Voices in the News

A montage of voices in this past week's news, including University of Wisconsin cell biologist James Thomson; Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the League of Theatres and Producers; Bruce Cohen, spokesperson for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 1; Sam Dolnick, Associated Press correspondent; Martin Indyk, former U.S. ambassador to Israel; Mustafa Kamel el-Sayed, Cairo political analyst; Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, Israel's former chief of staff; Gerald Steinberg, professor of political studies at Israel's Bar Ilan University.

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen.

And these were some of the voices in the news this past week.

Dr. JAMES THOMPSON (Cell Biologist, University of Wisconsin): It changes everything in that these are not cells derived from embryos anymore. And it remains to be seen if these are perfectly the same as embryonic stem cells. But my feeling is that over time, we will get better and it will be essentially equivalent to embryonic stem cells. And that very much changes the ethics of the debate.

Mr. BRUCE COHEN (Spokesperson, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local One): We're ready to sit down at the bargaining table now. Every day that Broadway continues with this situation, you can't sell last night's ticket.

Ms. CHARLOTTE ST. MARTIN (Executive Director, League of American Theatres and Producers): We have offered many, many different proposals trying to find a place that would harm them the least, but give flexibility to our producers, and also, frankly, give them the relief of not paying for people who don't work.

Mr. SAM DOLNICK (Correspondent, Associated Press): It's grim out there. These areas are just really ravaged. These are bamboo and straw huts, the occasional brick home or tin shack and they were just flattened by the storm.

Dr. MARTIN INDYK (Director, Saban Center for Middle East Policy; Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel): I think it's certainly affected President Bush's view of things. But it was a mistake to simply walk away and watch from the sidelines while the Israelis and Palestinians had at it. There was a whole edifice of peacemaking that had been established out of the previous eight years by the Clinton administration and, essentially, it was burnt to the ground.

Mr. MUSTAFA KAMEL EL-SAYED (Cairo Political Analyst): My personal view is that Arab governments should not go to this meeting. And, in fact, the position of the Palestinians will be much stronger if Arab governments would not go.

Mr. AMNON LIPKIN-SHAHAK (Former Chief of Staff, Israeli Defense Force): I do believe that we have Palestinian leaders, like Abu Mazen and Salam Fayad, who are willing, which is very much different from our experience with Chairman Arafat. No doubt that there is a will, if there is a way - I believe there is a way - but we are in the early beginning.

Professor GERALD STEINBERG (Political Studies, Bar Ilan University, Israel): There's no enthusiasm or excitement. This is certainly not anything comparable to the days of Oslo, when people thought that peace was actually going to break out.

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