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World news briefs — compiled on July 16


Report on Syrian deaths

An estimated 5,000 Syrians are dying every month in the country’s civil war and refugees are fleeing at a rate not seen since the 1994 Rwanda genocide, U.N. officials said Tuesday. “In Syria today, serious human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity are the rule,” Ivan Simonovic, the assistant secretary-general for human rights, told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday. U.N. refugee chief Antonio Guterres said two-thirds of the nearly 1.8 million known Syrian refugees have fled since the beginning of 2013, an average of more than 6,000 daily. He urged international action to support the stability of Syria’s neighbors and reduce “the enormous risks of spillover” to the wider Middle East.


Officials say actor OD’d

Glee actor Cory Monteith, who had struggled for years with substance abuse and once said he was lucky to be alive, died Saturday of an overdose of heroin and alcohol, the British Columbia coroner’s office said Tuesday. “There is no evidence to suggest Mr. Monteith’s death was anything other than a most tragic accident,” the office said in a statement. Added Vancouver Police Department spokesman Brian Montague: “There was evidence in the [hotel] room that was consistent with a drug overdose. We’re not providing exactly what we found at the scene.”


Activist is slain

A prominent gay rights activist in Cameroon was tortured and killed just weeks after issuing a public warning about the threat posed by “anti-gay thugs,” Human Rights Watch said. Friends discovered the body of Eric Ohena Lembembe at his home in the capital, Yaounde, on Monday evening after he was unreachable for two days, the rights group said in a statement Tuesday. One friend said Lembembe’s neck and feet looked broken and that he had been burned with an iron. First as a journalist and later as executive director of CAMFAIDS, a Yaounde-based human rights organization, Lembembe documented violence, blackmail and arrests targeting members of Cameroon’s gay community.

Compiled from wire reports.


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