Hard Numbers: WHO-China COVID probe questioned, Russian spies in Italy, Honduran drug lord gets life in US, global forest destruction

Hard Numbers: WHO-China COVID probe questioned, Russian spies in Italy, Honduran drug lord gets life in US, global forest destruction

An illustration of COVID-10 created at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Reuters

14: Fourteen countries dispute the findings of the World Health Organization's latest report on the origins of COVID-19 in the Chinese city of Wuhan. A team of WHO experts has concluded that the virus was likely transmitted from bats to humans through another animal, but nations including the US, the UK, Denmark and Australia have taken issue with the fact that the report was jointly written with the Chinese.


2: Italy has expelled two Russian diplomats and arrested an Italian navy captain accused of delivering state secrets to Moscow in exchange for money. It's the latest episode in a series of recent Russian espionage scandals in EU countries, following similar cases in Bulgaria and the Netherlands.

138.5 million: A US federal judge sentenced Tony Hernández, a former Honduran lawmaker and brother of President Juan Orlando Hernández, to life in jail for drug trafficking, and ordered him to forfeit $138.5 million in frozen US assets. The prosecution named the Honduran president himself as a co-conspirator, though he has not been charged with a crime.

12: Tropical forest cover — crucial to maintaining biodiversity and offsetting global carbon emissions — declined by 12 percent globally last year compared to 2019, according to a new study by the World Resources Institute. The area of lost forest is roughly the size of Switzerland, and added twice as much carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in 2020 as US cars do annually.

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