Wuhan virus lab signed off by Michel Barnier in 2004 despite warnings

Wuhan virus lab was signed off by EU Brexit chief Michel Barnier in 2004 – despite French intelligence warnings that China’s poor bio-security reputation could lead to a catastrophic leak

  • The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator signed off on construction of the P4 laboratory
  • French intelligence services warned poor Chinese security could lead to a leak
  •  Jacques Chirac, French president at the time, pushed the Wuhan lab project 
  •  50 French scientists were meant to go to Wuhan but were never sent to the lab
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

The construction of the Chinese laboratory at the centre of mounting suspicion over the source of the Covid-19 pandemic was signed off by the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier – despite warnings by French intelligence services.

Mr Barnier – currently embroiled in acrimonious negotiations with the UK over a post-Brexit trade deal – was the French foreign minister when he gave the go-ahead for work to start on the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2004, under a joint deal with the Chinese.

The move came despite strong opposition from French diplomatic and security advisers, who argued that the Chinese reputation for poor bio-security could lead to a catastrophic leak.

They also warned that Paris could lose control of the project, and even suggested that Beijing could harness the technology to make biowarfare weapons.

Eleven years later, as the laboratory prepared to open, the French architects of the project complained that they had, as feared, been ousted by the Chinese communist government.

Mr Barnier (pictured) – currently embroiled in acrimonious negotiations with the UK over a post-Brexit trade deal – was the French foreign minister when he gave the go-ahead for work to start on the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2004

Mr Barnier’s role in helping to establish the Wuhan institute can be revealed as part of a Mail on Sunday investigation into French connections to the laboratory.

The site was carrying out research on coronaviruses when the outbreak started in the city last November.

A growing number of scientific and security experts are now questioning the Chinese government’s insistence that the virus originated in a wildlife market in Wuhan, with Beijing’s refusal to allow an international investigation only adding to the growing suspicions.

Last week, The Mail on Sunday revealed that experts now believe the coronavirus was taken into the market by someone already carrying the disease.

Biologists who carried out a landmark study say they were ‘surprised’ to find the virus was ‘already pre-adapted to human transmission’.

Jacques Chirac, the French president at the time of the deal, pushed for the Wuhan institute to be set up after the 2003 SARS outbreak, which affected 26 countries and resulted in more than 8,000 cases and 774 deaths. Mr Chirac, along with his pro-Beijing prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, promised French funding and expertise in return for a share of the intellectual copyright on the lab’s discoveries.

Jacques Chirac, the French president at the time of the deal, pushed for the Wuhan institute (pictured) to be set up after the 2003 SARS outbreak, which affected 26 countries and resulted in more than 8,000 cases and 774 deaths

They argued that a French-Chinese collaboration could develop effective – and lucrative – vaccines to prevent a repeat of a deadly virus pandemic.

France is a global leader in virus research, but the Chirac government also saw the deal as a way to forge stronger trade links with China than its Western rivals.

According to a report in France’s Le Figaro newspaper, institutions such as the General Directorate for External Security, the French equivalent of MI6, expressed repeated concern at the lack of international control over Chinese laboratories and issues with ‘transparency’.

A source told the newspaper: ‘What you have to understand is that a P4 [high-level bio-security] laboratory is like a nuclear reprocessing plant. It’s a bacteriological atomic bomb.

‘The viruses that are tested are extremely dangerous – diving suits, decontamination airlocks etc must be followed to the letter.’

As part of the deal, up to 50 French scientists were expected to travel to Wuhan to help the Chinese run the laboratory properly – but they never went.

The Wuhan institute became operational in January 2018, and coincided with a visit to Beijing by current French president Emmanuel Macron and Mr Raffarin, who was made a ‘special envoy to China’

Alain Merieux, the French billionaire who was instrumental in setting up the Wuhan laboratory in partnership with his Institut Merieux in Lyons, abandoned the project in 2015, saying: ‘I am giving up the co-chairmanship of [the] P4 [laboratory], a Chinese tool. It belongs to them, even if it was developed with technical assistance from France.’

According to Le Figaro, a diplomat with a close knowledge of the deal added: ‘We knew the risks involved and thought that the Chinese would control everything and quickly eject us from the project.

‘We believed that providing this cutting-edge technology to a country with an endless power agenda would risk exposing France in return.’

Their fears were compounded in 2015 when China implemented a new policy of ‘dual use’ technologies, which allows their armed forces to use any civilian technology for military purposes.

The Wuhan institute became operational in January 2018, and coincided with a visit to Beijing by current French president Emmanuel Macron and Mr Raffarin, who was made a ‘special envoy to China’.

Last night, a Foreign Ministry source in Paris confirmed that Mr Barnier had helped set up the Wuhan institute when he was foreign minister as ‘the hand that signed the paper’.

A Foreign Ministry source in Paris confirmed that Mr Barnier had helped set up the Wuhan institute when he was foreign minister as ‘the hand that signed the paper’

Mr Barnier, a Gaullist conservative, served as foreign minister for just over a year, from April 2004 to June 2005.

The source said: ‘The aim was to develop vaccines following the SARS crisis between 2002 and 2004.

‘There was much co-operation on a range of issues between France and China at the time, and Michel Barnier was implementing government policy.’

The source added that opposition to the move had come from a number of people, including senior figures within the French security services.

‘The issue of bio-security was certainly a cause for concern within agencies including the DGSE,’ said the source.

A security services source involved in the case at the time said: ‘The Chinese laboratories were not inspiring a great deal of trust, but the government had its own reasons for progressing with this.’ 

Coronavirus is ‘uniquely adapted to infect humans’: Top vaccine scientist says it could only have come from an animal through a ‘freak of nature’ – and the possibility it leaked from Wuhan lab MUST be investigated 

By Ian Birrell for the Mail on Sunday

A team of scientists has produced evidence that the pandemic virus is ‘uniquely adapted to infect humans’, raising fresh questions over whether its origins were natural or could have occurred in a laboratory.

Professor Nikolai Petrovsky, a top vaccine researcher who headed the Australian team, said the virus was ‘not typical of a normal zoonotic [animal to human] infection’ since it appeared with the ‘exceptional’ ability to enter human bodies from day one.

He said the virus should have emerged from an animal through ‘a freak event of nature’ but the possibility that it had leaked from a laboratory could not be ruled out.

Petrovsky, professor of medicine at Flinders University in Adelaide, runs a biotech research unit that will start human trials for a Covid-19 vaccine next month.

‘I haven’t seen a zoonotic virus that has behaved in this way before,’ he said.

A team of scientists has produced evidence that the pandemic virus is ‘uniquely adapted to infect humans’

He told The Mail on Sunday that new viruses crossing over from animals normally strengthen as they adapt to human hosts, but for unexplained reasons, this new coronavirus seems perfectly adapted to infect humans without the need to evolve.

He pointed to the ‘coincidence’ that the most closely related known viruses were being studied in a laboratory in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the pandemic erupted, and insisted that the possibility of a leak, however remote, should not be ignored in the search for its origin.

‘The implications may not be good for scientists or global politics, but just because the answers might cause problems, we can’t run away from them,’ he added. ‘There is currently no evidence of a leak but enough circumstantial data to concern us. It remains a possibility until it is ruled out.’

Prof Petrovsky has gone further than any other expert in raising the idea that the virus escaped from one of two laboratories researching bat viruses in Wuhan.

Richard Ebright, one of the world’s top biosecurity experts, also told this newspaper that the odds of this new virus containing such unusual features and occurring naturally were ‘possible – but improbable’.

Simon Wain-Hobson, a virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, said the ‘body of evidence’ suggested this was a natural virus. Pictured: A worker inside the P4 laboratory in Wuhan in 2017

Ebright, professor of chemical biology at Rutgers University, in New Jersey, said scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were creating chimeric coronaviruses (new hybrid micro-organisms) and seeking funding to test their ability to infect human cells while using procedures that leave no sign of human manipulation.

Asked about the chance of a leak, he replied: ‘There definitely is a possibility. But there is no basis to say a high probability.’

Last week, the MoS revealed details of a key study challenging China’s claims that the pandemic emerged from a Wuhan animal market in December. The researchers were ‘surprised’ to find the virus ‘already pre-adapted to human transmission’, contrasting its stability with another coronavirus that evolved rapidly as it spread around the planet during the 2002-04 SARS epidemic. Their findings are backed by the Australian team’s study into the ‘spike protein’ that binds Sars-CoV-2 – the new strain of coronavirus that causes disease – to cells in human bodies. The research, posted on Cornell University’s website but not yet peer-reviewed, used computer modelling to test the spike protein’s ability to bind to humans and 12 possible animal hosts.

It found the ability to bind to human cells far exceeded its ability in other species. ‘This indicates Sars-CoV-2 is a highly adapted human pathogen,’ it said, ‘raising questions as to whether it arose in nature by a rare chance event or whether its origins lie elsewhere.’

Richard Ebright, professor of chemical biology at Rutgers University, in New Jersey, said scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (pictured) were creating chimeric coronaviruses (new hybrid micro-organisms)

Prof Petrovsky said it seemed ‘very unusual’ for an ‘exquisitely human adaptive virus’ to have suddenly crossed from an animal host to humans last year.

‘This is either a remarkable coincidence or a sign of human intervention,’ he said. ‘It is possible the virus was a fluke event and it turns out humans were the perfect host.

‘But we don’t have evidence for this because no one has found this virus in an intermediate host animal [for example pangolin] yet.

‘No one can say a laboratory leak is not a possibility.’

He claimed that scientists were reluctant to discuss the possibility of botched lab experiments or leaks since any backlash could lead to research restrictions and threaten crucial research. However, he added, it was vital to discover the source of the virus.

Prof Petrovsky said that if Sars-CoV-2 was a natural event, another related virus could erupt again from the same source with even more devastating consequences. ‘Next time, it could have far worse mortality rates,’ he warned.

He also highlighted the ‘furin cleavage site’, which allows the spike protein to bind to cells in human tissues including the lungs, liver and small intestines.

One US expert in biomedical sciences, who did not wish to be named, said there was no direct evidence to support the idea that the virus was engineered or leaked from a lab

Previous studies have noted the efficiency of this cleavage method, which does not exist in the most similar coronaviruses – although researchers in 2009 modified the SARS virus to introduce a furin cleavage site in a similar position to Sars-CoV-2 and found this increased the infectivity of the virus.

In the latest study published on Friday, three German scientists highlighted how this cleavage site was essential for the infection of human lung cells. One US expert in biomedical sciences, who did not wish to be named, said there was no direct evidence to support the idea that the virus was engineered or leaked from a lab, although ‘the location of the acquired furin mutation is quite surprising’.

Another leading research scientist said a member of his team ‘went a bit pale when he looked at this’.

A paper earlier this year by Yong-Zhen Zhang, the Chinese diseases expert who published the first genome sequence for Sars-CoV-2, said this was ‘arguably the most important’ difference between the new virus and its closest known relative, which was derived from a bat by Wuhan researchers.

Simon Wain-Hobson, a virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, said the ‘body of evidence’ suggested this was a natural virus. ‘You would see signatures if this was an engineered virus and I don’t see any evidence that it is engineered,’ he said.

Last week Chinese health officials confirmed they had ordered some labs to destroy samples of the coronavirus to ensure work was not being carried out in units that did not meet global biosafety rules.

World Health Organisation hails ‘goodwill ambassador’ Peng Liyuan on its website as a singing star… but fails to mention she’s the wife of China’s President, amid concerns over WHO’S handling of the coronavirus pandemic

By Mail on Sunday reporter 

Peng Liyuan is listed on the World Health Organisation’s website alongside former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker as one of nine ‘goodwill ambassadors’.

When she was appointed, the then-head of the WHO hailed the Chinese folk singer’s ‘world famous voice and her compassionate heart’, saying she was ‘a big bright star with a huge and respectful audience of admirers’.

There was, however, no mention of the other reason why Peng is so well known – she is the wife of Xi Jinping, President of China and leader of its Communist Party.

Peng Liyuan (pictured) is listed on the World Health Organisation’s website alongside former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker as one of nine ‘goodwill ambassadors’

Peng (right) married Xi (left) in 1987, when he was the divorced deputy mayor of the city of Xiamen

Peng, who holds the rank of major-general in the army, sang in uniform for soldiers after they crushed pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square – although state censors have sought to scrub these pictures from the internet.

The revelation that China’s first lady has been serving in such a prominent role will fuel pressure on the WHO, which has been criticised during the pandemic – sparked by concerns over its current boss’s close relationship with Beijing.

‘The definition of goodwill seems to be stretched,’ said Tory MP Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. ‘The WHO should choose people who champion the rights of those they’re there to serve, not those whose record leaves their commitment in doubt.’

There was, however, no mention of the other reason why Peng is so well known – she is the wife of Xi Jinping, President of China and leader of its Communist Party. Pictured: Peng Liyuan’s entry on the WHO website

Peng, who joined the People’s Liberation Army in 1980, made her name on China’s state-run television as a singer of syrupy songs praising the Communist Party and her country’s rise to power.

She married Xi in 1987, when he was the divorced deputy mayor of the city of Xiamen. She was appointed by Margaret Chan, China’s first head of a United Nations body, who has since joined a key Communist Party policy body. Peng was reappointed to the WHO by Chan’s successor Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who also tried to hand one of the posts to Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe before outrage forced a retreat.

Peng has attended influential summits and has joined her husband at key UN meetings. She has also met Bill Gates, the billionaire philanthropist who bailed out the WHO after its funding was cut by the US in fury over its pro-China stance. Donald Trump has called the WHO a ‘pipe organ’ for Beijing’s interests.

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Raul Jimenez flattered by Man Utd transfer links with Solskjaer searching for new striker, admits Wolves forward’s dad – The Sun

RAUL JIMENEZ is flattered by rumours linking him with some of the world's biggest teams – but is not planning on leaving Wolves yet, says his father.

Manchester United, Juventus and Real Madrid are all linked with the Mexican who has spearheaded the Molineux side's rapid rise from Premier League newcomers to regular European challengers since arriving in 2018.

And, while Jimenez is happy to continue pushing towards the Champions League with Wolves, the striker sees the speculation as a sign he must be doing something right.

Jimenez's father is quoted by Mexican outlet Medio Tiempo as saying: "Raul has always said so, that [the interest] is something very cool.

"He is very happy in his current team, hopefully getting into the Champions League positions and playing in the Europa League for now.

"Always for him, all of it is very gratifying. It is very cool to hear those comments."

Jimenez recently admitted that a move to Madrid or Barcelona would be of interest to him but his father has insisted there is currently no concrete chance of him switching clubs this summer.

For now, the 29-year-old's priority is being ready for the Premier League's restart with Wolves sat two points behind fifth-placed United – a possible Champions League spot if Manchester City are banned from next year's competition.

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NFL player was ‘groped by drug-addled female plane passenger who ripped off his coronavirus mask’ – The Sun

An NFL player was allegedly groped by drug-addled female plane passenger on a United Airlines flight, who ripped off his coronavirus mask, court documents show.

The New Jersey athlete, known as John Doe 1 in a Los Angeles filing said the incident happened onboard a red-eye jet bound for Newark Liberty International Airport on February 10.


The football player claimed the airline crew did nothing to stop the "intoxicated" woman who "sexually harassed, assaulted, abused, and violated" him after tearing off his face mask, according to a First Amended Complaint filed on Wednesday.

According to the lawsuit obtained by The Sun, the unidentified woman was “disheveled and unbalanced” when she boarded and sat down in the economy plus section beside him.

John Doe 1, who was seated in the middle seat, alleged she then began "massaging" his knees and thighs, as per the complaint.

He recalled how the groping “intensified,” and she began “grabbing and groping his quads and then stroking her hand across his lap towards the inside of his leg near his genitals" in the suit.

'GROPING'

She also allegedly grabbed his penis before ripping off the face mask he was wearing at the time.

A second man sitting in their row, and called John Doe 2 in the lawsuit, is also suing the airline claiming he alerted the cabin crew to no avail.

The bleary-eyed suspect then turned her attention to John Doe 2, grabbing his leg and “groin area" before being moved to another row.

Both men claimed they saw her downing prescription pills 25 minutes into the flight.

'BEING A MALE VICTIM'

The stated both John Does as African Americans and it's unclear if they knew each other beforehand.

The professional footballer is from Hazlet and the second man lives in Philadelphia.

They were both given $150 vouchers after the incident, reports said.

But the Joe Does allege they weren't adequately protected by United staff, who were made aware of the woman's behavior.

"Fearful of the perception of being a male victim and the racial stigma of being a young African American male, John Doe 1 patiently pleaded for assailant to stop and removed her hand,” the suit read. 

United spokesperson Rachael Rivas said “the safety and well-being of our customers is always our top priority.”

“In this instance, the customer involved was moved to a different seat,”Rivas said. “Because litigation is now pending, we’re unable to provide further comment.”


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Mike Tyson will be ranked by WBC as boxing chief vows to support 53-year-old who ‘can still KO anyone with one punch’ – The Sun

MIKE TYSON could be ranked by the WBC after boss Mauricio Sulaiman vowed to support 53-year-old.

Iron Mike, the youngest-ever heavyweight champion, could be afforded the shot of becoming the oldest, too.


WBC chief Sulaiman has admitted he is very interested in getting Tyson ranked – but only if a competitive fight is part of his comeback plan.

Tyson has shared a series of videos in recent weeks, announcing "I'm back!" as he displayed blistering speed and incredible power.

And Sulaiman is intrigued about the prospect of getting The Champ back in the rankings.

Sulaiman said: “Mike Tyson was the youngest to win a world championship. Maybe he will be the oldest!

"He’s a tremendous, legendary figure. He’s an icon for the sport, an icon for the WBC.

“He could knock out anyone with one punch, at any time! So of course we will support him.

“I don’t like to speculate. This is a topic we are all entertained by.

"An exhibition is one thing; if he comes back he has to be licensed and has to go through a thorough process."

Sulaiman continued: “I’m not going to kill the dream. I’m going to be very supportive of Mike Tyson, he deserves it.

"If the dream is to say ‘I will be ranked,’ I am saying yes, we will rank him.

“Every world champion has a provision that he can come back, like Sugar Ray [Leonard], who was inactive.

"But Tyson’s case is different, he’s been away many years.

“But I am in full support of Mike Tyson. I believe this will bring entertainment and he’s doing it for charity.

"He wants to serve the world in this difficult moment.”

Tyson is set to fight Evander Holyfield, 57, as the veteran duo rekindle their rivalry, while 48-year-old Shannon Briggs has "confirmed" he will also fight Iron Mike.

But Sulaiman went on to say safety must be the top priority, with Tyson now 53 and having not fought professionally in 15 years.

He continued: “We need to first understand what it is. I think it’s an exhibition.

"The safety has to be top priority.

“It is great to see athletes promoting the sport. Mike Tyson had a very complicated life in boxing.

“Now to see him losing weight, active, healthy, is great and we have to support him.

"But we have to see if it is a real fight. I am hearing that it’s an exhibition and we are fully behind him.”

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This Guy Built Muscle by Doing Bodyweight Workouts at Home for 30 Days

After completing 30 days of 30 pullups at the end of 2019, YouTuber Gunther was looking forward to pushing himself further in pursuing his fitness goals. Then the pandemic happened, and so instead of hitting the gym regularly, Gunther did what plenty of others have had to do, and improvised his own at-home full body workout.

In his latest video, he tracks his progress as he performs 30 days of bodyweight exercises: specifically, 50 reps each of pushups, pullups and situps. He encourages others to do the same, but recommends setting achievable goals. “Do a good rep amount for you,” he says. “I’m most likely going to do 50 reps each… Of course we want to challenge ourselves, but it’s important to be realistic and actually get good workout.”


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On Day 1, he recognizes that his situp form is “unacceptable,” as he keeps throwing his arms, and quickly decides to anchor his feet while doing that exercise, providing some much-needed stability. By the third day, the physical toll is starting to become apparent, with pain in his triceps almost persuading him to take the day off.

However, by Day 5, that soreness is gone, and as the rest of the challenge progresses, Gunther’s technique and endurance improve, to the point where he is able to complete all 50 pushup reps in a single set without stopping.

At the end of the 30 days, Gunther has put on muscle mass in his chest, shoulders, back, and upper arms; gains which are all the more visible in the time-lapse of pictures he has taken throughout the month.

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Europe could be hit by double wave of Covid-19 in autumn, WHO warns

Europe could be hit by a double wave of disease in the autumn, with Covid-19 returning alongside seasonal flu, WHO warns

  • Dr Hans Kluge said he was ‘very concerned’ about a second wave in Europe
  • Warning from WHO’s Europe chief comes as lockdown easing started this week 
  • Kluge said now ‘is not a time for celebration, it’s a time for preparation’
  • He said building hospital capacity should now be the priority on the continent
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Europe could be hit by a double wave of coronavirus in the autumn with Covid-19 returning alongside seasonal flu, the WHO have warned.

Dr Hans Kluge, director of the WHO in Europe, said now was the time to prepare for a second wave of the virus as the continent sees falling rates of the virus.

Increased public health resources and a building of capacity in hospitals, primary and intensive care units, ought to be the priority, Kluge said.

He told The Telegraph: ‘I’m very concerned about a double wave – in the fall, we could have a second wave of Covid and another one of seasonal flu or measles. Two years ago we had 500,000 children who didn’t have their first shot of the measles vaccine.’

People ride on their bicycles in The Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris on Monday on the first day of France’s easing of lockdown measures in place for 55 days to curb the spread of the COVID-19

Dr Hans Kluge, director of the WHO in Europe, (pictured in Ankara yesterday) said Europe could be hit by a double wave of coronavirus in the autumn with Covid-19 returning alongside seasonal flu

Dr Kluge added: ‘Singapore and Japan understood early on that this is not a time for celebration, it’s a time for preparation.

‘That’s what Scandinavian countries are doing – they don’t exclude a second wave, but they hope it will be localised and they can jump on it quickly.’ 

England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, and other experts have warned that a second wave could be deadlier than the first, citing evidence of the 1918-20 Spanish Flu pandemic.

When the Spanish Flu emerged in March 1918 it appeared to be a typical seasonal illness, but it then returned as an extremely deadly disease in the autumn. It eventually killed some 50 million people. 

‘Singapore and Japan understood early on that this is not a time for celebration, it’s a time for preparation.’ Dr Kluge told The Telegraph.

‘That’s what Scandinavian countries are doing – they don’t exclude a second wave, but they hope it will be localised and they can jump on it quickly.’

Fore! Golfers have been back out on the fairways in England (but not in Scotland or Northern Ireland) after the UK eased some restrictions on sports and exercise this week (pictured: a player at Wells Golf Club, Somerset)

It comes as Germany announced plans to fully reopen its borders with France, Switzerland and Austria by June 15, with an easing of restrictions from tomorrow.

England this week opened garden centres, golf courses, tennis courts and eased restrictions on travelling outside of local areas. 

Earlier this month, the Spanish were allowed out to exercise for the first time since the lockdown began, while in France people no longer need a permit to leave their houses.

Kluge said that today there were 1.78 million confirmed cases in the WHO’s European region and 160,000 deaths. This accounts for 43 percent of cases and 56 percent of the fatalities worldwide. 

Russia, the UK and Spain remain among the top ten countries in the world in reporting new cases in the last 24 hours.

Kluge said that without effective treatment or a vaccine the easing of lockdown had to be slow and careful.

‘People think lockdown is finished. Nothing has changed. The full disease control package has to be in place. That’s the key message.’ He told The Telegraph. 

And speaking to a press conference earlier, he added: ‘This is the point at which our actions and individual behaviour determines which path we follow, one that sees us head towards a new normal, or one that sends us back to restrictions on our movement and social interactions.’

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Read ‘Again, But Better’ By Christine Riccio With Sydney Sweeney & Bustle Now

Last month, Bustle partnered with Sydney Sweeney for the launch of her virtual book club. Together, Bustle’s audience and legions of Sweeney’s fans read Amy Spalding’s We Used to Be Friends: the story of two BFFs who over the course of their senior year slowly start to lose sight of their friendship. For May, Sweeney’s selected another female-driven novel for us to obsess over: Again, But Better by Christine Riccio.

The book follows a college student named Shane who realizes she’s been doing school all wrong. She’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and has focused way more on grades than good times. But after she signs up for a semester abroad in London, Shane vows to make some major changes.

"I love that the book is full of things I’m personally passionate about. School, traveling, love, ambition and with a female character that I find myself relating to," Sweeney tells Bustle of her second book club selection. "It has such a beautiful wish fulfillment aspect to the book that I think we all need right now."

Choosing Again, But Better wasn’t a difficult decision for Sweeney. "A few friends had told me about the book, and I actually had some fans recommend we read it after We Used To Be Friends," she reveals. "I find myself drawn to books that I relate to or either transport me to another world." And reading about a young woman’s London journeys while quarantined in California did just that for the actor.

Sold on Again, But Better? Then make sure to follow Sydney Sweeney on Instagram here and join in on the conversation every Thursday 1 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. ET for the next four weeks. And follow Bustle’s IGTV for every episode and regularly check back on the site for more information.

Want to join in on the discussion? Use the hashtag #SydneySweetReadsxBustleBookClub on Twitter and Instagram. And make sure to pick up a copy of Again, But Better here.

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Conor McGregor challenged by Malignaggi to a ‘winner takes all’ boxing fight as American vows to ‘beat s***’ out of him – The Sun

CONOR MCGREGOR'S fierce rival Paulie Malignaggi has called out the Notorious once again for a "winner takes all" boxing scrap.

The former sparring partners had a high-profile falling out three years ago in the build-up to McGregor's fight with Floyd Mayweather.

McGregor released images of him appearing to knockout Malignaggi during a training session which angered the American.

Malignaggi was furious and stormed away from the camp to reignite the hatred between the pair.

Since then the pair have continued to recall different accounts of what happened in their sparring sessions and have been engaged in a war of words.

And now Malignaggi, who lost to Artem Lobov in a brutal bare-knuckle scrap last year, wants to put his money where his mouth is and end the feud once and for all.

Promising to "beat the s***" out of McGregor, he told Boxing Scene: "The Conor McGregor fight always interests me.

"I will gladly do winner takes all the money in that fight. I will put my finances at risk because it will be a pleasure to beat that guy up.

"There would be a lot of money in the pot. I would rather let the winner take it all.

"He's dragged my name too much in the mud. He knows he will get the s*** beat out of him if he tries me.

"Him and I both know that. He gets stopped, 100 per cent, no doubt about it. He can't last the distance in a boxing match."

Malignaggi's last boxing match ended in defeat against Brit Sam Eggington three years ago.

McGregor hasn't fought in the boxing ring since losing to Mayweather but returned to the Octagon in January to beat Donald Cerrone.

And Malignaggi further criticised McGregor's level of opponent insisting he would be the bigger step up.


The former WBA welterweight champion added: "He'd rather fight guys like Donald Cerrone who are half dead going into the cage.

"People argue that I'm not a big enough name for McGregor. Cerrone is definitely half the name that I am, and that's no shot at him, because he's done a lot in his MMA career.

"I'm a bigger fighter than Cerrone."

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Japanese island hit by second wave of coronavirus after lockdown ends

Japanese island is hit by a second wave of coronavirus after ending a three-week lockdown when new cases before they soared to 135 cases in a week

  • The northern region of Hokkaido lifted its lockdown measures on March 19
  • 135 new cases have been confirmed in a week prompting a state of emergency
  • Japan has 13,576 cases and 376 deaths and is expected to extend its lockdown
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

A Japanese island has been struck by a second wave of coronavirus after having lifted its lockdown.

The northern region of Hokkaido lifted its lockdown on March 19 so that businesses and schools could reopen.

This came as the result of the number of new cases falling to one or two per day.

Now though, only 26 days later, the island has re-enforced its lockdown as 135 new cases were reported in one week. 

The Japanese island of Hokkaido has been struck by a second wave of coronavirus after having lifted its lockdown. Pictured: People walk through Sapporo, Hokkaido, wearing face masks

Dr. Kiyoshi Nagase, chairman of the Hokkaido Medical Association, told TIME: ‘Now I regret it, we should not have lifted the first state of emergency.

‘It really may not be until next year that we can safely lift these lockdowns.

The local government had assessed the impact immigration would have on the spread of coronavirus on the island but had not taken into account domestic migration.

Yoko Tsukamoto, a professor of infection control at the Health Sciences University of Hokkaido said that with hindsight, the lockdown lift was too early.

‘At the time, we didn’t have enough information and we did not have an adequate understanding of this disease.

Lockdown restrictions were eased on the island so that businesses and schools could reopen. Pictured: Hokkaido’s indigenous Ainu pray to expel the plague god

‘And, given the information that was available – that new cases were down to one or two a day – it could be argued that the governor made the right decision in lifting the state of emergency.

‘We know that was the wrong move now, but then it seemed the best thing to do,’ she told The Telegraph.

She said: ‘These lockdowns and states of emergency will have to be lifted eventually, but the lesson is to wait as long as possible, to get accurate data on infection numbers and to be very, very cautious when the rules are relaxed.

‘And the authorities have to be ready to move quickly and put the restrictions back in place at the first sign of another surge.’

Hokkaido reported 38 new cases on Tuesday, bringing its total number of infections to 688, fifth highest in Japan.

One person also died from the virus taking the island’s death toll to 27.

Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki (right) reinstalled a state of emergency on the island following a second wave of coronavirus

The island of 5.3million people had been a case study in virus-management before they lifted the lockdown, but now experts hope to learn lessons from lifting a lockdown too quickly.

The island’s coronavirus cases can be traced back to its Sapporo Snow Festival in February, before the initial lockdown was in place, which attracted two million people.

One Chinese tourist was being treated on the island for coronavirus during the festival after contracting it in Wuhan.

118 people were being treated for the virus by March 12, making Hokkaido the worst-hit of all Japan’s 47 prefectures.

Japan has 13,576 cases and 376 deaths and is currently maintaining its lockdown until May 6, but Nikkei business daily reported that the government is planning to extend this by another month.

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Boeing will cut staff by 10% and slash production of main planes

Boeing will cut its staff by 10% – more than 10,000 jobs – and slash its production of its main commercial planes, including the 787 and 777, after it reports $641 million first-quarter loss

  • Boeing announced sweeping cost-cutting measures after it reported a first-quarter loss of $641million
  • It will reduce its workforce by 10 per cent with voluntary and involuntary layoffs 
  • It is slashing production of main commercials planes, including the 787 and 777 
  • Chief Executive David Calhoun said in an email to staff that ‘the aviation industry will take years to return to the levels of traffic we saw just a few months ago’

Boeing announced sweeping cost-cutting measures Wednesday after reporting a first-quarter loss of $641 million following the hit to the airline business from the coronavirus pandemic.

The aerospace giant plans to reduce its workforce by 10 per cent through a combination of voluntary and involuntary layoffs and will slash production of its main commercial planes, including the 787 and 777, Chief Executive David Calhoun said in a message to employees that accompanied an earnings release.

‘The aviation industry will take years to return to the levels of traffic we saw just a few months ago,’ Calhoun said. ‘We have to prepare for that.’

Calhoun said the job cuts would be deeper – more than 15 per cent – in commercial airplanes and services, as compared with defense and space systems, where the business has been more stable.

The quarterly loss of $641million compared to profits of $2.1billion in the year-ago period. Revenues fell 26.2 per cent to $16.9billion.

Total debt at the end of the quarter was $38.9billion, up from $27.3billion at the end of December.

Boeing announced sweeping cost-cutting measures after reporting a first-quarter loss of $641million following the hit to the airline business from the coronavirus pandemic

Calhoun said the belt-tightening was needed to maintain adequate liquidity at a time its revenues are depressed, adding that the company is ‘exploring potential government funding options’ in the wake of COVID-19.

Boeing has previously called for $60billion in government support for the US aerospace industry. Federal relief legislation includes $17billion aimed at Boeing. Calhoun has previously balked at the idea of the US taking a stake in Boeing.

The loss reflected ‘abnormal production costs’ connected to the temporary suspension of Puget Sound manufacturing operations due to COVID-19 and due to the suspension of production of the 737 MAX, which remains grounded following two deadly crashes.

Boeing said the pandemic crisis has hit demand for new planes and services, with airlines delaying purchases of jets, slowing delivery schedules and deferring elective maintenance.

It will cut production of the 787 from 14 per month to 10 per month in 2020 and gradually to seven per month by 2022.

Boeing also will trim output on the 777 and lower its targets for the 737 MAX.

‘We have done a tremendous job of increasing our production rates and services offerings in recent years,’ Calhoun said. 

‘But the sharp reduction in our demand for our products and services over the next several years simply won’t support the higher levels of output.’

Boeing shares jumped 4.1 percent to $136.36 in pre-market trading

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