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Front Page: Relief Lands in Myanmar, Putin Confirmed as PM, Stem Cell Award in CA

  • Relief Lands in Myanmar: UN relief supplies touched down in Myanmar this morning, though US military planes loaded with aid are still denied access by the country's isolationist regime. The junta also continues to stall visas for UN teams wanting to enter the country and ensure that the aid supplies reach victims amid fears that food and water shortages could push the death toll above 100,000. The prime minister of Thailand has offered to negotiate on the US's behalf to persuade the junta to accept their aid. US aid is currently at a staging area in Thailand, waiting. The coordinator of UN humanitarian aid said, "it is imperative at this point that they do open up and allow a major international relief effort to get under way."

  • Putin Confirmed as PM: Russia's parliament has just easily approved former President Vladimir Putin to be its new prime minister. Russia's new president Dmitry Medvedev nominated Putin almost immediately. The State Duma (lower house) voted 392-56 for Putin's appointment just after a speech where Putin promised parliament "single-digit inflation within a few years". Putin also said Russia could overtake the UK's GDP this year and become the world's sixth-largest economy.
  • Stem Cell Award in CA: California awarded $271 million in grants slated to build 12 stem cell research centers. The awards, announced yesterday, are the biggest sum of money awarded by California’s taxpayer-backed stem cell program. The program is scheduled to spend about $3 billion over about a decade. The grants are needed as the Bush administration prohibits federal financing of research using any human embryonic stem cells derived after August 2001 so any work involving newer stem cell lines cannot share any supplies or space with a project that is federally financed.
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