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Hale Urges Parliament to Elect President, Stresses Right to Peaceful Protest

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale called Thursday for the speedy election of a new Lebanese president as he highlighted the importance of protecting the right to “peaceful, non-violent protest.”

“America welcomes any efforts to reactivate a functioning government and cabinet. But there is a deeper issue. As the members of the U.N. Security Council reiterated yesterday, now is the time for parliament to meet and elect a president of the republic as soon as possible,” said Hale after meeting Salam at the Grand Serail.

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Hugo Shorter Appointed UK Ambassador to Lebanon

Hugo Shorter has been appointed as the British Ambassador Designate to Lebanon in succession to Tom Fletcher who took up another appointment outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, announced the embassy in a statement on Thursday.

He will be assuming his post initially as Charge D’Affaires with immediate effect.

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Man Arrested for Tossing Grenades in Bekaa

General Security said on Thursday that it has arrested a Lebanese man on charges of tossing grenades in towns in the eastern Bekaa Valley and recruiting people to carry out similar attacks.

The agency's general directorate said in a communique that the man was arrested as part of general security's role in tracking terrorist groups and dormant cells.

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Bid to Smuggle Narcotics Thwarted at Airport

Authorities at the Rafik Hariri International Airport thwarted an attempt to smuggle narcotics into the country en route from Brazil, through Addis Ababa and Cairo, the state-run National News Agency reported on Thursday.

The scheme was thwarted Thursday when a Swedish national tried to smuggle the ample amounts of narcotics, that almost weigh 18kg, in 12 plastic containers, NNA added.

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Reopening of Naameh Landfill Hinges on Jumblat

Sources close to Progressive Socialist Party chief MP Walid Jumblat have expressed conflicting views about the reopening of Lebanon's largest landfill in Naameh in an attempt to resolve the country's snowballing garbage crisis.

Some sources told al-Akhbar daily published on Thursday that guarantees made by al-Mustaqbal movement for the transfer of part of the Beirut and Mount Lebanon trash to the Srar landfill in Akkar and to the waste plant in Sidon would pave way for Jumblat to take a decision to reopen the Naameh landfill.

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Berri Throws Dialogue Ball in Rival Parties' Court

Sources close to Speaker Nabih Berri have warned that Lebanon's rival leaders would be held responsible for the worsening of the country's crises if they take the dialogue session set to be held this month for granted.

The sources told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat published on Thursday that the officials “will be held fully responsible for any deterioration (in the situation) in the country if they disregard Speaker Berri's attempt to salvage” Lebanon.

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U.N. Calls on Lebanese MPs to Elect President as Protests Grow

The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday called on Lebanon's parliament to elect a new president to help ease a political crisis that has fueled street protests.

The appeal came after Lebanese lawmakers again failed in their 28th bid to elect a new president and fill the post left vacant since May 2014.

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FPM Convoys Roam Streets ahead of Friday Demo

The Free Patriotic Movement staged another motorized protest on Wednesday to mobilize supporters ahead of Friday's downtown Beirut demonstration.

The convoys gathered outside the Mirna Chalouhi Center in Sin el-Fil before roaming several towns and villages in the Metn region.

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Hariri Slams 'Baseless Rumors' on Alleged Qatari Role in Protests

Al-Mustaqbal movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri stressed Wednesday that “rumors implicating the name of the State of Qatar in the current Lebanese events are definitely baseless.”

“Qatar is a brotherly state that cares about Lebanon's stability and it did not hesitate to help the country under all circumstances,” Hariri tweeted.

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Presidential Elections Postponed to September 30

A session to elect a president was postponed again after the needed quorum at parliament was not met.

Speaker Nabih Berri scheduled the next session for September 30.

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