Wed, Jan 31, 2018 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take



Genome mapping made easy

Scientists have assembled the most complete human genome to be mapped with a single technology using a new pocket-size portable DNA sequencer, which they say could one day make genome mapping quick and simple enough to do at home. Using a device about the size of a mobile phone and called a MinION, made by Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd, researchers from the UK, the US and Canada said they were able to sequence much longer strands of DNA than previously, making the process cheaper and swifter. Understanding and interpreting the human genome is a cornerstone of modern medicine, offering a wealth of information about a person’s inherited genetics risks, the antibodies they have, or how their diseases — such as cancer — have developed.


State-built network opposed

Telecom regulators and industry groups on Monday voiced opposition to a government-built wireless network that President Donald Trump’s administration is reportedly considering. The news Web site Axios on Sunday reported that national security officials might want a government-built next-generation “5G” mobile network because of concerns about China and cybersecurity. A White House spokesman referred inquiries to the National Security Council, which did not immediately respond to questions. The telecom industry, which is powerful in Washington, is already working on 5G, which heralds better Internet on smartphones as well as potential applications for self-driving cars and other new technology. The new standard is already being tested and could be widely available by 2020.


NAFTA talks inch ahead

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Monday said talks to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are progressing very slowly. Lighthizer said the US views NAFTA as a “very important agreement” and said the sixth round of talks between Canada, the US and Mexico, which concluded on Monday, were a “step forward.” “Some real headway was made here,” Lighthizer said. “We’re committed to moving forward.” President Donald Trump called NAFTA a job-killing “disaster” on the campaign trail and has threatened to withdraw from the 24-year-old pact if he cannot get what he wants. However, Lighthizer called the idea “vague.” “We find that the automobile rules of origin idea that was presented, when analyzed, may lead to less regional content than we have now, fewer jobs in the United States, Canada and likely Mexico,” he said. Lighthizer said the Trump administration’s goal coming out of the negotiations is to boost the number of manufacturing jobs in the US, either by encouraging new investment or by bringing back jobs that had moved to Mexico.


Facebook to shift focus

Facebook on Monday said it has decided to deliver more local news to US users, in its latest effort to manage the flow of information on the enormously-influential social network. Earlier this month, Facebook announced it would ask its 2 billion users to rank their trust in news sources as part of an effort to combat the spread of misinformation. The changes come as the social network seeks to address charges that it has failed — along with Google and Twitter — to prevent the spread of false news, especially ahead of the 2016 US presidential election.


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