For the first time ever, the number of people living with HIV or AIDS in this country has passed the one million mark. This according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Craig Thompson, of AIDS Project Los Angeles, said “This is a heartbreaking milestone.” Three-quarters of those infected are male and nearly half are African-American. Government researchers say the increase reflects both the success in prolonging survival with AIDS treatment and the continued failure in controlling the spread of new infections. The United Nations has estimated that 38 million people worldwide are living with HIV or AIDS and that nearly 6 million of them will die in the next two years if they do not receive proper drug treatments.
The Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of a death row inmate in Texas because prosecutors in Dallas County wrongfully kept African-Americans off the jury for his trial. When Thomas Miller-El was convicted of murder in 1986 only one member of the jury was African-American. During jury selection state prosecutors excluded 10 out of 11 eligible African-Americans. Writing for the court Justice David Souter wrote that “when the government’s choice of jurors is tainted with racial bias,” it jeopardizes “the very integrity of the courts” and “undermines public confidence in adjudication.” Up until the 1980s, prosecutors in Dallas County were given a training manual that advised them to remove African-Americans and Jews from death penalty cases on the theory that those groups would be more sympathetic to criminal defendants. As part of its ruling, the Supreme Court court on Monday ordered a new trial for Miller-El.
In another ruling Monday, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that limits the number of television stations, radio stations and newspapers a media company can own in a single market. The decision marks a major defeat for the nation’s major media corporations. Pete Tridish of the Prometheus Radio Project said, “The Supreme Court is affirming the demands of millions of people in the United States: the FCC needs to take a close look at its rules about media ownership and the assumptions guiding these rules.” The Prometheus Radio Project was the lead petitioner in the case against the Federal Communications Commission. FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein added, “This decision is a rare victory for the public over some of the most powerful corporations in America.” He went on to say “The court’s decision puts the issue of media consolidation right back in the FCC’s hands and gives us an opportunity for a fresh start, so we better get it right this time.”
Also on Monday the Supreme Court decided not to hear an immediate appeal from Jose Padilla. The U.S.-born citizen has been jailed for the past three years in solitary confinement on a military brig even though the government has never charged him with a crime and he has never appeared inside a courtroom. The Bush administration originally accused Padilla of plotting to set off a dirty bomb inside the United States.
In Iraq, bombings have killed at least 30 people and wounded 88 others. The deadliest incident occurred in Kirkuk when a bomb exploded outside a bank killing 19 people. The bomb came shortly before Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani was sworn in as president of the three provinces in northern Iraq.
A new video has been released showing Saddam Hussein being questioned over the 1982 killings in the Shiite village of Dujail. The video was released without audio.
An international committee for the defense of the rights of former high-level Iraqis held in jail is being formed. Founders of the Emergency Committee for Iraq include former US attorney general Ramsey Clark, Algerian president Ahmed Ben Bella and Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.
The Knight Ridder news agency is reporting that a growing number of senior American military officers in Iraq have concluded there is no long-term military solution in Iraq. Instead, officers say, the only way to end the guerrilla war is through Iraqi politics. Last week Donald Alston, the chief U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said “I think the more accurate way to approach this right now is to concede that… this insurgency is not going to be settled… through military options or military operations.”
One of the Pentagon’s top analysts on Iran has been indicted on charges that he leaked highly classified intelligence to employees of AIPAC — the American Israel Public Affairs Committee — as well as an Israeli official. On Monday, the analyst Larry Franklin, pleaded not guilty to all six counts in the indictment. Both AIPAC and Israel have denied any wrongdoing.
And in California, pop star Michael Jackson has been acquitted of all charges against him following a 14-week trial on charges of child molestation. He had faced up to 20 years in jail.