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The US intelligence community is divided over the possibility that Covid-19 emerged as a result of a lab accident, according to a senior official.
Amanda Schoch, deputy director of national intelligence for strategic communications, said the US intelligence community “doesn’t know exactly where, when and how” the Sars-Cov-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, was initially transmitted . But she said the US intelligence community, which includes 18 organizations, had “merged around two likely scenarios.”
A branch of the intelligence community has leaned towards a theory that the virus originated from a lab accident, with low or moderate confidence, she said.
Two other branches leaned towards assessments that it emerged naturally from human contact with infected animals – again with a low or moderate level of confidence.
Joe biden called on US businesses to raise workers’ wages as rising inflation and supply chain bottlenecks create “roadblocks” for the US economic recovery.
Thai Ministry of Public Health reported 3,323 new infections and 47 deaths from Covid-19 on Thursday morning, a new daily record.
Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm published its test results, showing efficiency rates well above 50%, but with little data on vulnerable groups
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said up to three-quarters of all new coronavirus infections in the UK involved the variant first identified in India. (FT, SCMP)
In the news
Airlines cancel Moscow flights over Belarus sanctions Air France and Austrian Airlines had to cancel their flights to Moscow after Russian authorities did not approve new routes that avoided Belarusian airspace in response to Minsk’s interception of a Ryanair passenger plane. Meanwhile, a provocative Alexander Lukashenko called the West’s bluff on Belarus. (FT)
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary calls the Belarus flight hijacking a “Premeditated diversion” in a private letter. (WSJ)
The rebirth of Meme stocks captivates traders Shares of the AMC movie chain, which was on the verge of bankruptcy just a few months ago, hit its highest level in four years on Thursday, as investors chased companies benefiting from the economic reopening and revived them. beginning of the year “meme stock” transactions. .
SoftBank and WeWork Co-Founder Reach Divorce Agreement SoftBank explained the full cost of his bitter divorce from WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann, in which Neumann was awarded cash, stock prices and fees worth nearly $ 450 million to the result of tense negotiations.
US Department of Justice opens investigation into Archegos The department has requested information from a number of banks that have acted as the family office’s main business counterparties, according to two people briefed on the matter. It was not clear what information prosecutors were looking for or whether the ministry would lay criminal charges. The collapse of Archegos Capital Management in March sent shock waves through the market.
Chinese companies under pressure from rising commodity prices Soaring commodity prices are putting pressure on businesses in China, even as the industrial sector as a whole rebounds from the first effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the official data agency. Meanwhile, the trade chiefs of the United States and China held their first interviews yesterday. (FT, Bloomberg)
Australian ambassador to China excluded from citizen espionage trial Canberra lambasted China’s “deeply regrettable” decision to exclude its ambassador from a Beijing courthouse where an Australian writer was tried on charges of espionage, deepening the diplomatic freeze between the two countries.
Beijing faces close scrutiny from Latin American development bank Mauricio Claver-Carone, the recently installed director of the Inter-American Development Bank, said Washington has allowed China to gain an economic foothold in Latin America by underfunding the lender for years, in an interview with the Financial Times.
The day ahead
Putin meets Lukashenko Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday in Sochi. On Wednesday, the Kremlin said its officials saw no reason not to trust the Belarusian government’s claims of a bomb threat as an explanation for why it hijacked a commercial flight. (CBS)
The White House publishes its budget U.S. President Joe Biden is set to unveil a $ 6 billion budget proposal over the next decade, doubling his plans for large-scale government investment in the economy with the bet that the inflation will come down after this year’s explosion. Budget targets more spending Chinese deterrence and nuclear financing. (FT, Reuters)
What else do we read
Big Oil defeats mark ‘radical change’ in climate battle Big Oil was rocked by a climatic calculation. As companies have laid out detailed plans to cut carbon emissions, the staggering defeats of boardrooms and courts this week have shown just how much the powerful forces in society want faster change. Our Energy Source newsletter broke down Big Oil’s Terrible, Horrible No Good, Very Bad Day Wednesday. register here to receive the email in your inbox.
Designing democracy on Mars can improve Earth politics A political science professor at Yale University recently challenged his students to write a constitution for Mars. Not only might travelers fixed on Mars like SpaceX founder Elon Musk be intrigued by the exercise, politicians should be too. Meanwhile, Edward Luce writes that American democracy is still in the danger zone.
Why commuters won’t be easily drawn to the office For a very long time, commuters trudged around the office because they had no choice. The pandemic, at least in New York City, could change that. Commuters have the power to demand change. They should use it, writes Josh Chaffin. How have you made your commute tolerable in the past? Tell us at [email protected]
When your business is 100 years older than you In 2016, Mei Lum was 26 and decided to pursue graduate studies at Columbia University. Instead, she became the Fifth generation owner of Wing On Wo & Co., the oldest store in New York’s Chinatown, with no formal training – or frankly old interest – in running a business. (The cup)
What’s wrong with the Michelin guide? Even for its detractors, Michelin is the most influential restaurant guide on the planet. But three main accusations are made against it: that it restricts creativity, that it cannot cover as many restaurants and that it is too “French”. Yet why do chefs always want a star?
Podcast of the day
Washington’s desire to find a solution in the Middle East Martin Indyk, former US ambassador to Israel and US special envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, discusses the Biden administration’s position on the Middle East crisis with Gideon Rachman.