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U.S. soldier sentenced in killing of prisoners

VILSECK, Germany: A U.S. soldier pleaded guilty yesterday to charges of accessory to murder and was sentenced to eight months in prison for his role in the killing of four Iraqi prisoners who were bound, blindfolded, shot and dumped in a canal. Spc. Steven Ribordy, 25, of Salina, Kan., also will receive a bad conduct discharge from the Army as part of a plea deal. In addition, he agreed to testify against other members of his unit. Ribordy testified that he had helped stand guard as the prisoners were killed by other members of his patrol in early 2007. He said he approached the scene after the shots were fired and saw three bodies lying in a pool of blood, and the fourth already in the canal.

NYC mayor seeks to change two-term limit

NEW YORK: Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday that he's pushing for changes that would allow him to seek a third term leading the nation's largest city, saying he wants to handle unfinished business including the "unprecedented challenges" brought on by the recent financial crisis. Bloomberg, confirming reports about his plan this week, said he will ask the City Council to change New York's term-limits law so he can run next year for another four years in office. The current law limits the mayor to two terms. Council Speaker Christine Quinn said a bill to alter the term-limits law for city officeholders would be introduced Tuesday. The measure would change the limit from two consecutive terms, or eight years, to a maximum of three terms, or 12 years.

HIV infection estimated at 1.1 million in U.S.

ATLANTA: New estimates of the prevalence of HIV infection among adolescents and adults in the United States put the total number of cases in 2006 - diagnosed and undiagnosed - at about 1.1 million. The figure means the infection rate is nearly 550 people for every 100,000 in the population. The total is similar to 2003 estimates, but officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say improved surveillance and new methods for calculating the estimates mean the two can't be directly compared. The highest incidence of infection continues to be found among black men, with 2,388 cases per 100,000 population, the CDC said. That is six times the rate for white men (395 per 100,000). Black women are infected at nearly 18 times the rate of white women (1,122 versus 63 cases per 100,000). The CDC study found the highest percentage of cases - 48 percent - can be attributed to male-to-male sexual contact.


Rabies overseas makes adopting dogs iffy

ATLANTA: Federal health officials are warning Americans traveling in countries where rabies is common not to adopt stray animals without first obtaining the required immunizations for import to the U.S. A dog adopted last year by a serviceman in Iraq and shipped home in June with 23 other dogs and two cats became ill at the airport in New Jersey. It was hospitalized, euthanized three days later and diagnosed with rabies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New Jersey officials found that none of the animals had a verifiable history of vaccination 30 days before exposure to the infected dog. Investigators tracked the other animals to 16 states, ordered them vaccinated and quarantined for six months. Thirteen people had to undergo rabies shots. Once common in the U.S., only 79 cases of canine rabies were reported here in 2006. But the disease kills about 55,000 people a year in parts of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. Most U.S. cases today occur in unvaccinated, imported dogs.


New WTC transit hub opening to be delayed

NEW YORK: The owners of the World Trade Center site announced yesterday a delay in the completion of a multibillion-dollar transit hub but pledged to open a nearly finished Sept. 11 memorial by the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. They set no firm schedule for the completion of the entire site, which includes four office towers and a performing arts center. In a 70-page report on Ground Zero's tortuous rebuilding process, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said the elaborate rail hub will cost $3.2 billion, $700 million more than planned, and should open in 2014, five years after the original projected completion date.

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