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Archive for Saturday, May 8, 2004

Briefly

May 8, 2004

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WASHINGTON, D.C.

Bush sending Powell, Rice to meet with Arab ministers

President Bush is looking for Palestinian leaders to come up with a detailed plan for curbing attacks on Israel as he sends his two top foreign policy advisers into Arab meetings.

The idea is that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is prepared to implement a proposed withdrawal from Gaza and a partial pullout of the West Bank only if terrorism is halted.

Even such a limited withdrawal would give the stagnant Bush drive for a Palestinian state by next year a shot in the arm.

In parallel moves, Secretary of State Colin Powell will meet with Palestinian and Arab leaders attending an economic conference in Jordan next weekend.

And Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, will confer in Berlin on May 17 with Ahmed Qureia, the Palestinian prime minister the administration hopes can wiggle free of Yasser Arafat's influence and take charge of countering Palestinian terror.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Democrats say CDC is undercounting HIV cases

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is undercounting HIV cases nationwide by refusing to accept data from California and other states that don't record patients' names, Democrats complained Friday.

Fifteen lawmakers, including California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, released a letter to CDC Director Julie Gerberding urging her agency to accept data from states that, for privacy reasons, track HIV cases by alphanumeric codes.

The method is used in 14 states including California and Massachusetts, as well as in the District of Columbia.

The undercounting will become an issue if the federal government starts using HIV infection data to determine funding levels for programs to fight AIDS and HIV. Presently, the government uses data about how many people have been diagnosed with AIDS -- not HIV, the virus that causes AIDS -- to decide how to distribute money.

Pakistan

Mosque suicide bombing kills 14, wounds more than 200

A suspected suicide bomb shattered Friday prayers at a crowded mosque, killing at least 14 people and wounding more than 200 -- the second deadly attack on minority Shiite Muslims in Pakistan in two months.

Hundreds of Shiite youths began burning cars, gas pumps and a government office after the explosion, which left walls scarred by shrapnel and carpets soaked in blood.

Police urged Shiite leaders to help quell the unrest in Pakistan's largest city.

The attack occurred shortly after 1 p.m. at a mosque inside a government-run religious school. Bits of flesh and pools of blood were spattered everywhere as rescue workers tended to the wounded.

There was no word on the motive for the attack, which President Gen. Pervez Musharraf called a "heinous act of terrorism."

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