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Tony Franjieh Says Doesn't Want to be a Minister

Tony Franjieh, the son of Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh who will replace him in the upcoming parliamentary race, announced Thursday that he not seeking to become a minister in the next government.

“I'm not obliged with my father's political alliances but I'm convinced of them at the beginning of my political journey. I believe that these friendships serve the country's interest,” Franjieh said in his first ever TV interview, aired by LBCI television.

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EU Ambassador Meets Syrian Refugee Families in Bekaa

EU Ambassador to Lebanon Christina Lassen visited Thursday the Bekaa region to meet with Syrian refugee families benefiting from EU assistance.

The visit was organized by the EU's humanitarian aid department, ECHO, together with the World Food Program and International Rescue Committee, a statement issued by the EU Delegation to Lebanon said.

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ISF Liberates Kidnapped Syrian Girl

Agents from the Intelligence Branch of the Internal Security Forces on Thursday managed to liberate a Syrian toddler girl who was kidnapped in the morning from the Bekaa town of Barelias.

An ISF statement said the two captors were arrested in a “special operation” and that no ransom was paid.

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UK Home Secretary Stresses 'Commitment to a Strong and Stable Lebanon'

UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd has stressed “commitment to a strong and stable Lebanon,” in a statement issued following her visit to Lebanon on February 19.

It was the Cabinet Minister’s first visit to the country since assuming her post in 2016. Rudd met Interior Minister Nouhad al-Machnouq and discussed the two countries’ “strong bilateral relations,” the British embassy said in a statement. This follows a visit by Machnouq to the UK to meet the former Home Secretary, Theresa May, in 2016.

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Geagea Urges 'Military Intervention' to Stop Ghouta 'Massacre'

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Thursday called on the international community to “intervene militarily to stop the massacre against civilians” in Syria's Eastern Ghouta region.

“What's happening in Eastern Ghouta is a hallmark of shame for the entire humanity. No matter what the reasons, excuses or alibis may be, nothing justifies the premeditated mass killing of innocent civilians with all types of heavy weapons,” Geagea said in a written statement.

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Hariri Vows to Finalize State Budget Next Week

Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Thursday vowed to finalize the 2018 state budget next week.

“I will work on finalizing the state budget next week,” Hariri told MTV after a meeting for a ministerial committee tasked with studying the draft state budget.

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Satterfield in Ain el-Tineh, Meets Berri

U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield, mediating a dispute between Lebanon and Israel over offshore gas drilling rights, held talks with Speaker Nabih Berri in Ain el-Tineh on Thursday, LBCI said.

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Seven-Year Old Girl Kidnapped in Bar Elias

A young girl has reportedly been kidnapped early on Thursday in the area of Bar Elias near the eastern city of Zahle and her father said he received a phone call from the kidnappers demanding $250 thousand ransom to free his daughter, media reports said.

The State-run National News Agency said the seven-year old girl, identified as Salha K. from Syria, was kidnapped as she was trying to get on her school bus with her sister.

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IS Plot to Blow Up Army Bus Thwarted

A plot to blow up a Lebanese Army bus has been thwarted, General Security said on Wednesday.

“The General Directorate of General Security has arrested Syrian national A.F.H., 24, for belonging to a terrorist group and communicating with terrorists,” the directorate said in a statement.

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Berri Says Israel Bid to Share Lebanon Gas 'Categorically Rejected'

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri emphasized Wednesday that Lebanon will not allow Israel to seize control of parts of its offshore oil and gas fields.

“Lebanon's stance is unified and coherent in terms of defending our sovereignty, oil resources and maritime and territorial borders,” Berri said during his weekly Ain el-Tineh meeting with lawmakers.

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