Britain Grants License

For Human Cloning

LONDON -- Britain on Wednesday granted its first license for human cloning, more than three years after becoming the first nation to authorize the technique to produce stem cells for medical research.

A team of researchers at Newcastle University said they hoped eventually to create insulin-producing cells that could be transplanted into diabetic patients.

Britain became the first country to authorize the cloning of human embryos when Parliament voted in 2001 to allow regulators to license the method to scientists investigating the medical promise of stem cells, the master cells of the body.

The United States prohibits any kind of embryo cloning and has lobbied strongly against it. The Bush administration also has restricted funding for stem cell research, which has become an issue in the U.S. presidential campaign.

EUROPE

* LONDON -- Evidence obtained by other governments through torture may be used to detain terrorism suspects indefinitely in Britain, an appeals court ruled.

The case was brought by eight foreign terrorism suspects who claimed they had been jailed by British authorities without charge or trial based on information obtained through the torture of suspects at U.S. detention camps such as those at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Bagram air base in Afghanistan.

Justice John Laws, one of the two justices in the majority, said British authorities could not use evidence obtained by torture that "the state has procured or connived at." However, the government was under no compulsion to ignore information obtained through torture by other states.

The men were challenging their detention under an anti-terrorism law enacted after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. The law permits the indefinite detention of foreign nationals suspected of certain offenses if they cannot be safely removed to another country.

THE MIDDLE EAST

* BEIRUT -- Amnesty International called for an investigation into the deaths of two Kurds held by Syrian authorities, saying it had reports both had died after being tortured. The group, which has often complained about Syria's human rights record, said one of the Kurds was reported to have died on Aug. 3 from a brain hemorrhage caused by severe beatings.

THE AMERICAS

* NAGUA, Dominican Republic -- Migrants lost at sea for nearly two weeks without food or water said more than 40 people died during the trip, and at least one woman who refused to give breast milk to passengers was thrown overboard into shark-infested waters.

Many of the 86 people crammed into the wooden boat, about 30 feet long by 10 feet wide, became hysterical when provisions ran out after three days, said Faustina Santana, one of 39 migrants found alive Tuesday near this small fishing village, not far from where the boat originally departed, bound for Puerto Rico.

* BRASILIA -- Brazil intends to distribute 3 billion free condoms every year, mainly to the poor and young, in a bid to prevent the spread of AIDS, the country's AIDS director said. The plan to offer universal access to condoms builds on the country's renowned AIDS treatment program, which provides a cocktail of free drugs for patients with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

* BOGOTA, Colombia -- Police arrested two union officials suspected of being Marxist rebels, but a senior labor leader accused the security forces of a campaign of persecution. The detentions of Alexander Cetina and Juan Carlos Rueda in the eastern province of Arauca came six days after the army killed three union officials in the same region because they took out weapons when troops tried to arrest them.

* BOGOTA, Colombia -- Suspected rebels killed nine coca pickers on a remote ranch in northeast Colombia, an official and a witness said. Emilio Jimenez, a town councilman from Pecheli, about 200 miles northeast of Bogota, said Marxist rebels suspected the peasants of working for right-wing paramilitary fighters.

ASIA

* BEIJING -- The United States is protesting China's treatment of a Chinese-born American university professor who was detained for two weeks on espionage charges, calling it harsh and inappropriate, the U.S. Embassy said.

Fei-ling Wang was arrested July 25 in Shanghai and released Sunday. He has returned to the United States, where he teaches at Georgia Tech, an embassy spokeswoman said. His arrest was the latest in a string of such cases involving academics with ties to the United States.

-- From News Services