The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 29.0°F | A Few Clouds

News Briefs

Science Panel Calls for Ban On Gene-Altering Work


Lucy the Mouse sported an “artificial chromosome,” inserted by scientists, that she passed on to her children. Ucp, a mouse with a less elegant name, was programmed genetically to pass his underweight condition to countless generations of offspring. And Dolly, the world-famous sheep, raised the prospect that parents might live forever, in a fashion, by producing cloned children identical to themselves.

For years, scientists have been tinkering with animal genes and cells to produce changes passed through generations. Now, with the specter of human experiments on the horizon, scientists and ethicists are raising a red flag.

Monday, after more than two years of study, a panel of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the nation’s largest general science organization, called for scientists to adopt a self-imposed ban on gene-altering work and for the government to establish an oversight panel as soon as possible.

Reports Says U.S. Troops Violated Human Rights in Kosovo


They were sent to Kosovo to keep the peace.

But sometimes these U.S. soldiers also kidnapped people, threatened them with knives and guns, beat them and spat on them. Sometimes they made them lie on the icy ground, and stepped on them if they complained.

And once they dug a hole in front of a man and told him it would be his grave -- unless he did as they said.

The paratroopers of Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment followed the motto “Get Ugly Early,” to make sure people in Kosovo knew who was boss.

On Monday, the U.S. Army said in a scathing report that some Alpha Company soldiers were guilty of criminal wrongdoing, and “had violated basic standards of conduct, human decency and the Army values.”

Dissecting an episode that marks the first major blot on the reputation of the American peacekeepers in the Balkans, the report said the paratroopers “violated the limits and terms of their military assignments by intimidating, interrogating, abusing and beating Albanians.” It blamed their unit’s chain of command for failing to correct misconduct.

Brazil Becomes Model In Fight Against AIDS


It was early 1997, and Mauricio Guimaraes lost 88 pounds, watched his shiny brown hair fall out, developed a vicious neurological illness and sprouted hundreds of blisters on his body. For years he had denied that AIDS was killing him. He could deny it no longer.

Then came a miracle in the unlikely form of the Brazilian government. That year marked the start of Brazil’s controversial policy of producing generic AIDS medicines and distributing them to patients, free of charge. For the government, it stood as a turning point in its commitment to battle AIDS and HIV. For Guimaraes, it meant new life.

“That medicine meant for me, hope,” the 33-year-old actor and activist said.

Guimaraes’ triumph is a tiny part of a larger feat in Brazil, a nation that has tamed an AIDS epidemic that was predicted to all but destroy its working-age population.