World Health Organization investigators looking for clues into the origin of the coronavirus

World Health Organization investigators looking for clues into the origin of the coronavirus in Wuhan say the Chinese side has provided a high level of cooperation but caution against expecting immediate results from the visit. Along with the key Wuhan Institute of Virology, the WHO team that includes experts from 10 nations has visited hospitals, research institutes and a traditional market tied to the outbreak.

The team on February 4 spent 2 hours meeting with managers and residents at the Jiangxinyuan community administrative center in Wuhan’s Hanyang District. Official statistics shows there were at least 16 confirmed coronavirus cases in the community last year among nearly 10,000 people living there when the virus broke out. Zoologist and team member Peter Daszak praised Wednesday’s meetings with staff at the Wuhan institute, including with its deputy director who worked with Daszak to track down the origins of SARS that originated in China and led to the 2003 outbreak.

 

The US government said it is "deeply disturbed" by a BBC report detailing allegations of systematic rape of Uighur women in Chinese camps. "These atrocities shock the conscience and must be met with serious consequences," a spokesperson said. In the UK parliament on Friday, Secretary of State Nigel Adams said the report showed "clearly evil acts". According to estimates, more than a million Uighurs and other minorities have been detained in camps in China.

An investigation published by the BBC on Wednesday contained first-hand testimony of systematic rape, sexual abuse and torture of women detainees by police and guards. China's foreign ministry has denied the allegations, accusing the BBC of making a "false report". Adrian Zenz, a leading expert on China's policies in Xinjiang, said the testimony gathered by the BBC was "some of the most horrendous evidence I have seen since the atrocity began".

 

The Kremlin said that thousands of arrests at protests against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny were a necessary response to the unsanctioned rallies and strongly rebuffed Western criticism. Asked about the harsh treatment of thousands of detainees, many of whom spent long hours on police buses and were put in overcrowded cells, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that they have to bear responsibility for joining the unauthorized protests.

“The situation wasn’t provoked by law enforcement, it was provoked by participants in unsanctioned actions,” Peskov said in a call with reporters. Massive protests erupted after Navalny, a 44-year-old anti-corruption campaigner who is Putin’s most determined political foe, was arrested Jan. 17 upon returning from his five-month convalescence in Germany from a nerve agent poisoning, which he has blamed on the Kremlin. Russian authorities deny any involvement and claim they have no proof that he was poisoned despite tests by several European labs.

 

Delhi police lodged an FIR against teen climate campaigner Greta Thunberg's tweets supporting the Indian farmers' protest. She has been accused of "criminal conspiracy and promoting enmity" through her tweets regarding the farmers protest in India. Thunberg's tweets supporting the protest near Delhi against the three new farm laws are among many notable posts expressing international concern and voicing support of the agitation that began late-November last year.

Soon after Delhi police lodged the FIR, Greta Thunberg tweeted "I still #StandWithFarmers and support their peaceful protest. No amount of hate, threats or violations of human rights will ever change that. #FarmersProtest." In a separate tweet, she also shared a "toolkit" advising people on how to show solidarity with the protests. Greta's first tweet was on Tuesday night, soon after pop-star Rihanna posted a one-line comment sharing a CNN story of the protest.

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