The Office of the Director of National Intelligence of the United States of America has, through the feedback of the Intelligence Community (IC) assessment, summarised that Covid-19 is not a biological weapon. However, the IC opines that it could have been caused by a natural occurrence or an accident at Wuhan lab.
Intriguingly, while the IC rues the fact that it lacks clinical samples or a complete understanding of epidemiological data from the earliest Covid-19 cases, it has been concluded that it is not a bioweapon from China and that China’s officials did not have foreknowledge of the virus before the initial outbreak emerged of Covid-19.
The Unclassified Summary of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence stated: SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, probably emerged and infected humans through an initial small-scale exposure that occurred no later than November 2019 with the first known cluster of Covid-19 cases arising in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
“In addition, the IC was able to reach broad agreement on several other key issues. We judge the virus was not developed as a biological weapon. Most agencies also assess with low confidence that SARS-CoV-2 probably was not genetically engineered; however, two agencies believe there was not sufficient evidence to make an assessment either way. Finally, the IC assesses China’s officials did not have foreknowledge of the virus before the initial outbreak of Covid-19 emerged.” The summary further stated that the IC remains divided on the most likely origin of Covid-19.
All agencies assess that two hypotheses are plausible: natural exposure to an infected animal and a laboratory-associated incident. Four IC elements and the National Intelligence Council assess with low confidence that the initial SARS-CoV-2 infection was most likely caused by natural exposure to an animal infected with it or a close progenitor virus—a virus that probably would be more than 99% similar to SARS-CoV-2. These analysts give weight to China’s officials’ lack of foreknowledge, the numerous vectors for natural exposure, and other factors.
One IC element assesses with moderate confidence that the first human infection with SARS-CoV-2 most likely was the result of a laboratory-associated incident, probably involving experimentation, animal handling or sampling by the Wuhan Institute of Virology. These analysts give weight to the inherently risky nature of work on coronaviruses.
Analysts at three IC elements remain unable to coalesce around either explanation without additional information, with some analysts favouring natural origin, others a laboratory origin, and some seeing the hypotheses as equally likely. Variations in analytic views largely stem from differences in how agencies weigh intelligence reporting and scientific publications, and intelligence and scientific gaps.
Interestingly the IC judges were unable to provide a more definitive explanation for the origin of Covid-19 unless new information allows them to determine the specific pathway for initial natural contact with an animal or to determine that a laboratory in Wuhan was handling SARS- CoV-2 or a close progenitor virus before Covid-19 emerged.
The summary further states, “The IC—and the global scientific community—lack clinical samples or a complete understanding of epidemiological data from the earliest Covid-19 cases. If we obtain information on the earliest cases that identified a location of interest or occupational exposure, it may alter our evaluation of hypotheses.
China’s cooperation most likely would be needed to reach a conclusive assessment of the origins of Covid-19. Beijing, however, continues to hinder the global investigation, resist sharing information and blame other countries, including the United States. These actions reflect, in part, China’s government’s own uncertainty about where an investigation could lead as well as its frustration the international community is using the issue to exert political pressure on China.”
The Daily Guardian is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@thedailyguardian) and stay updated with the latest headlines.
For the latest news Download The Daily Guardian App.
NEED FOR FAMILY OFFICES TO WORK TOGETHER UNDER A CO-INVESTMENT STRUCTURE: JAHNAVI KUMARI MEWAR
Jahnavi Kumari Mewar, CEO and Senior Portfolio Manager at Auctus Fora, talks about her business firm along with insights on internationalism, effective global governance practices and the way forward in the post-Covid world.
Jahnavi Kumari Mewar recently joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive conversation, she spoke to us about her business firm along with insights on internationalism, effective global governance practices and the way forward for the post-Covid world.
Jahnavi commenced her talk by speaking about the creation of Auctus Fora and its uniqueness. She said “Auctus fora was born with a need to work with family offices (preferably) without a fund structure in place. If I take a small step back, I initially worked for JP Morgan from where I decided to set up a boutique investment bank and as that business developed and progressed, I had developed very meaningful relationships with family offices globally. We found that there was a significant need for family offices to work together under a co-investment structure rather than that of a fund. Moving on we decided to set up a co-investment platform, entirety focused on private acuity and private structure credit working with family offices globally. It’s a unique model because we work on the ‘reverse origination methodology’ developed in 2011. We use this methodology to make investment decisions and direct our investment philosophy.”
When asked about how pandemic months have been for her and her firm, she responded “I think based on facts that firstly we are directed to an asset. Secondly, we don’t do listed securities and are a private acuity focused and private structure credit that organically gives you a lot more control over your investment decisions. I am very rigid when it comes to the investment decision making process. For example, we’ll never chase dues or get into a bidding war as I believe that if you get your buying price wrong then you already made a big mistake in terms of capital allocation and investment process. In such disruptive times when others have faced upheavals, we have ramped up because of our decent decision making. Based on that what we have done over the past 15 months is that the assets which we felt will continue to give long term returns and are relatively resilient to the disruptions caused by global pandemic and lockdown, we have reinvested capital or added additional capital into those assets and portfolios. So, at a macro level, we have reinvested capital into our portfolios and at a micro level, into select asset portfolios. I mean not to say that we haven’t felt pain but we have been more resilient.”
Explaining the post-Covid global economic changes, she expressed, “What we are seeing globally is an unprecedented crisis for which a lot of nations have lacked institutional memory because they have never experienced something like this before. In the absence of institutional memory, there is institutional unpreparedness. I think that the responsibility and accountability of this crisis don’t solely sit with the current government because there have been decades of under-investment in the public healthcare infrastructure. Instead, the present government has put concentrated efforts towards formulating new public policies. It is my personal opinion that unfortunately, the government lacks sophistication in its policymaking. Therefore they come across significant opposition to their policies.”
When it comes to changing global supply chains, Jahnavi described “let’s look at global supply chains from both political and economic perspectives. Politically speaking, we have fallen short on collective action and there has been a crisis of global governance. Supply chains and global governance can work hand in hand. A good small scale example is of QUAD members who have been working together and have been multilaterally more effective. So when we talk of re-engineering global supply chains, we have to look at from the perspective that are we going to create an incentivising engagement that affects better global governance practices.”
Lastly speaking about the importance of institutions like QUAD as representative of the changing world over institutions like UN and WHO, she said “QUAD is a great example of a force for global good. WHO has been less effective than QUAD as it has been dispersing contradictory information globally, it along with the UN have failed to garner collective action for a global solution to the pandemic. QUAD is a representation of the way forward. We need to re-engineer a pragmatic form of internationalism which meets the needs for today and future.”
INDIA-BORN SINGER FEATURES ON UK’S BBC RADIO
The latest composition of the Indian born, London-based singer Saisha Hayes’s ‘One Way ticket’ was selected by UK’s BBC Radio to be played on its platform on Monday night.
At 20, she is among the youngest singer-songwriters to feature on BBC radio and her song was selected among the pool of well-established names.
BBC Radio 1 Leeds chose Saisha’s composition under the “Best modern Asian fusion music”. While the words of the song have been penned by her, the music has been composed by Rohit (Foenix). The song, sung by Saisha, had earlier featured on the coveted ‘Rolling Stones’ India hitlist.
She is a second-year student of King’s College, London and the granddaughter of Hindi literary giant and former IAS officer Bhagwati Sharan Mishra, who passed away last month.
The song is being played on all major music platforms including Spotify, Amazon Music, and YouTube.
IT’S TOUGH FOR PLAYERS TO STAY IN A BIO BUBBLE, SAYS MURALI KARTIK
In an exclusive conversation with NewsX India A-List, former cricketer Murali Kartik talks about his lockdown experiences, how he felt being part of the IPL in a bio bubble, and much more.
Murali Kartik, a former Indian cricketer and a popular figure in commentary, is well-known for his slow left-arm orthodox bowling. Having charmed cricket lovers across the world with his bowling skills, Murali Kartik recently got recognised by NewsX India A-List for excellence in Cricket. Joining us for an exclusive conversation, he spoke about his lockdown experiences, how he felt being part of the IPL in a bio bubble and much more.
Speaking about his emotions and experiences during the second wave of Covid-19, in the wake of which IPL was first postponed and later stopped in middle, Murli said, “Pandemic has been a tough one for everyone but more so for people on the ground. We were actually much protected as a commentary team. With that point of view, we didn’t have many problems but I can imagine teams travelling and engaging in contracts would have been tougher amid the pandemic.”
“Since last year, I got the feeling that as soon as a little bit of unlocking starts people got careless. It is our responsibility to make sure that we don’t go out till the time we aren’t needed to go out. Most important of all is we should all be happy in our homes and not feel entrapped into them. We can only control the controllable,” he added.
When asked about the concept of bio bubble, especially in cricket, which is a contact game, Murali responded, “People in bio bubble is never easy. We need to return to normalcy. We all are missing luxuries of life which are not to go around in expensive restaurants but to simply move around with freedom and without a mask; meet our people without the fear of either contacting with the virus or passing it to someone else. That is the normal luxury. From a sports point of view, it’s tough for players to stay in a bio bubble. There’s a life beyond a sport. Hopefully, we come back to normalcy soon.”
Speaking about what the players have missed out in almost past two years of time is very evident now, he said “Unfortunately, it’s same for everyone. People who had to write exams are unable to do it and are sitting home. For sportspeople, the Olympics has been postponed and rescheduled. So, imagine all the athletes, who worked so hard for it. We come back to the same thing that it’s for everyone. Now it is about mental strength and controlling the controllable. We need to be surrounded by positive people and thinking. We need to look inwardly because the easiest thing in these days is to get despondent.”
When asked about something new or novel he has picked up in the last few days, Murali shared, “To be honest, I have caught up in a lot of sleep these days at home. I am not someone who’ll sleep a lot. I have been the happiest being at home. The only thing I did in my 1st lockdown was to read Sai Suchadutta. I read it six to seven times. I have read books but apart from that I haven’t done any specific thing.”
Concluding the interview on a humorous note, he stated that he has been a couch potato watching many fun OTT programs during the lockdown. He added a funny but profound thing that we teach a dog to sit and stay but we are not able to do it ourselves.
JUST BE AUTHENTIC AND EVERYTHING WILL FALL INTO PLACE: KARUNESH TALWAR
In an interview with NewsX, stand-up comedian Karunesh Talwar talks about his new show and more.
Karunesh Talwar, a well-known stand-up comedian, is all set to entertain the audiences with his stand-up special on Amazon Prime Video. Recognised for excellence in entertainment, Karunesh recently joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of the NewsX India A-List series. He spoke about his new show on Amazon Prime, the idea behind the name of the show, principles of stand-up comedy and much more.
Speaking about how he and the team happened to name the show ‘Aalas, Motapa, Ghabraahat’, Karunesh shared, “The name is part of joke punch line from the show itself. I had written the whole show, we shot it and while we were editing it, I was sitting with the show’s director and editor who suggested me to give the name ‘Aalas Motapa Ghabraahat’.” He added, “The first half of the show is about my parents and the other half is about my relationship with my girlfriend.”
Emphasising the relevance of these three words: Aalas, Motapa, and Ghabraahat, especially amid the pandemic, Karunesh said, “This happened subconsciously as I wrote this show during the pandemic. Also, it comes from the attempt to tell my story, which has to be really authentic and unique on stage. So these three words can describe a lot of people’s experiences during the pandemic.” On being asked to give three words to describe his last one and a half years, he jokingly said, “Aalas, Motapa, Ghabraahat. Apart from that, I think it would be lucky, motivated, and more anxious.”
When asked what makes this show different from others, he responded, “Usually you write material about certain subjects that is about eight to nine minutes per subject covering about six to seven subjects over an hour show. Here, I had only two topics. I think it is a lot more in storytelling format and in long-form. That’s not what I have attempted before. It is much more personal and vulnerable than anything I have ever done before as it reveals aspects to my personality, which people who watch my content wouldn’t have been revealed to before.”
Karunesh is hopeful that it is the sign of more things like this coming from him in the future. He expressed, “One of the principles of live stand-up comedy is that if you are authentically telling your story, then you are the only one selling it and you are the only supplier of that particular kind of comedy. So, people will always buy it from you. You’ll also never run out of material because you are being authentic and not pretending up there.”
Talking about the public response on his last Amazon Prime show’s interesting title—‘Pata Nahi Par Bolna Hai’, Karunesh said, “The response was overwhelming and I got a lot of positive feedback. The fact that I am doing another show with Amazon Prime means that the last response was good. The title of that show came about because it was about a lot of people and me at the same time.”
When asked if his family and friends call him to share some light moments in otherwise heavy days, he expressed, “I think people often have a perception that comedians are hilarious and people around them are constantly laughing. No, they are constantly irritated by our existence. They haven’t called me for light moments but definitely, the advantage is to learn about therapy and how to balance mental health better.”
Sharing his takeaway from the pandemic, Karunesh said, “To be honest, I am extremely fortunate that my career picked up at the time it did. It allowed me to access work and resources that kept me tied in these unprecedented times. This allowed me to work on myself. It gave me time to introspect, write more material, and explore new avenues in my work. This is the reason why this new show is different from the kind of work I have done before.”
On a parting note, Karunesh shared a piece of advice for aspiring comedians and said, “Delayed gratification always beats instant gratification. If you have a funny thought, don’t put it out instantly instead work on it for about six months to one year. It will give you unimaginable success and opportunities. Respect your audience, be authentic, and write and perform as much as you can.”
PUNJAB CM DIRECTS GOVT OFFICIALS, EMPLOYEES TO REACH OFFICE BY 9 AM
CHANDIGARH: In order to bring discipline in the government offices, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Monday directed all the government officers/employees at state/district/tehsil/block level to reach their concerned offices by 9 am and remain available for the public till the office hours in the evening.
The Chief Minister, while stressing the need of bringing transparency in the government offices also directed all the officers/employees to deal with all the grievances of the people on a priority basis.
“To ensure the availability of all the government officers/employees in the offices during official hours, Administrative Secretaries/Department Heads to conduct surprise checks twice a week to keep a vigil on the employees working under them,” said the CM.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister also asked Administrative Secretaries/Department Heads to keep a close watch on the activities/records at their concerned offices.
PGI TREATS ACHING AMPUTATED LIMB WITH BIOFEEDBACK THERAPY
A patient who came with trauma in PGIMER Chandigarh got sepsis and unfortunately, doctors had to get his leg amputated. But the amputated leg was still aching. Sound Strange! But it’s a real pain that the brain feels called phantom pain. As per PGI Psychiatrist Dr Aseem Mehra, “The lost limb that is aching is a sign of phantom pain”. The Amputee Clinic is where Dr Mehra is treating the pain of that limb which no more exists in the patient’s body. This is a condition when the patient went through a trauma and lost his/her limb due to disease or accident. They still tend to feel the pain of lost limbs. It’s a clinical condition and a psychiatrist treats it with Biofeedback therapy. So that they may accept the trauma and learn to handle the new limb connected to their body with acceptance.
Amputee Clinic that recently got launched in PGIMER Chandigarh a few months back, has this facility under one roof. What is Biofeedback therapy? “Biofeedback therapy is a technique that trains people to improve their health by controlling certain bodily processes that normally happen unintentionally such as heart rate, BP, muscle tension, and skin temperature”, explains Psychiatrist Dr Mehra.
“In this technique, the patient tends to hear some music that keeps changing with the changes in his body and skin temperature. It is all clinical practice where we get to know when the patient is lying that he got relaxed after the therapy as signals do not lie,” adds Dr Mehra.
Opinion11 months ago
South Block’s mistakes will now be corrected by Army
Sports1 year ago
When a bodybuilder breaks Shoaib’s record
News1 year ago
PM Modi must take governance back from babus
Spiritually Speaking1 year ago
Spiritual beings having a human experience
News1 year ago
Chinese general ordered attack on Indian troops: US intel report
Sports1 year ago
West Indies avoid follow-on, England increase lead to 219
Legally Speaking1 year ago
Law relating to grant, rejection and cancellation of bail
Royally Speaking1 year ago
The young royal dedicated to the heritage of Jaipur