Wuhan lab denies any link to first coronavirus outbreak

first_imgUS President Donald Trump again fanned speculation about the origins of the virus at a Saturday news conference, in which he said China should face consequences if it was “knowingly responsible” for the outbreak. The US president has at times referred to the disease as a “Chinese virus,” a term he said he embraced after a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman tweeted an unsubstantiated theory about US Army athletes introducing the pathogen to Wuhan.“What we know is that the ground zero for this virus was within a few miles of that lab,” Peter Navarro, a Trump trade adviser, said Sunday on Fox News. “If you simply do an Occam’s razor approach that the simplest explanation is probably the most likely, I think it’s incumbent on China to prove that it wasn’t that lab.”The US-China blame game has helped fuel scrutiny of the Wuhan lab, which was studying bat-borne coronaviruses like the one that causes Covid-19. US diplomats sent back warnings about safety procedures in the lab after visits two years ago, the Washington Post reported in an April 14 commentary, citing diplomatic cables.“They don’t have any evidence on this, what they rely on is only their guess,” Yuan told CGTN on Saturday. “I hope such a conspiracy theory will not affect cooperation among scientists around the world.” Earlier accidentsThe P4 lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology began operations in January 2018 and was the first of its kind built in mainland China.It was designed with help from France as part of a joint research initiative focused on infectious diseases and equipped for the highest level of bio-containment, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. The first project undertaken at the lab was to research Xinjiang hemorrhagic fever, a tick-borne virus with a fatality rate of as much as 50% in humans, the report said.The facility has been the center of multiple conspiracy theories, including one that’s circulated on Chinese social media since late January that the new coronavirus escaped from the lab. Multiple posts have cited previous blunders by Chinese scientists as evidence that similar research projects haven’t been executed properly.Among them was a 2017 report by the Wuhan Evening News that said Tian Junhua, a researcher at the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, had to quarantine himself for 14 days after accidentally coming into direct contact with bat urine during a 2012 research trip.Social-media users also cited a 2004 accident at a national lab in Beijing during experiments with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-related coronavirus that led to infections — and one death. Five top officials at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention were punished at the time, according to China Daily.Some countries including Australia have urged an independent review of how the pandemic came to infect more than 2.4 million people and kill more than 166,000. “The issues around the coronavirus are issues for independent review and I think that is important that we do that, in fact Australia will absolutely insist,” Foreign Minister Marise Payne told ABC Australia’s “Insiders” program Sunday.While many Republicans have emphasized the Chinese origins of a virus that has killed more than 40,000 Americans, Cotton has been among the most vocal urging an investigation into the lab’s role. On Friday, he told Fox News that “circumstantial evidence” was “stacking up pretty quickly that this virus may have originated in those labs in Wuhan.”Although the first known cluster centered on a wet market in Wuhan, the ultimate origins of the virus remain a mystery and Chinese officials have raised the possibility that the virus didn’t begin in the country at all. Meanwhile, General Mark Milley, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, has endorsed studies that have shown the virus evolved naturally, as opposed to being genetically engineered.Shi Zhengli — a researcher at the institute known as “Bat Woman” for her expeditions in bat caves — said in a February social media post that she would “swear on my life” that the virus had nothing to do with the lab.On Feb. 19, the Wuhan Institute of Virology issued a letter to staff, saying it received its first sample of the virus from Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital on Dec. 30, a day before Chinese authorities first disclosed the outbreak to the world. Researchers finished gene-sequencing in 72 hours and submitted its findings to the national virus database by Jan. 9, the institute said, adding “we have a clear conscience looking back on what we’ve gone through.” A top Wuhan laboratory official has denied any role in spreading the new coronavirus, in the most high profile response from a facility at the center of months of speculation about how the previously unknown animal disease made the leap to humans.Yuan Zhiming, director of the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, hit back at those promoting theories that the virus had escaped from the facility and caused the outbreak in the central Chinese city. “There is absolutely no way that the virus originated from our institute,” Yuan said in an interview Saturday with the state-run China Global Television Network.Yuan rejected theories that the yet-to-be identified “Patient Zero” for Covid-19 had contact with the institute, saying none of its employees, retirees or student researchers were known to be infected. He said US Senator Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, and Washington Post journalists were among those “deliberately leading people” to mistrust the facility and its “P4” top-level-security pathogen lab.center_img Topics :last_img read more

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July 4th

first_imgHappy July 4th to all readers of Huddle Up.  Even though the calendar doesn’t say it, I still call the 4th of July as the middle of the summer.  Enjoy your picnic and fireworks today.  This is a traditional day for family softball games.  Hope you can participate in one.last_img

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Despite Band Festival being cancelled, “Band Festival Spirit Week” will take place

first_img== On Friday afternoon at noon, the winners of NIACC’s Extreme Makeover will be announced live on Facebook == Tomorrow between 2:00 and 4:00 PM, you can drive past the Commerce Center on the east side of Central Park and be part of the “Reverse Band Festival Parade”. Organizers who will be wearing gloves and face masks will throw pre-packaged candy to you in your car as you go by (see the map at the bottom of this page) == On Saturday at 10:00 AM, a special feature will be made on the Band Festival Facebook page in honor of the annual celebration.  == Tonight at 7:00 PM on the Band Festival Facebook page, there will be a live performance by “Brad+Kate”, who were originally scheduled to perform at this year’s festival  MASON CITY — The North Iowa Band Festival in Mason City would have been starting tomorrow, but organizers cancelled the event due to the pandemic. It’s the first time since World War II that the event has not been held. Band Festival organizer Kativa Weitzel says it was a heart-breaking decision that had to be made.   “We just knew it was what’s best for our community and our social responsibility. It’s a tradition that won’t die, and in years to come, we will still have a festival. It was really sad to do.” Weitzel says many people have reached out to Band Festival organizers to express their support of the decision to cancel this year’s event.   “It’s very bittersweet this year going into Band Festival week with no parade, and 76 Trombones on Saturday, and the history behind it. We’ve had so many people reach out to us and saying how much this tradition means to their family, and how next year it’s going to be so sweet having a festival that got postponed. It’s something that will go down in history. It really impacts our community members and the students. I remember going to the parade as a kid and seeing my friends march, and all those things, and all of our grandparents were in it. It’s just a tradition that can’t be brought down.” Weitzel says there are several events that are being incorporated into what’s being called “Band Festival Spirit Week”: == On Friday night at 8:15, “Betty & the Gents” will perform on the Band Festival Facebook page Click here to take you to the North Iowa Band Festival Facebook pagelast_img read more

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UL Engineering Student Burial Schedule for Saturday

first_imgA junior student of the Civil Engineering Department of the University of Liberia (UL) who died recently after he  sustained  multiples injuries, as a result of a fence that felt on him will be buried on Saturday, May 17.The incident took place on May 3, within the compound of the American Cooperative School, on the Old Road in Sinkor, where he was employed as a contractor.The late Moses Newon Teayah was born 1983, unto the union of Pastor John P. Teayah and Martha M. Teayah.He was a member of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification in Duport Road, Paynesville outside of Monrovia.Explaining circumstances leading to the death of Moses, McCarthy Teayah , elder brother of Moses, said “We don’t know what killed Moses or how he died. What we were told by friends is that he died when a fence fell on him,” McCarthy explained in tears.According to him, they are still waiting to hear from the government on the cause of death.“Moses was one of the brains behind the entire family; we depended on him for our survival. How are we going to make it,” McCarthy lamented.He said, Moses’ remains will be removed from the Alfred Butler Funeral Home at about 4 p.m. on May 16, and taken to the Family Federation Headquarters Church on Duport Road Market, behind the mosque for a night of wake keeping, and burial will be on Saturday, May 17, at the Shara Community Cemetery on the Duport Road.Moses leaves to mourn his mother, Martha M. Teayah, father Pastor John P. Teayah, three sisters, Mabel, Joyce and Kyeong-hi, and a brother, McCarthy.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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The benefits of lego building beer smelling and train pushing

first_imgSomething for the weekend… From becoming a master lego builder to taking on the role of beer smeller, there are numerous unusual vacancies emerging onto the 2016 job market.Jobs such as the aforementioned could also mean a hefty pay rise for some employees, with roles such as a placenta chef paying around £15 an hour, and a job as a chicken sexer, which involves determining whether a chick is male or female, paying around £40,000 a year.CV writing firm StandOut CV has revealed the 10 quirkiest jobs available to apply for this year, as well as the salaries successful applicants can expect to receive.These jobs are:1. Placenta chefAs the trend for eating placentas after giving birth gains increasing attention, vacancies for placenta chefs are beginning to appear on sites such as Craigslist. Previous experience cooking placenta is listed as a requirement.Salary: £15 an hour.2. AstronautThe National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is advertising for astronauts to take part in a human mission to Mars. The launch isn’t expected to take place until at least 2030. Applicants must hold a degree in biological or physical science, mathematics or engineering, and have at least three years of experience in a relevant field or over 1,000 hours experience piloting a jet.Salary: Unknown.3. Chicken sexerThe British Poultry Council is currently experiencing a shortage of chicken sexers. The main role of a chicken sexer is to determine whether a chick is male or female so they can be reared appropriately. The role involves three years of training.Salary: £40,000 a year.4. Beer smellerScottish start up BrewDog is currently looking for someone to smell and drink beer to help them find the best attributes in each product. A science degree is desirable and experience is essential.Salary: Negotiable and dependent on experience.5. Animal therapy handlerPets As Therapy and Canine Concern Scotland Trust are looking for volunteers to share the fun their pets bring with those in residential homes, hospitals and special needs schools. Being an animal owner and lover is essential and previous experience is not necessary.Salary: Unpaid.6. Train pusherDue to overcrowding, Japan’s train network has started hiring professional pushers to push people onto trains. Pushers are also required to pull off passengers that have attempted to board the train too late or when the train is at capacity.Salary: Unknown.7. Master lego builderLego is now offering the opportunity for a skilled lego aficionado to become a master lego builder at one of its theme parks or discovery centres. The role is highly competitive and selective; Lego has just 40 master lego builders worldwide.Salary: $37,500 a year.8. Video game testerVideo game testers are needed to play new games, report faults and ensure overall quality.Salary: Starting salaries begin at around £12,000-£18,000 a year, rising to £25,000 for more experienced gamers.9. Dog poo picker-upperA US-based dog poo removal service is looking for staff. The ideal candidate should not be frightened of dogs, and be happy to work outdoors in all weathers.Experience is not necessary, but a high school education or equivalent is required.Salary: $10-$12 an hour.10. Manager of Chelsea Football ClubThere is a spot open to manage the Premier League team after the football club parted ways with Jose Mourinho in December.Salary: Expected to be in the millions.The Employee Benefits team is wondering how many other unusual roles are out there and what kind of pay and benefits they might offer…last_img read more

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