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WHO Director-General says lab leak “least likely hypothesis” to explain initial COVID outbreak

Earlier Tuesday, over 20 leaders and global agencies called for greater pandemic preparedness through an international treaty, though they gave few details on how to compel cooperation between countries.

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In a joint statement by several countries, Canada, the U.S and a dozen others expressed concerns Tuesday over a World Health Organization (WHO) report on the origins of COVID-19.

In January and February, the team spent four weeks in Wuhan, China, and the surrounding area, releasing its final report to the public Tuesday.

“Together, we support a transparent and independent analysis and evaluation, free from interference and undue influence, of the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement read.

The joint statement expressed their concerns while also reinforcing the importance of collaboration on developing and using a “swift, effective, transparent, science-based, and independent process for international evaluations of such outbreaks of unknown origin in the future.”

Earlier Tuesday, over 20 leaders and global agencies called for greater pandemic preparedness through an international treaty, though they gave few details on how to compel cooperation between countries.

While praising WHO’s mission, the team urged additional expert-driven studies of animals to determine how COVID-19 came into contact with humans.

“As far as WHO is concerned, all hypotheses remain on the table,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“This report is a very important beginning, but it is not the end. We have not yet found the source of the virus, and we must continue to follow the science and leave no stone unturned as we do,” he said.

“Finding the origin of a virus takes time, and we owe it to the world to find the source so we can collectively take steps to reduce the risk of this happening again. No single research trip can provide all the answers.”

Despite ongoing uncertainty, experts indicated the virus was likely transmitted from bats to humans through another animal. Still, incomplete knowledge continues to inflame tensions over how the pandemic started.

Two other possibilities were also considered, including direct spread from bats to humans — the more likely of the two — and potential reach through cold-chain food products.

Some, including the U.S., have also put China under the microscope, going as far as accusing them of hindering efforts to ascertain the pandemic’s origins.

Ghebreyesus mentioned experts had some difficulty accessing raw data while in China.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration members actively promoted a lab leak theory, though they have not provided specific evidence to support their supposition.

The Biden-Harris Administration said in a statement that additional steps were needed to determine COVID-19’s origins.

“There’s a second stage in this process that we believe should be led by international and independent experts. They should have unfettered access to data,” said the White House.

They said experts should ask questions of people who are on the ground, asking WHO to take this stance at this point.

WHO mission expert Dominic Dwyer said Tuesday there was “no obvious evidence” Wuhan-area labs were involved in the initial outbreak, as the three laboratories in Wuhan working with COVID-19 were “well-managed”.

The report said they operated under “high-quality” biosafety levels with no news of respiratory illness among staff before March 2020.

Ghebreyesus also said the team concluded a laboratory leak was the least likely hypothesis and required further investigation. He was open to deploying additional missions involving specialist experts to determine its validity.

“We will keep you informed as plans progress, and as always, we very much welcome your input,” he said.

The four-week mission leader and WHO member, Peter Ben Embarek, attested to those concerns, admitting there was difficulty accessing the raw data.

He said it was “perfectly possible” COVID-19 cases circulated in November or October 2019 around Wuhan, leading to outbreaks abroad earlier than was documented.

Dhaliwal is a Western Standard reporter based in Edmonton

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. James Morris

    April 1, 2021 at 9:34 am

    The WHO is trying to tell the world that the virus is animal based? Really! Does that mean we should now be calling Dr Fauci Dr Doolittle and believe the animals gave him permission to PATENT their disease???

  2. D K

    April 1, 2021 at 7:47 am

    Li-Meng Yan
    stated on September 15, 2020 in an interview on “Tucker Carlson Tonight”:
    “This virus, COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 virus, actually is not from nature. It is a man-made virus created in the lab.”

  3. Left Coast

    March 31, 2021 at 5:21 pm

    The WHO Director is about a credible as our Justin . . .
    The man is not even a Medical Dr., he is a Psychologist or Social Worker.

    The Obama Administration funded the Virus research at Wuhan to the tune of 3.7 million and Fauci was involved. The only way this Virus could gain abilities was in a Lab and the first reported sickness was in Wuhan in late September 2019. The Virus was on the West Cost of North America by November 2019 . . . as blood samples collect then in California showed Covid Antibodies.

    This Virus was no accident . . . it was the attempt by the Globalists to save China from Trump’s Tariff regime which was cratering China’s Economy . . . incidentally where all the Swell Folks are heavily invested these days . . . like Bloomberg.
    Notice how Wall Street and the Global Investment realm is doing very nice today?
    China will likely become the dominant Economy in the next few years . . . and then what?

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Kenney leadership review to be held April 9 in Red Deer, in convention-style vote

The UCP board decided not to listen to demands from 22 constituency associations that wanted a review by March at the latest, said a Western Standard source close to the board.

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Editor’s note. Due to a typo, the initial version of the story said the review would be April 6. Sources say the vote will take place April 9.

A pay-to-vote leadership review of United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney will be held April 9 in Red Deer, the Western Standard has learned.

The UCP board decided not to listen to demands from 22 constituency associations that wanted a review by March at the latest, said a Western Standard source close to the board.

The source said the board felt it was “being generous” to the 22 rebel ridings by holding a review in April.

Details on how much it will cost to go to the conference are still being worked out, but it will be a system where you have to pay to vote, the source said.

Those details are expected to be announced in January.

While the board meeting was “friendly,” pro-Kenney factions later held long discussions to plan strategy, said the source.

A convention-style review appears to favour Kenney as opposed to a one-vote-per-party-member system as Kenney is famed for his political organizing power.

His office came under fire last month for allegedly using money from third-party political action committees (PACs) to send people to the UCP AGM which turned into a Kenney love-fest that left the leader smiling.

Kenney denied knowledge of the PAC money.

“I’m not involved in third party organizations, but third party political organizations are free, within the law, to be involved in politics,” said Kenney.

Prior to the AGM Airdrie-Cochrane UCP MLA Peter Guthrie sent Kenney a letter which said the party was on the verge of collapse. 

“Public opinion continues to wane, and we may be at a point where this party cannot be salvaged,” writes Guthrie, in the letter obtained by the Western Standard.

“Membership has fallen from 150,000 to less than 10,000 and fundraising is evaporating along with our credibility.”

Much of the UCP grassroots frustration has come on the heels of controversial COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Kenney also brought in a vaccine passport scheme he vowed never to introduce.

Another scandal that infuriated UCP members was when the infamous pictures were published of Kenney holding an outdoor dinner on the balcony of the “Sky Palace” in contravention of the government’s of laws, regulations, and guidelines.

In April, a UCP MLA told the Western Standard they are “100% certain” Kenney would be the subject of an early party leadership review.

“Caucus is in total chaos,” said the MLA, who spoke with the Western Standard on the condition of anonymity.

But the expected caucus revolt failed to materialize.

At one point the caucus booted MLAs Todd Loewen and Drew Barnes for dissension.

Editor’s note. Due to a typo, the initial version of the story said the review would be April 6. Sources say the vote will take place April 9.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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YouTube cancels Western Standard for reporting news story

“Your channel now has one strike,” said YouTube in the e-mail, adding Western Standard’s account has been suspended for one week.

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YouTube issued one strike against the Western Standard for reporting on a Calgary police officer who was put on leave for refusing the COVID-19 vaccinations.

YouTube sent the notification via e-mail to Derek Fildebrandt, president and CEO of the Western Standard, on Wednesday, and stated the video included in the story violates YouTube’s “medical misinformation policy.”

“YouTube doesn’t allow claims about COVID-19 vaccinations that contradict expert consensus from local health authorities or the World Health Organization (WHO),” said the e-mail.

“YouTube banned our account for sharing content that contradicted the advice of the WHO and local health authorities,” said Fildebrandt.

“But the WHO and local health authorities contradict themselves. One such health authority, Alberta Health Services (AHS), had to contradict itself after the Western Standard caught them lying to Albertans about which they falsely claimed was a COVID-19 death of a child.”

The notice indicated YouTube had removed the video stating, “We know this might be disappointing, but it’s important to us that YouTube is a safe place for all.”

In the video, an emotional Const. Brian Denison, a 24-year veteran with the Calgary Police Service (CPS), explained the turmoil he has faced for refusing to be vaccinated by the December 1 deadline set out by the CPS.

Denison, one year from retirement, called the vaccine policy a “farce” and said the CPS is “bullying” staff. He also described the segregation of society into the “vaccinated and unvaccinated” as similar to Hitler’s Nazi regime.

The Western Standard’s News Editor Dave Naylor covered the story in an unbiased fashion and included the video of Denison.

“Your channel now has one strike,” said YouTube in the e-mail, adding Western Standard’s account has been suspended for one week.

The YouTube team further warned a second strike will result in a two-week suspension and three strikes within a 90-day period would result in the channel being permanently removed.

“YouTube — like other big tech and big social corporations — is so terrified of being regulated by the government that it over-regulates itself,” said Fildebrandt.

“In time, these monopolies will destroy themselves.”

The Western Standard has already submitted an appeal to YouTube and contacted their press department, as well as moved the video in question to Rumble.

“Of all the social media giants, YouTube has the weakest monopoly,” said Fildebrandt.

“They can ban the Western Standard and other media from posting legitimate news content all they like, and we’ll just put it on other platforms. That’s why we’ve been making a concerted effort to utilize platforms with a greater respect for free speech, like Rumble.”

The Western Standard did not receive a response from YouTube’s press department in time for publishing.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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Canada joins growing diplomatic boycott of Chinese 2022 Olympics

The countries say the move is to protest the human rights record of the Chinese government, especially when it comes to the minority Uyghur Muslim community.

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First, it was the US. Then Australia. Now Canada has joined the list of countries refusing to send diplomats or high-level officials to the Beijing Winter Olympics next year.

The countries say the move is to protest the human rights record of the Chinese government, especially when it comes to the minority Uyghur Muslim community.

Canadian athletes will still be allowed to compete.

“For months, we have been coordinating and discussing the issue with our allies,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters Wednesday.

“As many partners around the world, we are extremely concerned by the repeated human rights violations by the Chinese government.

“This should not come as a surprise” to the Chinese regime, said Trudeau.

“(The athletes) need to have one thing in mind and that’s representing the country to the best of their ability and winning a gold medal for Canada,” he said.

Earlier this year, the House of Commons passed a motion calling the violence directed at religious minorities in China’s Xinjiang province as “genocide.” Trudeau and his cabinet were absent for the vote.

In a statement, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) said it “understands and respects” the decision and applauds the effort to “draw an important distinction between the participation of athletes and the participation of government officials.”

Canada’s last Olympic boycott was in Russia in 1980, protesting that country’s invasion of Afghanistan.

The US announced its decision on Monday.

“U.S. diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the [People’s Republic of China]’s egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang, and we simply can’t do that,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a briefing.

Chinese officials have already said the US will pay for its boycott.

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We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

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