An international team wants to closely watch how future technologies could make the world’s deadliest poisons easier to produce and harder to regulate.
It is still impossible to know how an array of emerging technologies — such as custom-built proteins and microscopic containers — will affect capabilities to manufacture and deliver lethal chemicals banned under international law, scientific advisers to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said in a new assessment.
International authorities should continue monitoring the potential of biotechnology to affect enforcement of the Chemical Weapons Convention, even though developments relevant to the production of banned chemical agents “are currently limited,” says the final report by a working group of the OPCW Scientific Advisory Board.
Despite the field’s present limitations, “biomediated processes might still be effective for producing weaponizable quantities of toxins that are lethal,” the report warns. “New production processes, combined with developments in drug discovery and delivery, could be exploited in the development of new toxic chemicals that could be used as weapons.”
The panel added that the agency’s mandate hems in its enforcement authority, potentially complicating any global effort to oversee biological innovations that fall in a gray area of international law.
The Chemical Weapons Convention may not require member nations to report “many facilities taking advantage of biologically mediated production processes,” the advisory panel said in its report. The group added that the treaty exempts numerous activities that “may be scientifically justified” for peaceful purposes, such as producing biofuel or alcoholic drinks.
The report also calls for routine consultations with officials responsible for overseeing a separate international ban on biological arms. OPCW Director General Ahmet Üzümcü three years ago directed his agency’s scientific advisers to consider how the organization’s enforcement tasks may be affected by the ongoing “convergence” of chemical and biological sciences.
The panel advised Üzümcü to discuss convergence issues with overseers of the Biological Weapons Convention.
- 1 The Trump-Clinton Race Is Not As Close As It Looks
- 2 How Politics Breaks Our Brains, and How We Can Put Them Back Together
- 3 To Remain Relevant, Rubio Needs to Stay in the Senate
- 4 Air Force Leader: It Was Difficult to Work at the Pentagon With ‘Discrimination’ Against Gays
- 5 How Tech Is Getting College Students to Turn Out for Election Day
What We're Following See More »
Former Attorney General Eric Holder said that NSA leaker Edward Snowden "actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made" by releasing information about government surveillance. Holder, a guest on David Axelrod's "Axe Files" podcast, also said Snowden endangered American interests and should face consequences for his actions.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, needing an improbable comeback to take the nomination from Hillary Clinton, showed up to the Warriors' Game 7 in Oakland during a break in California campaigning. "Let's turn this thing around," he told the San Francisco Chronicle's Joe Garofoli.
Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”
"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.
"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."