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World/National News

December 19, 2013

Around the World and Nation

(Continued)

The air campaign’s timing — five weeks ahead of an international peace conference — also suggests that Syrian President Bashar Assad could be trying to strengthen his position on the ground while exposing the opposition’s weaknesses before sitting down at the negotiating table.

The stakes are high in the battle for Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and a former commercial and industrial hub. For the government, wresting back control of the entire city would deal a devastating blow to the rebels’ morale and throw doubt on the opposition’s long-term hold on the vast territory in northern Syria that it has captured over the past two years.

Since it began on Sunday, the government air assault has hammered more than a dozen neighborhoods in the rebel-held areas of Aleppo. The campaign has killed at least 189 people and wounded 879, the aid organization Doctors Without Borders said in a statement Wednesday.

Witness says she tried to help woman before she was fatally shot on porch in suburban Detroit

DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) — A young, drunk woman fatally shot on a man’s porch in suburban Detroit was hurt, scared and confused a few hours earlier when she crashed her vehicle into a parked car, a witness testified Wednesday.

Carmen Beasley provided details about the hours preceding the death of Renisha McBride, 19, who was shot in the face by a 54-year-old homeowner in the dark, early morning of Nov. 2.

Dearborn Heights Judge David Turfe must determine if there’s enough evidence to send Theodore Wafer to trial on a second-degree murder charge. Defense attorneys claim he feared for his life, but prosecutors say the shooting was not justified. More testimony is scheduled for Thursday.

Beasley said she heard a “boom” outside her Detroit home about 1 a.m. and discovered that her car had been smashed. She called 911, went outside and found McBride, who had walked away but returned to the scene.

McBride was bleeding and pressing her hands to her head, Beasley testified.

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