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Dr. Haruko Obokata, a rising star of the scientific community and lead author on two papers heralded as revolutionizing to the field of stem cell research, has been found guilty of scientific misconduct by Japan’s leading research institute.
The accusation is the latest problem for the studies, which claimed to be able to produce stem cells from ordinary cells in simple laboratory procedures: bathing regular cells in an acid, or applying mechanical stressors like “squeezing.” The research, known as stimulus triggered activation of pluripotency (STAP), was published in Nature in January, and recently ran into questions of methodology.
On Tuesday morning, the research institute RIKEN announced that Obokata, 30, had deliberately fabricated the data to produce the findings. Institute director Ryoji Noyori said he planned to “rigorously punish relevant people after procedures in a disciplinary committee,” according to AFP. Shunsuke Ishii, chairman of the investigative committee on the issue, told reporters that “Obokata alone is responsible for the misconduct.”
For today’s Newsweek Rewind, we feature the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which occurred twenty-five years ago, on March 24, 1989. One of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history, Exxon Valdez released over 10.8 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound, contaminating 1,300 miles of the coastline and killing thousands of birds, eagles, otters, and other native animals. Despite over a billion dollars being spent on cleanup, the region still hasn’t fully recovered, even a quarter of a century later.
The spill was covered extensively in Newsweek’s September 18, 1989 issue, with reporting by Harry Hurt III, Lynda Wright, Pamela Abramson in articles by Jerry Adler and Sharon Begley. The feature What Exxon Leaves Behind paints a grim picture. “Nearly six months after one of its giant tankers spilled millions of gallons of oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound, Exxon is preparing to end its cleanup operation. It has been a colossal and humbling effort: Exxon has found that what man has defaced not even the world’s largest oil company can repair.”
"There’s a disease that’s killing our parents and no one seems to be doing anything about it." —Seth Rogen on Alzheimer’s.
5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s—a disease without any treatment, cure or prevention. The disease could affect 16 million Americans by 2050, costing $1.2 trillion.
Paywall is down on this story.
Photo Essay: Stranded in Sweden by Matilde Gattoni and Matteo Fagotto
Once they were respected and successful, they had money and power. Now they’re broke, roaming like ghosts in a foreign land.
These are the stories of 12 young Syrian men who used to be rich businessmen, global professionals and members of prominent families. They sacrificed everything to escape war and reach Sweden, the only country granting them permanent residence.
Far from discovering the paradise they dreamed about, some now lead an invisible life in bleak suburbs and remote villages, isolated and unable to find work. Cut off from their loved ones, they are stuck in a limbo between a comfortable life they cannot forget and a tough, new reality. Some of the people asked to keep their faces out of the photos, to protect their families still in Syria.
Shadowed by Secret Servicemen President Barack Obama arrives at Schiphol Airport to attend the Nuclear Security Summit in the Hague earlier this week. The crisis over the Crimean peninsula has cast a shadow of its own over Obama’s agenda. He planned to discuss further sanctions against Russia with European leaders; but Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and other economic considerations will complicate the conversation. And while international events have demanded the president’s attention lately, a key part of his domestic agenda is in the news as March 31 approaches—that’s the deadline by which uninsured Americans have to sign up for health care coverage.
Photo credit: Peter Dejong/AP
New York: Hey, so what neighborhood do you live in?
Anti-coup students stage protests at Alexandria University in Egypt, March 19, 2014. Egyptian security interferes students with tear gas and pump-rifle.
Photo credit: Ibrahim Ramadan/Anadolu Agency/Getty
The hotel bar TVs were all flashing clips of Senate intelligence committee chair Dianne Feinstein denouncing the CIA for spying on her staff, when I met an agency operative for drinks last week. He flashed a wan smile, gestured at the TV and volunteered that he’d narrowly escaped being assigned to interrogate Al-Qaida suspects at a secret site years ago.
"I guess I would’ve done it," he said, implying you either took orders or quit. But everybody in the counterterrorism program knew what was going on in those places, he said, and he was glad the agency found something else for him to do at the last minute. "Look what’s happened."
Four years after Feinstein launched her probe of that interrogation program, her committee and the CIA are locked in a death-struggle over what can be released from the panel’s 6,300-page, still-classified report. The impasse is bringing renewed attention to statements by former CIA and FBI agents that buttress the committee’s all-but-official conclusion that the agency exaggerated the interrogation program’s successes and minimized its abuses. Read more.
Photo: Charges of spying on the Senate isn’t the worst the intelligence agency faces. Credit: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA