U.K. Parliament approves controversial three-parent mitochondrial gene therapy | Science/AAAS | News

The technique, called mitochondrial DNA replacement therapy, could allow women who carry disease-causing mutations in their mitochondrial genes to give birth to genetically related children free of mitochondrial disease.

The measure, which passed 382 to 128, has been controversial, especially because it would alter the DNA of an embryo in a way that could be passed on to future generations. Some scientists and nongovernmental organizations have argued that not enough is known about possible side effects of the technique to go forward in human…

via U.K. Parliament approves controversial three-parent mitochondrial gene therapy | Science/AAAS | News.


Tax man’s gloomy message: the rich will get richer

For decades, experts have assumed that as capitalist economies grow, they reduce the income gap between rich and poor. That view has dominated academic thinking for 6 decades—but it’s a “fairy tale,” claims French economist Thomas Piketty. A group of researchers led by Piketty has put together a unique resource on income flows in more than 20 nations, called the World Top Incomes Database. Piketty says it demonstrates that over the long term, owners of capital inevitably acquire an outsize share of national income and wealth.
by Eliot Marshall

Tax man’s gloomy message: the rich will get richer

Is it true that Putin wants peace in Ukraine, and America prefers one at war?

“Russia would prefer to see Ukraine united, federal, peaceful and prosperous…

I had a meeting with a well-informed and highly-placed Russian source who shared with me, for your benefit, some inner thoughts on condition of his anonymity. Though the West is certain that Putin wants to restore the Soviet Union, actually the Russian president did everything he could to save the Ukraine from disintegration, said the source. That’s what Russia did in order to bring peace to Ukraine:

  • Russia supported the West-brokered agreement of February 21, 2014, but the US still pushed for the next day (February 22) coup, or “had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine” , inObama’s words.

  • After the coup, the South-East Ukraine did not submit to the new Kiev regime and seceded. Still, Moscow asked the Donbass rebels to refrain from carrying out their May referendum. (They disregarded Putin’s appeal).

  • Moscow recognised the results of sham May elections carried out by Kiev regime after the coup, and recognised Poroshenko as the president of the whole Ukraine – though there were no elections in the South East and opposition parties were banned from participating.

  • Moscow did not officially recognise the results of November elections in Donbass, to the chagrin of many Russian natoinalists.

These steps were quite unpopular in Russian society, but Putin made them to promote a peaceful solution for Ukraine. Some warlike Donbass leaders were convinced to retire. In vain: Putin’s actions and intentions were disregarded by the US and EC. They encouraged the ‘war part‎y’ in Kiev. “They never found a fault with Kiev, whatever they do”, said the source.

Peace in Ukraine can be reached through federalisation, my source told me. That’s why two most important parameters of Minsk accords (between Kiev and Donetsk) were those we never hear about: constitutional and socio-economic reforms. Russia wants to secure territorial integrity of the Ukraine (minus Crimea) but it can be achieved only through federalisation of Ukraine with a degree of autonomy being given to its regions. Its west and east speak different languages, worship different heroes, have different aspirations. They could manage together, just, if the Ukraine were a federal state, like the US or Switzerland or India.

In Minsk, the sides agreed to establish a joint commission for constitutional reforms, but Kiev regime reneged on it. Instead, they created a small and secretive constitutional committee of the Rada (Parliament). This was condemned by the Venice Commission, a European advisory body on constitutional matters. Donetsk people wouldn’t accept it, either, and it is not what was agreed upon in Minsk.”

Read more at:

Putin Prefers a Bad Peace in Ukraine – The Unz Review.


Update about the Fire that devastated Russian Academy library | Science/AAAS | News

*Update, 3 February, 11:05 a.m.: This article has been updated to clarify RAS President Vladimir Fortov’s assessment of the damage:

“About 20% of the unique scientific works that were kept in hard copies have been lost forever,” says RAS President Vladimir Fortov. Privately, library staff told ScienceInsider that they believe the damage is much more serious. Documents that escaped burning have probably been damaged by water. Firefighters stated that they did all they could to protect the documents from water.

“It is a huge loss for science in Russia. It is one of the biggest depositories of its kind in the world, probably as important for Russian science as the Library of Congress is for Americans. It has documents which it is impossible to find anywhere else,” Pivovarov says.

The fire may also affect some European humanities research. The library building hosted the German Historical Institute Moscow. “The destruction of the institute brings serious loss to German-Russian scientific relationship and links,” Gleb Albert, a German historian from the University of Zurich in Switzerland, told the Russian online newspaper Gazeta.ru.
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