News in Brief

Israeli singer Rita to tour U.S., Mexico

The Israeli pop star Rita is planning a concert tour in the United States and Mexico next month. Accompanied by a nine-person band, Rita will perform in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, New York, Maryland and Mexico City. The concert, entitled "My Joys," will showcase mainly songs from her latest gold album by the same name, which features world music and Persian songs she has treasured since childhood. This is Rita's second such tour in the United States. On Sunday, the Iranian-born singer and actress was awarded the World Academy of Arts, Literature and Media's Persian Golden Lioness Award for pop music in 2012. (Uri Zer Aviv )

Israel scores big at Chicago film festival

Three Israeli films won awards in the Chicago International Film Festival over the weekend. The documentary "Numbered," directed by Dana Doron and Uriel Sinai, featuring stories by Holocaust survivors, won the second prize - the Silver Hugo - in the "Docufest" competition. Shay Levy's film "Return" was awarded the first prize - the Gold Hugo - for best short film. It tells the story of a young man returning home after a life-changing trip to India following a psychotic attack. The second prize for best narrative/live action short was awarded to "Paul," directed by Adam Bizanski. The film, which combines animation and live action, is about a man who after a painful breakup with his girlfriend sets out to find his stolen pet fish. (Nirit Anderman )

Third suspect held for vandalism of Jewish cemetery in Auckland

A third man was arrested in New Zealand over the anti-Semitic vandalism of an historic Jewish cemetery. Police confirmed Monday that a 20-year-old was arrested and charged with willful damage following last week's attack on more than 20 gravestones in Auckland, some dating back to the 1880s. He and two others, aged 19 and 23, are scheduled to appear in the Auckland District Court on Tuesday. Many gravestones were spray-painted with swastikas and the numbers "88" - code for "Heil Hitler." Interfaith leaders joined the chorus of condemnation, with Catholic Bishop of Auckland Pat Dunn branding it as "despicable." (JTA )