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Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - July 3, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba UN issues dire warningon HIV/AIDS UNITED NATIONS — The world is only at the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which is spreading rapidly in southern Africa, Eastern Europe and the world’s most populous countnes: China, India and Indonesia, a new UN report said yesterday. Even in Europe and North Amenca, unsafe sex is leading to higher rates of infection, the report by the UN agency that co-ordinates global AIDS-fighting efforts warned. “Despite assumptions of scientists that this epidemic will reach some natural saturation level, to say the least, we are not there yet,” Dr. Peter Piot, head of UNAIDS, told a news conference Tuesday. “It’s clear that we are only at the beginning of this epidemic, the largest epidemic in human history,” he said. Piot said countries in southern Africa are among the worst-hit. In Zimbabwe, the ratio of adults infected by HIV has accelerated to one in three in the last two years. In Botswana, 39 per cent of the adult population is infected with HTV, up from 36 per cent in 2000, he said. The HIV /A IDS epidemic is exacerbating an impending famine in southern Africa that endangers the lives of some 12 million people, he said. Many of those infected are agricultural workers, he said. Unsafe sex in Europe and North America are leading to higher rates of infection, with Eastern Europe suffering from the highest increase — 250,000 new cases last year. Although the rate of AIDS-related deaths has fallen in the United States due to progress in treatment, 60,000 are infected with the virus each year, he said. That figure has remained constant over the last IO years, he said. “So there has been basically no progress in prevention,” Piot said. Overall, the figures speak horrors: between 2000 and 2020, 68 million people will have died of AIDS in the 45 most-affected countries — five times the number of deaths in the previous two decades. In 2001 alone, an estimated three million people died of AIDS. Most of those infected live in the developing world, where fewer than four per cent had access to HIV-fighting antiretroviral drugs at the end of last year, the report said. It appealed for greater involvement by governments and the private sector. The good news: Funding has increased sixfold since 1998 and nearly IOO countries have come up with national AIDS strategies, Plot said. —Associated Press ASSOCIATED PRESS Pilot Steve Fossett's Bud Lite Spirit of Freedom balloon floats at 6,550 meters (21,500 feet),near the coast of South Africa, Sunday. Fossett drifted into aviation history yesterday becoming the first person to fly a balloon solo around the world. Millionaire completes global solo balloon questJury has girl gang-raped to punish her brother MULTAN, Pakistan A Pakistani tribal council ordered an 18-year-old girl to be gang-raped in order to punish her family after her brother was seen walking with a girl from a higher class tribe, police said yesterday. The private Human Rights Commission of Pakistan demanded that all those involved in the rape, which took place June 22 in the village of Meerwala in southern Punjab province, be punished. Police said the victim’s father had filed criminal charges against the four men involved in the case. Police said they picked up eight relatives of the suspects to pressure the perpetrators into surrendering. According to the girl, the Mastoi tribe demanded punishment after her 11 -year-old brother was seen walking unchaperoned with a Mastoi girl in a deserted part of the village. The boy and his sister are from the lower class Gujar tribe. The Mastoi tribe called a meeting of the tribal council, which ordered the girl to be raped to avenge their tribal honour. The teenager said she was taken to a hut and assaulted as hundreds of Mastois stood outside laughing and cheering. Pakistan has a tradition of tribal justice in which crimes cr affronts to dignity are punished outside the framework of the law. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has demanded an end to punishments by tribal councils. —AP KALGOORLIE, Australia — In dark skies high above the ocean south of Australia, American adventurer Steve Fossett reached the milestone he has chased for more than six years — becoming the first person to fly a balloon solo around the world. “Steve has crossed the finishing line,” said mission controller Joe Ritchie as Fossett’s silvery Spirit of Freedom balloon crossed east of 117 degrees longitude at 8,230 metres to complete the circumnavigation — success, finally, after six attempts at the record. The 58-year-old Chicago investment millionaire covered 31,266.4 kilometres on the trip, according to his Web site. “It is a wonderful time for me,” said a calm-sounding Fossett by telephone from his cramped capsule, where he has spent two weeks living on military-like rations, breathing from oxygen cylinders and using a bucket as a toilet. “Finally after six flights I have succeeded and it is a very satisfying experience.” Fossett was already planning his next adventure — flying a glider up to the stratosphere above 18,288 metres from southern New Zealand. He could launch that attempt later this month. Having learned from previous failures, this time around Fossett had plenty of fuel, enough oxygen, and his route was mapped out to avoid rogue states. The meticulous preparation combined with helpful weather made the flight almost uneventful. “The best flight is not the most exciting flight. This flight has been boring,” Ritchie said from Fossett’s mission control at Washington University. The voyage, begun June 18 in western Australia, took exactly 13 days, 12 hours, 16 minutes and 13 seconds. Fossett was planning to continue drifting across Australia for up to 18 more hours until he finds a safe place to land.    —Associated Press^SummerSIRLOIN RIB-EYE NEWYORK Starting at Comes with Vegetables and Potato Side options: Garlic Toast, Mushrooms, Onions, Pepper Corn, and Garlic Shrimp In Brief Marines busted in major drug ease WASHINGTON (AP) — Authorities in North Carolina have seized $1.4 million worth of narcotics and convicted more than 80 marines and U.S. navy sailors of using or distributing designer drugs, officials say. It was one of the biggest drug investigations involving the military in recent years. Although narcotics cases in the military are not rare, they usually involve smaller numbers of people. The two-year investigation began in February 2000 after Camp Lejeune officials were alerted that a large number of service members were frequenting clubs in Wilmington, N.C., where designer drugs were prevalent. The drugs involved were ecstasy, cocaine, LSD and methamphetamine, Marine Corps officials said. The operation included 105 separate investigations and ended June 19. Orphaned orca ready tor family reunion SEATTLE (AP) — An orphaned female orca has passed all medical tests and is ready to be reunited with her family in Canadian waters, officials said yesterday. “She’s got a ticket, her bags are packed and we’re just waiting for word from the Canadians,” said Brian Gorman, a spokesman for the National Marine Fisheries Service. US. researchers gave results of die orca’s final medical tests to their Canadian counterparts over the weekend. The whale has no communicable diseases. An itchy skin condition and internal problem that made her breath smell like paint thinner are gone. “She’s behaving like a healthy, active young whale,” Gorman said. Officials hope the two-year-old, 560-kilogram killer whale will rejoin her family, or pod, when they make their annual summer visit to waters east of Vancouver Island. Saudi princess fined for pushing maid ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A Saudi pnncess accused of pushing her maid down a flight of stairs was fined $1,000 US and put on probation in a no-contest plea accepted in court yesterday. Pnncess Buniah al-Saud, 41, a niece of King Fahd, is in Saudi Arabia and didn’t appear at the five-minute heanng in which her attorneys didn’t contest a misdemeanour battery charge filed in Flonda Circuit Court. By pleading no contest, a defendant doesn’t admit or deny guilt but agrees to a punishment. She was put on unsupervised probation. The plea marked an about-face for her, who returned to Saudi Arabia after promising a judge that she would come back to the U.S. for trial in order to clear her name. She had been living in Orlando while studying English. Associated Press .7 cu ft Micro 800 w: ifs. electronic; cook by weight, 77 mchf 'n-ttTji -*y Cast- & -Gferr, $QQ90 Tem Sale ..... OS! HHP HMtti IM HHRHHPPHPRH 1.1 cu ft Micro 110. watii Electronic^ cook by weight, 77 oroift wa canty Cas- & Carry $40090 Tem Sale ... I L.H High Definition TV 32” Deluxe, Awesome Picture Reg. $2,509 $4 OO080 Tent Sale. I OOO *129' 'HHH" ' It Upright Freezer ..ft . 3only Cash & Carry $00090 Tent Sale ... ODO Portable Dryer 110 volt. 1 only, floor model Cash & Carry $4 A QI Tent Sale ... I DO Cash & Carry Panasonic Shelf Stereo 5 Disc Changer, AM/FM Tuner, Double Cassette, remote, 2 speakers, 140 watts, Reg. $359    $OAQ80 Tent Sale ... 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