Kashmiri scientists clone rare cashmere goat
A Cold War-era law that restricts trade with Russia is hurting American business and undermining support for pro-democracy groups, U.S. Ambassador Michael Mcfaul warned this week.
Mr. Mcfaul, who has been the envoy in Moscow since January, urged Congress to repeal the Jackson-vanik amendment, which was passed in 1974 to restrict U.S. trade with nations that prohibit free emigration.
The bill, sponsored by Democratic Sens. Henry M. Jackson of Washington and Charles A. Vanik of Ohio, was targeted at the Soviet Union for refusing to allow Jews to leave the country.
“We don’t believe that holding onto Jackson-vanik advances the cause of democracy, or human rights, for that matter, in Russia,” Mr. Mcfaul told the Peterson Institute for International Economics during a Washington visit.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, U.S. presidents have regularly waived the amendment, but it still prevents the United States from adopting full trade relations with Russia.
A group of 150 businesses this week also urged Congress to repeal the amendment.
“Russia is an important part of U.S. business’ global strategy to create and sustain jobs at home by enhancing our long-term competitiveness abroad,” the Coalition for U.s.-russia Trade said.
The group noted that Russia is the world’s 11th-largest market and that U.S. companies are at a competitive disadvantage because of Jackson-vanik.
The coalition includes major companies such as Bank of America Corp., the Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and the Walt Disney Co.
SRINAGAR | Scientists said Thursday they have cloned a rare Himalayan goat in Indian-controlled Kashmir, hoping to help increase the number of animals famed for their silky soft undercoats used to make pashmina wool, or cashmere.
The March 9 birth of female kid “Noori,” which means “light” in Arabic, could spark breeding programs across the region and mass production of the high-priced wool, said lead project scientist Dr. Riaz Ahmad Shah, a veterinarian in the animal biotechnology center of Sher-i-kashmir University.
Cashmere wool, particularly made into shawls, is a major source of income for Kashmir, generating about $80 million a year for the Indiancontrolled portion of the disputed mountain state.
A shawl can cost $200 in Kashmir and much more when sold abroad — a boon given the average salary of $800 a year for Kashmir’s 10.2 million people.
Cashmere goats — which take their name from the Kashmir region but include a number of breeds that produce the soft wool — traditionally are herded in small numbers across the Himalayas and the Tibetan plateau in cold and remote mountain areas.