Lebanon
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Salam Calls for Restoring 'Solidarity that Preceded Liberation'

Prime Minister Tammam Salam hoped Sunday on the 15th anniversary of the liberation of the South from Israeli occupation that the Lebanese will manage to restore the “solidarity and national unity” that “protected” Hizbullah's armed resistance.

“I congratulate all Lebanese on this great victory that was achieved through the epic battle of resistance, steadfastness and sacrifice that was fought by all the groups and components of our people,” said Salam in a statement marking the Liberation and Resistance Day.

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Al-Rahi: Presidential Crisis Cannot End without Turning to Constitution

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi urged on Sunday lawmakers to end the presidential vacuum, calling on them to return to the constitution to fulfill that goal.

He said during his Sunday sermon: “The presidential crisis can only solved through resorting to the constitution.”

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Mashnouq Responding to Qassem: He Wants to Destroy Arsal, Not Liberate it

Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq criticized on Sunday the recent remarks of Hizbullah deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem on “liberating” the northeastern border town of Arsal, saying that the army should be responsible for such a mission, reported the daily al-Mustaqbal.

He told the daily: “Qassem is calling for the destruction of Arsal, not its liberation.”

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March 14 Delegation in Bkirki Tuesday to Announce Stance against Presidential Vacuum

The seat of the Maronite patriarchate of Bkirki is expected to witness a “demonstration” by March 14 lawmakers aimed at voicing their condemnation of the ongoing vacuum in the presidency, reported the daily al-Mustaqbal on Sunday.

The meeting at Bkirki will be crowned with a speech by Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi during which he will urge officials to elect a new head of state, parliamentary sources from the Mustaqbal bloc told the daily.

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Salam to Deliver Speech Tuesday to Warn of Danger of Ongoing Presidential Vacuum

Prime Minister Tammam Salam is scheduled to deliver a speech to the Lebanese people on Tuesday to address the ongoing danger of the presidential vacuum that will reach one year on Monday.

Salam will highlight the threat of the deadlock and call for resolving the dispute, reported the daily al-Mustaqbal on Sunday.

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Top U.N. official Says Europe Must Open Borders, Appeals for more Aid to Help Lebanon

The head of the U.N. refugee agency appealed on Saturday to the international community to boost development aid countries hosting Syrian refugees such as Jordan and Lebanon.

"They are the first line of defense for global collective security and they are pillars, essential pillars, for regional security," Antonio Guterres told The Associated Press at a regional World Economic Forum conference held in Jordan.

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Police Arrest Palestinian National on Killing Charges

Police in the southern city of Tyre arrested on Saturday a Palestinian national in Burj al-Shamali camp for killing his fellow citizen, the state-run National News Agency reported.

The Internal Security Forces said in a statement that “Hassan al-Armoushi was admitted to the Jabal Amel Hospital in the city of Tyre, hit with a gun shot in his neck, but he later sustained to his wounds.”

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Al-Rahi Calls for Made-in-Lebanon President

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi called on politicians Saturday to descend from their thrones and engage in settlements to end the presidential crisis as they are failing a community, a history and a nation.

“Lebanon is passing through delicate circumstances and undergoing decay amid the lingering presidential vacuum,” al-Rahi said during a tour in the northern region of Batroun.

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Army Cracks Down on Syrians, Busts Drugs Depot

The army conducted several raids in the Bekaa Valley, the eastern city of Zahle and the northern district of Akkar, detaining several Syrian nationals and busting a drugs warehouse.

The military said in a communique issued Saturday that it raided a drugs hideout in Bekaa Valley town of Bechwat, seizing 19 kilograms of hashish and 150 kilograms of its seeds.

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Ibrahim Denies Reports on Nusra-Hostages Case

General Security chief Major General Abbas Ibrahim denied Saturday information regarding the case of servicemen abducted by the al-Qaida-affiliate al-Nusra Front.

“Reports concerning the case are false,” Ibrahim said in a statement issued by his press office.

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