Canadian photographer killed in Syrian bombing

A Canadian freelance photographer was killed in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Sunday, his sister and activists said, the latest journalist to be killed covering a brutal war that has become the deadliest place in the world for them to operate.

Ali Moustafa died with seven others when government aircraft dropped crude bombs and one exploded where was standing with firefighters in the rebel-held Hadariyeh area of Aleppo, said an activist who identified himself as Abu al-Hassan Marea.

Moustafa’s sister, Justina Rosa Botelho, confirmed her 29-year-old brother’s death after activists sent her a photograph of his corpse. Moustafa was born in Toronto.

“He just wanted the world to know about human rights and all the horrible things going on down there,” Botelho said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.


Since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011, more than 63 journalists have been killed, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.


High school theater stage collapses, injuring students

Investigators combed through a collapsed theater stage at a Southern California high school Sunday, trying to determine why it buckled during a performance and sent 25 students to the hospital with mainly minor injuries.

Police, firefighters and medics responded to a call Saturday night after the wooden stage gave way at Servite High School, an all-boys Catholic school in Anaheim.

About 250 students from nearby Rosary High School, an all-girls sister school, were singing and dancing on the platform when they fell five feet, Anaheim police Lt. Tim Schmidt said.


Injuries included broken bones, bruises and scrapes.

Inspectors will double-check the school’s stage permit to determine if it’s up to date.


Arabs reject Israeli demand Palestinians recognize state

Arab foreign ministers Sunday rejected Israel’s demands that the Palestinians recognize it as a Jewish state, saying such a move would undermine the rights of Palestinian refugees.

In a resolution released at the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo, the foreign ministers called the issue of Palestinian refugees an integral part of a comprehensive and just peace.


The Arab statement offered strong backing to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who said last week he will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state despite facing strong international pressure.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state to show they are serious about peace.

Abbas is due to meet President Obama in Washington on March 17, as part of U.S. efforts to press both sides.


Dispute over parking spot escalates to finger biting

Police say a dispute over a parking spot at a southern New Jersey mall ended when a woman bit and almost severed the finger of another driver.


The fight at the Cherry Hill Mall involved three women and occurred around 4:30 p.m. Saturday outside Nordstrom’s. Details about the dispute were not disclosed, but authorities said it began as a verbal argument before it turned physical.

The Courier-Post reported that the injured woman was a 42-year-old Philadelphia resident.

Police are searching for the biter and said she could face aggravated assault charges.

– From news service reports

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