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WHO Says No Proof From US On ‘Speculative’ Claims Virus Came From Wuhan Lab

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The World Health Organization said Monday that Washington had provided no evidence to support “speculative” claims by the US president that the new coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab.

“We have not received any data or specific evidence from the United States government relating to the purported origin of the virus — so from our perspective, this remains speculative,” WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan told a virtual briefing.

Scientists believe the killer virus jumped from animals to humans, emerging in China late last year, possibly from a market in Wuhan selling exotic animals for meat.

Top US epidemiologist Anthony Fauci echoed the WHO’s statement in an interview published Monday evening by National Geographic.

“If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, (the scientific evidence) is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated,” Fauci told the magazine.

“Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that (this virus) evolved in nature and then jumped species,” he said.

US President Donald Trump, increasingly critical of China’s management of the outbreak, claims to have proof it started in a Wuhan laboratory.

READ ALSO: Pompeo Says ‘Enormous Evidence’ Coronavirus Came From Wuhan Lab 

And US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday said “enormous evidence” backed up that claim, although the US intelligence community last week said it would continue to study whether the outbreak stemmed from infected animal contact, or a lab accident.

China has vehemently denied suggestions the lab was the source.

“Like any evidence-based organisation, we would be very willing to receive any information that purports to the origin of the virus,” Ryan said, stressing that this was “a very important piece of public health information for future control.

“If that data and evidence is available, then it will be for the United States government to decide whether and when it can be shared, but it is difficult for the WHO to operate in an information vacuum in that regard,” he added.

– Science at the centre –

The UN health agency — which has also faced scathing criticism from Trump over accusations it initially downplayed the seriousness of the outbreak to shield China — has repeatedly said the virus clearly appears to have originated naturally from an animal source.

WHO expert Maria Van Kerkhove stressed during Monday’s briefing that there were some 15,000 full genome sequences of the novel coronavirus available, and “from all of the evidence that we have seen… this virus is of natural origin.”

While coronaviruses generally originate in bats, both Van Kerkhove and Ryan stressed the importance of discovering how the virus that causes COVID-19 crossed over to humans, and what animal served as an “intermediary host” along the way.

“We need to understand more about that natural origin, and particularly about intermediate hosts,” Ryan said.

It was important to know “so that we can put in place the right public health and animal-human interface policies that will prevent this happening again,” he stressed.

The WHO said last week it wanted to be invited to take part in Chinese investigations into the animal origins of the pandemic, which in a matter of months has killed more than 250,000 people worldwide.

“We have offered, as we do with every case in every country, assistance with carrying out those investigations,” Ryan said Monday.

“We can learn from Chinese scientists,” he said.

But he warned that if questions about the virus’s origin were “projected as aggressive investigation of wrongdoing, then I believe that’s much more difficult to deal with. That is a political issue.

“Science needs to be at the centre,” he said.

“If we have a science-based investigation and a science-based enquiry as to what the origin species and the intermediate species are, then that will benefit everybody on the planet.”

AFP

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Bandits kill Army colonel, two soldiers in Katsina

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A Nigerian Army colonel, M.Z Manu and two soldiers have been killed by bandits in Unguwar Doka Village under Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State.

It was gathered that the bandits, armed with AK-47 rifles invaded the villages on Thursday night and started shooting indiscriminately. In the process, the gallant officer, soldiers and some civilians were killed.

The acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brig. General Benard Onyeuko, who confirmed the incident in a statement issued to journalists at the Special Army Super Camp IV Faskari, said troops of Operation Sahel Sanity responded to a distress call on September 24, 2020 that bandits attacked Unguwar Doka Village and swiftly mobilised to the area where they cleared the bandits.

During the encounter, troops neutralised 21 bandits while others escaped with gunshot into the forest as evident by the trails of blood along the criminals’ escape route.

 

The statement disclosed that the soldiers rescued three kidnapped victims, including an eight-month-old baby who had been in captivity for more than 23 days and recovered one AK-47 and three motorcycles from the fleeing hoodlums.

 

“Regrettably, resulting from the encounter with the bandits, one gallant officer and two soldiers paid the supreme sacrifice while two other soldiers were wounded in action and are currently receiving medical treatment in a military medical facility and responding positively,” said Onyeuko.

“The fearless troops have continued to pursue the bandits into the forest and dominating the general areas with aggressive fighting patrols to deny them any respite.” he added.

 

Meanwhile, the burial activities of Colonel Manu will hold today at army HQ, Zaria, Kaduna state.

 

Bandits kill Army colonel, two soldiers in Katsina

 

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Kanu Signs Up For Simba TVS

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Nigerian soccer legend, Kanu Nwankwo, was yesterday, unveiled as an ambassador for Simba TVS, distributors of Nigeria’s leading brands in the tricycle, motorcycle and power bike Sector.

 

Kanu said “I have the singular honour and privilege of endorsing and recommending their products. They are number one in their areas of business. Their quality and after sales service policy is demonstrated in their Workshops pan Nigeria”.  Simba TVS places strong emphasis on empowerment, and runs specific programs targeted at women, youths, welfare for the mechanics and rider communities.

 

Mr Mahendra Pratap,  Simba TVS – Business Head in Nigeria,  said “we are honored and humbled that, Kanu Nwankwo, is endorsing TVS King Tricycles and motorcycles, emphasizing that the two-time African player of the year embodied  their brand’s core values of Trust, Value and Service  “through his dedication to this great nation.

 

Kanu?Signs Up For?Simba?TVS

 

Group Head- Marketing -Simba Group, Mr KarthikGovindarajan, Simba’s association with Kanu Nwankwore presents one more step in the Group’s ongoing efforts at deepening their relationship with Nigerian football.

“As the official motorcycle and tricycle of the Super Eagles, Kanu’s endorsement is an inspiration in Simba TVS’s commitment to customer service and empowerment.

 

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Judicial workers to begin strike Monday

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Staff of the Federal High Court across the country have announced plans of engaging in a two-week strike from Monday September 28, 2020.

 

The judicial workers under the aegies of Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) revealed that they are engaging in the strike in line with the industrial action planned by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) over the increased prices of electricity and petroleum products.

 

The notice read;

 

“Please be informed that the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), Federal High Court chapter shall, in collaboration with the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), commences a two-week indefinite strike action from Monday the 28th day of September 2020.

“All offices shall remain closed within this period. You are required to comply.”

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