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Wuhan lab leak: “I’m not naive enough to absolutely write this off”



Australian scientist Danielle Anderson was the only foreign researcher at the Wuhan virology lab. Now, she’s speaking out for the first time.

Australian scientist Danielle Anderson was the only foreigner to undertake research at the notorious Wuhan Institute of Virology’s BSL-4 lab. She worked at the lab until November 2019, just months before the initial outbreak of Covid.

The Covid pandemic has been rife with conspiracy theories since its emergence. The most popular of these theories is that Chinese scientists manufactured the virus in the lab.

Some theorise it either leaked out by accident, or as an act of biological warfare. China’s lack of transparency over Covid’s origins have only fuelled these rumours.

Virologist Danielle Anderson

“It was just a regular lab”

Anderson says that inaccurate reporting has given the public and false perception of the Wuhan lab.

“It’s not that it was boring, but it was a regular lab that worked in the same way as any other high-containment lab,” Anderson says. “What people are saying is just not how it is.”

Anderson also says she was ‘impressed’ with the institute’s maximum biocontainment lab which has the highest biosafety rating.

There were strict protocols and requirements aimed at containing the pathogens being studied, Anderson says researchers needed to train for 45 hours before being certified to work independently in the lab.

“It’s very, very extensive,” she said.

“The pandemic is something no one could have imagined on this scale,” she said. “The virus was in the right place at the right time and everything lined up to cause this disaster.”

The US and Europe are among countries questioning the lab’s safety.

Anderson said no one she knew at the Wuhan institute was ill toward the end of 2019. Moreover, there is a procedure for reporting symptoms that correspond with the pathogens handled in high-risk containment labs.

“If people were sick, I assume that I would have been sick—and I wasn’t,” she said. “I was tested for coronavirus in Singapore before I was vaccinated, and had never had it.”

Last month, 18 scientists writing in the journal Science called for an investigation into Covid-19’s origin amid rumours of the virus leaking from the lab.

Anderson says that while unlikely, it’s not entirely impossible that the virus escaped the facility.

If presented with evidence that such an accident spawned Covid-19, Anderson “could foresee how things could maybe happen,” she said. “I’m not naive enough to say I absolutely write this off.” 

Although she remains firm in her belief that the virus emerged from ‘natural sources’ Anderson does think China should assist with an investigation to nail down Covid’s origin.

She said she’s dumbfounded by the portrayal of the lab by some media outside China, including attacks on scientists who worked at the lab.

Anderson herself has also been the victim of violent threats and misinformation, which led her to filing a police report last year.

Natasha is an Associate Producer at ticker NEWS with a Bachelor of arts from Monash University. She has previously worked at Sky News Australia and Monash University as an Online Content Producer.

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Cybersecurity experts on the best ways to protect your business



Cybersecurity experts agree its essential to get the basics of protecting your business and customers first.

Regulators around the world are stepping up scrutiny of corporations who have failed to uphold proper cybersecurity protocols.

And on the eve of cybersecurity awareness month, experts are warning that it’s important to get the basics right of protecting your customers – or your own data.

For more, we’re joined by Annie Hagger of Cyber GC, and Sam Fariborz, group manager of cybersecurity services & program at the Kmart Group.

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How Ukraine succeeds in attacking Russian military targets



Ukraine has managed to launch successful attacks on key Russian military facilities, leaving experts and analysts baffled by the unexpected outcomes.

These strategic assaults have raised questions about Ukraine’s military capabilities and the effectiveness of its tactics in countering Russian forces.

Ukraine’s recent victories can be attributed to several key factors. First and foremost, the country has significantly improved its intelligence gathering and information warfare capabilities, allowing it to pinpoint vulnerabilities in Russian defenses. This enhanced situational awareness has enabled Ukraine to launch precise and coordinated strikes on critical military installations.

Additionally, Ukraine has received substantial support from international allies, both in terms of military equipment and training. This assistance has bolstered the Ukrainian military’s effectiveness and provided them with advanced weaponry, giving them an edge in their confrontations with Russian forces.

Furthermore, Ukraine’s determination and resilience in the face of adversity cannot be underestimated. The country’s citizens and armed forces have shown unwavering commitment to defending their sovereignty, driving them to devise innovative strategies and tactics to outmaneuver the Russian military.

The world watches with bated breath as Ukraine’s successful attacks continue to unfold, highlighting the evolving nature of modern warfare and the adaptability of smaller nations facing formidable adversaries.

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Jorge Vilda under investigation amid Luis Rubiales ‘Kissgate’ probe



Former Spain manager Jorge Vilda is set to come under scrutiny as part of the ongoing investigation into the ‘kissgate’ controversy involving Luis Rubiales.

The investigation, which has sent shockwaves through the footballing world, centers around an alleged incident where Luis Rubiales, known for his fiery personality, kissed a reporter without her consent during a press conference in 2022. The incident quickly gained attention on social media and was widely condemned.

As part of the probe, authorities are now turning their attention to Jorge Vilda, who was the head coach of the Spanish national women’s team at the time of the incident. It is alleged that Vilda may have had knowledge of the incident or been aware of Rubiales’s behavior during the press conference.

Vilda, a respected figure in women’s football, has denied any wrongdoing and maintains that he had no prior knowledge of Rubiales’s actions. He expressed his shock and disappointment at being dragged into the controversy.

The investigation is being closely followed by football fans and stakeholders alike, as it raises questions about the accountability of individuals in positions of power within the sport. The ‘kissgate’ scandal has already had far-reaching implications for Rubiales, who resigned as the president of the Spanish Football Federation amidst the controversy.

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