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By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, an exodus that began in March 2011 and shows no sign of abating, the United Nations said. The record figure is one million refugees more than a year ago, while a further 6.5 million are displaced within Syria, meaning that "almost half of all Syrians have now been forced to abandon their homes and flee for their lives", it said. "The Syrian crisis has become the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era, yet the world is failing to meet the needs of refugees and the countries hosting them," Antonio Guterres, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said in a statement. The vast majority remain in neighboring countries, with the highest concentrations in Lebanon (1.14 million), Turkey (815,000) and Jordan (608,000), the UNHCR said.
Its detonation is one of the most iconic scenes in movie history. Now, 57 years after it was blown to smithereens, authorities in Sri Lanka plan to rebuild the "Bridge on the River Kwai" to assuage the anger among locals over a controversial dam project. While the World War II epic was supposedly set in Japanese-held Burma (present-day Myanmar), it was mostly filmed in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) between 1956 and 1957, less than a decade after independence from Britain. The final scene in which a British officer played by Alec Guinness blows up a rail bridge that his fellow prisoners of war have just built was shot at sleepy Kitulgala, two hours' drive from the capital Colombo.
Greek businessman and ship owner Victor Restis last year sued UANI for defamation after the New York-based group, whose advisors include former intelligence officials from the United States, Europe and Israel, accused him of violating sanctions on Iran by exporting oil from the country. Restis denies doing illegal business with Iran.
South Korea's Kim In-Kyung fired a bogey-free seven under 65 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the LPGA Tour's Portland Classic. Americans Jennifer Song and Amelia Lewis are tied for second place at six-under at the Columbia Edgewater Country Club. Anna Nordqvist, who has two victories this season, shot a five-under 67. She was joined in fourth place by Laura Diaz, Paraguay's Julieta Granada, Mina Harigae, Alison Walshe, Emma Jandel and Paula Reto of South Africa.
Novak Djokovic reached the third round of a Grand Slam for the 25th consecutive time while Serena Williams racked up her 80th US Open win as the top seeds eased into the third round on Thursday. They were joined in the last 32 by 2012 winner Andy Murray and reigning Wimbledon women's champion Petra Kvitova. World number one and top seed Djokovic breezed past France's Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-1, 6-3, 6-0, firing 13 aces and 33 winners as the 2011 champion comfortably remained on course for a fifth successive final appearance. "It's very windy, but I managed to adjust to the conditions that obviously are not easy for myself and my opponent," said Djokovic, who next meets Sam Querrey of the United States, after his brief 90-minute appearance.
A volcano erupted Friday in eastern Papua New Guinea, spewing rocks and ash into the air, forcing the evacuation of local communities and flights to be re-routed, officials and reports said. Mount Tavurvur, which destroyed the town of Rabaul when it erupted simultaneously with nearby Mount Vulcan in 1994, rumbled to life early in the morning on the tip of the remote island of New Britain. "The eruption started slow and slowly developed in a Strombolian (low level) eruption with incandescent projections accompanied by explosion noises and ongoing loud roaring and rumbling noises," the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory said. The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin said the ash cloud was drifting southeast.
CHAHUITES, Mexico (AP) — The largest crackdown by Mexican authorities on illegal migration in decades has decreased the flow of Central American migrants trying to reach the United States, and has dramatically cut the number of child migrants and families, according to officials and eyewitness accounts along the perilous route.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is accelerating and could grow six times larger to infect as many as 20,000 people, the World Health Organization said Thursday. The U.N. health agency unveiled a new road map for containing the virus, and scientists are fast-tracking efforts to find a treatment or vaccine.
Israeli police said on Thursday they had found the body of a 23-year-old American student who went missing last week near a forest in Jerusalem and that they did not suspect a criminal motive. Aaron Sofer, a Jewish seminary student from New Jersey, vanished last Friday while walking in woods not far from the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. His body was found earlier on Thursday. "Following a forensic examination, the body ... was identified as that of missing person Aaron Sofer.
Several dozen women gathered outside a military base in central Russia on Thursday to demand that commanders come clean about the whereabouts of their husbands after reports of secret funerals for soldiers covertly sent to Ukraine. The women -- mostly in their 20s, a few with small children -- huddled outside a base that houses paratroopers in Kostroma, around 300 kilometres (200 miles) north of Moscow. Some 350 soldiers from the city were this month sent on military drills to the border with Ukraine and then went incommunicado, said one of the women, 26-year-old Valeria Sokolova. Commanders from the base have told her several have returned dead, she said, and around 15 wounded soldiers were also flown back this week.
A group of people caught up in unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, after a white officer killed a black teenager, sued local officials on Thursday, alleging civil rights violations through arrests and police assaults with rubber bullets and tear gas. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, says law enforcement met a broad public outcry over the Aug. 9 killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown with "militaristic displays of force and weaponry," (and) engaged U.S. Named as defendants are the city of Ferguson, St. Louis County, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Delmar, Ferguson police officer Justin Cosmo, and other unnamed police officers from Ferguson and St. Louis County.