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Rahi Says Lebanon Needs ‘Real Statesmen’ to End Baabda Vacuum

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi said on Tuesday that Lebanon needs “real statesmen” to end the presidential vacuum.

“We need real statesmen to be able to elect a president,” al-Rahi said in his sermon during a mass he celebrated on the occasion of Saint Maroun in Bkirki.

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Media: UAE Tries 'Hizbullah', 'Qaida' Cell Members

Separate trials have opened in the United Arab Emirates of three men accused of links to Hizbullah and 23 others for ties to al-Qaida, newspapers reported Tuesday.

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Fuel Tax Faces Growing Opposition

A plan to impose a tax on gasoline will likely fail over the objection it faces from several parties represented in the government and a coalition of public sector employees.

Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil told al-Joumhouria daily that he will brief the cabinet on Wednesday on the country’s financial situation and will stress the importance of the participation of all parties in any decision-making on spending.

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Bkirki Meeting for Christian Ministers over Marginalization

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi is planning on inviting Christian ministers for a meeting on Friday to inquire them about the alleged marginalization of Christians in state institutions, An Nahar daily reported on Tuesday.

The newspaper said al-Rahi wants to hear the ministers’ remarks on the status of Christian employees at their ministries and other institutions during the meeting in Bkirki.

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Shaker Says Will Only Turn Himself in to 'Just Judiciary', Slams 'Big Criminal' Samaha

Former pop star turned fugitive Islamic militant Fadel Shaker stressed during a TV interview aired on Monday that he will only turn himself in to what he described as a “just judiciary,” reiterating the claim that he was “asleep” when the Abra battle started.

“I truly had the intention to turn myself in because I know that I didn't do anything wrong,” Shaker told MTV.

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Grenade Hurled at Grocery Store that Sells Liquor in Wadi Khaled

A man was injured Monday when unknown assailants riding a motorcycle hurled a hand grenade at his grocery store that also sells liquor in the northern border region of Wadi Khaled, state-run National News Agency reported.

The attackers threw the grenade when the owner, Issa Habib Hanna, was closing the doors of his store in the Wadi Khaled town of al-Buqaiaa, NNA said.

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6-Year-Old Child Dies of H1N1 Virus in South

A six-year-old child has died of the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, in southern Lebanon, state-run National News Agency reported on Monday.

The child passed away at a hospital in the southern city of Sidon where he was receiving treatment, NNA said.

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Fathali: Iran Not Interfering in Presidential Issue, Foreign Meddling Complicates Problem

Iran is not interfering in the issue of Lebanon's presidential elections and “foreign meddling” will only aggravate the crisis, Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Mohammed Fathali announced on Monday.

“We do not interfere in any way whatsoever in the Lebanese domestic affairs, especially in the presidential issue,” Fathali told a group of reporters at the embassy during a reception marking Iran's 1979 revolution.

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Presidential Elections Postponed again as Harb Calls for Amendment that Forces MPs to Attend Polls

The 35th session to elect a president was postponed on Monday following a lack of quorum at parliament as officials voiced their ongoing disappointment with some blocs' boycott of the polls.

Speaker Nabih Berri scheduled a new electoral session for March 2.

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Akkar Students Stab Teacher after Harassment Complaint

Two Lebanese students and a Syrian on Monday stabbed a teacher in the northern district of Akkar after a harassment complaint by female students, the state-run National News Agency reported.

NNA said Abdullah M., the teacher at the Shadra technical school, informed police in the town of Mashta Hassan that Lebanese Y.D. and Z.D. and Syrian Samer A. assaulted him and then stabbed him.

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