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New Reports Indicate US and China Collaborated on Coronavirus Research Prior to COVID-19 Outbreak

New reports indicate the U.S. government helped fund research in Wuhan that may be linked to COVID-19.

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Coronavirus Research

(TMU) — Despite months of constant news coverage telling the public the source of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 was seafood markets located in Wuhan, China, mounting evidence indicates the origin of the virus may be related to joint research funded by the United States and Chinese governments. New records viewed by the Mail on Sunday, studies examining the outbreak of the virus, and questions posed by an increasing amount of researchers are poking holes in the narrative put forth by the government and media.

On Saturday, Mail on Sunday reported that scientists with the Wuhan Institute of Virology experimented on bats as part of a project funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Mail reported that they have obtained documents detailing the relationship between the Wuhan Institute and the NIH, including the use of U.S. funding to carry out research on bats. The Wuhan Institute also worked with the University of Alabama, the University of North Texas, Harvard University, and the National Wildlife Federation.

The documents reportedly detail how the U.S. government provided a $3.7 million grant for the Wuhan Institute to experiment on bats captured from caves in Yunnan, more than 1,000 miles away from Wuhan. According to the Mail, scientists working with funds from the U.S. NIH grew a strain of coronavirus in a lab and injected it into piglets. The report also states that after some piglets died they were fed to the remaining piglets.

The importance of the connection to the caves in Yunnan cannot be overstated. According to a genetic analysis of the novel coronavirus’ genome, it is “96% identical at the whole-genome level to a bat coronavirus.” The study, “A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin,” also connected CoViD-19 to a coronavirus originating from Yunnan. The study stated, “We then found that a short region of RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) from a bat coronavirus (BatCoV RaTG13)—which was previously detected in Rhinolophus affinis from Yunnan province—showed high sequence identity to 2019-nCoV.”

Following the revelations, U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz called for an end to U.S. government funding of “cruel animal experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which may have contributed to the global spread of CoViD-19.” 

While these new revelations counter the mainstream narrative regarding the origin of the virus, they line up with previous studies. In late February, UPI reported that Chinese authorities said the first patient known to contract the novel coronavirus had no connection to the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan. “Eastern Broadcasting Co. and Liberty Times reported Thursday that China’s first patient had shown symptoms of CoViD-19 as early as Dec. 8. Chinese authorities have previously said the outbreak began on Dec. 31,” UPI noted. Additionally, UPI reported that a research team with China’s Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Huanan Agricultural College, and the Chinese Institute for Brain Research have also said the seafood market is not the source of CoViD-19.

Both the U.S. and Chinese governments have been tight lipped on potential alternative explanations for the origin of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and CoViD-19, the resulting disease. Both nations have also been quick to dismiss the idea that either were involved in developing any sort of germ or biowarfare—except when accusing each other of funding such projects. In fact, a recent report from the Guardian details how two websites for Chinese universities recently published and then removed pages referencing a new policy requiring all academic papers related to CoViD-19 to be submitted for extra vetting prior to publication.

In terms of priority, controlling the narrative is more important than the public health or the economic fallout,” he said. “It doesn’t mean the economy and public health aren’t important. But the narrative is paramount,” Prof Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute in London, told the Guardian.

What About the Harvard Arrests?

The revelations regarding the U.S. funding of Chinese research into viruses spawned from bats and the attempts at controlling the narrative are sure to rekindle theories regarding the arrests of a Harvard professor who has been accused of lying about his connections to the Chinese government’s Thousand Talents Plan, an effort to attract Chinese scientists and entrepreneurs back to their homeland. Harvard department chair Charles Lieber is alleged to have accepted more than $1 million in grant money from the Chinese government. Harvard University called the charges against him “extremely serious.” Lieber was arrested on January 28. Two Chinese nationals were also charged including Zaosong Zheng who was detained on December 30 and Yanqing Ye who is currently in China.

Although there is not yet clear evidence that Lieber was arrested in relation to research related to COVID-19, his arrest does deserve further scrutiny. According to the statement from the Department of Justice, since 2008 Lieber received more than $15,000,000 in grant funding from the NIH and Department of Defense which require the disclosure of “significant foreign financial conflicts of interest.” The complaint states that beginning in 2011 Lieber also became a “’Strategic Scientist’ at Wuhan University of Technology (WUT) in China and was a contractual participant in China’s Thousand Talents Plan from in or about 2012 to 2017.

This complaint connects Lieber to research in Wuhan, his involvement with the NIH—which was also funding Chinese research into bats—and makes clear his involvement with the Thousand Talents Plan. The DOJ describes the Thousand Talents Plan as “one of the most prominent Chinese Talent recruit plans that are designed to attract, recruit, and cultivate high-level scientific talent in furtherance of China’s scientific development, economic prosperity and national security.  These talent programs seek to lure Chinese overseas talent and foreign experts to bring their knowledge and experience to China and reward individuals for stealing proprietary information.” 

Although the complaint alleges that Lieber lied about his involvement in the program in April 2018—prior to the CoViD19 outbreak—his involvement with the program continued into 2019. If Lieber had been involved with Chinese research into bats, or secretly funneling out U.S. research into viruses, he would have been working on such matters prior to the outbreak. Although FactCheck states that, “While his work has recently focused on coming up with novel ways of using nanowires in cells, he is not a biologist, nor does he have expertise in viruses,” a 2004 report quotes Lieber as researching nanowires for detecting the presence of virus. Coincidentally, Lieber himself states, “Viruses are among the most important causes of human disease and are of increasing concern as possible agents of biowarfare and bioterrorism.” 

Nature Index recently reported that during an April 2018 hearing organized by the U.S. House of Representatives, Michael Wessel, the commissioner of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, asked Congress to cut federal grants, loans, or other assistance to participants of the Thousand Talents Plan. Representative Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, also warned that China was using “sleeper agents at our research universities to steal our scientific breakthroughs.” Further, Nature Index notes that Francis Collins, director of the NIH, sent a letter to thousands of research institutes on August 20, 2018, warning that foreign nations were attempting to use “systematic programs to influence NIH researchers and peer reviewers.”

Final Thoughts

When considering these warnings in conjunction with Lieber’s arrest and involvement with the Thousand Talents Plan, it’s easy to understand why some readers and researchers believe there might be an as yet unproven connection between Lieber, the U.S. NIH funding of experiments in China, and the Chinese government’s plan to influence scientists within the United States. The U.S. and Chinese governments have both been accused of lying about the true impact of SARS-CoV-19 and the public has an increasing distrust for media reports that are often seen as exaggerated or downplayed.

All of this begs the following questions: Was Lieber involved with the research into bats found in the caves of Yunnan? What was the true nature of the U.S.-government sponsored experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology? How deep did this collaboration between the governments go? Does the truth about the origins of SARS-CoV-19 and COVID-19 relate to these experiments? The answers to these questions remain to be seen, but the public must continue to question the narratives that are being spun right in front of our eyes.

By Derrick Broze | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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CIA Drops ‘Black Vault’ Trove Containing ‘All’ Government Documents on UFOs

Elias Marat

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The CIA has released all publicly available U.S. government documents collected on unidentified flying objects (UFO) over the course of three decades that can now be downloaded by any curious users.

According to reports, the massive trove of data on UFOs includes over 2,700 pages of information collected and recorded by government agencies over the course of decades, with some declassified documents dating back as far as the 1980s.

The information was released thanks to numerous requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) over the past 25 years.

The downloadable archives are available on the website The Black Vault, which has collected every piece of data recording sightings of UFOs. The site’s founder, John Greenewald Jr., purchased a disc which the CIA claims contains the entirety of its archives, but Greenewald notes that “there may be no way to entirely verify that.”

“Research by The Black Vault will continue to see if there are additional documents still uncovered within the CIA’s holdings,” Greenewald added.

The U.S. government has been increasingly open in its discussions of UFOs since September 2019, when the U.S. Navy admitted that widely-circulated video footage captured by Navy pilots purportedly showing UFOs flying through the skies did depict actual “unknown” objects that flew into U.S. airspace.

While officials admitted that they have been baffled by the unknown flying objects, they also admit that past encounters with them have been frequent. They also said that rather than calling them “UFOs,” they prefer the term unidentified aerial phenomena or UAPs.

The Guardian reports that a range of bizarre incidents are recorded in the documents, some of which are hard to decipher and are extremely disorganized.

One document reports a series of inexplicable explosions in a Russian town, while another reports a first-hand account of a sighting of an unidentified aerial phenomenon near Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

LiveScience has also reviewed the files, and reports that the documents cover a range of other incidents such as a “1976 account of the government’s then-Assistant Deputy Director for Science and Technology being hand-delivered a mysterious piece of intelligence on a UFO.”

However, Greenewald has expressed annoyance over the manner in which the agency packaged the documents, including the fact that they were burned onto CD-ROM, a medium that he called “outdated.”

“The CIA has made it INCREDIBLY difficult to use their records in a reasonable manner,” he wrote to Vice’s Motherboard. “This outdated format makes it very difficult for people to see the documents, and use them, for any research purpose.”

The arrival of the dump comes as UFOlogists and alien aficionados eagerly anticipate hearings before Congress where Pentagon and intelligence agency officials will report all of their findings on UAPs, according to the New York Post.

A provision tucked into the roughly 5,600-page coronavirus relief bill passed in December requires that government agencies “submit a report within 180 days … to the congressional intelligence and armed services committees on unidentified aerial phenomena.”

Also last June, outgoing President Trump told his son Don Trump Jr. that he had heard some “interesting” things about supposed UFOs and the secretive Area 51 base near Roswell, New Mexico, that some theorists claim was a crash site for a UFO.

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Betty White Turns 99, and Her Tips on Living a Long and Happy Life Are More Valuable Than Ever

Elias Marat

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Betty White, the original golden girl beloved by people of all ages, celebrated her 99th birthday on Sunday.

The spry granny, born Betty Marion White on Jan. 17, 1922, has managed to live a long, healthy, happy life and this can likely be chalked up to her unconventional approach.

The Emmy award-winning veteran actress once joked that her secret to longevity consisted of three simple ingredients: vodka, hot dogs, and her love of pets.

However, her tongue-in-cheek advice is getting new attention, especially given that too many of us have been forced to stay at home over much of the past year.

In 2011, during a Late Show interview with David Letterman, White gave 10 sagely tips on how she’s managed to maintain her verb and energy for so long. With White reaching one year short of a century, the advice is worth revisiting.

Her first bit of advice was to “get at least eight hours of beauty sleep, nine if you’re ugly.” Next, she advised that one should “Exercise. Or don’t. What the hell do I care?”

Third, she opined that one should “never apologize. It shows weakness.”

Her fourth tip shouldn’t give anyone any adventurous ideas, but it’s helpful nonetheless: “The best way to earn a quick buck is a slip and fall lawsuit.”

She then gave the priceless tip that one should “avoid tweeting any photos of your private parts” while also making sure to “schedule nightly appointment with Dr. Johnnie Walker.”

Some of the healthy eaters in our audience may take exception to White’s seventh tip, which is to: “Take some wheatgrass, soy paste and carob, toss it in the garbage and cook yourself a big-*ss piece of pork.”

Her next bit of adice was to “try not to die” and “never dwell on past mistakes,” which may both be easier said than done. Lastly, she recommended that you “don’t waste your time watching this crap.”

Sound advice that we can all relate to, Mrs. White!

White is reportedly spending her 99th birthday simply relaxing, she told Entertainment Tonight.

“You probably didn’t ask, but I’ll tell you anyway. … What am I doing for my birthday? Running a mile each morning has been curtailed by [coronavirus], so I am working on getting ‘The Pet Set’ re-released, and feeding the two ducks who come to visit me every day,” she explained, referencing a 1971 show she starred in that featured celebrities appearing alongside their pets.

Her birthday was also marked by various celebrities, who tweeted out birthday greetings to the TV icon.

“Happy birthday, @BettyMWhite! You’re a miracle in every way,”  wrote Ellen DeGeneres.

“I still get warm when I see this look. Happy 99 baby. You are a testament to living life on your own terms. Sending you a great big socially distanced kiss. I love you @BettyMWhite,” Ed Asner tweeted.

“Betty White bloopers are the best bloopers #HappyBirthdayBettyWhite,” Valerie Bertinelli tweeted alongside a video of hilarious mistakes made on the set of their former show, Hot in Cleveland.

“Wishing the incomparable Betty White a very happy 99th birthday! What’s your favorite Betty White role, friends?” wrote Star Trek star George Takei.

White, who is best known for her role as Rose Nylund in the classic sitcom The Golden Girls (1985-92), has over 75 years in show business under her belt. The comedian became a staple of U.S. television in such shows as The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Hot in Cleveland along with memorable appearances in shows like Mama’s Family and That ‘70s Show.

She catapulted to fame with her first sitcom, Life with Elizabeth, where White played the titular role and became the first woman to have creative control of a program as both a producer and the star.

White earned no less than 24 Emmy nominations and won eight in the span of her career.

When she reached the age of 90 it didn’t slow her down one bit. Not only did White become the oldest host in the history of Saturday Night Live but she also made dozens of cameos. White also starred in a memorable 2010 Super Bowl commercial for Snickers where she got tackled to the ground, football-style.

In an email to the Associated Press, White shared an especially enjoyable perk of old age: “Since I am turning 99, I can stay up as late as I want without asking permission!”

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Animals

Surfing Sea Lions Have a Blast as They Ride and Flip Through Gnarly California Waves in Video

Elias Marat

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Surfers know that in terms of the best places to catch the best breaks and surf zones, few regions can compete with California’s central coast. From Malibu through Ventura to Santa Barbara County, up through SLO to the Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz, the Gold Coast arguably has no rivals in the U.S. in terms of its natural beauty and spectacular waves.

But while California’s beaches have long been synonymous with the surfing world, it would appear that actual sea lions from the regional are also enjoying the gnarly wakesurfs and sick swells on offer throughout the central coast.

In brilliant video captured last week off Santa Barbara Island, within the Channel Islands National Park just west of Los Angeles, sea lions can be seen surfing the massive waves with the sort of natural skill that only evolutionary forces can mold.

In the footage, the nimble pinnipeds can be seen riding and flipping about while taking huge leaps through the giant swells. The video was captured via high-speed photography, far too fast for sound to be recorded.

So Ryan Lawler, who runs Pacific Offshore Expeditions, paired the footage to the iconic hit from the Surfaris, “Wipeout.”

The energetic footage was captured by a documentary crew that included a National Geographic cameraman during a Jan. 7 outing with Pacific Offshore Expeditions.

 “Our trip to Santa Barbara Island was bumpy and dive conditions questionable,” the company wrote on its Instagram post of the video. “But what we found in light of this was a wonderful surprise: surfing sea lions! None of us had ever seen such sustained and enthusiastic wave riding from pinnipeds before. It was a joy to watch!”

The scene was so remarkable that the crew eagerly returned to Santa Barbara Island for more footage after checking out the footage that they shot.

“On the exposed side of the island the swell was huge but we found some sun,” Lawler told For The Win Outdoors. “As we rounded the southern portion of the island, which has an islet called Sutil Island, we noticed sea lions flying out of the back of the waves. It was an awesome moment.”

Like most priceless moments in the majestic Channel Islands, however, the session was all too brief – and was totally skunked by the thick, foggy marine layer of an unseasonably hot January.

“I had never seen that before at this island, which is well known for its sea lions,” Lawler continued. “So we stayed there for 20 minutes, observing and waiting for the sun to break up the fog. Then we dove for about 90 minutes and came back, but all the sea lions had disappeared.”

Sea lions have long been known to be powerful and agile swimmers who are even known to body surf on occasion, but scenes such as these are very difficult to capture.

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