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Stolen Car Stirs Bomb Scare in Arsal

Security forces on Thursday suspected the presence of a bomb in a car parked in the Bekaa border town of Arsal, which turned out to be stolen.

“The Arsal State Security department asked a military expert to inspect a black GMC Envoy SUV that was parked on the side of the road in Arsal's Wadi Hmayyed near the amusement park,” state-run National News Agency reported.

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Salam Meets al-Rahi, Sees No Reason for Presidential Elections to Be Postponed

Prime Minister Tammam Salam expressed on Thursday his optimism that the presidential elections will be held on time and according to democratic practices.

He said: “We believe that the polls can be held given that Lebanon has been respecting its democracy as demonstrated through the formation of the government and the various parliamentary sessions that have been held lately.”

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Arab-Israeli Journalist under House Arrest after Lebanon Visit

An Arab Israeli journalist has been arrested after making a visit to Lebanon, his mother said Thursday, on suspicion he could have joined a "hostile organization."

Majd Kayyal, 23, from the northern coastal city of Haifa, crossed into Jordan on March 23 and traveled on to Lebanon for a conference organized by As-Safir newspaper, Israel's Shin Bet domestic security agency said.

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Suleiman and Salam Hail Security Plans in Tripoli and Bekaa

President Michel Suleiman and PM Tammam Salam hailed on Thursday the security plans implemented in the northern city of Tripoli and the eastern Bekaa Valley, and agreed to intensify security measures mainly near places of worship during the holidays, the state-run National News Agency reported.

Suleiman held a security meeting at the Baabda Presidential Palace in the presence of Salam, Minister of Defense Salim Moqbel, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq in addition to several security and military chiefs.

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Al-Rahi Washes Feet of Roumieh Inmates, Urges Quick Trials

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi washed the feet of 12 prisoners on Holy Thursday, calling for the quick trial of inmates who have been held without receiving sentences.

During his sermon at Roumieh prison, al-Rahi considered every person “innocent until proven guilty.”

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Israeli Army Kidnaps 5 Lebanese from Shebaa

The Israeli army kidnapped on Thursday five Lebanese, including 2 women and a child, from Lebanese territories in the South.

The kidnapping occurred in the farm of Bastara after a unit crossed the technical fence, said the army in a statement.

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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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Report: Mustaqbal Movement to Support Geagea for Presidency

Al-Mustaqbal Movement will adopt the candidacy of its ally Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea for the presidency, al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Thursday.

Sources close to the LF said in remarks published in the daily that Mustaqbal lawmaker Ahmed Fatfat, who attended Geagea's presidential program launching in Maarab on Wednesday, has reportedly informed the Christian leader of al-Mustaqbal's candidate.

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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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