Lebanon
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Gemayel Says PM's Demo Appearance Bold Move: Taxes Aimed at 95% of Firms, 90% of Groceries

Kataeb Party chief MP Sami Gemayel on Thursday described Prime Minister Saad Hariri's appearance at Sunday's anti-tax demo as a “bold move,” describing the hurling of empty bottles at him by angry protesters as a “very regrettable incident.”

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Geagea Vows to Prevent Corruption in Oil Sector, Says Reserves Worth $600 Billion

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Thursday described the oil and gas sector as “the most sensitive sector in Lebanon.”

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Nusra Official Held in Baalbek after Surveillance

A member of the jihadist group al-Nusra Front was arrested Thursday in the eastern Lebanese city of Baalbek, state-run National News Agency reported.

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UNIFIL Head Meets New LAF Chief, Stresses Enhanced Cooperation

UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Michael Beary on Thursday paid his first visit to the newly appointed Commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), General Joseph Aoun, in Beirut.

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Aoun Promises 'Economic Plan', Says Understands Citizens Dismay over Taxes

President Michel Aoun on Thursday promised that “a comprehensive economic plan” will be devised, noting that he “understands” citizens' dismay over the taxes that have been proposed to fund the wage scale of the public sector.

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Government Employees in Protest, Vow General Strike Next Week over Wage Scale

The public sector employees in Lebanon held a sit-in on Thursday near the Finance Ministry demanding the government approves a list of demands mainly the long-stalled wage scale file.

The Public Administration Employees Association expressed resentment in a statement against what it described as a policy of “procrastination” in relation to the pay scale, and demanded its approval as listed in the tables approved by the parliamentary committees.

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Hariri, Egytian PM Discuss Bilateral Ties

Prime Minister Saad Hariri held a meeting in Cairo with his Egyptian counterpart Sharif Ismail where talks focused on the latest developments at the Arab and international arenas, a statement issued by Hariri's press office said.

Means to bolster bilateral ties between Lebanon and Egypt at the economic, commercial and other levels were discussed, added the statement.

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Report: U.S. Military Delegation in Beirut Soon

A U.S. military delegation is expected to visit Beirut soon, to complete a visit paid a few days ago by Senator Richard Burr, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, An Nahar daily reported on Thursday.

Senator Richard Burr led a delegation of five senators including Senators John Cornyn, Marco Rubio , James Lankford, and Tom Cotton on a visit to Lebanon from March 17 to March 18.

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Report: Aoun's Position at Arab Summit Draws Fate of U.S. Measures against Banks

After his latest defensive statements of Hizbullah and its weapons, President Michel Aoun is under a “pressure campaign” at the domestic and international levels “to prevent him from making unfavorable positions at the upcoming Arab League Summit,” as concerns mount that U.S. authorities could tighten measures on Lebanese banks over alleged facilitation of Hizbullah transactions, al-Akhbar daily reported on Thursday.

It is estimated that the pressure campaign and intimidation will continue, at least until the Arab summit convenes at the end of March in Amman, to prevent Aoun from declaring “undesirable” positions at the highest Arab forum, said the daily.

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Gemayel: Proportional Representation Radically Changes Political System,Taef

Kataeb party leader MP Sami Gemayel emphasized that the party still prefers to hold the upcoming parliamentary elections using individual districts --one person, one vote--or proportional representation in small districts, al-Joumhouria daily said on Thursday.

“We are still on our position as for staging the elections using individual districts or proportionality in small districts,” Gemayel told the daily.

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