International -- Readers Report
Illegals Are Germany's Real Immigration Issue (int'l edition)
In Germany, the problem is not regulated immigration, as practiced in the U.S. with rigidity, but the de facto unlimited influx of people from other countries seeking asylum ("Unsung heroes," European Business, Feb. 28). In the past few years, we have had at least 100,000 asylum applications--not including refugees from the Balkans. Of these, however, only 3% to 5% are eligible for legal recognition for asylum. All the rest have economic reasons for coming to Germany, and they stay on illegally after exhausting all legal remedies. These people are de facto immigrants but without any selection of needed skills for the labor market.
As long as there is no effective limitation of asylum abuse, there can be no room for additional regulated immigration. That has nothing to do with hostility against foreigners. Although we are a democracy, this problem can't be discussed openly, because a minority, which commands the media, calls those racist who dare to express a different opinion.
Kirchzarten, GermanyReturn to top
Open Outcry Trading Is Alive and Well (int'l edition)
Joseph Weber was right when he said the Chicago Board of Trade's plan to become a for-profit entity was crucial to our future ("The pits are becoming a relic," Finance, Mar. 6). But he was way off the mark when he said that open outcry trading was "obsolete."
Open outcry trading has never been more vibrant than it is today at the CBOT. Enhancements such as headsets and electronic-order routing into the trading pit have propelled our market to record volumes year after year: We are the only futures exchange to trade more than 200 million contracts for six straight years. This has been done by lowering trading fees to customers, by speeding up transaction times, and by our members providing the deep liquidity for which our markets are known.
Innovation is the key to the future of the CBOT. While open outcry remains our mainstay market, we also operate an electronic market 22 hours a day. Although both systems are available, 95% of our volume remains in open outcry. That tells us our customers prefer its liquidity and integrity.
David P. Brennan, Chairman
Thomas R. Donovan, President
and Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Board of Trade
ChicagoReturn to top
Biotech, Too, Has a Privacy Problem (int'l edition)
I am thrilled to learn that investors want to invest in biotech companies ("Move over, dot-coms. Biotech is back," Science & Technology, Mar. 6). This time, however, the biotech researchers have opened Pandora's box. The Achilles' heel of biotech is privacy, as it is with the dot-coms. If the biotechs do not give priority to addressing genetic privacy--and as fast as they intend to develop new drugs--the party may be over as quickly as it was in 1991.
I suffer from Alpha 1 deficiency, an adult onset life-threatening genetic disease that if identified early is potentially treatable and manageable. I am excited about the potential medical advances from mapping the human genome. Equally impressive is the fast track of turning this data into drugs. All Americans will benefit as human genes are mapped; it opens the doors to new drugs and better diagnoses.
But I am deeply concerned that the genetic information will be used against some, including my three young sons who are carriers of Alpha 1. Genetic privacy is important to assure that Americans are not denied employment or insurance when their genes are mapped. There have been specific examples of Alpha 1 carriers, for example, who have been fired or denied insurance. I am encouraged by President Clinton's executive order to eliminate genetic discrimination from Federal employment. We need dialogue, debate, and decisions involving the scientific community, the medical community, industry, government, patient advocacy groups, ethicists, theologians--and most importantly, concerned individuals.
Over the past century, our parents and grandparents dealt with new concepts: electricity, television, and nuclear fission. I believe today's generation must have the courage and faith to embrace and foster the development of new biotechnologies.
Bettina B. Irvine
Cos Cob, Conn.Return to top