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Biden receives ‘inconclusive’ intelligence report on COVID-19 origins

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A classified US intelligence report delivered to President Joe Biden was inconclusive about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the widely-pushed theory that the virus jumped from animals to humans — due to a lack of information from China, where the deadly bug emerged in Wuhan.

The intelligence community was unable to reach a solid conclusion on whether the virus had jumped to humans via bats or escaped a research facility in the central China city, two US officials familiar with the matter told the Washington Post.

In May, the president ordered intelligence agencies to produce a report “that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion” on the origins of a pandemic that has killed more than 4 million people worldwide and wreaked havoc on national economies.

But after an exhaustive 90-day effort, intelligence officials fell short of a consensus, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the report is not yet public. They said parts of it could be declassified in the coming days.

When Biden ordered the probe, he said US intelligence agencies were divided over “two likely scenarios” — that the virus emanated from animals or a lab.

Joe Biden.
President Joe Biden had hoped that the probe would “bring us closer to a definitive conclusion.”
Chris Kleponis/CNP/MEGA

The commander-in-chief disclosed that two agencies leaned toward the theory that the bug emerged from human contact with an infected animal, while a third leaned toward the lab accident theory.

The Trump administration brought the lab-leak theory to the fore, after it was initially deemed “extremely unlikely” by the World Health Organization and panned widely in the mainstream media.

However, in a stunning reversal earlier this month, Dr. Peter Ben Embarek, who led a team of international scientists on a WHO-led mission to China in January, admitted he now considers the possibility a “probable hypothesis.”

Peter Ben Embarek of a World Health Organization team.
Dr. Peter Ben Embarek led a team of international scientists on a WHO-led mission to China in January.
Ng Han Guan/AP

Beijing has repeatedly denied the hypothesis — but refused to allow international investigators to conduct a more thorough probe.

Meanwhile, in June, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines warned that the agencies might not solve the mystery, according to the Washington Post.

“We’re hoping to find a smoking gun,” Haines told Yahoo News, but added that “it’s challenging to do that. It might happen, but it might not.”

Peter Ben Embarek, and other members of the World Health Organization.
Dr. Peter Ben Embarek said he considers the theory that COVID-19 leaked from the Wuhan lab a “probably hypothesis.”
Aly Song/REUTERS

Haines told the news outlet that the review involved dozens of analysts and intelligence officials in various agencies — and said she deployed “red cells,” or groups to make sure the intelligence would be studied from every angle.

Another official told the Washington Post that the intelligence community is “not necessarily best equipped to solve this problem,” which is essentially a science matter.

In July, Biden reportedly said during a visit to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, “You’re going to have to increase your ranks with people with significant scientific capacity relative to pathogens.”

The P4 laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Beijing has refused to allow international investigators to conduct a more thorough probe on the hypothesis that COVID-19 came from a lab in Wuhan.
Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images

David Relman, a Stanford University microbiologist who has called for a broad investigation of all hypotheses, told the Washington Post in an email: “We should not even be thinking about closing the book or backing off, but rather ratcheting up the effort.”

Proponents of the lab-leak theory point to classified information, first disclosed toward the end of the Trump administration, that three workers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology went to a hospital in November 2019 with flu-like symptoms.  

Opponents, however, argue that many scientists have noted that viruses have a long history of jumping from animals to people.

US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.
US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines warned that the agencies might find the answers to the origins of COVID-19 but they also may not.
Graeme Jennings/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The natural origin theory was bolstered in a June 7 report in the journal Nature that documented 38 species of animals sold in 17 markets in Wuhan before the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

“We now know for sure that [coronavirus] susceptible animals were in fact sold at the markets in Wuhan, which changes the calculus tremendously,” Robert Garry, a Tulane University microbiologist who strongly supports the zoonosis theory, told the Washington Post in an email.

On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the public would be told the report’s results.

“I don’t know what format that will take at this point in time,” she said.

With Post wires

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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