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NW briefs


March 28. 2013 11:40PM


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NEW YORK


New anti-smoking ads out


Government health officials launched the second round of a graphic ad campaign Thursday that is designed to get smokers off tobacco, saying they believe the last effort convinced tens of thousands to quit.


The ads feature sad, real-life stories: There is Terrie, a North Carolina woman who lost her voice box. Bill, a diabetic smoker from Michigan who lost his leg. And Aden, a 7-year-old boy from New York, who has asthma attacks from secondhand smoke.


“Most smokers want to quit. These ads encourage them to try,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The CDC campaign cost $48 million and includes TV, radio and online spots as well as print ads and billboards.


BEIRUT


Mortars kill 10 in Damascus


Mortar shells crashed into an outdoor cafe at Damascus University on Thursday, killing at least 10 students in the deadliest of a rising number of mortar attacks in the heart of the Syrian capital.


The strikes have escalated as rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad try to enter the city, terrifying civilians whose support the opposition needs to advance its cause.


It was unclear who fired the rounds. The government blamed “terrorists,” its blanket term for those fighting Assad’s regime. Anti-regime activists accused the regime of staging the attack to turn civilians against the rebels.


Mortar strikes on Damascus are relatively new in Syria’s crisis, which began in March 2011 with protests calling for Assad’s ouster, then evolved into a civil war. The U.N. says more than 70,000 have been killed in the conflict.


MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.


Solar plane to cross U.S.


A solar-powered plane that has wowed aviation fans in Europe is set to travel across the United States with stops in Phoenix, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and New York.


The Swiss creators of Solar Impulse announced the plane’s itinerary at a news conference at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., on Thursday.


The plane is expected to be ready to leave from the San Francisco Bay area on May 1, although organizers said the actual departure will depend on weather. Each of the stops will last a week to 10 days.


The Solar Impulse is powered by about 12,000 photovoltaic cells that allow it to fly without jet fuel.


HARRISBURG


Judge retirements eyed


The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is taking a case that will determine if the justices, or any Pennsylvania judges, can serve on the bench past age 70.


The court announced Thursday it would consider a challenge by Montgomery County Judge Arthur Tilson to the state constitution’s requirement that they retire in the calendar year in which they turn 70.


The justices are fast-tracking the case by hearing oral argument on it in Harrisburg in May.


It’s a matter of particular importance to Chief Justice Ronald Castille, who is running for retention this year but will turn 70 in 2014.




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