World briefs: Violence moves into Lebanon

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BEIRUT -- The collapse of a rebel bastion inside Syria showed its effects inside Lebanon on Monday as rival communities rocketed one another, snipers opened fire along a critical highway near the Syrian border and at least two car bombs targeted Shiite Muslim villages in the Bekaa Valley.

Terrorism analysts and intelligence officials blamed the rise in violence on an influx of militants into Lebanon after Syrian government troops, led by their Lebanese Shiite allies from Hezbollah, took control over the weekend of Yabroud, one of the last rebel-held population centers in the mountainous Qalamoun region along the Lebanese border.

Tens of thousands of civilians already had fled the fighting into the rebel-sympathetic Lebanese border town of Arsal. By Sunday night it became apparent that many rebel gunmen also were fleeing into Lebanon.

New envoy for Syria

WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday named Daniel Rubinstein, a senior foreign service official with long experience in the Middle East, as a new special envoy for Syria.

Mr. Rubinstein will fill the position vacated by Robert S. Ford, who retired last month. His appointment comes as the conflict, which has already killed an estimated 140,000 people, is entering its fourth year.

Mr. Rubinstein is fluent in Arabic and has served in Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Tunisia and Israel, among other assignments. He is expected to travel to the Middle East later this month.

China blasts U.N. report

BEIJING -- China finds itself under a harsh international spotlight this week as it attempts to block further United Nations actions against North Korea for that country's alleged crimes against humanity, while facing a separate review of its own human rights record.

On Monday, China, a member of the U.N. Security Council, dismissed a U.N. report that documented how North Korea for decades has abused prisoners and dissidents in secret prisons. The reported abuses included forcing tortured children to watch their loved ones be executed.

Pistorius ordered 6 guns

PRETORIA, South Africa -- Paralympian gold medalist Oscar Pistorius ordered six guns, including a Smith & Wesson 500 revolver and a semiautomatic rifle, a firearms trainer told his murder trial, as the prosecution tried to portray the athlete as obsessed with weapons.

"Over a number of months he bought a number of other firearms" after ordering a Smith & Wesson 500, Sean Rens told the High Court on Monday. "He had a great love and enthusiasm for them."

Mr. Pistorius, 27, has pleaded not guilty to the charge of intentionally killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine's Day last year, and three separate gun-related charges. He says he thought she was an intruder when he shot her through a toilet cubicle door in his bathroom.

Limit on Paris cars lifted

PARIS -- The French government said it is lifting a partial ban on vehicle traffic in Paris as pollution levels receded from last week's peak, when air quality in the capital was worse than that in Beijing.

The first partial driving ban in the French capital in 17 years, which halved the number of autos circulating in Paris, and the other anti-pollution measures will be lifted as of midnight, Energy and Environment Minister Philippe Martin said a news conference.

The efforts had come after fine particulates obscured the Eiffel Tower and sent a hazy dome over the city.

-- Compiled from news services

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