Trump Says Brexit Deal May Hamper US-British Trade; UK Differs
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday the agreement allowing the United Kingdom to leave the European Union may make trade between Washington and London more difficult, but the U.K. prime minister's office disputed his interpretation.
Trump told reporters outside the White House that the deal sounded like it would be good for the European Union, but "I think we have to take a look seriously whether or not the U.K. is allowed to trade.
"Because right now if you look at the deal, they may not be able to trade with us," he said. "And that wouldn't be a good thing. I don't think they meant that."
He said he hoped British Prime Minister Theresa May would be able to address the problem, but he did not specify which provision of the deal he was concerned about.
A spokeswoman for May's office said the agreement struck with the EU allowed the U.K. to sign trade deals with countries throughout the world, including with the United States.
"We have already been laying the groundwork for an ambitious agreement with the U.S. through our joint working groups, which have met five times so far," the spokeswoman said.
Under the deal secured with EU leaders on Sunday, the U.K. will leave the bloc in March with continued close trade ties. But the odds look stacked against May getting it approved by a divided British parliament.
China Orders Probe After Scientist Claims 1st Gene-Edited Babies
Chinese health and medical ethics authorities started an investigation on Monday into claims by a scientist who released videos on YouTube saying he had altered the genes of twins born earlier this month, creating the first gene edited babies.
The Southern University of Science and Technology in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, where the scientist, He Jiankui, holds an associate professorship, said it had been unaware of the research project and that He had been on leave without pay since February.
He Jiankui defended what he claimed to have achieved, saying he had performed the gene editing to help protect the babies from future infection with the AIDS virus.
But his university said it was a "serious violation of academic ethics and standards" and scientists around the world condemned it as monstrous and dangerous.
China's National Health Commission said it was "highly concerned" and had ordered provincial health officials "to immediately investigate and clarify the matter".
Shenzhen's medical ethics committee said it was investigating the case. The Guangdong provincial health commission was also looking into it, according to Southern Metropolis Daily, a state media outlet.
He said in five videos posted on Monday that he used a gene-editing technology known as CRISPR-Cas9 to edit the genes of twin girls. He said in one YouTube video that the editing process, which he called gene surgery, "worked safely as intended" and that the resulting twins were "as healthy as any other babies." It was impossible to verify the claims as He did not provide any written documentation of his research.
CRISPR-Cas9 is a technology that allows scientists to essentially cut-and-paste DNA, raising hope of genetic fixes for disease. However, there are also concerns about its safety and ethics.
China's Southern University of Science and Technology It said He is on unpaid leave until 2021.
In an earlier email to Reuters, He said that he planned to share data about the trial at a scientific forum this week. He said he planned for it to also go "through the peer review process, and through a pre-print soon." A pre-print is a publication of findings made before the research is published in a peer-reviewed journal.
In an earlier telephone interview and emails with Reuters, He said he was aiming to bestow on the gene edited babies "lifetime protection" against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
He said he began his work in the second half of 2017 and enrolled eight couples. All of the potential fathers involved were HIV-positive. Five chose to implant embryos, including the parents of the twin girls, identified only by the pseudonyms Mark and Grace. The babies' names are Lulu and Nana, He said in one video.