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Embryonic Stem Cell Advocates Push Against Evidence and Ethics

first_imgAn old preacher said, “It’s never right to do wrong to get a chance to do right.”  That sums up in simple terms the ethical problems of using embryonic stem cells to cure human diseases, apparent in this quote from PhysOrg:The potent but hotly debated cells can transform into nearly any cell in the human body, opening a path toward eliminating such ills as Parkinson’s disease, paralysis, diabetes, heart disease, and maybe even the ravages of aging.    And more human experiments are on the way as scientists refine new methods to get around the controversy that surrounds embryonic stem cell research, which has generated controversy because it involves the destruction of early human life.But did that ethical quandary, and the lack of any cures (“opening a path toward…”) cause the reporter to call for a stop to the research?  Not in the slightest.  The article was upbeat and positive about companies charging ahead into the ethical minefield.  It quoted Bob Lanza, chief scientist at Advanced Cell Technology, in a positive light: “After a decade of intense controversy, the field is finally ready to start proving itself and to actually start helping patients suffering from a range of horrific diseases.”  ACT is getting ready to start a treatment for blindness, while Geron Corporation is going to try ES cells on spinal cord injuries.    “The major concern with stem cell therapies is that the transforming cells could form tumors.”  That relegates the issue of killing human embryos to a minor concern.  Surprisingly, the article continued by reporting on remarkable new advances with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) that have no ethical issues.  Apparently, however, the ES trials will go marching on anyway.  Science Daily, meanwhile, reported on both ES and iPS cells, not even mentioning the controversies with the former.    On Christmas Eve in Science,1 Greg Miller published a disturbing article about California’s Proposition 71 (2004) that authorized $3 billion in taxpayer funds to promote research on embryonic stem cells.  In “CIRM, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” Miller described how the proposition was the brainchild of Robert Klein, who spearheaded the initiative and then became director of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) that resulted.  Earlier in the month, Nature News profiled Klein as a string-pulling millionaire lawyer who pretty much bilked California voters, against the outcries of political and religious leaders, to fund ES cells because he was concerned about his son’s diabetes and thought they might provide a cure.  Six years later, the voters have little return on investment with another 2/3 of the approved funds still to be spent by a bankrupt state government.Klein’s critics say his promotion of stem cells’ therapeutic promise was zealous and oversimplified.  He “left voters with the impression that people will be jumping out of their wheelchairs and not being diabetic within a year”, says John Simpson, a long-time observer and critic of the agency’s governance, who is at the consumer-advocacy group Consumer Watchdog based in Santa Monica, California.  “There’s been this constant compulsion for [Klein] to say, ‘See, we’re delivering, we’re delivering’, and that’s something that’s haunted him throughout the whole thing.”Describing Klein’s tactics to sell the initiative, reporter Elie Dolgin wrote, “Klein teamed up with several other affluent and politically savvy parents of diabetic children – including movie director Jerry Zucker and his wife Janet, and home developer Tom Coleman and his wife Polly – and the ‘three families’, as they called themselves, together with political consultants and lawyers, devised a ballot initiative that would ask California taxpayers to support stem-cell science to the tune of around $300 million per year for ten years.”  Dolgin continued, describing the “star-studded campaign endorsed by the likes of Brad Pitt, Christopher Reeve, Michael J. Fox and state governor Arnold Schwarzenegger” that pulled on public heartstrings to get the vote.  Klein, a rich lawyer with experience as a financier, wrote the job description for the director of the institute to match his own qualifications (“Scientific expertise is not a requirement,” Dolgin noted), raising concerns when he took the lead.  He is still serving after his six-year term expired.    “Controversy is nothing new for CIRM,” Miller said in his Science article as he described conflicts of interest, infighting, and “fundamentally flawed” selection of leaders that led one former insider to call it the “CIRM circus”.  Miller wrote, “Watchdog groups have blasted the institute about what they see as exorbitant staff salaries and conflicts of interest on the board.  And patient advocates are tired of waiting for the stem cell cures they feel they were promised during the campaign.”    In an article devoid of any news about actual cures or progress, Miller quoted a stem cell researcher in Michigan saying,“The ‘yes’ vote on Prop. 71 changed the world.  Prior to that, the conversation in most states was, ‘Should we allow embryonic stem cell research?’” Morrison says.  “But once California put that stake in the ground, the conversation shifted to, ‘How do we keep up with California?’”Meanwhile, researchers are giddy over the taxpayer-funded windfall: “I just moved into a spectacular new building,” one researcher gloated, apparently unconcerned about the embryos whose brief lives will be snuffed out inside.1.  Greg Miller, “Regenerative Medicine: CIRM: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” Science, 24 December 2010: Vol. 330 no. 6012 pp. 1742-1743, DOI: 10.1126/science.330.6012.1742.Scientists are sinners, too.  We all need repentance and redemption.  That’s what regenerative medicine should be about.(Visited 22 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

ED arrests Moin Qureshi in money laundering case

first_imgThe Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested meat exporter Moin Akhtar Qureshi, a childhood friend of former CBI Director A.P. Singh, on money-laundering charges in a case registered against them by the Central Bureau of Investigation.The CBI has accused Qureshi of accepting money from several people for getting them favours from public servants and politicians holding key posts in the government.“During investigation, certain facts have emerged which constitute omission and commission on the part of certain public servants holding high positions in collusion with Qureshi. Huge amount of illegal money was found to have been transacted,” said the ED.Qureshi extorted crores from a Hyderabad businessman for the help provided. He was also found involved in ‘hawala’ transactions through Delhi-based operators for money transfers to Dubai and then to Paris, London, the U.S., Hong Kong, Italy and Switzerland.Messages collected from the Income Tax Department revealed that Qureshi had taken a huge amount of money from different persons for obtaining undue favours. The messages were exchanged between him, the accused in other criminal cases, and also the persons who wanted to seek undue favours from the other investigating agencies, the ED alleged. “This way, he obtained huge amount of money in the name of government servants and political persons holding public office. The said public servants illegally got the money for themselves or through their kin,” it said.An analysis of the messages retrieved from the mobile phones of Qureshi and his associates revealed that ‘hawala’ operators were allegedly used to transfer bribe money to different foreign locations, like France and the United Kingdom.The agency said that from the premises of another ‘hawala’ operator in South Delhi, huge amounts of unaccounted cash were seized in the same case.The ED is also probing the alleged foreign exchange rule violations by Qureshi, whom it has questioned multiple times in the past. In all, two cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act have been registered against him. He is already being investigated by the Income Tax Department under the new Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act.PTI adds..Mr. Qureshi has been questioned multiple times in the past by the agency, after it registered two FIRs under the PMLA. In the latest FIR against him this year, Mr. Singh has also been named.The earlier PMLA case against Mr. Qureshi was booked by the ED in 2015, based on an Income Tax prosecution complaint.The meat exporter is also facing probes by the I-T department and the CBI for alleged tax evasion, money laundering and corruption among others.The I-T Department is probing Mr. Qureshi under the new Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 as probe led it to few foreign assets owned or held by the meat exporter and his family in an alleged illegal manner as they were not declared or reported to Indian tax authorities.The case emerged after the tax department first carried out searches against Mr. Qureshi and his firm in February 2014.last_img read more

World Cup 2018: Neymar, Coutinho script Brazil’s 2-0 win over Costa Rica

first_imgPhilippe Coutinho and Neymar scored two extra-time goals to give Brazil a 2-0 victory over Costa Rica at the St. Petersburg Stadium on Friday.Coutinho scored in the 91st minute as he stabbed home from barely six metres to the goal and then Neymar followed it up with a volley six minutes later to seal the deal and help Brazil go on top of Group E with 4 points.It was tragedy for Costa Rica, ranked 23rd in the world. They had held the five-time champions 0-0 when six minutes were added at the end of the 90th and were looking like getting away with a point. However, their resiliance broke and after conceding two goals in seven minutes, they are now knocked out of the World Cup.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGEBrazil were poor in the first half but pressed for goals in more urgent second period. However, they lacked poise in front of goal and Costa Rica keeper Keylor Navas was in fine form. Neymar thought he had a penalty with 13 minutes remaining when the referee awarded a spot-kick, then changed his decision after a video assistant referee (VAR) review and adjudging he dived.#Scenes for Brazil in injury time today… #BRACRC pic.twitter.com/yBU54UK75SFIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 22, 2018Neither team was flamboyant. Brazil made several more attempts and had more shots at goal than Costa Rica but at the end, only a last-minute goal helped the world number two come out with three points.advertisementEarlier, Gabriel Jesus had the ball in the net after 26 minutes but it was correctly ruled out for offside. Both Philippe Coutinho and Marcelo had long-range shots that whizzed off target, while Celso Borges shot wide from eight metres out for Costa Rica in what was perhaps the best chance of the game.Before the match, coach Oscar Ramirez had declared that Costa Rica had a strategy in place to stop Neymar from wrecking havoc against them. But he also promised his men not attempt to foul Neymar out of the game.Neymar became the most fouled player in the World Cup in the last 20 years during Brazil’s 1-1 draw against Switzerland. After that match, Neymar had trouble training and even had a sore ankle but brushed aside concerns over his match fitness.During the 2014 World Cup, Neymar’s tournament ended prematurely when Colombia’s Zuniga fouled him such that the Brazilian superstar fractured a vertebra.last_img read more

Minister Grange Commends Sponsors of Labour Day Projects

first_img Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, is praising the various individuals and organisations that have come forward to lend their support to this year’s Workers’ Week and Labour Day activities.Labour Day is being observed on Wednesday, May 23 under the theme ‘Ramp it up…Fix it up’.Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank, Ms. Grange highlighted the various partners, including the National Health Fund (NHF), National Education Trust (NET), Digicel, Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) and Berger Paints Limited.She noted that the NHF has already committed $2.5 million towards the scope of works at the Cumberland Road Health Centre in St. Catherine, and additional funds will come from the Ministry of Health.Digicel has donated some $1 million towards the Ramps in Schools Project, which involves the construction of wheelchair ramps at public schools to facilitate greater access by persons with disabilities.“A number of companies have reached out to us, and we will be better able to say, at the end of the celebrations, the monetary contributions that we have received,” Ms. Grange indicated.At the same time, she is appealing for more companies to come on board.“We are in discussion with other public-sector entities who have indicated that they want to come on board, and as soon as we finalise those arrangements, we will be making the announcement,” she said.Meanwhile, the Minister urged Jamaicans to volunteer their time and resources towards the beautification of their communities and the national projects at the Cumberland Road Health Centre and the St Ann’s Bay Infant School in St Ann.“Labour Day and Worker’s week is about volunteerism,” she added.The Minister also thanked the many volunteers who, over the years “have put their heart and soul into making Labour Day and Workers’ Week a success”. Story Highlights Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, is praising the various individuals and organisations that have come forward to lend their support to this year’s Workers’ Week and Labour Day activities. Labour Day is being observed on Wednesday, May 23 under the theme ‘Ramp it up…Fix it up’. Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank, Ms. Grange highlighted the various partners, including the National Health Fund (NHF), National Education Trust (NET), Digicel, Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) and Berger Paints Limited. last_img read more