The Covid-19 Origin Investigation – WSJ


President Biden stopped America’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization on his first day in office. The premise of his decision is that reforming international institutions from inside is more effective than leaving or withholding funds, and this theory will be tested quickly.

“China has total control over the World Health Organization,” Donald Trump said last year when announcing the U.S. would leave. That was typical hyperbole, but he had a point. WHO director-general Tedros Ghebreyesus fawned over China’s response to the virus—“very impressive, and beyond words”—as Beijing destroyed virus samples, neutralized whistleblowers, and spread conspiracy theories.

WHO officials privately considered speaking out but calculated that the Chinese Communist Party would be even less cooperative if criticized publicly. The agency’s reticence didn’t do much. A team of WHO experts went to Beijing to study the origins of the virus in February 2020—when their chances of discovering how it transferred to humans from animals were significantly better than today—but the Chinese government impeded them.

Negotiations with Beijing dragged on through 2020. This month Dr. Tedros finally mustered the spiritless complaint that he was “very disappointed” with the delays. The Chinese foreign ministry said it welcomed the investigators’ presence shortly before they began arriving in recent days. Take this as seriously as O.J. Simpson’s vow to make finding the killer of his ex-wife “my primary goal in life.”

Media reports say Beijing pushed WHO to delegate critical initial investigatory work to Chinese scientists. The WHO team at best will get incomplete data, because research on Covid-19’s origins can’t be published in China without the Communist Party’s approval. The Chinese government also approved the WHO mission’s members and agenda.

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Following the money. Alexey Navalny’s boldest investigation yet describes a vast network of shell companies and frontmen working to build and sustain Vladimir Putin’s supposed seaside getaway




Before Alexey Navalny flew home to Moscow and surrendered himself to Russia’s legal system, the anti-corruption activist lit the fuse on what is perhaps his biggest, boldest investigation yet. Navalny’s 14,000-word report (also a two-hour video) about Vladimir Putin’s supposed “palace” in Gelendzhik on the Black Sea coast is packed with drone footage and colorful images, including artistic visualizations of the mansion’s interior. On social networks and in the news media, the investigation immediately attracted significant attention for its detailed descriptions of the residence’s opulence and endless renovations. Navalny says outright that Putin’s apparent obsession with luxury borders on “mental illness.” But Navalny’s investigation also painstakingly chronicles the ownership and management schemes used to disguise how Russia’s long-time president allegedly came to be in possession of the country’s most valuable private home.

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Capitol Riot Investigation: Man Who Carried Confederate Flag Arrested


A man seen holding a Confederate battle flag, a person identified as striking a police officer with a flagpole and a retired firefighter identified as having thrown a fire extinguisher at officers were among those arrested Thursday for their role in the riot at the U.S. Capitol last week.

A federal prosecutor in Texas also said on Thursday that a retired Air Force officer who stormed the Senate chamber dressed in military-style clothing and holding zip ties had intended to “take hostages.”

The retired officer, Larry Rendell Brock, was arrested in Texas on Sunday on one count of unlawfully entering a restricted building and another of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, the Justice Department said at the time.

“He means to take hostages,” the Texas prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Weimer, said on Thursday, The Associated Press reported. “He means to kidnap, restrain, perhaps try, perhaps execute members of the U.S. government.”

The Justice Department has said that images from the Capitol siege appeared to show Mr. Brock wearing a green helmet, a tactical vest, a camouflage jacket and trousers holding zip ties that are used by law enforcement officers to “restrain and/or detain subjects.” But the A.P. quoted Mr. Brock’s attorney, Brook Antonio II, as saying on Thursday that there was no direct evidence of him breaking into the Capitol or doing anything violent inside.

The top federal prosecutor in Washington said this week that he expected the number of people charged with crimes tied to the Capitol riot to rise into the hundreds.

The F.B.I. has received more than 126,000 photographic and video tips and as agents have scrubbed airline passenger manifests and video of air travelers to and from Washington to find potential suspects.

The man who was photographed holding a Confederate battle flag inside the U.S. Capitol during the riot was arrested on Thursday in Delaware, two law enforcement officials said. The man, Kevin Seefried, was wanted by the F.B.I., which had sought help from the public to identify him and had widely circulated a dispatch plastered with images of him.

In a bulletin, the agency said that it was looking for assistance to identify individuals “who made unlawful entry” into the Capitol, including Mr. Seefried.

According to court documents, Mr. Seefried and his son, Hunter Seefried, were identified after the F.B.I. received a report from a co-worker of Hunter Seefried that said the man had bragged about being in the Capitol with his father on January 6.Mr. Seefried’s son was also charged.

A retired firefighter from Chester, Pa., was also arrested on Thursday after he was identified as the man seen in a video throwing a fire extinguisher at police officers during the riot. The man, Robert Sanford, is charged with assaulting a law enforcement officer engaged in the performance of official duties and civil disorder among other crimes.

Mr. Sanford went to the Capitol following “the president’s instructions,” a complaining witness told the F.B.I.

Another man was charged on Thursday after law enforcement officials identified him as the person seen repeatedly striking an officer with a flagpole on the stairs of the Capitol in a video posted on Twitter. That man, Peter Stager of Arkansas, was charged with obstructing law enforcement, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint also identified Mr. Stager as saying in another video posted on Twitter that everyone in the Capitol “is a treasonous traitor” and that “death is the only remedy for what’s in that building.”

Also on Thursday, an employee with Cleveland public schools was charged with entering and committing unlawful activities on the grounds of the Capitol. The woman, Christine Priola, was traced through an anonymous tip to the F.B.I. after she was recognized in photographs posted to Twitter, according to court documents.

Photos from last Wednesday showed Ms. Priola inside the Capitol and holding a sign that read, “The children cry out for justice,” which law enforcement later recovered from her home. She resigned from her position as an occupational therapist the next day, according to a copy of her resignation letter that was obtained by Cleveland’s Fox 8 News, in which she espoused a number of conspiracy theories.



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Prosecutor to open investigation into French justice minister



FILE PHOTO: French Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti speaks during a news conference after the weekly cabinet meeting discussions over a bill to fight what Macron has called Islamist separatism at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, December 9, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/Pool

January 8, 2021

PARIS (Reuters) – A judicial investigation will be opened into an alleged conflict of interest on the part of Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti, the prosecutor attached to France’s highest civil court said on Friday.

Dupond-Moretti’s office declined to comment.

Dupond-Moretti was a celebrity lawyer and household name before he was named minister by President Emmanuel Macron in July with a brief to reform the justice system.

However, the biggest magistrates’ unions said he was biased against some judges after decades of work as a lawyer and unfit to preside over a revamp of the judiciary.

Weeks before his ministerial appointment, Dupond-Moretti alleged prosecutors at the financial crimes unit (PNF) had abused their powers by accessing his phone records, and those of other lawyers, as part of an investigation into alleged corruption by former President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Dupond-Moretti sued members of the PNF but withdrew the lawsuit when weeks later he was appointed to run the judiciary.

Tensions between the minister and his judges intensified in the months that followed. In October an anti-corruption group filed a complaint to the Cour de la Justice de la Republique, a special court dealing with allegations against sitting ministers.

Soon after, three magistrates’ unions filed similar claims.

“It falls therefore on the prosecutor general (of the Cour de Cassation) … to open a judicial investigation against Mr Eric Dupond-Moretti,” Prosecutor General Francois Molins said in a statement.

Dupond-Moretti has said the unions were using the allegations of conflicts of interest to block his reform plans, including a move to film court proceedings and re-write the training book for judges.

(Reporting by Matthieu Prothard and Richard Lough; Editing by Giles Elgood and Cynthia Osterman)



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Jonathon Patton in hospital as investigation continues


The club also confirmed in a letter to members that the AFL integrity unit was assisting them in the matter with club CEO Justin Reeves saying the inquiry would take some time to complete.

“This is a difficult time for all involved and it is important our club ensures that Jonathon receives the support he requires during this period,” Reeves said.

“We take this matter very seriously and our Integrity Committee is working in conjunction with the AFL’s Integrity Unit to undertake the investigation into these complaints within the framework of the AFL’s Respect and Responsibility Policy.

“We anticipate this process will take some time and we will provide a further update when more information is available.”

Patton joined Hawthorn during the 2019 trade period after an injury-interrupted career at the Giants where he played 89 games after being the No.1 pick at the 2011 AFL National Draft.

He played just six games for the Hawks in 2020 with his season finishing abruptly in 2020 when he suffered a hamstring injury against Essendon in round 14.

Patton is contracted with the Hawks until the end of 2022 and after his injury against the Bombers, Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson said they would stick by the big forward as he worked to get fit enough to play.

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AFL involved in Patton investigation


Hawthorn have confirmed the AFL Integrity Unit is involved in the investigation into allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct on social media by key forward Jonathon Patton.

Patton, 27, has been absent from the Hawks’ pre-season training this week after being stood down from all duties by the club.

The decision came after multiple women made public allegations of lewd behaviour by the 2011 No.1 draft pick.

Hawthorn CEO Justin Reeves addressed the matter in a letter to members posted on the club’s website, in which he confirmed the AFL’s direct involvement in the investigation.

“This is a difficult time for all involved and it is important our club ensures that Jonathon receives the support he requires during this period,” Reeves said.

“We take this matter very seriously and our Integrity Committee is working in conjunction with the AFL’s Integrity Unit to undertake the investigation into these complaints within the framework of the AFL’s Respect and Responsibility Policy.

“We anticipate this process will take some time and we will provide a further update when more information is available.”

The probe into Patton’s behaviour was launched last weekend in response to one woman’s allegations.

More women have since come forward with similar claims.

“The complaints made are of behaviour that does not reflect the values of our club,” Reeves said.

“We are a club that is proud of our family values and we strive to exemplify them across every element of our club.

“Hawthorn actively promotes and advocates for both respect and equality for all and we demand this standard from all involved with the club.”



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AFL 2021: Jon Patton, Hawthorn Hawks, sent lewd images and videos, investigation, social media, women, latest news


Two more women have come forward claiming they received unsolicited lewd images from Hawthorn forward Jon Patton.

The 27-year-old has deleted his social media accounts with the club confirming on Saturday an investigation by its integrity committee had begun.

On Sunday night two more women said they were sent photos and videos via social media by Patton, which they did not want.

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Round 1

“Basically from the get-go he was talking to me in such a sexual nature that I never reciprocated. He would send me photos of him in bed exposed,” Elle Conan told Nine News.

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Officials calling for investigation into Capitol protest


Members of U.S. Capitol Police inspect a damaged entrance of the U.S. Capitol January 7, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:10 PM PT – Thursday, January 7, 2021

Former New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the Capitol police’s response to Wednesday’s protest at the U.S. Capitol was a “colossal failure.”

In an interview on Thursday, Bratton said a lack of coordination between law enforcement agencies contributed to the chaos, which suggests there needs to be an investigation into “what happened and what did not happen.”

Many lawmakers across the country have also called for an investigation, with some saying the Capitol Police “weren’t prepared” and “took way too long” to respond to the scene.

“This was an awful day for America and one of the worst days for American law enforcement,” Bratton said. “And going forward one of the good things coming out of this [is] there’s so much video, so much [to] analyze on social media. What was the organization in this crowd, in this mob, with the many factions that are working here?”

The United States Capitol Police Department is reeling following the protests that broke out in Washington D.C.

Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund released a statement on the demonstrations Thursday morning. He said more than 50 USCP and Metropolitan Police officers were injured.

Officers were overpowered by the mob that pushed past barricades, doors and even windows to make their way into the Capitol. While lawmakers were in session working to certify the presidential election results, Sund said law enforcement scrambled to quickly get them into safety and to fend off the mob.

Amid the chaos, dozens of police officers were injured. The chief of police reports that while the mob was storming the Capitol, police were also responding to reports of suspicious packages delivered on Capitol grounds and more.

“Additionally, two pipe bombs have been recovered, one pipe bomb from the DNC, another pipe bomb from the RNC,” Bratton noted. “[And] a cooler from a vehicle with a long gun in it that also included Molotov cocktails.”

Both explosives were located by police and safely detonated.

Police Chief Sund said the violent attack on the Capitol was “unlike any” he had ever experienced in his career and condemned it as “criminal riotous behavior.”

He also touted his department’s response by saying the actions of USCP officers were heroic. Several others rallied in support of the police, including Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), who said officers practiced great restraint throughout the demonstrations.

“I just can’t say enough of these men and women in uniform–these police officers that were willing to put their life on the line and be greatly outnumbered by the protesters,” Mullin said. “There wasn’t many law enforcement in the chambers with us and they were willing to hold the line as long as they could to make sure the members could get out.”

Meanwhile, lawmakers have vowed to conduct an investigation into the actions by Capitol Police. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city plans to look into improving security on Capitol Hill to prevent incidents such as this in the future.

According to reports, approximately 70 arrests were made from Wednesday through early Thursday morning, largely for violating the 6 p.m. curfew set by Mayor Bowser.

“We still have a significant amount of work ahead of us to identify and hold each and every one of the violent mob accountable for their actions,” D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee stated. “We have collected numerous images of persons of interests that we are asking the community to help us identify.”

The FBI has confirmed they are involved in ongoing investigations into the demonstrations. They are setting up a tip-line website for information and to help to identify those who entered the U.S. Capitol.

RELATED: Ken Cuccinelli: Fence Being Built Around U.S. Capitol



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NY attorney general demands investigation of Trump’s, family members’ role in fomenting riots


New York Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday called for a full investigation into the riots that ravaged Capitol Hill on Wednesday, urging federal officials to hold anyone in the White House or Congress responsible who may have played a role in encouraging violence.

James is also asking acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to probe the legal culpability of President Trump, his family members and associates, in peddling what she termed “wild conspiracy theories that led to these acts of terror and sedition.” 

“The president swore an oath to protect this nation against all enemies, foreign or domestic, but this week he led an attack on the greatest symbol of our democratic republic,” James said in a statement. “Not since foreign invaders attacked the Capitol more than 200 years ago has Washington, DC been attacked.”

James pointed to Trump’s words to supporters that they would never “take back our country with weakness” as inflammatory, and seeming to invite insurrection.

Further, James said the government needs to identify and investigate each participant in the riot who can be prosecuted for “a violent incursion onto government property with the express intention of hindering the certification of a lawful election.”

MICHELLE OBAMA CALLS ON TECH GIANTS TO PERMANENTLY BAN TRUMP 

Trump released a second video message on Twitter on Thursday in which he condemned the rioters and promised that participants who “broke the law” would “pay.”

He also acknowledged that President-elect Joe Biden would take over the presidency later this month, after weeks of repeating unproven claims that he has been fraudulently cheated out of victory. With an eye toward the future, Trump called for calm and a peaceful transition of power.

But for many lawmakers, and members of his administration, the message is too little too late. Trump’s refusal to condemn the violence on Wednesday led some to resign from their administrative posts, while longtime Republican allies, like Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., repudiated his rhetoric.

There are calls to invoke the 25th Amendment or to impeach Trump in order to remove himfrom office less than two weeks before Biden’s inauguration day.

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Teenager Allegedly Slipping Under Car Now Under Critical And Unstable Condition

Police Looking For More Information

In a critical condition, a teenager is fighting for his life in a hospital bed after he was found lying in the street with serious head injuries in Sydney’s north-west overnight.

It was around 10.30 pm when the 17-year-old boy was found in Kellyville, after allegedly slipping under a car.

Speculations led the police to believe that a group of people, driving a Holden Colorado, had arranged to buy vapes from the teen when a disagreement surfaced.

In a statement, Detective Inspector Chris Laird revealed: “It looks like the 17-year-old has gone underneath the car and has been seriously injured.”

The Detective also emphasized that the police already spoke to three people who were in the car at the time saying they were “very shocked” at the incident. They are now cooperating with the police in the investigation.

To date, the police are still on the hunt for an 18-year-old who was also in the car at the time of the incident. “He knows who he is and he needs to come forward,” the Police pointed out.

Shortly after the victim was found, he was immediately treated at the scene by the NSW Ambulance paramedic right before he was taken to the Westmead Hospital in a very critical condition.

 Updates reveal that he is currently undergoing surgery and in an unstable condition.

According to Mr Laid “We need to find out what’s happened. This is a tragic incident which has occurred essentially over nothing. A young man has been seriously, seriously injured and we need members the community to help up piece this puzzle together.”

Meanwhile, a crime scene has been established and a canvass of the neighbourhood is underway as the police are still seeking any helpful information regarding the incident that happened to the boy.

(Image source: MSN News)