Jumbo jets arrived to evacuate US citizens from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, with people quarantined onboard due to fears of the new COVID-19 coronavirus, at the Haneda airport in Tokyo on February 16, 2020. - The number of people who have tested positive for the new coronavirus on a quarantined ship off Japan's coast has risen to 355, the country's health minister said. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP) (Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)
Enlarge / Jumbo jets arrived to evacuate US citizens from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, with people quarantined onboard due to fears of the new COVID-19 coronavirus, at the Haneda airport in Tokyo on February 16, 2020. – The number of people who have tested positive for the new coronavirus on a quarantined ship off Japan’s coast has risen to 355, the country’s health minister said. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP) (Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)

Health officials at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not want 14 people who had tested positive for the new coronavirus to be flown back to the US, among hundreds of other uninfected people—but the CDC experts were overruled by officials at the US State Department, according to a report by The Washington Post.

On Sunday, February 16, the 14 positive people flew from Japan to the US on State Department-chartered planes. They were among over 300 others, all evacuees from the luxury cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, which had an explosive outbreak of COVID-19 cases.

The cruise ship, initially carrying 3,711 passengers and crew, had been quarantined in Yokohama, Japan since February 3, after a

Google cracks down on location-tracking Android apps

Ron Amadeo

Alongside the launch of the Android 11 Developer Preview, Google announced a plan to crack down on Android apps that request the user’s location in the background. Just as we saw with Google’s pushback against apps that use the accessibility APIs for things that aren’t accessibility related, Google will be flexing the power it has over the Play Store and manually reviewing apps that request location data in the background.

Writing about the new policy, Google says, “As we took a closer look at background location usage, we found that many of the apps that requested background location didn’t actually need it. In fact, many of these apps could provide the same user experience by only accessing location when the app is visible to the user.” The company says that apps on the Play Store will soon be evaluated by humans to see if the apps actually need the background location permissions they are requesting. Google lays out the following criteria for requesting background location:

Later this year, we will be updating Google Play policy to require that developers get approval if they want to access location data in the background. Factors that will be looked at

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher on November 6, 2018, in Costa Mesa, California, just before he learned he had lost his seat to a Democratic challenger. Rohrabacher, the most Putin-friendly member of Congress, visited with Julian Assange in 2017 to offer him a pardon in exchange for proof that Seth Rich, not Russian intelligence, had leaked the DNC emails.
Enlarge / Rep. Dana Rohrabacher on November 6, 2018, in Costa Mesa, California, just before he learned he had lost his seat to a Democratic challenger. Rohrabacher, the most Putin-friendly member of Congress, visited with Julian Assange in 2017 to offer him a pardon in exchange for proof that Seth Rich, not Russian intelligence, had leaked the DNC emails.

A former California congressman confirmed in an interview with Yahoo News’ Michael Isikoff that he did offer to broker a pardon for Julian Assange in exchange for information that would exonerate Russia from the theft of emails from the Democratic National Committee and members of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign organization. Republican Dana Rohrabacher was seeking to prove that the emails were leaked by DNC staffer Seth Rich, who was murdered in July 2016—and were not the product of a hacking campaign by Russian intelligence organizations.

Rohrabacher, who lost his seat in 2018, was a long-time cheerleader in Washington for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government. Using information provided to him directly by the Kremlin, Rohrabacher personally promoted an effort to remove the name of Sergei Magnitsky from the Russia and Moldova Jackson–Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability

Image of a collection of ancient skulls.
Enlarge / OK, which one of you is the father?

Shortly before the publication of the first Neanderthal genome, a number of researchers had seen hints that there might be something strange lurking in the statistics of the human genome. The publication of the genome erased any doubts about these hints and provided a clear identity for the strangeness: a few percent of the bases in European and Asian populations came from our now-extinct relatives.

But what if we didn’t have the certainty provided by the Neanderthal genome? That’s the situation we find ourselves in now, as several studies have recently identified “ghost lineages“—hints of branches in the human family tree for which we have no DNA sequence but find their imprint on the genomes of populations alive today. The existence of these ghost lineages is based on statistical arguments, so it’s very dependent upon statistical methods and underlying assumptions, which are prone to being the subject of disagreement within the community that studies human evolution.

Now, researchers at the University of Utah are arguing that they have evidence of a very old ghost lineage contributing to Neanderthals and Denisovans (and so, indirectly, possibly to us). This is

Closeup photo of a hand holding the iPhone 11

Samuel Axon

Apple is seriously considering the possibility of allowing users to change the default apps for Web browsing, mail, or music on their iPhones. The company might also allow users to listen to Spotify or other music streaming services besides Apple Music via Siri on the iPhone or on the HomePod smart speaker.

These revelations were outlined in a report by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman this morning, who cited multiple people familiar with Apple’s internal plans.

While Apple’s plans are not final, the changes could go into effect as soon as Apple’s iOS 14 release later this year, which means they would likely be introduced during Apple’s developer conference this June.

Currently, iOS users can download third-party applications for mail or Web browsing like Outlook or Firefox, but they cannot set them to be the default apps that the system opens when a link or email address is tapped in another application, for example. Apple does allow users to do these things in some cases with its macOS software for desktops and laptops, even though it’s not possible on the company’s mobile platforms.

This could help Apple’s iOS platform compete with Google’s Android, which has the dominant position in the

A maze of gas pipelines.

A US-based natural gas facility shut down operations for two days after sustaining a ransomware infection that prevented personnel from receiving crucial real-time operational data from control and communication equipment, the Department of Homeland Security said on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s advisory from the DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, didn’t identify the site except to say that it was a natural gas-compression facility. Such sites typically use turbines, motors, and engines to compress natural gas so it can be safely moved through pipelines.

The attack started with a malicious link in a phishing email that allowed attackers to pivot from the facility’s IT network to the facility’s OT network, which is the operational technology hub of servers that control and monitor physical processes of the facility. With that, both the IT and OT networks were infected with what the advisory described as “commodity ransomware.”

The infection didn’t spread to programmable logic controllers, which actually control compression equipment, and it didn’t cause the facility to lose control of operations, Tuesday’s advisory said. The advisory explicitly said that “at no time did the threat actor obtain the ability to control or manipulate operations.”

Still, the attack did knock out crucial control