Daily World News Digest, 1 November 2016

Activists: Release of Detainees in Syria Crucial to Peace Process

Voice of America News reports today that Syrian opposition activists are urging the United Nations and the international community to push for the release of tens of thousands of detainees in Syria. Thye argue that this is critical in efforts to revive the moribund peace process. A delegation of representatives of the Syrian Opposition’s High Negotiations Committee has been meeting with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura’s team to demand real and tangible progress on this issue. This is not the first time the group has broached this subject. Former president of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces Khaled Khoja told VOA that the release of detainees in Syria was a crucial confidence-building measure in the peace process. He said resolving this issue would improve the atmosphere around the negotiating table. http://bit.ly/2eevFw3

Egypt: Fears grow for disappeared student Omar Khaled

Al Jazeera carries an article today about growing fears over the whereabouts of a 22-year-old Egyptian student who was last seen being dragged away from a Cairo metro station by a group of men, shortly before security forces raided his family home. According to witnesses, unknown men apprehended Omar Khaled at a metro station in Egypt’s capital, Cairo, on Thursday while he was on his way to meet friends at university. Officials told Khaled’s mother, Ghada Rifaat, that they did not know where her son was. Security forces, she said, raided the family’s home shortly after he disappeared. “There was absolutely no warning or indication … he was going out normally to meet his friends and was kidnapped on the way,” Rifaat told Al Jazeera on Monday. “Had it not been for another student on his course tweeting that she had seen him being dragged away from the station by men in plain clothes, they would’ve had no idea about what happened to him.” Rifaat describes her son, a student of engineering, as apolitical. “Omar wasn’t politically active,” she said. “He’s just an Egyptian student that loves his country and wants the best for it.” http://bit.ly/2fcnluq

Authorities concerned over 2,500 missing Pakistani migrants

The Greek newspaper, Kathimerini, reported yesterday that immigration authorities have expressed concern as an estimated 2,500 Pakistani migrants have disappeared from reception centers in the Aegean islands, apparently fleeing due to fears that they will be deported. “Most of the migrants are believed to have made asylum applications to win some time in Greece but as they are economic migrants rather than refugees they are unlikely to qualify and so are believed to have fled to avoid detention and deportation,” the paper says. Five eastern Aegean islands – Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros – are accommodating thousands of Syrians and other refugees “but also a large number of economic migrants from Pakistan, Africa and the Middle East”. http://bit.ly/2fcpy9h

Missing young people in Kashmir

The Kashmir Monitor carries an article today about “growing concern within the security establishment” about a sudden increase in disappearances of young people in Kashmir this year. It says 75 boys have gone missing, of whom “43 joined militant ranks, six returned back to their homes while 26 others are still missing”. http://bit.ly/2f8b3op

Evolving technology makes DNA sequencing cheaper and faster

The McGill Daily published an article yesterday on the evolution of DNA sequencing technology over the years. In the past 40 years, DNA sequencing technologies have advanced rapidly. The technique developed by British biochemist Frederick Sanger in the 1970s used radioactive markers to indicate the type of each nucleotide. With the aid of polyacrylamide gel and X-ray, scientists were able to visualize the sequence of the nucleotides in DNA. “It was all very manual,” recalled Richard Wilson, at the McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University in St. Louis. “We used to get the sequencing gels running, go have dinner and probably a few beers. Then we’d come back to the lab around two in the morning, take the gels down, put X-ray film on them, and develop them the next day.” Richard noted that after the gels were developed, his team would gather in the laboratory: some people would read the gel aloud, some people would type the sequence into a computer. http://bit.ly/2e8xWFL

Items in Daily World News Digest are summaries of published reports relevant to the issue of missing persons, compiled by ICMP staff.  These items do not necessarily reflect the position of ICMP.