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Nation in brief: Protein list called AIDS breakthrough

A research team Thursday announced it has identified about 270 human proteins the AIDS virus apparently needs in order to infect a person, instantly providing researchers with dozens of new strategies for blocking or aborting HIV infection.

The vast majority – more than 200 – weren’t previously known to play a role in the complicated choreography by which the virus attaches to a cell, enters it, gets copied and establishes permanent residence.

Current AIDS drugs work by interrupting one of four main steps in HIV’s life cycle. The new study suggests there are many more to target.

“This is likely destined to be one of the best papers on HIV for this coming decade,” said Robert Gallo, co-discoverer of the AIDS virus, who was not involved in the study.

The research, led by Stephen Elledge of Harvard Medical School and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, was published online Thursday by the journal Science.

Sacramento, Calif.

Governor declares fiscal emergency

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a fiscal emergency in California on Thursday, and released a state budget proposal that would close an estimated $14 billion gap by cutting education funds, releasing inmates and closing dozens of state parks.

The emergency declaration forces lawmakers to vote on many of the cuts within 45 days, instead of waiting until the new budget year begins July 1.

The $141 billion plan would give schools 10 percent less money, release 22,000 inmates and shut 48 state parks.

Cuts or freezes in funding for children of welfare recipients and elderly, blind or disabled people also are in the plan.

“This is a budget that doesn’t please everybody, I know that for sure,” Schwarzenegger said. “But the bottom line is I think this is the fairest way to go.”

Tulsa, Okla.

Oral Roberts U regents resign

Two televangelists have resigned their posts as regents at Oral Roberts University, as the debt-ridden school tries to regroup following a spending scandal involving its former president.

Benny Hinn and I.V. Hilliard have resigned as regents, where they were involved in making major school decisions, university spokesman Jeremy Burton said Thursday.

Burton declined to say why the two resigned, but said both wrote the board to express their support for the school’s mission.

Hinn is among six televangelists being investigated by Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley to determine if the high-profile preachers violated their organizations’ tax-exempt status by living lavishly on the backs of small donors.

The resignations follow that of Richard Roberts, who stepped down as university president in November amid allegations he misspent school funds to bankroll a lavish lifestyle.


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