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Critics Protest Obama Gap
In Dalai Lama’s Schedule

When the Dalai Lama landed here on Monday, he set off on a characteristically hectic, weeklong schedule including lectures, seminars, an awards ceremony and meetings with a senior State Department official and the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi.

But one appointment not on the calendar of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, is a meeting with the president of the United States — a gap that has drawn protests from Republican lawmakers, commentators and some Tibetan leaders, who say the Obama administration is snubbing him to appease China.

In June, the White House informed the Dalai Lama that President Barack Barack Obama was committed to meeting him, but not until after he visits Beijing in November, a senior administration official said.

Greeting the Dalai Lama, whom Beijing condemns as a separatist, weeks before Obama’s first presidential trip to China could be “substantially damaging to the relationship,” said this official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicate nature of the issue.

Some White House officials even worried that the Chinese might withdraw the invitation to Obama, the official said, though Beijing had not issued any direct or veiled threats that it would do so.

“We want to have a good U.S.-China relationship, not for its own sake, but because if we don’t, we won’t be able to help Tibet,” the senior official said. “If the Tibet relationship is seen as an irritant to the U.S.-China relationship, then that will cripple our ability to be of help.”

Trimming Fat, Conde Nast
Closes ‘Gourmet’ Magazine

It’s Rachael Ray’s world now — we’re all just cooking in it.

Gourmet magazine, which has celebrated cooking and travel in its lavish pages since 1941, will cease publication with the November issue, its owner, Conde Nast, announced Monday.

Gourmet was to food what Vogue is to fashion, a magazine with a rich history and a perch high in the publishing firmament. Under the stewardship of Ruth Reichl, one of the star editors at Conde Nast, Gourmet poured money into sumptuous photography, test kitchens and exotic travel pieces, resulting in a beautifully produced magazine that lived, and sold, the high life.

Reichl, formerly a critic at The New York Times, will most likely leave Conde Nast, though it is not entirely clear, a Conde Nast spokeswoman, Maurie Perl, said. The company will continue with the more recipe-focused food magazine Bon Appetit.

Conde Nast also announced it would shut three other magazines: the parenting magazine Cookie and the wedding publications Elegant Bride and Modern Bride. About 180 people will lose their jobs as a result of the four closings.

In choosing Bon Appetit over Gourmet, Conde Nast reflected a bigger shift inside and outside the company: influence, and spending power, now lies with the middle class.

Jet-Leasing Companies Are Still Profitable But Deep In Debt

Jet-leasing companies own or manage more than one-third of the airliners in the sky and, despite the turmoil in the global economy, they are still turning significant profits.

Yet many of the world’s biggest leasing companies — top customers for Boeing and Airbus — are sinking in debt and scrambling for cash. Several are now up for sale but having difficulty attracting buyers.

When the dust eventually settles, analysts say, many lessors will probably face higher borrowing costs. And that could increase the cost of flying for airlines and passengers.

“There is a lot of disarray,” said Ron Wainshal, chief executive of Aircastle, a leasing company with a fleet of around 130 commercial jets.

For NIH Chief,
Issues Of Identity and Culture

He drives a Harley-Davidson, wears a black leather jacket on his back and his religion on his sleeve, and plays a custom guitar with big-name rock stars.

All that would seem to have nothing to do with Dr. Francis S. Collins’ day job as the new director of the National Institutes of Health. Except that at the institutes, such things do matter.

Already known for his leadership of the Human Genome Project (part of the health institutes), Collins, 59, is settling in after nearly two months on the job but still contends with controversies that follow him like the exhaust from his hog.

First, there is the God issue. Collins believes in him. Passionately. And he preaches about his belief in churches and a best-selling book. For some presidential appointees, that might not be a problem, but many scientists view such outspoken religious commitment as a sign of mild dementia.

Dr. Irving L. Weissman, director of the Stanford Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, said he was nervous about the appointment until Collins promised in a phone call not to let faith interfere with scientific judgment. But Weissman said that when therapeutic cloning proved successful, as he predicted it would, Collins would face a conflict between his job and his faith.

“There will be a moment of truth for Dr. Collins,” Weissman said.

In a recent interview over French toast at a diner near the agency’s campus here, Collins rejected any notion that faith and science conflicted in substantial ways. Indeed, he said, science illuminates the work and language of God. And he pointed out that he wrote in his book about God that he supports therapeutic cloning.

“I have made it clear that I have no religious agenda for the NIH,” he said, “and I think the vast majority of scientists have been reassured by that and have moved on.”