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Experts warn of pandemic disaster unless we understand COVID origin

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Leading US infectious disease experts say we could face “Covid-26” and “Covid-32”

Scott Gottlieb from Pfizer Inc. warns if we want to avoid possible covid-26 and Covid-32 pandemics, cooperation from China is crucial.

This comes amid growing speculation that coronavirus may have leaked from a lab in Wuhan way back in November 2019.

Wuhan Institute of Virology
The P4 laboratory on the campus of the Wuhan Institute of Virology on May 27.
Photographer: Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

“There’s going to be Covid-26 and Covid-32 unless we fully understand the origins of Covid-19”

Peter Hotez, co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital CENTRE for Vaccine Development

Peter Hotez from the Texas Centre for Vaccine Development also says scientists should be allowed to conduct an investigation in China.

He says a team should study COVID’s origins in the Hubei province for six months to a year. He added the team should include scientists, epidemiologists, virologists and bat ecologists.

However, Chinese officials say the inquiry is evidence of “stigmatisation, political manipulation and blame-shifting”

New coronavirus strain that spreads more easily than others

This comes as authorities in Vietnam recently detected a new coronavirus variant.

Experts think the strain may be a hybrid from India and the United Kingdom.

The Vietnamese health minister said scientists found the new variant after examining the genetic makeup of the virus.

Lab tests also suggest the new strain might spread more easily than other versions of the virus.

Investigations into COVID’s origns

Last week, US President Joe Biden announced that his administration would be conducting an independent investigation into Covid-19.

Biden asked the country’s intelligence organisations to “redouble their efforts” and establish a definitive conclusion within 90 days.

He said: “the U-S will keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation”.

Climate Change

Australia places honeybees in lockdown

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Honeybees in Australia are in lockdown after a deadly parasite was discovered in Sydney

A parasite has been found to weaken and kill bee colonies, which could threaten the already-scarce bee population.

Australian bees have been into lockdown, which means beekeepers are not allowed to move hives, bees or honeycombs until further notice from biosecurity.

Local authorities say swift measures are being taken to contain the disease.

“We have immediately launched an eradication plan which involved setting up a biosecurity zone, containing the infected hives and euthanising the bees.”

NSW Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders

Until now, Australia is one of a few continents who did not have the varroa destructor, which can attach itself to the body of a bee and weaken its fat.

Nearly one-third of Australia’s food production relies on bee pollination. But the outbreak could cost the honey industry millions of dollars.

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Crypto

North Korea bears the brunt of the crypto market crash

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The crypto market crash is impacting North Korea’s weapons programme

The recent crypto market crash has made its way to North Korea, where hackers are bearing the brunt.

The isolated country relies on stolen crypto to fund part of their weapons program.

But as crypto holdings drop by millions of dollars, the nation is reportedly scrambling to find new ways to fund Pyongyang’s missile plans.

KCNA

North Korea has ramped up its stolen crypto assets in recent times leading to one of the largest cryptocurrency heists on record earlier this year.

Hackers allegedly stole $615 million worth of crypto prompting the U.S. tplace a warning about potential workers who are hiding their identities to find jobs abroad.

Meanwhile, crypto holdings have decreased in value with the market sliding below $1 trillion for the first time since January 2021.

Katerina Kostakos contributed to this report

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Ukraine Crisis

Sean Penn visits President Zelensky in Kyiv

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Sean Penn is the latest celebrity to travel to Ukraine and meet with President Zelensky

Actor Sean Penn is reportedly creating a documentary on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He is seeking to visit the war-torn areas where Russian troops have allegedly committed war crimes.

The leader thanked Penn for his support during the meeting. It comes a week after Zelensky met with Hollywood star Ben Stiller, who was visiting for humanitarian reasons.

“The whole world will soon be able to see the whole truth about the war thanks to his film. Sean, thank you for the support of our state and our people.”

UKRAINE’S PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY

Meanwhile, fresh vision has emerged of a Russian missile strike on a crowded shopping mall in the country’s east.

It’s understood 18 people are dead, and dozens are still missing. Moscow says it struck a nearby arms depot and is claiming the mall was empty at the time.

The blast sent shockwaves around surrounding areas, where people can be seen running away from the areas of impact.

Meanwhile, President Zelensky is calling Russia a terrorist state. He urged his U.N. counterparts to stand up and pay their respects, as he dialled in for urgent talks.

“Who of you does not agree that this is terrorism?”

UKRAINE’S PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY

Zelensky named victims of the war, including a three-month-old. He also drew on the U.N. Charter for maintaining international peace and security.

Meanwhile, Russia’s representatives expressed concern about President Zelensky’s speech. Dmitry Polyanskiy says he did not receive any consultation beforehand.

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