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To ventilate a room and make it more comfortable, the louver shutters in many older homes were designed to open allowing air to circulate inside. The louvers were adjustable to protect the interior from too much sun and rain. Today, however, shutters are mostly made of vinyl and used more as decoration to frame windows and add texture and contrast against the...

North Korea has reported another large jump in illnesses believed to be COVID-19 and encouraged good health habits as an outbreak spreads through its unvaccinated population. State media also said the military had deployed medical officers to help distribute medicine. The country said Tuesday another 270,000 people were found with fevers and six people died. That raises North Korea's deaths to 56 after more than 1.48 million people became ill with fever since late April. North Korea's outbreak is almost certainly bigger than the tally since it has limited testing capacity. There are also suspicions its death toll is underreported because people fear punishment or are trying to soften the blow to the country's leadership.

Administrators at an elite Beijing university have backed down from plans to further tighten pandemic restrictions on students as part of China’s “zero-COVID” strategy after a weekend protest at the school. Graduate students at Peking University staged the rare, but peaceful protest Sunday over the school’s decision to erect a sheet-metal wall to keep them further sequestered on campus. A citywide lockdown in Shanghai and expanded restrictions in Beijing in recent weeks have raised questions about the economic and human costs of China’s strict virus controls. The ruling Communist Party has trumpeted its approach as a success compared to other major nations with much higher death tolls.

Japan’s government says it will begin allowing small package tours from four countries later this month before gradually opening up to foreign tourism for the first time since it imposed tight border restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. It says the tours will be allowed from Australia, Singapore, Thailand and the United States as an experiment. Participants must be triple-vaccinated and the tours must have guides and fixed itineraries. The Japan Tourism Agency says each tour can have a maximum of four people, and a total of 50 participants are expected to join the experiment. It says the results will be used to compile coronavirus guidelines for tour operators, hotels and other businesses.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made “self-reliance” his governing lynchpin during his decade in power and shunned international help for his people. But a massive outbreak of suspected COVID-19 has left Kim at a critical crossroads. Does he swallow his pride and accept help or does he go it alone even though a huge number of fatalities could undermine his leadership? The outbreak is likely several times worse than the North's official media says, since COVID-19 tests and medicine are in short supply. Some analysts say North Korea would not accept help from rival South Korea or the U.S. They say it would more likely accept quiet, unofficial shipments from its ally China.

TikTok creator @diydalia came up with a creative way to update your bathroom flooring without making your landlord angry. Using a vinyl tape underneath should cut down on any sticky residue from peel and stick tile.

TikTok creator @guitarandlace totally transformed her bathroom with peel and stick tiles from Amazon. Covering up the 2000s Tuscan tile with a bold graphic pattern made a huge difference.

TikTok creator @nestbyjess updated some dated bathroom floor tiles with a tile paint. It’s a longer process than peel and stick tiles, but it’s also a more permanent option.

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