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India may leave S. Africa behind in AIDS cases
Bangkok, July 11
India is poised to surpass South Africa in 2006 as the country with the single highest number of HIV infections in the world, warns a report by medical research group adding there was on an average only one trained doctor to treat every 5,000 HIV patients in the country.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Anan poses with Thailand’s Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra before the start of the second Asia- Pacific Ministerial Meeting on HIV/AIDS Actress Ashley Judd sits with an HIV patient at an AIDS hospital at the Wat Phrabaht Nampu temple in Thailand’s Lop Buri province

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Anan poses with Thailand’s Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra before the start of the second Asia-Pacific Ministerial Meeting on HIV/AIDS in Bangkok on Sunday.

Actress Ashley Judd sits with an HIV patient at an AIDS hospital at the Wat Phrabaht Nampu temple in Thailand’s Lop Buri province on Sunday. 
— Reuters photos

Pak persuades India on pipeline projects
Islamabad, July 11
With top commerce officials of India and Pakistan meeting next month after a gap of five years, to discuss steps to normalise trade ties, Islamabad has stepped up efforts to persuade New Delhi to give its nod to the Iran-India and Turkmenistan-India gas pipeline projects proposed to be laid through the Pakistani soil, to meet the growing energy needs of the South-Asian region.

Floods cut off Kathmandu,7 die
Kathmandu, July 11
At least seven persons were killed and thousands rendered homeless due to flood and landslides triggered by heavy downpours in different parts of Nepal in the past few days. Landslides also blocked two main highways today, cutting off the capital from rest of the country.


Legendary US singer Joan Baez gestures during a news conference in Bucharest
Legendary US singer Joan Baez gestures during a news conference in Bucharest, Romania, on Sunday. Baez is in Bucharest to promote her new album Dark Chords On A Big Guitar. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES

 
Moldova doctorate for MP from Bihar
London, July 11
Mr Mahendra Prasad, an Independent member of the Rajya Sabha from Bihar has been conferred with the Honorary Degree of Doctorate by the University of Moldova for his outstanding contributions to various domains of science worldwide.


Renowned Kuchipudi dancer Jayaram Rao and his wife Vanashree Rao perform in Beijing on Saturday as part of the commemorative activities to mark the 50th anniversary of Panchsheel principles Renowned Kuchipudi dancer Jayaram Rao and his wife Vanashree Rao perform in Beijing on Saturday as part of the commemorative activities to mark the 50th anniversary of Panchsheel principles, co-founded by India and China in 1954.
— PTI


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India may leave S. Africa behind in AIDS cases
Jaishree Balasubramanian

Miss Universe 2004 Jennifer Hawkins of Australia smiles while talking to actor Richard Gere before the opening of the 15th International AIDS conference in Bangkok
Miss Universe 2004 Jennifer Hawkins of Australia smiles while talking to actor Richard Gere before the opening of the 15th International AIDS conference in Bangkok on Sunday.
— Reuters photo

Bangkok, July 11
India is poised to surpass South Africa in 2006 as the country with the single highest number of HIV infections in the world, warns a report by medical research group adding there was on an average only one trained doctor to treat every 5,000 HIV patients in the country.

“India is experiencing very low HIV prevalence that obscures very serious epidemic occurring in specific population and locations. Current estimates of people with HIV vary widely — UNAIDS puts it at 46 lakh,” the TREAT Asia report said adding that since 1999, experts had voiced concern that low testing rates produced misleading statistics.

“If India is allowed to pass the five per cent HIV prevalence which is a marker of future exponential increases, the disease could quickly spread throughout the country, the report warned noting “already India is poised to surpass South Africa as the nation with the greatest number of people living with HIV by 2006.”

TREAT Asia, or Therapeutics Research, Education, and AIDS Training in Asia, is a network of clinics, hospitals, and research institutions, and is run by the American Foundation for AIDS Research, amFAR, based in New York.

N. Kumarasamy of the YRG Centre for AIDS Education made a much more conservative estimate of 25 well-qualified AIDS doctors for Anti Retro Viral (ARV) distribution.

“What is needed is increased and continuing training on the usage of ARV therapy,” said Kumarasamy.

The Indian experts feared that the widespread abuse of ARV was a major concern particularly with use of suboptimal regimens. Controlled and rational use of ARV was the major challenge that had to be tackled by various means, they said.

Most of the HIV infected persons diagnosed in India are sick with one or more opportunistic infections and many of them need ARV treatment, the report said.

The report, which researched countries across Asia with HIV patients, noted that while the increasing availability of generic anti-HIV medicines had raised hopes for millions in Asia, the improper use by ill-trained doctors could create virus strains resistant to drugs. Such virus strains would eradicate years of progress in treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS across the region, the report feared. — PTI
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Asian economy could reverse: Annan

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned today that Asia was at a crucial turning point in its battle against AIDS as thousands gathered here for the opening of the world’s largest AIDS conference.

Annan said Asia’s economic successes could be reversed by the spread of HIV/AIDS, with experts warning that a failure to act decisively by the region’s leaders within the next three years could lead to a pandemic that would surpass the scale already seen in sub-Saharan Africa.

The UN has warned that the effects could be catastrophic if the virus takes hold in India, China and Indonesia — the big three countries in the region that represent some 40 per cent of humanity. — AFP
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Pak persuades India on pipeline projects
K.J.M. Varma

Islamabad, July 11
With top commerce officials of India and Pakistan meeting next month after a gap of five years, to discuss steps to normalise trade ties, Islamabad has stepped up efforts to persuade New Delhi to give its nod to the Iran-India and Turkmenistan-India gas pipeline projects proposed to be laid through the Pakistani soil, to meet the growing energy needs of the South-Asian region.

Pakistan’s initiative comes as Commerce Secretaries of both countries are to meet here on August 10 and 11 to discuss steps to boost economic and commercial cooperation between the two countries.

The top officials’ meeting, which will be held here under the composite dialogue process to discuss Kashmir and other contentious issues between the two countries, will be their first after 1998.

The two officials will discuss a number of steps to step up trade ties. Trade between the two countries has stagnated to about $ 500 million, even though the trade between the two countries through third countries has been estimated to be around $ 2 billion.

Ahead of these trade talks, Pakistan has been lobbying hard for India to give its nod to the two important gas-pipeline projects with the promise to give international security guarantees.

Pakistan wanted India to push the Iran-India gas pipeline project on top of its agenda at the trade talks next month, officials here said, adding former Pakistan Minister for Energy Usman Aminuddin was currently in New Delhi holding talks with top Indian officials on the issue.

Mr Aminuddin, pursued the two projects with India after External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh expressed the new Indian Government’s desire to seriously consider the Iran-India project.

Both Iran and Pakistan have been actively persuading India for the past few years to agree to the 2,500 km gas pipeline project to be laid from Iran to India through Pakistan, for an estimated cost of over $ 4.5 billion.

Pakistan alongwith Asian Development Bank, also actively pursued the $ 3.5 million Pakistan-Turkmenistan-Afghanistan gas pipeline project to be extended up to India. — PTI
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Floods cut off Kathmandu,7 die

Kathmandu, July 11
At least seven persons were killed and thousands rendered homeless due to flood and landslides triggered by heavy downpours in different parts of Nepal in the past few days. Landslides also blocked two main highways today, cutting off the capital from rest of the country.

According to Home Ministry sources hundreds of cattle were inundated in the eastern and central Nepal due to flood.

The flood and landslides claimed the lives of three people in Pyuthan, two in Dhanusha and one each in Udaypur and Rautahat districts. Ten districts of central and eastern Terai region were severely affected by the flood and landslide.

Most parts of Jhapa, Udaypur, Saptari, Siraha, Rautahat, Dhanusha, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Bara and Makawanpur are inundated by the flood.

In Siraha, 50 village development committees (VDCs) were swept away and brought transportation to a halt. In Saptari, 22 VDCs were inundated while in Mohattari, flood have swept about 80 per cent of the area of Jaleshwor, the district headquarters, disrupting power supply. — PTI
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Moldova doctorate for MP from Bihar

London, July 11
Mr Mahendra Prasad, an Independent member of the Rajya Sabha from Bihar has been conferred with the Honorary Degree of Doctorate by the University of Moldova for his outstanding contributions to various domains of science worldwide.

Sixty four-year-old Mr Prasad was honoured with the “Doctor Honoris Causa” by the Rector, Professor Ion Ababii at a special convocation in Chisinau, capital of Moldova yesterday describing him as a “man of exquisite erudition and exceptional intelligence, who has marked merits in various domains of science worldwide.”

Born in Jehanabad, Mr Prasad was first elected to the Seventh Lok Sabha in 1980 and since then he has been a member of either house for the past 25 years.

Mr Prasad also entered the Limca Book of Records 2004 for his global travel. “Bitten by the travel bug, he has traveled to 163 countries, starting with USA in 1976, the most countries visited by an Indian.”

Incidentally, Mr Prasad is the only person in India to have been elected to both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and been nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the President of India. — PTI 
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BRIEFLY

Illegal migrants detained
ATHENS:
Coast guard officers have detained 107 illegal immigrants on two Greek islands, off the Turkish coast, authorities said on Sunday. Their nationalities were not immediately known. — AP

Picasso show in Greece
Andros:
Pablo Picasso never visited Greece during his lifetime, but ancient Greek civilisation left its mark on the work of the great Spanish artist. Now more than 100 paintings, drawings, etchings and sculptures from the Picasso Museum in Paris have made their way to the Museum of Contemporary Art on the Cycladic island of Andros in time for the 2004 Olympics. — DPA

Bangla bandh turns violent
Dhaka:
The dawn-to-dusk shutdown called by the industrial workers and employees in Bangladesh on Sunday was marked by violence in which at least 30 persons were injured. Their demands included reopening of mills and factories and announcement of minimum wages for industrial workers. — UNI

Kumaratunga’s party wins poll
Colombo:
Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s party on Sunday won a majority of seats in local council elections in a vote viewed as a popularity test for her three-month-old government. — AP

10 killed in B’desh flood
Dhaka:
Incessant rain swelled flood waters that have covered large areas of Bangladesh, hampering efforts to rescue three million people marooned by rising waters and raising the death toll to 13. — PTI
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