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Hate crimes. Hate Crimes Rose 8 Percent in 2006 "Hate crime incidents rose nearly 8 percent last year, the FBI reported Monday, as civil rights advocates increasingly take to the streets to protest what they call official indifference to intimidation and attacks against blacks and other minorities." FBI: Hate crimes escalate 8% in 2006 "Hate crimes in the USA increased 8% in 2006, but some groups, including gays, Muslims and people with mental disabilities, experienced larger spikes in attacks."


AIDS. U.N. to Cut Estimate Of AIDS Epidemic "The United Nations' top AIDS scientists plan to acknowledge this week that they have long overestimated both the size and the course of the epidemic, which they now believe has been slowing for nearly a decade, according to U.N. documents prepared for the announcement." World HIV infection estimate is cut by third "The international bodies said the estimates reflected improvements in country data collection and analysis, as well as a better understanding of the natural history and distribution of HIV infection." U.N. to Say It Overestimated AIDS Cases by Millions"The United Nations' AIDS-fighting agency plans to issue a report today acknowledging that it overestimated the size of the epidemic and that new infections with the deadly virus have been dropping each year since they peaked in the late 1990s."


Iraq. Baghdad Starts to Exhale as Security Improves"The security improvements in most neighborhoods are real. Days now pass without a car bomb, after a high of 44 in the city in February. The number of bodies appearing on Baghdad's streets has plummeted to about 5 a day, from as many as 35 eight months ago, and suicide bombings across Iraq fell to 16 in October, half the number of last summer" U.S. prods Iraq to act during drop in violence "As Iraq's government trumpeted a dramatic decline in violence, describing it as a sign that sectarian warfare is waning, U.S. officials warned that the gains would be short-lived if the nation's leaders did not use the relative calm to advance political reconciliation." General Says N. Iraq Most Violent Region "Despite a decline in violence in Iraq, northern Iraq has become more violent than other regions as al-Qaida and other militants move there to avoid coalition operations elsewhere, the region's top U.S. commander said."


Pakistan. Pakistan begins protesters' release "Pakistan has freed about 3,400 prisoners and will soon release the remaining 2,000 people who have been detained under the state of emergency, the interior ministry says." Pakistan frees 3,000 detainees "Farhatullah Babar, a spokesman for Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's party (PPP), said the claims were "lies", adding that only around 40 PPP supporters had been released in Karachi since yesterday.

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