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Long COVID Seen in Patients With Severe and Mild Disease

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

People hospitalized with acute COVID-19 who developed acute severe respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) had poorer exercise capacity, health-related quality of life, and overall health than the general population a median of 8 months after initial COVID diagnosis, according to a prospective cohort study.

Findings from the cohort, composed of 113 COVID-19 survivors who developed ARDS after admission to a single center before to April 16, 2020, were presented online at the 31st European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases by Judit Aranda, MD, from Complex Hospitalari Moisés Broggi in Barcelona, Spain.

Median age of the participants was 64 years, and 70% were male. At least one persistent symptom was experienced during follow-up by 81% of the cohort, with 45% reporting shortness of breath, 50% reporting muscle pain, 43% reporting memory impairment, and 46% reporting physical weakness of at least 5 on a 10-point scale.

Of the 104 participants who completed a 6-minute walk test, 30% had a decrease in oxygen saturation level of at least 4%, and 5% had an initial or final level below 88%. Of the 46 participants who underwent a pulmonary function test, 15% had a forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) below 70%.

And of the 49% of participants with pathologic findings on chest x-ray, most were bilateral interstitial infiltrates (88%).

In addition, more than 90% of participants developed depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder, Aranda reported.

Not the Whole Picture

This study shows that sicker people — “those in intensive care units with acute respiratory distress syndrome” — are “more likely to be struggling with more severe symptoms,” said Christopher Terndrup, MD, from the division of general internal medicine and geriatrics at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.

But a Swiss study, also presented at the meeting, “shows how even mild COVID cases can lead to debilitating symptoms,” Terndrup told Medscape Medical News.

The investigation of long-term COVID symptoms in outpatients was presented online by Florian Desgranges, MD, from Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland. He and his colleagues found that more than half of those with a mild to moderate disease had persistent symptoms at least 3 months after diagnosis.

The prevalence of long COVID has varied in previous research, from 15% in a study of healthcare workers, to 46% in a study of patients with mild COVID, 52% in a study of young COVID outpatients, and 76% in a study of patients hospitalized with COVID.

Desgranges and his colleagues evaluated patients seen in an emergency department or outpatient clinic from February to April 2020.

The 418 patients with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis were compared with a control group of 89 patients who presented to the same centers during the same timeframe with similar symptoms — cough, shortness of breath, or fever — but had a negative SARS-CoV-2 test.

The number of patients with comorbidities was similar in the COVID and control groups (34% vs 36%), as was median age (41 vs 36 years) and the prevalence of women (62% vs 64%), but the proportion of healthcare workers was lower in the COVID group (64% vs 82%; P =.006).

Symptoms that persisted for at least 3 months were more common in the COVID than in the control group (53% vs 37%). And patients in the COVID group reported more symptoms than those in the control group after adjustment for age, gender, smoking status, comorbidities, and timing of the survey phone call.

Association Between Persistent Symptoms and COVID-19
Persistent Symptom Adjusted Odds Ratio P Value
Any 2.0 .02
Fatigue 2.1 .02
Shortness of breath 2.8 .03
Loss of smell or taste 26.5 .01
Memory impairment 5.7 .01

Levels of sleeping problems and headache were similar in the two groups.

“We have to remember that with COVID-19 came the psychosocial changes of the pandemic situation” Desgranges said.

This study suggests that some long-COVID symptoms — such as the fatigue, headache, and sleep disorders reported in the control group — could be related to the pandemic itself, which has caused psychosocial distress, Terndrup said.

Another study that looked at outpatients “has some fantastic long-term follow-up data, and shows that many patients are still engaging in rehabilitation programs nearly a year after their diagnosis,” he explained.

The COVID HOME Study

That prospective longitudinal COVID HOME study, which assessed long-term symptoms in people who were never hospitalized for COVID, was presented online by Adriana Tami, MD, PhD, from the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands.

The researchers visited the homes of patients to collect data, blood samples, and perform PCR testing 1, 2, and 3 weeks after a diagnosis of COVID-19. If their PCR test was still positive, testing continued until week 6 or a negative test. In addition, participants completed questionnaires at week 2 and at months 3, 6 and 12 to assess fatigue, quality of life, and symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Three-month follow-up data were available for 134 of the 276 people initially enrolled in the study. Questionnaires were completed by 85 participants at 3 months, 62 participants at 6 months, and 10 participants at 12 months.

At least 40% of participants reported long-lasting symptoms at some point during follow-up, and at least 30% said they didn’t feel fully recovered at 12 months. The most common symptom was persistent fatigue, reported at 3, 6, and 12 months by at least 44% of participants. Other common symptoms — reported by at least 20% of respondents at 3, 6, and 12 months — were headache, mental or neurologic symptoms, and sleep disorders, shortness of breath, lack of smell or taste, and severe fatigue.

“We have a high proportion of nonhospitalized individuals who suffer from long COVID after more than 12 months,” Tami concluded, adding that the study is ongoing. “We have other variables that we want to look at, including duration viral shedding and serological results and variants.”

“These cohort studies are very helpful, but they can lead to inaccurate conclusions,” Terndrup cautioned.

They only provide pieces of the big picture, but they “do add to a growing body of knowledge about a significant portion of COVID patients still struggling with symptoms long after their initial infection. The symptoms can be quite variable but are dominated by both physical and mental fatigue, and tend to be worse in patients who were sicker at initial infection,” he told Medscape Medical News.

As a whole, these studies reinforce the need for treatment programs to help patients who suffer from long COVID, he added, but “I advise caution to folks suffering out there who seek ‘miracle cures’; across the world, we are collaborating to find solutions that are safe and effective.”

We are in desperate need of an equity lens in these studies.

“There is still a great deal to learn about long COVID,” said Terndrup. Data on under-represented populations — such as Black, Indigenous, and people of color — are lacking from these and others studies, he explained. “We are in desperate need of an equity lens in these studies,” particularly in the United States, where there are “significant disparities” in the treatment of different populations.

However, “I do hope that this work can lead to a better understanding of how other viral infections can cause long-lasting symptoms,” said Terndrup.

“We have long proposed that after acute presentation, some microbes can cause chronic symptoms, like fatigue and widespread pain. Perhaps we can learn how to better care for these patients after learning from COVID’s significant impact on our societies across the globe.”

Aranda and Desgranges have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or study funding. The study by Tami’s team was funded by the University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMW), and Connecting European Cohorts to Increase Common and Effective Response to SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic (ORCHESTRA). Terndrup has disclosed no relevant financial relationships

31st European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID): Abstracts 4511, 1876, and 1725. Presented July 11, 2021.

Tara Haelle is an independent science/health journalist based in Dallas.

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South Africa looting LIVE: Police ‘nowhere to be seen’ as riots ‘out of control’ – 72 dead

Claims for damage and theft from businesses targetted by civil unrest are estimated to be between $ 481 million and $ 683 million, the head of the only insurer covering political violence in the country said.

Sasria is a state-owned insurer set up after private firms stopped covering risks relating to political violence due to unrest during apartheid.

The company has received hundreds of millions in claims so far, its managing director Cedric Masondo said, adding this was expected to rise significantly.

“This is the worst in terms of financial magnitude,” he said.

Days of looting and vandalism has hurt thousands of businesses and severely damaged major infrastructure in the worst civil unrest in decades.

Violence has been concentrated in KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma’s homeland, as well as the country’s economic and financial centre of Johannesburg and surrounding areas in the Gauteng province.

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Twenty four states have seen an uptick of at least 10% in Covid cases over the past week as health experts keep pressing for more people to get vaccinated

The rapid spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus has only ratcheted up the pressure.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that the variant, first identified in India, has accounted for more than half of all new Covid-19 infections in the country.
“We should think about the Delta variant as the 2020 version of Covid-19 on steroids,” Andy Slavitt, a former senior adviser to Joe Biden’s Covid Response Team, told CNN on Wednesday. “It’s twice as infectious. Fortunately, unlike 2020, we actually have a tool that stops the Delta variant in its tracks: It’s called vaccine.”
For fully vaccinated people, the variant “presents very little threat to you, very unlikely that you’re gonna get sick,” he explained.
Slavitt and other experts have said full approval for vaccines from the US Food and Drug Administration could encourage more people to get vaccinated. The current vaccines distributed in the US are authorized for emergency use only. On Tuesday, Slavitt said full approval for the Pfizer vaccine could come as early as this month.
As of Wednesday, less than half of the US population is fully vaccinated.
In a grim reminder of the scale of the pandemic, data from Johns Hopkins University on Wednesday showed that more than 4 million people around the world have died of Covid-19.
In total, three countries account for more than a third of all global deaths. The US, which has the highest number of fatalities at 606,000, accounts for 15% of the global total, followed by Brazil and India.
Wearing face masks, people walk through Union Station in Los Angeles on June 29, 2021. California is one of the 24 states seeing an uptick in Covid-19 cases.

Fears about more variants if people don’t get vaccinated

But the Delta variant is not the only one worrying health experts.
“I will tell you right now you want to look at who’s getting sick, whether from the Delta variant or any other variant: It’s people who haven’t been vaccinated,” Dr. Megan Ranney told CNN on Wednesday.
“I don’t want it to come to this, but I am hopeful that these surges will drive more people in those states with low vaccination rates to finally go out and get their shot.”
Ranney, who is an emergency physician at Rhode Island Hospital and an associate professor at Brown University, added that vaccinated people don’t have much to worry about, but she offered an unsettling insight on the current surge of cases.
“What worries me more are the variants yet to come, and every time this virus is passed from one person to another, it has a chance to mutate. And it’s only a matter of time until we have a variant against which the vaccines no longer protect us,” she explained.
Some experts have begun asking whether it may be time to start testing vaccinated people to ensure the Delta variant does not evade the effects of vaccines.
Current federal guidelines say fully vaccinated people can refrain from routine testing. Studies and experts have also said the vaccines are still highly protective.
“I think now we should revisit this policy with the Delta variant and determine if the current recommendations hold up,” Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, wrote in an email to CNN on Wednesday.
The CDC is only reporting data on “breakthrough” infections that cause severe disease. That could mean scientists and health officials will not know how many vaccinated people have mild or asymptomatic infections — and it will be very difficult to track whether a new variant such as Delta is causing more vaccine failure.

Local efforts to vaccinate continue

In a move to get more shots into arms, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said the state will provide $ 1 million in college scholarships beginning July 12 for people between 12 and 17 who get vaccinated.
“I cannot imagine a better incentive than a college education,” said Dr. Jay Perman, the chancellor of Maryland’s university system.
Two scholarships will be awarded every week for eight weeks through Labor Day, Hogan said, when four winners will be picked. Hogan said the winners will receive a Maryland 529 prepaid college trust contract, which locks in today’s tuition rates for the future, or a Maryland 529 College investment plan.
The incentive is an effort by the state’s Department of Health and the Department of Higher Education.
More than half of Marylanders between the ages of 12 and 17 are fully vaccinated, state health data shows.
The announcement comes as the state said in a tweet all Covid-19 deaths in Maryland last month occurred in unvaccinated people
Additionally, 95% of new Covid-19 cases in the state — as well as 93% of new hospitalizations — occurred in people who were unvaccinated, according to Michael Ricci, communications director for the governor.

Author: Aya Elamroussi, CNN
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Capitol Police officers have quit, morale is low and the sweeping reforms seen as necessary to prevent another attack remain elusive

The mere shock of the event, and the criticism that followed, has pushed the US Capitol Police Department to make some quick changes — rank-and-file officers now get daily intelligence alerts on their cell phones. New tactical gear like helmets, batons and goggles have been purchased. And two former department leaders have been hired as security consultants to streamline improvements.
But the sweeping reforms that are widely seen as necessary to prevent a similar attack remain elusive, especially an operational and cultural overhaul of the department that some believe will take years to achieve, if it can happen at all.
“They need a radical restructure. They need to decouple it from any political structure whatsoever,” said Rep. John Katko, the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee who negotiated the bipartisan agreement for an independent commission that was blocked by Republican leaders.
“They’ve definitely made strides in the right direction,” Katko said. “But they’re nowhere near where they should be.”
Morale remains low among Capitol Police officers, who say they’re stuck working longer hours amid dwindling ranks. More than 75 officers have left since January 6, at a rate of about three per week, according to union leaders.
“We’re losing guys left and right,” said one officer, who like others interviewed for this story requested anonymity to speak candidly about the state of the US Capitol Police. “The young guys don’t want to be here and the old guys who are eligible are just rolling out.”
As a result, the department has already exceeded its overtime projections for the fiscal year, which doesn’t end for another three months, according to a Senate aide.
Capitol Police still lacks a permanent leader following Chief Steve Sund’s resignation after January 6. And political fighting in Congress has stymied efforts to give the department millions of dollars in new funding — and establish an independent commission to investigate what led to the attack.
Last week House Democrats voted over the objections of all but two House Republicans to create a new Select Committee, which will examine Capitol security failures in addition to the circumstances leading up to the attack. It’s unclear though what, if any changes that will lead to.
Meanwhile, threats against lawmakers are up significantly in 2021, and over the past few weeks, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have issued warnings of the potential for summer violence tied to conspiracy theories that Trump will return to the presidency in August. There have also been reports that the fencing surrounding the Capitol may come down as early as July 8.
Capitol Police in riot gear face off against a group of pro-Trump protesters after removing them from the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.
At a recent roll call meeting for rank-and-file officers, the department’s new intelligence director was asked what preparations were being made in response to the conspiracy theories being shared online — and whether they could prompt pro-Trump supporters to once again descend on the Capitol. According to one source who described the meeting, the response was that nothing was being done yet, but the situation was being monitored — which the person said felt like status quo.
“What are we going to do different once the fence comes down?” said another officer. “We haven’t made any changes to prepare for it — zero — that’s what I’m worried about.”
A Capitol Police spokesperson declined to grant interviews with Capitol Police leadership for this article and did not answer specific questions submitted by CNN. Instead, the department pointed to a statement released Tuesday morning about the changes that have been made following January 6.
Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman attends a press briefing about the security incident at the U.S. Capitol on April 2, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Capitol Police said it has beefed up training for riots and other scenarios, provided additional protections for lawmakers outside of Washington and is in the process of setting up field offices in California and Florida. It also says it’s ramped up critical incident response planning, purchased new equipment for officers and improved communication with rank-and-file officers related to intelligence.
“Throughout the last six months, the United States Capitol Police has been working around the clock with our congressional stakeholders to support our officers, enhance security around the Capitol Complex, and pivot towards an intelligence-based protective agency,” wrote acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman.

Politics has held up funding

The same political debate that has tainted most discussions of the January 6 attack has also mired down additional funding for Capitol Police. House Democrats passed a $ 2 billion supplemental funding bill for Capitol security over the objections of Republicans — who raised issues with some of the line items, like a rapid response force coming from the National Guard.
In the Senate, the bill has languished, and lawmakers may slide it into the annual congressional spending process, where new spending decisions can often be kicked months into a fiscal year before a deal is reached.
Ohio Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, who chairs the House Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee that funds Capitol Police, released a fiscal 2022 spending bill that would give Capitol Police an $ 88 million funding boost compared to the current budget, though it’s $ 15 million below the administration’s budget request, which would allow for the hiring of new officers and civilian officials for Capitol Police.
But that funding could still be months from being approved.
“There’s so much we need to do comprehensively, and it takes time, but most of it starts in the bill,” Ryan said in an interview. “I’m not happy about where we are. We’ve got to be moving a lot quicker.”

Changes on the margins

Meanwhile, Capitol Police leaders have tried to implement operational and cultural changes. For example, one Capitol security official said there’s been an effort to better use intelligence to drive operations.
The department has also increased communication with law enforcement partners, according to a congressional source familiar with the USCP, and it is now working with private vendors to obtain open-source social media information to track threats, the source said.
Officers who spoke to CNN say they now receive daily email updates on their cell phones, for instance, including about demonstrations planned and intelligence. Some, however, have questioned how useful the updates have been.
“We’re inundated with updates now,” one officer said.
There have also been some extra training sessions, officers say, including how to hand-cuff people hit by a taser. One officer told CNN most of his training occurs online. Another officer described walk-throughs for Senate and House chamber evacuations.
Capitol Police said Tuesday that its Civil Disturbance Unit, which was on the frontlines on January 6, has increased training for riots and less-than-lethal exercises, conducted a joint exercise with the National Guard, and sent CDU officials to train in Seattle and Virginia Beach.
Terry Gainer, a former US Capitol Police chief and Senate sergeant at arms, said that while intelligence sharing with rank-and-file officers is a positive sign, there’s a lot more that needs to be done to help a police force still struggling with the physical and psychological trauma of January 6.
“When you’re still working long hours and there’s a lot of change going on and people are wondering ‘When are we going to get a new chief? Is there going to be some independent commission? Are some of the members going to stop pretending this didn’t happen?’ All of that weighs heavy,” said Gainer, who is also a CNN contributor.

Fixing the command structure

US Capitol police officers in protective riot gear walk by the fenced perimeter of the U.S. Capitol grounds in Washington, D.C., on Friday, January 29, 2021.
The Capitol Police Board has spent the past few months searching for a new chief. A selection could come as soon as this month, said the congressional source. Until then, the department will continue to be led by Pittman, who replaced Sund as acting chief after he resigned January 7.
Not long after Pittman took over, officers’ frustrations spilled into public view as members of the Capitol Police force issued an overwhelming vote of no confidence in their leadership in February.
Capitol Police union leader Gus Papathanasiou told CNN he was hopeful that a new police chief will “change things around,” but he echoed the frustrations of officers that not enough has been done.
“I think it’s just the same as it was on January 5, if not worse,” he said.
Katko, the Republican congressman, said he wants to see the structure of Capitol Police leadership changed altogether. The Capitol Police chief reports to a police board that includes Congressionally appointed House and Senate sergeants at arms and the Architect of the Capitol.
The police board’s response as the January 6 riot unfolded fell under particular scrutiny, as the Capitol Police chief could not unilaterally request assistance from the National Guard.
“If it’s a police force, you’ve got to have a command structure that’s commensurate with law enforcement and security,” Katko said. “I think it’s as bad as I’ve ever seen at any law enforcement agency anywhere. We’re asking them to do extraordinary things with zero guidance.”
Senate Rules Committee leaders Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, and Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, introduced legislation in June to expand the chief’s authority to request National Guard assistance in an emergency and to compel the Capitol Police Board to appear together in front of Congress — something that hasn’t happened since 1945.

Dealing with online threats

Capitol security officials say that even with additional threats toward lawmakers, the notion Capitol Police would be surprised again on the scale of January 6 remains remote. However, officers said they’d like to see more credence given to the threats that have swirled on far-right channels online.
One Capitol security official stressed that a rise in Internet threats — which can ebb and flow in a single afternoon based on a media interaction or a viral trigger — shouldn’t prompt Capitol Police to leap into overdrive.
The official said Capitol security leaders are watching August closely to see if anything builds into any kind of activity, though cutting through the noise remains a challenge.
“We have to be careful about assuming a tremendous rise of threats communicated via internet equates to a comparable rise in the threat,” the official said. “It’s hard for me to imagine being taken by surprise by another mob the size of the one January 6.”

Author: Whitney Wild, Jeremy Herb, Zachary Cohen, Jamie Gangel and Katie Bo Williams, CNN
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Egypt archaeologist rendered speechless by treasure: ‘Never seen anything like it’

The Ninth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty served during a period of unprecedented prosperity and splendour, where Egypt reached the peak of its international power. His enormous mortuary temple on the west bank of the Nile was the largest religious complex of its kind in its day, but less than 200 years later it stood in ruins. Much of its contents were used by later pharaohs for their own construction projects and so the Colossi of Memnon – two massive stone statues of the pharaoh that stood at the gateway – were the only elements of the complex that remained standing. 

But Egyptologist Professor Joann Fletcher detailed how experts have begun uncovering its secrets during Odyssey’s ‘The Valley Of Kings: The Egyptian Golden Age’.

She said: “We may not have a time machine, but 15 years of work has begun to reveal some of the temple’s former glories.

“Normally these would have been metres up in the air, but to actually engage [with it is amazing], it’s so very tactile, so very intimate to hold hands with the pharaoh.

“This colossus from the temple’s second gateway is flanked by one of the best-preserved statues of Amenhotep III’s principal consort, Queen Tiye, his Great Royal Wife.

“These massive statues were more than just a memorial, each worshipped to guarantee the immortality of the king’s soul.”

The archaeologist was then left speechless after the team pulled a piece of cloth that was hiding one of their most incredible finds. 

Regaining her composure, Prof Fletcher said: “It’s Amenhotep III’s head, three metres tall, carved from the finest white alabaster.

“I don’t know what to say. Over the years I’ve seen many of his portraits, but rarely one as stunning.

READ MORE: Archaeology breakthrough as ‘vast treasure hoard’ from Pompeii linked to Roman elite 

“Whoever controlled Egypt’s religion, controlled Egypt.

“He wore gold from top to toe and he handed it out to his courtiers as gifts, but he also used it as a diplomatic weapon. 

“His clever use of Egyptian gold is recorded on stone scarabs which served as the pharaoh’s news bulletins which he circulated around his empire.

“This tells the story of his new marriage to a Syrian princess and it recounts how, having sent gold to her father, he sent out one of his daughters for the pharaoh to marry.”

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Author: Callum Hoare
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Sonos teams-up with IKEA again, and this one is unlike anything you've seen before

Flatpack furniture maestros IKEA and smart audio brand Sonos might seem like an unlikely friendship, but the two companies have teamed up to create a number of successful products under the SYMFONISK moniker. After the launch of a bookshelf speaker and table lamp with a Sonos speaker built into the base back in 2019, the next addition is here – the SYMFONISK picture frame.

The frame is designed to bring Sonos’ smart speaker technology to parts of your home where you might not want a speaker taking up room. For example, you can have two SYMFONISK picture frames on the wall behind a sofa that pair with a Sonos Arc or Sonos Beam soundbar to bring surround sound to your home cinema set-up. There are a number of different artworks to choose from, with IKEA promising to refresh the picture frame with new pieces of art in the coming months and years.

During the launch event, IKEA said that it “expects customers to personalise the picture frame” but wouldn’t confirm whether there would be a way for customers to add a single photograph from their own collection to the speaker-cum-frame.

IKEA’s new picture frame is designed to be secured to the wall, freestanding on a shelf, or lean against a wall. It ships with small rubber feet to help it stand on its end, with a small cavity around the back to store these feet if you decide to attach it to the wall – helping you to keep your options open. Of course, you’ll need to plug in the SYMFONISK picture frame to power it up.

Ingeniously, if you decide to have two frames beside one another, you can power the second from the first – saving on the number of cables trailing down from the wall.

Like all previous SYMFONISK products, the picture frame can be added and managed within the Sonos app. If you already have Sonos speakers or a soundbar at home, the IKEA products will sit right alongside them. You can add group together Sonos-branded speakers, like the Sonos One, with SYMFONISK-branded ones, like the bookshelf speaker and picture frame.

The Sonos app has a dizzying number of music services available – more than 100 if you’re including radio stations. So, whether you’ve got a subscription with Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, YouTube Music, or anything else, you’ll be able to bring in your favourite albums, playlists and podcasts to beam wirelessly to all of the speakers around your home.

The SYMFONISK picture frame also includes support for Apple AirPlay 2, which lets you stream with a single tap from a number of apps, including Apple Music and Podcasts. Friends and family on the same Wi-Fi network can add and re-arrange the tracks to collaborate on a playlist in real-time. Since Sonos uses Wi-Fi to stream your music, it has more range than Bluetooth speakers and you won’t have to put up with any interruptions from incoming calls or notifications on the smartphone.

Product Developer at IKEA Stjepan Begic said: “The space-saving picture frame speaker can hang on its own as an eye-catching piece of art, be coordinated with other wall art, placed on a shelf, or even on the floor leaning against a wall. The interchangeable fronts make it easy to choose a style that suits your individual home. As part of the growing IKEA Home smart range, this new speaker contributes to our ambition to enable the many to enjoy a smarter everyday life.”

The Sonos + IKEA SYMFONISK picture frame will be available next month, starting from £179 in the UK. You’ll be able to order online from July 15, 2021. The picture frame speaker ships in both black and white, with extra interchangeable sets setting you back £17 apiece.

It’s clear that the SYMFONISK picture frame looks the part. If you’re unsure about having speakers littered on shelves throughout your home, but still want room-filling sound in every part of your house – the IKEA collaborations provide an interesting solution.

While the SYMFONISK lamp and bookshelf speakers were praising for their surprisingly complete sound when they launched back in 2019, we’ll have to wait to get our hands on the picture frame to let you know whether it sounds as good as the Sonos One SL, which costs around the same. So stay tuned.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Tech Feed

UFO sighting over London: Strange fleet seen in skies over capital city

One stunned onlooker witnessed a strange selection of lights above the skies of London. The video was recorded on May 26 and appears to show eight bright lights in the night’s sky. The orbs move around as they pulsate with a blue glow.
As you watch the video, you can hear the disbelief in the person’s voice who is recording the footage.

The video was uploaded to YouTube by Betina Ascari Brochetto, who said the strange lights were there for more than seven minutes.

She posted in a caption alongside the footage: “Mysterious lights flying during the night in London on this Wednesday 26/05/21.

“Is that a UFO? I recorded these mysterious lights flying for more than seven minutes in the sky.”

The video was picked up by conspiracy theorist YouTube channel UFO Institute.

While some who commented on the video were shocked and claimed it is proof of aliens, others offered a more logical explanation.

One person wrote: “Looks like a drone display to me!”

Another did not believe it was extraterrestrials, simply stating: “Nah”.

READ MORE: Donald Trump speaks out on Pentagon UFO report amid US

“The nearest of these habitable planets are less than 20 light years away, in our cosmic ‘back yard’.

“Extrapolating from these results leads to a projection of 300 million habitable worlds in our galaxy.

“Each of these Earth-like planets is a potential biological experiment, and there have been billions of years since they formed for life to develop and for intelligence and technology to emerge. Astronomers are very confident there is life beyond the Earth.

“As astronomer and ace exoplanet-hunter Geoff Marcy, puts it, ‘The universe is apparently bulging at the seams with the ingredients of biology’.”

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MISSING: 85-year-old man last seen Wednesday in east Houston

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Authorities need your help to find a missing 85-year-old man last seen earlier this week in east Houston.

Ismael Casilla was last seen Wednesday around 6 p.m. in the 4400 block of Dallas Street.

85-year-old man

Casilla is a Hispanic man, 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 150 pounds. He has white hair and brown eyes.

Casilla was last seen wearing a red shirt and brown shorts.

If you have any information about Larkins’ disappearance, call the Houston Police Department Missing Persons Unit at 832-394-1840.

Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Author: KTRK

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

Austin police still searching for 20-year-old suspect

Austin police still searching for 20-year-old suspect

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The mother of Christopher Ray Martinez, who died after being shot in southeast Austin on March 21, is urging the public to come forward with any information they may have — in hopes of catching the suspect believed to have fired the weapon.

The shooting happened in a parking lot located in the 2200 block of East Riverside Drive, just east of the H-E-B store on Interstate 35. When officers arrived, they found the 40-year-old Martinez with gunshot wounds. Despite attempts to save his life, he was pronounced dead at the scene around 5:45 p.m.

Police have identified the suspect as 20-year-old Christian Perez-Morales.

The motive for the murder is believed to have been a fight over a woman who both Martinez and Morales had a romantic interest in, according to witnesses.

A $ 1,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest in the case. Detectives are asking anyone with information or video to call APD Homicide at (512) 974-TIPS, email [email protected] or call the Crime Stoppers tip line at (512) 472-8477. You may remain anonymous.

Author: Russell Falcon
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin