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Nation Digest

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

AIDS

Study Finds Circumcision Does Not Protect Gay Men

Circumcision does not help protect gay men from the virus that causes AIDS, according to the largest U.S. study to look at the issue.

UNAIDS and other international health organizations promote circumcision as an important strategy for reducing the spread of HIV, particularly in Africa. There has not been the same kind of push for circumcision in the United States.

For one thing, nearly 80 percent of American men are already circumcised -- a much higher proportion than in most other countries. Worldwide, the male circumcision rate is estimated at about 30 percent.

Also, although HIV spreads primarily through heterosexual sex in Africa and some other parts of the world, in the United States it has mainly infected gay men. About 4 percent of U.S. men are gay, according to preliminary CDC estimates released at a conference this week. They account for more than half of the new HIV infections each year.

-- Associated Press

DETAINEE TRIALS

Defense Attorneys Cannot Inspect CIA 'Black Sites'

A military judge has ruled that attorneys for an alleged Sept. 11 plotter do not need to inspect secret CIA overseas prisons to determine whether the man is competent to stand trial.

Judge Stephen Henley, an Army colonel, ruled Monday that the "black sites" have probably changed enough since 2006 that an inspection would be of no use to Ramzi Binalshibh's Pentagon-appointed attorneys.

President George W. Bush ordered Binalshibh and 13 other "high-value" detainees transferred to the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from clandestine CIA custody in September 2006.

Henley also set Sept. 22 pretrial hearings on whether Binalshibh, an alleged al-Qaeda lieutenant, and Saudi Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, an alleged financier for the 2001 attacks, are competent to defend themselves at any upcoming conspiracy trial.

The Pentagon is seeking the death penalty for the two men, as well as three others, notably self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. All five are held at Guantanamo Bay in a segregated prison camp for former CIA captives.

-- Miami Herald

Rep. Rangel Didn't Report $500,000 in Investments: Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), who is facing an ethics investigation, amended four years of his personal financial disclosures this month, revealing more than $500,000 in investments not previously listed. The new filings by the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee show that he bought $250,000 to $500,000 of an ML Allianz portfolio fund starting in September 2006, as well as $1,000 to $15,000 in Yum! Brands Inc. shares the same year. He amended his filings for 2004 through 2007. The amended filings also show he has owned land assessed at $3,000 in Glassboro, N.J., since at least 2004.

-- Bloomberg News

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