Stem Cell Headlines

first_img1Quesenberry et al., “Ignoratio Elenchi: Red Herrings in Stem Cell Research,” Science, Vol 308, Issue 5725, 1121-1122, 20 May 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1104432].2Gretchen Vogel, “Korean Team Speeds Up Creation Of Cloned Human Stem Cells,” Science, Vol 308, Issue 5725, 1096-1097, 20 May 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.308.5725.1096].3Magnus and Cho, “Issues in Oocyte Donation for Stem Cell Research,” Science, published online 19 May 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1114454].4Erika Check, “Korea’s accelerating stem-cell work prompts calls for global ethical rules,” Nature 435, 393 (26 May 2005) | doi: 10.1038/435393a.Our 02/08/2005 commentary still stands, and now we are in the thick of the ethical morass we knew was coming.  Bioethical voices seem powerless over the lure of money and prestige.  Erika Check quoted Caplan describing ethicists as standing on the sidelines and pouting, “you can’t do this.”  But would international controls help?  The U.N. with its Oil-for-Food scandal showed that international agencies are no guarantors of ethics: they can become the problem, not the solution.  Nor has the U.N. been willing or able to stop human rights violations in rogue nations like North Korea or Sudan.  It is doubtful an international science community would have any power over rogue nations and individuals now that stem cell research is hot.  We have seen that there are researchers within the civilized world with no qualms about trying anything that is possible, even putting human cells into rat brains (see 03/10/2005 entry).  In today’s amoral, selfish research culture, it seems as if the tables have turned: rat cells have invaded the human brain.(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Research on embryonic stem cells is proceeding apace without an ethical anchor, and no clue where it will lead.  News coverage of the debate accelerated with an announcement from South Korea.Match point:  The BBC News and many other news sources published South Korea’s announcement that stem cells matched to the individual have been tailored for the first time.First clone:  The BBC News also announced that the UK had made its first human cloned embryo for harvesting stem cells.  The article quotes a ProLife alliance representative appalled over this; “No matter how it is created,” Josephine Quintavalle said, “a human embryo’s destiny should be to live and not to be turned into human stem cells.”  She also protested the “unsafe and inefficient” practice, and how it might subject women to dangerous fertility drugs in order to collect sufficient eggs.  Proponents agree that embryonic stem cell therapies only exist in theory; one professor said, “We are talking about several years before we are talking about a cell-based therapy that can go back into the patient.”Contradictory results:  Science last week1 tried to clarify contradictory lab results by explaining “red herrings in stem cell research.”  They identified eight factors influencing stem cell plasticity, especially injury to the cells during lab procedure.Korea and Ethics:  Gretchen Vogel in Science2 elaborated on South Korea’s widely-reported advance in the efficiency of deriving stem cells from cloned human embryos.  They got the success rate down from one in 200 to one in 20.  The improved skills of the Korean group nevertheless raise difficult ethical questions,” she says, referring to a Stanford bioethics statement in the same issue that warns, “research proceeds internationally, these issues must be adequately addressed for public confidence to be maintained.”3  Ethic problems include demand among scientists for fresh oocytes from young women, medical complications, long term complications, and chances that renegade doctors will attempt reproductive cloning.Presidential angst:  President Bush said he was “very concerned” about Korea’s rapid advances in stem cell research, and said he would veto any bill loosening restrictions on federal funding for it.  See report on MSNBC News.  Although the research is not “banned” in the United States, federal funding is restricted.  Bush said he worries about a “world in which cloning becomes accepted,” and does not believe taxpayer money should “promote science which destroys life in order to save life.”Political battle:  MSNBC also reported that a heated debate is brewing between Congress and the President over a bill proposed by a Republican from Delaware and a Democrat from Colorado to ease restrictions on federal funding of stem cell research.  Advocates are emphasizing promised cures “with emotional appeals from celebrity supporters as well as parents who ‘adopted’ their children as embryos,”  the article begins.  Supporters and opponents are deeply divided over whether the embryos are human beings.International tensions:  Nigel Williams in Current Biology4 surveys the international scene, particularly in Europe where the EU has member states that stand “poles apart” on the issue.  He contrasts Switzerland’s liberal policy with Italy’s stern opposition due largely to the Catholic church.International standards:  In Nature May 26,4 Erika Check suggested that nations need to pull together to decide what’s right.  Quoting Arthur Caplan, bioethicist at U. of Pennsylvania, “An international effort to coordinate stem-cell research would lend transparency to the field and ensure it proceeds in an ethical way.” Insufficient guidelines:  Nathaniel Nelson and Bert Thompson on Apologetics Press examined the NAS guidelines for embryonic stem cell research and found them “largely insufficient in dealing with the ethical stipulations” raised by the technology.last_img read more

SA, Iraq sign economic cooperation pact

first_img19 November 2012 Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and his Iraqi counterpart, Khairullah Hasan Babakr, have signed an agreement aimed at exploring the trade potential that exists in various sectors between South Africa and Iraq. The two signed the agreement on economic and technical cooperation in Cape Town on Thursday. Davies said trade between South Africa and Iraq was valued at R197-million last year, and that in 2007, South Africa had imported goods from Iraq totalling R1.7 billion. “Trading trends indicate that we are operating below potential, but they are improving,” Davies said. “We have exported a significant amount of value-added goods ranging from vehicles, helicopters and machinery to electrical equipment. There is also a potential for trade in citrus products, nuts and melons.” Davies said that as a first step to implementing the agreement, the Department of Trade and Industry would send a government-business delegation on an International Trade Initiative to Iraq next year. He said the department would further seek ways to help Iraqis with the challenge of obtaining South African visas, as there is no SA embassy in Iraq. Iraqi citizens currently have to get their visas in Jordan. Babakr said trade relations between South Africa and Iraq have generally been conducted through intermediaries, and it was envisaged that, with the signed agreement, a guideline to trade directly would be formulated. “Iraq is recovering from the devastation of war and has potential in various sectors, especially the infrastructure sector,” Babakr said. “We have moved from a controlled economy to a free market system and have also introduced new laws opening opportunities to foreign investors to invest in Iraq in different sectors, especially infrastructure.” Source: read more

Play Your Part ambassadors share the same vision with young people of Mpumalanga

first_imgPlay Your Part arrived at D.M. Motsoaseli High School to an audience of enthusiastic and motivated learners for its second leg of the in schools’ activation on Wednesday 30 May 2018.The Play Your Part activations are an opportunity for “a trade exchange between the learners and the Play Your Part ambassadors” as previously articulated by Brand South Africa’s General Manager of Marketing, Ms Sithembile Ntombela.With every activation that the Play Your Part programme will be done nationally, learners will engage not only with Play Your Part (PYP) ambassadors’ comedians Goliath and Goliath but also with other PYP ambassadors representing their specific province.The learners at D.M. Motsoaseli High School got their one-on-one with PYP ambassador Sandiso Sibisi and she shared her message and received insights from the learners; “My message to the learners at D.M. Motsoaseli High School was based on three principles of success that I use; firstly, work hard, it pays off secondly, knock on every door, leave no stone unturned and thirdly the dots always connect”, said PYP ambassador Ms Sandiso Sibisi from Accenture.Play Your Part encourages dialogue and sharing of ideas as this is a contributing factor to building a better future. “Engaging with young people is never an easy task but I believe the learners were inspired by my message, I believe some will dare try to play their part and make an impact in both their personal lives and the community they live in”, adds SibisiSandiso Sibisi has been a Play Your Part ambassador since 2015 and her work includes mentoring young women to be able to participate in the economy, through career development training. As well as working with Accenture and United Nations Development Programmes(UNDP) where she’s delivering projects that accelerate entrepreneurial growth in the continent.Sibisi said she was very impressed to hear that there are learners that are already playing their part in their community. “One of the learners sings to the sick, which I think is so endearing and another runs a soccer club for boys to keep themselves occupied and away from crime.”This very week, UNDP and Accenture launched a Pan-African portal-platform called YAS! The portal-platform provides; information, opportunities for funding and networking, a map of entrepreneurship eco-system players and sustainable development goal (SDG) challenges where young people can apply for grants. Youth must sign up at to take advantage of what YAS! has to offer and join the community of entrepreneurship in the African continent.“I encourage young people to take advantage of local support firstly when embarking on a community project, they need to make sure that all their classmates, family members, church and community leaders know about their project, and use these relationships to rally up support. It’s important to convince your close relationships first about your project or idea because they are your first customer, donor or beneficiary”, concludes Sibisi.Comedians Goliath and Goliath left the learners in stitches and most importantly with advice on which avenues to tap into in order to reach their full potential.Limpopo you are next on the 14 June 2018. Follow the conversation and for more information, @PlayYourPartSA  and  @Goliath_Goliath @sandisosibisi remember #PlayYourPart #GetInvolved.last_img read more

Nuclear build announcement ‘within two months’

first_img14 April 2014 The Department of Energy will make a definite announcement on South Africa’s nuclear build future within the next two months, Energy Minister Ben Martins told a business briefing in Pretoria on Monday. South Africa’s Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) for 2010 to 2030, a 20-year projection on electricity supply and demand, currently envisages 9 600 MW of additional nuclear capacity by 2030. The department is busy reviewing the plan. Koeberg remains South Africa’s only nuclear station. Martins said that, towards the end of last year, an inter-departmental team tasked with preparing for South Africa’s nuclear build programme had conducted study visits to a number of countries with expertise in the nuclear field, including the United States, Japan and Russia. The team comprises representatives from the Departments of Energy, Public Enterprises, National Treasury and other departments. The team had prepared a report which would be given to an inter-departmental committee chaired by President Jacob Zuma. “A definite announcement in regard to progress should be made in about two months’ time, maximum,” Martins said. The deputy director-general responsible for policy in the Department of Energy, Ompie Aphane, said that nuclear was at the core of the department’s planning process. “If one looks at the period between 2020 and 2030, one of the biggest challenges that we face is that we have to decommission some of the coal-fired power stations because … they are all coming to the end of [their life cycle] at the same time. “That’s where the 9600 MW of nuclear is predicated to be,” Aphane said. “We need to replace the coal in line with our objectives, in response to issues such as climate change.” On how a nuclear build would be funded, Aphane said the department had commissioned an independent study to look at various funding options and sources. Martins said the countries visited by the task team had all expressed their readiness to partner with South Africa on the skills needed for the nuclear build. “The study visits that we conducted we were in touch with a number of countries and tertiary institutions. They are all willing and ready to partner with South Africa. “In terms of skills training, there’s commitment,” Martins said. “What we’ve emphasised to all role players is that we are interested in localisation to ensure that a programme of that nature will result in the requisite industrialisation in South Africa. “What can be produced in South Africa should be produced in South Africa, and we’ve made emphasis on the aspect of skills training. There will be new disciplines and job opportunities.” Source: read more

Brand South Africa invites media to JCI Conference

first_imgJohannesburg, Wednesday 04 May 2016 – On the margins of the 2016 Junior Chamber International (JCI) Africa and Middle East Conference, Brand South Africa will host the ‘ Active Citizenship Workshop’ which seeks to explore ways on how young people can play their part to develop their communities as part of building vibrant competitive nations.Annually, the Conference unites at least 1000 young active citizen from more than 50 partner countries to participate in inspirational sessions, impactful workshops, official General Assembly  meetings and fun-filled events to share best practices, exchange ideas and determine the future of  the dynamic organisation.The ‘Active Citizenship Workshop’ which envisions youth as partners in progress for socio-economic development initiatives, will harness effective youth development practices to engage youth in the active roles they can partake in as part of social cohesion and active citizenship. Following the ‘Active Citizenship Workshop’ – Brand South Africa’s CEO, Mr Kingsley Makhubela will deliver a keynote address on Nation Branding. Refer to the below for details on times and the venues of the aforementioned events.Brand South Africa invites media to join us for the following engagements on 05 May 2016:Event 1: Brand South Africa hosts the Active Citizenship WorkshopDate: Thursday 5 May 2016Time: 10h00 – 13h00Venue: Sandton Convention Centre – Bill GallagherEvent 2: Brand South Africa’s CEO addresses the youth on how they can play their part in Nation Branding for competitivenessDate: Thursday 5 May 2016Time: 10h00 – 13h00Venue: Sandton Convention Centre – Bill GallagherRSVP for both events: Tsabeng Nthite on [email protected] or call on 076 371 6810.last_img read more