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  Salamander-Inspired Therapy May Aid Injured VetsMay 27, 2008 22:13 Last week in an operating room in Texas, a wounded American soldier underwent a history-making procedure that could help him regrow the finger that was lost to a bomb attack in Baghdad, Iraq, last year.

Army Sgt. Shiloh Harris' doctors applied specially formulated powder to what's left of the finger in an effort to do for wounded soldiers what salamanders can do naturally: replace missing body parts.

If it sounds like science fiction, the lead surgeon agreed.

"It is. But science fiction eventually becomes true, doesn't it?" asked Dr. Steven Wolf of Brooke Army Medical Center.

Harris' surgery is part of a major medical study of "regenerative medicine" being pursued by the Pentagon and several of the nation's top medical facilities, including the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic. Nearly $250 million has been dedicated to the research.

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Israel Del Toro is one of the wounded vets who might one day benefit from this research. He was injured by a bomb in Afghanistan. Both his hands were badly burned. On his left hand, what was left of his fingers fused together.

"You know, in the beginning, when I first got hurt, I told them, just cut it off. So I can get some function," Del Toro said. His doctors did not cut off his injured left arm. And since that injury, advancements in burn and amputation treatment mean he may one day be able to use his fingers again.

A key to the research dedicated to regrowing fingers and other body parts is a powder, nicknamed "pixie dust" by some of the people at Brooke. It's made from tissue extracted from pigs.

The pixie dust powder itself doesn't regrow the missing tissue; it tricks the patient's body into doing that itself.

  McCain Calls For Slashing U.S. Nuclear ArsenalMay 27, 2008 13:28 Now this I have to agree with...

The United States should scrap a significant portion of its nuclear arsenal, Sen. John McCain said Tuesday in a speech laying out his nuclear security policy.

McCain also spoke about canceling the development of nuclear "bunker-busting" bombs and working with Russia and China to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

"Today, we deploy thousands of nuclear warheads. It is my hope to move as rapidly as possible to a significantly smaller force," the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said at the University of Denver.

McCain advisers described the senator's policy as "significantly different" from that of President Bush in its goals and approach.
  Gitmo Judge Bars Pentagon Official From TrialMay 12, 2008 17:07 A military judge's ruling that a Pentagon lawyer improperly pressured prosecutors could hurt efforts to try top al Qaeda suspects held at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, a defense lawyer said Monday.

The ruling called allegations that Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann, the legal adviser to the Office of Military Commissions, exerted improper influence on the case of Salim Ahmed Hamdan "troubling" and ordered Hartmann to stay out of the prisoner's prosecution.

Defense attorney Charles Swift said the ruling is likely to stall the pending case against Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's driver and bodyguard, and complicate the prosecutions of other al Qaeda figures before the military courts set up by the Bush administration.

"It would seem that they need to go back to Square 1 wherever the HVD [high-value detainee] charges are concerned or risk the fact that they may be so tainted from the start that they will never survive," said Swift.

Friday's ruling by Navy Capt. Keith Allred follows the testimony of Col. Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay. Davis resigned in October, saying the prosecutions had become "deeply politicized," and appeared as a defense witness for Hamdan at a hearing in late April.
  Cheney'S Chief Of Staff Subpoenaed - Cnn.ComMay 06, 2008 16:16 A House of Representatives committee has subpoenaed Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff as part of its investigation into the treatment of suspected terrorists, the White House confirmed Tuesday.

This photo provided by the White House shows David Addington in 2005.

David Addington was served with the subpoena shortly after the House Judiciary Committee approved it Tuesday morning, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

Cheney's office told the committee last week Addington would appear before a Judiciary subcommittee if subpoenaed, but only if the panel limited its questions.

"He said he would respond appropriately, and I'm sure he will," Perino said.

The committee is investigating how Bush administration lawyers drew up rules governing the treatment of suspected terrorists after the September 11 attacks.

Critics say those rules opened the door to the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody.

Although the administration insists that it does not allow torture, it has acknowledged authorizing the use of "waterboarding" against three suspected al Qaeda figures in the past.

The technique was used against prisoners by the Spanish Inquisition, Cambodia's Khmer Rouge and the World War II Japanese military, according to human rights groups.

CIA Director Michael Hayden told the House Intelligence Committee in February that waterboarding is no longer part of the CIA's interrogation program.

In a May 1 letter to Judiciary Committee, Cheney legal adviser Kathryn Wheelbarger said Addington would agree to be subpoenaed if the committee limits questions to his "personal knowledge of key historical facts" and avoids questions about Cheney's discussions with President Bush.

Those discussions and any recommendations made by the vice president could be covered by a claim of privilege, Wheelbarger wrote.

Another official involved in drawing up the administration's interrogation procedures, former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo, has agreed to appear before a Judiciary subcommittee voluntarily, committee aides said.

Yoo is the author of a 2003 memo advising the Pentagon that treatment fell short of torture unless it caused pain equivalent to "death, organ failure, or serious impairment of body functions."

The memo was renounced by the Justice Department after its disclosure and was recently declassified.