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After a decade in which oil-producing countries struggled with weak markets, booming prices have suddenly rearranged global politics. All but forgotten during the 1990's, OPEC now is influencing decisions from Washington to Beijing. How will Washington deal with powerful oil exporters who are determined to confront US might? Also, producing stem cells without destroying human embryos, and Asia's tiger economies have long put business ahead of politics, but now they must confront Myanmar's democracy crackdown.  Jim Sterngold guest hosts.

(L-R) Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud attend the OPEC meeting in Riyadh, 17 November 2007
Photo: Hassan Ammar/AFP/Getty Images

Making News Stem Cell Breakthrough 5 MIN, 51 SEC

Two teams of scientists, one in Japan and another in Wisconsin, have solved a medical riddle by producing stem cells for research without destroying human embryos in the process. The discovery may allow scientists to get around ethical concerns about harming human life and unleash greater federal funding. But some experts say researchers should not give up work with tried-and-true embryonic stem cells just yet. Gideon Gil is health and science editor of the Boston Globe.

Gideon Gil, Health and Science Editor, Boston Globe

Main Topic High Oil Prices Shifting Global Wealth and Power 35 MIN

A decade ago, oil prices hovered near $20 a barrel and national security experts talked about missiles not pipelines. But the war in Iraq, instability in the Middle East and soaring energy demand have made oil an unsettling global issue. Today, as the US finds itself competing with China to lock up new oil supplies, oil prices hover near $100 a barrel, hurting US consumers but sending hundreds of billions of dollars to Venezuela and Iran, which have become major irritants to Washington.  How is this flood of petro-dollars affecting American security? How is the US economy coping? Can the US ever cut its oil dependence? How have surging oil prices rearranged global politics? 

Anne Korin, Institute for the Analysis of Global Security
Aaron Friedberg, Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University
Kenneth Rogoff, Harvard University (@krogoff)
Philip Verleger, PKVerleger (@pkverlegerllc)

Reporter's Notebook ASEAN Adopts Charter despite Differences over Myanmar 8 MIN

A long-time loose group of countries focused on trade and business, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is trying to forge a common market roughly similar to the European Union. But the question of how to confront Myanmar's crackdown on democracy has left ASEAN divided. Will Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore start to take a stand on democracy, and are they turning away from the US as China booms? Donald Emmerson is director of the Southeast Asia Forum at Stanford’s Shorenstein Center and the author of many papers and books on the region.

Donald Emmerson, Director of the South East Asia Forum, Stanford University's Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center

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