I expect this to turn out to be an important non-string QG paper this year. http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0607014 Particles as Wilson lines of gravitational field L. Freidel, J. Kowalski--Glikman, A. Starodubtsev 19 pages "Since the work of Mac-Dowell-Mansouri it is well known that gravity can be written as a gauge theory for the de Sitter group. In this paper we consider the coupling of this theory to the simplest gauge invariant observables that is, Wilson lines. The dynamics of these Wilson lines is shown to reproduce exactly the dynamics of relativistic particles coupled to gravity, the gauge charges carried by Wilson lines being the mass and spin of the particles. Insertion of Wilson lines breaks in a controlled manner the diffeomorphism symmetry of the theory and the gauge degree of freedom are transmuted to particles degree of freedom." It investigates a way that matter could arise from the geometry of spacetime-----particles can arise as "defects" in the gravitational field. I am told Freidel has yet another paper with Artem Staro in the works, and also one with Aristide Baratin. John Baez has been discussing some anticipated results in connection with some papers in the works by himself and also by Freidel and others.