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General Security Detains Gang Kingpin for Counterfeiting Return Cards

A kingpin and two members of his cell were detained by the Lebanese General Security over charges of counterfeiting return cards to Lebanon.

The general security said a communique issued on Thursday that the head of the gang, who was identified by his initials, Kh. Aa. and Lebanese national Aa. Gh. and Syrian national Kh. Aa. were arrested after carrying out the necessary investigations.

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Suleiman Congratulates Geagea on his Vision for 'Strong Republic'

President Michel Suleiman has telephoned Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea to congratulate him on the announcement of his candidacy for the presidential elections and his platform, the LF chief's press office said Thursday.

The terse statement said the phone conversation between Suleiman and Geagea took place on Wednesday night.

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Berri Denies Parliament Can't Discuss Wage Hike during Presidential Elections

Speaker Nabih Berri has denied that the parliament would not be able to vote on the controversial wage scale after he called on MPs to meet to elect a new president on April 23.

“The two issues are not linked,” the speaker told An Nahar newspaper published on Thursday.

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Senior Officials to Head to Vatican to Celebrate Sainthood of Two Popes

Lebanese officials will attend the ceremonies that would canonize two of the 20th century's most influential popes together.

According to al-Liwaa newspaper published on Thursday, Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi will head to the Vatican on April 24 to participate in declaring Popes John Paul II and John XXIII saints.

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Report: Gemayel to Announce Candidacy this Week

Kataeb party leader Amin Gemayel has informed his allies that he would officially announce his candidacy for the presidency, the party's officials said.

As Safir daily quoted the officials, who were not identified, as saying that Gemayel, a former president, informed the March 14 coalition that he would make the announcement by the end of this week.

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Jumblat Refuses to Announce his Nominee for Presidency ahead of Parliamentary Session

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat refused to reveal the name of his candidate to the presidency a day after Speaker Nabih Berri called for a session to elect a new head of state.

“Those who want to know my candidate for the presidency should wait until the parliamentary session,” Jumblat said in comments published in As Safir newspaper.

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Detained Berlusconi Ally Transferred to al-Hayat Hospital

An Italian ex-senator and ally of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi who was arrested in Lebanon at the weekend was hospitalized near Beirut on Wednesday, his lawyer said.

Marcello Dell'Utri "was transferred to the al-Hayat Hospital on the prosecutor's orders because he suffers from heart problems," lawyer Nasser al-Khalil said.

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Crime Uncovered in Saadiyat, Body of Dead Woman Found in Zgharta

An Internal Security Forces investigation uncovered on Wednesday the circumstances surrounding the death of a Syrian national in al-Saadiyat region, as a body of a female was found hanging in the northern Zgharta district.

“Howaida Hussein Salloum was found hanging with a cord on the balcony of her house in the Zgharta town of Meryata,” the state-run National News Agency said.

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Hale Meets Mufti Shaar: U.S. Welcomes Govt. Success with Security Plan in Tripoli, Bekaa

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale praised on Wednesday the government for the implementation of the security plan in the northern city of Tripoli and the eastern Bekaa region.

He said: “The United States welcomes the government’s success with the plan and Washington stands with the government, the security forces, and the people as they work towards peace.”

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Syrian Air Raids Target Village on Outskirts of Arsal

Syrian warplanes staged two raids on al-Maslaha village on the outskirts of the eastern border town of Arsal, the state-run National News Agency reported on Wednesday.

Al-Mayadeen Network reported that the area was bombarded with several rockets.

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