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World’s first gene-edited babies claimed in China and NASA’s Mars mission to land today

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China holds two American Children to catch a fugitive official under exit ban and yellow vest protesters clash with police in Paris.

Chinese researcher claims first gene-edited babies

A Chinese researcher has claimed that he helped make helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies, reports Associated Press.

Researcher He Jiankui said that he altered the DNA of twin girls with a new tool capable of rewriting the blueprint of life.

“I feel a strong responsibility that it’s not just to make a first, but also make it an example,” Jiankui said.

About the terms of allowing or forbidding such science, he said, “Society will decide what to do next.”

The researcher said he practiced altering mice, monkey and human embryos in his lab for several years and has applied for patents on his methods.

Gene editing is banned in the US because the DNA changes can pass to future generations and it risks harming other genes.

Dr. Eric Topol, chief of the Scripps Research Translational Institute of China, said, “This is far too premature. We’re dealing with the operating instructions of a human being. It’s a big deal.”

However, another geneticist George Church, defended attempting gene editing for HIV, which he called a major and growing public health threat.

NASA’s latest Mars mission InSight Lander to make landing today

NASA‘s latest Mars mission is set to arrive at the Red Planet Monday after a six-month cruise to explore the planet’s deep insides, reports Al Jazeera.

The InSight Lander — the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport — is scheduled to land at around 20:00 GMT and will be the first US robot to visit Mars since 2012.

Its landing won’t be quite as nail-biting as Curiosity’s, but it is still risky, the mission’s deputy lead, Sue Smrekar of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, tells ABC news.

NASA is said to do a live broadcast of the mission which will begin at 19:00 GMT Monday.

The robotic lander is NASA’s first craft dedicated to delve deep beneath Mars’ surface to study its interior. Few of the main instruments of the robotic lander includes a seismometer to track quakes and a thermometer to measure the planet’s interior temperature.

China holds two American children in exit ban

Chinese authorities have held two American children for months now to catch a fugitive official under a practice known as an exit ban, reports The New York Times.

Liu Changming, the father of the children and a former executive at a state-owned bank, is accused of being a central player in a $1.4-billion fraud case.

By holding the family hostage, the police are trying to force Changming to return to China to face criminal charges.

The Chinese foreign ministry defended the act saying, “The people you mentioned all own legal and valid identity documents as Chinese citizens. Because they are suspected of economic crimes, they are restricted from exiting the country by the Chinese police in accordance with the law.”

Senior US diplomats have denounced the way China uses exit bans, the latest flashpoint in the US-China relationship, as coercive, opaque and a violation of rights, says the report.

Yellow vest protesters clash with riot police on Champs Elysees

Thousands of yellow vest protestors took to the streets in France Saturday, leaving Paris’s famed Champs Elysees in chaos, reports Al Jazeera.

The yellow vest protest movement, named after the high-visibility jackets now required to be carried in any vehicle, began on 17 November to oppose rising fuel prices and taxes.

On Saturday, about 81,000 people were reported to have mobilised throughout the country, including 8,000 in Paris. Barricades were set on fire while security forces continuously attacked and shot tear gas at protesters.

The French Interior Ministry reported that at least eight people, including two police officers, were injured in Saturday’s violence.

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