Noses, made in Britain: Lab-grown organs PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MARIA CHENG, AP Medical Writer   
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 13:04

LONDON (AP) — In a north London hospital, scientists are growing noses, ears and blood vessels in a bold attempt to make body parts in the laboratory.

It's far from the only lab in the world that is pursuing the futuristic idea of growing organs for transplant. But the London work was showcased Tuesday as Mayor Boris Johnson announced a plan to attract more labs to do cutting-edge health and science research in the area.

While only a handful of patients have received the British lab-made organs so far— including tear ducts, blood vessels and windpipes — researchers hope they will soon be able to transplant more types of body parts into patients, including what would be the world's first nose made partly from stem cells.

"It's like making a cake," said Alexander Seifalian at University College London, the scientist leading the effort. "We just use a different kind of oven."

British authorities have invested nearly 4 million pounds ($6.7 million) in the plan to stimulate research in the London-Oxford-Cambridge area. It aims to attract companies to the area to foster collaboration and promote research and manufacturing. A major center for biological research will open in London next year.

Maryland lawmakers pass minimum wage increase PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by BRIAN WITTE, Associated Press NICK TABOR, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 06:17

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The Maryland General Assembly gave final approval to incremental increases in the state's minimum wage over several years to $10.10 in 2018 and to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana possession, as the final regular legislative session of Gov. Martin O'Malley's tenure ended Monday.

The House of Delegates voted 87-47 to raise the minimum wage early in the day, sending it to O'Malley, who made the bill a priority of his last regular legislative session. Passage of the minimum wage bill won praise from President Barack Obama.

"Maryland's important action is a reminder that many states, cities and counties — as well as a majority of the American people — are way ahead of Washington on this crucial issue," the president said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the General Assembly also passed a bill to decriminalize the possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana, and O'Malley said he planned to sign it. O'Malley's decision marks a change in thinking by the former Baltimore mayor known for his tough-on-crime stance who is now considering a White House bid in 2016. O'Malley said when he was a young prosecutor, he once thought decriminalizing marijuana might undermine the public will that is needed to fight drug violence.

American, US Airways tweak fees, mileage rules PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by DAVID KOENIG, AP Airlines Writer   
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 10:01

DALLAS (AP) — If you use miles to get a free ticket on American Airlines, you may have to pay to check that suitcase.

American and US Airways announced changes Tuesday to their policies on checked-bag fees and redeeming miles for free flights.

Passengers traveling on American on miles they earned or who paid full price for an economy seat won't get free checked bags anymore. Some elite-level frequent fliers on both airlines will get one less free bag than before.

When it comes to redeeming miles for free flights, US Airways is ending blackout days. American will change the number of miles to get an unrestricted free flight — more on popular travel days, fewer on less-busy ones. And it's making an array of changes to the miles needed for international trips.

Suzanne Rubin, an American Airlines vice president who oversees the AAdvantage loyalty program, said the changes will increase revenue but she declined to give a figure.

Volkswagen expansion talks at standstill in Tennessee PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by ERIK SCHELZIG, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 06:16

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Expansion talks at Volkswagen's lone U.S. plant have ground to a halt amid disagreements about the role of organized labor at the factory in Tennessee.

An acrimonious vote in February at the plant in Chattanooga resulted in the narrow defeat of the United Auto Workers union.

Since then, the union has challenged the outcome of the vote with the National Labor Relations Board; a top labor representative on Volkswagen's supervisory board told Chattanooga workers that U.S. Sen. Bob Corker and Gov. Bill Haslam "interfered outrageously" in the election; and the governor has suggested that the state has been unable to engage in negotiations with a VW official with final decision-making power.

State incentives for expanding the plant would have to be approved by the state Legislature, which is preparing to adjourn for the year in the next few weeks. But Haslam told reporters last week that there were no active talks with the German automaker.

The governor's comments came in the aftermath of revelations that the state's $300 million incentive package offered to Volkswagen in August contained the caveat that the money was subject to labor talks "being concluded to the satisfaction" of the state.

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