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4 dead in shooting, carjacking spree in Calif.

Tustin, Calif.

4 dead in shooting, carjacking spree

A 20-year-old part-time college student was responsible for an hourlong shooting and carjacking rampage in Orange County on Tuesday that left four dead, including the gunman, the police said.

The man, Ali Syed, began shooting around 4:45 a.m. at the home where he lived with his parents in Ladera Ranch, officials said. He fired multiple times at a young woman in the house, killing her, and fled in his parents' sport utility vehicle, they said.

Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department, said the relationship between Syed and the victim, who was identified only as a woman in her 20s, had not been determined, nor was Syed's motive clear.

Syed later carjacked a pickup truck and two cars, and killed two other people before killing himself, authorities said. He also shot up vehicles and left three others injured in a trail of carnage that stretched across 25 miles.

CHICAGO

Costlier hysterectomy surgery on the rise

Robotic surgery is increasingly being used for hysterectomies, adding at least $2,000 to the cost without offering much benefit over less high-tech methods, a study found.

The technique was used in 0.5 percent of operations studied in 2007, but that soared to almost 10 percent by early 2010. Columbia University researchers analyzed data on more than 260,000 women who had their wombs removed at 441 U.S. hospitals for reasons other than cancer. The database covered surgeries performed through the first few months of 2010.

Women who had the robotic operations were slightly less likely to spend more than two days in the hospital, but hospital stays were shorter than that for most women. Also, complications were equally rare among robotic surgery patients and those who had more conventional surgeries. Average costs for robotic hysterectomies totaled nearly $9,000. Traditional operations cost about $6,600 on average.

Afghanistan

Civilian deaths drop for first time in years

Civilian deaths in the war in Afghanistan dropped in 2012 for the first time in six years, a sign of lessening hostilities, but insurgents dramatically expanded their campaign of assassinating government supporters, the United Nations said Tuesday.

The annual U.N. report on civilian casualties documented a 12 percent decline in deaths, down to 2,754, largely because of fewer ground operations, new limits on airstrikes by U.S.-led coalition forces and fewer suicide bombings by insurgents.

Insurgents caused 81 percent of civilian casualties last year, compared with 72 percent in 2011, the report said.

New York

Man charged with stealing Dalí work

A Greek man was charged with swiping a Salvador Dalí painting from a New York gallery last summer, only to return it in the mail.

Phivos Istavrioglou, 29, of Athens pleaded not guilty to larceny charges on Tuesday following his arrest in the theft of a work titled Cartel de Don Juan Tenorio. He was detained Saturday after an investigator posing as an art gallery owner tricked him into returning to New York by offering him a possible position as a consultant.

Russia

Adopted boy's death in U.S. stirs outrage

Russian officials on Tuesday accused a Texas woman of fatally beating a 3-year-old boy she had adopted from Russia, setting off a new wave of outrage in a country already focused on U.S. adoptions that have culminated in neglect or abuse.

Max Shatto and his younger brother left a Russian orphanage late last year with their adoptive parents, Laura and Alan Shatto, who live in the West Texas community of Gardendale.

A spokesman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said Tuesday that the death was being investigated.

Elsewhere

Cameroon: A French family of seven — including four children — was kidnapped on Tuesday in northern Cameroon, and officials suggested the involvement of Islamic extremists in neighboring Nigeria.

Pakistan: Shiites ended three days of protest across Pakistan on Tuesday after the government promised to hunt down sectarian extremists responsible for a bombing that killed 89 people in the western city of Quetta on Saturday.

Times wires

4 dead in shooting, carjacking spree in Calif. 02/19/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 11:14pm]
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