Mutant mosquitoes: Malaysia release of genetically modified insects sparks fears of uncontrollable new species
Malaysia has released 6,000 genetically modified mosquitoes into a forest in the first experiment of its kind in Asia aimed at curbing dengue fever.
The field test is meant to pave the way for the official use of genetically engineered Aedes aegypti male mosquitoes to mate with females and produce offspring with shorter lives, thus curtailing the population.
Only female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes spread dengue fever, which killed 134 people in Malaysia last year.
However, the plan has sparked criticism by some Malaysian environmentalists, who fear it might have unforeseen consequences, such as the inadvertent creation of uncontrollable mutated mosquitoes.
Critics also say such plans could leave a vacuum in the ecosystem that is then filled by another insect species, potentially introducing new diseases.
A similar trial in the Cayman Islands last year – the first time genetically modified mosquitoes Read more…
The demonstrations led by opposition members and youth activists are a significant expansion of the unrest sparked by the Tunisian uprising, which also inspired Egypt’s largest protests in a generation. They pose a new threat to the stability of the Arab world’s most impoverished nation, which has become the focus of increased Western concern about a resurgent al-Qaida branch, a northern rebellion and a secessionist movement in the south.
Crowds in four parts of Sanaa have shut down streets and are chanting calls for an end to the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power for nearly 32 years.
“We will not accept anything less than the president leaving,” said independent parliamentarian Ahmed Hashid.
Opposition leaders called for more demonstrations on Friday.
“We’ll only be happy when we hear the words ‘I understand you’ from the president,” Hashid said, invoking a statement issued by Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali before he fled the country. Read more…
Trade between China and South Africa is gaining momentum and for those companies who may have ignored this growing trade relationship in the past, are now forced to recognize the potential for doing business with China.
According to The China Inc meets SA Inc Business Forum, not only is there room for growth in trade between South Africa and China, but China is viewing the well-developed infrastructure South Africa provides as the key to unlocking the gateway into the rest of Africa.
In 2009, China surpassed the United States, to become South Africa’s largest export destination, whith trade between China and South Africa reached USD 16 billion in 2009.
With the signing of various cooperation deals in August 2010, by President Zuma during his State visit to China, this figure is expected to grow as China looks to export raw materials to fuel its booming economy.
The recent deals signed by Zuma focus on the mineral resources sector, railway development, construction industry as well as the mining sector and finally power transmission and nuclear power.
So for South Africa, doing business with China is good business my china. Far better than doing business with the US and Europe who are only looking for new markets for their goods without offering the same for our goods. This attitude by the developed world, the US in particular, is the reason the Doha negotiations are still deadlocked since 2001.
Its objective is to lower trade barriers around the world, which allows countries to increase trade globally. Talks have stalled over a divide on major issues, such as agriculture, industrial tariffs and non-tariff barriers, services, and trade remedies. The most significant differences are between developed nations led by the European Union (EU), the United States (USA), and Japan and the major developing countries led and represented mainly by Brazil, China, India, South Korea, and South Africa. There is also considerable contention against and between the EU and the USA over their maintenance of agricultural subsidies—seen to operate effectively as trade barriers.
To think that it was the US that first proposed the removal of agricultural subsidies in the first place. Developing countries were first to foolishly remove the subsidies to their detriment.
So more trade between developing countries make better sense as they trade on an equal footing and there is very little chance of blackmail or brinksmanship.
Himalayan glaciers are actually advancing rather than retreating, claims the first major study since a controversial UN report said they would be melted within quarter of a century.
Researchers have discovered that contrary to popular belief half of the ice flows in the Karakoram range of the mountains are actually growing rather than shrinking.
The discovery adds a new twist to the row over whether global warming is causing the world’s highest mountain range to lose its ice cover.
It further challenges claims made in a 2007 report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that the glaciers would be gone by 2035.
Although the head of the panel Dr Rajendra Pachauri later admitted the claim was an error gleaned from unchecked research, he maintained that global warming was melting the glaciers at “a rapid rate”, threatening floods throughout north India.
The new study by scientists at the Universities of California and Potsdam has found that Read more…
Self-exiled opposition leader publishes manifesto for toppling Mubarak regime: “It is time for a change; the only option is a new beginning.”
“I am going back to Cairo, and back onto the streets because, really, there is no choice,” ElBaradei wrote. “So far, the regime does not seem to have gotten that message.”
“The Egyptian people broke the barrier of fear, and once that is broken, there is no stopping them,” he explained.
“Each day it gets harder to work with Mubarak’s government, even for a transition,” ElBaradei wrote. “He has been there 30 years, he is 83 years old, and it is time for a change…The only option is a new beginning.”
“I have hoped to find a way toward change through peaceful means,” he added. “In a country like Egypt, it’s not easy to get people to put down their names and government ID numbers on a document calling for fundamental democratic reforms, yet a million people have done just that.”
“The regime, like the monkey that sees nothing and hears nothing, simply ignored us,” ElBaradei explained.
ElBaradei also laments media censorship in Egypt, explaining that he has “been out of Egypt because that is the only way I can be heard. I have been totally cut off from the local media when I am there.” Read more…
Some ambitious apparatchiks in southern China want to combine 9 cities to create an urban area the size of New Jersey and Vermont combined.
The plan, announced in state media, would unite several existing cities in the prosperous Pearl River Delta region, including Guangzhou (12 million), Shenzhen (8.6 million), Dongguan (6.9 million) and six smaller cities. Together, these cities already account for about 10% of China’s economy, the Telegraph notes.
The Party’s planners hope improved transport links and better infrastructure be beneficial to the population and to greater economic efficiencies . Other areas in China are facing a similar gravitational pull to merge together, notably Beijing with its southern smaller twin Tianjin, already joined by a high speed train link.
Rich neighbors Hong Kong and Macau will not join the super sprawl, but it’s safe to assume that they’d like to have a say in larger regional themes, like pollution control.
The godzilla-like territory has yet to be named.