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Humans imperil shark populations

Sharks have attacked 15 people swimming and wading along the U.S. coast this year, none fatally. Sharks haven't been as lucky: At least 200,000 were killed by people in the past 10 years. Humans have depleted shark populations so much the federal government began protecting sharks last year. Under a far-reaching plan adopted by the National Marine Fisheries Service 18 months ago, stocks were supposed to have rebounded to mid-1980s levels by now, but that hasn't happened. "It looks fairly clear that shark populations are 20 percent of what they used to be in the 1970s," said Dr. Bob Hueter of Sarasota's Mote Marine Laboratory. "There's no evidence to indicate that sharks are recovering."

Super Bowl panel

works to be inclusive

MIAMI _ The South Florida Super Bowl XXIX Host Committee hopes to avoid what happened in Atlanta last year by sharing the boon from the game with the black business community. In Atlanta last year, 150,000 well-heeled visitors generated $150-million in economic activity, but little of that money ended up in the coffers of black businesses. "It's important that we have full participation of our ethnically diverse community in South Florida," said Elaine Black, who is in charge of the committee's minority business program. The committee has teamed with the NFL to help qualified companies owned by women, African-Americans and Hispanics win their fair share of business contracts so they won't be shut out of the Super Bowl market.

AIDS fear helps other diseases subside

TALLAHASSEE _ The fear of AIDS has a positive side effect _ a sharp drop in syphilis in Florida, which led the nation in that sexually transmitted disease until 1990. "We can never say, "Let's pack up and go home,' " Dan George, a senior public health adviser with the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, told the Orlando Sentinel for a story Sunday. But Florida is now 16th in the nation in its syphilis rate, with 1,187 cases reported last year _ the lowest level in 30 years. Like syphilis, the virus that causes AIDS can be contracted through sex. But while sexually transmitted diseases are curable, AIDS isn't. The state distributes about 7-million condoms through its county public health units. Apparently many are being used, said Bill Drahos of Volusia's unit. "With HIV, it got a little scary not to," he said.

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