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Washington HIV Infection Rate Is Highest of U.S. Cities

The District of Columbia has the highest rate of AIDS infection of any city in the country, nearly twice that of New York, and the disease is being transmitted to infants, older adults, women and heterosexual men at an epidemic pace, according to a report released Monday by city health officials.

One in 20 city residents is estimated to have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and 1 in 50 have AIDS, the report said.

“HIV/AIDS in the district has become a modern epidemic with complexities and challenges that continue to threaten the lives and well-being of far too many residents,” said the report, which includes the first-ever study of statistics on HIV in the city, along with updated data on AIDS cases. The HIV data offers a vital snapshot of the most recent infections so health officials can study any changes in transmission patterns, city health officials said.

The city’s AIDS prevention office has been faulted in the past as not keeping proper data to track and fight the disease, and the director of the office is the 13th in just over two decades, a turnover rate that has hampered its focus, advocates for AIDS patients said.

China Forms Many Contracts With European Companies

The aircraft maker Airbus and the French nuclear company Areva were among a half-dozen companies to sign roughly $30 billion in contracts on Monday with Chinese partners.

The deals, signed during a three-day visit to China by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, offered further evidence of the value of China as a market for European technology despite tensions over trade and the environment. Included in the deals was a promise by Airbus to award to Chinese companies at least 5 percent of the supply contracts for its next-generation wide-body jet, the A350-XWB.

Airbus, which is playing catch-up to Boeing’s Dreamliner in terms of orders, has offered such a sweetener once before outside the euro zone — to Russia.

The European planemaker is also trying to reduce its vulnerability to swings in the dollar. Executives at Airbus and its corporate parent, European Aeronautic Defense and Space, have warned that the dollar’s decline poses a serious threat to the company.

Putin Claims U.S. Is Meddling In Russian Election

President Vladimir V. Putin Monday accused the United States of trying to taint the legitimacy of upcoming Russian parliamentary elections by pressing a group of prominent independent election observers to abandon their attempts to monitor the campaign.

Putin contended that the election monitors, who are deployed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, had canceled their plans to monitor the parliamentary balloting because of pressure from the State Department in Washington.

Putin’s statements in recent weeks have taken on an increasingly nationalistic tone as he has sought to muster support for his party in the balloting on Sunday. Speaking to reporters Monday in St. Petersburg, he once again criticized what he suggested was foreign meddling in Russia’s affairs.

“According to information we have, it was again done at the recommendation of the U.S. State Department and we will take this into account in our inter-state relations with this country,” he said.