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Berri Says Parliament Could Elect President in 36 Hours if Maronites Agree

Speaker Nabih Berri blamed on Saturday the rival Maronite parties for the ongoing presidential vacuum, estimating that the elections could be staged in less than 36 hours if they agreed on a consensual candidate.

“I would retreat and hold a sit-in at the parliament until they head to the legislature,” Berri said in comments to An Nahar newspaper, saying that the sharp rift between the Christian rival parties is behind the ongoing vacuum.

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Google Doodle Celebrates Lebanon's Independence with 'Dabke'

Google celebrated the 71st anniversary of Independence Day of Lebanon on Saturday, with a homepage doodle featuring dancers performing the traditional folk dance called dabke.

The Lebanese government has decided to cancel Independence Day celebrations for the first time since the 1975-1990 civil war because of the country's presidential vacuum.

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Prominent Figures to Head to Saudi Arabia for Talks with Hariri

Prominent political figures are expected to head in the upcoming hours to Saudi Arabia to discuss with al-Msutaqbal Movement leader Saad Hariri the latest local and regional developments.

According to An Nahar newspaper published on Saturday, the talks come in light of the presidential standstill and the efforts exerted to open communication channels between al-Mustaqbal and Hizbullah,

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Arsal Captives' Conditions 'Very Bad' as Soldier Reported Killed in August Clashes

General Security Abbas Ibrahim informed on Friday the family of soldier Ali Qassem that he was killed in the August clashes in the northeastern border town of Arsal, reported al-Jadeed television.

LBCI television reported that he was killed while being kidnapped by Islamist gunmen who had overrun the town in August.

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Storm Misha Lashes Lebanon, Flooding Roads, Pouring Hail

The first major storm of the season lashed Lebanon on Friday with downpours and heavy winds throughout the country.

Heavy rain caused flooding in the Shekka tunnel north of Beirut, while big hailstones broke car windows in some areas.

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University Complex, Garden Announced on Anniversary of Pierre Gemayel's Assassination

Kataeb Party leader Amin Gemayel announced on Friday that a university complex and garden will soon be established in the memory of his son, slain former Industry Minister and MP Pierre Gemayel.

The Pierre Amin Gemayel university complex will be established in the Bikfaya region on land donated by the area's municipality.

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Lebanon Scraps Independence Rally in First Since Civil War

Lebanon's government has decided to cancel Independence Day celebrations for the first time since the 1975-1990 civil war because of the country's presidential vacuum, the information minister said Friday.

The failure of parliament to elect a new president reflects a profound political crisis linked to the war in neighboring Syria.

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Obama Congratulates Lebanese on Independence Day, Regrets Presidential Vacuum

U.S. President Barack Obama congratulated the Lebanese people on Friday on the occasion of Lebanon's 71st Independence Day, lamenting on the anniversary the current vacuum in the presidency.

He said in a message to Lebanon: “As a friend of the Lebanese people, the United States regrets this anniversary day passes without an elected president of the Lebanese Republic, an important but missing symbol of the unity of the nation and a key factor in promoting Lebanese sovereignty and stability.”

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Bone-Crushing Factory in Beirut Indefinitely Shut as Farm Closed in Choueifat

Health Minister Wael Abou Faour announced on Friday the closure of a bone-crushing factory in Beirut and farm in the Choueifat region as part of his ongoing food safety campaign, reported the National News Agency.

He issued a decree ordering the indefinite closure of a bone-crushing factory in Beirut, located near the city's slaughterhouse, for dumping contaminated waste in the Beirut River.

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Bassil Calls for 'Political Independence,' Rejects 'Interference'

Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil asked on Friday for the assistance of the international community to prevent interference in Lebanon's internal affairs and hoped that the vacuum at the presidential palace would not persist.

Bassil addressed diplomats based in Lebanon, asking for “assistance not to meddle in its affairs but to stand by its residents and institutions.”

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