A World Health Organisation mission to study the covid pandemic’s origins in China, which announced in February that the possibility that the virus had escaped from a laboratory needed no further investigation,1 was put under pressure by Chinese scientists who made up half the team to reach that conclusion, the scientist who led the mission has said.Peter Ben Embarek, who led the scientists dispatched by WHO to Wuhan, told a Danish television documentary, broadcast on 12 August, that the Chinese scientists refused to even discuss the lab leak scenario2 unless the final report dismissed any need for further investigation.Having haggled about it until 48 hours before they left China, Ben Embarek said, his Chinese counterpart eventually agreed to discuss the lab leak theory in the report “on the condition we didn’t recommend any specific studies to further that hypothesis.”Discussing the team’s findings before leaving China, Ben Embarek told reporters that a lab leak was “extremely unlikely.” Asked by Denmark’s TV2 if that wording was …
Britain should be prepared to offer ‘mass asylum’ to thousands expected to flee Hong Kong as China imposes tough new security laws, an MP said yesterday.
Li Jingzhi quit her job to search China for her son, Mao Yin, who went missing in 1988.
COVID-19 and SARS are both deadly – but different. SARS symptoms were quick to appear, making it easier to contain. Because health officials were able to contain it, the virus died off.
Wild animals and animal parts are bought and sold worldwide, often illegally. This multibillion-dollar industry is pushing species to extinction, fueling crime and spreading disease.
Source: The new coronavirus emerged from the global wildlife trade – and may be devastating enough to end it : The Conversation
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Thursday blasted President Trump for asking China and Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, calling it a “fundamental breach” of presidential decorum and a threat to national security.
Emerging from a closed-door meeting in the Capitol basement, where lawmakers from three committees are interviewing a key witness as part of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, Schiff said the comments are evidence that Trump has ignored the lessons from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference — and Mueller’s warnings of ongoing foreign influence over critical domestic affairs.
“To have the president of the United States suggesting — urging — a foreign country to interfere in our presidential elections is an illustration that this president, if he learned anything from the two years of the Mueller investigation, it’s that he feels he can do anything with impunity,” Schiff told a crowd of reporters staking out the meeting.
“The president of the United States encouraging a foreign nation to interfere again to help his campaign by investigating a rival is a fundamental breach of the presidential oath of office,” Schiff continued. “It endangers our elections; it endangers our national security. It ought to be condemned by every member of this body, Democrats and Republicans alike.”
Hours earlier, Trump raised plenty of eyebrows when he called on the leaders of China and Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
“I would think that if they were honest about it they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
Trump is already under fire after the recent revelation, unveiled in an anonymous whistleblower complaint, that Trump had urged Ukraine’s president in July to investigate corruption allegations against the Bidens.
In response, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), after months tamping down the impeachment push, endorsed a formal inquiry. As part of the process, Democrats have subpoenaed administration documents related to the Ukraine affair, while seeking depositions from a handful of current and former State Department officials with knowledge of the episode.
President Donald Trump demanded U.S. companies stop doing business with China and questioned whether the Federal Reserve chairman was a bigger enemy of the U.S. than Beijing’s leader Friday, capping one of the most extraordinary days in the long-running U.S.-China trade war.
The president’s Twitter tirades, in response to China’s move to impose retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion in American goods, sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling 600 points, or nearly 2.4 percent, by the end of trading and provoked an immediate negative reaction from the business community.
The extraordinary events began unfolding when China announced it would levy new tariffs on $75 billion in goods, including reinstated levies on auto products.
Officers moved in after crowds stormed and trashed Hong Kong’s legislature on Monday, the anniversary of its return to Chinese rule, protesting against proposed legislation allowing extraditions to mainland China.
British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt condemned violence on both sides and warned of consequences if China neglects commitments made when it took back Hong Kong to allow freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China, including the right to protest.
“We can make it clear we stand behind the people of Hong Kong in defence of the freedoms that we negotiated for them when we agreed to the handover in 1997 and we can remind everyone that we expect all countries to honour their international obligations,” Hunt told Reuters when asked what Britain could do.
He added that he hoped to avoid sanctions for China, saying: “I hope it won’t come up anything like that at all.”
“There is a way through this which is for the government of Hong Kong to listen to the legitimate concerns of the people of Hong Kong about their freedoms,” he added.
China said on Monday Britain no longer has any responsibility for Hong Kong and needed to stop “gesticulating” about the city.
China has denied interfering in Hong Kong affairs, though protesters have said the extradition bill is part of a relentless move towards mainland control.
Hunt, a candidate to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister, said at a campaign event in Belfast that many supporters of the Hong Kong demonstrators would have been dismayed by footage of Monday’s protests but that they should not be used as a pretext for repression.
The protests have created a fresh crisis for Chinese President Xi Jinping, already grappling with a trade war with Washington, a faltering economy and tension in the South China Sea.
Brexit supporters have said rapidly agreed trade accords with the United States and other countries will make a prosperous “Global Britain” outside the European Union.
Both Britain and the United States would need to determine the scope of negotiations, but past experience of Washington’s dealings with other would-be trade partners shows what it is likely to seek and the limits on what it would offer.
BRITAIN’S NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE (NHS)
The U.S. ambassador’s comment that Britain’s NHS should be “on the table” in a trade deal caused an uproar in Britain.
There are two areas of U.S. interest. First, it would want its companies be allowed to bid for NHS contracts, although tenders are generally open already.
The second area concerns the reference prices the NHS sets for its purchases of drugs.
The United States, which sought to challenge a similar scheme in Australia during trade negotiations, argues that lower set prices are unfair on its pharmaceutical companies and leave U.S. consumers footing the bill.
Spending on the NHS totalled 144.3 billion pounds ($183.0 billion) in 2016/17, according to an April 2018 parliamentary briefing paper. OECD data shows that per capita expenditure on health in the UK was $4,246 in 2017 compared to an OECD average of $3,992 and $10,209 in the United States.
Washington is a net exporter of farm products, notably of meat and animal feed, but normally also wants its counterpart to accept its farming standards.
By Robert A. Vella
A new CNN poll shows an increase in support for impeaching President Trump, but it also shows that Americans still resist impeachment even though they support the ongoing investigations of him by Democrats in the House of Representatives.
- President Trump’s approval rating remains steady at 43% approve, 52% disapprove.
- Support for impeachment increased over the last month to 41% predominantly among Democrats and college educated whites, while 54% oppose impeachment.
- The percentage of people who say Democrats are overreaching in their investigations of Trump decreased correspondingly to 40% over the same period, and 53% say that Trump isn’t doing enough to cooperate with those investigations.
- 47% agree that Democrats’ investigations of Trump are justified by the facts while 44% disagree.
- 67% want Robert Mueller to publicly testify before Congress.
- 66% believe that legislative cooperation between Congress and the White House is being negatively impacted…
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