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Briefs

Syria suffers its bloodiest month yet

– March was the bloodiest month yet in Syria’s 2-year-old conflict, with more than 6,000 documented deaths, a leading anti-regime activist group said Monday, blaming the increase on heavier shelling and more violent clashes.

Rami Abdul-Rahman, who heads the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the increased toll is likely incomplete because both the Syrian army and the rebel groups fighting the government often underreport their dead in the civil war.

The numbers, while provided by only one group, support the appraisal of the conflict offered by many Syria watchers: The civil war is largely a military stalemate that is destroying the country’s social fabric and taking a huge toll on civilians.

Nation

10 hurt as car strikes diners in Las Vegas

A car plowed through a restaurant’s patio during the lunch hour in Las Vegas on Monday, injuring 10 people before it came to rest with its engine revving and its hood inside a shattered plate glass window, authorities said.

Firefighters had to extricate four people from beneath the vehicle, including a boy, after the 12:30 p.m. crash at the Egg & I restaurant, several blocks west of the Las Vegas Strip, witnesses said.

Veto overridden on Arkansas voter ID

Arkansas legislators passed a law Monday requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls, overriding Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe’s veto of the bill, which he called an expensive solution to a non-existent problem.

Critics of such voter ID laws say the type of in-person voter fraud they are meant to prevent is extremely rare and that the laws are really designed to make it harder to vote for certain groups that tend to back Democrats, including minorities, students and the elderly.

High-rise graffiti attempt turns fatal

A man who was found dead hanging by a rope off an 18-story Sacramento high-rise appears to have been a graffiti tagger, Sacramento police said Monday.

Fire Battalion Chief Marc Bentovoja said the man appears to have died accidentally of asphyxiation when he created a harness from the rope and lowered himself down the east side of the office building.

Charges sought for Tulsa oral surgeon

Citing the scope of a public health scare involving thousands of patients of an Oklahoma oral surgeon, the head of the state’s dentistry board said Monday she wants prosecutors to consider pursuing criminal charges.

Elsewhere, dozens of Dr. W. Scott Harrington’s 7,000 patients were tested in Tulsa on Monday for hepatitis B and C and the virus that causes AIDS. About 400 people showed up at a clinic north of downtown Saturday, the first day the free tests were offered.

Stockton, Calif., gets OK for bankruptcy

The people of Stockton, Calif., will feel financial fallout for years after a federal judge ruled Monday to let the city become the most populous in the nation to enter bankruptcy.

The case is being watched closely because it could answer the significant question of who gets paid first by financially strapped cities – retirement funds or creditors.

New health crusade in NYC targets salt

New York subway riders, after being cautioned about smoking, sugar and teen pregnancy, are getting a new message: Pass on the salt.

The city’s Department of Health launched an ad campaign Monday urging passengers to scrutinize the salt in packaged foods and choose those with less. The ad shows two loaves of bread and zooms in on the sodium line in their nutrition labels, showing that one loaf has more than twice the sodium of the other.

World

Afghan teen fatally stabs US soldier

An Afghan teenager fatally stabbed an American soldier in the neck as he played with children in eastern Afghanistan, officials said Monday, as the U.S. death toll rose sharply last month with an uptick in fighting that was due to warmer weather.

Just one U.S. service member was killed in February – a five-year monthly low – but the American death toll climbed to at least 14 last month.

The attack that killed Sgt. Michael Cable, 26, of Philpot, Ky., last Wednesday occurred after the soldiers had secured an area for a meeting of U.S. and Afghan officials in a province near the volatile border with Pakistan.

Pakistani woman’s campaign historic

A 40-year-old Pakistani housewife has made history by becoming the first woman to run for parliament from the country’s deeply conservative tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

Badam Zari is pushing back against patriarchal traditions and braving potential attack by Islamist militants in the hope of forcing the government to focus more on helping Pakistani women.

Pope descends to visit St. Peter’s tomb

Pope Francis on Monday took an emotional, close-up look at the tomb of Peter, the church’s first pontiff, buried beneath St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican said.

By doing so, Francis became the first pontiff to visit the necropolis, where pagans and early Christians were buried, since extensive archaeological excavations were conducted at the ancient site decades ago, the Vatican said.

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