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Ghost Dog

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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Canary Islands Archipelago
Home country: Spain
Member since: Wed Apr 19, 2006, 12:59 PM
Number of posts: 16,726

About Me

A Brit many years in Spain, Catalunya, Baleares, Canarias. Cooperative member. Geography. Ecology. Cartography. Software. Sound Recording. Music Production. Languages & Literature. History.

Journal Archives

Sacoolas case: Lawyer accuses UK foreign secretary of 'scandalous attempted cover up'

... Radd Seiger, representing the Dunn family, on Saturday accused Mr Raab of a “cover up” and claimed the foreign office was in breach of a court order by failing to hand over disclosure of documents for their judicial review claim by 4pm on Friday...

“His whole attitude throughout the case so far has been of a school yard bully, making threats to the parents of bankruptcy if they brought the case at all and attempting to harass them at every step along the way refusing to give them the information they are entitled to... He has hired four top barristers to run the case for him and there are numerous lawyers in the government legal department behind him too. Between them all, all they have managed to do so far is to conspire with him to engage in a scandalous attempted cover up of the truth, when the very opposite should be happening. It has been like trying to extract hen’s teeth.”.

The Foreign Office has strongly refuted the claim that there was a court order or deadline...

Mr Seiger also called on the Foreign Office to demand the return of Ms Sacoolas, who is alleged to have been a more senior spy than her husband and to have worked for the CIA...


Trump Contradicts US Intelligence; Says COVID-19 Came From Chinese Lab

Source: Voice Of America

... "It certainly is unusual, and reflects the politically charged nature of the topic as the Trump administration tries hard to deflect attention from its own performance during the pandemic," said Paul Pillar, a former senior CIA officer who has been critical of the administration. "The statement appears to be a compromise that makes the IC [intelligence community] appear to be working objectively without pouring cold water on the White House's favorite rhetorical line about Chinese malfeasance," said Pillar, now with Georgetown University.

Others, however, see the statement as a smart move, given the onslaught of disinformation that has surrounded the pandemic.

"[It's] doubtful that this was spin or US disinformation," said Larry Pfeiffer, a former CIA chief of staff and former senior director of the White House Situation Room, who like Pillar has been critical of the White House's handling of intelligence matters. "I give the ODNI credit for stepping up to the plate to add some clarity to the situation."

The statement may also portend a greater public role for U.S. intelligence agencies going forward. "These are trying times," said Daniel Hoffman, a retired senior CIA officer. "There's a lot of disinformation, misinformation and ignorance."...

Read more: https://www.voanews.com/covid-19-pandemic/trump-contradicts-us-intelligence-says-covid-19-came-chinese-lab

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a statement on Thursday saying the U.S. intelligence community "concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified," but President Trump didn't seem aware of that assessment during a media briefing later in the day...

Trump wouldn't commit to agreeing with the statement. When pushed on why he felt confident the novel coronavirus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Trump vaguely said, "I can't tell you that, I'm not allowed to tell you that."

When asked again if he saw evidence that the lab was the origin of the virus, Trump claimed, "Yes, I have," and pivoted to criticizing the World Health Organization.

Earlier in the day, the New York Times reported that Trump administration officials, led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have pushed U.S. spy agencies to find evidence linking the coronavirus with the Wuhan lab...


U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday his hard-fought trade deal with China was now of secondary importance to the coronavirus pandemic and he threatened new tariffs on Beijing, as his administration crafted retaliatory measures over the outbreak...

Two U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a range of options against China were under discussion, but cautioned that efforts were in the early stages. Recommendations have not yet reached the level of Trump's top national security team or the president, one official told Reuters.

"There is a discussion as to how hard to hit China and how to calibrate it properly," one of the sources said as Washington walks a tightrope in its ties with Beijing while it imports personal protection equipment (PPE) from there and is wary of harming a sensitive trade deal.

Trump made clear, however, that his concerns about China's role in the origin and spread of the coronavirus were taking priority for now over his efforts to build on an initial trade agreement with Beijing that long dominated his dealings with the world's second-largest economy...


Yo-Jong appears to be a very capable young lady

appropriately positioned.

COVID-19 pandemic and serial passage gain-of-function research

March 23, 2020 by harvard2thebighouse


. .. Scientists have been directly altering and modifying viral genomes for at least the past twenty years, doing everything from building complete viruses from scratch, to tweaking them and then passing them through series of animal hosts to artificially speed selection and evolution along so that they’re able have as many different strains of virus with as many novel features as possible to tinker with.

However most of this work didn’t really raise too many eyebrows, until about ten years ago when scientists in Stony Brook, NY – not coincidentally also the first place to build a DNA-virus from scratch – took the H5N1 Bird Flu, tweaked its genome in two places, and then passed it through a series of ferret hosts in the lab until it became airborne. This sort of research, a minor alteration and then passage through ferrets, did two things: Resulted in a virus that would look natural and wouldn’t appear to have been directly genetically altered, and also created a virus that was way out on its own branch of the viral family tree since those sequential passages added generations far faster than they’d naturally occur in the wild. If that sounds familiar, maybe that’s because those traits are also exactly what’s found with COVID-19.

And as far back as 2015, Chinese labs were reported to have been involved with dual-use gain-of-function research, swapping around viral genomes in the lab to try to create the most virulent strain possible. Additionally, studies examining COVID-19’s infectivity in ferrets found that it spreads readily among them, and also appears airborne in that animal model, lending support to the idea that ferrets were used for serial passage. Further support for possibility that serial passage through lab animals played a role in the creation of COVID-19 comes from an April 2020 pre-print, which found that it binds with ferrets cells more tightly than any other species except the tree shrew, which only scored about 2% higher. Tree shrews have also been used for serial viral passage, and were promoted in a 2018 paper out of China as a preferable host for laboratory serial passage since they’re cheaper, smaller, easier to handle, and closer to humans evolutionarily and physiologically than ferrets. Pangolins however, formed a much weaker bond than either, and were clustered way down on the list along with a handful of other much more unlikely intermediate animal hosts.

Quite curiously, one of the scientists supporting this troubling research in an article that noted the virus “could change history if it was ever set free” appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast in 2020 a few weeks into the current pandemic, claiming that COVID-19 was definitely natural and making no mention of this animal-based dual-use gain-of-function research at all. Odd, right? It’s almost like Michael Osterholm, whose entire career rests on advancing gain-of-function of research, might want to whitewash what’s really going on? Did that sunshine tickle when it was being blown up your ass, Joe?

Osterholm failed to tell the story of this genetically modified H5N1 Bird Flu, which was turned into a virus that “could make the deadly 1918 pandemic look like a pesky cold.” This result was so troubling that the NIH, which had funded the research, tried to make sure that the it would only be published after enough details were taken out to make replication of the experiment tough to perform. However one of the virologists involved in the research thought these restrictions were a bit silly, since the gist of the experiment was enough to allow anyone with enough money to replicate them without a problem. Especially researchers who were already familiar with manipulating bat coronaviruses, two of whom learned how to do exactly that at UNC in 2015 before returning to Wuhan to continue their work.

A few years later the NIH would ban this dual-use “gain-of-function” research, a ban that would remain in place from 2014 until 2017, when it was lifted. And what was the reasoning behind lifting the ban? To allow for research on flu viruses, as well as SARS and MERS – coronaviruses just like our new friend, COVID-19. And so hundreds of millions of dollars of funding poured into research on these viruses, supposedly with oversight meant to reduce “the potential to create, transfer, or use an enhanced potential pandemic pathogen.”...

... So although the Chinese Communist Party deserves its share of the blame for attempting to cover the outbreak up, arresting the heroic scientists trying to warn us and issuing gag-orders and the destruction of evidence, this research likely wouldn’t have occurred at all if the NIH hadn’t lifted the ban on gain-of-function research in the first place. And it was funded directly by American tax dollars, by government officials willing to let others play god at their behest.

But now that the virus is out of the lab, are the private entities responsible for its creation going to bear any of the blame at all? Or will America and China continue to point fingers at each other until the worst happens?... (T)he rhetoric between America and China has been heading in that direction – it’s been growing increasingly hostile as each blames the other for starting the pandemic and covering it up, with China even going so far as to threaten to cut off our supply of antibiotics and other life-saving medical goods. Meanwhile Daszak, Baric, Zhengli, and others sit back counting their lucky stars and their money, since both governments and the public at large seem to have bought their story that there’s no way this virus leaked out of one of their labs, and every government on earth now wants to harness their research to help create vaccines and treatments...


(The above is a brief extract from the linked long article, which contains many links to sources and looks authentic to my eye at first sight... I republish in the general public interest - GD).

US drags global virus fight, dims prospects: Global Times editorial

... When humanity needs unity most, the US government launched an ideological war to duck responsibility, pushing the international community to a state of division. The political selfishness of Washington has been substantially exposed. It attacked China first, then took aim at the World Health Organization. These crushed world unity and confidence in fighting the pandemic and made people worry about the wider destruction the pandemic may cause. We are now living in a disorderly and chaotic world.

The vicious virus, the polarization of US politics and deepening international divergences have plunged humanity into unprecedented uncertainties. A jumbled, irresponsible and impulsive US greatly enhanced the risks the world is facing. What's worse, the US did not engage in any reflection, and the inability of its government was only attributed to partisanship. The anti-China element in its public opinion has been brewing with the instigation of the administration and some politicians. This has greatly crumbled the US's self-correction ability.

The harm on humanity caused by a virus, no matter how frightening it is, only remains at the physical level. But the US destruction at the political level is amplifying this crisis that endangers global governance. Even if the pandemic is put under control, humanity has to face the turbulence post-pandemic. Such dual uncertainties have gone beyond the imagination of people even with their decades of living experience.

Can the US democratic system contain populist politics? We don't know. For the Chinese people, it is necessary to remain steady and restrained, accelerate the pace of resumption of key national abilities, and prepare for the worst-case scenario...


Composition of PrevengHo Vir (Spanish/Latin) :

PrevengHo® Vir

Medicamento homeopático.

COMPOSICIÓN: Cada mL (20 gotas) contiene: Dinamodiluciones homeopáticas de Anaes barbariae 200 CK, Arsenicum album 200 CK, Baptisia tinctoria 200 CK, Bryonia alba 200 CK, Euphatorium perfoliatum 200 CK, Gelsemium sempervirens 200 CK, Pneumococinum 200 CK, Pyrogenium 200 CK, Tuberculinum aviaire 200 CK, Influenzinum 200 CK (componentes de los virus de la influenza AH1N1 y AH3N2 y contenidos de la vacuna contra la gripe estacional), Bacillinum 30 CH, Crotalus horridus 30 CH y coadyuvantes florales del Sistema Bach, Solución hidroalcohólica al 30 % c.s.



Homeopathic medicine.

COMPOSITION: Each mL (20 drops) contains: Anaes barbariae 200 CK homeopathic dynamodilutions, Arsenicum album 200 CK, Baptisia tinctoria 200 CK, Bryonia alba 200 CK, Euphatorium perfoliatum 200 CK, Gelsemium sempervirens 200 CK, Pneumococinum 200 CK, Pyrogenium 200 CK , Tuberculinum aviaire 200 CK, Influenzinum 200 CK (components of influenza viruses AH1N1 and AH3N2 and contents of the seasonal influenza vaccine), Bacillinum 30 CH, Crotalus horridus 30 CH and floral adjuvants from the Bach System, Hydroalcoholic solution at 30 % cs

Not the U. S. alone, it seems :

Mossad officer describes covert global battle to obtain ventilators at all costs

... "I have overseen many operations in my life, and I’ve never dealt with such a complex operation,” said the Mossad officer, identified only by the Hebrew initial “Het.”... "We are utilizing our special connections to win the race and perhaps do what the whole world is doing — lay our hands on stocks ordered by others,” he said...

He said that unlike three or four days ago, he was now confident that Israel would weather the crisis much better than Italy, Spain and the United States, and that there will be no shortage of equipment...


What will the world be like after coronavirus? Four possible futures

... The fact that so many people work pointless jobs is partly why we are so ill prepared to respond to COVID-19. The pandemic is highlighting that many jobs are not essential, yet we lack sufficient key workers to respond when things go bad.

People are compelled to work pointless jobs because in a society where exchange value is the guiding principle of the economy, the basic goods of life are mainly available through markets. This means you have to buy them, and to buy them you need an income, which comes from a job. The other side of this coin is that the most radical (and effective) responses that we are seeing to the COVID-19 outbreak challenge the dominance of markets and exchange value. Around the world governments are taking actions that three months ago looked impossible. In Spain, private hospitals have been nationalised. In the UK, the prospect of nationalising various modes of transport has become very real. And France has stated its readiness to nationalise large businesses. Likewise, we are seeing the breakdown of labour markets. Countries like Denmark and the UK are providing people with an income in order to stop them from going to work. This is an essential part of a successful lockdown. These measures are far from perfect. Nonetheless, it is a shift from the principle that people have to work in order to earn their income, and a move towards the idea that people deserve to be able to live even if they cannot work...

... One of the things the COVID-19 crisis could be doing, is expanding that economic imagination. As governments and citizens take steps that three months ago seemed impossible, our ideas about how the world works could change rapidly. Let us look at where this re-imagining could take us. To help us visit the future, I’m going to use a technique from the field of futures studies. You take two factors you think will be important in driving the future, and you imagine what will happen under different combinations of those factors. The factors I want to take are value and centralisation. Value refers to whatever is the guiding principle of our economy. Do we use our resources to maximise exchanges and money, or do we use them to maximise life? Centralisation refers to the ways that things are organised, either by of lots of small units or by one big commanding force. We can organise these factors into a grid, which can then be populated with scenarios. So we can think about what might happen if we try to respond to the coronavirus with the four extreme combinations:

1) State capitalism: centralised response, prioritising exchange value
2) Barbarism: decentralised response prioritising exchange value
3) State socialism: centralised response, prioritising the protection of life
4) Mutual aid: decentralised response prioritising the protection of life...

Read much more: http://theconversation.com/what-will-the-world-be-like-after-coronavirus-four-possible-futures-134085

The coronavirus did not escape from a lab. Here's how we know.

The coronavirus did not escape from a lab. Here's how we know.... A group of researchers compared the genome of this novel coronavirus with the seven other coronaviruses known to infect humans: SARS, MERS and SARS-CoV-2, which can cause severe disease; along with HKU1, NL63, OC43 and 229E, which typically cause just mild symptoms, the researchers wrote March 17 in the journal Nature Medicine... Kristian Andersen, an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research, and his colleagues looked at the genetic template for the spike proteins that protrude from the surface of the virus. The coronavirus uses these spikes to grab the outer walls of its host's cells and then enter those cells. They specifically looked at the gene sequences responsible for two key features of these spike proteins: the grabber, called the receptor-binding domain, that hooks onto host cells; and the so-called cleavage site that allows the virus to open and enter those cells.

That analysis showed that the "hook" part of the spike had evolved to target a receptor on the outside of human cells called ACE2, which is involved in blood pressure regulation. It is so effective at attaching to human cells that the researchers said the spike proteins were the result of natural selection and not genetic engineering.

Here's why: SARS-CoV-2 is very closely related to the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which fanned across the globe nearly 20 years ago. Scientists have studied how SARS-CoV differs from SARS-CoV-2 — with several key letter changes in the genetic code. Yet in computer simulations, the mutations in SARS-CoV-2 don't seem to work very well at helping the virus bind to human cells. If scientists had deliberately engineered this virus, they wouldn't have chosen mutations that computer models suggest won't work. But it turns out, nature is smarter than scientists, and the novel coronavirus found a way to mutate that was better — and completely different— from anything scientists could have created, the study found.

Another nail in the "escaped from evil lab" theory? The overall molecular structure of this virus is distinct from the known coronaviruses and instead most closely resembles viruses found in bats and pangolins that had been little studied and never known to cause humans any harm. "If someone were seeking to engineer a new coronavirus as a pathogen, they would have constructed it from the backbone of a virus known to cause illness," according to a statement from Scripps...


Life after lockdown: has China really beaten coronavirus?

... Some of the concerns about China’s reporting stem from how Beijing classifies patients. While the World Health Organization and South Korea consider anyone who has tested positive for the virus as a confirmed case, China does not include asymptomatic infections in its final tally.

Late on Monday night, Wuhan’s health commission published a Q&A explaining how asymptomatic cases are dealt with. On why such cases are not included as confirmed cases, the commission said that patients were quarantined for 14 days and if they began to show symptoms they would be designated as confirmed and that data would be published.

“A small number of asymptomatic infections may progress to becoming confirmed cases, but the vast majority [of patients] will heal by themselves,” it said.

Critics also question why recovered patients who retest as positive are not counted. Data from quarantine centres in Wuhan showed that the possibility of recovered patients testing positive again was between 5% and 10%, according to the state-run Global Times. Officials in Hubei have said those patients would not be recorded as new confirmed cases because they had been counted previously...


The article contains a few quotes, such as:

“I am really worried that there are still many asymptomatic infected people inside Wuhan. As soon as everyone goes back to work, everyone will be infected,” said Wang, 26, who lives in the city. Another resident added: “I don’t believe [the numbers]. This epidemic will not disappear so easily.”

“Any rational person would doubt these figures,” one internet user wrote in response to an essay posted by a volunteer in Wuhan questioning the statistics.
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