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US ARTIST, SYRIAN CHILDREN BEAUTIFY REFUGEE CAMP
ZAATARI, Jordan (AP) -- Young Syrian children, refugees of their country's grinding civil war, playfully grab paint brushes and rollers nearly as big as they are in this windswept desert camp, adding splashes of bright color to their bleak surroundings.
Most of the trailers and tents match the beige color of the swirling sand surrounding the Zaatari refugee camp, home to about 120,000 Syrians who fled the nearly three-year war still gripping the nation. Slowly though, that's changing with the help of a U.S. artist who is leading children haunted by the conflict to paint buildings and walls at the crowded camp with murals expressing their lives and hopes.
"So many children are bored in Zaatari. They just throw rocks because they have nothing else to do," artist Samantha Robison said. "There's a lot of violent tendencies and negative energy, so if you bring in art and give them a positive activity, it helps a lot."
The painting project gives a moment of color and self-expression for kids who have had their lives shattered by Syria's war. Last week, the special U.N. envoy for children and conflict warned about the effects of the upheaval on children, warning that Syria's violence is producing a generation plagued with illiteracy and "filled with hate."
Just over half the refugees in Zaatari are under the age of 18. On what was once an empty patch of desert, the sprawling complex has grown in just a year into the second largest refugee camp in the world and is Jordan's fifth largest populated city, with more refugees pouring daily across the border, just 16 kilometers (10 miles) away. Many of the families come from the southern Syrian province of Daraa, where the Syrian uprising began, and many of the children have directly experienced the trauma of having their neighborhoods bombarded and having relatives killed.
Robison, 27, from the Washington, D.C.-area, works in the camp as part of an organization she founded called AptART. She has traveled to Cambodia, Congo, Iraq and Syria to work on art projects before arriving at Zaatari.
ANTHONY WEINER ADMITS TO MORE LEWD PHOTOS
NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner admitted on Tuesday to sending additional sexually explicit photos and texts to a woman he met online - an exchange she says began more than a year after he resigned from Congress for similar behavior.
The allegation could severely test voters' willingness to forgive Weiner, who has said he spent the two years since the scandal trying to make things right with his wife and earn redemption. Three of his rivals for mayor immediately called on Weiner to drop out of the race.
Weiner, who resigned his House seat in June 2011 after acknowledging having sexual conversations with at least a half-dozen women, has been near the top of most mayoral polls since his late entry into the race this spring.
The newly revealed X-rated correspondence was posted Monday by the gossip website The Dirty. The woman involved was not identified.
FRIEND WHO WAS WITH AGENT IN WAIKIKI TESTIFIES
HONOLULU (AP) — The former college roommate of a federal agent charged in a Waikiki shooting says they had been drinking together that night.
Adam Gutowski testified Monday in the murder trial against State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy, who is accused of shooting Kollin Elderts inside a McDonald's restaurant in 2011. Deedy was in town for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit. Gutowski was living in Waikiki.
Gutowski says Deedy ordered several beers while they were at various bars. But he says Deedy seemed "sober and calm."
Gutowski says they went to McDonald's because he was craving chicken nuggets.
He doesn't remember much about the altercation between Elderts and Deedy. He remembers Elderts saying Deedy wasn't the only one with a gun.
He acknowledges some inconsistences in what he's previously said to police.