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For first time, baby is cured of HIV, doctors say

Doctors announced Sunday that a baby had been cured of an HIV infection for the first time, a startling development that could change how infected newborns are treated and sharply reduce the number of children living with the virus that causes AIDS.

The baby, born in rural Mississippi, was treated aggressively with antiretroviral drugs starting around 30 hours after birth, something that is not usually done. The United Nations estimates that 330,000 babies were newly infected in 2011, the most recent year for which there is data, and that more than three million children globally are living with HIV.

Studies are being planned to see if early testing and aggressive treatment can work for other babies. While the bone marrow transplant that cured Timothy Brown is an arduous and life-threatening procedure, the Mississippi treatment is not and could become a new standard of care.

—Andrew Pollack and Donald G. Mcneil Jr.,
The New York Times

Virginia pastor convicted of aiding in parental kidnapping

A Virginia pastor who said that his actions “flow out of my faith in Jesus” was sentenced Monday to 27 months in prison for abetting the international parental kidnapping of a girl in a high-profile case involving a same-sex union and the condemnation of homosexuality by conservative Christians.

But in a victory for the pastor, Kenneth L. Miller, Judge William K. Sessions III of U.S. District Court in Vermont said he did not have to start serving his sentence until higher courts decided on a planned appeal, which could take at least two years, according to Brooks G. McArthur, one of Miller’s lawyers.

While Sessions had previously ruled that the case could be tried in Vermont, his ruling Monday appeared to acknowledge that federal court rulings had been contradictory and that Miller’s appeal had a chance of success.

As a result, despite his conviction, Miller, head of a Beachy Amish-Mennonite church in Stuart’s Draft, Va., is free to return home with minimal supervision until the appeal is resolved.

Miller was convicted last fall for helping to arrange the covert flight to Nicaragua of Lisa A. Miller with her daughter, Isabella Miller-Jenkins, in 2009.

—Erik Eckholm, The New York Times

Protesters want last of
Berlin Wall to stand

BERLIN — In November 1989, the Berlin Wall opened, and soon after was being torn to pieces by jubilant crowds from both sides. Almost a quarter of a century later Berliners again took to the streets over the wall — only this time to protect what is left of it.

Late last week, when construction workers began dismantling a roughly 70-foot section of the wall’s longest remaining expanse — a nearly mile-long monument to peace that is covered in paintings and known as the East Side Gallery — protesters turned up in droves. The first hastily organized demonstration on Friday drew several hundred, but over the weekend thousands of people massed to protect the massive concrete slabs from being removed and relocated in an adjacent park.

They were particularly incensed that the project was to make way for an access road for new luxury apartments — helpful for a city whose budget could use bolstering from development, not so helpful for ordinary Germans.

“History should never be a luxury,” read one placard, capturing the protesters’ dismay over gentrification.

—Chris Cottrell, The New York Times