Tuesday: Scientists Scramble After Stem Cell Ruling; Carter Heading to N. Korea

BY Tom LeGro  August 24, 2010 at 10:00 AM EDT

As reported Monday evening, a federal judge has temporarily blocked the Obama administration’s guidelines expanding embryonic stem cell research. U.S. Chief District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that government funding of embryonic stem-cell research violates the Dickey Wicker Amendment, which bans using federal money for research in which an embryo is destroyed.

The Washington Post has a link to the ruling here.

NPR has an explanation of the evolution of embryonic stem cell research since the Clinton administration.

“The ruling came as a shock to scientists at the National Institutes of Health and at universities across the country, which had viewed the Obama administration’s new policy and the grants provided under it as settled law,” reports the New York Times. “Scientists scrambled Monday evening to assess the ruling’s immediate impact on their work.”

The Morning Line looks at the political ramifications:

“Partisans on both sides of the embryonic stem cell research debate will, no doubt, use Monday’s court ruling to drum up supporters, but the impact in this political season is likely to be muted.”

32 Killed in Attack in Somalia

A suicide bomber and gunmen attacked people at a hotel near Somalia’s presidential palace Monday, sparking a one-hour gun battle with security forces. At least 32 people were killed, including six Somali parliamentarians.

The al-Shabab Islamist militia on Monday said the group was declaring a “massive war” on the transitional government and the African Union force, describing its 6,000 peacekeepers as “invaders.”

New York Times reporter Jeffrey Gettleman has more on the story here. The NewsHour spoke to Gettleman last month for an update on the political situation in the troubled country.

Former President Carter Heading to N. Korea

Former President Jimmy Carter is preparing to leave for North Korea on Tuesday to seek the freedom of an American imprisoned for illegally entering the nation, U.S. officials said Monday night.

North Korea agreed to release Aijalon Mahli Gomes if Carter were to come to bring him home, a senior U.S. official told the Associated Press. Gomes, of Boston, who was arrested on Jan. 25 after entering North Korea, was sentenced in April to eight years in prison and fined $700,000.

Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin reports:

“There will be no U.S. government officials on the trip and Carter is traveling in his capacity as a private citizen, our sources report — much like when former President Bill Clinton traveled to Pyongyang last August to bring home Current TV reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who had wandered across the North Korean border with China and were promptly arrested and threatened with years of hard labor.

Health Officials Meeting in Pakistan

Health officials are meeting in Pakistan to discus the potential spread of disease after historic flooding in the country has affected more than 17 million people and destroyed 1.2 million homes. The BBC reports that doctors in many areas are struggling to cope with the spread of illnesses.

The Washington Post reports on why the billions of dollars the United States is sending to Pakistan isn’t buying any goodwill.

The New York Times asks, “Will providing more humanitarian aid help reduce extremist influences in Pakistan?” Six guests have been invited to try to answer the question.