“The president has said that the use of chemical weapons would change his calculus, and it has,” said Benjamin J. Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser. Rhodes said U.S. intelligence had determined with “high certainty” that Syrian government forces have “used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year.” The Washington Post has more here.
Supreme Court: Human Genes Cannot Be Patented - The Supreme Court says companies cannot patent human genes, a decision that could profoundly affect the medical and biotechnology industries.
In a unanimous decision, the court struck down patents held by Myriad Genetics Inc. on two genes linked to increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Opponents say patent protection shouldn’t be given to something that can be found inside the human body.
But lower courts approved, saying Myriad’s genes could be patented because the DNA it isolated and took from the body has a “markedly different chemical structure” from DNA found naturally within the body.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the DNA is a product of nature and not eligible for a patent merely because it has been isolated. TPM.com has more here.
Partisan Gridlock Leads to New Low In Congress Approval Ratings - Nearly four in five Americans in June, 78%, disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job, marking the 45th consecutive month that more than two-thirds of Americans have given Congress the thumbs down. Americans' high level of disapproval is less about what Congress is doing than about what it isn't doing: putting aside partisan bickering and getting things done. Gallup.com has more here.
The first presidential poll since a disputed 2009 contest led to months of unrest is unlikely to change rocky ties between the West and the OPEC nation of 75 million, but it may bring a softening of the antagonistic style favored by Ahmadinejad. Reuters.com has more here.
Michaud Explores Run For Governor of Maine - Rep. Michael H. Michaud, D-Maine, announced Thursday that he is officially exploring a run for governor.
“During the last few months, I’ve been deeply honored by the countless Mainers across the state — Democrats, Republicans and independents alike — who have asked me to consider a run for governor,” Michaud said in a video on his campaign website. “I’ve listened and I heard their frustrations and concerns about the lack of real leadership in our state.” RollCall.com has more here.
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