- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 2, 2001

AIDS cases rise 3.7 percent in Brazil

BRASILIA, Brazil — Government-registered AIDS cases in Brazil rose 3.7 percent in the first quarter of the year, apparently because of declining condom use among young homosexual men, the Health Ministry said yesterday.

The number of registered AIDS cases reached 210,447 at the end of March, the ministry's AIDS department said in a news release. That compared with 203,000 at the end of last year.

The ministry cited a study indicating an apparent decline in the use of condoms among young homosexual men.

That decline seemed to have started after the introduction of the AIDS drug cocktail that reduced the number of AIDS-related deaths, the ministry said.

Sierra Leone rebels lay down arms

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — Sierra Leone saw its single largest day of disarmament in a three-month U.N. cease-fire, with more than 1,000 combatants laying down arms in the crucial Kono diamond district, officials said yesterday.

In all, 625 rebel fighters came out of the bush Tuesday in the northern district, handing over weapons and giving themselves up at demobilization camps, U.N. mission spokesman Patrick Coker said.

The mass surrender came a day after rebel commander Gen. Issa Sesay traveled to the diamond district to personally deliver the order to his men to give up the fight.

Raising of Kursk encounters delays

MOSCOW — Preparing to raise the sunken nuclear submarine Kursk is taking longer than hoped because divers must do much of the work by hand instead of using robots, the operation's commander said.

Divers continued work yesterday on cutting holes in the Kursk's thick steel hull, to which huge cables will be attached to lift the submarine from the Barents Sea floor in mid-September. The Kursk suffered two explosions and sank during exercises last August, killing all 118 men aboard.

Guatemala riot police clash with protesters

GUATEMALA CITY — Riot police clashed with demonstrators across Guatemala yesterday as widespread protests against a tax increase turned violent.

A nationwide coalition of business and labor groups called for the protests as part of a one-day "national stoppage" to oppose a 2-point value-added tax rise to 12 percent.

The tax went into effect early yesterday.

Riot police fired tear gas to break up a demonstration outside the National Palace in central Guatemala City after a peaceful march by thousands of banner-waving protesters during the morning. Police made four arrests.

Woman attacked in cage of hippo

KIEV, Ukraine — A hippopotamus reportedly attacked an 18-year-old woman after she entered its cage and plunged into its pool at a zoo in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

The woman, identified only as Yekaterina, ignored warning signs and dove into the pool with a female hippopotamus and its 6-year-old offspring, local newspapers reported yesterday.

The hippo picked up the woman with its mouth and shook her by the waist before tossing her into the air, the papers said. Three zoo visitors then rescued the woman, the daily newspaper Fakty said.

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