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Daryan Appeals for Support to Constitutional Institutions, Rejects Infighting

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Daryan on Friday called on the Lebanese to hold onto the state and its constitutional institutions and rejected the use of religion as a cover to gain power.

“Our project is the unified state and the single army and coexistence,” Daryan said in a statement on the occasion of the Islamic New Year.

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EU Official Says he Pressed Lebanese Politicians on Elections

A top European Union official said he informed Lebanese officials during his visit to Beirut that the presidential and parliamentary elections should be held to have a healthy democracy

Hugues Mingarelli, who is the Managing Director for North Africa, Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq at the European External Action Service, said: “You have a democracy and there are routine elections and a multi-party system.”

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Derbas Says Lebanon and Jordan United at Berlin Conference

Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas said the stance of Lebanon and Jordan at the upcoming Berlin conference on the Syrian refugees will be united.

In remarks to An Nahar daily published Friday, Derbas said that both countries are suffering from the same repercussions of the Syrians crisis that resulted in millions of refugees.

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Army to Recruit Soldiers Starting Next Week

The Army Command will recruit around 1,000 soldiers starting next week as the military is battling Islamist militants, who are entrenched on the outskirts of the northeastern border town of Arsal on the porous Syrian-Lebanese border.

An Nahar newspaper reported on Friday that another 1,000 soldiers will be recruited in January 2015.

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Report: U.S. Top Military Official in Lebanon in Upcoming Days

Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will reportedly visit Lebanon during the upcoming days.

According to al-Liwaa newspaper published on Friday, Dempsey will travel to Lebanon to discuss the latest developments in light of Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji's recent visit to the U.S. capital Washington.

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Ibrahim Denies Receiving Written Demands from Hostage-Takers

General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim has denied that the Lebanese government received written demands from jihadists to set free the soldiers and policemen that they kidnapped in August.

Ibrahim said in remarks to al-Joumhouria newspaper published on Friday that news about all the names mentioned on lists are nothing but media reports.

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Retired Soldier Critically Wounded in Tripoli Drive-by Shooting

A retired army soldier was critically wounded in a drive-by shooting on Thursday evening in the northern city of Tripoli, in the latest such attack against the military institution.

“Two masked men riding a motorbike opened fire at retired soldier Khaled al-Youssef in the Ibn Sina Street in Tripoli's al-Qobbeh, riddling his body with several bullets,” state-run National News Agency reported.

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Berri 'Concerned' over Delay of Saudi Grant, Says No One Will Appeal Extension

Speaker Nabih Berri on Thursday voiced concern over possible further delay of the $3 billion Saudi grant to the Lebanese army, following similar remarks by Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat.

“There are concerns that the Saudi grant might be delayed or called off despite the dire need for it, and delay would strip it of its value,” Berri said in remarks to al-Manar TV.

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Govt. Decides to Halt Non-Humanitarian Refugee Flow, Strip Those Visiting Syria of Refugee Status

The cabinet on Thursday endorsed a plan aimed at halting the flow of Syrian refugees into the country, except for “humanitarian cases,” noting that any displaced person who visits Syria after the decision will be stripped of the refugee status.

“The cabinet endorsed the paper related to restricting the entry of refugees across the border, except for humanitarian and extraordinary cases,” Information Minister Ramzi Jreij announced after a cabinet session at the Grand Serail.

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Families of Captive Servicemen Very Upbeat, Say Qatari Envoy to Return in 24 Hours

The families of the troops and policemen held hostage by extremist groups expressed optimism Thursday that negotiations were making major progress, revealing that the Qatari envoy will return to Beirut within 24 hours.

“This is the first time that we leave reassured from a meeting (with the government) and (General Security chief) Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim has made certain steps which we cannot reveal,” a spokesman for the families said, after a meeting with Maj. Gen. Mohammed Kheir at the Grand Serail.

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