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‘External forces’ caused HK unrest?

  • Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y. Leung says the protests "have gone out of control"
  • He says the protests have also been influenced by external forces beyond Hong Kong
  • Weekend clashes between protesters and police left more than 200 people injured
  • Talks between the Hong Kong government and student leaders will take place Tuesday

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Hong Kong's embattled chief executive has said the city's pro-democracy movement is "out of hand" and being influenced by "external forces" from outside the city.

In a television interview with a local station that aired Sunday, C.Y. Leung said the protests, which have lasted more than three weeks, have "gone out of control even for the people who started it, for people who planned it, for people (who) scripted it."

Without identifying any particular group or individuals, Leung said this was not "entirely a domestic movement" and that there was "obviously participation by people, organizations from outside of Hong Kong, in politics in Hong Kong, over a long time. This is not the only time when they do it, and this is not an exception either."

READ: End of trust in police?

Reacting to the suggestion of foreign interference, teen protest leader Joshua Wong tweeted:

"My personal connection with foreign countries would be: South Korean cellphone, U.S. computer, Japanese Gundam action figures. All of which were of course, made in China."

Violence erupts

Leung was speaking in the wake of further clashes over the weekend between protesters and police in the city's Mong Kok district after the authorities attempted to reopen roads in the area to traffic.

Protesters crossed police lines, authorities said, clashing with officers as the situation turned violent.

At least 240 people were injured, according to the Hong Kong Hospital Authority, which manages all public hospitals in the city. Eighteen police officers were injured, Hong Kong police said.

Violence erupted after police conducted a dawn raid Friday on a student protest camp in the commercial and residential area of Kowloon. Authorities then moved to clear a major intersection occupied by the pro-democracy movement, tearing down tents and dismantling barricades.

What can come out of Hong Kong talks?
Protesting students find time to study
'Police beating' stuns Hong Kong
Police tear down Hong Kong barricades

Around 500 to 600 police carrying wire cutters and riot shields stormed the site, a smaller offshoot of the main downtown protest area, catching the 100 to 200 protesters by surprise.

READ: Who's who in Hong Kong protests

Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok called protesters in Mong Kok "radical," saying they were not protesting peacefully but instead carrying out violent acts and violating public order.

Protest talks

The city's deputy leader, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, said Saturday that televised talks with pro-democracy protesters would take place on Tuesday, with Lingnan University President Leonard Cheng, a former adviser of Leung, as moderator.

READ: Who is C.Y. Leung?

This news received a lukewarm from Yvonne Leung, spokeswoman for the Hong Kong Federation of Students, who said the protest group didn't "have much opinion" about the details of the meeting.

Political commentator Frank Ching told CNN Monday that the talks are unlikely to produce results because the Hong Kong government is not in a position to meet the demands of the protesters.

"They can't agree to overthrow the August 31 decision [by China's National People's Congress]. I don't think that C.Y. Leung will resign. What is in their authority to do is to open up Civic Square, where the protesters used to be. The protesters want that to be opened up to the public."

Ching was referring to China's insistence that any candidate nominated for the election of the city's next chief executive in 2017 must come from a shortlist approved by a largely pro-Beijing committee. Leung has repeatedly said Beijing will not retract its decision.

Currently, the chief executive is elected by a specially-appointed 1,200-member election committee. Protesters are demanding the freedom to vote for a candidate of their choice and the immediate resignation of Leung.

Internet clampdown

Meanwhile, police said at least 33 people were arrested following the weekend clashes and now face various charges, including property damage, disorderly conduct, weapons possession and resisting arrest.

On Sunday, a 23-year-old protest leader was arrested for posting messages on an online forum encouraging people to join an unlawful assembly and charge at police, as authorities warned against using the Internet to incite "unlawful" Occupy protests.

The protests have been characterized by the use of social media and technology to organize and mobilize support for a campaign of "civil disobedience."

Armed with smartphones utilizing super-fast mobile networks, Hong Kong's young protesters have been able to deploy in large numbers at a moment's notice.

READ: App in the thick of Hong Kong protests

READ: Cell phones, umbrellas: Protesting Hong Kong-style

CNN's Elizabeth Joseph, Katie Hunt, Anjali Tsui, Pamela Boykoff and Esther Pang contributed to this report.

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Cruise Ship Passengers Take Ebola Quarantine in Stride

Passengers on a cruise ship carrying a Dallas health care worker who handled specimens of an Ebola-infected patient expressed mixed feelings today after arriving at the Port of Galveston in Texas.

The Carnival Magic reached the port about 5 a.m. The health care worker and her travel partner were allowed to disembark with restrictions, according to the Galveston County Health Department.

The health care worker had been self-quarantined on the ship and hasn't shown signs of the virus for 19 days, officials said.

One passenger on the ship, Chris Perry, said the experience reminded him of the AIDS scare in the late 1980s, "Where people were just fearful of anybody around it."

"Outside of that, you know, once everybody kind of started understanding, it wasn't that big of a deal," Perry said.

Another passenger, John Cascio, said he was not too concerned.

"I really wasn't worried about it," Cascio said. "I knew they would take care of what's supposed to be taken care of."

But one passenger who chose to speak anonymously had some concerns.

"I was worried because if she did have Ebola, you'd be quarantined on the boat," the passenger said.

On Saturday, a Coast Guard helicopter met the ship to collect a blood sample from the unidentified health care worker.

She had departed from Galveston on Oct. 12 and was out of the country before being notified of active monitoring required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the State Department.

A spokesperson for Carnival Cruise Lines told ABC News the blood test came back negative. According to the CDC, a test is only positive after symptoms develop, usually fever. It may take up to three days after symptoms appear for the virus to reach detectable levels.

"Given that this person was at apparently no risk of having an Ebola infection, I find the whole episode baffling," ABC News chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser said.

The worker did not have direct contact with patient Thomas Eric Duncan, but may have had contact with his clinical specimens, officials said. Duncan died Oct. 8 after becoming the first person on United States soil to be diagnosed with the virus.

The ship was refused clearance to dock in Cozumel, Mexico, on Friday. Belize also wouldn't allow the woman to leave the ship the day before.

All public areas ship will be sanitized before the ship departs again today, CDC officials said.

PHOTO: Amber Joy Vinson, left, is seen in this 2003 Firestone High School Yearbook Photo while Nina Pham, right, is seen in this undated handout photo. Both women are Texas nurses that have tested positive for Ebola.

Akron Public Schools | Courtesy Pham Family

PHOTO: Amber Joy Vinson, left, is seen in this 2003 Firestone High School Yearbook Photo while Nina Pham, right, is seen in this undated handout photo. Both women are Texas nurses that have tested positive for Ebola.

Since Duncan's diagnosis, two nurses involved in his treatment at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, have tested positive for Ebola. Pham, 26, was flown to the National Institute of Health's Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland and Vinson, 29, was taken to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Barclay Berdan, the CEO of Texas Health Resources, apologized to the Dallas community for the hospital's handling of Duncan in a letter that appeared in the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram today.

"I know that as an institution, we made mistakes in handling this very difficult challenge," he wrote. "When we initially treated Mr. Duncan, we examined him thoroughly and performed numerous tests, but the fact that Mr. Duncan had traveled to Africa was not communicated effectively among the care team, though it was in his medical chart. On that visit to the Emergency Department, we did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola. For this, we are deeply sorry."

Duncan went to the emergency room on Sept. 26. He was initially sent home with antibiotics, but returned two days later in an ambulance when his symptoms worsened. The hospital then put him in isolation.

"Although we had begun our Ebola preparedness activities, our training and education programs had not been fully deployed before the virus struck," wrote Berdan. "In short, despite our best intentions and skilled medical teams, we did not live up to the high standards that are the heart of our hospital's history, mission and commitment."

PHOTO: The entrance of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Oct. 8, 2014.

LM Otero/AP Photo

PHOTO: The entrance of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Oct. 8, 2014.

Get real-time updates as this story unfolds. To start, just "star" this story in ABC News' phone app. Download ABC News for iPhone here or ABC News for Android here. To be notified about our live weekend digital reports, tap here.

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HTC RE is a fresh, fun-looking new camcorder

Brendan Nystedt, Reviewed.com 9 a.m. EDT October 19, 2014

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HTC is a company known for its smartphones, but within that sphere it is also known for taking risks on new photography technology. The unique HTC One M7 and One M8 offered features that aid in low-light shooting, and the M8 also beefed up its background blurring capabilities. Its latest HTC Desire Eye has matching front-and-rear facing 13-megapixel autofocus cameras to help it pump out high-res selfies.

Unexpectedly, HTC is putting all that camera knowledge to good use, pivoting to create a fun new kind of video and still camera. In a market created by Flip (remember them?) and now dominated by GoPro, it was only a matter of time until other players created their own take on the go-anywhere do-anything life camera. For that, the HTC RE (MSRP $199.99) looks to provide an easy set-and-forget video and stills shooting experience that HTC hopes normal folks will invite into their daily routines.

The RE camera immediately strikes you as something unlike other user-friendly cameras on the market today. Its soft, single-bend shape might remind you of a submarine periscope, but its minimalist design speaks to how streamlined the shooting experience is.

The bottom of the RE is closed off from the elements, rendering the RE impervious to water, even without a case. The internal battery should be good for around an hour and a half of continuous video, or 1,200 snapshots, before needing to charge up.

The RE is noteworthy not only for what it includes, but for what it leaves out. For starters, there's no power switch. Using sensors, the RE can detect when it's being held, and makes itself ready for action whenever you get the urge to capture a moment.

The camera also goes without separate record buttons for video and still images. Instead, the giant silver button on the RE acts as its single most important control. A long press starts video rolling, and a short single push is for stills. It's that easy.

Built around a 1/2.3-inch, 16-megapixel sensor, the RE features a 146-degree wide-angle lens. The idea is that when you're using the RE on its own the spray-and-pray method should capture most of what's in your field of view. If you want to see exactly what you're shooting, there is a RE app on Android and iOS that will send a live viewfinder feed to your smartphone. Video is captured at 1080/30p and the RE includes software stabilization to smooth out bumps and jostles from footage.

Speaking of the RE app, HTC has big plans for additional functionalities including backing up photos and videos, time lapse shooting, wide-angle/standard angle cropping, and even support for live YouTube streaming.

Of course, a go-anywhere camera is only as good as its accessories, right? Not only is the RE compatible with anything using a standard tripod mount, HTC showed off a few unique device mounts including one for a bicycle, a universal suction cup mount, a head mount, and a rotating clip for a breast pocket or seat belt. Additionally, HTC is offering up a longer extended battery pack that quadruples the camera's runtime.

As a constant companion, the HTC RE offers what few compact video and still cameras can—simple usability, and enough features to make it compelling. The only product we've seen that competes on fun and ease of use is Polaroid's Cube, which, if we're quite honest, is a far less sophisticated product.

As a stills and video capturing machine, the RE is unrivaled except by smartphones. GoPro probably won't lose much marketshare to HTC in this race, but at least the RE offers something fresh in the world of small cameras.

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Cruise Ship Carrying Health Worker Monitored for Ebola Returns

A cruise ship carrying a Dallas health care worker who handled specimens of an Ebola-infected patient and is being monitored for symptoms of the virus arrived at the Port of Galveston in Texas today.

The Carnival Magic reached the port about 5 a.m. The health care worker and her travel partner were allowed to disembark with restrictions, according to the Galveston County Health Department.

The health care worker had been self-quarantined on the ship and hasn't shown signs of the virus for 19 days, officials said.

On Saturday, a Coast Guard helicopter met the ship to collect a blood sample from the unidentified health care worker. She had departed from Galveston on Oct. 12 and was out of the country before being notified of active monitoring required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the State Department.

A spokesperson for Carnival Cruise Lines told ABC News the blood test came back negative. According to the CDC, a test is only positive after symptoms develop, usually fever. It may take up to three days after symptoms appear for the virus to reach detectable levels.

"Given that this person was at apparently no risk of having an Ebola infection, I find the whole episode baffling," said ABC News chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser.

The worker did not have direct contact with patient Thomas Eric Duncan, but may have had contact with his clinical specimens, officials said. Duncan died Oct. 8 after becoming the first person on United States soil to be diagnosed with the virus.

The ship was refused clearance to dock in Cozumel, Mexico, on Friday. Belize also wouldn't allow the woman to leave the ship the day before.

All public areas ship will be sanitized before the ship departs again today, CDC officials said.

PHOTO: Amber Joy Vinson, left, is seen in this 2003 Firestone High School Yearbook Photo while Nina Pham, right, is seen in this undated handout photo. Both women are Texas nurses that have tested positive for Ebola.

Akron Public Schools | Courtesy Pham Family

PHOTO: Amber Joy Vinson, left, is seen in this 2003 Firestone High School Yearbook Photo while Nina Pham, right, is seen in this undated handout photo. Both women are Texas nurses that have tested positive for Ebola.

Since Duncan's diagnosis, two nurses involved in his treatment at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, have tested positive for Ebola. Pham, 26, was flown to the National Institute of Health's Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland and Vinson, 29, was taken to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Barclay Berdan, the CEO of Texas Health Resources, apologized to the Dallas community for the hospital's handling of Duncan in a letter that appeared in the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram today.

"I know that as an institution, we made mistakes in handling this very difficult challenge," he wrote. "When we initially treated Mr. Duncan, we examined him thoroughly and performed numerous tests, but the fact that Mr. Duncan had traveled to Africa was not communicated effectively among the care team, though it was in his medical chart. On that visit to the Emergency Department, we did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola. For this, we are deeply sorry."

Duncan went to the emergency room on Sept. 26. He was initially sent home with antibiotics, but returned two days later in an ambulance when his symptoms worsened. The hospital then put him in isolation.

"Although we had begun our Ebola preparedness activities, our training and education programs had not been fully deployed before the virus struck," wrote Berdan. "In short, despite our best intentions and skilled medical teams, we did not live up to the high standards that are the heart of our hospital’s history, mission and commitment."

PHOTO: The entrance of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Oct. 8, 2014.

LM Otero/AP Photo

PHOTO: The entrance of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Oct. 8, 2014.

Get real-time updates as this story unfolds. To start, just "star" this story in ABC News' phone app. Download ABC News for iPhone here or ABC News for Android here. To be notified about our live weekend digital reports, tap here.

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Cutting the Cord: Fissures in the pay TV ‘logjam’

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Cord cutters should be feeling upbeat and vindicated. But don't start running those victory laps just yet.

Over the past week, video powerhouses HBO and CBS made moves to attract cord cutters, cord nevers who don't plan to sign up for pay TV and others who might be thinking of dropping or scaling back theirs.

CBS' new All Access service came as the biggest surprise because it is up and running now — on the Web at CBS.com and on Android and Apple devices — with a robust catalog of new and recent episodes of current series such as the Late Show with David Letterman and The Good Wife and a library of more than 5,000 ad-free episodes including all of the Star Trek series, The Andy Griffith Show and more recent shows such as Survivor.

You don't need a pay TV subscription to use the service — currently offering a one-week free trial — but you will pay a $5.99 monthly fee.

HBO offered few details on its service except that it will arrive early next year and requires a monthly fee, too.

You can bet these won't be the last developments in over-the-top TV. "We have broken the logjam," said Joel Espelien of tech research and consulting firm The Diffusion Group. "We are going to see the pace of change accelerate from here on out. ... We know there is a herd mentality in this industry, so when you get companies like (HBO parent) Time Warner and CBS moving toward this, you can expect movement from the rest of the pack."

Consumers have already spoken, as more than half (55%) of U.S. broadband households currently subscribe to a streaming TV service, according to Parks Associates. At the same time, the percentage of TV homes with pay-TV service is slowly dropping — projected by tech research firm IHS as 84% this year and 81% in 2017.

As these two deals emerged in less than 24 hours, I began to wonder whether cord cutters might want to be careful what they wish for. If there's a deluge of services, they might find themselves paying nearly as much as pay TV subscribers do now.

"If you have got to start trying to piecemeal your programming package, here's an HBO, here's a CBS, here's a Netflix or Hulu or Amazon and all the rest, that gets to be expensive in itself," said Phil Swann, publisher of TVPredictions.com, when I broached that idea with him.

"Is the point of it all to save money?" he said. "If that's the case, if you are putting together a programming package of channels that are really important to you, you might end up paying pretty much what you have been paying before."

A menu on the CBS All Access service showing 'Star Trek' TV series.(Photo: CBS Interactive)

It remains to be seen whether consumers will flock to these services, as each have weaknesses. CBS All Access, for instance, does not let you watch NFL games as part of its live-streaming features. (For now, the service lets you watch live local CBS broadcasts in 14 of the largest U.S. markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas and San Francisco. That footprint covers about 35% of U.S. viewers, says CBS, which plans to add more in the near future.)

And HBO's pricing, expected to be more than that of Netflix could be a detractor. These recent developments do not break down the pay TV wall, Swann says, "it's just putting cracks in it. The question is: 'Will more companies come along and put more cracks in it and the wall eventually will come down.' "

Last week, Espelien's colleague at The Diffusion Group, Michael Greeson, published a note about the prospects for an over-the-top HBO subscription service aimed at "pay TV refugees."

He found that only 6.4% of "pay TV refugees" were legitimate candidates for a $15 monthly HBO service, with another 9.2% slightly interested. "The No. 1 reason these consumers do without pay TV is price," Greeson says. "If HBO doesn't come in at a significantly lower price, and without watering down the service, their addressable market will be much less than they perceive."

As Net TV evolves, it looks like consumers and content providers alike are going to have to make some tough decisions.

"Cutting the Cord" is a new regular column covering Net TV and ways to get it. If you have suggestions or questions, contact Mike Snider via e-mail. And follow him on Twitter: @MikeSnider.

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New Cop Killing Suspect Sighting Has ‘High Credibility’

A new possible sighting of suspected cop-killer Eric Frein has Pennsylvania police re-focusing their search, more than a month after the manhunt began.

Frein, 31, is accused of ambushing state police in early September, killing one and wounding another. Since then, police say he has been hiding in the woods of the Pocono Mountains.

"Overnight we had a sighting for which we are assigning a high level of credibility," Lt. Col. George Bivens of the Pennsylvania State Police said today. "It was reported in the area of the Pocono Mountain East High School. The individual's description was consistent with Frein and he was observed carrying a rifle."

The woman who saw the man said that his face was "covered with mud," so a positive identification could not be made, but she was about 15 to 20 feet from him.

After learning of the new possible sighting, police shifted the search area, he said.

"I think we've kept a tremendous amount of pressure on him and I think that likely had some bearing on where he's at now, assuming that it is him," Bivens said.

Frein attended Pocono East High School and worked at Camp Minsi, which is also in the vicinity, Bevins said.

Investigators are also analyzing blood found on the back porch of a home near Cresco. They are not sure if the blood is related to the investigation and expect the test results to come back late this evening.

State police say the weather is working in their favor, because as leaves continue to fall, there is a better aerial view from choppers and planes.

Police have been searching the woods, focusing on the border of Pike and Monroe counties, since after the shooting at the Blooming Grove police barracks on Sept. 12.

Frein, from nearby Canadensis, has been spotted several times, but always evaded police capture because of the thick terrain. He's a self-trained survivalist and war reenactor who focused on Eastern European militaries and weapons.

Police found Frein's Jeep in a swamp shortly after the shooting. They have also found two pipe bombs, an AK-47, food, ammunition, clothing and other supplies in the search.

Get real-time updates as this story unfolds. To start, just "star" this story in ABC News' phone app. Download ABC News for iPhone here or ABC News for Android here. To be notified about our live weekend digital reports, tap here.

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Automakers revving up for CarPlay

Marc Saltzman, Special for USA TODAY 1:48 a.m. EDT October 18, 2014

Contributor Marc Saltzman takes a look at Apple's CarPlay system and some other new tech comiing to autos.

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While it might seem like Apple's much-hyped in-vehicle platform has stalled — with only a Ferrari FF offering CarPlay out of the 30-odd carmakers signed on so far — you won't have to wait too much longer to test drive the infotainment technology.

Along with a couple of aftermarket receiver solutions now offered by Pioneer, the Siri-powered CarPlay will be integrated in a number of U.S., European and Asian vehicles beginning in early-to-mid 2015.

Even though a recent University of Utah study found Siri and other speech-to-text technologies could still be a "cognitive distraction" while behind the wheel — especially if they're unintuitive or inaccurate — many automakers will be adopting CarPlay as a safer and convenient way to be informed, in touch and entertained while on the go.

Here's a short primer on what to expect in the coming months and years.

What is it?

Formerly "iOS in the Car," Apple's CarPlay was designed to be a better way to access your iPhone in your vehicle.

By plugging in a compatible device (iPhone 5 or newer), you can perform a number of functions using your voice. If the vehicle offers a touch-screen, drivers and passengers can also tap familiar app icons on the dashboard display.

Or, at the very least, CarPlay can be accessed via the vehicle's knobs or dials to navigate between functions.

A maps interface in CarPlay.(Photo: Hyundai Motor America)

What can it do?

As the late Jim Morrison from The Doors once sang, it's important to "keep your eyes on the road, [and] your hands upon the wheel." While doing that, CarPlay lets you do a number of things, simply by asking Siri, your phone's integrated personal assistant.

Key features include making calls, listening to voice mail, sending and receiving messages (spoken aloud by Siri), getting directions on a map and accessing your music, to name just a few.

Along with listening to your own locally stored music, CarPlay also supports additional audio apps — including Spotify, iHeartRadio, Beats Music, Stitcher, MLB and CBS Radio — along with podcasts and audiobooks.

What do you need?

To use CarPlay, you'll need two things: a compatible iPhone and a CarPlay-enabled vehicle or aftermarket receiver, such as one from Pioneer (and soon, Alpine). Pioneer's CarPlay-supported models start at about $600.

On a related note, Siri is now truly hands-free with the iOS 8 update. That is, you no longer have to first press the circular Home button or a button on your car's wheel to activate your personal assistant. Simply say "Hey, Siri" before asking for information or giving commands. You'll need to enable this feature in the Settings>General>Siri.

Android phone users, however, will have to wait for Google's Android Auto later this year, a comparable technology that leverages the Android smartphone experience.

Why CarPlay?

With more than 40% market share in the U.S. alone (ComScore), iPhone is the No. 1 most popular smartphone in the country (followed by Samsung at roughly 28%). With this kind of penetration in the smartphone space, CarPlay would likely appeal to a large number of customers looking to extend the familiar experience to their vehicles.

Automakers are also optimistic about CarPlay.

Miles Johnson, manager of connected care publicity at Hyundai Motor America, says CarPlay solves three problems that are currently "plaguing the car industry."

"The first is Bluetooth pairing, because your car isn't updated as fast as the technology in smartphones," explains Johnson. "Therefore, your car can't always support new devices out there. CarPlay and Android Auto solves this because it's plug-and-play with a USB cable."

"Voice recognition is a second advantage, as Siri and Google are much more robust and accurate than what automakers have attempted to do on their own," says Johnson, who also cites big costs in developing a hands-free infotainment solution on your own or with a partner (e.g., Ford and Microsoft, on SYNC).

Finally, Johnson says CarPlay's familiar apps and touch-screen controls are "key" to its success. "Let's face it, Apple nails the interface." "A person touches their phone 150 times a day, so when a car can offer the same layout — it's more comfortable, intuitive and cuts down on driver distraction."

Hyundai will be among the first automakers to offer both Apple CarPlay and Google's Android Auto inside its vehicles, beginning next year.

Readers, are you excited about CarPlay or is your current infotainment system good enough? Tell us in the Comments section.

Follow Marc on Twitter: @marc_saltzman. E-mail him at techcomments@usatoday.com.

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Through the Google lens: search trends October 10-16

Diet secrets from Zach Galifianakis, and cord cutting from a cable company?! Here's a look at another topsy-turvy week in search.

A cast of characters
Search will always have its fair share of characters and this week was no different. First up, moviegoers learned who’s next in line for Hollywood’s superhero treatment when Ezra Miller, star of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, landed the title role in the 2018 film The Flash. And whispers are swirling in Tinseltown that Gal Gadot's already impressive resume—she’s set to play the world’s most famous Amazonian, Wonder Woman—will soon get another stellar addition, the lead female role in a remake of Ben-Hur.

But they weren’t the only celebrities to get the Internet buzzing. Comedian and fan favorite Zach Galifianakis caused a stir on the trends charts after he revealed a much thinner version of himself on the red carpet of the New York Film Festival. When a reporter asked Galifianakis if he had made any lifestyle changes to lose the weight, he responded with a straight face, “No, I'm just... I'm dying.” Clearly Galifianakis isn’t sharing his weight loss secrets.

Out with the old, in with the new
HBO has seen the light! This week the premium television network announced that they will launch a new stand-alone service for fans of its TV shows. Soon, homes without a cable subscription can sign up for HBO Go and get their fill of Game of Thrones and other HBO shows with just an Internet connection—leading people to wonder if this is the beginning of the end for cable providers.

Consumers also had a lot of new mobile devices to choose from this week, starting with our own line of Nexus gadgets like the Nexus 6 running the latest version of Android, 5.0 Lollipop. Meanwhile, Apple announced an updated version of the iPad.
The show’s just getting started
Is it awards show season already? It’s not—but that’s not stopping searchers from looking ahead. The Internet rejoiced when How I Met Your Mother and Gone Girl star Neil Patrick Harris said “Hosting the 2015 Academy Awards? Challenge accepted!” But with the Oscars red carpet still months away, searchers had their sights set on another celebrity bash: Paul Rudd's keg party… at his mom’s house… in the suburbs of Kansas City. What else are you supposed to do when mom’s out of town and the KC Royals just punched a ticket to the World Series after a nearly 30-year hiatus?

Tip of the week
‘Tis the season for pumpkin spice beers? Next time you’re in a new town and looking to grab a cold one just say “Ok Google, show me pubs near my hotel” and find your new favorite haunt.


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More women play video games than boys, and other surprising facts lost in the mess of Gamergate

October 17 at 1:47 PM

The confusing, nasty muck of the Gamergate scandal, in which anonymous attackers have harassed and sent death threats to women linked to the video-game industry, has morphed into a bitter culture war over the world's $100 billion gaming empire.

But the fight has also highlighted the minefield facing an industry still learning how best to attract -- and protect -- a new generation of American gamer. The danger, analysts said: The fight could scare away the growing market of women the gaming industry wants.

The stereotype of a "gamer" -- mostly young, mostly nerdy and most definitely male -- has never been further from the truth. In the United States, twice as many adult women play video games as do boys, according to the Entertainment Software Association, the industry's top trade group. Male gamers between ages 10 and 25 represent a sliver of the market, only 15 percent, according to Newzoo, a games research firm.

Yet America's 190 million gamers, 48 percent of whom are women, still play in a harsh frontier. About 70 percent of female gamers said they played as male characters online in hopes of sidestepping sexual harassment, according to a study cited by "Hate Crimes in Cyberspace" author and law professor Danielle Keats Citron.

"It's just like playing outside when you're a teenager. It's still a jungle out there," said Peter Warman, the chief executive of Newzoo. Of the women who played as men, he said, "they wanted to be treated equal on the virtual battlefield."

Casual games on cellphones and social media have helped broaden gaming's appeal, with the number of female gamers over the age of 50 increasing 32 percent between 2012 and 2013, the Entertainment Software Association said.

But the average female gamer has played for 13 years, and many are increasingly dedicated. The number of girls and women playing those consoles more than five days a week has grown tenfold since 2011, to 13 million this year, Newzoo said.

"This is the underlying issue: The definition of a gamer is becoming much broader, and it's happening in front of our eyes," said P.J. McNealy, a games analyst and founder of Digital World Research. "It's opened up opportunities for everyone to have contact with gaming, even though they're not the stereotypical 17-year-old, acne-faced gamer playing 'Call of Duty.'"

Women have helped make gaming one of the country's fastest-growing entertainment moneymakers. Americans now spend more on video games than at the movie theater. The best-selling game so far, "Grand Theft Auto V," sold faster than any entertainment good in history, notching $1 billion in sales -- more than all but a handful of blockbuster films -- in just three days.

Gamergate began with a personal diatribe against a female game developer accused of a sleeping with a gaming journalist, expanded into a crusade for independence in gaming coverage and devolved into a campaign of targeted misogyny against women from some of the vilest corners of the Web.

Much of the harassment has been aimed at media critic Anita Sarkeesian, best known for her video series "Tropes vs. Women in Video Games," in which she critiqued the flood of popular games where female characters serve only as background decoration, damsels in distress or, at worst, "exist to be assaulted, to give the players something to do.” She canceled a talk this week at Utah State University after someone threatened to commit “the deadliest school shooting in American history" if she made the appearance there.

Gaming unions and trade groups have recently spoken out against harassment, but one of the tech world's biggest names has already been roped into the fight. Gamergate supporters upset with Gamasutra, a gaming site that criticized the "angry young men" of modern gaming culture, convinced Intel to pull its ads from the site. But this momth the $155 billion tech giant released a statement apologizing that "our action inadvertently created a perception that we are somehow taking sides in an increasingly bitter debate."

Male players still dominate some of gaming's biggest franchises, including "League of Legends," "Grand Theft Auto" and "World of Warcraft," but women comprise a growing share of those markets. And analysts said the distinction between casual games with larger female audiences and "hardcore" franchises, like shooters and massive online role-playing games, has become less important for game companies, who have found ways to profit off both.

“The girl who plays 'Minecraft,' expressed in hours per day or dollars per month, they're just as 'hardcore' as the next guy over who plays 'Counter-Strike,'" said Joost van Dreunen, the chief executive of SuperData Research, a games-market intelligence firm.

As games have expanded from consoles and computers to cellphones and social media, developers and publishers have found whole new niches for attracting a paying audience. "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood," a "red-carpet adventure" with a predominantly female audience, has made $51 million since launching in June and has become one of the highest-grossing apps on iPhone and Android phones.

But the games more women are playing are still mostly built by men. Only 21 percent of game developers are women, International Game Developers Association research shows, an extension of a bitter gender divide, in which nine in 10 employees in U.S. technology work are men.

The women who do land work in gaming often find it hard to stay. About 56 percent of women who start in the tech field leave by midcareer, twice the rate of men, largely over a culture of sexism in the workplace, Harvard Business School research found. The game developers' association's executive director, Kate Edwards, said some female developers have told her they're thinking of not just leaving the industry but discouraging their daughters from following in their work.

Still, the changing role for women in gaming has touched not just the players but the characters themselves. In last year's reboot of "Tomb Raider," the wildly popular '90s action-explorer, player character Lara Croft transformed from a buxom adventuress in short shorts to a crafty, fearsome survivor in better-suited outerwear.

But even outside of the discouraging motifs surrounding women that Sarkeesian mentioned, there are still blips of frustration over who is included in play. When the team behind the historical-adventure franchise "Assassins Creed: Unity" said that its robust character creator wouldn't let players make a female character because of the extra development work involved, some gamers responded with outrage.

Analysts say Gamergate will likely prove a small distraction to the fast-growing place of women in gaming -- not only because developers are realizing the potential of selling to a broader audience, but because more girls and women are finding it easier to embrace the freedom of digital play.

"You play a game and ... you get this little, private space where you get to be the master of your own universe, the star of your own movie, whatever that means to you," said van Dreunen, of SuperData. "That appeals equally to both boys and girls. They all just want to play."

Drew Harwell is a business general assignment reporter at The Washington Post.

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President Obama Names ‘Ebola Czar’

Amid mounting pressure to name someone to spearhead the administration's response to the Ebola crisis, President Obama announced today that he plans to appoint Ron Klain, Vice President Joe Biden's former chief-of staff, as his Ebola czar, ABC News has confirmed.

Klain, who also served as Chief of Staff for Vice President Al Gore, now works as general counsel at Revolution LLC.

The White House had previously already assigned Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco, a lawyer with a background in federal law enforcement, criminal prosecution and crisis response, to work with the CDC and other government agencies responsible for addressing an outbreak on American soil.

Klain will report directly to Monaco and National Security Advisor Susan Rice, according to a White House official.

But by Thursday evening, Obama signaled his openness to naming a czar.

"The truth is, is that up until this point the individuals here have been running point and doing an outstanding job in dealing with what is a very complicated and fluid situation," Obama said. However, "it may make sense for us to have one person, in part just so that after this initial surge of activity we can have a more regular process just to make sure that we’re crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s going forward," he added.

Get real-time updates as this story unfolds. To start, just "star" this story in ABC News' phone app. Download ABC News for iPhone here or ABC News for Android here. To be notified about our live weekend digital reports, tap here.

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