theories about who murdered Elena Alves and why, we finally learned the killer's identity in Sunday's final episode, The Bloody Truth. But that doesn't mean every single question raised by the thriller has been answered beyond a reasonable doubt. Not even close.  

Let's put on our flowy Stevie Nicks-style coats, stroll through (an oddly empty) Central Park and dive in, shall we?  

Warning: Major, major spoilers ahead. Like really, really big ones, including the biggest one of the whole series. 

Who killed Elena Alves? 

Viewers had all kinds of ideas, but in the end, the answer was right under our noses. The murderer was Grace's husband, Jonathan Fraser, the pediatric oncologist on trial for murdering his lover. She was the mother of his former patient Miguel -- and of his own infant daughter. 

The revelation that he killed Alves following an argument unfolded in flashbacks, and turned out to be as obvious as it was shocking. It also cemented the show as a psychological thriller more than the twist-filled whodunnit many viewers have come to expect from mysteries. 

"I love that collectively, as an audience, we are all so used to processing wild-ass twists and turns," one viewer tweeted. "All The Undoing had to do to fool us was shoot straight."  

And, of course, drop a constant stream of red herrings suggesting the murderer could be Grace or Grace's dad Franklin (Donald Sutherland) or son (Noah Jupe) or friend Sylvia (Lily Rabe). (There were just so many shots of her that seemed to say, "Look at me! I'm a clue!" I fell for it, lesson learned.) 

"In designing the episodes, we were inviting people to play with their biases and their curiosity and their version of the truth," Executive Producer David E. Kelley told TVLine. "There were scenes with Sylvia that were deliberately cryptic, but it was never part of the master plan to have her be part of the crime." 

The Undoing is based on Jean Hanff Korelitz's You Should Have Known. And from that title alone, it's now easy to look back and think we should have. So why didn't we? And…  

Why was Grace so blind to the truth?    

Deep, deep, oh-so-deep denial. Despite being a Harvard-educated clinical psychologist who considered herself adept at reading people, it was simply too shattering for her to fully absorb the mounting signs her beloved husband was a sociopath (including the most glaring one, the revelation that he displayed zero grief when his little sister died tragically all those years ago). So to protect herself, her marriage, her son and her basic assumptions about people and pretty much the entire world, Grace keeps herself in a state of denial -- until she simply can't any longer.  

The strength of the show is that it makes viewers just as reluctant to face the truth about Jonathan as Grace is -- and we're not even married to the guy. 

No one wants to believe that someone who, by all accounts, has devoted his life to healing could so recklessly and brutally take a life. And as Grace suggests to more than one patient, the mind can go to great lengths to deny information that conflicts with truths we don't want to see, especially when those truths involve loved ones. 

Plus, let's face it. Hugh Grant's masterfully manipulative Jonathan also turns up the awww-shucks charm in that special Hugh Grant-ey, head-cocked, romantic-lead kind of way. The charming British accent probably didn't hurt either. Up until the last 10 or 15 minutes of the finale, it was still easy to believe Jonathan had been falsely accused -- until he set off with Henry on the creepiest father-son road trip ever, getting more crazed with every swerve of the family SUV.   

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The face of a fiercely protective mother.

HBO

What finally wakes Grace up? 

Watch closely in the final episode as Jonathan suggests son Henry might have killed Elena in an attempt to keep his fractured family together, and you can see a subtle shift happening in Grace. She may not know her husband the way she thought she did, but she certainly knows her son. And she's absolutely sure he's a good kid. He may have it in him to leave his violin on the floor out of its case (bad idea), but he certainly doesn't have it in him to beat a woman to death. 

It's shortly after that pivotal moment Grace calls her friend Sylvia, a lawyer, and says she needs to talk. We aren't privy to what they discuss during their early-morning stroll. But presumably Sylvia is advising Grace how to take the stand with savvy and implicate her cheating narcissist of a husband, who at that point in the trial seems likely to be acquitted. 

What does the 'The Undoing' refer to? 

There are various ways to interpret the show's title, since lives, marriages and fiercely held narratives all come undone. Notably, undoing is also a psychological term for a "defense mechanism in which a person tries to cancel out or remove an unhealthy, destructive or otherwise threatening thought or action by engaging in contrary behavior." It appears Grace's initial inclination to believe in her husband's innocence is her defense against the horrifying reality she knows deep down. 

"Do you not tell patients," the prosecutor asks Grace during cross-examination, "that sometimes they so want to believe in their partners that they choose to un-know things? Un-see things? That sometimes the truth of who and what they married gets distorted by the desperation of what they want to be married to?"

Check and check. 

Will there be a season 2? 

HBO clearly angled The Undoing as a limited series, so a second season seems unlikely. However, both Kelley and director Susanne Bier have made comments that leave the door open at least a tiny sliver. "Of course you wonder what comes after this is over. We did joke about it on set," Bier told OprahMag.com. Asked about the possibility of another season, she said, "I won't rule it out. But it's not in the concrete works."   

Kelley, while stressing a second season has never been the intent, did tease what it could tackle. 

"Susanne Bier and I both loved the part of the book where Grace was rebuilding herself after her world fell apart. But for the purposes of this run, it was more about the thriller aspect," he told The New York Times. "Who knows? If we did the extended life of Grace Fraser beyond this season of The Undoing, maybe we'd get into that reconstruction part."

P.S. What's with Franklin's eyebrows? 

A wealthy, influential man like Franklin needs wealthy, influential eyebrows, apparently. It was hard to miss the pointy cantilever-like brows, which social media quickly turned into a character of their own.

"I can't believe Donald Sutherland's eyebrows don't get a separate cast credit in The Undoing," one Twitter user wrote.

Wrote one another, "Are we SURE the killer wasn't Donald Sutherland's eyebrows?!"   

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The Mandalorian pulls a Game of Thrones and edits out ‘Jeans Guy’ – CNET

Look at the far left corner for a crew member's cameo in Chapter 12 of The Mandalorian.

Disney Plus

About a week after the gray shirt, jeans and left arm of a crew member were spotted in Chapter 12 of The Mandalorian, the gaffe has been ruthlessly scrubbed from Star Wars canon. Disney has banished the crew member, who became known as "Jeans Guy", to the same cupboard as high profile TV mistakes, like the coffee cup in the final season of Game of Thrones.

Sharp-eyed fans were quick to notice the appearance -- and then disappearance -- of the crew member in the fourth episode of the second season, released on Disney Plus Nov. 20. The hard-to-spot goof briefly interrupts a scene where Greef Karga, Cara Dune and Mando are in the process of infiltrating an old imperial base to blow it up.

At about 18:54, Jeans Guy makes an appearance minding his own business next to the action, partially obscured behind a wall, before vanishing as the gang resume zapping guards out of the way.

Fans mourned the loss of the brief new character.

"Jeans Guy has been removed from The Mandalorian Chapter 12," one tweet reads on Nov. 26. "RIP Jeans Guy."

Sadly we'll never see the action figure.

Sharp eyes spotted the gaffe the day the episode was released.

Catch a new episode of The Mandalorian on Disney Plus every Friday. Let's see if it manages to follow-up Jeans Guy with another gaffe, just like the Game of Thrones finale achieved with its drink bottle debacle.

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One million new galaxies found in fastest radio survey of the sky yet – CNET

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The most rapid radio survey of the southern sky has been completed by the Australian SKA Pathfinder telescope.

CSIRO

The most detailed and most rapid survey of the southern sky has helped map about a million previously undiscovered galaxies. Using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder radio telescope, scientists from the CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, have cut the time to complete such an intense survey of space from years to less than two weeks.

In a study, published in the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia on Monday, the first results from the CSIRO's Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey are reported. The agency describes the survey as like a "Google Map" of the universe, providing the most detailed atlas of the southern sky yet. 

The key to the new atlas is ASKAP, which isn't a single telescope but an array of 36 dish-shaped antennas stationed in the West Australian desert. The array listens for radio waves from deep space and can see a region of the sky about 30 times larger than other, contemporary radio arrays.

Taking over 900 images across about 300 hours, the team was able to stitch together a comprehensive map of the southern sky with a higher resolution than previous surveys. The images contain a total of 70 billion pixels and lurking in the data are 3 million galaxies -- a third of which are new to science. 

The map will allow astronomers to study cosmic objects such as supernovas, pulsars and the jets around supermassive black holes in distant galaxies.

"ASKAP is applying the very latest in science and technology to age-old questions about the mysteries of the Universe and equipping astronomers around the world with new breakthroughs to solve their challenges," Larry Marshall, CSIRO chief executive, said in a news release.

It's just the beginning of the journey for ASKAP. RACS was conceived almost as a test bed for what ASKAP will try to achieve. Over the next five years, the radio array will begin to conduct ten major surveys of the sky, which will take about 1,500 hours to complete per project. Some of these projects will probe the most mysterious phenomena at the very edge of the universe. 

"We expect to find tens of millions of new galaxies in future surveys," said David McConnell, astronomer at the CSIRO and lead author on the new study. 

You can take a virtual tour of the impressive map at CSIRO's website.

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Why Ahsoka Tano’s appearance was changed in The Mandalorian – CNET

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Ahsoka Tano, played by Rosario Dawson, looks a bit different than the animated Star Wars character.

Lucasfilm/Screenshot by Sean Keane/CNET

Beloved Star Wars character Ahsoka Tano, from Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, finally showed up on The Mandalorian on Disney Plus during the new season. 

Played by actor Rosario Dawson, Ahsoka made her live-action debut in The Mandalorian episode entitled "The Jedi." Dawson's portrayal of the animated character meant that some changes needed to be made to Ahsoka's appearance for the transition to a live-action format.

One major cosmetic change included smaller head-tails, also called montrals and lekku. Ahsoka had short lekku at the beginning of Star Wars The Clone Wars but much longer lekku in Star Wars Rebels and later episodes of The Clone Wars to show that they grew as she aged. 

However, in The Mandalorian, Ahsoka's lekku head tails are short once again, which confused fans who were used to seeing her longer lekku in Rebels.

Star Wars character concept designer Brian Matyas addressed fan questions on Twitter on Nov. 27 about Ahsoka's new look. He explained that one factor in the change had to do with the weight of the head tails. If the head tails were kept long, it would most likely make stunt fighting more difficult.

"Can you share at all the conversations you had regarding the size of her montrals/lekku?" Star Wars fan Jack Kennedy tweeted. "There's some confusion among fans as they were much bigger in Rebels around this same time period. Figured it was just impractical for the actors but wondering if there's anything else to it."

"That was the chief concern," Matyas answered. "From animation to live-action I did a ton of design exploration for her and their appropriate size for the actor with consideration for stunts and movement. I'm sure I'll get to discuss at greater length in the near future."

Not all fans were happy with the changes to Ahsoka's appearance in The Mandalorian. 

"Sadly, I think this was a bad call," Star Wars fan Logan Harrington tweeted. "Biggest complaint with the show so far but man, it's not cool to see the continuity messed with. Found this rendition posted earlier and it looks so much better following Ahsoka's age relative to others of her species and following Rebels."

Other fans suggested CGI for a quick fix to Ahsoka's head tails length.

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Ahsoka's lekku head tails are much longer when she was an animated character.

Lucasfilm

"The krayt dragon in the first episode looked very real and detailed, the frog lady in the following episodes, also great and realistic," fan HousePanther tweeted. "Both those creatures are involved in action scenes so I'm still scratching my head as to why they both look better than Ahsoka freaking Tano."

"While I do see the complaints people have, I'm actually pretty happy with what we got," fan Sean Merchant tweeted. "I do have a question. Do you think in the future they might use digital effects to make her lekkus longer or no?"

See Ahsoka's new look in The Mandalorian, which debuts new episodes every Friday on Disney Plus. Be sure to also read our episode recaps to make sure you don't miss a thing.

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Mitsuoka Buddy SUV sold out for two years in just four days – Roadshow

Mitsuoka Buddy

Want a Mitsuoka Buddy? You're out of luck till 2023.

Mitsuoka

Remember the Mitsuoka Buddy? You know, the Toyota RAV4-based SUV that's been restyled to look like a classic American SUV in the vein of a Chevrolet Blazer or Suburban from the 1970s or '80s? It's cool but seems too niche to actually sell, right?

Wrong. Mitsuoka sold through its initial two-year production run of 200 units in just four days, according to a report from Motor1 published on Monday, which means that if you live in a place where the Buddy is sold and you want one, you've got quite a wait ahead of you.

The Buddy not only gets a decidedly GM-like schnozz, with plenty of chrome, but it also gets new vertical taillights and retro wheels. The whole thing is a little odd -- as is the case with all Mitsuoka products -- but it kind of works, and we're sad we can't get them here.

Mitsuoka is charging the rough equivalent of $45,000 for the base Buddy and even considering that that's a $20,000 premium over the car on which it's based, it's still not that shocking. It doesn't even seem like that bad of a deal if we're being honest.

Now, if you'll excuse us, we'll be looking at pictures of the Buddy while sighing wistfully, wearing flannel and listlessly sipping at a cheap, domestic lager as though we're extras on the set of The Great Outdoors or something.

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Cyber Monday 2020: The best wireless workout headphones deals – CNET

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This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET's gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

One of the most popular categories in wireless headphones is so-called sport or workout headphones. Some models actually carry the "sport" designation and might have special features like fins or wings that help keep the earbuds in your ears more securely. But plenty of other headphones are perfectly fine for working out because they're water- and sweat-resistant and fit snugly and comfortably. I've also included a few on-ear and over-ear sports headphones for those who don't like having anything in their ears. 

Here are the best workout headphone deals available right now. We'll continue updating this list as more models go on sale and other deals expire. We expect to see some of these discounts to fluctuate over the next few days, and some will extend past Cyber Monday into December.

Read more: Best Cyber Monday Bluetooth speaker deals

Jason Outenreath/CNET

Say what you will about the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live's bean-shaped design, but they might just be the most innovative new true wireless earbuds of the year. Like the standard AirPods, they have an open design -- you don't jam an ear tip into your ear -- and they're quite comfortable to wear and fit my ears more securely than the AirPods. These wireless buds are discreet and basically sit flush with your ear, which reduces wind-noise while biking. I regularly use them for running and biking, and they're great for sporting activities if they fit your ears well, but one warning: Some people won't get a secure fit, so buy them from a retailer that has a good return policy.

$40 isn't a huge discount but it is almost 25% off their list price of $170. Read our Galaxy Buds Live review.

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David Carnoy/CNET

Jabra's Elite Active 75t earbuds are the more rugged version of the Elite 75t. Both models are among the best true wireless earbuds out there and now can be upgraded with active noise canceling via a software upgrade. (New models that shipped to stores recently may already be equipped with the upgrade.)

The Elite Active 75t buds look nearly identical to the Elite 75t, but upon closer inspection, you'll notice the finish on the case and earbuds is different. Instead of the hard smooth finish of the Elite Active 75t, the Active 75t has a soft-to-the-touch finish with a touch of grip to it. Or, as Jabra put it, the earbuds are "built with a durable coating for dust and sweat resistance and features an increased IP water-resistance rating from IP56 (of the Elite Active 75t) to IP57, making them waterproof." Read our Jabra Elite Active 75t review.

David Carnoy/CNET

Both Bose's new QuietComfort Earbuds and Sport Earbuds make good workout headphones, thanks to their StayHear Max tips and secure fit, but the Sport Earbuds are more compact and lighter and also more affordable (the QuietComfort Earbuds do have excellent active noise canceling, however). This is the first time we've seen them discounted.

Unlike their step-up sibling, they have no active noise canceling and an hour less of battery life -- five hours instead of six -- as well as no wireless charging. While they do stick out from your ears, they're noticeably smaller and lighter than the QuietComfort Earbuds and their case is about 30% to 40% smaller. The case still isn't as small as the cases for such competitors as the AirPods Pro, Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, Galaxy Buds Live and Jabra Elite 75t. But it feels reasonably compact. Read our Bose Sport Earbuds review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you're looking for a cheap set of wired wireless sport earbuds, the Jaybird Tarh, which is getting phased out, is on sale for $30. That's the lowest price we've seen for them. 

David Carnoy/CNET

The Beats Powerbeats Pro (list price $250) remains a top true-wireless sports model with many of the same features as Apple's standard AirPods but in a water-resistant design with better sound. You can get certain colors for as low as $160 (spring yellow, red). Read our Beats Powerbeats Pro review.

David Carnoy/CNET

If you can't afford the Beats Powerbeats Pro, the Powerbeats 4 feature a similar design, features and sound quality with one key difference: They have a wire between the buds (that said, they are wireless). I thought they were expensive at $150, but at $99, they're a lot more enticing. They're available in 3 color options.

Read more: Best Cyber Monday 2020 wireless headphones deals

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The Earfun Free Pro earbuds are brand new to the market. I've been using them for a week or so and have run with them a few times (they're lightweight and fit securely). While they list for $60, there's an instant 10%-off coupon,. Then you can apply the extra 10%-off code FREEPRO10 at checkout at Amazon, which gets you a total discount of $12. They sound very good for the money. 

From a design standpoint, they seem identical to the Fiil T1XS, which is also on sale for $48. However, the Earfun Free Pro has better features, including active noise cancellation with a transparency mode, wireless charging and Bluetooth 5.2. They're rated for 7 hours of battery life without the noise-canceling function on (or about 6 hours with it on). They're IPX5 water-resistant, which means they can withstand a sustained spray of water. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Companies like Under Armour (with the help of JBL) have released sporty on-ear models designed for people who want that type of secure-fit workout headphone that covers their ears. This Adidas RPT-01 is a bit too expensive at its list price of $170, but it's a good deal at $100. Designed by the same Swedish company that makes Urbanears headphones, it sounds quite decent, with well-balanced sound that doesn't push the bass too much. 

I found them comfortable for on-ear headphones, which tend not to be as comfortable as over-ear headphones, but those with larger heads may feel they clamp down a little too snugly on both your head and your ears. This set of headphones is sweat-resistant with an IPX4 certification. Also, the ear cushions and inner headband are removable and washable (there are instructions for how to do this, but Adidas should do a how-to video). The RPT-01 is available in three colors.

Sarah Tew/CNET

This is a great price for the Jaybird Vista, one of our top picks for runners. It's a good set of true wireless sports earbuds that lock in your ears and are fully waterproof. The Vista has been out a while, so it's due for an upgrade -- maybe that's why it's on sale -- but if a new model comes out any time soon, it'll probably cost around $180. Read our Jaybird Vista review.

Amazon

JBL's Live 300 true-wireless earbuds have been out since last year and have sporadically been on sale for $100. Now $75 is the lowest price we've seen for them. They're a good sounding set of earbuds that are suitable for sports use with their included sport fins and IPX5 water-resistance rating (they can withstand a sustained spray of water). Battery life is rated at six hours and they have an "ambient aware" mode that lets some sound in for safety purposes. 

David Carnoy/CNET

The AfterShokz bone conduction wireless headphones deliver sound to your ear through your cheekbones. The big benefit of this technology is that, thanks to its open design, you can hear what's going on around you while listening to music or having a phone conversation through the wireless headphones. That openness allows runners to hear traffic sound, an important safety feature for sport headphones. Also, some race coordinators don't allow runners to wear anything in their ears, which is where over-ear headphones like this come in handy, particularly for people who need to listen to music while they run.

The Aeropex, which AfterShokz describes as its "lightest, highest-quality headphones yet," were released in 2019. The sound quality in this pair of headphones is definitely better than the company's previous flagship model, the Trekz Air -- or the Air, as it's now called. It's also slightly more comfortable to wear with a comfortable fit. However, while AfterShokz continues to make small improvements to performance with each new iteration of its wireless headphones, the sound quality still can't match that of traditional headphones. Read our AfterShokz Aeropex first take.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The price for the AirPods Pro went as low as $170 for Black Friday, but that deal is gone. Woot had been selling them for $190. Now the best price is $200. With their lightweight design and IPX4 water-resistance (they're splashproof), they make for good workout headphones. They should fit most ears securely, but if you want an even more secure fit, invest in a pair of foam tips specially made for the AirPods Pro.  Read our AirPods Pro review.

Although they've been out for over a year, Plantronics's BackBeat Fit 6100 over-the-ear wireless headphones are a solid choice for both the gym and everyday use. The adjustable sport-fit headband has an IPX5-rated water-resistant and sweatproof design. The headphones are equipped with 40mm angled drivers and noise-isolating earcups with an Awareness mode. Battery life is rated at 24 hours. I thought they were a bit expensive at $180, but they're a good value at $90. Last year for Black Friday they were on sale for $110.

David Carnoy/CNET

It took a while, but now we finally have a new true wireless noise-canceling sports model from Sony: the WF-SP800N. Funnily enough, I wrote at the end of my mostly positive review that I'd like to see them more in the $160-$175 range. They were recently down to $127, but the current $148 price is still $50 below list, and $20 below their usual street price.

This isn't quite the WF-1000XM3 with a water-resistant body. It's missing Sony's QN1e processor, but there's still a lot to like about it, including excellent sound, solid noise canceling and good call quality. It's definitely a significant upgrade over the WF-SP700N, which came out in 2018, and its "arcs" (sports fins) lock the buds in your ears. Just make sure you get a tight seal from one of the included ear tips or else both the sound and noise canceling will be lackluster. Read our Sony WF-SP800N review.

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Moderna seeks FDA emergency approval for coronavirus vaccine – CNET

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STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Moderna will apply to the US Food and Drug Administration to authorize its coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, the drug company said Monday. Its data shows that the vaccine is 94.1% effective against COVID-19, similar to results it reported earlier this month.

The first injections may come as soon as Dec. 21 if the FDA gives its approval, The New York Times reported Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel as saying.

That would be almost exactly a year after word first emerged from China of a novel coronavirus that had appeared in the city of Wuhan. Within a few months, the virus had spread around the globe. It has now infected more than 62 million people worldwide, resulting in 1.4 million deaths.

Moderna is the second company to apply for emergency use authorization from the FDA. Pfizer submitted an application for its vaccine on Nov. 20, the Times noted.

The speed of development and testing by those two companies, and a number of others, is unprecedented. Vaccines can take over a decade to create. If Pfizer's and Moderna's formulas are as effective as early data suggests, they could herald a new era in vaccine and therapeutic design.

That's because both companies used a pioneering technology known as synthetic messenger RNA, or mRNA, a molecule that tells cells how to build proteins. With that, you can trick cells into producing proteins usually found in SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19, and then stimulate the immune system -- without making patients sick -- to provide protection against infection.

If it gets the necessary approvals, Moderna hopes to have around 20 million doses available in the US by the end of the year and said it could manufacture 500 million to 1 billion doses globally in 2021.

See also: COVID-19 vaccines will arrive soon, but you could be last in line. Here's who will get one first

Other companies working on coronavirus vaccines include AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said earlier this month that he's hopeful about the progress made in the development of vaccines to treat COVID-19. Much of his work in philanthropy over the last decade with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been focused on fighting diseases.

"Almost all the vaccines will work and with very high efficacy levels," Gates told CNN's Fareed Zakaria in an interview. "I'm optimistic that by February it's very likely that they'll all prove very efficacious and safe."

CNET's Jackson Ryan contributed to this story.

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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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Baby God review: HBO film introduces the children born of a chilling crime – CNET

Dr. Quincy Fortier, subject of the HBO documentary Baby God

Dr. Quincy Fortier artificially inseminated unsuspecting women. The powerful HBO documentary Baby God examines the complex fallout. 

HBO video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET

When we first meet geneticist Brad Gulko in the new HBO documentary Baby God, he's peering into a microscope and reflecting on the precision of today's genetic tests. We soon learn Gulko isn't just being interviewed as a genomics expert for the film about an infamous fertility specialist who artificially inseminated countless women without their knowledge or consent. 

Gulko has recently discovered the shocking secret that Dr. Quincy Fortier is his biological father. 

At this point, the late Fortier is such a stranger to Gulko, he's not even sure how to pronounce the physician's last name. Yet as Gulko stands next to a photo of the balding, bespectacled Fortier, the father-son resemblance is impossible to miss. And Fortier's unscrupulous actions from decades ago reverberate for Gulko today in ways the 50-something scientist can only begin to comprehend. 

"People who don't share DNA with their parents, and don't know they don't share DNA with their parents, may feel that they're not just different but somehow wrong," Gulko says. He recalls feeling out of sync growing up as a socially awkward child of the extroverted, socially adept man he thought was his father.   

It's one of many poignant observations made in Baby God, which airs on HBO and HBO Max on Wednesday, Dec. 2, and streams starting the following day. The film follows several of Fortier's offspring as they grapple with new information about their origins, the scope of Fortier's misdeeds (included the alleged sexual abuse of at least one stepdaughter) and the impact his actions -- and genes -- have had on their identities.  

"I know there's got to be some influence from his genetics in me. I just want to know what that is," says Wendi Babst, a retired police detective who once worked on major crimes. She discovered the family secret after taking up genealogy as a hobby and now is pondering having surgery to change her nose, which reminds her all too painfully of Fortier's.  

One man in his thirties describes being so distraught after learning the identity of his biological father that he became physically ill for a month and a half. 

Baby God, directed and produced by Hannah Olson, builds slowly, but evolves into a provocative, powerful story that tackles morality, medical ethics, self-delusion, family bonds and the very nature of life itself.  

The film is also a comment on the march of scientific progress -- as one of Fortier's children notes, the inseminations took place before sperm banks. Fortier never could have imagined inexpensive home DNA kits available to anyone with an internet connection.     

Cathy Holm, holding daughter Wendi, was a young newlywed in the 1960s when she sought the help of fertility specialist Dr. Quincy Fortier. 

HBO

"In those days, they didn't even understand DNA," says Dr. Frank Silver, a gynecologist who practiced with Fortier years ago and thinks he probably talked himself into believing he was doing a great service, though "bad means don't justify the end."

Fortier, who opened a Las Vegas practice in 1945, is estimated to have hundreds of children, who now range in age from their thirties to their seventies, with more continuing to come forward. Babst's mother, Cathy Holm, describes being a 22-year-old bride in the 1960s, when motherhood was expected to immediately follow marriage and all her friends already had kids but she couldn't get pregnant. 

She found Fortier in the phone book under fertility specialists, made an appointment and was instructed to bring in samples of her husband's sperm. Unbeknownst to her until many years later, Fortier injected her with his own.    

Old home movies that look like something straight out of Mad Men show a pregnant Holm, and then Holm and her happy husband with their toddler Wendi. 

Over time, Holm recalls, she would fleetingly reflect on the fact that Wendi didn't look anything like the man Holm married. "I'd think, 'Gee, it's really funny that she doesn't really resemble her father's side of the family at all. As she grew up. I thought, where'd she get all these brains? She didn't get them from me, and I didn't think her father was all that smart."

By all accounts, Fortier, Wendi's covert biological father, was more than smart -- he was brilliant. But what motivated his deep deception, which led one former patient to sue him, resulting in a settlement in 2001?   

Baby God can only offer speculation. Fortier died in 2006 at age 94 in good standing, having never lost his license, and only appears in the film in brief audio clips. Theories cover the gamut -- one of the daughters he raised insists his secret inseminations were merely an extension of a lifelong devotion to patients and their well-being.  

babygod03

Wendy Babst, a retired police detective, discovered the disturbing truth about her biological father's identity after purchasing an Ancestry.com DNA kit for a bit of casual genealogy exploration after retiring. 

HBO

Others have a dramatically different view, seeing only evil, a twisted sense of morality and pure hubris. Wonders a mother, now in her nineties, who was inseminated by Fortier, "Was he trying to see how many people he could have on this Earth before he left?" In an especially disturbing twist, the young newlywed hadn't even consulted Fortier for a fertility issue, and ended up undergoing a procedure that left her pregnant at his hands before she even felt ready to have a baby. 

"My life may have been altogether different," she says of Fortier inseminating her in an era when doctors were often viewed as almost godlike. "I'd have gone back to school, but I probably would have gone farther." 

At the same time, she looks at her son Mike with gratitude, saying she wouldn't have him without Fortier. The film ends with a troubling coda. More than two dozen US doctors, we are told, have been accused of secretly inseminating patients with their own sperm.   

For the surviving patients and their children, DNA tests might provide some concrete answers, but many others will remain far less clear-cut, probably forever. "I struggle with whether or not I think he was a good person," Wendi Babst says. "Do you want to say that your father was a monster? And what does that say about you?"

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You can preorder a $100 replica Pokeball now – CNET

Poke Ball from The Wand Company

A Poke Ball and its box.

The Wand Company

Pokemon fans can now preorder an iconic collectible -- an electronic die-cast replica of a Trainer's Pokeball. Shipping starts on Pokemon Day, Feb. 27, 2021. The red Pokeball is special because it's the most iconic model and usually the first tool a Trainer gets on their journey in the Pokemon universe. According to The Wand Company, this is the first in a new range of officially licensed Pokeballs. 

The Pokeball is available for preorder from select retailers in the US, Europe, the UK, Australia and New Zealand while supplies last. 

The Pokeball's button glows when it senses motion, changes color when pressed and can start a Pokemon-catching illumination sequence. It comes with a presentation display case, a steel display ring and batteries. In addition, each collectible is numbered with an authentication hologram.

The Wand Company noted that the Pokeball doesn't open and shouldn't be thrown.

Check out this video about the special collector's Pokeball:

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