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Headline USA

It’s official: “Canelo” Álvarez confirmed who will be his next rival | The State

Saúl Álvarez will start his path towards the unification of titles.

Photo:
Ed Mulholland / Matchroom / EFE

As expected, Saul Alvarez confirmed this Thursday the news that it was an open secret: his next rival will be the Turkish Avni Yildirim and the combat already has a date and venue.

This next February 27 at @hardrockstadium in Miami, FL I will be exhibiting all my titles WBC official challenger Avni Yildrim. I hope I have your full support! ”The WBC and WBA champion in the super middleweight category posted on Instagram.

On Wednesday afternoon The Athletic was ahead of the information, but today it is a fact: “Canelo” Álvarez will put his belts on the line against the official challenger of the Council, who has not fought for two years, when he fell in February 2019 against Anthony Dirrel.

This serious the first step for the Aztec boxer to fulfill his dream of finishing the year as a unified champion, owning the four main crowns of this sport, since if he defeats Yildirim, he could fight in May against Billy Joe Saunders, the WBO champion and, if you defeat him, a few months later I could look for the fourth sash, against Caleb Plant, IBF champion.

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Categories
Technology US

Animal Crossing is getting an official makeup line

Nintendo has announced that it’s collaborating with cosmetics brand ColourPop on a makeup collection inspired by Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The collection looks to be relatively extensive, including four powder palettes that are themed after characters in the game. Obviously, Isabelle is fabulous enough that she doesn’t have to share with anyone and gets her own.

ColourPop is no stranger to pop culture collaborations. It has lines inspired by Disney princesses, The Mandalorian, and even Sailor Moon. The Animal Crossing venture won’t even be the first collab it’s done with a gaming brand, as there’s also a Candy Land x ColourPop line.

The collection shows that, even though the game has been out for 10 months at this point, the game still has some cultural significance.

The makeup collection will launch on January 28th. Hopefully it doesn’t have the stock issues that have been plaguing Nintendo recently (I have friends who have spent weeks trying to get an Animal Crossing-themed switch), and we’ll all be able to wear our Animal Crossing makeup to our virtual Animal Crossing dates.

Categories
Headlines UK London

Deaths in London began to tail off last week, official data shows

Britain has recorded 37,535 more cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours and 599 deaths as the second wave continues to slow down. 

Today’s infections are down almost a fifth on the 46,169 recorded last Monday and third from the figure a fortnight ago, when the country posted 58,784 new cases. 

Deaths are up slightly on the 529 recorded a week ago, but fatalities lag by a few weeks behind infections due to the time it takes between catching and falling seriously ill with the virus. It means the effects of the lockdown on January 4 might not be felt in the death figures until next week.

Meanwhile, London’s devastating winter wave of coronavirus appears to have passed its peak, as official data shows infections were falling in all 32 boroughs last week and deaths and hospital admissions have begun to plateau.

Scientists say the promising figures are proof that tough Tier Four curbs were effective at tackling the super-infectious Kent strain of the virus before the national lockdown. 

Public Health England figures show cases fell in every borough of the capital over the seven days to January 12, with the London-wide infection rate plummeting by more than a quarter.

Department of Health statistics also reveal daily Covid-19 deaths across the city had tailed off by January 10, with the curve flattening to around 157 fatalities a day. And separate data show the capital’s daily Covid hospital admissions peaked at 864 on January 6 and have since fallen to 802. 

SLOWING: Covid-19 deaths appear to be plateauing in the capital after they rose by 12 per cent in the seven days to January 10 to 157 a day, the latest date where data is available, but surged by 50 per cent the week before

SLOWING: Covid-19 deaths appear to be plateauing in the capital after they rose by 12 per cent in the seven days to January 10 to 157 a day, the latest date where data is available, but surged by 50 per cent the week before

SLOWING: The East of England - which was first into Tier 4 alongside London - appears to be following the capital's trend. It has also seen a levelling off in deaths after they rose 24 per cent last week to 133 a day, but 32 per cent the week before

SLOWING: The East of England – which was first into Tier 4 alongside London – appears to be following the capital’s trend. It has also seen a levelling off in deaths after they rose 24 per cent last week to 133 a day, but 32 per cent the week before

PEAKED?: Fatalities from the virus are level in Yorkshire and the Humber - which endured weeks of tougher measures under the old tier system. It appears they may now be dropping, after they declined three per cent in the week to January 10

PEAKED?: Fatalities from the virus are level in Yorkshire and the Humber – which endured weeks of tougher measures under the old tier system. It appears they may now be dropping, after they declined three per cent in the week to January 10

RISING: Covid-19 deaths are still spiralling in the South East where they rose by 24 per cent last week compared to 20 per cent the week before despite the region being among the first into Tier 4. But there are early signs they could be levelling off, experts say, who add they would be 'very surprised' if they didn't drop by the end of this week

RISING: Covid-19 deaths are still spiralling in the South East where they rose by 24 per cent last week compared to 20 per cent the week before despite the region being among the first into Tier 4. But there are early signs they could be levelling off, experts say, who add they would be ‘very surprised’ if they didn’t drop by the end of this week 

RISING: Covid-19 deaths are also still rising in the South West, where they surged by 36 per cent last week to 50 a day compared to a 26 per cent jump last week to 37 a day

RISING: Covid-19 deaths are also still rising in the South West, where they surged by 36 per cent last week to 50 a day compared to a 26 per cent jump last week to 37 a day

RISING: And in the West Midlands they were up by 44 per cent last week to 92 a day, compared to a 16 per cent rise the week before to 64 a day

RISING: And in the West Midlands they were up by 44 per cent last week to 92 a day, compared to a 16 per cent rise the week before to 64 a day

RISING: Deaths are also shifting upwards again in the North West. They rose by 29 per cent last week to 89 a day, compared to an 11 per cent rise the week before to 69 a day

RISING: Deaths are also shifting upwards again in the North West. They rose by 29 per cent last week to 89 a day, compared to an 11 per cent rise the week before to 69 a day

RISING: The East Midlands is also recording rising deaths. They surged by 24 per cent last week to 65 a day compared to by 20 per cent the week before to 52 a day

RISING: The East Midlands is also recording rising deaths. They surged by 24 per cent last week to 65 a day compared to by 20 per cent the week before to 52 a day

RISING: In the North East deaths are also heading in the wrong direction, jumping by 17 per cent last week to 30 a day compared to falling two per cent the week before to 26 a day

RISING: In the North East deaths are also heading in the wrong direction, jumping by 17 per cent last week to 30 a day compared to falling two per cent the week before to 26 a day

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN MY REGION? 

Where are Covid-19 deaths still rising?

  • North East
  • North West
  • South East
  • South West
  • West Midlands
  • East Midlands

Where are Covid-19 deaths starting to slow?

Where have Covid-19 deaths possibly peaked? 

It is still ‘too early’ for the trends to have been triggered by the national lockdown that was ordered on January 4, because it takes about three weeks for draconian curbs to drive down infections and cases.  

The data instead suggests Tier Four was enough to turn the tide on the capital’s second wave, but experts say it only worked because schools were closed for the festive break.

London’s cases had been bubbling over since December after the emergence of the super-infectious Kent strain, which forced Number10 to plunge the capital into Tier Four restrictions five days before Christmas alongside swathes of the South East and East of England.

Both regions are also recording a slowdown in cases and hospitalisations, but deaths are only plateauing in the East of England. Scientists say they expect deaths to also flatline in the South East by the end of this week.

In another sign Britain has turned the tide on the second wave Covid-19 hospitalisations are now only surging in the South West, which enjoyed the fewest curbs on daily life under the tiered system.

Public Health England data shows the biggest fall in the Covid-19 infection rate was in Havering – which was at the epicentre of the capital’s outbreak in early December.

Figures show infections in the East London borough plummeted by 40 per cent from 1,319 to 792 cases per 100,000 residents by January 12, the latest date for which data is available.

Infections also nosedived by a third in four other local authorities in the city – Redbridge, Bexley, Bromley and Kingston upon Thames – in another sign the second wave was running out of steam.

The infection rate has also dropped below England’s average of 538 per 100,000 in three areas – Kingston upon Thames, Westminster and Richmond upon Thames.

Official data suggests London hit its infection peak in the first week of January, when the seven-day rolling average was at 1,058 per 100,000. But since then it has plummeted to a low of 810 per 100,000 by January 12. 

There is a delay between becoming infected with coronavirus, developing symptoms and testing positive, meaning it may not be clear how many people caught the virus on a certain day until a week later. 

Despite the positive trend, however, many boroughs are still recording very high levels of infection.

Three of them – Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Ealing – still have rates over 1,000 cases per 100,000 people, almost double the national average. Four others – Brent, Hounslow, Redbridge and Croydon – are also teetering on the 1,000 per 100,000 mark.

Covid-19 hospitalisations in London have also peaked, in another sign draconian measures to curb the spread of the virus are finally bearing fruit. 

Separate data from the Department of Health shows they dropped seven per cent in the seven days to January 11 compared to the same time last week, from 861 admissions a day to 802. For comparison, they had surged by 30 per cent the week before from 660 a day.

But Covid-19 admissions in the capital are still running dangerously very high, with NHS bosses warning hospitals bosses warning they could be overwhelmed by the influx of patients.

In yet another promising sign the city’s second wave is running out of steamand Tier Four stifled the spread of the virus and its mutant variant, its Covid-19 fatalities have also started to plateau. 

They leapt by 66 per cent in the week to December 27, after spiralling by 38 fatalities a day from almost 58 to 94 by the end of the week. And they rocketed 50 per cent the following week, jumping by 46 to 140 on January 3. 

But in the latest seven-day spell they rose by a quarter of the previous rate, ticking up by 17 deaths to just over 157 a day. Experts say it is possible deaths from the virus could peak in the coming days and start to drop.

There is a lag of around a week between a Covid-19 death happening and it being reported in the Government’s figures, which means it only becomes clear how many people died from the virus on a certain day up to a week later.

Deaths occurring in hospital are recorded more quickly on the figures, experts say, but it can take two weeks to get deaths from the virus at home into the numbers.

The capital’s slowdown has mirrored the drop in the number of people being admitted to the capital’s hospitals suffering symptoms of the virus – which dropped by five per cent in the week to January 10 from 845 admissions per day to 810.

And Covid-19 cases have also declined 25 per cent in a week, plummeting from 12,990 on average on January 3 to 9,750 a day by January 10.

TURNING THE TIDE: The above map shows coronavirus cases in London on January 5 (left) and a week later on January 12 (right) the latest date for which data is available

PEAKED: Cases have also started to dip markedly in the capital from January 1. The drop shows Tier 4 was enough to curb the spread of the mutant variant of the virus, experts have said, because it began before lockdown came into force

PEAKED: Cases have also started to dip markedly in the capital from January 1. The drop shows Tier 4 was enough to curb the spread of the mutant variant of the virus, experts have said, because it began before lockdown came into force

PEAKED: Hospitalisations with the virus have also peaked in the capital, in a sure sign that deaths will also begin to fall in the coming days - and possibly as early as this week

PEAKED: Hospitalisations with the virus have also peaked in the capital, in a sure sign that deaths will also begin to fall in the coming days – and possibly as early as this week

NHS boss warns hospital patient numbers will peak this week as official data shows Covid admissions are slowing in every region except the South West 

The number of coronavirus patients on hospital wards will peak this week, an NHS boss has said, as data shows slowing admissions in almost every region of England.

Danny Mortimer, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation – which represents the majority of hospital trusts and other UK healthcare providers – said they expected patient numbers to be at their highest levels over the next seven days.

‘I think this next week, we will be at the limit of what we probably have the physical space and the people to safely do,’ he warned.

‘And, of course, this is the week when we expect also the highest rate of admissions, the highest demand for the care that we’re providing.’

Department of Health figures show hospitalisations have already peaked in London, the South East and East of England and are flattening in the Midlands, North East and Yorkshire and North West, in a sign Britain has turned the tide on the second wave.

They are only continuing to surge in the South West, which saw the smallest curbs on daily life under the tier system and before England’s third lockdown.

It comes amid warnings hospitals in the country could be overwhelmed if Covid-19 admissions continue to spike markedly upwards.

Mr Mortimer raised the prospect a slackening of pressure for NHS staff could be just around the corner during an interview with Times Radio.

He said hospitals had ramped up critical care capacity to 5,500 beds to handle surging patient numbers, up almost 40 per cent from the 4,000 they had last winter.

‘That’s a sign of both the numbers of people that are coming through, but (also) how really, really ill, how much care and attention, how much help with their breathing, how much damage has been done to people’s internal organs,’ he said. 

PEAKED: Daily Covid-19 admissions in the capital are falling

PEAKED: Daily Covid-19 admissions in the capital are falling

PEAKED: They are also dropping in the South East region

PEAKED: They are also dropping in the South East region

PEAKED: Covid-19 admissions are also falling in the East

PEAKED: Covid-19 admissions are also falling in the East

TAIL OFF: Hospitalisations are plateauing in the North West

TAIL OFF: Hospitalisations are plateauing in the North West

TAIL OFF: Hospitalisations are plateauing in the Midlands

TAIL OFF: Hospitalisations are plateauing in the Midlands

TAIL OFF: Hospitalisations are plateauing in the North East

TAIL OFF: Hospitalisations are plateauing in the North East

SURGE: Covid-19 admissions are still surging in the South West

SURGE: Covid-19 admissions are still surging in the South West

 

Professor Paul Hunter, a virologist at the University of East Anglia, said it was clear Tier Four was ‘probably sufficient’ to start bringing down infections, and with them hospitalisations and deaths.

‘There’s actually very little difference between from when Tier Four was in place because schools were closed anyway because of the holidays, and have now been closed by the national lockdown.’ 

But he added it would be advisable not to ‘read too much’ into deaths data at present because there can be a more than two week delay between someone dying from the virus and the fatality being registered.

‘For example, if one of my patients, back when I was working in a clinic, died I would sign the medical causes of death, which would typically be picked up within a day or two, and then they would have two weeks to notify that death.

‘So some of these deaths are being recorded and getting into the statistics quite quickly because they are happening in hospital but some (like those happening in the community) are taking a while to make it into the figures.’

He added he would be ‘very surprised’ if deaths didn’t also start to drop in the South East by the end of this week, because the number of infections and hospitalisations both appear to have already peaked in the region. 

Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at Warwick Medical School, told MailOnline the figures show it ‘looks like Tier Four was having some effect – which will be reinforced by the current lockdown’.

‘Aside from deaths, coronavirus cases are already falling in every London borough,’ he said, suggesting the figures also show the toughest tier was driving down transmission before the national shutdown.

‘Falls in the infection rate of up to 30 per cent have been seen in some areas over the past week.’ 

But he added it was likely ministers hit the panic button and imposed a national lockdown because of the ‘general confusion and complacency’ that he said was brought about by the tier system.

‘I think that the unevenness of the tier system across the country along with general confusion and complacency against a backdrop of rising case numbers and deaths led the Government to impose the current lockdown,’ he added.

Covid-19 hospitalisations in the capital have also peaked, in another sign efforts to curb the spread of the virus are paying off.

Data on the situation across England reveals hospitalisations have now either peaked or are flatlining in every region except the South West.

But it is possible that in areas where it has plateaued they are still rising – although at a far slower rate.

It comes amid fears London and Suffolk could lose out in the Covid vaccinations postcode lottery as millions of over-70s are offered jabs from today but only in areas where all the over-80s have already received their first dose.

Another five million people are being invited to receive their first dose, with some in Whitehall suggesting the roll out is going so well that the wider population could be covered by June rather than September. 

In the capital vaccinations have been trailing behind the rest of the country, with Tory MPs voicing alarm that the supplies were being based on take-up of the flu vaccine last winter.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday that the nation was ‘nearly on the home straight’ as 50 per cent of all over-80s in England have been vaccinated.

Some 140 a minute are receiving a jab, putting Britain on course to vaccinate all adults by early autumn. However, one coronavirus patient is being admitted to hospital every 30 seconds.

NHS data shows the North East and Yorkshire made most headway in the first month of vaccinations, reaching 44 per cent of all over-80s. This was almost twice as fast as in the East of England and London, which only managed to immunise 27.9 per cent and 29.5 per cent of its most elderly residents, respectively.

The capital was downgraded to a ‘major incident’ on January 8 by the mayor Sadiq Khan, meaning its hospitals are at serious risk of being overwhelmed by spiralling admissions.

‘The situation in London is now critical with the spread of the virus out of control,’ the mayor said.

‘The number of cases in London has increased rapidly with more than a third more patients being treated in our hospitals now compared to the peak of the pandemic last April.

‘Our heroic doctors, nurses and NHS staff are doing an amazing job, but with cases rising so rapidly, our hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed. The stark reality is that we will run out of beds for patients in the next couple of weeks unless the spread of the virus slows down drastically.’

Police blasted a ‘small selfish minority’ ignoring the rules at the time and promised to come down hard on transgressors who are refusing to stop partying despite the highly transmissible pathogen being rife.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said: ‘I know Londoners will be shocked that officers are still dealing with a small selfish minority who think the rules don’t apply to them by holding house parties, large warehouse raves or other gatherings. These are creating breeding grounds for the much more transmissible variant.’

Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health England’s regional director for London, said: ‘This is the biggest threat our city has faced in this pandemic to date.’

Mr Khan said that over three days to January 8 alone the NHS had announced 477 deaths in London hospitals following a positive test for Covid-19.

In a letter to Boris Johnson he demanded churches and other places of worship be closed and for face masks to be worn routinely outside of the home, including in supermarket queues and other places outside that may be crowded.

He also called for more financial support for Londoners who need to self-isolate and are unable to work, and for daily vaccination data.

HOW HAVE DAILY COVID-19 DEATHS CHANGED IN MY REGION? GOVERNMENT FIGURES REVEAL SECOND WAVE IS SLOWING IN LONDON AND THE EAST

Region of England

South East

London

East of England

West Midlands

North West

East Midlands

South West

Yorkshire and Humber

North East 

Covid deaths, December 27

119.4 (+35%)

94.4 (+66%)

81 (+35%)

55.1 (+6%)

62.4 (+6%)

43.4 (-11%)

29.4 (+23%)

44 (-1%)

26.3 (+6%) 

Covid deaths, January 3

143.6 (+20%)

140.6 (+50%)

107.1 (+32%)

63.7 (+16%)

69.4 (+11%)

52.1 (+20%)

37.1 (+26%)

46 (+5%)

25.6 (-2%) 

Covid deaths, January 10

178.1 (+24%)

157.4 (+12%)

132.6 (+24%)

91.7 (+44%)

89.3 (+21%)

64.7 (+24%)

50.4 (+36%)

44.7 (-3%)

30 (+17%) 

KEY: Percentages are worked out as the rise from the previous week. The Covid-19 deaths are given as the average per day. All data is from the Government coronavirus dashboard.

WHAT’S THE COVID-19 INFECTION RATE IN MY LONDON BOROUGH? CASES ARE DROPPING IN ALL THE CAPITAL’S 32 LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Borough

Barking

Newham

Ealing

Brent

Hounslow

Redbirdge

Croydon

Tower Hamlets

Waltham Forest

Greenwich

Enfield

Haringey

Lambeth

Lewisham

Hillingdon

Bexley 

Infection rate

1,191 (-27%)

1,124 (-22%)

1,007 (-7%)

994 (-8%)

963 (-20%)

958 (-35%)

923 (-19%)

895 (-30%)

894 (-24%)

870 (-22%)

868 (-33%)

848 (-19%)

844 (-9%)

839 (-20%)

832 (-21%)

818 (-35%) 

Borough

Harrow

Southwark

Havering

Barnet

Merton

Hackney

Sutton

Bromley

Islington

Wandsworth

Kensingston and Chelsea

Hammersmith

Camden

Kingston upon Thames

Westminster

Richmond upon Thames 

Infection rate

804 (-16%)

804 (-22%)

792 (-40%)

779 (-22%)

768 (-20%)

754 (-19%)

750 (-30%)

645 (-37%)

629 (-25%)

626 (-23%)

616 (-3%)

604 (-24%)

541 (-21%)

519 (-35%)

505 (-17%)

408 (-32%) 

Footnote: Boroughs are ordered by Covid-19 infection rate per 100,000. The percentage in brackets shows the change compared to the same time the week before. Department of Health dashboard data was used for the figures.

Categories
Tech News

Honor V40 Launch Postponed to January 22, Official Renders Surface Online


Honor V40’s launch date has been postponed to January 22. The smartphone was supposed to launch on January 18 but Honor took to Weibo to announce that the phone will launch and go on sale on Friday, January 22 instead. Ahead of the launch, Honor V40 has been listed on a Chinese retailer site where it is now up for reservations. The listings reveal official renders of the upcoming phone. The poster shared by Honor shows the phone in black, blue, silver, and peach colour variants.

The company announced through a Weibo post that Honor V40 will be launched on January 22 instead of January 18, citing conference venue and equipment related issues as the reason for the delay. The smartphone will launch on January 22 at 10am local time (7:30 am IST) in China and go on sale 12pm noon (9:30am IST) on the same day.

Honor V40 has been listed on Suning, a Chinese online retailer. The renders uploaded on the listing page of the phone confirm that it has a rectangular-shaped camera module with a triple rear camera setup, laser autofocus, and LED flash. The display has curved edges and the upper-left corner of the screen has a pill-shaped cutout.

The smartphone is expected to have a 6.72-inch OLED display and run on Android 10-based UI 4.0. Honor V40 could have a 50-megapixel primary sensor and a dual selfie camera setup with 32-megapixel primary and 16-megapixel secondary sensors.

Besides that, hands-on images of Honor V40 have also been leaked ahead of its launch. Honor V40’s new graphics acceleration engine, dubbed the GPU Turbo X, was also shared by the company via Weibo, as per a report. The video shared by Honor teases the graphics acceleration feature that the phone will boast of. This feature is likely to improve the mobile gaming experience on Honor V40.


What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.





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UAE

UAE-Qatar ties: UAE to end all measures taken against Qatar, says official

Abu Dhabi: Khalid Abdullah Belhoul, Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, announced that the UAE will begin, following the signing of the AlUla Declaration in Saudi Arabia recently, to end all measures taken against the State of Qatar according to the statement issued on 5th June, 2017.

The Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation noted that the AlUla Declaration, and the associated permanent agreement of GCC solidarity, is considered a Gulf and Arab achievement that promotes and bolsters the cohesion of the GCC, Arab and Islamic unity.

He indicated that the UAE will work to re-open all land, sea and air ports for inbound and outbound movement, and that all relevant authorities in the UAE have been notified of these measures which will go into effect as of 9 January, 2021.

He added the UAE will work with the State of Qatar to resolve all other outstanding issues through bilateral talks.

During a landmark summit held at Maraya Concert Hall in the historic Saudi city of AlUla, chaired by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, on behalf of King Salman, the GCC leaders signed the “AlUla Declaration” at the 41st GCC Summit, named “the Summit of Sultan Qaboos and Sheikh Sabah” in appreciation of their efforts.

The declaration calls for GCC unity and enhancing its regional and international role as a one economic and political bloc that helps achieve security, peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

Categories
Tech News

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 Goes Official With a QLED Display


Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 has been unveiled for CES 2021 as the successor to last year’s Galaxy Chromebook. The new model has a QLED display that comes as a noteworthy upgrade over the AMOLED screen available on the predecessor. The Galaxy Chromebook 2 also comes with thinner bezels. Samsung has retained the 2-in-1 form factor and offered support for Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) pen on the new Chromebook. Further, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 comes in two distinct colour options to choose from and have Intel Celeron and 10th-generation Intel Core i3 variants, and it has also dropped the price significantly.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 price

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 price starts at $549.99 (roughly Rs. 40,300), as reported by The Verge. The pricing is significantly lower than the Galaxy Chromebook that debuted at $999.99 (roughly Rs. 73,300). The Galaxy Chromebook 2 comes in Fiesta Red and Mercury Gray colour options.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 specifications

The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 features a 13.3-inch full-HD (1,920×1,080 pixels) QLED display with touch support. It is powered by either Intel Celeron 5205U or 10th-generation Intel Core i3-10110U processor, paired with Intel UHD Graphics and up to 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM. The Chromebook comes in 64GB and 128GB storage options — along with expansion support via microSD card.

Samsung has provided 5W stereo speakers along with Smart AMP sound that is touted to produce audio output up to 178 percent louder than an average amplifier. There is also support for a stylus that can have up to 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity.

The Galaxy Chromebook 2 features an HD (720p) webcam. There is also a backlit, lattice keyboard. Further, the Chromebook includes a 45.5WHr battery.

Connectivity options on the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 include two USB Type-C ports, a headphone/ microphone combo jack, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth v5.0. It runs on Google’s Chrome OS with Google Play store access.

The Chromebook measures 304.9×203.2×13.9mm and weighs 1.23 kilograms. This isn’t that sleek or lightweight when comparing with the first-generation Galaxy Chromebook that had 9.9mm of thickness and 1.04 kilograms of weight. But nonetheless, the cheaper price and the presence of QLED display makes the new model equally compelling.


What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.



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Headlines UK London

Covid lockdown OFFICIAL: Boris Johnson sees off small Tory rebellion

Boris Johnson saw off his Tory critics tonight as MPs voted the latest strict lockdown measures into law.

The Prime Minister saw off a small rebellion by backbenchers who accused him of launching an ‘assault on liberty and livelihoods’ as they warned lockdown will inevitably cause some people to ‘break’. 

But with Labour vowing to back the Government, the result was always a foregone conclusion and the new regulations were passed by 524 votes to 16, a majority of 508. 

Twelve Tories voted against the Government, including Graham Brady, the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, and former ministers Esther McVey and Desmond Swayne.

 Mr Johnson had earlier warned there will not be a ‘big bang’ release from the latest national lockdown next month.

The Prime Minister’s national shutdown, which includes a strict stay at home message and the closure of schools, is due to be reviewed in the middle of February but the laws underpinning it are not due to expire until the end of March.

Mr Johnson said he hopes the rules can start to be lifted in the spring but he has failed to give a firm commitment, fuelling Tory fears that the restrictions could be in place far longer than the initial seven weeks.

Mr Johnson stressed that when rules are eased there will be a ‘gradual unwrapping’ of lockdown rather than an immediate end as he dashed hopes of a swift return to normal life.

Police today got tough on Covid lawbreakers, with 28 protesters arrested for flouting restrictions, four men fined £800 for travelling in the same car on their way to McDonald’s and officers even stopping motorists to ask ‘why are you here?’

There was fury also aimed at Education Secretary Gavin Williamson today as he confirmed that GCSE and A-level exams in the summer will be replaced by teacher-assessed grades.

MPs, unions and parents hit out after he made the announcement but failed to explain how the system would work and ensure that results given to pupils were fair – after with teaching time badly hit by closures. 

Britain today breached 1,000 daily coronavirus deaths for the first time since April and declared another record-high number of cases with 62,322 more positive tests.

Department of Health data shows today’s grim figure of 1,041 laboratory-confirmed deaths — only the 10th time the UK has topped the grisly milestone — is UK’s highest daily count since April 21. And experts fear the death toll will continue to spiral in line with soaring cases over the past three weeks because fatalities lag behind infections by several weeks because of how long it takes for patients to become severely ill.

Statistics also show it is the third day in a row that Britain has posted a record-high number of cases, following on from the 60,916 announced yesterday and the 58,784 the day before. The figure is also 24.6 per cent up on last Wednesday’s count of 50,023.

The shocking figures underline the seriousness of the situation Britain finds itself in and come after Boris Johnson desperately tried to win over furious Tory MPs as he defended his new national coronavirus lockdown and insisted he had ‘no choice’ but to impose tough new draconian curbs.

In another day of coronavirus anger and despair:  

  • Britain’s COVID crackdown began as pictures showed masked cops handcuffing pensioners and protesters ‘breaking lockdown rules’, with police officers stopping cars to quiz drivers;
  • Former prime minister Tony Blair said the UK needs to dramatically accelerate its Covid vaccination scheme in order to lift lockdown rules in the spring, saying it was ‘not complicated’ to ramp-up the programme;
  • Matt Hancock said teachers have a ‘very strong case’ to be next in line to receive the coronavirus vaccine, as the Health Secretary told MPs ministers are currently considering the rest of the priority order;  
  • A GP on the frontline of Britain’s coronavirus vaccine push revealed doctors have still not received doses that were supposed to arrive last month, amid fears Boris Johnson has over-promised with his pledge;
  • Europe’s drug regulator approved Moderna’s Covid vaccine and will get supplies from next week thanks to a deal it struck in summer last year — but Britain will miss out and won’t get any until the spring; 
  • The World Health Organization refused to give its blessing to Britain’s controversial plan to space the two doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine by more than a month;
  • Boris Johnson was accused of leaving a ‘substantial gap in the nation’s defences’ against coronavirus by delaying rules on people needing a negative test before entering the UK;
  • Gavin Williamson was under pressure to explain how teachers will be able to accurately grade GCSEs and A-levels for pupils after the 2021 exams were cancelled due to Covid;
  • Politicians and experts blasted China for refusing entry to members of a World Health Organization(WHO) team being sent to the country to investigate the origins of the coronavirus pandemic;
  • Doctors may have to decide which severely ill patients to treat based on a ‘lottery’ if the NHS is overwhelmed this winter under draft Covid rationing plans;
  • The organiser of Clap for Carers is calling for a return to the weekly round of applause during England’s third national lockdown – starting from 8pm tomorrow.

Mr Johnson had earlier warned there will not be a ‘big bang’ release from the latest national lockdown next month

Above are the locations of the seven mass vaccination centres that will begin operating from next week. They were revealed today by the Prime Minister

Above are the locations of the seven mass vaccination centres that will begin operating from next week. They were revealed today by the Prime Minister

The doughty dozen 

Twelve Tory MPs voted against Boris Johnson’s lockdown tonight. They were:

Graham Brady 

Philip Davies 

Richard Drax 

Karl McCartney 

Stephen McPartland 

Esther McVey  

Anne Marie Morris 

Andrew Rosindell 

Desmond Swayne 

Robert Syms 

Charles Walker 

David Warburton 

The Prime Minister earlier told a recalled House of Commons that his hand had been forced after a new variant of the disease was found to be spreading with ‘frightening ease’.

Mr Johnson said No10’s mass inoculation programme meant nearly one quarter of over-80s had already received jabs and England had vaccinated more people ‘than in the rest of Europe combined’. He said data suggested one in 50 people are infected showed it is ‘inescapable that the facts are changing’ and the Government’s response had to follow suit. 

The PM resisted calls from Tory MPs to guarantee the rules will start to be eased after the first review on February 15, fuelling fears the shutdown may last far longer than the initial seven-week period. Tory backbenchers slammed the PM’s ‘malicious’ lockdown and accused him of an ‘assault on liberty and livelihoods’ as they demanded an exit strategy.

The PM said he hoped measures will be able to be lifted in the spring but warned there will not be a ‘big bang’ out of lockdown, rather a ‘gradual unwrapping’.

A furious Sir Desmond Swayne blasted the restrictions, telling Mr Johnson: ‘Pubs can’t compete with supermarkets for off sales, even within a household you can’t play tennis or golf. 

‘Notwithstanding the assault on liberty and livelihoods, why are these regulations pervaded by a pettifogging malice?’ 

Mr Johnson replied: ‘Pettifogging, yes, malicious, no. I am going to have to take the hit here, the intention is to stop the virus, protect the NHS and to save lives.

Boris Johnson under fire over delayed border testing plan

Boris Johnson was under pressure today to sort out plans to demand people have a negative Covid test result before they enter Britain. 

Ministers have indicated that such a requirement is coming in a bid to block any influx of new variants of coronavirus after a South African strain was found in the UK.

But no firm details have yet been released and the Prime Minister came under fire in the Commons today over when they will be brought in and how much notice will be given. 

It came as new figures from Labour showed that just three in every 100 people arriving in the UK are being checked to see if they are complying with quarantine requirements.

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds has written to Priti Patel to demand ‘an urgent review and improvement plan of quarantine arrangements’. 

He claimed the current system of checking up on only a fraction of people is leaving the UK ‘defenceless and completely exposed’ to importing coronavirus variants. 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer took aim at the PM in the Commons today as politicians returned to vote on the new lockdown rules.

‘The Prime Minister knows there is real concern about the rapid transmission of this disease. There are new strains being detected in South Africa, Denmark and elsewhere. The quarantine system isn’t working,’ Sir Keir said.

‘The Prime Minister said yesterday that we will be bringing in extra measures at the border. I have to ask, why are those measures not introduced already? They have been briefed to the media for days but nothing has happened.’

Mr Johnson gave no details and only offered a bland statement, saying: ‘I think it is vital we protect our borders and protect this country from the readmission of the virus from overseas and that is why we took tough action in respect of South Africa when the new variant became apparent there and we will continue to take whatever action is necessary to protect this country from the readmission of the virus.’  

‘To do that we have to engage in restricting transmission between human beings.’ 

Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the influential 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, said ‘many’ MPs are concerned at being asked to approve a lockdown which could last until the end of March.

Speaking in the Commons he said: ‘I welcome the Prime Minister’s assurance that this House will be consulted on the lifting of restrictions, should it be possible before the end of March, but can I say to him that many of us are concerned at being asked to approve a lockdown which could continue until March 31.

‘Can I ask (Mr Johnson) to reconsider and to offer the House a vote at the end of January and at the end of February as well, not on whether to lift restrictions, but on whether to continue them or not?’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock ducked demands to give a firm end point for lockdown as he suggested that even if the vaccine rollout happens by mid-February, curbs might have to stay if deaths do not fall.

The Health Secretary came under fire from his own side as he kicked off the debate on the regulations underpinning the brutal squeeze – which has already come into effect.

Mr Hancock faced repeated calls to give guarantees about the length of the restrictions, after it emerged they will not expire until March 31 despite Mr Johnson vowing to get more than 13million vulnerable Britons vaccinated by the middle of next month.

As Mr Hancock opened the debate on the lockdown, Sir Graham intervened to say: ‘Approving these regulations today would allow for lockdown for three months until the end of March.’

Sir Graham said the PM had assured him he did not expect MPs to have to ‘wait that long’ for an opportunity to decide whether or not to end the regulations.

Sir Graham added: ‘Will he go further and give a commitment to a further vote at the end of January and end of February, so this House will have control over what is happening?’ 

But while he insisted the Government does not ‘expect’ the blanket restrictions to last for three months, the Cabinet minister refused to say they will definitely be lifted at that stage.

He also hedged when he was challenged by Mark Harper, head of the CRG group of lockdown-sceptic Conservatives, that there could be no ‘possible reason’ for maintaining lockdown after the four most vulnerable categories of people are vaccinated.

‘We have to see the impact of that vaccination on the reduction in the number of deaths, which I very much hope that we will see at that point, and so that is why we will take this – an evidence-led move down through the tiers, when we’ve broken the link, I hope, between cases and hospitalisations and deaths,’ Mr Hancock said.

‘We will need to see those numbers of – we will need to see the protection in reality, in lived reality on the ground, but we will watch this like a hawk and my aim is to keep these restrictions in place not a moment longer than they’re necessary.’   

Conservative chairman of the Education Committee Robert Halfon (above)  demanded assurance that the standard of grades would be maintained. He said it was vital there was a 'level playing field for disadvantaged children' and a fair appeals process.

Conservative chairman of the Education Committee Robert Halfon (above)  demanded assurance that the standard of grades would be maintained. He said it was vital there was a ‘level playing field for disadvantaged children’ and a fair appeals process.

Charlotte Rose assists one of her children, who is being home schooled in Milton Keynes today

Charlotte Rose assists one of her children, who is being home schooled in Milton Keynes today

The 25 per cent of deaths caused by Covid-19 (shown graph right) is the highest proportion so far during the second wave, and it means that the total number of people to have died in that week is significantly higher than at the same time in previous years (graph left)

The 25 per cent of deaths caused by Covid-19 (shown graph right) is the highest proportion so far during the second wave, and it means that the total number of people to have died in that week is significantly higher than at the same time in previous years (graph left)

GP dishing out Covid jab says they have had NO doses despite being ‘raring to go’

A GP on the frontline of Britain’s great coronavirus vaccine push has revealed doctors have still not received doses that were supposed to arrive last month, amid fears Boris Johnson has over-promised with his pledge to jab 13million Brits and end lockdown by March.

Dr Rosemary Leonard, an NHS family doctor who works in South London, said her practices were ‘raring to go’ and had been waiting on their first batch of vaccinations since December 28.

But she claimed the delivery date has been pushed back three times already, with the first doses now not due to arrive until January 15, more than a fortnight late.

Dr Leonard, who also writes a column for the Daily Express newspaper, warned the vaccine roll out was becoming a ‘postcode lottery for patients’, and believes the delay is the result of ‘central supply issues’.

Despite being just days into the rollout of the Oxford vaccine, there has already been finger-pointing between the Government, regulators and the jab’s manufacturer AstraZeneca over who is to blame for the delays.

Matt Hancock and NHS bosses have suggested manufacturing has been too slow, while the Prime Minister has blamed the UK’s stringent batch testing rules which mean every deliver of vaccine needs to be quality checked.

It comes as independent pharmacists begged the Government to let small chains dish out vaccinations to help Number 10 fulfill its ambitious vaccine promises, which will require jabbing a mammoth 3million Brits a week.

MailOnline has spoken to at least half a dozen membership bodies which claim there are 11,000 pharmacies ‘ready, willing and able’ to assist in the rollout of the programme. They say they are being held back by more Government red tape.

The Met Police detained 21 protesters at an anti-lockdown rally in Parliament Square this afternoon, while a further seven people were hauled away from a demonstration outside Julian Assange’s bail hearing and now face fines of up to £6,400. 

In Northampton, a group of friends were pulled over at 5am and slapped with a £800 penalty notice for being in the same car despite being from different households – breaching lockdown rules that came into force at midnight. 

Meanwhile, Thames Valley Police has apologised for the behaviour of an officer who they said was ‘a bit keen’ in handing out leaflets asking drivers to explain why they were out and about as part of a crackdown on travel during lockdown in wealthy Maidenhead. 

The Met Police rolled out some of the toughest anti-Covid measures today, announcing that anyone caught not wearing a face mask in a shop or on public transport would be fined £200. However, the penalties will not be given on the spot and people will be allowed a short time frame with which to produce a doctor’s letter.  

Mr Williamson was under pressure tonight to explain how teachers will be able to accurately grade GCSEs and A-levels for pupils after the 2021 exams were cancelled due to Covid.  

Pupils have not been able to sit mock exams because of the lockdown and last year’s closures mean they have had only a single term of in-person teaching in classrooms in the current academic year. 

Last month, Mr Williamson gave an ‘absolutely’ cast-iron guarantee that exams in England would not be cancelled this academic year, after the shambled that surrounded grades last summer.

Conservative chairman of the Education Committee Robert Halfon demanded  assurance that the standard of grades would be maintained.

He said it was vital there was a ‘level playing field for disadvantaged children’ and a fair appeals process.

He added: ‘Will he make sure that there are independent assessors, perhaps retired teachers or Ofsted inspectors, to provide a check and balance for each assessed grade awarded? 

‘Will he do everything possible to ensure teachers and support staff are given priority for vaccinations alongside NHS workers so we can get our schools open again sooner rather than later?’    

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said there could be no ‘ repeat of the shambles of last summer’.

‘The Education Secretary’s vague statement does not take us a great deal further forward other than to set out the broad parameters for the exam regulator Ofqual to work out a detailed plan,’ he said.

‘It is frustrating that there is not an off-the-shelf Plan B ready to go. We have repeatedly called on the Government and the regulator to prepare such a plan in the event of exams being cancelled, and have repeatedly offered to work with them in doing so.

‘However, ministers have been so busy insisting that exams will take place that they have failed to ensure that there is a contingency system which can be immediately rolled out. This is, frankly, a dereliction of duty.’ 

Categories
Georgia Headline USA Politics

Georgia election official holds furious takedown of Donald Trump’s election fraud claims

The Washington Post published the full transcript of the call between Donald Trump and Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, which has led to calls for Trump to face a criminal probe, accused by two House Democrats of conspiracy to interfere in elections.

On the call on Saturday January 2 were Trump, his chief of staff Mark Meadows, and Republican attorneys Cleta Mitchell and Kurt Hilbert, and from Georgia Raffesnperger and his general counsel Ryan Germany. Not on the call but mentioned was Georgia Governor Brian Kemp.

Here is the full transcript: 

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows: Okay. Alright. Mr. President, everyone is on the line. This is Mark Meadows, the chief of staff. Just so we all are aware. On the line is secretary of state and two other individuals. Jordan and Mr. Germany with him. You also have the attorneys that represent the president, Kurt and Alex and Cleta Mitchell — who is not the attorney of record but has been involved — myself and then the president. So Mr. President, I’ll turn it over to you. 

President Donald Trump: Okay, thank you very much. Hello Brad and Ryan and everybody. We appreciate the time and the call. So we’ve spent a lot of time on this, and if we could just go over some of the numbers, I think it’s pretty clear that we won. We won very substantially in Georgia. You even see it by rally size, frankly. We’d be getting 25-30,000 people a rally, and the competition would get less than 100 people. And it never made sense.

But we have a number of things. We have at least 2 or 3 — anywhere from 250 to 300,000 ballots were dropped mysteriously into the rolls. Much of that had to do with Fulton County, which hasn’t been checked. We think that if you check the signatures — a real check of the signatures going back in Fulton County — you’ll find at least a couple of hundred thousand of forged signatures of people who have been forged. And we are quite sure that’s going to happen.

Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger

Donald Trump (left) pressured Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (right) to ‘find’ enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s win in the Peach State during an extraordinary leaked phone call on Saturday

Another tremendous number. We’re going to have an accurate number over the next two days with certified accountants. But an accurate number will be given, but it’s in the 50s of thousands — and that’s people that went to vote and they were told they can’t vote because they’ve already been voted for. And it’s a very sad thing. They walked out complaining. But the number’s large. We’ll have it for you. But it’s much more than the number of 11,779 that’s — the current margin is only 11,779. Brad, I think you agree with that, right? That’s something I think everyone — at least that’s a number that everyone agrees on.

But that’s the difference in the votes. But we’ve had hundreds of thousands of ballots that we’re able to actually — we’ll get you a pretty accurate number. You don’t need much of a number because the number that in theory I lost by, the margin would be 11,779. But you also have a substantial numbers of people, thousands and thousands, who went to the voting place on November 3, were told they couldn’t vote, were told they couldn’t vote because a ballot had been put on their name. And you know that’s very, very, very, very sad.

We had, I believe it’s about 4,502 voters who voted but who weren’t on the voter registration list, so it’s 4,502 who voted, but they weren’t on the voter registration roll, which they had to be. You had 18,325 vacant address voters. The address was vacant, and they’re not allowed to be counted. That’s 18,325.

Smaller number — you had 904 who only voted where they had just a P.O. — a post office box number — and they had a post office box number, and that’s not allowed. We had at least 18,000 — that’s on tape, we had them counted very painstakingly — 18,000 voters having to do with [name]. She’s a vote scammer, a professional vote scammer and hustler [name]. That was the tape that’s been shown all over the world that makes everybody look bad, you, me and everybody else.

Where they got — number one they said very clearly and it’s been reported that they said there was a major water main break. Everybody fled the area. And then they came back, [name] and her daughter and a few people. There were no Republican poll watchers. Actually, there were no Democrat poll watchers, I guess they were them. But there were no Democrats, either, and there was no law enforcement. Late in the morning, early in the morning, they went to the table with the black robe and the black shield, and they pulled out the votes. Those votes were put there a number of hours before — the table was put there — I think it was, Brad, you would know, it was probably eight hours or seven hours before, and then it was stuffed with votes.

They weren’t in an official voter box; they were in what looked to be suitcases or trunks, suitcases, but they weren’t in voter boxes. The minimum number it could be because we watched it, and they watched it certified in slow motion instant replay if you can believe it, but slow motion, and it was magnified many times over, and the minimum it was 18,000 ballots, all for Biden.

You had out-of-state voters. They voted in Georgia, but they were from out of state, of 4,925. You had absentee ballots sent to vacant, they were absentee ballots sent to vacant addresses. They had nothing on them about addresses, that’s 2,326.

And you had dropboxes, which is very bad. You had dropboxes that were picked up. We have photographs, and we have affidavits from many people.

I don’t know if you saw the hearings, but you have dropboxes where the box was picked up but not delivered for three days. So all sorts of things could have happened to that box, including, you know, putting in the votes that you wanted. So there were many infractions, and the bottom line is, many, many times the 11,779 margin that they said we lost by — we had vast, I mean the state is in turmoil over this.

And I know you would like to get to the bottom of it, although I saw you on television today, and you said that you found nothing wrong. I mean, you know, and I didn’t lose the state, Brad. People have been saying that it was the highest vote ever. There was no way. A lot of the political people said that there’s no way they beat me. And they beat me. They beat me in the . . . As you know, every single state, we won every state. We won every statehouse in the country. We held the Senate, which is shocking to people, although we’ll see what happens tomorrow or in a few days.

And we won the House, but we won every single statehouse, and we won Congress, which was supposed to lose 15 seats, and they gained, I think 16 or 17 or something. I think there’s a now difference of five. There was supposed to be a difference substantially more. But politicians in every state, but politicians in Georgia have given affidavits and are going to that, that there was no way that they beat me in the election, that the people came out, in fact, they were expecting to lose, and then they ended up winning by a lot because of the coattails. And they said there’s no way, that they’ve done many polls prior to the election, that there was no way that they won.

Ballots were dropped in massive numbers. And we’re trying to get to those numbers and we will have them.

They’ll take a period of time. Certified. But but they’re massive numbers. And far greater than the 11,779.

The other thing, dead people. So dead people voted, and I think the number is close to 5,000 people. And they went to obituaries. They went to all sorts of methods to come up with an accurate number, and a minimum is close to about 5,000 voters.

The bottom line is, when you add it all up and then you start adding, you know, 300,000 fake ballots. Then the other thing they said is in Fulton County and other areas. And this may or may not be true . . . this just came up this morning, that they are burning their ballots, that they are shredding, shredding ballots and removing equipment. They’re changing the equipment on the Dominion machines and, you know, that’s not legal.

And they supposedly shredded I think they said 300 pounds of, 3,000 pounds of ballots. And that just came to us as a report today. And it is a very sad situation.

But Brad, if you took the minimum numbers where many, many times above the 11,779, and many of those numbers are certified, or they will be certified, but they are certified. And those are numbers that are there, that exist. And that beat the margin of loss, they beat it, I mean, by a lot, and people should be happy to have an accurate count instead of an election where there’s turmoil.

I mean there’s turmoil in Georgia and other places. You’re not the only one, I mean, we have other states that I believe will be flipping to us very shortly. And this is something that — you know, as an example, I think it in Detroit, I think there’s a section, a good section of your state actually, which we’re not sure so we’re not going to report it yet. But in Detroit, we had, I think it was, 139 percent of the people voted. That’s not too good.

In Pennsylvania, they had well over 200,000 more votes than they had people voting. And that doesn’t play too well, and the legislature there is, which is Republican, is extremely activist and angry. I mean, there were other things also that were almost as bad as that. But they had as an example, in Michigan, a tremendous number of dead people that voted. I think it was, I think, Mark, it was 18,000. Some unbelievably high number, much higher than yours, you were in the 4-5,000 category.

And that was checked out laboriously by going through, by going through the obituary columns in the newspapers.

So I guess with all of it being said, Brad, the bottom line, and provisional ballots, again, you know, you’ll have to tell me about the provisional ballots, but we have a lot of people that were complaining that they weren’t able to vote because they were already voted for. These are great people.

And, you know, they were shellshocked. I don’t know if you call that provisional ballots. In some states, we had a lot of provisional ballot situations where people were given a provisional ballot because when they walked in on November 3 and they were already voted for.

So that’s it. I mean, we have many, many times the number of votes necessary to win the state. And we won the state, and we won it very substantially and easily, and we’re getting, we have, much of this is a very certified, far more certified than we need. But we’re getting additional numbers certified, too. And we’re getting pictures of dropboxes being delivered and delivered late. Delivered three days later, in some cases, plus we have many affidavits to that effect.

Meadows: So, Mr. President, if I might be able to jump in, and I’ll give Brad a chance. Mr. Secretary, obviously there is, there are allegations where we believe that not every vote or fair vote and legal vote was counted, and that’s at odds with the representation from the secretary of state’s office.

What I’m hopeful for is there some way that we can, we can find some kind of agreement to look at this a little bit more fully? You know the president mentioned Fulton County.

But in some of these areas where there seems to be a difference of where the facts seem to lead, and so Mr. Secretary, I was hopeful that, you know, in the spirit of cooperation and compromise, is there something that we can at least have a discussion to look at some of these allegations to find a path forward that’s less litigious?

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger: Well, I listened to what the president has just said. President Trump, we’ve had several lawsuits, and we’ve had to respond in court to the lawsuits and the contentions. We don’t agree that you have won. And we don’t — I didn’t agree about the 200,000 number that you’d mentioned. I’ll go through that point by point.

What we have done is we gave our state Senate about one and a half hours of our time going through the election issue by issue and then on the state House, the government affairs committee, we gave them about two and a half hours of our time, going back point by point on all the issues of contention. And then just a few days ago, we met with our U.S. congressmen, Republican congressmen, and we gave them about two hours of our time talking about this past election. Going back, primarily what you’ve talked about here focused in on primarily, I believe, is the absentee ballot process. I don’t believe that you’re really questioning the Dominion machines. Because we did a hand re-tally, a 100 percent re-tally of all the ballots, and compared them to what the machines said and came up with virtually the same result. Then we did the recount, and we got virtually the same result. So I guess we can probably take that off the table.

I don’t think there’s an issue about that.

Trump: Well, Brad. Not that there’s not an issue, because we have a big issue with Dominion in other states and perhaps in yours. But we haven’t felt we needed to go there. And just to, you know, maybe put a little different spin on what Mark is saying, Mark Meadows, yeah we’d like to go further, but we don’t really need to. We have all the votes we need.

You know, we won the state. If you took, these are the most minimal numbers, the numbers that I gave you, those are numbers that are certified, your absentee ballots sent to vacant addresses, your out-of-state voters, 4,925. You know when you add them up, it’s many more times, it’s many times the 11,779 number. So we could go through, we have not gone through your Dominion. So we can’t give them blessing. I mean, in other states, we think we found tremendous corruption with Dominion machines, but we’ll have to see.

But we only lost the state by that number, 11,000 votes, and 779. So with that being said, with just what we have, with just what we have, we’re giving you minimal, minimal numbers. We’re doing the most conservative numbers possible; we’re many times, many, many times above the margin. And so we don’t really have to, Mark, I don’t think we have to go through . . .

Meadows: Right

Trump: Because what’s the difference between winning the election by two votes and winning it by half a million votes. I think I probably did win it by half a million. You know, one of the things that happened, Brad, is we have other people coming in now from Alabama and from South Carolina and from other states, and they’re saying it’s impossible for you to have lost Georgia. We won. You know in Alabama, we set a record, got the highest vote ever. In Georgia, we set a record with a massive amount of votes. And they say it’s not possible to have lost Georgia.

And I could tell you by our rallies. I could tell you by the rally I’m having on Monday night, the place, they already have lines of people standing out front waiting. It’s just not possible to have lost Georgia. It’s not possible. When I heard it was close, I said there’s no way. But they dropped a lot of votes in there late at night. You know that, Brad. And that’s what we are working on very, very stringently. But regardless of those votes, with all of it being said, we lost by essentially 11,000 votes, and we have many more votes already calculated and certified, too.

And so I just don’t know, you know, Mark, I don’t know what’s the purpose. I won’t give Dominion a pass because we found too many bad things. But we don’t need Dominion or anything else. We have won this election in Georgia based on all of this. And there’s nothing wrong with saying that, Brad. You know, I mean, having the correct — the people of Georgia are angry. And these numbers are going to be repeated on Monday night. Along with others that we’re going to have by that time, which are much more substantial even. And the people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry. And there’s nothing wrong with saying that, you know, that you’ve recalculated. Because the 2,236 in absentee ballots. I mean, they’re all exact numbers that were done by accounting firms, law firms, etc. And even if you cut ’em in half, cut ’em in half and cut ’em in half again, it’s more votes than we need. 

Raffensperger: Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong. We talked to the congressmen, and they were surprised.

But they — I guess there was a person named Mr. Braynard who came to these meetings and presented data, and he said that there was dead people, I believe it was upward of 5,000. The actual number were two. Two. Two people that were dead that voted. So that’s wrong.

Trump: Well, Cleta, how do you respond to that? Maybe you tell me?

Trump attorney Cleta Mitchell: Well, I would say, Mr. Secretary, one of the things that we have requested and what we said was, if you look, if you read our petition, it said that we took the names and birth years, and we had certain information available to us. We have asked from your office for records that only you have, and so we said there is a universe of people who have the same name and same birth year and died.

But we don’t have the records that you have. And one of the things that we have been suggesting formally and informally for weeks now is for you to make available to us the records that would be necessary —

Trump: But, Cleta, even before you do that, and not even including that, that’s why I hardly even included that number, although in one state, we have a tremendous amount of dead people. So I don’t know — I’m sure we do in Georgia, too. I’m sure we do in Georgia, too.

But we’re so far ahead. We’re so far ahead of these numbers, even the phony ballots of [name] , known scammer. You know the Internet? You know what was trending on the Internet? ‘Where’s [name]?’ Because they thought she’d be in jail. ‘Where’s [name]?’ It’s crazy, it’s crazy. That was. The minimum number is 18,000 for [name] , but they think it’s probably about 56,000, but the minimum number is 18,000 on the [name] night where she ran back in there when everybody was gone and stuffed, she stuffed the ballot boxes. Let’s face it, Brad, I mean. They did it in slow motion replay magnified, right? She stuffed the ballot boxes. They were stuffed like nobody has ever seen them stuffed before.

So there’s a term for it when it’s a machine instead of a ballot box, but she stuffed the machine. She stuffed the ballot. Each ballot went three times, they were showing: Here’s ballot No 1. Here it is a second time, third time, next ballot.

I mean, look. Brad. We have a new tape that we’re going to release. It’s devastating. And by the way, that one event, that one event is much more than the 11,000 votes that we’re talking about. It’s, you know, that one event was a disaster. And it’s just, you know, but it was, it was something, it can’t be disputed. And again, we have a version that you haven’t seen, but it’s magnified. It’s magnified, and you can see everything. For some reason, they put it in three times, each ballot, and I don’t know why. I don’t know why three times. Why not five times, right? Go ahead.

Raffensperger: You’re talking about the State Farm video. And I think it’s extremely unfortunate that Rudy Giuliani or his people, they sliced and diced that video and took it out of context. The next day, we brought in WSB-TV, and we let them show, see the full run of tape, and what you’ll see, the events that transpired are nowhere near what was projected by, you know —

Trump: But where were the poll watchers, Brad? There were no poll watchers there. There were no Democrats or Republicans. There was no security there.

It was late in the evening, late in the, early in the morning, and there was nobody else in the room. Where were the poll watchers, and why did they say a water main broke, which they did and which was reported in the newspapers? They said they left. They ran out because of a water main break, and there was no water main. There was nothing. There was no break. There was no water main break. But we’re, if you take out everything, where were the Republican poll watchers, even where were the Democrat pollwatchers, because there were none.

And then you say, well, they left their station, you know, if you look at the tape, and this was, this was reviewed by professional police and detectives and other people, when they left in a rush, everybody left in a rush because of the water main, but everybody left in a rush. These people left their station.

When they came back, they didn’t go to their station. They went to the apron, wrapped around the table, under which were thousands and thousands of ballots in a box that was not an official or a sealed box. And then they took those. They went back to a different station. So if they would have come back, they would have walked to their station, and they would have continued to work. But they couldn’t do even that because that’s illegal, because they had no Republican pollwatchers. And remember, her reputation is — she’s known all over the Internet, Brad. She’s known all over.

I’m telling you, ‘Where’s [name] ‘ was one of the hot items . . . [name] They knew her. ‘Where’s [name]?’ So Brad, there can be no justification for that. And I, you know, I give everybody the benefit of the doubt. But that was — and Brad, why did they put the votes in three times? You know, they put ’em in three times.

Raffensperger: Mr. President, they did not put that. We did an audit of that, and we proved conclusively that they were not scanned three times.

Trump: Where was everybody else at that late time in the morning? Where was everybody? Where were the Republicans? Where were the security guards? Were the people that were there just a little while before when everyone ran out of the room. How come we had no security in the room. Why did they run to the bottom of the table? Why do they run there and just open the skirt and rip out the votes. I mean, Brad. And they were sitting there, I think for five hours or something like that, the votes.

Raffensperger: Mr. President, we’ll send you the link from WSB.

Trump: I don’t care about the link. I don’t need it. Brad, I have a much better —

Mitchell: I will tell you. I’ve seen the tape. The full tape. So has Alex. We’ve watched it. And what we saw and what we’ve confirmed in the timing is that they made everybody leave — we have sworn affidavits saying that. And then they began to process ballots. And our estimate is that there were roughly 18,000 ballots. We don’t know that. If you know that . . . 

Trump: It was 18,000 ballots, but they used each one three times.

Mitchell: Well, I don’t know about that.

Trump: I do think we had ours magnified out.

Mitchell: I’ve watched the entire tape.

Trump: Nobody can make a case for that, Brad. Nobody. I mean, look, you’d have to be a child to think anything other than that. Just a child.

Mitchell: How many ballots, Mr. Secretary, are you saying were processed then?

Raffensperger: We had GBI . . . investigate that.

Germany: We had our — this is Ryan Germany. We had our law enforcement officers talk to everyone who was, who was there after that event came to light. GBI was with them as well as FBI agents.

Trump: Well, there’s no way they could — then they’re incompetent. They’re either dishonest or incompetent, okay?

Mitchell: Well, what did they find?

Trump: There’s only two answers, dishonesty or incompetence. There’s just no way. Look. There’s no way. And on the other thing, I said too, there is no way. I mean, there’s no way that these things could have been, you know, you have all these different people that voted, but they don’t live in Georgia anymore. What was that number, Cleta? That was a pretty good number, too.

Mitchell: The number who have registered out of state after they moved from Georgia. And so they had a date when they moved from Georgia, they registered to vote out of state, and then it’s like 4,500, I don’t have that number right in front of me.

Trump: And then they came back in, and they voted.

Mitchell: And voted. Yeah.

Trump: I thought that was a large number, though. It was in the 20s.

Ryan Germany, Raffensberger’s General Counsel: We’ve been going through each of those as well, and those numbers that we got, that Ms. Mitchell was just saying, they’re not accurate. Every one we’ve been through are people that lived in Georgia, moved to a different state, but then moved back to Georgia legitimately. And in many cases —

Trump: How may people do that? They moved out, and then they said, ‘Ah, to hell with it, I’ll move back.’ You know, it doesn’t sound like a very normal . . . you mean, they moved out, and what, they missed it so much that they wanted to move back in? It’s crazy.

Germany: They moved back in years ago. This was not like something just before the election. So there’s something about that data that, it’s just not accurate.

Trump: Well, I don’t know, all I know is that it is certified. And they moved out of Georgia, and they voted. It didn’t say they moved back in, Cleta, did it?

Mitchell: No, but I mean, we’re looking at the voter registration. Again, if you have additional records, we’ve been asking for that, but you haven’t shared any of that with us. You just keep saying you investigated the allegations.

Trump: Cleta, a lot of it you don’t need to be shared. I mean, to be honest, they should share it. They should share it because you want to get to an honest election.

I won this election by hundreds of thousands of votes. There’s no way I lost Georgia. There’s no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes. I’m just going by small numbers, when you add them up, they’re many times the 11,000. But I won that state by hundreds of thousands of votes.

Do you think it’s possible that they shredded ballots in Fulton County? Because that’s what the rumor is. And also that Dominion took out machines. That Dominion is really moving fast to get rid of their, uh, machinery.

Do you know anything about that? Because that’s illegal, right?

Trump suggested that Raffensberger and his general counsel Ryan Germany (pictured) could be subject to criminal liability if they failed to find that thousands of ballots cast in Fulton County had been illegally destroyed - despite no evidence supporting that allegation

Trump suggested that Raffensberger and his general counsel Ryan Germany (pictured) could be subject to criminal liability if they failed to find that thousands of ballots cast in Fulton County had been illegally destroyed – despite no evidence supporting that allegation

Germany: This is Ryan Germany. No, Dominion has not moved any machinery out of Fulton County.

Trump: But have they moved the inner parts of the machines and replaced them with other parts?

Germany: No.

Trump: Are you sure, Ryan?

Germany: I’m sure. I’m sure, Mr. President.

Trump: What about, what about the ballots. The shredding of the ballots. Have they been shredding ballots?

Germany: The only investigation that we have into that — they have not been shredding any ballots. There was an issue in Cobb County where they were doing normal office shredding, getting rid of old stuff, and we investigated that. But this stuff from, you know, from you know past elections.

Trump: It doesn’t pass the smell test because we hear they’re shredding thousands and thousands of ballots, and now what they’re saying, ‘Oh, we’re just cleaning up the office.’ You know.

Raffensperger: Mr. President, the problem you have with social media, they — people can say anything.

Trump: Oh this isn’t social media. This is Trump media. It’s not social media. It’s really not; it’s not social media. I don’t care about social media. I couldn’t care less. Social media is Big Tech. Big Tech is on your side, you know. I don’t even know why you have a side because you should want to have an accurate election. And you’re a Republican.

Raffensperger: We believe that we do have an accurate election.

Trump: No, no you don’t. No, no you don’t. You don’t have. Not even close. You’re off by hundreds of thousands of votes. And just on the small numbers, you’re off on these numbers, and these numbers can’t be just — well, why wont? — Okay. So you sent us into Cobb County for signature verification, right? You sent us into Cobb County, which we didn’t want to go into. And you said it would be open to the public. So we had our experts there, they weren’t allowed into the room. But we didn’t want Cobb County. We wanted Fulton County. And you wouldn’t give it to us. Now, why aren’t we doing signature — and why can’t it be open to the public?

And why can’t we have professionals do it instead of rank amateurs who will never find anything and don’t want to find anything? They don’t want to find, you know they don’t want to find anything. Someday you’ll tell me the reason why, because I don’t understand your reasoning, but someday you’ll tell me the reason why. But why don’t you want to find?

Germany: Mr. President, we chose Cobb County —

Trump: Why don’t you want to find . . . What?

Germany: Sorry, go ahead.

Trump: So why did you do Cobb County? We didn’t even request — we requested Fulton County, not Cobb County. Go ahead, please. Go ahead.

Germany: We chose Cobb County because that was the only county where there’s been any evidence submitted that the signature verification was not properly done.

Trump: No, but I told you. We’re not, we’re not saying that.

Mitchell: We did say that.

Trump: Fulton County. Look. Stacey, in my opinion, Stacey is as dishonest as they come. She has outplayed you . . . at everything. She got you to sign a totally unconstitutional agreement, which is a disastrous agreement. You can’t check signatures. I can’t imagine you’re allowed to do harvesting, I guess, in that agreement. That agreement is a disaster for this country. But she got you somehow to sign that thing, and she has outsmarted you at every step.

And I hate to imagine what’s going to happen on Monday or Tuesday, but it’s very scary to people. You know, when the ballots flow in out of nowhere. It’s very scary to people. That consent decree is a disaster. It’s a disaster. A very good lawyer who examined it said they’ve never seen anything like it.

Raffensperger: Harvesting is still illegal in the state of Georgia. And that settlement agreement did not change that one iota.

Trump: It’s not a settlement agreement, it’s a consent decree. It even says consent decree on it, doesn’t it? It uses the term consent decree. It doesn’t say settlement agreement. It’s a consent decree. It’s a disaster.

Raffensperger: It’s a settlement agreement.

Trump: What’s written on top of it?

Raffensperger: Ryan?

Germany: I don’t have it in front of me, but it was not entered by the court, it’s not a court order.

Trump: But Ryan, it’s called a consent decree, is that right? On the paper. Is that right?

Germany: I don’t. I don’t. I don’t believe so, but I don’t have it in front of me. 

Trump: Okay, whatever, it’s a disaster. It’s a disaster. Look. Here’s the problem. We can go through signature verification, and we’ll find hundreds of thousands of signatures, if you let us do it. And the only way you can do it, as you know, is to go to the past. But you didn’t do that in Cobb County. You just looked at one page compared to another. The only way you can do a signature verification is go from the one that signed it on November whatever. Recently. And compare it to two years ago, four years ago, six years ago, you know, or even one. And you’ll find that you have many different signatures. But in Fulton, where they dumped ballots, you will find that you have many that aren’t even signed and you have many that are forgeries.

Okay, you know that. You know that. You have no doubt about that. And you will find you will be at 11,779 within minutes because Fulton County is totally corrupt, and so is she totally corrupt.

And they’re going around playing you and laughing at you behind your back, Brad, whether you know it or not, they’re laughing at you. And you’ve taken a state that’s a Republican state, and you’ve made it almost impossible for a Republican to win because of cheating, because they cheated like nobody’s ever cheated before. And I don’t care how long it takes me, you know, we’re going to have other states coming forward — pretty good.

But I won’t . . . this is never . . . this is . . . We have some incredible talent said they’ve never seen anything . . . Now the problem is they need more time for the big numbers. But they’re very substantial numbers. But I think you’re going to fine that they — by the way, a little information — I think you’re going to find that they are shredding ballots because they have to get rid of the ballots because the ballots are unsigned. The ballots are corrupt, and they’re brand new, and they don’t have seals, and there’s a whole thing with the ballots. But the ballots are corrupt.

And you are going to find that they are — which is totally illegal — it is more illegal for you than it is for them because, you know, what they did and you’re not reporting it. That’s a criminal, that’s a criminal offense. And you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer. And that’s a big risk. But they are shredding ballots, in my opinion, based on what I’ve heard. And they are removing machinery, and they’re moving it as fast as they can, both of which are criminal finds. And you can’t let it happen, and you are letting it happen. You know, I mean, I’m notifying you that you’re letting it happen. So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.

And flipping the state is a great testament to our country because, you know, this is — it’s a testament that they can admit to a mistake or whatever you want to call it. If it was a mistake, I don’t know. A lot of people think it wasn’t a mistake. It was much more criminal than that. But it’s a big problem in Georgia, and it’s not a problem that’s going away. I mean, you know, it’s not a problem that’s going away.

Germany: This is Ryan. We’re looking into every one of those things that you mentioned.

Trump: Good. But if you find it, you’ve got to say it, Ryan.

Germany: . . . Let me tell you what we are seeing. What we’re seeing is not at all what you’re describing. These are investigators from our office, these are investigators from GBI, and they’re looking, and they’re good. And that’s not what they’re seeing. And we’ll keep looking, at all these things.

Trump: Well, you better check on the ballots because they are shredding ballots, Ryan. I’m just telling you, Ryan. They’re shredding ballots. And you should look at that very carefully. Because that’s so illegal. You know, you may not even believe it because it’s so bad. But they’re shredding ballots because they think we’re going to eventually get there . . . because we’ll eventually get into Fulton. In my opinion, it’s never too late. . . . So, that’s the story. Look, we need only 11,000 votes. We have are far more than that as it stands now. We’ll have more and more. And . . . do you have provisional ballots at all, Brad? Provisional ballots?

Raffensperger: Provisional ballots are allowed by state law.

Trump: Sure, but I mean, are they counted, or did you just hold them back because they, you know, in other words, how many provisional ballots do you have in the state?

Raffensperger: We’ll get you that number.

Trump: Because most of them are made out to the name Trump. Because these are people that were scammed when they came in. And we have thousands of people that have testified or that want to testify. When they came in, they were proudly going to vote on November 3. And they were told, ‘I’m sorry, you’ve already been voted for, you’ve already voted.’ The women, men started screaming, ‘No. I proudly voted till November 3.’ They said, ‘I’m sorry, but you’ve already been voted for, and you have a ballot.’ And these people are beside themselves. So they went out, and they filled in a provisional ballot, putting the name Trump on it.

And what about that batch of military ballots that came in. And even though I won the military by a lot, it was 100 percent Trump. I mean 100 percent Biden. Do you know about that? A large group of ballots came in, I think it was to Fulton County, and they just happened to be 100 percent for Trump — for Biden — even though Trump won the military by a lot, you know, a tremendous amount. But these ballots were 100 percent for Biden. And do you know about that? A very substantial number came in, all for Biden. Does anybody know about it?

Mitchell: I know about it, but —

Trump: Okay, Cleta, I’m not asking you, Cleta, honestly. I’m asking Brad. Do you know about the military ballots that we have confirmed now. Do you know about the military ballots that came in that were 100 percent, I mean 100 percent, for Biden. Do you know about that?

Germany: I don’t know about that. I do know that we have, when military ballots come in, it’s not just military, it’s also military and overseas citizens. The military part of that does generally go Republican. The overseas citizen part of it generally goes very Democrat. This was a mix of ’em.

Trump: No, but this was. That’s okay. But I got like 78 percent of the military. These ballots were all for . . . They didn’t tell me overseas. Could be overseas, too, but I get votes overseas, too, Ryan, in all fairness. No they came in, a large batch came in, and it was, quote, 100 percent for Biden. And that is criminal. You know, that’s criminal. Okay. That’s another criminal, that’s another of the many criminal events, many criminal events here.

I don’t know, look, Brad. I got to get . . . I have to find 12,000 votes, and I have them times a lot. And therefore, I won the state. That’s before we go to the next step, which is in the process of right now. You know, and I watched you this morning, and you said, well, there was no criminality.

But I mean all of this stuff is very dangerous stuff. When you talk about no criminality, I think it’s very dangerous for you to say that.

I just, I just don’t know why you don’t want to have the votes counted as they are. Like even you when you went and did that check. And I was surprised because, you know . . . And we found a few thousand votes that were against me. I was actually surprised because the way that check was done, all you’re doing, you know, recertifying existing votes and, you know, and you were given votes and you just counted them up, and you still found 3,000 that were bad. So that was sort of surprising that it came down to three or five, I don’t know. Still a lot of votes. But you have to go back to check from past years with respect to signatures. And if you check with Fulton County, you’ll have hundreds of thousands because they dumped ballots into Fulton County and the other county next to it.

So what are we going to do here, folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break. You know, we have that in spades already. Or we can keep it going, but that’s not fair to the voters of Georgia because they’re going to see what happened, and they’re going to see what happened. I mean, I’ll, I’ll take on anybody you want with regard to [name] and her lovely daughter, a very lovely young lady, I’m sure. But, but [name] . . . I will take on anybody you want. And the minimum, there were 18,000 ballots, but they used them three times. So that’s, you know, a lot of votes. And they were all to Biden, by the way, that’s the other thing we didn’t say. You know, [name] , the one thing I forgot to say, which was the most important. You know that every single ballot she did went to Biden. You know that, right? Do you know that, by the way, Brad?

Every single ballot that she did through the machines at early, early in the morning went to Biden. Did you know that, Ryan?

Germany: That’s not accurate, Mr. President.

Trump: Huh. What is accurate?

Germany: The numbers that we are showing are accurate.

Trump: No, about [name] . About early in the morning, Ryan. Where the woman took, you know, when the whole gang took the stuff from under the table, right? Do you know, do you know who those ballots, do you know who they were made out to, do you know who they were voting for?

Germany: No, not specifically.

Trump: Did you ever check?

Germany: We did what I described to you earlier —

Trump: No no no — did you ever check the ballots that were scanned by [name] , a known political operative, balloteer? Did ever check who those votes were for?

Germany: We looked into that situation that you described.

Trump: No, they were 100 percent for Biden. 100 percent. There wasn’t a Trump vote in the whole group. Why don’t you want to find this, Ryan? What’s wrong with you? I heard your lawyer is very difficult, actually, but I’m sure you’re a good lawyer. You have a nice last name.

But, but I’m just curious, why wouldn’t, why do you keep fighting this thing? It just doesn’t make sense. We’re way over the 17,779, right? We’re way over that number, and just if you took just [name] , we’re over that number by five, five or six times when you multiply that times three.

And every single ballot went to Biden, and you didn’t know that, but now you know it. So tell me, Brad, what are we going to do? We won the election, and it’s not fair to take it away from us like this. And it’s going to be very costly in many ways. And I think you have to say that you’re going to reexamine it, and you can reexamine it, but reexamine it with people that want to find answers, not people that don’t want to find answers. For instance, I’m hearing Ryan that he’s probably, I’m sure a great lawyer and everything, but he’s making statements about those ballots that he doesn’t know. But he’s making them with such — he did make them with surety. But now I think he’s less sure because the answer is, they all went to Biden, and that alone wins us the election by a lot. You know, so.

Raffensperger: Mr. President, you have people that submit information, and we have our people that submit information. And then it comes before the court, and the court then has to make a determination. We have to stand by our numbers. We believe our numbers are right.

Trump: Why do you say that, though? I don’t know. I mean, sure, we can play this game with the courts, but why do you say that? First of all, they don’t even assign us a judge. They don’t even assign us a judge. But why wouldn’t you . . . Hey Brad, why wouldn’t you want to check out [name] ? And why wouldn’t you want to say, hey, if in fact, President Trump is right about that, then he wins the state of Georgia, just that one incident alone without going through hundreds of thousands of dropped ballots. You just say, you stick by, I mean I’ve been watching you, you know, you don’t care about anything. ‘Your numbers are right.’ But your numbers aren’t right. They’re really wrong, and they’re really wrong, Brad. And I know this phone call is going nowhere other than, other than ultimately, you know — Look, ultimately, I win, okay? Because you guys are so wrong. And you treated this. You treated the population of Georgia so badly. You, between you and your governor, who is down at 21, he was down 21 points. And like a schmuck, I endorsed him, and he got elected, but I will tell you, he is a disaster.

The people are so angry in Georgia, I can’t imagine he’s ever getting elected again, I’ll tell you that much right now. But why wouldn’t you want to find the right answer, Brad, instead of keep saying that the numbers are right? ‘Cause those numbers are so wrong?

Mitchell: Mr. Secretary, Mr. President, one of the things that we have been, Alex can talk about this, we talked about it, and I don’t know whether the information has been conveyed to your office, but I think what the president is saying, and what we’ve been trying to do is to say, look, the court is not acting on our petition. They haven’t even assigned a judge. But the people of Georgia and the people of America have a right to know the answers. And you have data and records that we don’t have access to.

And you can keep telling us and making public statement that you investigated this and nothing to see here. But we don’t know about that. All we know is what you tell us. What I don’t understand is why wouldn’t it be in everyone’s best interest to try to get to the bottom, compare the numbers, you know, if you say, because . . . to try to be able to get to the truth because we don’t have any way of confirming what you’re telling us. You tell us that you had an investigation at the State Farm Arena. I don’t have any report. I’ve never seen a report of investigation. I don’t know that is. I’ve been pretty involved in this, and I don’t know. And that’s just one of 25 categories. And it doesn’t even. And as I, as the president said, we haven’t even gotten into the Dominion issue. That’s not part of our case. It’s not part of, we just didn’t feel as though we had any to be able to develop —

Trump: No, we do have a way, but I don’t want to get into it. We found a way . . . excuse me, but we don’t need it because we’re only down 11,000 votes, so we don’t even need it. I personally think they’re corrupt as hell. But we don’t need that. All we have to do, Cleta, is find 11,000-plus votes. So we don’t need that. I’m not looking to shake up the whole world. We won Georgia easily. We won it by hundreds of thousands of votes. But if you go by basic, simple numbers, we won it easily, easily. So we’re not giving Dominion a pass on the record. We don’t need Dominion because we have so many other votes that we don’t need to prove it any more than we already have.

Trump attorney Kurt Hilbert: Mr. President and Cleta, this is Kurt Hilbert, if I might interject for a moment. Ryan, I would like to suggest that just four categories that have already been mentioned by the president that have actually hard numbers of 24,149 votes that were counted illegally. That in and of itself is sufficient to change the results or place the outcome in doubt. We would like to sit down with your office, and we can do it through purposes of compromise and just like this phone call, just to deal with that limited category of votes. And if you are able to establish that our numbers are not accurate, then fine. However, we believe that they are accurate. We’ve had now three to four separate experts looking at these numbers.

Trump: Certified accountants looked at them.

Hilbert: Correct. And this is just based on USPS data and your own secretary of state data. So that’s what we would entreat and ask you to do, to sit down with us in a compromise and settlements proceeding and actually go through the registered voter IDs and the registrations. And if you can convince us that 24,149 is inaccurate, then fine. But we tend to believe that is, you know, obviously more than 11,779. That’s sufficient to change the results entirely in and of itself. So what would you say to that, Mr. Germany?

Germany: I’m happy to get with our lawyers, and we’ll set that up. That number is not accurate. And I think we can show you, for all the ones we’ve looked at, why it’s not. And so if that would be helpful, I’m happy to get with our lawyers and set that up with you guys.

Trump: Well, let me ask you, Kurt, you think that is an accurate number. That was based on the information given to you by the secretary of state’s department, right?

Hilbert: That is correct. That information is the minimum, most conservative data based upon the USPS data and the secretary of state’s office data that has been made publicly available. We do not have the internal numbers from the secretary of state. Yet we have asked for it six times. I sent a letter over to . . . several times requesting this information, and it’s been rebuffed every single time. So it stands to reason that if the information is not forthcoming, there’s something to hide. That’s the problem that we have.

Germany: Well, that’s not the case, sir. There are things that you guys are entitled to get. And there’s things that under law, we are not allowed to give out.

Trump: Well, you have to. Well, under law, you’re not allowed to give faulty election results, okay? You’re not allowed to do that. And that’s what you done. This is a faulty election result. And honestly, this should go very fast. You should meet tomorrow because you have a big election coming up, and because of what you’ve done to the president — you know, the people of Georgia know that this was a scam — and because of what you’ve done to the president, a lot of people aren’t going out to vote. And a lot of Republicans are going to vote negative because they hate what you did to the president. Okay? They hate it. And they’re going to vote. And you would be respected. Really respected, if this thing could be straightened out before the election. You have a big election coming up on Tuesday. And I think that it is really is important that you meet tomorrow and work out on these numbers. Because I know, Brad, that if you think we’re right, I think you’re going to say, and I’m not looking to blame anybody, I’m just saying, you know, and, you know, under new counts, and under new views, of the election results, we won the election. You know? It’s very simple. We won the election. As the governors of major states and the surrounding states said, there is no way you lost Georgia. As the Georgia politicians say, there is no way you lost Georgia. Nobody. Everyone knows I won it by hundreds of thousands of votes. But I’ll tell you it’s going to have a big impact on Tuesday if you guys don’t get this thing straightened out fast.

Meadows: Mr. President, this is Mark. It sounds like we’ve got two different sides agreeing that we can look at those areas, and I assume that we can do that within the next 24 to 48 hours, to go ahead and get that reconciled so that we can look at the two claims and making sure that we get the access to the secretary of state’s data to either validate or invalidate the claims that have been made. Is that correct?

Germany: No, that’s not what I said. I’m happy to have our lawyers sit down with Kurt and the lawyers on that side and explain to him, hey, here’s, based on what we’ve looked at so far, here’s how we know this is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong.

Meadows: So what you’re saying, Ryan, let me let me make sure . . . so what you’re saying is you really don’t want to give access to the data. You just want to make another case on why the lawsuit is wrong?

Germany: I don’t think we can give access to data that’s protected by law. But we can sit down with them and say —

Trump: But you’re allowed to have a phony election? You’re allowed to have a phony election, right?

Germany: No, sir.

Trump: When are you going to do signature counts, when are you going to do signature verification on Fulton County, which you said you were going to do, and now all of a sudden, you’re not doing it. When are you doing that?

Germany: We are going to do that. We’ve announced —

Hilbert: To get to this issue of the personal information and privacy issue, is it possible that the secretary of state could deputize the lawyers for the president so that we could access that information and private information without you having any kind of violation?

Trump: Well, I don’t want to know who it is. You guys can do it very confidentially. You can sign a confidentiality agreement. That’s okay. I don’t need to know names. But on this stuff that we’re talking about, we got all that information from the secretary of state.

Meadows: Yeah. So let me let me recommend, Ryan, if you and Kurt will get together, you know, when we get off of this phone call, if you could get together and work out a plan to address some of what we’ve got with your attorneys where we can we can actually look at the data. For example, Mr. Secretary, I can you say they were only two dead people who would vote. I can promise you there are more than that. And that may be what your investigation shows, but I can promise you there are more than that. But at the same time, I think it’s important that we go ahead and move expeditiously to try to do this and resolve it as quickly as we possibly can. And if that’s the good next step. Hopefully we can, we can finish this phone call and go ahead and agree that the two of you will get together immediately.

Trump: Well, why don’t my lawyers show you where you got the information. It will show the secretary of state, and you don’t even have to look at any names. We don’t want names. We don’t care. But we got that information from you. And Stacey Abrams is laughing about you. She’s going around saying these guys are dumber than a rock. What she’s done to this party is unbelievable, I tell you. And I only ran against her once. And that was with a guy named Brian Kemp, and I beat her. And if I didn’t run, Brian wouldn’t have had even a shot, either in the general or in the primary. He was dead, dead as a doornail. He never thought he had a shot at either one of them. What a schmuck I was. But that’s the way it is. That’s the way it is. I would like you . . . for the attorneys . . . I’d like you to perhaps meet with Ryan, ideally tomorrow, because I think we should come to a resolution of this before the election. Otherwise you’re going to have people just not voting. They don’t want to vote. They hate the state, they hate the governor, and they hate the secretary of state. I will tell you that right now. The only people that like you are people that will never vote for you. You know that, Brad, right? They like you, you know, they like you. They can’t believe what they found. They want more people like you. So, look, can you get together tomorrow? And, Brad, we just want the truth. It’s simple.

And everyone’s going to look very good if the truth comes out. It’s okay. It takes a little while, but let the truth come out. And the real truth is, I won by 400,000 votes. At least. That’s the real truth. But we don’t need 400,000 votes. We need less than 2,000 votes. And are you guys able to meet tomorrow, Ryan?

Germany: I’ll get with Chris, the lawyer who’s representing us in the case, and see when he can get together with Kurt.

Raffensperger: Ryan will be in touch with the other attorney on this call, Mr. Meadows. Thank you, President Trump, for your time.

Trump: Okay, thank you, Brad. Thank you, Ryan. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you very much. Bye.  

 

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Bollywood

Did Ishaan Khatter just make relationship with Ananya Panday Instagram official? Actor thanks his ‘muse’ in latest post. Watch


A day after being spotted together at the Mumbai airport, rumoured couple Ishaan Khatter and Ananya Panday have shared new posts of their recent Maldives vacation. Ishaan once again acknowledged that they were together on the trip, when he thanked Ananya in the caption of his latest post.

Sharing the video montage on social media, he wrote, “New year, new energy. Cut a montage from my first proper ‘holiday’. Shot, graded and edited on iPhone 12pro by me (with some help muse and additional videography: @ananyapanday).” The video showed glimpses from their holiday, which included countless swims, dolphin spotting, great food, and some incredible sunsets.

 

On a couple of occasions in Ishaan’s video, Ananya makes appearances as well. Taking to her Instagram Stories, she posted a picture of herself wearing a swimsuit, and wrote, “Back home but mentally still here.”

Ishaan confirmed that the two indeed celebrated New Year together with a picture of Ananya sitting on a swing in the Maldives. A couple of pictures of Ananya and Ishaan clicking selfies with their hotel staff in Maldives have also surfaced on social media.

Also read: Ishaan Khatter, Ananya Panday spotted together at Mumbai airport after Maldives trip, fans wonder if ‘Ishanya’ are dating

Ananya and Ishaan were seen together in Khaali Peeli. The film was directed by Maqbool Khan and arrived on Zee Plex. Ananya’s next release will be Shakun Batra’s untitled film starring Deepika Padukone and Siddhant Chaturvedi. Ishaan, meanwhile, will be seen in Phone Bhoot, with Siddhant and Katrina Kaif. He recently appeared in the BBC miniseries A Suitable Boy.

Follow @htshowbiz for more





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Headlines UK

Lab leak is the ‘most credible’ source of the coronavirus outbreak, says top US government official

One of America’s most senior government officials says the most ‘credible’ theory about the origin of coronavirus is that it escaped from a laboratory in China.

Matthew Pottinger, who is President Donald Trump’s respected Deputy National Security Adviser, told politicians from around the world that even China’s leaders now openly admit their previous claims that the virus originated in a Wuhan market are false.

Mr Pottinger said that the latest intelligence points to the virus leaking from the top-secret Wuhan Institute of Virology, 11 miles from the market, saying: ‘There is a growing body of evidence that the lab is likely the most credible source of the virus.’

Matthew Pottinger, who is President Donald Trump’s respected Deputy National Security Adviser, says the most ‘credible’ theory about the origin of coronavirus is that it escaped from from the top-secret Wuhan Institute of Virology in China

He claimed the pathogen may have escaped through a ‘leak or an accident’, adding: ‘Even establishment figures in Beijing have openly dismissed the wet market story.’

The comments, which were made during a Zoom conference with MPs on China last week, come as a team of experts from the World Health Organisation prepare to fly to Wuhan to investigate how the pandemic began.

Critics fear the probe will be a whitewash given China’s influence on the WHO.

‘MPs around the world have a moral role to play in exposing the WHO investigation as a Potemkin exercise,’ Mr Pottinger told the parliamentarians, in reference to the fake villages created in the Crimea in the 18th Century, intended to convince the visiting Russian Empress Catherine the Great that the region was in good health.

Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory Party leader who attended the meeting, said Mr Pottinger’s comments represented a ‘stiffening’ of the US position on the theory that the virus came from a leak at the laboratory, amid reports that the Americans are talking to a whistleblower from the Wuhan institute.

Mr Pottinger (left) told politicians from around the world that even China's leaders now openly admit their previous claims that the virus originated in a Wuhan market are false.

Mr Pottinger (left) told politicians from around the world that even China’s leaders now openly admit their previous claims that the virus originated in a Wuhan market are false.

‘I was told the US have an ex-scientist from the laboratory in America at the moment,’ he said. ‘That was what I heard a few weeks ago.

‘I was led to believe this is how they have been able to stiffen up their position on how this outbreak originated.’

He added that Beijing’s refusal to allow journalists to visit the laboratory only served to increase suspicion that it was ‘ground zero’ for the pandemic.

‘The truth is there are people who have been in those labs who maintain that this is the case,’ he said. 

‘We don’t know what they have been doing in that laboratory. 

‘They may well have been fiddling with bat coronaviruses and looking at them and they made a mistake. I’ve spoken to various people who believe that to be the case.’

He claimed the pathogen may have escaped through a 'leak or an accident', adding: 'Even establishment figures in Beijing have openly dismissed the wet market story'. Pictured: Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli, who was dubbed 'Batwoman', at the Wuhan lab with a colleague

He claimed the pathogen may have escaped through a ‘leak or an accident’, adding: ‘Even establishment figures in Beijing have openly dismissed the wet market story’. Pictured: Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli, who was dubbed ‘Batwoman’, at the Wuhan lab with a colleague

Sam Armstrong, communications director at the Henry Jackson Society foreign policy think-tank, said: ‘With such a senior and respected intelligence official speaking in support of this claim, the time has come for the British Government to seek both answers about and compensation for Covid-19.’

Mr Pottinger, who speaks fluent Mandarin, previously worked as a journalist for Reuters and The Wall Street Journal, including seven years as its China correspondent.

In 2005, he became a US marine and served as a military intelligence officer before being asked to join the US National Security Council in 2017, becoming Asia director before assuming his current role. 

His older brother, Paul, is a virologist at the University of Washington.

President Trump last year accused the WHO of being a ‘puppet of China’ and withdrew funding.

The visit to Wuhan by the WHO team is already mired in controversy after it published terms of reference revealing it will not investigate the Wuhan institute – the only laboratory in China with the highest international bio-security grading – as a possible source of Covid-19.

The world must investigate all the mounting evidence Covid leaked from a Wuhan lab, writes IAN BIRRELL 

By Ian Birrell for the Mail on Sunday 

It is a year since the world learned of a deadly new respiratory disease stalking the central Chinese city of Wuhan. 

Yet we still know little about how and why the virus spread with such devastating consequences.

 It can almost certainly be traced to bats. But we do not know how this pathogen – having evolved an extraordinary ability to infect, causing such damage to different bodily organs – made the jump into human beings.

At last, a World Health Organisation investigation is under way into the origins of the coronavirus, but it is accused of meekly pandering to China’s agenda by recruiting patsy scientists and relying on Beijing’s dubious data.

Now there is growing clamour from experts around the world that no stone should be left unturned during this inquiry – and that it must include one key element of a hunt which has all the hallmarks of a thriller novel.

It is a year since the world learned of a deadly new respiratory disease stalking the central Chinese city of Wuhan, writes Ian Birrell. Pictured: Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli, who was dubbed 'Batwoman', at the Wuhan Institute of Virology

It is a year since the world learned of a deadly new respiratory disease stalking the central Chinese city of Wuhan, writes Ian Birrell. Pictured: Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli, who was dubbed ‘Batwoman’, at the Wuhan Institute of Virology

This centres on a cave filled with bats, a clutch of mysterious deaths, some brilliant scientists carrying out futuristic experiments in a secretive laboratory – and a cover-up of epic proportions that, if proven, would have huge consequences for the Chinese Communist Party and the global practice of science.

So what, precisely, is this theory on the origins of this pandemic?

It must be stated clearly that it is just a theory, albeit one based on crumbs of evidence teased out by a few courageous scientists and some online detectives.

New diseases have emerged throughout human history. Most experts believe Covid to be a ‘zoonotic’ disease that spilled over naturally from animals to humans. 

They think it was most likely ‘amplified’ by an intermediate species – similar to how Chinese people’s consumption of civet cats sparked the 2002 Sars epidemic.

Yet at the same time, Beijing’s actions from the outset – covering up the outbreak, blaming a wild animal market that it has since admitted wasn’t at fault, barring outside investigators, burying data and silencing its own experts – have served to fuel suspicions.

Last week, leaked documents exposed how the Chinese government, under orders from President Xi Jinping, is strictly controlling all research into the origins of Covid while promoting fringe theories suggesting it came from outside China.

And it is an uncomfortable coincidence that Wuhan – a city buzzing once again, with busy shops, packed restaurants and many people without masks on the streets celebrating New Year – is home to the world’s top coronavirus research unit as well as ground zero to a pandemic from a strange new strain.

The clues start with an abandoned copper mine in Mojiang, a hilly region in Yunnan, southern China, where bats roost in a network of underground caves, cracks and crannies.

Two weeks ago, a BBC reporter was prevented from reaching this remote site after being trailed by police for miles along bumpy tracks, then blocked by a lorry and confronted by men at roadblocks saying their job was to stop him.

Days after three Chinese miners who had been clearing bat droppings inside caves died, Zhengli went to investigate

Days after three Chinese miners who had been clearing bat droppings inside caves died, Zhengli went to investigate

The previous month, a team of US journalists had also been tailed by plainclothes police who barred their access. 

One research team recently managed to take some samples at the mine, but reportedly had them confiscated.

The reason for such secrecy goes back to the end of April 2012 when a 42-year-old man clearing bat droppings in these underground caverns turned up at a nearby hospital with a bad cough, high fever and struggling to breathe. 

Within a week, five colleagues had similar symptoms. Three later died, one after doctors spent more than 100 days fighting to save his life – yet the two youngest spent less than a week in the hospital and survived. Sound familiar?

We have since learned from a detailed masters thesis, which included medical reports and radiological scans, that these miners suffered a viral pneumonia, attributed to Sars-like coronaviruses originating from horseshoe bats.

One leading US health body pointed out last year that they had ‘an illness remarkably similar to Covid-19’. 

Little wonder a prominent vaccine scientist told me: ‘This is about as close to a smoking gun as exists.’

Intriguingly, a second thesis three years later also highlighted these cases. 

It was written by a student of Oxford-trained virologist Professor George Gao Fu, who is now head of China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, which is leading their response to the pandemic.

So the Chinese authorities must have known about the dead miners. 

Yet they quickly tried to blame the wildlife market in Wuhan as Covid’s source, until challenged by respected studies revealed in this newspaper. 

Following the miners’ deaths, Shi Zhengli, a Wuhan-based virologist known as Batwoman for her expeditions to gather samples in such caves and a member of the team that traced the origin of Sars to bats, went to investigate.

‘The mine shaft stank like hell,’ she told Scientific American magazine, explaining how her colleagues spent a year discovering new coronaviruses in samples taken from the blood and faeces of bats. 

The miners, she claimed, died from a fungal infection.

'The mine shaft stank like hell,' she told Scientific American magazine, explaining how her colleagues spent a year discovering new coronaviruses in samples taken from the blood and faeces of bats. The miners, she claimed, died from a fungal infection.

‘The mine shaft stank like hell,’ she told Scientific American magazine, explaining how her colleagues spent a year discovering new coronaviruses in samples taken from the blood and faeces of bats. The miners, she claimed, died from a fungal infection.

Another expert noted how the miners who died were treated with anti-fungal medications, while those surviving were given other drugs. 

‘So in addition to the fact that the cases were more Sars-like than fungal-like, this treatment story argues against a fungal [cause],’ he said. 

‘It is very odd that Shi Zhengli would assert these cases were fungal.’

Prof Shi examined samples in her Wuhan lab, a few miles from the infamous market. Studies later found the virus in sewage, but it was not detected in animals.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology is the first laboratory with the highest global bio-safety level in China. 

It specialises in the study of bat-borne viruses and is spearheading China’s drive to assert itself in bio-technology. 

Leaked diplomatic cables reveal that US officials who visited the lab two years ago warned about safety weaknesses and the risks of a new Sars-like epidemic emerging from the site. 

The lab’s own safety chief also publicly admitted concerns over flawed security systems.

The institute has carried out experiments on bat coronaviruses since 2015 – including research that can increase their virulence by combining snippets from different strains. 

Some viruses were injected into special ‘humanised’ mice that had been created for use in labs with human genes, cells or tissues in their bodies.

These controversial experiments artificially force the evolution of viruses so as to boost our understanding of diseases and their transmissibility. 

They help researchers develop new drugs and vaccines.

The Wuhan scientists were working with prominent Western experts and supported financially by the National Institutes of Health, the most important US funding body – although this relationship was ended on safety grounds after being revealed by The Mail on Sunday.

Some scientists argue this type of pathogen research is too risky since it could trigger a pandemic from a new disease. 

As a result, there was a moratorium on such work by the US for four years under the Obama administration.

Other critics have warned that the Wuhan Institute was constructing ‘chimeric’ coronaviruses – new hybrid micro-organisms that show no sign of human manipulation.

Now the big question is whether they took samples from the coronavirus that killed the Yunnan miners and, back in their laboratory more than 1,000 miles away, created a new virus that somehow leaked out into their own city.

Leaked diplomatic cables reveal that US officials who visited the lab two years ago warned about safety weaknesses and the risks of a new Sars-like epidemic emerging from the site

Leaked diplomatic cables reveal that US officials who visited the lab two years ago warned about safety weaknesses and the risks of a new Sars-like epidemic emerging from the site

As leading experts have suggested, it would have been a logical step to create chimeric viruses by combining properties from different samples. 

Many scientific breakthroughs have emerged from such speculative endeavours. 

One medical professor suggested to me that the miners may have died after being exposed to very high doses of coronaviruses while working in deep shafts filled with bats and their droppings. 

But the Wuhan scientists then struggled to prove causality in their lab as their samples were too weak to infect human cells.

‘This would have stopped them publishing a major finding of a new Sars-like virus infecting humans. 

The possibility is they might then have tried modifying the virus to make it better able to infect human cells in a bid to establish the missing link.’ 

This is, it must be stressed, unproven speculation. 

And it is understandable why China wants to comprehend as much as possible about bat viruses that emerge in their country.

Yet as experts say, there are many unanswered questions centring on Beijing’s reluctance to come clean about the miners’ cases, viruses and samples held in their labs. 

The Wuhan Institute has even taken key databases offline.

Key to all this is the enigmatic Batwoman, Prof Shi. First, she published a genetic sequence for Sars-Cov-2 – the strain of coronavirus that causes Covid-19 – which, despite close analysis of other novel features, ignored its most surprising characteristic. 

This is ‘the furin cleavage site’, a mutation not found on similar types of coronavirus that allows its spike protein to bind so effectively to many human cells.

The lab's own safety chief also publicly admitted concerns over flawed security systems

The lab’s own safety chief also publicly admitted concerns over flawed security systems

Then, last January, Prof Shi and two colleagues published a paper in Nature that revealed the existence of a virus called RaTG13 that was taken from a horseshoe bat and stored on their premises, the biggest repository of bat coronaviruses in Asia.

This paper, submitted on the same day China admitted to human transmission, caused a stir in the scientific world since it revealed the existence of the closest known relative to Sars-Cov-2 with more than 96 per cent genetic similarity.

It underlined that such diseases occur in nature – yet although closely related, it would have taken RaTG13 several decades to evolve in the wild into Sars-Cov-2 and was too distant to be manipulated in a laboratory.

Other experts wondered why there was so little information about this new strain. One reason soon became clear: the name had been changed from that of another virus called Ra4991 identified in a previous paper – but, unusually, not cited in the Nature piece.

This obscured a direct link to the dead miners, which was only confirmed when Nature sought publication of an ‘addendum’ following complaints. 

The Wuhan team also admitted it had eight more Sars viruses from the Yunnan mine that have not been disclosed.

Some scientists say these new details raise many fresh issues – including a 20-point critique put on her blog by an Indian microbiologist called Monali Rahalkar.

Many high-profile experts, however, still dismiss the idea of a lab leak as a conspiracy theory.

Yet David Relman, one of the world’s leading experts in this field, points out that scientists could easily have combined a ‘furin cleavage site’ from one viral ancestor with the backbone of Sars-Cov-2 taken from another.

‘Alternatively, the complete Sars-Cov-2 sequence could have been recovered from a bat sample and viable virus recreated from a synthetic genome to study it before that virus accidentally escaped,’ wrote Relman, professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University’s medical school, in a recent paper.

The former US government adviser on bio-security told me he raised the issues out of frustration with scientists who seemed discomforted by the idea. 

‘This perplexing story does not add up – the possibility of a lab accident cannot be discounted,’ he said.

There have also been questions over the apparent disappearance of a young woman researcher who worked in the laboratory. 

It has been suggested she might have been patient zero of this pandemic, although this has been denied by the Chinese authorities.

Even if the miners’ link was eliminated, it would not rule out the possibility of an accident causing this pandemic. 

Alina Chan, a molecular biologist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, said Wuhan scientists have shown in publications that they have sampled hundreds of bats and people living near bat caves in their search for Sars-related viruses.

‘Even if the precursor to Sars-Cov-2 was not from these miners or the Mojiang mine, did they find other viruses that are very closely related that we do not yet know about?’ she asked.

It sounds like the plot from a science-fiction film: an engineered virus leaking from a high-tech lab to cause global chaos. 

Yet there are plenty of precedents, including two researchers infected with Sars in a Beijing virology lab in 2004.

Studies also show accidents with deadly pathogens are common in labs where people are working with microscopic viruses.

Prof Shi admitted she never expected an outbreak in a city so far from the home of the bats she studied. 

She said her first thought on hearing coronaviruses might be the culprit was to wonder: ‘Could they have come from our lab?’

She then frantically rushed back to Wuhan to check her records for any possible mishandling of materials – which proves she believed such a leak was a possibility.

There is also another lab in Wuhan with a lower level of bio-security, 500 yards from the animal market. 

A study posted by two Chinese scientists in February on a site for sharing research – then pulled two days later – enigmatically claimed 605 bats were kept here, describing how some attacked, bled and urinated on a researcher. 

‘It is plausible that the virus leaked,’ the paper concluded.

Perhaps this theory will unravel as we find out fresh facts. 

Or scientists will uncover an alternative explanation for the path of Covid-19 from bats to humans. 

Equally, it is possible we may never discover the truth about the origins of this virus.

But at this stage the only certainty is that we all do science – and indeed, investigative reporting – a disservice if this idea is discarded without being properly disproved and devoid of evidence.

We owe this to a world dislocated so terribly by this pandemic.

Charles Tyrwhitt is scaling back shirt-making in China after customers complained about the government in Beijing 

By Harriet Dennys, City Correspondent for the Mail on Sunday 

British shirt-maker Charles Tyrwhitt is scaling back manufacturing in China after customers said they no longer wanted to buy products from the country.

Founder Nick Wheeler told The Mail on Sunday: ‘We are reacting to what the customer wants. 

‘A lot of customers are telling us they don’t want us to make shirts in China. They don’t like the Chinese government.’

As well as reducing the number of garments made in China, the company is ending contracts with cotton suppliers in Xinjiang province from July. 

Mr Wheeler also cited wider human rights issues for the move, saying: ‘There are areas of Chinese manufacturing using forced labour… it’s so far removed from anything we would ever do.’

British shirt-maker Charles Tyrwhitt is scaling back manufacturing in China after customers said they no longer wanted to buy products from the country. Founder Nick Wheeler told The Mail on Sunday: 'We are reacting to what the customer wants'

British shirt-maker Charles Tyrwhitt is scaling back manufacturing in China after customers said they no longer wanted to buy products from the country. Founder Nick Wheeler told The Mail on Sunday: ‘We are reacting to what the customer wants’

Charles Tyrwhitt is just one of dozens of multinationals scaling back manufacturing in China due to such concerns, coupled with steep tariffs on Chinese goods imported to the US.

A study by Swiss bank UBS last year found three in four US firms with factories in China are either moving or considering moving their operations to other countries, such as Vietnam. 

They include Nike and Apple, which could shift almost a third of its iPhone production out of China.

Relations between China and Australia are also deteriorating. Beijing has slapped tariffs on barley and wine and is disrupting imports of many other Australian goods.

Charles Tyrwhitt makes all of its shirts overseas – it has factories in Vietnam, India, Malaysia, Italy, Portugal and Eastern Europe.

In the UK, the company makes shoes in Northampton, ties in Essex and suit fabric in Yorkshire.

Mr Wheeler said customers have asked him to make shirts in the UK, but he said higher manufacturing costs would mean he would have to more than quadruple prices, charging about £140 a shirt.