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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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Fattoush Says Frenzy About Daou Takes Aim at his Political Stances

Zahle MP Nicolas Fattoush denied on Thursday that he assaulted a female Justice Palace office worker earlier this week, saying the accusations against him were aimed at targeting his patriotic stances.

“I raised my voice at her but I did not hit her,” Fattoush said during a press conference he held to brief the public opinion about his dispute with Manal Daou, an officer who processes complaints at the Baabda Justice Palace.

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Army Sends Strong Message to Terrorists, Defectors

The Lebanese army on Thursday vowed to stop terrorists from finding a safe haven in Lebanon and held onto the release of the soldiers and policemen taken captive by jihadists in August.

The army leadership said it is “steady and firm in not allowing terrorism to find a safe haven in Lebanon no matter how much sacrifices it makes.”

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Family: Body of Lebanese Businessman Found after Plane Crash

Lebanese businessman George Obaji's body was found in Cypriot territorial waters after his plane crashed en route to Beirut, his family and authorities said on Thursday.

The chief of Cyprus' aircraft accidents board said earlier that search crews found wreckage belonging to the small aircraft that vanished on Wednesday.

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Countries Racing to Boost Aid to Lebanese Army to Battle Terrorists

Several countries are currently boosting their arms aid and delivery to the Lebanese army to fortify its capabilities to confront jihadists, who are entrenched on the outskirts of the northeastern border town of Arsal on the porous Syrian-Lebanese border.

A high-ranking military source denied in comments published in al-Joumhouria newspaper on Thursday that Army General Jean Qahwaji discussed with U.S. officials during a recent visit to Washington an Iranian grant to the military.

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Report: Lebanon Thwarts Attempt to Have a Permanent Settlement for Refugees

Lebanon has been pushed to sign the 1951 Geneva Convention on the status of refugees after more than 1.5 million Syrians sought refuge in the country since the eruption of the war in the neighboring country in 2011, As Safir daily reported on Thursday.

The newspaper said Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil and Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas thwarted the plot days before attending a conference in Berlin on Syrian refugees.

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Saudi FM Calls on Christians to Agree to Avert Political Crises

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal urged Christians in Lebanon to reach consensus and end their sharp differences to resolve the presidential deadlock and rectify the work of the state institutions.

According to An Nahar newspaper, al-Faisal made his statement during a meeting with Kataeb party MP Sami Gemayel, who traveled on Sunday night to Jeddah upon an invitation by the Saudi FM.

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Jumblat Concerned over Lebanon, Doesn't See New President Anytime Soon

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat has expressed his deep concern over the situation in Lebanon, saying the country was now fully submerged in Syria's war.

“We have directly entered the Syrian war. The accusations of one party to the other that terrorism wouldn't have reached Lebanon without its intervention (in Syria), are now useless,” Jumblat told al-Akhbar newspaper in an interview published on Thursday.

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