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AIDS rate above normal in New York

New data show New York City residents are contracting the virus that causes AIDS at three times the national rate.

The city health department said Wednesday that almost 4,800 New Yorkers were infected with HIV in 2006. That number represents 72 of every 100,000 residents, compared with a national rate of 23 per 100,000.

Health officials attribute the city's relatively high rate of new infections to its large populations of gay men, blacks and other groups on whom HIV has traditionally taken a heavy toll.

Associated Press

Washington

Jack Abramoff could be getting out of prison sooner than expected. The Justice Department on Wednesday recommended a dramatic reduction in the sentence of the imprisoned lobbyist who became the key witness against lawmakers and congressional aides he spent years corrupting. Prosecutors asked federal judges in Washington and Florida to shave years of prison time off his sentence, citing his work in an FBI investigation that sent numerous powerful people to prison and contributed to the Republican Party's loss of Congress. Associated Press

Idaho Boise

A longtime sex offender was sentenced to death Wednesday for the 2005 kidnapping, torture and murder of a 9-year-old northern Idaho boy after federal jurors who watched video of some of the brutality deliberated just three hours. The jurors' recommendation was binding on U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge, who thanked them, dismissed them and then sentenced Joseph Edward Duncan III. Relatives of the victim, Dylan Groene, remained somber as the jury's decision was announced. Duncan murdered Dylan's mother, older brother and his mother's fiance to kidnap him and his younger sister, who was sexually abused along with her brother but survived. Associated Press

Libya Tripoli

The hijackers of a Sudanese airliner surrendered to authorities in Libya on Wednesday after releasing all the passengers and crew, Libyan officials said. The standoff ended Wednesday with the 95 passengers and crew let go and the gunmen surrendering with a plea for asylum. Passengers and officials at the airport in southeastern Libya where the plane landed said the men identified themselves as members of a Darfur rebel group – the Sudan Liberation Movement, which promptly denied any involvement.

Associated Press

Mexico

Mexico's Supreme Court was poised Wednesday to uphold legal abortion in the capital despite deep opposition elsewhere in the heavily Catholic country. Eight of the 11 Supreme Court justices said during deliberations that they would vote against declaring the law unconstitutional. Eight votes would be needed to strike it down, but only three judges have spoken in favor of doing so. The justices were expected to vote within the next couple of days. Associated Press

India Dharmsala

The Dalai Lama was suffering from exhaustion and has canceled two planned international trips to undergo medical tests, his office said Wednesday. The 73-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader had been “experiencing some discomfort in the past couple of days,” a statement from his office said, adding that his doctors had diagnosed “exhaustion.”Associated Press

India New Delhi

Violence in Indian-controlled Kashmir flared anew Wednesday as gunmen attacked an Indian army post near Jammu and then barricaded themselves in a private home. According to the Indian army, at least seven people were killed, including two gunmen suspected of being militants. Four children were believed to be among those being held. New York Times

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