Briefly: Kashmiri scientists clone rare cashmere goat

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INDIA

Kashmiri scientists clone rare cashmere goat

SRINAGAR | Scientists said Thursday they have cloned a rare Himalayan goat in Indian-controlled Kashmir, hoping to help increase the number of animals famed for their silky soft undercoats used to make pashmina wool, or cashmere.

The March 9 birth of female kid “Noori,” which means “light” in Arabic, could spark breeding programs across the region and mass production of the high-priced wool, said lead project scientist Dr. Riaz Ahmad Shah, a veterinarian in the animal biotechnology center of Sher-i-Kashmir University.

Cashmere wool, particularly made into shawls, is a major source of income for Kashmir, generating about $80 million a year for the Indian- controlled portion of the disputed mountain state.

A shawl can cost $200 in Kashmir and much more when sold abroad - a boon given the average salary of $800 a year for Kashmir’s 10.2 million people.

Cashmere goats - which take their name from the Kashmir region but include a number of breeds that produce the soft wool - traditionally are herded in small numbers across the Himalayas and the Tibetan plateau in cold and remote mountain areas.

CHINA

Senior leader sacked in rare scandal

BEIJING | China’s ruling Communist Party on Thursday fired Bo Xilai, a charismatic leader famed for pushing a “red revival,” in a move that exposes ideological rifts during a generational power hand-over.

In a highly unusual public rebuke, Mr. Bo’s removal as party chief of the metropolis of Chongqing was announced a day after Premier Wen Jiabao delivered his strongest call yet for political reform in the country of 1.3 billion people.

The 62-year-old former commerce minister had been seen as one of the leading contenders to join the Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee - the apex of political power in China - later this year.

But analysts said that Mr. Bo had alienated liberals in the party with his hard-line crackdown on corruption in Chongqing, a southwestern city of more than 30 million people.

MYANMAR

Lawsuits imperil new press freedom

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