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The UN is giving mixed reviews to biofuels that produce energy from agricultural products. They may be counter-productive for the environment. America's corn farmers are reaping a financial harvest from ethanol. Is it really cleaner and cheaper? What is it doing to the price of food? Also, from the Persian Gulf, Vice President Dick Cheney issues a warning to Iran and, on Reporter's Notebook, an Islamic crackdown on public displays and Tehran's mad, mad world of high fashion.

Photo: Scott Olson, Getty Images

Main Topic Do Biofuels Cause More Problems than They Solve?

The rush is on for biofuels to end dependence on oil, help solve global warming and create jobs for the rural poor. In America's corn-belt, especially in Iowa, there's a rush to produce ethanol.  States and the federal government are providing incentives, including subsidies, for fuels derived from agricultural products. But a new UN report says the benefits of biofuels-including ethanol-may be offset by environmental damage, and there is growing concern about their impact on the price of food. We examine the pros and cons of energy from agricultural products. Is it really cleaner and cheaper? Is the US moving too fast?

John Coequyt, Energy Policy Specialist, Greenpeace
Jill Euken, Bio-Industrial Products Specialist, Iowa State University Extension
Dennis Langley, CEO, E3 BioFuels
Juli Niemann, Oil Analyst, Smith, Moore & Company
Rick Tolman, CEO, National Corn Growers Association

Reporter's Notebook Illicit Underground Fashion Show in Tehran

As Iran faces tighter economic sanctions from the UN and big trouble with the US, dissidents are being jailed and there's a public crackdown on men and women showing too much flesh in public.  Tehran is an unlikely place for high-fashion shows in front of audiences wearing low-cut dresses, skin-tight T-shirts and acid-washed jeans, but Iran is a country of contrasts. Guests to a secret meeting are carefully screened and arrive to a "bland apartment building" north of Tehran "draped in coats and head scarves."  But downstairs in the basement, it's air kisses, gossip, and hip-hop music in "a sea of bare skin and perfume." That's according to Borzou Daragahi, who reports from Tehran for the Los Angeles Times.

Borzou Daragahi, BuzzFeed News (@borzou)

Making News Cheney Tries to Retain Support in Iraq on Middle East Tour

From the deck of an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, Vice President Cheney today had a warning for Iran: the US will rally its regional allies for help in Iraq and to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons and dominating the Middle East.  That may be easier said than done, as diplomatic correspondent Robin Wright reports in the Washington Post.

Robin Wright, US Institute of Peace / Woodrow Wilson Center (@wrightr)


Warren Olney

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