The Holly and the I.D. – News from Epigenetics

first_img(Visited 24 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Holly leaf shape may be due to epigenetic control – one of several recent developments in the field of epigenetics.Epi-Deck the Halls:  National Geographic reported that the prickly outline of holly leaves appears to be an epigenetic response to predation.  The same plant can have smooth leaves and prickly leaves.  Browsing by animals sets off an epigenetic response, leading to the prickly outline, even though each leaf cell has the same genetic code.Sex cells:  A protein named Tet that erases epigenetic markers may be responsible for turning on the meiotic genes that switch regular cells into sperm or eggs, reported Nature on Dec. 20.Gene accessibility:  A paper in the journal Cell (Hihara et al., Dec. 13) found that local chromatin dynamics, including Brownian motion, plays a role in the accessibility of molecular machines to stretches of DNA.  “We propose that this local nucleosome fluctuation is the basis for scanning genome information,” the authors said.Large-scale organization:  Another research article in Cell (Sandhu et al., Oct 25) discussed “Large-Scale Functional Organization of Long-Range Chromatin Interaction Networks.”   These networks play important roles in transcription regulation.  They are organized into “nonrandom spatial clustering” the authors dub”rich clubs,” communities and spokes.  This large-scale organization helps repress mutations among vital genes, and “shapes functionally compartmentalized and error-tolerant transcriptional regulation of human genome in three dimensions.”Add another dimension: Speaking of 3-D, a paper in Science today (Dec 21) discussed alternative splicing in 4 dimensions.  Alternative splicing “leads to different patterns of splicing that represent cell type–specific alternative interpretations of the genomic information,” the authors said.  “Alternative splicing allows the shuffling of protein-coding domains or confers distinct sensitivity of the spliced mRNAs to regulatory factors.” Though evolutionary in tone, the article’s science concerned “modulating the scope of signaling, gene regulation, and protein-protein networks” that speak of organization and control.The paper they referenced in the same issue of Science by Barbosa-Morais et al. was also evolutionary, but the actual data do not require a common ancestry interpretation, especially since it concerned “vertebrate splicing codes.”  The overall finding was that “overall organ AS [alternative splicing] profiles more strongly reflect the identity of a species than they do organ type.”  For more on alternative splicing, see a PhysOrg entry, “Alternative splicing of RNA rewires signaling in different tissues, may contribute to species differences.”Epigenetic islands:  In Nature on Nov. 9, Dirk Schübeler discussed “Epigenetic Islands in a Genetic Ocean.”  He talked about the latest discoveries in methylation patterns: “This inheritability makes DNA methylation highly attractive as a potential means to store information in a form of epigenetic memory that regulates genes over developmental processes or in response to environmental conditions.”Not parasites:  In a Presidential Address in Science Nov 9, Nina V. Federoff debunked the idea that transposable elements (TE) are parasites on the genome.  TE’s comprise more than half of many mammalian genomes and were thought to be junk or selfish invaders:My purpose here is to challenge the current, somewhat pejorative, view of TEs as genomic parasites with the mounting evidence that TEs and transposition play a profoundly generative role in genome evolution. I contend that it is precisely the elaboration of epigenetic mechanisms from their prokaryotic origins as suppressors of genetic exchanges that underlies both the genome expansion and the proliferation of TEs characteristic of higher eukaryotes. This is the inverse of the prevailing view that epigenetic mechanisms evolved to control the disruptive potential of TEs. The evidence that TEs shape eukaryotic genomes is by now incontrovertible. My thesis, then, is that TEs and the transposases they encode underlie the evolvability of higher eukaryotes’ massive, messy genomes.Systems biology meets epigenetics:  PhysOrg reported that some Swiss scientists are making progress understanding the interplay of epigenetic interactions with a systems biology approach.  Combining both approaches with a computational model is providing insights into concepts like how a stem cell differentiates into a tissue cell, or how chromatin modifications affect gene expression.Epigenetics is proving to be a fruitful field for research, possibly as fruitful (or more so) than the discovery of the genetic code itself.  As stated earlier (8/21/2012, 9/06/2012), it involves “codes upon codes” explaining how a human being can develop from a small set of genes through regulation, alternative splicing and post-transcriptional modifications.  The proliferation of codes is inversely proportional to the credibility of Darwinism.last_img read more

Snakes on a Brain, and Other Evolutionary Stories

first_imgWhen evolution is seen as a storytelling game rather than a serious attempt at scientific explanation, it suddenly makes sense.The goal in evolutionary theory is to fit any observation into a predetermined narrative – one of universal common ancestry by blind, unguided processes.  Since no human ever sees functioning, complex, specified information coming into being that way, evolutionary theory is guaranteed to generate implausible stories.  The stories only seem plausible when evolution is first assumed, and all other possible explanations are excluded.  If this seems backward to science’s ideal of letting the evidence speak for itself, it has one redeeming virtue: it’s funny.Kissing may be evolution’s matchmaker:  Sex sells; it sells evolution.  Look at the picture on Live Science‘s article.  Mesmerized, the reader allows Stephanie Pappas to turn a fairy tale into support for Darwin:You’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince, as the saying goes. New research suggests the cliché is true on an evolutionary level.Kissing might have evolved as a way to assess the quality of potential mates, according to two new studies….The details of the studies are less important than the marks of storytelling: profuse use of “if,” “might,” and “may have” escape clauses that substitute for scientific evidence.  Since “Kissing exists in virtually every culture on Earth,” there is no control group against which to assess the fitness of kissers vs. non-kissers.  Even if there were, singling out that one behavior against all the other factors involved in successful mating would be near impossible.  Is the first kiss the crucial one?  Is a peck on the cheek as naturally selective as an alfalfa kiss?  Who could ever scientifically test that, without interfering in the data collection process?The Oxford researcher wants to go beyond the evolution of kissing into the “murkier depths” of sex, Pappas says.  “I’m interested in doing more research on what love is in humans.  What is it that makes us so intimately attracted to one specific person?”  Must be a fun job.Evolution of Catwoman:  Feminists, get on the case of Tia Ghose.  In Live Science, she claimed “Women evolved to be catty” – meaning, “rumor spreading, shunning and backstabbing” according to the “mean girls” stereotype, claiming that “the behavior is rooted in humans’ evolutionary past.”  How sexist!  Demand equal time for men evolving to be like wolves.Ignorance is bliss:  Readers can evaluate the evolutionary value of ignorance in an article on Science Daily.   In a nutshell, it gives more evidence against Hamilton’s kin selection theory.  If “ignorance is bliss” is a law of evolution, it would explain a lot about current political debates.A sauropod walks into a bar: ‘Why the long neck?’  That headline on Science Daily introduced an evolutionary tale of convergent and divergent evolution.  “While convergently evolving many features seen in large terrestrial mammals, such as upright, columnar limbs and barrel-shaped trunks, sauropods evolved some unique features, such as the extremely long necks and diminutive heads they are famous for.”  Trouble is, the joker asked the riddle but never gave the punch line.  The evolutionists haven’t figured one out yet.  Maybe that’s the joke:The unique gigantism of sauropod dinosaurs has long been recognized as an important problem in the evolution of vertebrates, raising questions as to why no other land-based lineage has ever reached this size, how these dinosaurs functioned as living animals, and how they were able to maintain stable populations over distinct geological periods.Snakes on the Brain:  Almost all the science media repeated a plot line introduced on PNAS, typified by this question on Science Daily: “Was the evolution of high-quality vision in our ancestors driven by the threat of snakes?”  The international authors of this plot took monkeys and showed them images of snakes, angry monkey faces, monkey hands, and geometric shapes, measuring the response time of particular neurons in their brains.  Naturally, the response was quicker to snakes.  They concluded:Our findings are unique in providing neuroscientific evidence in support of the Snake Detection Theory, which posits that the threat of snakes strongly influenced the evolution of the primate brain. This finding may have great impact on our understanding of the evolution of primates.It “may” have impact, but where is an unbiased judge, if everyone is an evolutionist?  A look at the paper shows poor scientific controls.The scientists did not compare the monkey results with response times of unrelated animals, like birds, mice, or squirrels.  (Why?  Because those animals are not in the evolutionary lineage of primates.)The test monkeys were shown pictures of a variety of snakes, but no tigers, spiders, or hunters with guns.The monkeys were not shown live snakes along with pictures.The authors, further, did not connect the dots, to find whether a specific mutation for greater visual acuity and response time was connected to survival of snake encounters.  Worst of all, the authors merely assumed an evolutionary cause for highly complex effects (visual acuity and quick response), instead of considering whether the design of those traits is beyond the reach of blind, unguided processes. The media, though, lapped up the story uncritically.  PhysOrg called it “new evidence to support the notion that primates evolved keen vision skills so they could survive the threats snakes pose in the jungle.”  Science Magazine rewarded this as one of the biggest news stories of the week, saying the paper supports the “controversial hypothesis” that “primates as we know them would never have evolved without snakes.”  National Geographic said “it might be those slithery serpents that helped us evolve to see as well as we do.” In storybook land, anything “might be”.   Science Daily quoted the lead author saying, “I don’t see another way to explain the sensitivity of these neurons to snakes except through an evolutionary path.”  Naturally; she invented the “notion” in 2006, following it up in 2009 with a book ironically entitled,  The Fruit, the Tree, and the Serpent.Is a legless lizard a snake?  Speaking of snakes, “legless lizards” provide an interesting case study in the philosophy of classification.  Lizards are not snakes, but there are lizards that look like snakes.  Mike Wall explains for Live Science how to tell them apart:For example, snakes tend to have relatively longer bodies and shorter tails than their limbless reptilian cousins. Further, serpents don’t have eyelids or external ears, while most lizards do. And many “legless” lizards actually have tiny vestigial limbs, while snakes generally sport no external appendages at all.Trouble is, there are exceptions to all these rules.  Pythons and boas are snakes, but have “rudimentary hind limbs.”  Dr. Wall mentions a legless lizard that looks like a snake (no eyelids) and eats like a snake.  Why shouldn’t it be classified as a snake?  What does the word “snake” mean if shared traits don’t apply?  Enter the evolutionary story:The answer, of course, lies in ancestry. Legless lizards are not snakes. Rather, functional limblessness has evolved independently perhaps a dozen times in the squamate reptiles — lizards, snakes and amphisbaenids, or worm lizards — suggesting that the body plan offers many advantages.If that were a law of evolution, we should see legless badgers, legless prairie dogs, and legless ants.Which part of the Darwin Comedy Show did you like?  The sauropod walking into the bar?  Ignorance is bliss?  Catwoman?  Snakes on a brain?  This is what they love to do: spin yarns and tell jokes.  It’s so much fun.  It’s kind of like being stoned.(Visited 53 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Trade, not aid, say youth

first_imgDr Petrus de Kock of Brand South Africa, left, with Minister Alexander Stubb of Finland. Mandela foundation CEO Achmat Dangor urged Africa’syoung people to make the future their own.(Images: Janine Erasmus)MEDIA CONTACTS • Leo MakgamatheBrand South Africa+27 11 483 0122RELATED ARTICLES• Pupils get a lesson on dignity• Empowering young people in SA• All aboard the Youth Express• Rewarding youth excellenceJanine ErasmusSouthern Africa is hosting a business delegation led by the Finnish minister of European affairs and foreign trade, Alexander Stubb. The emphasis of the trip is to promote exports and boost Finnish businesses already operating in Southern Africa, while looking for new opportunities.Stubb and his delegation are currently in Windhoek, Namibia. In South Africa they visited Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town, where they met Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus and the ministers of transport and higher education, among others.The visit was put together by global organisation Finpro, which promotes and supports Finnish companies in international markets, including South Africa. The company’s local offices are in Johannesburg.Other members of the delegation include Jussi Pajunen, the mayor of Helsinki, and representatives from the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Nokia Siemens Networks, and the Tampere University of Applied Sciences, among others.In Cape Town, the delegation took part in Helsinki Meets Cape Town, an event with a focus on the Mother City as the world design capital 2014 – Helsinki had this honour in 2012. The event is expected to provide more opportunities for partnerships between the two countries through a series of workshops, discussions and social gatherings where experiences from 2012 were shared whilst building anticipation for 2014.Other participants in the Cape Town event included Finpro, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Aalto University, and Finnish and local companies.South Africa is one of Finland’s top trading partners outside the OECD countries, a 34-nation group known as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. In terms of imports and exports, the country is Finland’s biggest trade partner in Africa.Trade is also growing between Finland and Namibia, with the annual value of Finnish exports to Namibia standing at about US$3.2-million (R28-million) over the last few years.From alienation to cooperationIn Johannesburg Stubb visited the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, which is currently undergoing renovations that will see the premises, originally Mandela’s post-presidential office, turned into a public facility with a library, discussion venue, permanent exhibition and state-of-the-art archive for the hundreds of priceless items held there.At a gathering later the same day, Stubb and his delegation took part in a discussion with the theme Africa-European economic relations: from alienation to cooperation.The dialogue was facilitated by Brand South Africa, with the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, as part of Brand South Africa’s Shape the Future initiative. A number of students, among them Mandela Rhodes scholars, were also present.“There has been another shift in world politics,” said Stubb, explaining that the first major shifts came after the Second World War and the end of the Cold War. “Now we have a multipolar world, with numerous blocs such as Brics, the G8, G20, Old Russia, Southeast Asia, and so we have to adapt our trade and foreign policies accordingly. I welcome this.”The makeup of the global economy is also changing, said Stubb – currently the US contributes 23%, China contributes 10% and Africa just 2%, but this will change. The world won’t always be dominated by the West.“South Africa is one of the EU’s strategic partners, and Africa is the place where the future lies,” he said. “We in the West need to understand this.”But Africa has historically been alienated from the West because of the policies of interaction driven by paternalism, exploitation and colonialism, whereas they should be driven by cooperation.“We need to link Africa and Europe with what I call a dignified foreign policy,” Stubb asserted. “One that does not have conditions attached or that is driven by the country’s own agenda.”It’s up to the youthThe topic of conversation then turned to Africa’s young people.“Within 10 years, 60% of Africans will be under the age of 35,” said Achmat Dangor, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. “These are the people in which we need to invest – they literally have the future in their hands.”He said that Africans themselves must create an enabling environment for proper investment from the West and the accountable use of funding, but this means that Africans need to change the way they view themselves, so that developed nations will follow suit.“It would be wrong for us to turn away development aid,” said Dangor. “We don’t have 60 years to build up a strong regional bloc, like the EU had.”It’s up to young people to take the lead, he said.Stubb agreed, saying that he personally believed that leaders should not hang on to their posts for decades, but should relinquish them within a reasonable time so that the government does not grow stale and that young ideas are always available.Invest in us, say young peopleYoung Africans at the event then took the floor, identifying several issues that, they felt, were holding the continent back.Among these were the perceived lack of capacity for efficient project and financial management in governments; the fact that foreign aid has, in some cases, had a negative effect because it has not been managed properly or has been used as a political tool; and the continuing conflicts in many countries, which hamper young people and prevent them from becoming empowered.The issue of corruption was also raised, with some saying that all the education in the world won’t help if leaders are taking backhanders from overseas.“What can the EU do for African youth in these matters?” they asked.Impressed that Africa’s young people were so insightful and aware of the challenges facing them, Stubb promised to take their concerns to heart once he was back home. In the meantime he named certain lessons that his own country had learned, sometimes the hard way, which he felt could work in the African context too.“When we went into recession in the 1990s, we had to rethink our policies,” he said. “We poured money into education and research and development, especially in ICT – this has led to the dominance of companies such as Nokia, although that is not so much the case today. So we have to reinvent again. We are now interested in clean technology and sustainable development.”Investment in humanities and human capacity was a solution put forward by many – “invest in our education, in science, in the exchange of ideas,” said one attendee.This is the challenge of the next generation, said Dangor – to create an environment where allies such as Finland will feel comfortable to have dealings.Although there wasn’t enough time to properly unpack all the issues and put forward suggestions to tackle them, the evening’s facilitator, Petrus de Kock of Brand South Africa, promised that there would be follow-up dialogues.last_img read more

Love overwhelmed by reaction since revealing panic attack

first_imgJohn Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding “I want to continue to push that message,” Love said. “There’s a lot of work to be done. I’m glad this is out there and glad I can help.”He’s got the support of teammate LeBron James.“When people that are dealing with the same situation, that’s in the same situation as Kev, it helps them out more than anybody — to not feel like they’re alone, because they’re not,” James said. “We, as athletes, are put on this pedestal, but we go through some of the same problems. We’re all human beings. All of us. I think it’s very enlightening for him to know that, and to see that, and to know he can help others by doing that.”James knows it’s not easy to come forward on such topics as mental issues.“Because we live in a sport or a world where our whole lives, we always talk about, ‘Figure it out on your own,’ and ‘Be as strong as you can’ and ’Don’t show anybody any weakness,’” James said. “So, that’s how we’ve been built. We’ve been built like that our whole lives, ever since we picked up a basketball or picked up a football, or whatever the case may be.ADVERTISEMENT “I think that sometimes can become a problem. Obviously, when you’re able to see that, sometimes that’s not the way to deal with it, and it actually makes you even more strong in the respective sport that you are in.”In his essay, Love said he was hit hard by anxiety Nov. 5 during a home game against the Atlanta Hawks. Love added that he had been under family stress and hadn’t been sleeping well. After briefly being winded while playing 15 minutes in the first half, he felt his heart racing and couldn’t catch his breath during a timeout in the third quarter.Love was taken to the Cleveland Clinic, but tests didn’t reveal anything abnormal. He returned to playing at a high level, but was perplexed by what happened and burdened about people finding out.And while he did not mention it in his essay, titled “Everyone Is Going Through Something,” Love left a Jan. 20 game against Oklahoma City under similar circumstances.He said Wednesday that had nothing to do with a panic attack.“That was me being sick,” Love said. “I wasn’t aware how many people knew (about the panic attack). I kind of buried it and put it off to the side. That kind of started a big push in the back to why I wanted to write this article.”Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said he hasn’t read Love’s essay yet, but that the team is there for Love.“Whatever he needs,” Lue said. “We’re going to support him 100 percent.” Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH In this file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love sits on the bench as time runs out in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets, in Denver. As the Cavs continue to wait for the winner of the Boston-Washington series to emerge as their opponent in the Eastern Conference finals, Love’s reduced role in his third postseason for Cleveland has become a topic for discussion. And while the All-Star forward has found himself at the center of previous controversies during his time with the Cavs, there are no hidden meanings or subliminal messages at work. APDENVER — Kevin Love has received more than 4,000 messages since opening up about his struggles with mental health issues.“Overwhelming is a good word to use,” the Cleveland Cavaliers forward said Wednesday after the morning shootaround before a game against the Nuggets. “I’m trying to read through all the emails and all the texts and respond to everybody in the right way.”ADVERTISEMENT Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LATEST STORIES Gaston embraces last-minute role change to libero Love considered it therapeutic to write his essay for The Player’s Tribune in which he addressed such things as his panic attack during a game this season and how he’s spent most of his life afraid to accept there was something wrong with him.Although, it was daunting to release his story to the world.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“It did take me a while (to write). I didn’t know if I was going to address it potentially in the summer, but I’m glad I did it now,” said Love, a five-time All-Star who’s currently sidelined by a broken hand. “Everybody is going through something. Everybody has things that you can’t see, you can’t touch, that they’re walking with every day. … We need to beat down that stigma about mental health and be able to come out and talk things out.”Love thanked Toronto All-Star DeMar DeRozan for recently acknowledging his bouts of depression. It gave Love the courage to tell his tale. LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico View comments MOST READ Typhoon ‘Tisoy’ threatens Games Read Next Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university PLAY LIST 01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon Citylast_img read more

CJ Perez early favorite for NCAA MVP

first_imgPhoto by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netIt’s just halfway through NCAA Season 93 but Lyceum’s forward CJ Perez is being tabbed as the early favorite to win the MVP award in the men’s basketball tournament.Perez is the league’s top scorer after the first round after putting up 18.6 points to go along 5.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.6 steals across nine games with the Pirates yet to drop a match.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games MOST READ Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Biggest Pogo service provider padlocked for tax evasion Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Arellano, NU banner PVL Collegiate conference Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim But for the swingman, though, winning the MVP is just a bonus as he and the team have their eyes on the bigger trophy.“I’m thinking more of helping the team win a championship,” said Perez, who will play for the Pirates for this season only. “If I win the MVP, that would be just a bonus.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingPirates head coach Topex Robinson said he’s glad Perez earned the recognition this early in the season.“It’s something he earned, and it’s obviously there,” said Robinson Wednesday. “We, however, don’t usually discuss it with the team.”last_img read more

Trudeau says his trade message is being heard in the US

first_imgLOS ANGELES, Calif. – The pro-trade message Canada is touting in the United States will resonate with everyday Americans and their political class, even if the words get obscured by the breaking news of the day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says.Standing at the Griffith Observatory in the Los Angeles hills — a site made famous as a setting in multiple movies — Trudeau said his pitch to save the North American Free Trade Agreement from falling apart was well received.Behind Trudeau, a cloudy California sky obscured the city’s most famous message: the Hollywood Sign.Local coverage of the prime minister’s visit to California has focused on U.S. President Donald Trump’s talk and actions on immigration, a particularly acute issue in this “blue” state on the border with Mexico and home to the largest population of Canadians outside of Canada, some 150,000 people.And Trudeau’s talk Friday night at the Ronald Reagan library was overshadowed with international headlines about a crash between an SUV and a motorcycle officer in the prime minister’s motorcade. The California Highway Patrol officer broke his clavicle in the accident.Trudeau said Canadians needed to continually remind Americans about the bilateral relationship between the two countries, which can often be taken for granted.“The conversations I’ve had across this country over these past few days have been extremely positive,” the prime minister said on Saturday morning.“Maybe it’s not as breaking news as something else might be, but that emphasis that we are working together for the betterment of our citizens is a message that does continue and does resonate.”A weekend hike through Griffith Park marked the last public event for Trudeau on his four-day trip through the United States, where he hit communities that swung Democrat in the last presidential election to talk trade.He met with governors and mayors as part of an ongoing charm offensive to win over states and cities on the merits of trade to pressure the White House. Congressional lawmakers were supposed to be at Trudeau’s speech Friday night at the Reagan library in Simi Valley, outside Los Angeles, but a brief government shutdown forced them all to stay longer in Washington and miss the event.Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said the content and the timing of the speech were critical for Americans to hear through the white noise of other domestic issues.“We can talk about the fights, but we’re a family. Canada and Mexico are our two closest friends,” Garcetti said.“We really have a depth of relationship that isn’t just about one visit.”California sells some $25.4 billion in goods and services to Canada, and almost 1.2 million jobs in the state rely on trade, according to federal statistics.But it is also a forerunner for Canada in terms of legalizing marijuana, which came into effect at the start of the year. San Francisco has decided to provide amnesty for marijuana convictions going back decades in a move that other jurisdictions are following.The Liberals have been threatened with legal action if they don’t move faster on wiping clean simple possession convictions that have disproportionately affected black Canadians.Trudeau indicated his government was in no rush to deal with amnesty ahead of when the new legal cannabis regime takes effect.“Until we actually change the laws, the existing laws remain in place,” Trudeau said.“After we change the law, we will then look at steps forward on how we move on pardons and retroactive measures.”last_img read more