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Archive for Thursday, June 17, 2004

Briefly

June 17, 2004

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California

Officer describes search for Laci Peterson

A police officer described in painstaking detail Wednesday the search for Laci Peterson after her husband, now charged in her murder, reported her missing.

Modesto police Sgt. Ron Cloward was put in charge of the search efforts Dec. 26, 2002.

Searchers first scoured a park near the couple's home looking through "bushes ... piles of leaves, anything at all" and checked with registered sex offenders and recent parolees in the area, Cloward testified at Scott Peterson's trial.

The search then expanded to cover the entire city of Modesto, in manholes, rivers, alleys, canals and orchards, Cloward said.

Peterson's attorneys have accused authorities of conducting a sloppy investigation and focusing too quickly on Peterson to the detriment of other leads.

Washington, D.C.

Traveler registration program to begin

The government expects to learn this summer whether frequent fliers will embrace the chance to avoid extra security inspections at airports by submitting to background checks in advance.

Some aviation industry officials predict an enthusiastic reaction from business travelers.

"More and more travelers will look to this voluntary program as a hassle-free way to get through government airport security lines," said Doug Wills, spokesman for the Air Transport Assn., an airline industry group.

The agency said Wednesday the program would begin as a trial in Minneapolis this month before also testing it at airports in Boston, Los Angeles, Houston and Washington, D.C.

Burundi

Thousands leaving Congo to flee fighting

More than 22,000 Congolese refugees fleeing fighting in eastern Congo have crossed the border into Burundi in the past week, a local official said Wednesday.

The refugees have been put into two camps in Cibitoke and Rugumbo, two towns just miles apart near the Congolese border. Refugees were separated because of tensions between different tribes in eastern Congo, said Onespohore Nduwumwami, mayor of Rugombo.

Brig. Gen. Laurent Nkunda, a renegade ex-rebel commander, and fellow commander Col. Jules Mutebutsi captured Congo's eastern border town of Bukavu on June 2 to stop what they claimed were atrocities against Congolese Tutsi, a minority known as the Banyamulenge.

London

Scientists seek license to clone human embryos

Britain's reproductive science regulator said Wednesday it was considering the country's first request to clone human embryos for scientific research.

A team at Newcastle University said it had asked the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority for a license to create embryos from which stem cells would be harvested for medical research. The researchers hope eventually to create insulin-producing cells that could be transplanted into diabetic patients.

The authority said its research committee was meeting Wednesday to consider the request.

Britain legalized therapeutic cloning in 2001, becoming the first country in the world to do so. Scientists wishing to perform the process in Britain need a license from the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, which has not yet granted any.

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