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Nation in brief

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 11, 2002

Some call new Stanford program cloning

SAN FRANCISCO -- Stanford University announced Tuesday its intention to develop human embryonic stem cells through nuclear transfer technology, becoming the first U.S. institution of higher education to publicly embrace an effort many consider to be cloning.

The intent of the project is to produce stem cells for medical research.

The university and medical professor Irving Weissman, who will direct the school's effort, emphatically denied that the project involves cloning embryos. He said Stanford's work would involve taking DNA from diseased adult human cells and transferring them into eggs, then growing them in the lab.

The cells would then be harvested, destroying the blastocysts before they're implanted, Weissman said. He said Stanford will use the stem cells only to study disease, and will not implant any cells to be grown into organs or other body parts.

Many other researchers say this is a distinction without a difference -- that this kind of nuclear transfer, which would create an exact genetic replica of the adult cell donor if allowed to grow, is in fact cloning.

150 events protest any war with Iraq

WASHINGTON -- A cross-section of activists, celebrities and everyday Americans held more than 150 events across the country Tuesday to oppose a war with Iraq.

Organized by a coalition of more than 70 groups called United for Peace, the events ranged inattendance from several dozen at Youngstown, Ohio, and Mineola, N.Y., to several hundreds in Santa Fe, N.M., and Oakland, Calif.

Police arrested at least 150 people nationwide for highly choreographed acts of civil disobedience.

Historically black college loses accreditation

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Debt-ridden Morris Brown College in Atlanta has been stripped of its accreditation, an action that will cost the historically black school the federal financial aid most students depend on to help pay their tuition.

Another historically black institution, Grambling State University in Louisiana, will remain on probation for a second year because of problems with its financial records, according to the decision released Tuesday by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Also losing its accreditation Tuesday was Mary Holmes College, historically a school for black women in West Point, Miss. The tiny two-year college, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, has been suffering declining enrollment and a subsequent cash shortage.

Also . . .

DEATH PENALTY UPHELD: A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld the federal death penalty Tuesday, firmly rejecting a lower court's conclusion that it was unconstitutional and declaring that only the Supreme Court can change "well-settled" law.

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