Morning Brief, Thursday, June 7

Science S. OGDEN/Nature Three separate research teams announced a breakthrough that could allow skin cells to essentially form stem cells and regenerate lost tissue in organs like the heart, the liver, or the kidneys. It shows promise in mice. If successful in humans, the technique would eliminate the need to use human embryos as stem ...

601405_070607_mouse_05.jpg
601405_070607_mouse_05.jpg

Science

S. OGDEN/Nature

Three separate research teams announced a breakthrough that could allow skin cells to essentially form stem cells and regenerate lost tissue in organs like the heart, the liver, or the kidneys. It shows promise in mice. If successful in humans, the technique would eliminate the need to use human embryos as stem cells.

Science

S. OGDEN/Nature

Three separate research teams announced a breakthrough that could allow skin cells to essentially form stem cells and regenerate lost tissue in organs like the heart, the liver, or the kidneys. It shows promise in mice. If successful in humans, the technique would eliminate the need to use human embryos as stem cells.

In another big development, UK scientists claim they have unraveled the genetic link to diabetes and five other major public health problems.

Europe

Carla del Ponte, war crimes prosecutor for the United Nations, hinted yesterday that a capture of notorious Bosnian Serb leader Ratko Mladic might finally be in the works. Mike Nizza of the New York Times notes that Serbia, which has been newly helpful toward the Hague war crimes tribunal, has been on “a hot streak” of late.

At the already stormy Group of Eight summit, U.S. President Bush is seeking to soothe Europe’s ire over climate change and Russia’s fears about missile defense. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has already “accepted defeat” regarding her aggressive climate change strategy, the Financial Times reports.

Did a British defense contractor send over a billion dollars in payoffs to Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar in exchange for a weapons contract? And is the British Ministry of Defence covering it up?

Asia

Just 24 countries recognize Taiwan now that Costa Rica has switched its allegiance to mainland China, a move that’s prompting great consternation in Taipei. Meanwhile, a visit today by Taiwan’s ex-president to his brother’s grave at the Yasukuni Shrine is bound to raise cross-straits tensions.

North Korea fired another two missiles in what are thought to be military drills. Also today, Pyongyang showed its cuddly side by moving to create a wildlife preserve within the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas.

The Chinese government labeled attempts to link the Beijing Olympics to Darfur “ridiculous,” and said that sanctions on the Sudanese government would backfire. China’s remarks underscore the argument that Morton Abramowitz and Jonathan Kolieb make in a provocative web exclusive for ForeignPolicy.com, Why China Won’t Save Darfur.

Middle East

The Islamic Army of Iraq, a major Sunni insurgent group, announced a ceasefire with al Qaeda after several days of intense fighting between the two organizations. 

Iranian state television is airing a World War II-era drama that conflicts with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s anti-Semitic message. 

Lebanese Islamists attempted to mediate a peaceful surrender by Fatah al-Islam, the al Qaeda-lined group that has been fighting government forces in a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon for nearly three weeks.

Elsewhere 

New U.S. passport rules for travelers journeying to and from Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean have caused a bureaucratic nightmare at the State Department.

Supporters of a controversial immigration bill before the U.S. Senate successfully fended off an amendment that would have effectively gutted the reforms, and another amendment regarding family ties that would have ended the support of key Republicans.

The prospect of higher interest rates in Europe and no rate change in the United States spooked world equity markets yesterday. 

Today’s Agenda

  • Group of Eight leaders begin substantive meetings on climate change, missile defense, and a host of other topics at the G8 summit in Germany.
  • More importantly, the NBA finals get underway tonight in San Antonio, Texas. Will the veteran Spurs thump the upstart Cavs? Or can Cleveland’s LeBron James pull off a miracle?

Yesterday on Passport

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