Tuesday, September 23, 2003


Two stories in this weeks Science magazine (19 Sep 2003) suggested a worrisome trend.

Article 1:The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers has withdrawn some key membership privileges from engineers in Iran, Cuba, Iraq, Libya, and Sudan as a result of because the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control’s position (or the lack of clarity of its position) about the permissible roles of people from these countries in S&T professional societies. While this is the only professional society I know of to have taken this step, it is important because the IEEE alone publishes some 30 percent of world literature in its field. 1,700 engineers are affected directly in Iran, and I assume many more are affected indirectly.

Article 2: Myanmar (Burma) has a serious HIV/AIDS problem (perhaps 500,000 to 700,000 adults infected), and its government is probably not taking sufficiently forceful steps to control the epidemic. The U.S. Center for Disease Control, CDC, sent a team in 2002 to assess the situation, with the approval of the U.S. and Myanmar governments, as well as with the support of the Myanmar opposition. The team issued a report seriously critical of the situation, and proposed a collaborative program to help non-governmental organizations improve their services. The report was accepted by the Government of Myanmar, but the effort was stopped by higher-ups in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (If there is one place politics should stop, it is in collaboration to help limit the AIDS epidemic, and especially in this part of Asia.)

And from Yahoo:

U.S. to Sharply Cut Number of High-Tech Visas
Lead: “The United States is about to cut the number of employment visas it offers to highly qualified foreign workers from 195,000 to 65,000, immigration experts said on Monday.” By Alan Elsner, Yahoo News/Reuters, Sep 22, 2003.

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