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Rite at Jesus' tomb draws thousands

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Thousands of Christians lit candles and torches from a flame that emerged from the tomb of Jesus in a Jerusalem church Saturday as they conducted an ancient fire ritual that celebrates the Messiah's resurrection.

Plumes of smoke wafted through the crammed Church of the Holy Sepulcher as jostling pilgrims passed the flame from one to another.

Once they had their candles lit, the pilgrims and clerics quickly rushed outside the ancient church, seeking to pass on the flames to pilgrims waiting in the narrow cobblestone alleys nearby.

During the annual ceremony, top clerics enter the Edicule, the small chamber marking the site of Jesus' tomb. They emerge after some time to reveal candles lit with "holy fire" -- said to be miraculously lit as a message to the faithful. Believing Christians seek to spread the holy fire around the world -- symbolizing the light of Christ and his resurrection after death.

The day is the pinnacle of Easter celebrations. Eastern Orthodox churches and several others celebrate Easter this week.


Sick-out by pilots still canceling flights

TORONTO (AP) -- Air Canada's operations have yet to return to normal a day after dozens of pilots called in sick, forcing the cancellation of about 75 flights.

Toronto's Pearson International Airport listed 17 cancellations and 50 delays on its website Saturday. Flights at other airports were also affected.

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said Saturday that the problems are a result of planes not being in a position to fly due to Friday's labor action.

Air Canada said the Canada Industrial Relations Board granted the airline an order on Friday requiring its pilots to end the work stoppages that caused travel chaos across the country.


Bee Gee Robin Gibb reported gravely ill

LONDON (AP) -- Former Bee Gee Robin Gibb is gravely ill with pneumonia in a London hospital, British media reported Saturday.

The Sun newspaper reported that Gibb, 62, is in a coma, citing a family friend.

The newspaper and the Press Association news agency said family members including wife Dwina and brother Barry were at his bedside.

Gibb's publicist, Doug Wright, declined to comment, but Gibb's son has acknowledged that the musician is seriously ill in a hospital. Gibb was hospitalized last year for stomach and colon problems and had intestinal surgery last month.

The Bee Gees -- British-born, Australia-raised brothers Robin, Barry and Maurice Gibb -- had a string of disco-era hits including "How Deep is Your Love" and "Stayin' Alive." Their soundtrack to the movie "Saturday Night Fever" was one of the best-selling albums of the 1970s.

Maurice Gibb, Robin's twin brother, died in 2003 at age 53 due to complications from a twisted intestine.