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From Tiananmen Square to Lafayette Square

Three decades ago, President Trump praised Beijing's "vicious" tactics against protesters. Today, his fight against China is undermined because of his own.

Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic: What Now?

BANGKOK, Thailand, Jun 04 (IPS) - "Before there can be truth there must be a true man"-- Chuang-TzuIn the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic, the much-anticipated 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) of the WHO concluded without any major controversies or disagreements.

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Covid-19 Recessions: This Time It’s Really Different

BERLIN and KUALA LUMPUR, Jun 04 (IPS) - The world economic contraction so far this year is largely due to measures, especially at the national or local level, to contain or prevent Covid-19 contagion, particularly those restricting business operations, thus reducing economic activity, output, incomes and spending.

Read the full story, “Covid-19 Recessions: This Time It’s Really Different”, on

Lifelines in Danger

Jun 04 (IPS) - The COVID-19 pandemic is crippling the economies of rich and poor countries alike. Yet for many low-income and fragile states, the economic shock will be magnified by the loss of remittances—money sent home by migrant and guest workers employed in foreign countries.

Read the full story, “Lifelines in Danger”, on

Pakistan surpasses China in Covid-19 cases; infections surges to 85, 246

Pakistan on Thursday surpassed China, the first epicentre of the coronavirus, after a record 4,688 new cases were registered during the last 24 hours to take the tally to 85,246.

New Zealand says July likely too early to resume travel with Australia

New Zealand rejected calls by business leaders on Thursday to restart flights to Australia within a month as too short a timeframe.

Mahatma Gandhi statue outside Indian Embassy in Washington desecrated

The Mahatma Gandhi's statue outside the Indian Embassy in Washington DC desecrated by unruly elements involved in the ongoing protests in the United States. As per locals, some unruly elements of the #BlackLivesMatters protesters graffitied Gandhi's statue with profanities. The status was later covered up and an investigation has been launched by the local police.

Lukashenko Appoints Head of Military Industry Authority as New Prime Minister - Reports

MINSK (Sputnik) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has appointed Roman Golovchenko, the head of the State Authority for Military Industry, as the new prime minister, Belta news agency reported on Thursday.

Trump hits back at Jim Mattis, calls him world's 'most overrated General'

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday hit back at former Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis after he rebuked the former for his leadership as the president of the United States. Trump also went on to call Mattis world's 'most overrated General'. "Probably the only thing Obama and I have in common is that we both had the honour of firing Jim Mattis...," Trump tweeted.

Hong Kong marks Tiananmen massacre for what many fear will be the last time

When protests broke out in Beijing and other cities across China in early 1989, many in Hong Kong were exhilarated.

Aussie Porn Star Removed From United Airlines Flight After 'Defending' Democracy in US Protests

Riots have been sweeping across the United States in the recent days over the extrajudicial killing of African-American George Floyd in police custody, leaving few people in the country indifferent, including prominent politicians such as Nancy Pelosi, and even adult entertainment workers from another continent.

Russia declares state of emergency after massive oil spill in the Arctic Circle

The spillage occurred on May 29 when the "oil products" leaked from a tank in an industrial plant operated by a subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel.

Australian universities to close campuses and shed thousands of jobs as revenue plummets due to Covid-19 crisis

Shortfalls of hundreds of millions of dollars due to lack of international students and no access to jobkeeper are leading to drastic staff cuts

Several regional Australian universities are planning to shut campuses while others are set to announce hundreds of job losses in coming weeks to deal with the sharp falls in revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Without access to jobkeeper – the sector has been specifically excluded by the Morrison government – universities are frantically working on strategies to deal with billions in revenue shortfalls from the loss of international student fees. Most expect the situation will continue to get worse into 2021.

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Oil Pipeline Collapses in Russia's Perm Region, Resulting in Spill - Emergencies

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Kholmogory-Klin oil trunk pipeline of Russia's Transneft-Prikamye company was depressurized, resulting in an oil spill in Perm region, a representative of the local emergency services said on Thursday.

George Floyd killing: ex-defense secretary condemns Trump's handling of protests – live

James Mattis accuses Trump of dividing US and ordering military to violate constitutional rights of Americans

Associated Press are reporting that more than 10,000 people have now been arrested in protests against racism and police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death. It’s not an official figure, but comes from their own tally of arrest reports.

The AP figures show that Los Angeles has had more than a quarter of the national arrests, followed by New York, Dallas and Philadelphia. Many of the arrests have been for low-level offences such as curfew violations and failure to disperse. Hundreds were arrested on burglary and looting charges.

If you’ve been following the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag on social media you may have been surprised this morning by a sudden flood of Korean characters and the repeated phrase: “We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.”

The source of this is the world’s biggest K-Pop band, BTS, who posted on social media this morning:

우리는 인종차별에 반대합니다.
우리는 폭력에 반대합니다.
나, 당신, 우리 모두는 존중받을 권리가 있습니다. 함께 하겠습니다.

We stand against racial discrimination.
We condemn violence.
You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.#BlackLivesMatter

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It’s in the BLOOD: Genetics could cause some people to be affected WORSE by Covid-19, study finds

By: RT

A major study, the first of its kind, has revealed an association between certain blood types and the likelihood of respiratory failure as a reaction to coronavirus infection. So, genetics could play a role after all.

The study, entitled ‘The ABO blood group locus and a chromosome 3 gene cluster associate with SARS-CoV-2 respiratory failure in an Italian-Spanish genome-wide association analysis’, is a genome-wide association study (GWAS).

A GWAS looks for correlations between DNA markers (tiny mutations scattered throughout a person’s genome) and an outward physical or mental trait of some kind. In this case, that trait was extreme susceptibility to Covid-19, represented by respiratory failure.

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As you might have guessed, when a GWAS is involved, ‘correlation’ is the keyword. A GWAS does not search for causation, and therefore it is only the first step in a process to find inherited factors behind physical, mental, or behavioral traits. Moreover, the paper has been published ahead of being peer reviewed on the pre-print server medRxiv, meaning its findings should be taken with a grain of salt.

Nevertheless, this is the first strong indication of genetic factors being at play in reaction sto Covid-19.

Which blood type is best?

The study analyzed over eight and a half million mutations in total, and 1,725 Spaniards and 2,090 Italians from seven hotspots of coronavirus (Milan, Monza, Madrid, San Sebastian, and Barcelona) were included in the study. The researchers took efforts to exclude people of foreign ethnic origins so as to maintain as much homogeneity as possible in the database.

The study found that people with type A-positive blood are at higher risk of respiratory failure from Covid-19. Furthermore, those with type O blood are more protected from the virus. This was true for the cohort as a whole, as well as for the cohort when divided into Spain-only and Italy-only.

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Many commentators are already asking for similar studies to be done across wider European populations to see if the correlation holds up between more countries. 

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UK car sales slump as 2,000 workers lose their jobs in Covid-19 crisis – business live

Live coverage as Aston Martin and car dealer Lookers announce costs savings plans

The UK car market has halved compared to last year as the coronavirus crisis hits, with just over half a million registrations in the first five months compared with more than one million at this point last year.

UK new car registrations fell -89.0% in May to their lowest level for the month since 1952, according to figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

After a second month of shutdown and the inevitable yet devastating impact on the market, this week’s re-opening of dealerships is a pivotal moment for the entire industry and the thousands of people whose jobs depend on it. Customers keen to trade up into the latest, cutting-edge new cars are now able to return to showrooms and early reports suggest there is good business given the circumstances, although it is far too early to tell how demand will pan out over the coming weeks and months.

Restarting this market is a crucial first step in driving the recovery of Britain’s critical car manufacturers and supply chain, and to supporting the wider economy. Ensuring people have the confidence to invest in the latest vehicles will not only help them get on the move safely, but these new models will also help address some of the environmental challenges the UK faces in the long term.

Just when you thought you were out, Brexit drags you back in - that seems to be the view of foreign exchange analysts on the future prospects for sterling, which is under pressure this morning.

The pound had hit a one-month high of $1.2615 against the US dollar on Wednesday, but fell by 0.5% on Thursday morning back to $1.2517.

Sterling will lose recent gains against the dollar and weaken further if Britain does not ask for an extension to its Brexit transition period by a June 30 deadline to allow more time for talks on a trade deal with the EU, a Reuters poll found. [...]

“The fading prospect of an extension to the post-Brexit transition period, and the risk of supply chain disruption at the start of 2021, casts a cloud over (Britain’s) GBP outlook,” said James Smith at ING.

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Coronavirus was released from Chinese lab by ‘accident’, former MI6 chief claims, cites new study as proof

By: RT

A new peer-reviewed study shows that the Covid-19 outbreak started as a faulty experiment in China, the ex-head of MI6 says. The paper he cited was reportedly “watered down” to remove accusations against Beijing.

“I do think that this started as an accident,” Sir Richard Dearlove, who led Britain’s top spy agency, MI6, from 1999 until 2004, told the Telegraph’s Planet Normal podcast.

It raises the issue, if China ever were to admit responsibility, does it pay reparations? I think it will make every country in the world rethink how it treats its relationship with China and how the international community behaves towards the Chinese leadership.

Dearlove suggested that the virus was not released deliberately, but rather accidentally leaked when Chinese scientists were experimenting on bat coronaviruses. To back up his claims, he cited a recently-published peer-reviewed study by a British-Norwegian team which claimed to have found “inserted sections placed on the SARS-CoV-2 Spike surface” that allow the virus to come into contact with human cells.

The ex-MI6 chief told the Telegraph that the study was rewritten several times. The research paper originally said that the novel coronavirus should be called the “Wuhan virus” – the name of the Chinese city where it was first recorded – and claimed to have proven that the virus was “engineered,” the newspaper reported, citing an earlier draft of the study.

The Telegraph also said that researchers from the Francis Crick Institute and Imperial College London rejected the study’s conclusions, while “leading academic journals” such as Nature and the Journal of Virology found the study unsuitable for publication. 

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The report says that one of the study’s original authors had withdrawn his name from the research before the paper was “watered down” to remove any explicit allegations against Beijing. However, intelligence officials reportedly looked through its findings before publication.

Since the first weeks of the Covid-19 outbreak, media reports and some Western politicians have alleged that the SARS-CoV-2 virus may have originated from a high-profile virology lab in Wuhan. US officials have been particularly keen on blaming China, with President Donald Trump saying that the country must compensate for the damages caused by the outbreak.

Beijing has repeatedly denied these claims.

In late April, the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence stated that the virus “was not manmade or genetically modified.” Likewise, intelligence sources told the Guardian last month that there is no evidence that the coronavirus was released from a Chinese lab, or that a possible leak could have caused the pandemic.

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