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Giant panda born in US offers ‘much-needed moment of joy’ | US & Canada News



Washington zoo officials have heralded the arrival of “a precious giant panda cub”, following the much-watched birth of panda Mei Xiang’s latest baby, four years after her last pregnancy.

Giant panda Mei Xiang gave birth to a healthy cub on Friday, according to staff at Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, DC. She immediately began nursing and cuddling the tiny new arrival. 

“We’re overjoyed to share that Mei Xiang gave birth at 6:35 pm and is caring for her newborn attentively,” the zoo said in a statement on Instagram, adding that mom and cub “appear to be doing well”. 

The event came after scientists last week detected fetal tissue. On Monday, the zoo posted an ultrasound confirming that Mei Xiang, who had been artificially inseminated in March, was indeed pregnant. 

The news of the birth attracted so many people to the zoo’s online live panda cam that the website briefly crashed, according to media reports.

“Giant pandas are an international symbol of endangered wildlife and hope, and with the birth of this precious cub we are thrilled to offer the world a much-needed moment of pure joy,” Steve Monfort, the John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, told the Associated Press news agency. 

Monfort said Mei Xiang’s age – 22 – made her chances of giving birth to a cub slim. 

“However, we wanted to give her one more opportunity to contribute to her species’ survival,” he said. 

She is the oldest giant panda to successfully give birth in the United States. The oldest in the world gave birth in China at age 23.

Fourth cub

Mei Xiang gave birth in a small den, where she created a nest out of branches. Although the place looks tiny for a big panda, the zoo said giant pandas in the wild give birth in small dens. 

“They stay in these dens for about the cub’s first 100 days,” the zoo said on Instagram.

Newborn giant pandas are about the size of a stick of butter. Males grow to up to 160kg, while females grow to about 125kg. 

Mei Xiang has previously birthed three other surviving cubs, who have all returned to China under an agreement between Beijing and Washington. China owns and leases all giant pandas in US zoos. 

Her last cub, Bei Bei, left for China in November last year as part of a breeding programme that is key to efforts to reintroduce pandas into the wild. 

Pandas have been reclassified from “endangered” to “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, thanks to reforestation to expand habitats in which the species can survive. There are an estimated 1,800 giant pandas in the wild. 

The most recent cub, and the three previous surviving cubs, were all fathered by a male named Tian Tian, who was brought to Washington with Mei Xiang in 2000.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the zoo’s experts have taken special precautions to reduce person-to-person contact during the insemination, pregnancy and birth. 

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Muntu Blocked in Kamwenge



Alliance for National Transformation presidential candidate Gen. Mugisha Muntu has been blocked from campaigning in Kamwenge according to a statement he released earlier today.Below is the full statement:

Today in Kamwenge, as we have done since the start of the campaign season, we headed out to speak with the people. We had earlier in the week agreed on the venue with security agencies. No one had anticipated that it would rain as much as it did, making it impossible for us or the people to access.

After identifying an alternative place only 100m away from the original venue, negotiating with the owner and communicating the same to the public, we headed to the second venue only to be stopped by police.

Our policy has always been to do all we can to be reasonable, even in the face of unreasonable action on the part of the state. We engaged the police leadership in a civilized, respectable manner well knowing that they intended to not only frustrate us, but cause us to act in ways that would give them an excuse to cause chaos. This was on top of their intimidating the radio we had booked and duly paid to appear on.

While we are confident that we are on the right side of both the law and reason, we have chosen not to endanger the lives of our supporters or the general public by escalating the situation. We will do everything humanly possible to avoid a single life being lost or blood being shed on account of our campaign.

And yet this truth remains: the regime’s days are numbered.



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Is Johnson Byabashaija courting Enid Kukunda for protection?



The very amiable Commissioner General of Prisons Canon Johnson Byabashaija was recently sighted with President Y K Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s second wife Enid Kukunda as the two had a very secretive meeting in one of the city hangouts.

According to our informers, the two seem to be in a deep conversation that they wouldn’t allow a housefly pass around. However, sources further reveal that Byabashaija could have courted the second lady for protection given that he has amassed a lot of wealth and could be a subject of investigations.

Our sources reveal that Byabashaija who carries himself as Mr.I know it all hasn’t met Madam Enid alone but a host of others with connections to the centre of power in the country.

We will bring you more detail

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Bobi Wine released on Bail



Presidential candidate and kyadondo East legislator Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu has been realeased on bail by the Iganga magistrates court where he appeared to defend himself against accusations of flouting COVID-19 campaign SOPs. A defiant Kyagulanyi took the opportunity to blast the incumbent Yoweri Museveni, whom he accuses of using state power to quell dissident.

This follows a tense week that has seen thousands injured and several dead following Hon. Kyagulanyi’s arrest earlier this week. Demonstrations and riots erupted in many parts of the country and heavy police and army deployment was seen all over the country.

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