Illustrating the wide range of U.S. grievances with China, a Senate committee released a report Wednesday highly critical of the Beijing-funded Confucius Institute, which operates centers at about 100 American universities. After an eight-month probe, the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations described systemic problems in the institute's language programs, saying they lack transparency, threaten academic freedom and give the Chinese government access to the U.S. education system that China does not extend to American programs. Senate investigators uncovered no evidence connecting the Confucius Institute with Chinese espionage, an increasing U.S. concern that has prompted the Trump administration to step up its monitoring and enforcement efforts at American campuses. But the investigation, which was earlier reported by The Times, found that the Chinese government had provided about $158 million over the last 13 years to establish and run more than 100 Confucius Institutes in the United States, including seven in California, to promote the study of Mandarin and Chinese culture at universities and K-12 schools. The subcommittee also turned up lapses in U.S. government agencies' oversight of the programs.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is joining University of Delaware officials for the launch on Monday of the Biden Institute. Biden Institute is a new research and policy center focused on domestic issues including economic reform, environmental sustainability, criminal justice and civil rights. The Institute will be part of the university's School of Public Policy and Administration. Biden plans to spend his time between the University of Delaware, his alma mater, and the University of Pennsylvania, where he will head a foreign policy institute called the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. The foreign policy institute will be located in Washington, D.C. Biden will be the founding chair of the Institute and will also have an office on the Penn campus in Philadelphia.
A British genetics lab has been accused of trying to make money from DNA samples taken from African tribes. Whistleblowers who formerly worked at the Cambridge-based Wellcome Sanger Institute have claimed the institute wanted to use the samples to make money. They said staff there planned to build a medical research tool, based on the DNA, which it could then have sold commercially. As a result the Stellenbosch University in Western Cape has called for the Sanger Institute to return the DNA samples to the African universities it got them from. Critics argued the people who donated the samples – members of indigenous communities such as the Nama people – did not consent to it being used this way.
The kids are gonna vote in record numbers. Or at least they say they are going to. That's the big takeaway from a new poll out Tuesday from Harvard University's Institute of Politics, which found that a whopping 37 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds say they will "definitely" vote this November. That's a marked increase from the past two midterm elections: In 2014, just 23 percent of those under 30 said they would definitely vote. In 2010, it was 31 percent.