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New WHO group may be last chance to find COVID virus origins

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The World Health Organisation says a new taskforce may be the last chance to find the origins of COVID-19

A medical worker takes a swab sample from a resident to be tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on May 14, 2020. – Nervous residents of China’s pandemic epicentre of Wuhan queued up across the city to be tested for the coronavirus on May 14 after a new cluster of cases sparked a mass screening campaign. (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT

The WHO has nominated 26 experts to join the body, more than a year-and-a-half since the virus emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The new team will consider if the virus jumped from animals to humans in Wuhan markets, or leaked in a lab accident.

China has strongly denied the lab leak theory.

It follows an earlier investigation from the WHO that concluded the virus had probably come from bats but that more work was needed.

But the WHO’s Director General said the investigation had been hampered by a lack of data and transparency from China.

The WHO has set up the Scientific Advisory Group on the Origins of Novel Pathogens known as ‘Sago’ to lead the taskforce

The proposed members of the Sago group include six experts who visited China as part of the previous team.

Aside from coronavirus, Sago will also look into the origins of other high-risk pathogens.

“Understanding where new pathogens come from is essential for preventing future outbreaks,” said Dr Tedros said.

In a joint editorial in the journal Science, Dr Tedros and other WHO officials said “a lab accident cannot be ruled out”.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

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Helicopter carrying Iran’s President Raisi crashes

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A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister crashed on Sunday as it was crossing mountain terrain in heavy fog.

The official said the lives of Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were “at risk following the helicopter crash”, which happened on the way back from a visit to the border with Azerbaijan in Iran’s northwest.

“We are still hopeful but information coming from the crash site is very concerning,” the official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A helicopter carrying President Ebrahim Raisi takes off, May 19, 2024. Ali Hamed Haghdoust/IRNA/WANA via REUTERS

State TV quoted an official as saying at least one passenger and one crew member had been in contact with rescuers. It also said the helicopter had been found, though Iran’s Red Crescent denied this report.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds ultimate power with a final say on foreign policy and Iran’s nuclear programme, sought to reassure Iranians, saying there would be no disruption to state affairs. #iran #trending

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Why Australia is becoming the new home of the Hollywood blockbuster

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Australia’s multimillion-dollar campaign to attract Hollywood productions to its shores appears to be paying off.

The allure of Australia lies not only in its picturesque locations but also in its competitive financial incentives.

The government offers generous rebates and tax breaks to international productions, making it an attractive proposition for filmmakers looking to maximise their budgets.

Despite the recent intake of Hollywood productions down under such as ‘The Fall Guy’ and ‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’, Aussie independents are still finding the space to carve their own creative path.

Rob Fantozzi joined the program to discuss the latest in Hollywood, and showcased his own upcoming project – ‘Omerta‘. #featured

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Portal between countries shut down after international flashing

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An international video portal has been forced to shut down after an OnlyFans model reportedly flashed passersby from across the globe.

On this episode of Ahron and Mike Live – Which would you prefer; pay rise or work perks, an international portal closes, the military reveal a submarine stingray and are you on a top or bottom burger bun?

Ticker’s Ahron Young & Mike Loder discuss. #featured #trending

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