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China calls theory that Covid originated in Chinese lab ‘politically motivated lie’ | China

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China has repeated its assertion the theory that the Covid-19 pandemic began with a leak from a Chinese laboratory is “a politically motivated lie”, after the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended continued investigations this week.

“The lab leak theory is totally a lie concocted by anti-China forces for political purposes, which has nothing to do with science,” the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a daily briefing on Friday.

“We always supported and participated in science-based global virus tracing, but we firmly opposed any forms of political manipulation,” Zhao said, while attempting to shift the blame to the US, and claiming – without evidence – that Washington was developing the coronavirus as a bioweapon.

The latest round of the war of words over the origin of the pandemic also put a renewed focus on the data from China, where the first case of the virus was reported in the city of Wuhan in late 2019.

On Thursday, the WHO said in a report that all available data showed the novel coronavirus that caused Covid-19 probably came from animals, most likely bats, a similar conclusion to the UN agency’s previous work on the topic in 2021 that followed a trip to China.

It said no new information had been provided on the possibility that Sars-CoV-2 was introduced to humans through a laboratory incident and “it remains important to consider all reasonable scientific data” to evaluate this possibility.

It said “key pieces of data” to explain how the pandemic began were still missing and it was not possible to identify exactly how the virus was first transmitted to humans.

The UN’s top health agency revealed that its director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, wrote to the Chinese government twice in February this year to pursue more information, and China had provided some data on request.

Scientists say it is important to establish what exactly happened in 2019 in order to prevent similar outbreaks in the future. But investigations into the origins of the pandemic, which has killed millions of people globally, have been dogged by political wrangling between China and a number of western countries in the last two years.

Experts fear time is running out. “The longer it takes, the harder it becomes,” Maria Van Kerkhove, a senior WHO official, said on Thursday, adding her agency would support all ongoing efforts to better understand how the pandemic began.

“We owe it to ourselves, we owe to the millions of people who died and the billions of people who were infected,” Van Kerkhove said.

The WHO has in recent months been increasingly vocal about China’s method in handling the pandemic. Last month, it called Beijing’s “zero-Covid” policy “unsustainable”, pointing to increased knowledge of the virus and the cost to the economy and civil rights. China rejected the criticism as “irresponsible”.

Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report

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More than 10K Airbnb listings in NYC likely to disappear in 2023 due to new rules

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More than 10,000 Airbnb listings for short-term rentals in New York City are likely to disappear when tight new housing rules take effect next year, says the Adams administration official tasked with enforcing the forthcoming regulations.

The rules, set to be implemented Jan. 9, will require all Airbnb hosts in the city to register their units with Mayor Adams’ Office of Special Enforcement.

In addition, Airbnb will be barred from processing payments for any hosts who fail to register — and the office’s executive director, Christian Klossner, said those requirements will root out thousands of illegal listings across the five boroughs that are currently advertised on the platform.

“Approximately 10,000 active listings offering illegal occupancy will either be shut down or come into compliance,” Klossner said in an interview Friday.

As of this week, there are nearly 40,000 Airbnb listings in the city, according to data from Inside Airbnb, an independent watchdog group.

Klossner spoke with the Daily News ahead of a key public comment hearing scheduled for Monday, which will be the final chance for supporters and opponents to offer opinions before the rules are finalized.

Christian Klossner is seen in Manhattan on Thursday, October 29 2015.

Airbnb has sharply opposed the rules. In a statement, the company said they will result in a “draconian and unworkable registration system that will prevent lawful and responsible hosts from listing their homes.”

On a public comment website maintained by the Mayor’s Office of Operations, more than 150 people have over the past month submitted testimony. Many of the testimonials are from New Yorkers who fear the new rules will make it harder for them to rent out their homes via Airbnb.

“It’s the kind of despicable, bureaucratic act that makes me want to move out of this once great city,” commented Aron Watman, who identified himself as an Airbnb host in Brooklyn.

Supporters of Airbnb hold a rally outside City Hall in 2015.

Under existing law, it’s only legal for New Yorkers to rent out a section of their homes for short-term use — not the entire dwelling.

Hosts must also under existing law reside in their apartments while renting parts of them out on a short-term basis, which is defined as less than 30 days, meaning it is illegal for someone to temporarily sublet their home while away on vacation.

However, Klossner said thousands of Airbnb hosts are currently able to skirt those restrictions because of a lack of oversight.

“It’s unfortunately very easy right now to break the law,” Klossner said.

He said that will change with the new registration requirements.

Under the proposed new rules, short-term rental hosts must furnish Klossner’s office with the full legal names of all residents of a given dwelling, as well as proof of the unit’s permanent status, such as a lease.

Under the proposed new rules, short-term rental hosts must furnish Klossner’s office with the full legal names of all residents of a given dwelling, as well as proof of the unit’s permanent status, such as a lease. Hosts must also certify that their rentals abide by local building codes, zoning requirements and safety regulations.

If hosts do not produce the required information to Klossner’s office, they will not receive registration credentials — and Airbnb will be prohibited by law from processing payments to them.

If it processes payments for unregistered hosts, Airbnb could face fines of $1,500 per violation, the new rules state. Hosts who rent out unregistered units could be fined $5,000.

“The registration system will have a very significant effect,” Klossner said. “It will allow hosts to know for sure what is and isn’t legal, and bring the scale of enforcement down to a level where the focus can be on those remaining individuals determined to try to find a way around the law.”

New York City Mayor Eric Adams

Monday’s final public comment hearing comes as the city remains in a housing crisis, driven by a steep drop in production and preservation of affordable apartment units over the past year.

In July, while announcing a lawsuit against an alleged short-term rental slumlord, Mayor Adams said the housing crisis has been exacerbated by apartments being used as illegal Airbnb operations instead of permanent homes.

“Our administration is determined to preserve affordable housing and cracking down on illegal short term renters are one way we are going to accomplish that aspect,” he said.

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Who are the female union leaders overseeing UK strike action? | Trade unions

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Christina McAnea is the general secretary of Unison, the UK’s biggest union. Brought up on Glasgow’s Drumchapel estate, McAnea left school at 16 to join the civil service, before going to university at the age of 22 and earning a degree in English and history.

A longtime union official, the no-nonsense McAnea has couched Unison’s demands for better pay and conditions for NHS workers, who include paramedics and ambulance staff, as a battle for the future of the health service.

The result of a ballot of its 300,000-plus NHS members was disappointing, however, with the tough 50% minimum threshold for strike action reached at just eight employers – though these include most of the ambulance services across England.

Sharon Graham of Unite
Sharon Graham of Unite has focused on industrial battles instead of Westminster politics. Photograph: Sharon Graham Campaign/PA

Sharon Graham runs Unite, which was heavily involved in Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party under her predecessor, Len McCluskey.

Graham, who left school at 16 and led her first strike a year later, has taken a very different approach, focusing on industrial battles instead of Westminster politics. She hopes to increase the union’s leverage by taking on multiple employers across a single sector at the same time.

Unite has claimed several recent victories, including an end to the long-running Liverpool dockers’ dispute, which the union said resulted in pay increases of 14-18% for its members.

Pat Cullen, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing.
Pat Cullen, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, says the government has refused to negotiate. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA

Pat Cullen is the general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, whose members are due to take part in two historic strike days, on 15 and 20 December.

One of six children – four of whom were sisters, who also became nurses – Cullen grew up in Northern Ireland, where she worked in mental health nursing before holding a string of senior leadership posts.

She has been forthright in laying the blame for the forthcoming stoppages at the government’s door, saying earlier this week: “They refuse to negotiate with us and consequently have chosen strike over negotiation.”

Jo Grady (centre) on the picket line at the University of Manchester University last month
Jo Grady (centre) on the picket line at the University of Manchester University last month. Photograph: Joel Goodman/The Guardian

Jo Grady, the general secretary of the University and College Union, which represents higher education staff such as librarians and lab technicians, as well as lecturers, is the figurehead of the strike action across universities.

UCU members are protesting about their pension rights, as well as low pay and the increasing casualisation and precariousness of their roles.

A lecturer in employment relations before she was elected to the five-year post, Grady is just 38 and widely seen in the labour movement as one of a new generation of forthright and media-savvy trade unionists.

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¿Por qué el gol de Japón ante España fue válido? – New York Daily News

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DOHA — Japón anotó el gol más polémico hasta ahora en la actual Copa del Mundo, eliminando de paso a Alemania.

Los japoneses remontaron para vencer el jueves 2-1 a España y avanzar a los octavos de final del Mundial con un gol que para muchos no debió ser válido al considerar que el balón había abandonado la cancha antes del remate con que terminó entre las redes. La victoria eliminó al tetracampeón Alemania, que jugaba al mismo tiempo ante Costa Rica.

La FIFA confirmó el viernes que una cámara superior colocada a lo largo de la línea de gol verificó que el balón no salió por completo de la cancha.

¿QUÉ SUCEDIÓ?

Luego que Japón se fue al medio tiempo perdiendo 1-0, el suplente japonés Ritsu Doan anotó a los 48 minutos. Sin embargo, un empate no era suficiente para un Japón que necesitaba otro gol para obtener su pase a los octavos.

Tres minutos más tarde, Japón volvía a penetrar la portería española. Dos jugadores japoneses se barrieron en un intento por evitar que el balón saliera por la línea de meta y Kaoru Mitoma lo logró.

Mitoma mandó pase cruzado a Ao Tanaka, que definió de rodilla derecha.

¿QUÉ ESTABLECE EL REGLAMENTO?

Con relación a ese tipo de jugadas, el reglamento de la International Football Association Board (IFAB) establece en la “Regla 9. Balón en juego” que “el balón no estará en juego cuando haya atravesado completamente la línea de meta o de banda, ya sea por el suelo o por el aire”.

La totalidad del ancho, o circunferencia, del balón tiene que cruzar la línea para ser considerado fuera de juego. No debe estar tocando la línea blanca.

Un ángulo de cámara a nivel de cancha el jueves mostró un espacio verde entre la línea y el balón, lo que hacía que pareciera que estaba fuera de juego.

“De no haber sido validado el gol, no me habría decepcionado”, señaló Tanaka.

REVISIÓN DE VIDEO

Los árbitros en esta la Copa del Mundo se apoyan en 42 cámaras de transmisión para revisar todas las jugadas durante los 64 partidos en Qatar, “ocho de las cuales son cámaras súperlentas y cuatro en cámara ultralenta”, detalló la FIFA.

La tecnología VAR se ha utilizado desde la Copa del Mundo de Rusia 2018.

El equipo del VAR incluye cuatro árbitros que revisan todas las jugadas frente a una gran cantidad de pantallas. Alertan al árbitro central sobre “errores claros y obvios” e incidentes que pasan desapercibidos en jugadas que “modifican un partido”.

Mitoma mandó pase cruzado a Ao Tanaka, que definió de rodilla derecha.

¿QUÉ ESTABLECE EL REGLAMENTO?

Con relación a ese tipo de jugadas, el reglamento de la International Football Association Board (IFAB) establece en la “Regla 9. Balón en juego” que “el balón no estará en juego cuando haya atravesado completamente la línea de meta o de banda, ya sea por el suelo o por el aire”.

La totalidad del ancho, o circunferencia, del balón tiene que cruzar la línea para ser considerado fuera de juego. No debe estar tocando la línea blanca.

Un ángulo de cámara a nivel de cancha el jueves mostró un espacio verde entre la línea y el balón, lo que hacía que pareciera que estaba fuera de juego.

“De no haber sido validado el gol, no me habría decepcionado”, señaló Tanaka.

REVISIÓN DE VIDEO

Los árbitros en esta la Copa del Mundo se apoyan en 42 cámaras de transmisión para revisar todas las jugadas durante los 64 partidos en Qatar, “ocho de las cuales son cámaras súperlentas y cuatro en cámara ultralenta”, detalló la FIFA.

La tecnología VAR se ha utilizado desde la Copa del Mundo de Rusia 2018.

El equipo del VAR incluye cuatro árbitros que revisan todas las jugadas frente a una gran cantidad de pantallas. Alertan al árbitro central sobre “errores claros y obvios” e incidentes que pasan desapercibidos en jugadas que “modifican un partido”.

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