U.N. Cuts Its Own AIDS Estimate

The United Nations says it overestimated the number of global AIDS cases at 40 million. New data suggest there are about 33 million.

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BILL WOLFF (Announcer): This is NPR.

RACHEL MARTIN, host:

Hey, good morning everyone.

The United Nations plans to issue a report today saying it's overestimated the size of the AIDS epidemic by about seven million cases. The study will reflect new data that says, instead of the 40 million cases reported last year, there are about 33 million.

U.N. officials say the biggest reason for the revision is because of new and more accurate data from India. Original estimates said that some 5.7 million people in India were infected with AIDS. But now the agency has cut that number in half.

Despite the latest revisions, AIDS remains a critical global threat. This week's report predicts that 2.1 million people died of AIDS last year, and about 6,800 people were newly infected every day.

While Hollywood writers and Broadway stagehands are striking here in the U.S., French transit workers are in the seventh day of a walk out there. Thousands of civil servants and students in France are expected to join the picket lines with striking transport workers today. The strike is proving to be a major challenge for new French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Eleanor Beardsley has a story from Paris.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY: Today is being called Black Tuesday for French President Nicolas Sarkozy who is facing attack on his reform plans on several France. Schools are closed, the air traffic disrupted, and there are no newspapers in the kiosks as five million public sector employees stopped work to protest Sarkozy's plan to cut one-third of their jobs. The transport strike has moved in to its seventh day, causing continued grief for French commuters. While only 18 percent of rail workers are still striking, train and metro service is still erratic. And analysts say the movement is becoming more radical. A massive protest marches plan for the afternoon.

The French economy is losing $600 million a day, but the government seems to be digging in for a good fight. French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said this morning that reform plans would not be abandoned just because a few trains aren't running.

MARTIN: That's NPR's Eleanor Beardsley in Paris.

Finally, a legal battle over "Californication."

(Soundbite of music, "Californication")

Mr. ANTHONY KIEDIS (Vocalist, Red Hot Chili Peppers): (Singing) The sun may rise in the east at least it settles in the final location. It's understood that Hollywood sells Californication.

MARTIN: Indeed they do. That particular lyric has new poignancy now. Yesterday, the band sued Showtime Networks - that band being the Red Hot Chili Peppers. They sued over the name of the television series "Californication," which is also the name of the Chili Peppers' 1999 album and hit single.

The suit alleges unfair competition and delusion of the name value, claiming that the word Californication is distinctively associated in the mind of the consumer with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The TV show stars David Duchovny as a writer grappling with the mid-life crisis. The show features a character named Dani California, which is also the title of the Chili Peppers' song released just last year.

That's the news and it's always online at npr.org.

WOLFF: This is NPR.

MARTIN: Alison and Robert.

ALISON STEWART, host:

They might have a case now.

ROBERT SMITH, host:

They have a (unintelligible) building that case.

MARTIN: You (unintelligible). Is that crazy when I read that line, I'm like, what? What were they thinking?

SMITH: But the show's been out for a while. What took them so long?

MARTIN: I know.

SMITH: I guess to…

STEWART: Well, it's (unintelligible) at this season.

SMITH: Yeah.

STEWART: This season.

SMITH: But they were…

STEWART: Red Hot Chili…

SMITH: Red Hot Chili Peppers - they just finally woke up and wake, dude, we think that's our song.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: I think that's ours.

STEWART: They've been busy. They're a rock band.

Rachel Martin, thanks a lot.

MARTIN: You're welcome.

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