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Activists Demonstrate, Ask Judiciary for 'Historic Stance' against Parliament Term Extension

Hundreds of civil society activists marched through Beirut on Thursday to warn against another extension of the parliament's tenure, saying the judiciary will be responsible before history should it approve of such a step.

The demonstrators marched from outside the interior ministry building in Sanayeh towards the Riad al-Solh Square which neighbors the parliament headquarters in downtown Beirut.

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Army Arrests Terrorist Gang in Bekaa, Kills Syrian after Illegally Crossing to Lebanon

The army opened fire overnight Thursday at a group of Syrians in a minibus, who were trying to infiltrate the country from the border crossing of Ain Ata in the Bekaa southwest of Rashaya.

According to the National News Agency, armed clashes erupted between the army and a group of Syrians in a minibus as they tried to illegally cross into Lebanon from Ain Ata.

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Cabinet Legalizes Students Certificates, Mashnouq Says 'Thousands' of Gunmen on Border

The government on Thursday issued a decree legalizing the passing certificates that will be granted to students after official exam papers were not corrected due to a teachers' boycott, as Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq warned that “thousands” of jihadist militants are deployed on the country's eastern border with Syria.

“The issue of Arsal has become more dangerous than we already know and the interior minister told us that the Islamic State has become on the border along with new reinforcements,” several media outlets quoted Education Minister Elias Bou Saab as saying after the cabinet session that was held at the Grand Serail.

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Army Arrests Brother of Defected Soldier

The army raided on Thursday the Khirbet Daoud residence of the family of Atef Saadeddine, the soldier who defected from the military in July, reported al-Jadeed television.

It arrested Khaled, the soldier's brother, without disclosing the charges behind the detention.

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Interior Ministry Calls on Candidates Seeking to Run in Parliamentary Polls to Submit Nominations

The Interior Ministry issued on Thursday a decree calling on candidates seeking to run in the 2014 parliamentary elections to submit their nominations.

Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq issued a decree to hold the elections on November 16.

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Jomaa Interrogated at Military Court, Denies Belonging to Islamic State

Imad Ahmed Jomaa, a member of the al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front, was interrogated on Thursday at the Military Tribunal.

His lawyer, Tareq Shandab, stated after the hearing that his client denied belonging to the Islamic State.

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Al-Rahi Heads to Vatican: Outgoing Presidents Should Continue Tasks Until Successor Elected

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi proposed on Thursday that any future outgoing president should continue to carry out his tasks until the political arch-foes agree on his successor in order to avoid vacancy at the country's most important Christian post.

“We have always said that the parliament must convene and elect a new head of state,” al-Rahi said from Beirut's Rafik Hariri International Airport ahead of his departure to the Vatican to discuss with Pope Francis and other senior officials the conditions of Iraqi Christians.

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Bassil Says Attacks on Minorities Compelled Action against ISIL

Cabinet Minister Jebran Bassil slammed on Thursday critics who are describing him as a foreign minister for Christians, saying: “I am whole lot a Christian but not at the ministry.”

“The oppression against Christians in the region increases my attachment, similar to Shiites, Druze and (Iraq's) Yazidi community,” Bassil said in an interview with al-Akhbar newspaper.

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Ali Blames Lebanon's Policy for Arsal Battles, Says Syria Proposed Military Assistance

Syrian Ambassador Ali Abdul Karim Ali has blamed the jihadists' advance on Lebanon earlier this month on the country's dissociation policy and the government's alleged compliance with regional and international pressure.

The diplomat accused the Lebanese authorities of turning a blind eye to the infiltration of Syria-based gunmen from illegal border crossings and of releasing suspects who have admitted to carrying out terrorist activities in Syria and Lebanon.

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Rafehi Negotiates Extension of Ultimatum Granted to Government by Arsal Gunmen

Salafist cleric Sheikh Salem al-Rafehi reportedly contacted the Emir of the Islamic State of the Iraq and the Levant, Abou Talal al-Hamad, to grant the Turkish-Qatari mediation a chance to reach a breakthrough.

According to al-Akhbar newspaper published on Thursday, al-Rafehi discussed with Hamad the possibility of extending ISIL's ultimatum three days until the negotiating delegation arrives in Lebanon.

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