Quotes of the Day from Xinhua World News, Feb. 23

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SYDNEY -- It is "extremely unlikely" that SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, escaped from a lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan, a member of a World Health Organization (WHO) expert team sent to China on a COVID-19 origin-tracing mission said on Monday.

"The most politically sensitive option we looked at was the virus escaping from a laboratory," said Professor Dominic Dwyer from University of Sydney in an article on The Conversation, a publisher of research-based news and analysis. "We concluded this was extremely unlikely."

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COPENHAGEN -- A Danish professor on a World Health Organization team on the COVID-19 origin-tracing mission in Wuhan has criticized Western media outlets for distorting information about cooperation with Chinese authorities, local news reported Monday.

"There was a lot of data ready when we arrived," Thea Kolsen Fischer, professor of virus epidemics and infections at the University of Copenhagen, said in an interview published by the Danish newspaper Politiken.

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GENEVA -- The Chinese mission to the United Nations (UN) at Geneva on Monday refuted the erroneous remarks related to China by British Foreign Secretary at the 46th regular session of the Human Rights Council, which kicked off Monday and is expected to last until March 23.

Chinese Mission Spokesperson Liu Yuyin said in a press release that human rights should not be used to serve political ends, still less a tool to smear other countries and contain their development.

"The Human Rights Council has no place for lies and deception," Liu said.

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WASHINGTON -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned on Monday that Bitcoin is a highly speculative asset and extremely inefficient for conducting transactions.

"It is a highly speculative asset and you know I think people should be aware it can be extremely volatile and I do worry about potential losses that investors can suffer," Yellen, a former chair of the Federal Reserve, said at a New York Times DealBook conference.

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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House Budget Committee on Monday voted to move forward President Joe Biden's 1.9-trillion-U.S.-dollar COVID-19 relief package, setting up a vote in the full House later this week.

The House panel approved the relief package, also known as the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, by a vote of 19-16 largely along party lines.

"We are in a race against time. Aggressive, bold action is needed before our nation is more deeply and permanently scarred by the human and economic costs of inaction," John Yarmuth, chairman of the House Budget Committee and a Democrat from Kentucky, said Monday before the vote. Enditem

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