Patt Morrison for October 29, 2009

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New HIV vaccine study begins today in Los Angeles

The AIDS Research Alliance of America, in collaboration with UCLA launched a trial of a new prime-boost HIV vaccine today. The NIH funded trial is being conducted in twelve cities across the nation with the hope of reducing the viral-load of those who become infected with HIV. Even if this vaccine does prove successful in deterring contraction of the virus how far are we from a completed HIV vaccine and is there hope for a cure?
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Nearly 30% of LAUSD students placed in English language learning programs are not reclassified as English-proficient by the end of middle school, according to a new public policy report. The findings are especially significant for LAUSD, which is the nation’s second largest school district with huge numbers of English language learners. How long should it take students to pick up English?
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Yesterday an imam from an extremist mosque in Detroit was killed in a shoot-out with FBI agents coming to arrest him; earlier this week an American citizen in Boston was picked up on charges of plotting terrorist attacks against shopping malls; and last month two men were arrested, one in Denver, one in Dallas, that were already well into the planning stages of major terror attacks inside the U.S. Are these arrests just eye-catching coincidences, or are Muslim extremists especially determined to pull off an attack inside the U.S.?
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New civil rights czar at U.S. Department of Justice

In an effort to reshape the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, U.S. Attorney General Holder nominated and this month the Senate confirmed Thomas Perez as assistant attorney general. Perez faces criticism of his department as being politicized, as he and Eric Holder work to roll back controversial actions by the Bush administration and push for a return to a basic approach to civil rights issues. Also on the table are greater financing for indigent defense, elimination of sentencing disparity between crack and power cocaine crimes and passage of the federal hate crimes law, which was signed by President Obama yesterday.
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A new Pew study examined over 400 credit cards and found that all of them engaged in one or more practices PEW categorizes as “unfair and deceptive”. According to their research, credit card companies are hiking fees and raising interest rates (the median interest rate last year was 27.99%). Congress is working to push up the effective date of new regulations designed to help, but will they be enough?
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