- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 25, 2005


Circumcision urged to prevent HIV

CAPE TOWN — A South African AIDS specialist yesterday advocated male circumcision as the best available “vaccine” against HIV in his country, where an estimated 6 million people are infected and more than 600 people die every day.

Dr. Francois Venter told a congress of health activists in the Treatment Action Campaign that a recent survey in the Soweto township indicated that circumcised men were 65 percent less likely to contract AIDS than those who had not been circumcised.

“We dream of a vaccine which has this efficacy,” said Dr. Venter, clinical director of the Reproductive Health and HIV Research at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. “The results are phenomenal.”

The association between circumcision and a reduced risk of HIV was noted as early as 1987, when Dr. William Cameron of the University of Manitoba in Canada reported findings from a study in Kenya. Some researchers in early studies have said they think cells in the foreskin may be particularly susceptible to infection.


Beijing boasts typhoon experience

BEIJING — Southeastern China braced itself as Tropical Storm Damrey was upgraded yesterday to a typhoon, though officials insisted the country’s experience dealing with cyclones would prevent a New Orleans-style disaster.

“In preparing for typhoons, China is better than the United States,” said Wang Gang, an official at the National Disaster Relief Center. “It’s because we have a lot of typhoons and we’ve learned from experience.”


Honor killings claim four

MULTAN — Three women and a man have been murdered in central Pakistan in honor killings, police said yesterday.

Shamim Mai, a 27-year-old married woman, and a man with whom she had a relationship were murdered by her four relatives in Shujaabad district on Friday, police officer Munir Ahmed Chishti told Agence France-Presse.

Another woman, Mussarat Bibi, died Friday in rural Mian Channu after suffering a beating from her brother Muhammad Akram when she refused to marry a man of her parent’s choice, police officer Zafar Abbas Bokhari said. In a third incident, two men fatally shot a housewife Friday because her brother-in-law had had relations with a girl of their clan who later became pregnant in Drarkhwast Jamal Khan village, a local police official said.

About 4,000 people, mostly women, have been killed in conservative rural areas of Pakistan in recent years in the name of protecting family honor. Many others have been raped or burned with acid under codes of tribal justice.


Endangered storks released into wild

TOKYO — Five artificially bred white storks flew into open skies from a Japanese park yesterday as part of a half-century effort to protect and return the endangered species to the wild, officials said.

It was the first time that artificially-bred oriental white storks had been released in an attempt to bring them back to the wild. It was also the first time in more than three decades that the birds had flown in Japanese skies as the last domestic wild stork died shortly after being taken into protective captivity in 1971.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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