“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
🦠📝 On the Origin of COVID
The WHO distributed a joint report with China regarding its investigation into the origins of COVID-19 to member states yesterday (WSJ, AP, & WaPo ($) also obtained copies). It is expected to be made public later today.
The report presents the findings of a four-week mission to Wuhan, China – the site of the first confirmed coronavirus cases – by a WHO-led team of experts in late 2019 and early 2020, despite initial resistance from China.
🤿 A deeper dive…
The findings reportedly offer little new insight into how the virus first emerged and leave many questions unanswered.
The report said the chance of the virus having spread from humans from the packaging of “cold-chain” food products was “possible” but “not likely,” per the AP.
The reportconcluded it is “extremely unlikely” COVID-19 escaped as the result of a lab accident, saying the virus very likely spread from bats and then to humans via another small mammal species.
The team recommended further research into every area they studied except the lab leak hypothesis, and said the role of the seafood market where human cases were first identified was uncertain.
📢 Public Response
Earlier this month, an international group of scientists published an open letter calling for a new, independent and “unrestricted” probe into the origins of COVID-19.
They said the WHO effort “did not have the mandate, the independence, or the necessary accesses to carry out a full and unrestricted investigation into all the relevant SARS-CoV-2 origin hypotheses.”
On Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. has “real concerns about the methodology and the process that went into that report, including the fact that the government in Beijing apparently helped to write it.”
Could an accident have caused COVID-19? Why the Wuhan lab-leak theory shouldn’t be dismissed
The study, which followed nearly 4k essential workers in eight U.S. locations, also suggested the first dose of vaccine was 80% effective at preventing infection starting two weeks after receipt of that dose.
More: Researchers said the study was not conducted in a way that would allow them to estimate the efficacy of each individual vaccine.
🇲🇿 ISIS Attacks Mozambique Town
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a days-long attack on a town in northern Mozambique called Palma, where hundreds of militants last week assaulted a liquefied natural gas project worth tens of billions of dollars.
The violence, which began on Wednesday, left dozens of civilians dead and even more missing. Thousands were evacuated on boats ~100 miles down the coast to Pemba, Mozambique’s capital.
Local police and officials had reportedly secured control of most of Palma on Monday after the ISIS insurgents withdrew to the surrounding fields and forests.
Prosecutors called their first three witnesses in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin yesterday. He is charged with second and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd last May.
The incident was captured in a viral video that sparked nationwide protests and calls for police reform. The prosecution played the full nine-minute, 29-second video for the jury minutes into their opening statements.
The defense argued in its opening statements that Floyd’s poor health and drug use prior to the incident caused his death.
More: Court is expected to resume today at 9:30 a.m. CT (Video).
🇺🇸🇲🇲 The U.S. suspended all engagement with Myanmar “until the return of a democratically elected government” under a 2013 trade and investment agreement. Myanmar’s military seized power from the government in a coup on February 1.
“I’m pleased to announce that at least 90% of all adults in this country will be eligible to be vaccinated by April 19, just three weeks from now… Due to the steps we’re taking today, 90% of Americans will be within five miles of a location where they can get a shot as of April the 19th.”
Global investment bank Credit Suisse Group said they suffered a “highly significant” loss from a default by an unspecified U.S.-based hedge fund on margin calls it and other banks made last week.
Separately, Japanese bank Nomura Holdings said it could face a $2B loss due to an event with a U.S. client.
According to multiple reports (WSJ, Bloomberg ($), CNBC), the fund in question is Archegos Capital Management, which sources say was heavily invested in ViacomCBS using a lot of leverage.
Last week, ViacomCBS announced a $3B stock offering to fund its Paramount+ launch, after which its share price dipped more than 50% over the next five days.
The dramatic drop in ViacomCBS’ share price reportedly forced banks late last week to liquidate nearly $30B worth of positions held by Archegos, including a large chunk of Discovery stock (which saw its largest single-day drop since September 2008 on Friday).
🔌🚗 Nuts & Volts
Volkswagen yesterday accidentally published – and deleted – a press release dated for the end of April announcing a new name for its U.S. operations: Voltswagen of America.
😈👟 Nike filed a federal trademark infringement lawsuit yesterday against the company that released a customized ~$1,000 version of its Air Max 97s – called “Satan Shoes” – in collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X. (There were 666 “Satan Shoes” made, each containing a single drop of human blood in the soles.)
🤖🦾 Boston Dynamicsunveiled Stretch, a mobile warehouse robot capable of moving 800 boxes per hour.
🚢 The Ever Given was freed yesterday, allowing traffic to resume across the Suez Canal.
👨👧❤️An Unbreakable Bond
Saughat Khan’s dad has been fighting ALS and dementia for over a year. The TikTok-er regularly shares videos of her dad’s journey, which help to showcase the pair’s amazing bond.
Since her dad is forbidden visitors due to covid concerns, Saughat often posts videos of them dancing, talking, and making each other laugh in an effort to keep his body moving and brain functioning properly.
💾 Test Drive… two new techniques for chip data storage – involving lasers and microwaves – may enable the creation of hard drives that can store up to 60TB of data.
🌎 Planetary Photo Shoot… satellite imagery startup Capella Space released the first photos taken by two satellites launched by SpaceX in January, which use synthetic aperture radar technology to capture high-resolution images of Earth – even in areas obscured by darkness or bad weather.
🦷 Nothing But The Tooth… scientists in Japan successfully regenerated the teeth of mice suffering from tooth agenesis, a genetic disorder that causes tooth loss, laying the foundation for a potential human application.
🇮🇹 European Vacation
Which of these countries borders Italy?
A) Spain B) France C) Germany D) Poland
(keep scrolling for the answer)
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