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The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, hosted by President Obama, will bring together 21 leaders, including Chinese President Hu Jintao.

VATICAN CITY

Vatican, biotech firm host stem cell meeting

The Vatican has entered into an unusual partnership with a small U.S. biotech company to promote using adult stem cells for treating disease, rather than focusing research on embryonic stem cells.

The Vatican’s culture office and NeoStem Inc. on Tuesday provided details for this week’s conference at the Vatican on adult stem cells, which will draw scientists, patients, biotech CEOs and cardinals together.

Church teaching holds that life begins at conception. As a result, the Vatican opposes embryonic stem cell research because embryos are destroyed in the process.

The conference and partnership with New York-based NeoStem is part of the Vatican’s recent $1 million, five-year initiative to promote adult stem cell therapies and research, and in the process shift popular attention away from embryonic research.

Transplants of adult stem cells have become a standard lifesaving therapy for people with leukemia, lymphoma and other blood diseases; they also are being studied in people who suffer from multiple sclerosis, heart attacks and diabetes.

The more controversial embryonic cells may be used someday to grow replacement tissue for diseases including Parkinson’s and diabetes, but that is a future prospect.

HAITI

Group demands U.N. pay for cholera outbreak

PORT-AU-PRINCE — A human rights group said Tuesday that it has filed claims with the United Nations seeking damages on behalf of more than 5,000 Haitian cholera victims and their families.

The claims filed by the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti argue that the U.N. and its peacekeeping force are liable for hundreds of millions of dollars for failing to adequately screen peacekeeping soldiers.

They say the infected soldiers caused the outbreak when untreated waste from a U.N. base was dumped into a tributary of Haiti’s most important river.

“The sickness, death and ongoing harm from cholera suffered by Haiti’s citizens are a product of the U.N.’s multiple failures,” the complaint reads. “These failures constitute negligence, gross negligence, recklessness, and deliberate indifference for the lives of Haitians.”

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