Jun 14, 2019

U.S. targeting Chinese cancer researchers

The Trump administration's "economic cold war" with China has spread to the search for cancer cures, as the administration tries to rid U.S. research institutions of Chinese influence, Bloomberg reports.

The impact: "Chinese people in America, including U.S. citizens, are now targeted for FBI surveillance," Bloomberg's Peter Waldman writes.

What it means: "The aim is to stanch China's well-documented and costly theft of U.S. innovation and know-how. The collateral effect, however, is to stymie basic science, the foundational research that underlies new medical treatments," Waldman adds.

Details: Cancer researcher Xifeng Wu, an American citizen, resigned in January from a top position at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, after a months-long investigation into her professional ties to China.

  • The investigation was led by the National Institutes of Health and the FBI. Three other Chinese-American scientists also recently left MD Anderson.
  • An NIH official said Wu and 4 other scientists had violated confidentiality requirements and didn't disclose paid work in China.

Yes, but: Cancer research has become increasingly globalized, and U.S.-China collaborations have produced meaningful work.

  • "Ways of working that have long been encouraged by the NIH and many research institutions ... are now quasi-criminalized," Waldman writes.

What they're saying: "Even something that is in the fundamental research space, that’s absolutely not classified, has an intrinsic value," Lawrence Tabak, principal deputy director of the NIH, told Bloomberg.

  • "This pre-patented material is the antecedent to creating intellectual property. In essence, what you’re doing is stealing other people's ideas."

Go deeper: For Trump, 2020 is a China trade war election

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Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucus

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders waves to supporters at a campaign rally on Friday in Las Vegas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is projected to handily win the Nevada Democratic primary caucus, becoming the clear frontrunner among 2020 Democratic presidential primary election candidates.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state with a diverse population to hold a nominating contest, highlighting candidates' abilities to connect with voters of color — particularly Latino voters.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting these are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the United States.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel and Lebanon, while Iran reported its sixth death from the virus. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 Friday to 433 on Saturday and Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 by Saturday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health

America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.