Let’s finish the fight against AIDS: Obama

US President Barack Obama has added $US50 million ($A49 million) to fight AIDS in the United States and launched new efforts to treat two million more people abroad, at an event to mark World AIDS Day.

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“We can beat this disease,” Obama said at the gathering, which included speeches by satellite from former presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush and appearances by U2 singer Bono and pop-soul singer Alicia Keys.

“We we have saved so many lives, let’s finish the fight.”

About 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV, and close to two-thirds do not have their infection under control, US health authorities said this week.

According to the latest UN figures, about 34 million people in the world were infected with HIV/AIDS in 2010 and 1.8 million people died, down from a peak of 2.2 million in 2005.

Internationally, Obama said the United States has set “a new target of helping six million people get on treatment by the end of 2013. That’s two million more people than our original goal.”

Obama said the United States currently helps four million people around the world get antiretroviral treatment, and last year gave “600,000 HIV-positive mothers access to drugs so that 200,000 babies could be born HIV-free”.

As Obama battles Republican politicians over US budget priorities amid a mounting deficit, a White House official stressed that the new boost in funds “will all be done within existing resources and not require congressional approval”.

Obama also appealed to global partners, including China, to step up their efforts to end AIDS, 30 years after the epidemic first surfaced.

“So on this World AIDS Day, here’s my message to everyone out there. To the global community – join us.

“Countries that have committed to the Global Fund need to give the money that they promised. Countries that haven’t made a pledge, they need to do so. That includes countries that in the past might have been recipients but now are in a position to step up as major donors.

“China and other major economies are in a position now to transition in a way that can help more people.”

Former president George W Bush, who spoke by satellite from Tanzania, hailed the US government program that in 2008 authorised $US48 billion over five years to fight worldwide HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

“World AIDS Day is a day to celebrate success,” Bush said.

New cases of HIV have levelled off at about 50,000 in the United States each year, with 16,000 people dying annually of AIDS.

“The rate of new infections may be going down elsewhere, but it’s not going down here in America. The infection rate here has been holding steady for over a decade,” said Obama.

“This fight is not over.”

Obama said $US15 million of the new funding would go to support HIV medical clinics and $US35 million was earmarked for the state AIDS drug assistance programs.

“The AIDS epidemic is coming back in America, especially among gay men, primarily African Americans, and the spending programs have been pared back,” said Clinton.

“I am very worried that the death rate is going to go up in America simply because of the budgetary constraints on the states,” said the former president, whose Clinton Foundation works to get low-cost AIDS drugs to people in need.

“We can all lobby for more effective expenditure of aid money, not just in the United States but around the world.”

Central banks act as EU sets deadline

The world’s top central banks have sprung into action to help cash-strapped banks, while the EU acknowledged it has 10 days in which to fix a crisis threatening a global financial meltdown.

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The central banks of the eurozone, the United States, Japan, Switzerland, Canada and Britain collectively announced a giant shot in the arm with “liquidity support to the global financial system”.

Stocks and the euro each surged on the move intended to restore some confidence on markets wearied by the failure of leaders to act decisively to a crisis that French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe warned risks destroying Europe and a return to conflicts on the continent.

Many banks are being squeezed by the weight of downgraded government debt bonds in their books and have been finding it difficult to borrow from one another. This has raised pressure to reduce lending to businesses that would choke off economic growth.

The central banks said they would make funds available to banks at lower interest rates until February 2013 in order to “mitigate the effects of such strains on the supply of credit to households and businesses”.

The moves echo similar action in May 2010, when the EU first acknowledged that the Greek drama had become a wider euro crisis causing deep concern among international partners from the United States to Japan.

DEBT CRISIS FESTERS

The massive worldwide injection of hard cash came after the EU’s euro crisis commissioner Olli Rehn set the deadline of the end of next week’s summit for the bloc to fix the festering debt crisis.

The European Union faces “a critical period of 10 days to complete and conclude the crisis response”, Rehn said amid a resurgence of government calls for the ECB and the International Monetary Fund to save the day, in relation to the an upcoming summit.

The crisis of market confidence comes hand in hand with a wave of strikes and protests given added weight when data released on Wednesday showed unemployment hitting a record 10.3 per cent throughout the eurozone.

France’s foreign minister Alain Juppe warned of worse to come if solutions are not found quickly.

EUROPE’S EXISTENTIAL CRISIS

Echoing recent warnings from Poland of conflict again blighting the continent, Juppe said Europe was now locked in “an existential crisis”, telling news weekly L’Express that a collapse of euro monetary union would trigger “the explosion of the European Union itself”.

He added: “In that eventuality, everything becomes possible, even the worst. We have flattered ourselves for decades that we have eradicated the danger of conflict inside our continent, but let’s not be too sure.”

Economist Sony Kapoor of the Re-Define consultancy said the central bankers were providing “a useful cushion against Lehmann-like panic in the financial markets”, but that the euro crisis was still casting a “dark shadow” over the world economy.

The central bank move provides a brief respite for banks, but does not resolve the core issues of the sovereign debt crisis needed to halt the flight of investors.

Italy’s new Prime Minister Mario Monti, who is also acting as finance minister, said an approach to the IMF for bailout loans was “never envisaged”, but a top AFP source nevertheless said the IMF would now be “ready” to bail out Italy if the ECB joined the effort.

Italy, with a debt mountain of nearly two trillion euros, has faced intense pressure on bond markets.

And in a bid to avoid a “self-fulfilling run” on the country, Rome is under orders to fill a missing “buffer” zone to shield its public finances from recession, which Monti will do on Monday.

Until there satisfaction that Italy has done all it can with spending cuts, tax rises and radical reforms, the ECB is unlikely to step up purchases of Italian government bonds under its current limited program, let alone take more dramatic action.

The ECB has been reluctant to act as a lender of last resort for eurozone governments by directly buying their bonds as does the US Federal Reserve or the Bank of England, concerned that governments would lose their incentive to cut spending and there would be a surge of inflation.

The problem with counting on the IMF is that it has access to sums scarcely more than the eurozone’s 440 billion euro EFSF bailout fund.

Having the ECB, which can simply create cash, lend to the IMF has been mooted as this would alleviate its funding problems and the strict conditionality it attaches to lending would ensure Italy implements reforms.

“There is a consensus that the IMF should be actively involved, undoubtedly,” said a source close to the Washington-based lender of last resort.

Queensland coal port to be ‘one of world’s biggest’

The Queensland government plans to expand the port of Abbot Point to nine terminals on the back of overwhelming demand from the private sector.

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The government had expected to approve an expansion from three terminals to seven.

But a spike in interest from some of the country’s biggest mining companies will now take the total number of proposed terminals to nine, Premier Anna Bligh said.

She said Abbot Point, about 25 kilometres north of Bowen, was destined to become one of Australia’s, and the world’s, key export hubs.

“This is a major new development that will drive an enormous economic surge through north Queensland, potentially creating tens of thousands of jobs,” Ms Bligh said.

“The super-expansion of Abbot Point will turbo-charge the local economy and boost Queensland’s exports to the world.”

She said the move would increase the export capacity of the port to about 400 million tonnes per annum, making it one of the largest coal export facilities in the world.

“The companies chosen will now progress to the next stage of contract negotiations for the development of new coal terminals at the port,” Ms Bligh said.

The port of Abbot Point now has one export terminal (T1), and two that are being developed by BHP and Hancock.

The expansion proposal involves terminals four to nine, with the first shipment of coal exported in 2017.

The port of Abbot Point has experienced significant growth in recent years. In 2007, export capacity was 15 million tonnes per annum, rising to 50 million tonnes per annum last year.

From 2017 export capacity is expected to reach about 385 million tonnes per annum.

Ms Bligh said the expansion was in addition to a multi-cargo facility that would provide a sheltered harbour for export vessels.

Deputy Premier and Treasurer Andrew Fraser said there was significant industry interest in the expansion.

“This is a huge vote of confidence in the future, and shows the market is there for increased private sector investment in new coal export infrastructure in Queensland,” he said.

Forlan, symbol of Uruguay renaissance, quits national team

Forlan, who scored 36 goals in 112 matches for Uruguay during a 13-year international career that included three World Cups, announced his decision at a news conference in Japan where he plays for Cerezo Osaka.

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“It was a very difficult decision, having worn the Uruguay shirt for so many years, more than I could have dreamed of,” the 35-year-old said in the conference broadcast on his personal website (南宁夜网.diegoforlan广西桑拿,).

“I know it’s an opportune moment to retire from the ‘seleccion’. Lots of important things are coming up like the Copa America and the qualifiers for the next World Cup.

“I believe it’s important to make way for the new generations and this generational change that is going on in the national team,” said Forlan, who last played for Uruguay at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.

Forlan, son and grandson of former Uruguay internationals, reached his peak at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, where he was voted best player in FIFA poll.

Uruguay, world champions in 1930 and 1950, had enjoyed little international success since their semi-final place at the 1970 tournament in Mexico.

Forlan was the symbol of Uruguay’s revival under coach Oscar Washington Tabarez, also winning the Copa America in Argentina four years ago.

Uruguay will defend their Copa America title in Chile in the tournament starting on June 11.

Forlan joined Osaka last year, having played for Independiente, Manchester United, Villarreal, Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan and Internacional.

(Reporting by Esteban Farat; Writing by Rex Gowar in Buenos Aires; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)

Arthur silent on Foran’s move to Eels

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur is more comfortable talking about the recruit that is rather than the big-name recruit that may be.

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While Danny Wicks prepares to play his first NRL game in five years following jail time, speculation is rife that Manly five-eighth Keiran Foran is close to confirming a four-year, $4.7 million deal this week to switch to NRL rivals the Eels from next season.

Arthur, a former assistant coach at Manly, admitted on Thursday he’s been in contact with Foran, but pressed by journalists over the reports Foran was on the verge of announcing the long-term deal, he had his poker face on.

“Nah, there’s nothing to tell,” said Arthur bluntly.

There’s no contract done?

“No.”

Don’t want to touch it?

“I don’t comment on recruitment unfortunately.”

Why not?

“It’s just my policy.”

Arthur was, conversely, happy to chat about former Newcastle forward Wicks, who will line up against Canterbury on Friday night after serving an 18-month jail term for drug trafficking.

“Danny will get his opportunity if he comes through training well today and we are looking forward to seeing how he goes,” Arthur said.

“He has trained really well through the off season and I am really excited to give him an opportunity to play.

“Danny is pretty much old school, very tough, good leg speed for a front rower but he is one of those blokes that you know the boys just want to play with.

“We will probably only give him 20 minutes just to get him through his first game.”

Wicks will take the place of Junior Paulo who was outed for nine weeks for a dangerous throw at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night.

New boy Vettel plays down Ferrari hopes in Melbourne

The four-times world champion has joined Kimi Raikkonen at Formula One’s glamour team and has also something to prove after failing to win a race in his final season with Red Bull.

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Ferrari enjoyed a solid winter testing but constructors’ champions Mercedes set the benchmark and are tipped to carry their dominance into Sunday’s race at Albert Park.

“I didn’t try last year’s car but I think it’s a step forward,” Vettel told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday.

“In fact, compared to where I was last year, it really feels like a good car. I think people have been pushing on all fronts trying to improve and so far they’ve succeeded but equally we know we have work to do.

“I think it would be a bit too aggressive (to say that),” Vettel added, when asked whether Ferrari could beat Mercedes in Melbourne.

“I think we have to keep our feet on the ground. After winter testing it will be interesting to find out where we are, to find out where we are compared to other people. The most important is we have a solid start and work from there.

“We need to go step-by-step.”

Dressed in Ferrari red and sporting a new cropped haircut, the 27-year-old arrives at Albert Park as just one of the chasing pack, a new feeling after three consecutive years as defending champion with Red Bull.

Fitting into the Maranello way of doing things had been “fun”, said the German, but there was plenty more to learn.

“Every team has got it’s own way to operate and to work,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff I’ve had to get used to and still probably have to.

“I need to get to know the team better and the team to know me which will still probably take some time.”

Vettel has replaced twice world champion Fernando Alonso, now departed for McLaren, to join up with 2007 world champion Raikkonen, nicknamed ‘Ice Man’.

How the new pair interact will be closely watched at Melbourne and Vettel joked when asked whether he was friendly with the Finn.

“It depends on your understanding of friends,” he said.

“I don’t expect any difficulties on a personal level. I’m sure we’ll try to beat each other on the track.”

(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)

Ambrose enjoying stress-free V8 meet

For most drivers, a Grand Prix is the ultimate high-octane and high-stakes event.

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But for V8 Supercars driver Marcos Ambrose, it’s nothing compared with last month’s Clipsal 500.

Ambrose made his return to the V8 Supercars tour around the Adelaide street circuit, under the watchful eye of team owners Dick Johnson and billionaire American Roger Penske.

Ambrose said he was aware of the expectations as he strapped himself into a Falcon for the first time in nine years.

“Of course you feel the pressure,” he said.

“You’d be blind freddy if you didn’t.

“But this weekend is really a grand prix-dominated weekend so it’s a relaxed environment for us, better than the high pressure we had in Adelaide.”

For DJR Team Penske, a relaxed weekend doesn’t mean a holiday.

There’s no competition points up for grabs in four short V8 races around the Albert Park Formula One circuit, but there’s plenty to gain.

Ambrose arguably benefits most from this weekend, with a focus purely on car and driver development.

“All the teams are using it as a really good test session,” he said.

“When your practice is so limited, you use any on-track time you can to try some new stuff.

“We got some good direction from Clipsal and hopefully we can come out of here with more confidence and take the fight to them at Symmons Plains.

Ambrose has set himself the goal of finishing every race at Albert Park, with “some good top 10 finishes”.

It’s where Penske wants him to be by the end of the season, although he nearly pulled off that result on the first weekend of the season.

The Falcon driver was agonisingly close to a top-10 finish in Adelaide, placing 12th in Sunday’s 250km race.

A decade in Nascar racing has given ambitions beyond finishing mid-pack.

“I’ve come here to be in the mix of it all and I know it’s going to take time, but growing pains are never easy,” he said.

At least Ambrose will be buoyed by his next meet, a first race on Tasmanian soil for 11 years.

“It’s going to be good to go home, see the support, and hang out with some friends and family and enjoy the race,” he said.

Larkham avoiding war of words with Reds

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham says he doesn’t want to engage in a “war of words” with the Queensland Reds after an inflammatory comment of his was dug up and used as a fuse.

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Serial verbal sparring partners Jake White and Ewen McKenzie might have moved on from the two rival Super Rugby clubs but the mind games and broadsides appear fiercer than ever ahead of Saturday night’s clash.

Larkham declared the Reds were not “up to the standard of Super Rugby” following their 47-3 demolition of a hapless Queensland four weeks ago in Canberra – an accusation his counterpart Richard Graham labelled “ridiculous”.

Reds backrower Jake Schatz on Wednesday then chimed in by saying his side would be using Larkham’s comments as motivation ahead of the Suncorp Stadium grudge derby.

Larkham has previously said he was taken out of context and meant to say Queensland’s performance level was not up to their usual high standards.

When pressed further on Thursday he said the comment, which he believes was dug up by journalists and not the Reds camp itself, would not be featuring at the forefront of his upcoming opponents’ minds.

“I’m sure internally they’ve got a good focus on the game – they’re not worried about external comments,” Larkham said.

“We’re not trying to get into any war of words with coaches or players or anything like that.

“We’re very focused on trying to take our game to the next level, which is, I’m sure, also their focus.”

The Reds will be missing James O’Connor for the clash, but Larkham is still expecting the Queenslanders to put on a much better performance – despite their lacklustre loss to the Waratahs on Saturday.

“I wouldn’t say they’ve gotten worse since round one. They’ve certainly improved,” he said.

“There is plenty of comment on how poorly they played in that first round, but they’re certainly a very dangerous side if they can get it together.”

Brumbies (15-1): Robbie Coleman, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Lealiifano, Joe Tomane, Matt Toomua, Nic White, Ita Vaea, Jarrad Butler, Scott Fardy, Sam Carter, Rory Arnold, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore (c), Scott Sio. Reserves: Josh Mann-Rea, Ruan Smith, JP Smith, Jordan Smiler, Blake Enever, Michael Dowsett, Lausii Taliauli, James Dargaville.

Queensland : Ben Tapuai, Chris Kuridrani, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Anthony Fainga’a, Campbell Magnay, Nick Frisby, Will Genia, Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Adam Thomson, James Horwill, Marco Kotze, Sam Talakai, Saia Fainga’a, James Slipper (capt). Res: James Hanson, Ben Daley, Sef Faagase, Dave McDuling, Curtis Browning, Scott Gale, Sam Johnson, Tom Banks.

Appeal over Indian woman’s murder in Sydney

(Transcript from World News Radio)

The family of an Indian woman fatally stabbed in a Sydney park has made a public appeal for information about her murder.

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Prabha Kumar was stabbed as she walked through a park in western Sydney on Saturday night and died.

The public appeal from her family comes after a candelight vigil for the woman last night.

(Click on audio tab to listen to this item)

“It is so sad that we have lost … one of our India’s daughters.”

Vish Viswanathan, a member of Sydney’s Indian community, at a candlight vigil mourning the death of Prabha Kumar.

She died in a park in Sydney’s west-suburban Parramatta after being attacked as she walked through it on Saturday night.

The Indian national was talking on her mobile phone to her husband, who lives in India with their 10-year-old daughter, when she was stalked, then stabbed in the neck.

Ms Kumar had been working in IT in Australia but was planning to return to India in April.

Her husband, Arun Kumar, immediately flew to Australia and has told a media conference in Sydney he wants whoever killed his wife brought to justice.

“I’m a husband who has lost his wife and a father of a young girl who’s lost a beloved mother. I cannot describe to you the pain that I feel. My wife was a most caring and beautiful soul. Prahba, she was planning to buy a little penguin toy and send it to our daughter in India, but she will never be able to do that. I know that you can’t bring her back, but I want whoever killed my gorgeous wife to be brought to justice.”

Also at the press conference was Prabha Kumar’s brother, Shankar Shetty.

He says his sister was widely loved, and he urged the person who killed her to come forward.

“No-one deserves to have any of their family taken away from them in these horrible circumstances. My sister was loved by many. We don’t want any other families to go through the pain we are going through. Finally, I say this to the person who did this: You’ve taken my sister’s life. Please step forward, get help and get your life back.”

New South Wales Police Detective Superintendent Mick Willing says the investigation is still in its earliest stages and police have not identified a motive for the murder.

He says they are working with the Indian community in their attempt to solve the crime.

“The Indian community is working very, very closely with the New South Wales Police Force on this matter. The local area command is in constant contact with them. They are talking all the time. I think, last night, there was vigil that was held for Prahba. The police had a presence there and certainly were involved in that. And, again, it just shows how deeply that this crime has impacted not just on the Indian community, but the entire community as a whole. Again, we need members of all of the community to come forward and provide us with information that can help us solve this crime.”

Crime Stoppers can be contacted on 1800 333 000

 

 

 

Mortaza may miss New Zealand match after fine

The victory ensured Bangladesh advanced to the quarter-finals while England were eliminated.

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The Bangladesh captain, who is also suffering from a sore throat, takes extra time to complete his overs because of knee braces he wears after seven operations. If Bangladesh infringe again in Friday’s match Mortaza would be banned for the quarter-final, which is likely to be against India, and the team management may decide not to take the risk.

If Mortaza does not play all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will lead the team. Bangladesh bowling coach Ruwan Kalpage suggested this week that the team could use their spinners early in the New Zealand innings against Brendon McCullum, who has the highest strike rate in the tournament.

The New Zealand captain has been given licence to attack from the opening ball as part of a team policy which emphasises aggression in all facets of the game.

On Thursday coach Chandika Hathurusinghe said it was difficult to bowl against McCullum because he was playing without fear.

“But again we play to our strength and we have a few game plans that, if we execute like the plans that we have, it’s key to win this game. He’s one of the key players we need to get out early,” he told a news conference.

However Hathurusinghe also said the Seddon Park pitch was harder and featured more grass than the Adelaide track, which would mean less help for the spin bowlers.

Steady rain fell on Thursday and there were pools of water on the covers which will also help the New Zealand pace bowlers.

The forecast is for fine weather on Friday with the chance of a shower. Fast bowler Adam Milne has been suffering from a sore shoulder which has restricted him at practice this week and New Zealand will decide on Friday morning whether or not they will make their first team change during an unbeaten run in the tournament. Mitchell McClenaghan would be the obvious replacement although McCullum said the veteran Kyle Mills would also be an option. Asked if New Zealand would err on the side of caution in making a decision on Milne with the knockout stages starting next week, McCullum replied: “I think it’s fair to assume that.”

(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)

Preventative HIV drug effective: study

A game-changing trial has shown that rates of HIV infection can be slashed by treating actively gay men with an anti-viral drug when they are healthy.

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The Proud study, conducted in England, provides the first evidence that prophylactic HIV treatment is highly effective in a real-world setting.

It showed that pre-exposure to the HIV drug Truvada can reduce the risk of infection in men-who-have-sex-with-men by as much as 86 per cent.

Previous research had suggested that prophylactic treatment might cut HIV infection rates but it was unclear whether such an approach would work in practice.

The new study of 545 participants divided the men into two groups, one of which was to be given Truvada immediately and the other a year later.

Comparing the two made it possible to assess the effectiveness of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in men at high risk of HIV infection.

Of the 276 men treated straight away, just three were infected with HIV over the subsequent year.

During the same period, 19 of the men from the “deferred group” became HIV positive.

Chief investigator Professor Sheena McCormack said the results showed PrEP was highly effective at preventing HIV infection in the real world.

“These results show there is a need for PrEP, and offer hope of reversing the epidemic among men who have sex with men in this country.”

Dr Michael Brady, medical director at the HIV/Aids charity Terrence Higgins Trust, said “PrEP is, quite simply, a game-changer”.

“We know that most gay men use condoms most of the time, and that this has prevented tens of thousands of HIV infections since the epidemic began in the UK. However, we also know that condomless sex vastly increases the risk of HIV being transmitted.

“This research shows just how effective PrEP can be in preventing transmission of the virus in groups at greatest risk; offering another line of defence alongside condoms and regular testing. It is not a vaccine and it won’t be for everyone, but once approved, we expect it to significantly increase the momentum in our fight against the virus.”

More offers to Indonesia possible: Bishop

Australian officials are continuing to work on offers which they hope will convince Indonesia to spare the lives of drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

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The behind-the-scenes diplomacy comes as an appeal for a Jakarta court to hear the case for sparing the pair from execution was adjourned to next Thursday.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s earlier offer of a prisoner exchange deal was rejected by Indonesian President Joko Widodo and her ministerial counterpart Retno Marsudi, who say there is nothing in Indonesian law that allows for such an exchange.

Ms Bishop is now awaiting a response from Indonesia of another offer, in which Australia would cover the cost of the ongoing life imprisonment of Chan and Sukumaran.

She says she will continue to put proposals to the Indonesian government, even if a date is set for the executions.

“I’ve offered to work with Indonesia to see if we can find regional solutions to drug trafficking … (and) better education programs, better law enforcement, rehabilitation programs,” Ms Bishop said.

She has also warned that Indonesia’s international reputation is at stake over the executions of the Australians and other foreign nationals.

Ms Bishop says other countries are also looking at Indonesia, equally worried about the fate of their citizens facing execution.

“I am concerned that Indonesia’s international reputation will be damaged,” she said.

Australia’s most senior Muslim leader has flown to Jakarta to make a personal plea for mercy for the duo.

The Grand Mufti of Australia Ibrahim Abu Mohammed told Indonesian leaders forgiveness lay at the heart of Islam, and touched on the “heritage of mercy” in their shared religion.

The State Administrative Court will hear the appeal next Thursday, after lawyers for the president said they weren’t ready.

The Bali Nine ringleaders remain in on Nusakambangan island off Java awaiting the firing squad.

Condoms essential for prevention amid rising rates of HIV

Rates of HIV infections are rising, but fewer people are dying from AIDS, data from the Kirby Institute for infection and immunity in society says.

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The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), which leads to death without treatment.

The Kirby Institute’s Professor Andrew Grulich said an HIV diagnosis was no longer a death sentence.

“Generally, people with HIV don’t get AIDS anymore,” Prof Grulich said.

The growth in HIV infections was 4 per cent for the average year during the decade ending 2013, compared to Australia’s average yearly population growth of 1.6 per cent the same decade.

Part of the reason for growing infection numbers included changing perceptions, Prof Grulich said.

Today HIV can be treated as a chronic manageable condition.

“In the old days a person who got HIV would die,” Prof Grulich said.

“New treatments are great. People stay alive for a normal life span.

Traditionally the HIV-AIDS cycle would consist of contracting an HIV infection, usually from unsafe sex, developing AIDS 10 years later and dying two years after that.

“[There] are more people living with HIV and [there are] changing perceptions of what HIV means, leading to increases in unsafe sex,” Prof Grulich said.

Traditionally the HIV-AIDS cycle would consist of contracting an HIV infection, usually from unsafe sex, developing AIDS 10 years later and dying two years after that, Prof Grulich said.

He said anal sex remained the most common way to contract HIV, and wearing condoms was important.

“Condom use remains the centre of HIV prevention,” Prof Grulich said.

Prof Grulich said gay men used condoms during casual sex at higher rates than heterosexual people with casual sexual partners.

When gay men have sex with a casual partner, they are more likely to use a condom with that partner than are heterosexual men, Prof Grulich said.

Among people who inject drugs seen at needle and syringe programs who were tested for HIV or hepatitis C, more homosexual than heterosexual men reported having used a condom during their last sexual intercourse in the same month, the Kirby Institute’s report says.

However, many gay men do not wear condoms and they are still the most at-risk group. 

Another statistic from the Centre for Social Research in Health said the proportions of homosexual men who always use condoms during anal sex had declined in the past decade.

However, Professor Grulich said men who had casual sex with men used condoms at a higher rate than hetoresexual men who had casual sex.

Tonight on SBS2 at 7:30pm, The Feed looks at why the number of HIV infections reached their highest point in 2012 for more than 15 years. The program takes a look at a new treatment, Truvada, which has been found to be effective at preventing HIV.

There are an estimated 180,000 to 200,000 men who have sex with men in Australia.

In 2013, men who have sex with other men accounted for 70 per cent of people diagnosed with HIV the same year.

While condoms and medicine can halt the spread, investment in prevention is also important. 

During the decade ending 2013, the largest growth in HIV infections was outside NSW, the data from the Kirby Institute’s report supplement said.

Prof Grulich said HIV infection numbers in NSW had remained flat.

“NSW has invested more heavily in prevention services,” he said.

The Feed airs at 7.30pm on weekdays on SBS 2.