- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 12, 2001

Placentas offer new stem cell source

TRENTON, N.J. A biotech company said yesterday it has developed technology for extracting large quantities of stem cells from placentas, offering a rich new source of tissue that could be used to treat a variety of diseases.
Stem cells are immature cells that can be coaxed in the laboratory into maturing into specific types of tissue, such as bone, cartilage and muscle. Scientists believe stem cells may be used someday to repair injuries and treat diseases.
Anthrogenesis Corp. of Cedar Knolls said its method could prove to be a superior source of these cells.
Currently, stem cells used in medical research are taken from bone marrow, the umbilical cords of newborn babies, aborted fetuses or discarded test-tube embryos. The placenta connects the umbilical cord of a fetus with the uterine wall, allowing nutrients to pass from mother to baby.

First ladies promote child development

A day after their husbands met, first lady Laura Bush and Jordan's Queen Rania read and sang with toddlers to promote a cause on both women's agendas.
For Mrs. Bush, the visit to a family center in a dilapidated northwest Washington neighborhood yesterday acquainted her with a program that her mother-in-law, Barbara Bush, applauded a decade ago. For Queen Rania, it was a chance to see an American effort to combat poverty.
As Spanish-speaking adults received lessons on how to order food in English, their young children were entertained in another room by the singing and storytelling of the first ladies.
Camille Fountain, executive director of the Family Place, told the first ladies that the center helps immigrants get accustomed to a new culture. Mrs. Bush and Queen Rania have adopted early childhood education as causes.

Same-sex couples sue to marry

BOSTON Seven same-sex couples filed suit yesterday to be allowed to marry in Massachusetts, less than two weeks after four homosexual couples exchanged wedding vows in the Netherlands.
"Civil marriage is a legal relationship created by the state with all the protections and obligations that the state imposes," such as hospital visitation privileges, health insurance, custody and the transfer of assets, said Mary Bonauto of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.
Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift, who spent her first full day as governor holding news conferences and meeting with officials, told reporters she favored anti-discrimination measures but believed that marriage should be reserved for heterosexual couples.

Judge allows tape in church bombing trial

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. A tape secretly recorded in the apartment of a former Ku Klux Klansman can be used as evidence at his murder trial in a 1963 church bombing that killed four black girls, a judge ruled yesterday.
Circuit Judge James Garrett issued a ruling allowing prosecutors to play the tape, which was recorded in 1964 using an FBI bug hidden under the kitchen sink of Thomas Blanton Jr.
Mr. Blanton goes on trial Monday on murder charges in the Sept. 15, 1963, dynamite bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in downtown Birmingham.

Coast Guard hoses Haitians to avert riot

MIAMI U.S. Coast Guard crewmen doused a group of Haitian migrants with hoses on Monday after they threatened to start a fire on a Coast Guard cutter that was returning them to Haiti, a spokesman said yesterday.
"It was a possible riot situation and we used the hoses to subdue them," said Coast Guard petty officer Dana Warr.
A group of 88 Haitians trying to reach the United States on a sailing boat was picked up by a Coast Guard cutter Friday near the island of Great Inagua, in the Bahamas, and taken on board.
All the would-be migrants were dropped off at Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, on Tuesday.


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