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China says ‘politicising’ COVID origins impedes investigation | Coronavirus pandemic News

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Chinese embassy in Washington, DC claims there is a fixation on ‘political manipulation’ after President Biden orders intelligence review of virus’s origins.

Politicising the origins of COVID-19 would hamper further investigations and undermine global efforts to curb the pandemic, the Chinese embassy in the United States said after President Joe Biden ordered a review of US intelligence about how and where the virus first emerged.

“Some political forces have been fixated on political manipulation and (the) blame game,” the embassy in Washington, DC said in a statement on its website on Wednesday evening.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is preparing to begin a second phase of studies into the origins of COVID-19, and China has been under pressure to give investigators more access amid allegations that SARS-CoV-2 leaked from a research laboratory in the city of Wuhan, where the first COVID-19 cases emerged in late 2019.

China has repeatedly denied the lab was responsible, accusing the US and other countries of trying to distract from their own failures to contain the virus.

Biden said on Wednesday that US intelligence agencies were divided about whether COVID-19 “emerged from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident”.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that US agencies were examining reports that three researchers at the Wuhan lab became so ill in November 2019 that they sought hospital care.

“We are starting to see a lot of converging streams of evidence that there hasn’t been transparency from the Chinese government,’ Dr Amesh Adalja, an expert in biosecurity and emerging infectious diseases told Al Jazeera. “We are hearing about people who worked at the Wuhan Institute of Virology becoming sick with an illness, we know that this has been spreading since November (2019) and we have seen the Chinese government be very reticent to allow the press to investigate the origins of this virus so I think that raises questions about getting the Chinese goverment to come to terms with what may have happened in the early days of the pandemic.”

Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health with the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC, said China’s lack of openness was a key factor behind the resurgence of the lab leak theory.

“There’s nothing really new there to prove the hypothesis,” he said. “In the investigation of the origins of the pandemic it is really important to have transparency in order to build trust in the investigation results.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) team tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus disease, visited Wuhan and locations around the city including a research laboratory and the seafood market where cases initially emerged, under tight security earlier this year [File: Thomas Peter/Reuters]

‘A comprehensive study’

China has stepped up efforts to control the narrative surrounding the pandemic after successfully suppressing the virus in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where what was then a mysterious new viral pneumonia was first detected towards the end of 2019.

Whistle-blowers, journalists and the families of those who died have come under pressure. Dr Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist who was one of the first to warn the public about the virus, was detained by police for spreading “rumours”. In December, citizen journalist Zhang Zhan, a former lawyer, was accused of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” and sentenced to four years in prison for her work in the early days of the outbreak. Others also face trial on similar charges.

The Chinese embassy said it supports “a comprehensive study of all early cases of COVID-19 found worldwide and a thorough investigation into some secretive bases and biological laboratories all over the world.”

The Global Times tabloid, part of the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper group, said late on Wednesday that if the “lab leak theory” was to be further investigated, the US should also allow investigators into its own facilities, including the lab at Fort Detrick.

“Very clearly they are trying to internationalise their way out of the jam they are in,” said Jamie Metzl, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think-tank, who has been campaigning for a new independent investigation.

A joint China-WHO study published in March said that it was highly improbable that SARS-CoV-2 leaked from the lab, adding that it most likely spread from bats to humans via an as yet unidentified intermediary species.

China has also continued to point to the possibility that COVID-19 originated elsewhere and entered the country via an infection carried on frozen food or through wildlife trade networks in southeastern China.

Patients in intensive care in a Wuhan hospital in February last year as COVID-19 took hold in the city [File: China Daily via Reuters]

“The pandemic started in China,” Metzl said. “Let’s start with a full investigation there and expand as necessary. In short, this [statement from the embassy] is an outrageous insult to every person who has died from this terrible tragedy and their families.”

Huang of CFR said further investigations into the origins of COVID-19 were at an “impasse”.

“Ideally you want China to be more cooperative and more transparent,” Huang said. “But now the issue has become so politicised, with the stakes of the investigation so high.”



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Climate colonialism and the EU’s Green Deal | Climate Change

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Since the beginning of the year, the Amazon Rainforest, our largest tropical forest full of ecosystems essential to global climate regulation networks, has had 430,000 acres (174,000 hectares) cleared and burned to supply the logging industry and clear land for livestock breeding. Between August 2019 and July 2020, another 2.7 million acres (1.1 million hectares) were destroyed. Much of the wood and meat produced in Brazil from this deforestation ends up in Global North markets.

In Southeast Asia, deforestation linked to the palm oil industry also continues. Between 2018 and 2020, almost 500,000 acres (202,000 hectares) of rainforest were cleared in just three countries: Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, leading to Indigenous communities losing their land. The demand for palm oil from top food brands in the Global North remains high, despite their commitments to reduce use.

Meanwhile, the push for greener sources of energy, particularly in the Global North, is driving the demand for metals like nickel, cobalt and lithium. Labourers in mining communities working to extract these metals face dangerous and degrading working conditions.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the use of child labour in cobalt mines is widespread, putting the lives of children at risk, damaging their health and depriving them of education. In Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, lithium mining uses large quantities of water, accelerating desertification and polluting underground waters and rivers, putting the health of local communities at risk.

According to data gathered by London-based NGO Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, there have been 304 complaints of human rights violations by 115 companies mining these minerals.

Although the end of colonialism was declared decades ago, its last effects in the form of these extractive industries are clear. The system of Indigenous land takeovers, resource extraction, labour exploitation and wealth transfer set up by European colonialists continues to operate and dispossess people in the Global South.

It is against the backdrop of this neo-colonial reality that the European Union announced its Green Deal at the end of 2019.

Underpinned by an apolitical narrative that humans have already changed the Earth’s climate and degraded the majority of its ecosystems, so action needs to be taken, the Green Deal completely ignores the fact that the Global North was the main driver of climate change and environmental degradation across the world.

European governments and corporations not only damaged and destroyed the environment on the continent and exploited local marginalised communities, but have been engaged in the same exact behaviour and worse, on all other continents.

The natural world in Africa, Asia and Latin America has been destroyed through the capitalist economic systems deployed by the Global North which normalised, expanded and strengthened hyper-extraction through overproduction and over-consumption.

The European Green Deal does not outline how it will reconcile and repair the losses and damages EU countries have caused to ecosystems and communities outside of Europe. Nor does it acknowledge how these damages force people in the Global South to migrate to Europe’s shores, where they experience pushbacks, must less offer a solution.

The European Green Deal also ignores the environmental impact of Europe’s drive for renewable energy and electric mobility on other parts of the world, where resources for this economic shift will have to be extracted. It also does not pay attention to how climate change and environmental degradation have disproportionately affected its own marginalised communities and the poor and destitute in the Global South.

In other words, in the pursuit of making the EU the first climate-neutral region in the world by 2050, Brussels is falling back on its old ways and deploying what we call climate colonialism.

The EU’s apolitical narrative on climate change – ignoring the impact of colonialism and capitalism and heavily influenced by the very corporations who profit from them – could result in climate action that is not only non-impactful but, worse, could be unsustainable and damaging for marginalised communities on the continent as well as the Global South.

It relies on tech solutions and silver-bullet ideas, promising to lead a “green, sustainable” economy with electric vehicles, solar panels, wind turbines and other exciting renewable innovations.

But the question is, who will this be sustainable for?

In order not to fall into climate colonialism, the European Green Deal needs a clear plan to eradicate harmful extractive models, recognise its historical responsibility in the climate crisis, and provide accountability for the damage EU companies cause in the Global South.

Working within the same system that causes injustice will only reproduce injustice. We at Equinox have put forward a number of important recommendations that could help steer the Green Deal away from its capitalistic, colonial foundation and towards new holistic, intersectional approaches that put social and racial justice at its core.

Among these recommendations are a clear commitment to racial justice, integrated policies linking the EU’s Anti-Racist Action Plan to the Green Deal, institutional reform, and a new relationship with civil society.

Only by acknowledging that it is perpetuating colonial capitalism, and committing to ending this approach, can the EU’s Green Deal be truly effective in addressing climate change. For far too long, European governments and companies have wreaked havoc across the world. It is time for justice, accountability and a complete overhaul of economic systems. Our collective survival depends on it.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Cameroonian Namondo Replaces Rosa Malango As Un Resident Coordinator In Uganda

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The United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres has appointed Susan Ngongi Namondo of Cameroon as the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Uganda, with the host Government’s approval.
Ms Namondo is replacing Rosa Malango of Equatorial Guinea who first came to Uganda in 2016 as United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Representative and Coordinator, and was in 2019 appointed Resident Coordinator reporting to the President and Secretary General of the United Nations.
Malango was recently promoted by Guterres to serve as Director, Economic Affairs for Regional Economic Commission headquartered in Europe.
Mrs Malango first communicated publicly on June 10, 2021 at the commemorations of Heroes Day at Kololo Independence Grounds that the UN Secretary, General Antonio Guterres had promoted her to serve as Director, Economic Affairs for Regional Economic Commission headquartered in Europe.
“It has been an honour for me to serve as United Nations Resident Coordinator in Uganda during the past five years. The UN Secretary General has now promoted me to serve as Director Economic Affairs for the Regional Economic Commission under our headquarters in Europe. I will be coordinating the work of the economic Commission in Africa, Asia, the Americas as well as Europe,” she said.
“Today is my last Heroes Day in my current capacity. But I believe that Uganda has the potential to serve as a beacon of hope, peace and prosperity for the African continent and the world,” she added.
Ms. NGONGI NAMONDO PROFILE
Ms. Ngongi Namondo has over 25 years of experience in development work, including 19 years leading development professionals in the areas of policy formulation and programme planning across four different United Nations agencies at the national, regional and headquarters levels.
Within the Organization, she most recently served as the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Eritrea, after occupying other senior positions with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), including Representative to Ghana and Comoros, and Deputy Representative to Liberia. She also served the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Prior to joining the United Nations, Ms. Ngongi Namondo worked with the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI), an international scientific organization, and global non-profits including Caritas Internationalis and Catholic Relief Services.
She holds bachelor’s degrees in political science and in animal science from the University of Maryland, USA as well as master’s degrees in public administration from Columbia University, USA and in animal health from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom.

The post Cameroonian Namondo Replaces Rosa Malango As Un Resident Coordinator In Uganda first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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Chad’s Football Dream

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Football is a passion in Chad but the national team has yet to qualify for top African and world tournaments.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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