UAH is secular, intellectual and non-aligned politically, culturally or religiously email discussion group.


{UAH} Did we learn anything from TRUMPTARD presidency?


Absolutely!

America has seen the fragility of democracy. America has seen that one con man can fool nearly half the people into willingly giving up their democracy. America has seen how one con man in the position of POTUS can stack the government with sycophants willing and able to act as agents of that con man rather than serve their nation.

America and the world have seen how the Nazis in Germany succeeded. America and the world have seen all it takes is a population sufficiently ignorant to sit back and watch the bad people win.

You wonder why M7 rules UGANDA 35 years later?

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{UAH} Head of world's 'largest family' dies in India, leaving behind 39 wives and 94 children

Head of world's 'largest family' dies in India, leaving behind 39 wives and 94 children

Mon., June 14, 2021, 4:52 a.m.
A family photograph of the Ziona family, with a total of 181 members. Ziona Chana, 67, is at the front - Barcroft Media 
A family photograph of the Ziona family, with a total of 181 members. Ziona Chana, 67, is at the front - Barcroft Media

A man believed to have the world's largest family, including 39 wives, 94 children, 33 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, has died in the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram.

Ziona Chana, 76, was the head of a polygamous Christian religious sect with 4,000 members, and his extended family all lived together in one 100-room, four-storied mansion in the remote village of Baktawng Tlangnuam. The sect was founded by his father.

Mr Chana, a construction worker, developed a rota system for which of his wives would share his bed on any given night, with his remaining spouses sharing a dormitory nearby.

"I consider myself a lucky man to be the husband of 39 women and head of the world's largest family," Mr Chana told the Daily Mirror in 2012.

The polygamist married his first wife, Zathiangi, at the age of 17, and reportedly wedded 10 of his other wives in the space of one year. His last marriage came in 2004 to a 25-year-old woman.

Mr Chana with some of his wives in his bedroom in 2011  - Barcroft Media 
Mr Chana with some of his wives in his bedroom in 2011 - Barcroft Media

As his longest-standing wife, Zathiangi was given the responsibility of organising domestic chores.

Polygamy is illegal under Indian law but permitted among a few northeastern tribes.

His children and their partners lived in different rooms in the building but shared a common kitchen. The household was self-sufficient, running its own school and growing its own crops. It consumes as much as 100 kilograms of rice and 70 kilograms of potatoes every day.

As a result, his unconventional mansion has become something of a tourist attraction.

A guesthouse had been constructed within the residence to accommodate visitors - including many from abroad.

Ziona Chana's four-storeyed purple mansion is called 'Chhuanthar Run', which means 'The House of the New Generation', and is home to all 181 members of the family - Barcroft Media 
Ziona Chana's four-storeyed purple mansion is called 'Chhuanthar Run', which means 'The House of the New Generation', and is home to all 181 members of the family - Barcroft Media

In 2014, the family featured in an advertisement of a leading dishwasher brand, according to the Hindustan Times, and twice appeared on the popular television show Ripley's Believe It Or Not.

"With heavy heart, Mizoram bid farewell to Ziona, believed to head the world's largest family," said Mizoram's Chief Minister, Zoramthanga, who like many inhabitants of the state goes by one name.

"Mizoram and his village at Baktawng Tlangnuam has become a major tourist attraction in the state because of the family. Rest in Peace Sir!"

Doctors in Mizoram said Mr Chana died in the state capital of Aizawl after his diabetes and hypertension deteriorated.

There is some dispute as to whether Mr Chana was the head of the world's largest family - one Canadian man has allegedly fathered 150 children.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting.
 

{UAH} WE HAVE THE FRAUDLENT EAR FEED AT THE G7 NOW TELL ME AMERICA HAS A PRESIDENT The man is like a 5 year old !!!!!!!! Geee'eeeZ

 

Imbecile, Brain Dying Biden At G7…Hear
His Controller Yelling and Instructing him
Through His earpiece!

EM         -> {   Gap   at   46  }

On the 49th Parallel          

                 Thé Mulindwas Communication Group
"With Yoweri Museveni, Ssabassajja and Dr. Kiiza Besigye, Uganda is in anarchy"
                    
Kuungana Mulindwa Mawasiliano Kikundi
"Pamoja na Yoweri Museveni, Ssabassajja na Dk. Kiiza Besigye, Uganda ni katika machafuko"

 

{UAH} BRING BACK TRUMP TO CALL OUT CHINA AND THE GLOBALISTS

Bring back Trump to call out China and the Globalists

Talking tough, G-7 statement meekly asks China 'to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms'

President Joe Biden speaks with French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen after posing for the G-7 family photo with guests at the G-7 summit, Friday, June 11, 2021, in Carbis Bay, England. (Kevin Lamarque/Pool ..

- The Washington Times - Monday, June 14, 2021

Blundering Joe Biden and the Old Gang are back together again.

For 50 years now, the Globalists of Olde Europe have been getting it all wrong. And Mr. Biden has been there pretty much every step of the way.

Only in Washington could a guy like Joe Biden — who has been wrong about everything — rise to the very top. In the land of the deaf, dumb and blind, the guy who can still taste ice cream is king.

At this latest gathering of the Globalist 7, world leaders basically just breathed a heavy sigh of relief that Donald Trump was no longer in their midst.

He was not nice. And he did not like getting ripped off. Worst of all, he made no secret that his primary concern is the best interest of his own county, America.

As the vulgar Mr. Trump likes to say, “America First!”

It now appears the second greatest threat to the world — after Mr. Trump himself — is China. After all, the communist regime murders its own people, rounds up religious minorities and operates slave labor camps. Also, they unleashed a pandemic on the world that killed millions of innocent people.

Not as bad as Mr. Trump, but pretty darned bad!

The Globalist 7 got together and wrote a 25-page “joint statement” scolding China for its genocide of Muslims and slave labor camps. It sounds a lot worse when you say the words. But you have to remember that the slavery allows China to sell really inexpensive junk to the Globalist 7 countries, so there is at least a payoff.

Talking tough, the statement meekly asked China “to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially in relation to Xinjiang and those rights, freedoms and a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong.”

Wow, that will leave a mark.

One of the stunning accomplishments of this latest Globalist 7 meeting was that they decided to actually name “China” in their big, tough statement. In other words, there were actually sitting members of the Globalist 7 club who desperately did not want to name “China” in their big, bad statement against China.

Talk about toothless.

Mr. Biden did not even have to pack his dentures for this trip. Anyway, they are only serving him apple sauce these days. And ice cream.

One dutiful reporter covering the event observed, “The statement is unlikely to have any immediate practical effect.”

You think?

The Italian prime minister summed up all tough talk about China best.

“It’s an autocracy that doesn’t adhere to multilateral rules,” he said.

Um, obeying “multilateral rules” is not the problem here. After all, Germany and Italy were all about “multilateral” agreement with each other when they gassed 6 million Jews 75 years ago.

The problem here is that China murders humans and runs slave labor camps — both of which are frowned upon in our American culture. So is seeking to export murder and slavery beyond its own borders — in Hong Kong, the South China Sea and beyond.

And then there is that whole thing about killing three million innocent people around the globe over the past year and a half.

After unleashing the deadly virus on the world, China lied about it, covered it up and refused to help find a cure.

And the spineless cowards of the Globalist 7 went right along with the whole crime and let China get away with all of it. To this day, we don’t even know if the deadly virus escaped from China accidentally — or was intentionally unleashed on the world by the Chinese military.

Or, maybe it was an effort to kill their own elderly people and it got out of hand.

Whatever, says Joe Biden. He is just glad to be back in the club.

“America is back at the table,” he declared. He was later caught strolling down the beach — literally — arm-in-arm with the French president.

“I think it’s great to have a U.S. president part of the club and very willing to cooperate,” French President Emmanuel Macron oozed about Mr. Biden.

It was a line that caught the attention of former President Donald Trump.

“So much USA money has been given away to the ‘Club,’ as President Macron of France likes to call it, and to NATO, despite the fact that those countries have taken economic advantage of the United States for many years — until I came along,” he said. “Not fair to America, or the American taxpayer.”

All true. Also, Mr. Trump has always been a man willing to call “China’s” name.

• Charles Hurt is opinion editor of The Washington Times.

EM         -> {   Gap   at   46  }

On the 49th Parallel          

                 Thé Mulindwas Communication Group
"With Yoweri Museveni, Ssabassajja and Dr. Kiiza Besigye, Uganda is in anarchy"
                    
Kuungana Mulindwa Mawasiliano Kikundi
"Pamoja na Yoweri Museveni, Ssabassajja na Dk. Kiiza Besigye, Uganda ni katika machafuko"

 

 

{UAH} STRNAGE THAT AS TRUMP WAS GOING AFTER THIS FOOL FAKE MEDIA AND THE DEMOCRATS BECAME HIS PROTECTION

Fauci should drop the mask on Wuhan

The nation needs to know the whole truth about the COVID-19 pandemic

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee looking into the budget estimates for National Institute of Health (NIH) and the state of medical research, Wednesday, May 26, 2021, ... more >

While our masks come off, Dr. Anthony Fauci still wears his mask of secrecy – one that cloaks the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ response to COVID-19. The time for an honest discussion regarding Dr. Fauci’s leadership and actions during the pandemic is long overdue.

Scientists have learned a great deal about the coronavirus, including how it transmits and attacks the body and crucially, how to treat patients and create seemingly effective vaccines. However, scientists are requesting more information that they say is necessary to determine how COVID-19 originated and became a pandemic in order to develop strategies to prevent such a pandemic from ever again visiting such destruction upon humanity. But to this day, Dr. Fauci and NIAID have steadfastly refused to release documents that would help answer this and many other important questions. 

Over the past year, Judicial Watch has bird-dogged Dr. Fauci’s records through the Freedom of Information Act. And when FOIA requests were ignored, Judicial Watch filed lawsuits compelling NIAID to comply. Although the agency continues its unprecedented stonewalling, it has released at least some documents, some of which are deeply troubling. In one instance, Dr. Fauci approved a press release that was specifically designed to praise China’s initial response to the coronavirus. In an even more troubling case, officials from the NIH tailored confidentiality forms to China’s terms, and the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted an unreleased, “strictly confidential” COVID-19 epidemiological analysis in January 2020.

 

These records reveal an agency so focused on global politics (protecting China) that urgent concerns about the coronavirus and about the Chinese government’s opaque conduct often took a back seat. As Dr. Fauci and his legal team of government lawyers slow roll the release of these key documents it is fair to ask what else is hiding in records that they defiantly refuse to yield.

We won’t know the answer to that question until Dr. Fauci and the federal government complies with our FOIA lawsuit and other public demands for information about what happened in the Wuhan, China, epicenter of the global pandemic. One theory holds that the virus jumped from bats to humans, sparking the pandemic. The medical science community also holds accidental release from a laboratory to be feasible theory, and which World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said needs to be further investigated.

The American people deserve to know more about whether taxpayer dollars were channeled to China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, notably near the “ground zero” market for the COVID-19 outbreak. What American officials specifically knew about the experiments taking place in that lab has yet to be established. 

 

There is no question Dr. Fauci’s NIAID gave a grant to EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit that funded research at the WIV involving bats. Yet Dr. Fauci made a carefully worded  denial of any connection between his agency and the WIV in a recent congressional hearing, stating, “With all due respect, you are entirely, completely incorrect,” adding that his NIAID and its parent National Institute of Health “has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” Questioned about a 2015 NIH-funded study by University of North Carolina virologist Dr. Ralph Baric that reportedly created “lab-made coronavirus related to SARS,” Dr. Fauci responded, “Dr. Baric is not doing gain-of-function research, and if it is, it is according to the guidelines, and it is being conducted in North Carolina, not in China.” Our simple response to Dr. Fauci is: Show us the documents.

 

We don’t expect the totalitarian communists who run the Chinese government to come clean, but American federal officials have a moral obligation, in the least, to tell the American people the full truth and to stop the stonewalling. 

 

A basic American principle holds that even our highest officials work for the people and are not above the law. More than 587,000 Americans died in this pandemic. The country has suffered illness, economic calamity and disrupted lives. Having paid such a terrible price, the nation urgently needs to know the whole truth, and Dr. Fauci needs to stop with the prevarications and secrecy on his agency’s potential role in creating this crisis.

Tom Fitton is president of Judicial Watch, a nonprofit government watchdog organization

EM         -> {   Gap   at   46  }

On the 49th Parallel          

                 Thé Mulindwas Communication Group
"With Yoweri Museveni, Ssabassajja and Dr. Kiiza Besigye, Uganda is in anarchy"
                    
Kuungana Mulindwa Mawasiliano Kikundi
"Pamoja na Yoweri Museveni, Ssabassajja na Dk. Kiiza Besigye, Uganda ni katika machafuko"

 

{UAH} SHEIKH MUGENYASOOKA WORKED FOR ISLAM BUT NOT HIS STOMACH-MUSEVENI

TOP Opinion STORY
11 days ago . 4 min Read
Sheikh Mugenyasooka worked for Islam but not his stomach – Museveni

Apart from the spiritual role, Sheikh Mugenyasooka was also an active
supporter of the Democratic Party from 1956 up to his death and was
the first Muslim to embrace DP.
NewVision Reporter
Journalist @NewVision
4 views

By Ahmed Kateregga Musaazi

One day, my mother in the bushes of Nnambiriizi village in Mawogola
County now Ssembabule was heard crying.

Then his paternal uncle-in-law, Sheikh Haji Zaid Kateregga
Mugenyasooka shouted that "Has Musaazi been eaten by a leopard?" His
brother, Zuli Arabi Idi Dungu Mukasa Kimera, my mother's father in
-law jokingly affirmed that "Yes it has eaten him."

Then the sheikh came running to the scene. My mother's eyes had been
spat on by a cobra, but I, the baby Musaazi, who the sheikh had feared
that I had been eaten by the leopard was safe.

By then there was a lot of wildlife in Mawogola and lions could be
heard roaring in the night and leopards and hyenas used to feast on
our goats and sheep we were rearing. My mother was returning home from
Sheikh Mugenyasooka's residence.

Today, June 1, 2021, is 27 years ever since Sheikh Zaid Mugenyasooka
passed on at the then Kibuli Nursing Home now Kibuli Muslim Hospital
in the morning and was buried in the afternoon at Bukoto mosque. He
was President -General of Africa Muslim Community Juma Sect Bukoto
Nateete from 1948 up to his death and Regional Qadhi, Buganda Region
under Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, from 1972 to 1974.

Apart from the spiritual role, Sheikh Mugenyasooka was also an active
supporter of the Democratic Party from 1956 up to his death and was
the first Muslim to embrace DP. He was close to the late DP President
General, Benedicto Kagimu Mugumba Kiwanuka, who was his personal and
family lawyer, and the lawyer of AMC Juma Sect Bukoto Nateete. There
will be duwa for him at his home at Ng'ando in Butambala District
today to be presided over by his son and heir, Sheikh Haruna Ssuuna
Mugenyasooka.

Sheikh Mugenyasooka was born in 1900. His father was Asuman Mawanda
Gunsiiriza Tabula. A "Mujungute", the Muslim warriors that sought
refuguee under a Muslim Kabaka, Nuuhu Kalema at Kijungute in now
Kyankwanzi District, after the Muslim had been defeated by a joint
force of Christians and Traditionalists and Kabaka Mwanga was
installed the third time on his throne.

By the time Capt., Fredrick Lugard of Imperial British East Africa
Company arrived at Kampala hill now Old Kampala, in December 1890,
Kabaka Kalema had passed on and Muslims under prince Nuuhu Kyabasinga
Mbogo, the grandfather of Prince Kassim Nakibinge Kakungulu, were
still a threat. He negotiated for their return and settled in
Butambala, Gomba, and Busujju, and after a Nubian mutiny, lost Busujju
and Gomba and were all squeezed in Butambala. Asuman Mawanda settled
at Bukesa in Ngando Sub County.

He was the first Muslim convert in the family, together with his
brother Bumbalakali Semyano, buried at Gombe, in Butambala, and before
religious wars, lived at Kisawo near Lukaya in Buddu whose father was
Luzige, whose father was Gubya.


Gubya's brother Diba had fathered Makaato, shoes son Nyansi Byulenzi
Kasajja embraced Roman Catholicism and was a page at Kabaka Mwanga's
palace and was one f the forces that captured Mawogola from Mwanga
loyalists and was appointed one of the administrators and after
Buganda Agreement of 1900, was given a private Mailo estate at
Nnambiriizi. He had been in the Christian army in Kabula, then in
Ankole, which drove away Muslims from the capital. They were under
Kateregga Luguma lineage in Buddu.



Mugenyasooka started Islamic religion at a tender age under different
tutors including Sheikh Semawempe, and went to Kyowe in Entebbe where
they had different tutors and when Sheikh Abdullah Muikasa
Ssekimwanyi, the first Ugandan Muslim to perform holy pilgrimage to
Mecca, broke away from Kibuli in 1921, Mugenyasooka was his secretary,
and upon his death, and his successor Sheikh Nsambu reconciled with
Kibuli, Mugeyasooka , who had accompanied Ssekimwanyi, at his last
pilgrimage, was named a caretaker President General but steered the
sect up to his death.

He is remembered to have trained many sheikhs including his own sons;
Haruna Suuna, now Vice President General, the late Muhammad Bulemezi
Kateregga, and Asumani Mawanda working with Uganda Revenue Authority,
his late nephew who was my father, Sheikh Abbaas Kimera who was Masaka
District Imam, etc.

He steered the board of trustees that oversaw the sect's property
including for square miles that were allocated to it and Juma and
Zukuri Sect was allocated six square miles, and such land includes 80
acres at Bukyolo in Masaka that were grabbed but reclaimable. Others
were leased to other Muslim sects like Aga Khan Foundation where there
is Aga Khan School, Clock Tower that was leased to Uganda Sunni Muslim
Association.

Schools like Nabisunsa Girls School, Kitagobwa primary and secondary
schools and Buwawuka primary and secondary schools in Butambala,
Kadduggala primary and secondary schools in Kalungu, and Kabukunge
primary and secondary schools and Primary Teacher's College in
Kalungu, Mbuulire and secondary schools in Bukomansimbi, Katimba and
Nnambiriiz primary schools are on that land. He built Bukesa Islamic
Primary School in Butambala and Nnambiriizi primary School in
Mawogola.

Such is Uganda's traditional sheikhs who never went to Islamic
theological colleges but had been groomed by their tutors, that kept
Muslim property intact, compared to the university graduates. Even
where they had differences, they were ideological but not
opportunistic as is the case now.

At a Mauled at Kibuli in 1989, attended by President Yoweri Museveni
and President Kenneth Kauda of Zambia, Chief Qadhi of Uganda Sheikh
Hussein Rajab Kakooza introduced Mugenyasooka, and Museveni said "l
know him, he works for Islam but not his stomach." Dr. Kaunda and Dr.
Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere, who was Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign
Minister also nodded in affirmation. Inna Lillaahi wa inna ilaihi
raj'una.

Haji Ahmed Kateregga Musaazi is a veteran journalist and a
Communications Assistant with the Digital Team under Ministry of ICT
and National Guidance.

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{UAH} Is it true most Ugandans are foolish?

Dr. Kifefe Kizza-Besigye: We must realize that as people, we are foolish and we must deal with our stupidity.
The biggest problem I see is simply having masses of people that are not thinking. That is why we have a regime like we have doing the things it's doing for 35 years and we are simply lamenting. 

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"When a man is stung by a bee, he doesn't set off to destroy all beehives"

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{UAH} All FDC offices nationwide closed because of Covid

Great move! Thanks FDC for minding the lives of people!

--
"When a man is stung by a bee, he doesn't set off to destroy all beehives"

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{UAH} Slay Queen Whose Video Leaked While Massaging Her ‘Sumbie’Speaks Out

Slay Queen Whose Video Leaked While Massaging Her 'Sumbie' Speaks Out

Over the weekend, we punched a story revealing how a one Paula, a student at Makerere University Business School (MUBS) was in tears after a video of hers massaging her 'Sumbie' made rounds on social media.

Details of how her now viral video made it's way on social media remained scanty at the time because neither her nor her close friends were willing to open up

However after hours of negotiations and engagement with the Paul, she was able to give us a few details of how the massive clip ended up on Facebook.

According to Paula, her now jilted lover decided to take matter out of his hand after their relationship ended in tears.

My former boyfriend decided to malice me after our relationship ended in tears. I trusted him with the video because at the time I loved him but when the relationship went South he decided to expose me" Paula said

When we squeezed her further to reveal the identity ofthe boyfriend Paula refused to give us the answer.

Watch Paula's video below;👇

https://youtu.be/GpYqNGv5FVM




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"When a man is stung by a bee, he doesn't set off to destroy all beehives"

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{UAH} UGANDAN | I AM A TREE GLOBAL YOUTH CAMPAIGN

Friends You are all invited to today's online event, as we Launch I AM A TREE - Bangladesh. It will be live on Uganda Safe Space Network    And Youth Movements  Pages. 

I AM A TREE - BANGLADESH is part of I AM A TREE GLOBAL YOUTH CAMPAIGN

Visit this site to know more about this Campaign. https://sasnetworkorg.wordpress.com/i-am-a-tree-global-youth-campaign/

Today, I am going to be talking to Bangladesh Youth, Discussing Why Youth must be at forefront in the climate change Mitigation campaign.

Here is a link to the event

Nkwene Nelson 
Global Coordinator I AM A TREE GLOBAL YOUTH CAMPAIGN | Safe Space Network


Talk to us.

Plot 6. Katonga Road. Nakasero. Kampala.  
P. O. Box 500034 Wandegeya. Kampala. 
+256781522312



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{UAH} I was slapped, burnt after Nkrumah was overthrown

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{UAH} From CNN: The real earthquake in Israeli politics

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{UAH} From CNN: Biden says NATO must protect against 'phony populism' in jab at Trump

Biden says NATO must protect against 'phony populism' in jab at Trump

https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/14/politics/joe-biden-phony-populism-nato/index.html 

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{UAH} From CNN: Opinion: Biden's spectacular breach of royal protocol didn't keep UK visit from success

Opinion: Biden's spectacular breach of royal protocol didn't keep UK visit from success

https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/14/opinions/biden-queen-uk-g7-visit-success-prince/index.html 

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{UAH} From CNN: Here's what went on inside off-the-record meeting with DOJ

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{UAH} From CNN: The scandal over Trump's leak investigations keeps getting worse

The scandal over Trump's leak investigations keeps getting worse

https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/14/politics/trump-doj-leak-investigation-explainer/index.html 

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{UAH} Uganda and Congo sign agreement | World Highways

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{UAH} Uganda court grants bail to 18 supporters of opposition leader Wine | Reuters

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{UAH} CHINA'S "BAT WOMAN", AT THE CENTER OF A PANDEMIC STORM, SPEAK OUT

China's 'Bat Woman,' at the Center of a Pandemic Storm, Speaks Out

Mon, June 14, 2021, 2:14 PM·11 min read

 

A propaganda poster advising against the consumption of wild animals in Wuhan, China, on Jan. 22, 2021. (Gilles Sabrié/The New York Times)

To a growing chorus of U.S. politicians and scientists, she is the key to whether the world will ever learn if the virus behind the devastating COVID-19 pandemic escaped from a Chinese lab. To the Chinese government and public, she is a hero of the country’s success in curbing the epidemic and a victim of malicious conspiracy theories.

Shi Zhengli, a top Chinese virologist, is once again at the center of clashing narratives about her research on coronaviruses at a state lab in Wuhan, the city where the pandemic first emerged.

The idea that the virus may have escaped from a lab had long been widely dismissed by scientists as implausible and shunned by others for its connection with former President Donald Trump. But fresh scrutiny from the Biden administration and calls for greater candor from prominent scientists have brought the theory back to the fore.

Scientists generally agree that there is still no direct evidence to support the lab leak theory. But more of them now say that the hypothesis was dismissed too hastily, without a thorough investigation, and they point to a range of unsettling questions.

Some scientists say Shi conducted risky experiments with bat coronaviruses in labs that were not safe enough. Others want clarity on reports, citing U.S. intelligence, suggesting that there were early infections of COVID-19 among several employees of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Shi has denied these accusations and now finds herself defending the reputation of her lab and, by extension, that of her country. Reached on her cellphone last week, Shi said at first that she preferred not to speak directly with reporters, citing her institute’s policies. Yet she could barely contain her frustration.

“How on earth can I offer up evidence for something where there is no evidence?” she said, her voice rising in anger during the brief, unscheduled conversation. “I don’t know how the world has come to this, constantly pouring filth on an innocent scientist,” she wrote in a text message.

In a rare interview over email, she denounced the suspicions as baseless, including the allegations that several of her colleagues may have been ill before the outbreak emerged.

The speculation boils down to one central question: Did Shi’s lab hold any source of the new coronavirus before the pandemic erupted? Shi’s answer is an emphatic no.

But China’s refusal to allow an independent investigation into her lab, or to share data on its research, make it difficult to validate Shi’s claims and has only fueled nagging suspicions about how the pandemic could have taken hold in the same city that hosts an institute known for its work on bat coronaviruses.

Those in favor of the natural origins hypothesis, though, have pointed to Wuhan’s role as a major transportation hub as well as a recent study that showed that just before the pandemic hit, the city’s markets were selling many animal species capable of harboring dangerous pathogens that could jump to humans.

The Chinese government has given no appearance of holding Shi under suspicion. Despite the international scrutiny, she seems to have been able to continue her research and give lectures in China.

The stakes in this debate extend into how scientists study infectious diseases. Some scientists have cited the lab leak scenario in pushing for greater scrutiny of “gain of function” experiments that, broadly defined, are intended to make pathogens more powerful to better understand their behavior and risks.

Many scientists say they want the hunt for the virus’ origins to transcend politics, borders and individual scientific achievements.

“This has nothing to do with fault or guilt,” said David Relman, a microbiologist at Stanford University and co-author of a recent letter in the journal Science, signed by 18 scientists, that called for a transparent investigation into all viable scenarios, including a lab leak.

The letter urged labs and health agencies to open their records to the public.

“It’s just bigger than any one scientist or institute or any one country — anybody anywhere who has data of this sort needs to put it out there,” Relman said.

‘Transparency matters.’

Many virologists maintain that the coronavirus most likely jumped from an animal to a human in a setting outside a lab. But without direct proof of a natural spillover, more scientists and politicians have called for a full investigation into the lab leak theory.

Proponents of a lab investigation say that researchers at Shi’s institute could have collected — or contracted — the new coronavirus from the wild, such as in a bat cave. Or the scientists may have created it, by accident or by design. Either way, the virus could then have leaked from the laboratory, perhaps by infecting a worker.

China has sought to influence investigations into the virus’ origin, while promoting its own unproven allegations.

Beijing agreed to allow a team of World Health Organization experts to visit China but limited their access. When the WHO team said in a report in March that a lab leak was extremely unlikely, its conclusion was seen as hasty. Even the head of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “I do not believe that this assessment was extensive enough.”

Last month, President Joe Biden ordered intelligence agencies to investigate the origin question, including the lab theory. On Sunday, the leaders of the world’s wealthiest large democracies, at the Group of 7 summit, urged China to be part of a new investigation into the origins of the coronavirus. Biden told reporters that he and other leaders had discussed access to labs in China.

“Transparency matters across the board,” Biden said.

‘Scientists have a motherland.’

In less polarized times, Shi was a symbol of China’s scientific progress, the “Bat Woman” at the forefront of research into emerging viruses.

She led expeditions into caves to collect samples from bats and guano, to learn how viruses jump from animals to humans. In 2019, she was among 109 scientists elected to the American Academy of Microbiology for her contributions to the field.

“She’s a stellar scientist — extremely careful, with a rigorous work ethic,” said Dr. Robert C. Gallo, director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology employs nearly 300 people and is home to one of only two Chinese labs that have been given the highest security designation, Biosafety Level 4. Shi leads the institute’s work on emerging infectious diseases, and over the years, her group has collected over 10,000 bat samples from around China.

Under China’s centralized approach to scientific research, the institute answers to the Communist Party, which wants scientists to serve national goals.

“Science has no borders, but scientists have a motherland,” Xi Jinping, the country’s leader, said in a speech to scientists last year.

Shi herself, though, does not belong to the Communist Party, according to official Chinese media reports, which is unusual for state employees of her status. She built her career at the institute, starting as a research assistant in 1990 and working her way up the ranks.

Shi, 57, obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Montpellier in France in 2000 and started studying bats in 2004 after the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, which killed more than 700 people around the world. In 2011, she made a breakthrough when she found bats in a cave in southwestern China that carried coronaviruses that were similar to the virus that causes SARS.

“In all the work we do, if just once you can prevent the outbreak of an illness, then what we’ve done will be very meaningful,” she told CCTV, China’s state broadcaster, in 2017.

But some of her most notable findings have since drawn the heaviest scrutiny. In recent years, Shi began experimenting on bat coronaviruses by genetically modifying them to see how they behave.

In 2017, she and her colleagues at the Wuhan lab published a paper about an experiment in which they created new hybrid bat coronaviruses by mixing and matching parts of several existing ones — including at least one that was nearly transmissible to humans — in order to study their ability to infect and replicate in human cells.

Proponents of this type of research say it helps society prepare for future outbreaks. Critics say the risks of creating dangerous new pathogens may outweigh potential benefits.

The picture has been complicated by new questions about whether U.S. government funding that went to Shi’s work supported controversial gain-of-function research. The Wuhan institute received around $600,000 in grant money from the U.S. government, through an American nonprofit called EcoHealth Alliance. The National Institutes of Health said it had not approved funding for the nonprofit to conduct gain-of-function research on coronaviruses that would have made them more infectious or lethal.

Shi, in an emailed response to questions, argued that her experiments differed from gain-of-function work because she did not set out to make a virus more dangerous but to understand how it might jump across species.

“My lab has never conducted or cooperated in conducting GOF experiments that enhance the virulence of viruses,” she said.

‘Speculation rooted in utter distrust.’

Concerns have centered not only on what experiments Shi conducted but also on the conditions under which she did them.

Some of Shi’s experiments on bat viruses were done in Biosafety Level 2 labs, where security is lower than in other labs at the institute. That has raised questions about whether a dangerous pathogen could have slipped out.

Ralph Baric, a University of North Carolina expert in coronaviruses who signed the open letter in Science, said that although a natural origin of the virus was likely, he supported a review of what level of biosafety precautions were taken in studying bat coronaviruses at the Wuhan institute. Baric conducted NIH-approved gain-of-function research at his lab using information on viral genetic sequences provided by Shi.

Shi said that bat viruses in China could be studied in BSL-2 labs because there was no evidence that they directly infected humans, a view supported by some other scientists.

She also rejected recent reports that three researchers from her institute had sought treatment at a hospital in November 2019 for flulike symptoms, before the first COVID-19 cases were reported.

“The Wuhan Institute of Virology has not come across such cases,” she wrote. “If possible, can you provide the names of the three to help us check?”

As for samples that the lab held, Shi has maintained that the closest bat virus she had in her lab, which she shared publicly, was only 96% identical to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 — a vast difference by genomic standards. She rejects speculation that her lab had worked on other viruses in secret.

Shi’s research on a group of miners in Yunnan province who suffered severe respiratory disease in 2012 has also drawn questions. The miners had worked in the same cave where Shi’s team later discovered the bat virus that is close to SARS-CoV-2. Shi said that her lab did not detect bat SARS-like coronaviruses in the miners’ samples and that she would publish more details in a scientific journal soon; her critics say she has withheld information.

“This issue is too important not to come forward with everything you have and in a timely and transparent manner,” said Alina Chan, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard who also signed the Science letter.

Many scientists and officials say China should share employees’ medical records and the lab’s logs of its experiments and its viral sequence database to evaluate Shi’s claims.

Shi said she and the institute had been open with the WHO and with the global scientific community.

“This is no longer a question of science,” she said on the phone. “It is speculation rooted in utter distrust.”

‘I have nothing to fear.’

The pandemic was a moment that Shi and her team had long braced for. For years, she had warned of the risks of a coronavirus outbreak, building up a stock of knowledge about these pathogens.

In January 2020, as Shi and her team worked frantically, they were exhausted but also excited, said Wang Linfa, a virologist at the Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School who was in Wuhan with Shi at the time.

“All the experiences, reagents and the bat samples in the freezer were finally being used in a significant way globally,” said Wang, Shi’s collaborator and friend for 17 years.

Shi published some of the most important early papers on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, which scientists around the world have relied on.

But soon, the speculation about Shi and her lab began to swirl. Shi, who is known among friends for being blunt, was baffled and angry — and sometimes let it show.

In an interview with Science magazine in July, she said that Trump owed her an apology for claiming the virus came from her lab. On social media, she said people who raised similar questions should “shut your stinky mouths.”

Shi said what she saw as the politicization of the question had sapped her of any enthusiasm for investigating the origins of the virus. She has instead focused on COVID vaccines and the features of the new virus, and over time, she said, has calmed down.

“I’m sure that I did nothing wrong,” she wrote. “So I have nothing to fear.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

© 2021 The New York Times Company

EM         -> {   Gap   at   46  }

On the 49th Parallel          

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