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Legal Status at the Federal Level of Assisted Human Reproduction in Canada

May 19, 2015 Comments off

Legal Status at the Federal Level of Assisted Human Reproduction in Canada
Source: Library of Parliament

The world’s first “test-tube baby,” the result of fertilizing a human ovum in vitro and transferring the resulting embryo to a woman’s uterus, was born in England in 1978. This achievement followed decades of clinical and laboratory research. It also catalyzed interest in a new area of medical ethics as multiple technological advances, along with their implications for genetics, posed new ethical questions and responsibilities.

This paper provides an overview of the many steps that the Canadian federal government has taken to establish a legislative and regulatory framework for reproductive technologies and related research. This background includes a description of the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies, early attempts at legislation and a discussion of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, in force since 2004, including its list of prohibited activities. The constitutional challenge to the legislation that was brought by the Attorney General of Quebec and ultimately heard by the Supreme Court of Canada is reviewed. Finally, the federal government’s response to the Supreme Court decision in the form of amendments to the Act is summarized. This paper does not examine how activities related to assisted human reproduction may be regulated by the provinces.

Environmental Sustainability in the Hospitality Industry: Best Practices, Guest Participation, and Customer Satisfaction

May 18, 2015 Comments off

Environmental Sustainability in the Hospitality Industry: Best Practices, Guest Participation, and Customer Satisfaction
Source: Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, Center for Hospitality Research

Certain sustainability practices could be considered nearly universal in the lodging industry, based on a study of 100 resorts in the United States. Among the common green practices are water conserving fixtures and linen-reuse programs. A separate survey of 120,000 hotel customers finds that guests are generally willing to participate in sustainability programs, but the presence of green operations still do not override considerations of price and convenience in selecting a hotel. Additionally, the study finds an increased willingness to participate when hotels offer incentives, such as loyalty program points, for participating in environmental programs. Although the link between environmentally sustainable programs and improved customer satisfaction is weak compared to standard drivers like facilities, room, and food and beverage quality, hotels are increasingly expected to maintain sustainability programs as a regular feature of their business. At the same time, the study did find that environmental sustainability programs do not diminish guest satisfaction. Consequently, the decision regarding which programs to implement should rest on cost-benefit analysis and other operating considerations.

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Roundup of Recent CRS Reports About Science, Technology and the Environment

May 18, 2015 Comments off

CFR Backgrounder: Nicaragua’s Grand Canal

May 12, 2015 Comments off

CFR Backgrounder: Nicaragua’s Grand Canal
Source: Council on Foreign Relations

In December 2014, workers broke ground on the Nicaragua Grand Canal, a planned 175-mile-long canal through Nicaragua. Three times the length of the Panama Canal, engineers say Nicaragua’s canal could eventually serve 5 percent of the world’s cargo traffic. Proponents of the canal argue that it will bring much-needed jobs and commerce to the country. However, critics charge that few details of the deal have been made public and say that the environmental and social costs of constructing the canal could be catastrophic.

Stranded Assets and Subcritical Coal: The Risk to Companies and Investors

May 8, 2015 Comments off

Stranded Assets and Subcritical Coal: The Risk to Companies and Investors (PDF)
Source: University of Oxford, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment

We have located subcritical coal-fired power stations globally and identified the ones most at risk of stranding due to their carbon intensity and deleterious effects on local air pollution and water stress. The research shows which companies own these assets and ranks companies by exposure. Furthermore, we examine how environment-related risks facing subcritical coal assets might develop in the future.

The Impact of Forensic Science Research & Development

May 7, 2015 Comments off

The Impact of Forensic Science Research & Development
Source: National Institute of Justice

Forensic science R&D in the 1980s laid the groundwork for advances in the 1990s and early 2000s that had a profound impact on crime laboratories. Although the scientific advances, particularly the growth of DNA testing, provided more effective tools for analyzing evidence and identifying perpetrators, they also led to a dramatic increase in the demand for lab services. By the late 1990s and through the 2000s, demand outstripped the ability of the labs to respond quickly and efficiently. Today, scientists and technicians at forensic labs are under relentless pressure to produce results faster and at lower cost.

National Science Foundation announces plan for comprehensive public access to research results

May 6, 2015 Comments off

National Science Foundation announces plan for comprehensive public access to research results
Source: National Science Foundation

Today, the National Science Foundation (NSF), announced its continued commitment to expand public access to the results of its funded research through the publication of its public access plan, Today’s Data, Tomorrow’s Discoveries. NSF’s public access is intended to accelerate the dissemination of fundamental research results that will advance the frontiers of knowledge and help ensure the nation’s future prosperity.

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