Kash­miri sci­en­tists clone rare cash­mere goat

The Washington Times Daily - - World -

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.

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