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Pompeo: We Stand with People of Lebanon against Corruption, Terrorism

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday announced that the U.S. stands by the Lebanese people in the face of “corruption and terrorism,” shortly after Washington slapped sanctions on three individuals and several firms allegedly linked to Hizbullah.

“We stand with the people of Lebanon to fight against corruption and terrorism. Today we designated two prominent Lebanese businessmen whose illicit financial activity supports Hizbullah,” Pompeo tweeted.

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U.S. Sanctions 3 Individuals, Several Firms Allegedly Linked to Hizbullah

The U.S. Department of the Treasury on Friday slapped sanctions against three individuals and several firms allegedly linked to Hizbullah.

In a statement, the Treasury identified the individuals as Nazem Said Ahmad, Saleh Assi and Tony Saab.

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Judge Aoun Keeps Salloum in Custody after Rizk Allows Her Release

Mount Lebanon Prosecutor Judge Ghada Aoun on Friday blocked a decision to release Traffic Management Authority head Huda Salloum from detention, remanding her in custody in Baabda, the National News Agency said.

First Examining Magistrate of Beirut George Rizk had earlier on Friday interrogated Salloum and ordered her release after she signed a proof of residence, NNA reported.

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Bustani Hands Total First License to Drill for Lebanon’s Oil and Gas

Caretaker Energy Minister Nada Bustani on Friday handed the license to drill Lebanon’s first oil exploration well in its territorial waters to the director of Total.

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Beirut Judge Presses Charges against Hbeish

Beirut Attorney General, Judge Ziad Abu Haidar, pressed charges against MP Hadi Hbesih in a case of defamation against Mount Lebanon Prosecutor Judge Ghada Aoun, LBCI TV station said on Friday.

Abu Haidar referred Hbeish to the investigative judge, it added.

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Aoun Discusses Paris Meeting on Lebanon with Kubis

President Michel Aoun held talks on Friday with UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jan Kubis and discussed the outcome of the International Support Group for Lebanon meeting in Paris earlier this week, the National News Agency said.

On Wednesday, Lebanon's appeal for urgent aid received short shrift at the Paris conference, with France, the US, Russia and other countries making assistance conditional on the formation of a new reform-minded government.

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Army Arrests Protesters in Jal el-Dib

The Lebanese army arrested several activists on Friday during scuffles with protesters blocking the Jal el-dib highway, amid sit-ins elsewhere as the two-month-old movement against corruption and mismanagement continues.

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UK Defense Official Vows Continued Support for Lebanese Army

Lieutenant General Sir John Lorimer, the UK's Defense Senior Adviser to the Middle East and North Africa, visited to Lebanon on December 11 and held high level meetings with Lebanese officials, accompanied by the British Embassy’s Defense Attaché, Lieutenant Colonel Alex Hilton.

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Lebanese State Sues MP Hadi Hbeish

The Lebanese state, represented by the head of the lawsuits dept. at the Justice Ministry Judge Hilana Iskandar and its legal delegate the lawyer Rabih al-Fakhri, has filed a lawsuit against MP Hadi Hbeish, the National News Agency reported on Thursday.

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Fitch Downgrades Lebanon Credit Rating to CC

International ratings agency Fitch on Thursday bumped Lebanon’s credit rating down to "CC" from "CCC", after an initial downgrade in August.

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