Gunmen have assassinated an outspoken pro-Assad journalist from Syria at his home in the southern Lebanese town of Sarafand in another sign of the Syrian civil war’s impact on the fragile Lebanese Republic. Meanwhile, the Lebanese government has asked the European Union not to blacklist Hezbollah’s armed wing as a terrorist organization, arguing that the group is an essential component of Lebanese society. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees also updated its tally of Syrian refugees residing in Lebanon, with the latest report indicating that more than 625,000 Syrians have fled their home country to seek shelter south of the border. (July 18, 2013 Ottawa Citizen; July 19, 2013 Tribune; July 20, 2013 The Daily Star)