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U.S. panel shifts on bird flu research

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Panel shifts on bird flu research

Two scientific papers that describe experiments with a virulent and contagious bird flu virus should be published in uncensored form, a committee of scientists advising the federal government said Friday.

That recommendation by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity reverses one the committee made in January, when it asked two journals, Science and Nature, to hold off publishing studies about the lab-engineered strains of the H5N1 influenza virus.

The about-face came after the heads of the research teams — one Dutch, the other American — clarified their work and provided new information on its possible importance at a two-day meeting of the committee in Washington.

Afghanistan

Member of militia kills nine of his colleagues

A member of an Afghan militia promoted by the U.S. military to protect rural villages drugged his colleagues and killed at least nine of them as they slept Friday, officials said. The suspect escaped.

The killings added to concerns about the militia, known as the Afghan Local Police. Touted by U.S. military commanders as a way to give Afghans a larger stake in battling the insurgency, the local police program has been assailed by rights advocates and many Afghans as bringing former Taliban and criminal elements into positions of armed authority. • The lawyer representing Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the soldier charged with 17 counts of murder in the deaths of Afghan civilians this month, said military prosecutors had denied members of his legal team access to witnesses at a Kandahar hospital, as well as to investigative files, medical records and surveillance video. The complaints by John Henry Browne are expected to be just the first of many disputes over evidence.

Elsewhere

France: Eight days after the police shot dead the self-confessed killer of four Jews and three French paratroopers in Toulouse, police on Friday detained 19 people described as Islamic militants in that city and other parts of France.

RUSSIA: The Obama administration said Friday that it has told the Russian government that it is concerned about the harassment of U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul, who suggested this week that his phone and e-mail account may have been hacked, allowing journalists from state-controlled TV to track him.

Washington: Newly released Pentagon documents show that Air Force officers debated briefly about burial at sea before concluding that 1,321 unidentifiable fragments of remains from the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon should be treated as medical waste and incinerated.

Myanmar: Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Friday that parliamentary elections on Sunday will not be free or fair because of irregularities, but she vowed to press her candidacy.

Times wires

U.S. panel shifts on bird flu research

03/30/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 31, 2012 7:07pm]
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