SEOUL, South Korea – Disgraced South Korean cloning scientist Hwang Woo-suk was found guilty by a Seoul court Monday of embezzling from his stem cell research fund and illegally buying human embryos.
The court also ruled that the 56-year-old Hwang, who became a national hero after he claimed to be the first to successfully clone human stem cells, had partially fabricated the results of his research. He was given a two-year sentence that was suspended provided he stay out of trouble with the law for the next three years.
After Hwang’s findings were disclosed in 2004, the South Korean government touted him as a national hero and announced plans to promote Hwang for a Nobel Prize. Time magazine named him one of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2004. The following year, Hwang’s team of scientists at Seoul National University created Snuppy, the first known cloned dog.
But a local television report raised ethical questions about the human eggs used for his research, and eventually his two published papers on the research were found to be fabricated.
King waives lashing sentence for journalist
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia’s king waived a flogging sentence on a female journalist charged for involvement in a risque TV show, the second such pardoning of such a high profile case by the monarch in recent years.
King Abdullah’s decision to waive 22-year-old journalist Rozanna al-Yami’s sentence of 60 lashes by a judge in Jiddah follows intense international media attention.
The journalist was charged with helping coordinate a talk show on a Lebanese channel featuring a Saudi man describing what appeared to be his active sex life. Though the charges against her were dropped, the judge ordered the flogging as a “deterrent” al-Yami said.
Al-Yami worked as a coordinator for the program but has denied involvement in the sex-related episode.
Group accuses Israel of withholding water
JERUSALEM – Amnesty International is accusing Israel of pumping disproportionate amounts of drinking water from an aquifer it controls in the West Bank, depriving local Palestinians of their fair share.
The London-based human rights group also said in a report to be released today that Israel has blocked infrastructure projects that would improve existing water supplies to Palestinians – both in the West Bank and those living in the Gaza Strip.
“This scarcity has affected every walk of life for Palestinians,” Amnesty’s researcher on Israel, Donatella Rovera, said Monday. “A greater amount of water has to be granted to them.”
Israeli officials deny the accusations.