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Bustani Announces Second Round of Bidding for Offshore Oil Licensing

Energy Minister Nada al-Bustani announced in a press conference on Friday the opening of a second round of bidding for licenses to search offshore oil and gas field blocks number 1, 2, 5, 8 and 10.

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Israel Recovers Remains of Soldier Missing since 1982 Lebanon War

Israel announced Wednesday that the remains of a soldier missing since the 1982 invasion of Lebanon had been returned home, bringing to a close a highly sensitive case for Israelis.

Sergeant First Class Zachary Baumel had been missing since what is known as the Battle of Sultan Yacoub, said Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus.

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Rights Group Calls on Lebanon to Abolish Anti-LGBT Law

Human Rights Watch is urging Lebanon to abolish a law criminalizing homosexuality after the top military prosecutor declined to prosecute a "sodomy" case.

The rights group called the decision, which was publicized Monday, a "positive development."

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Aoun, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Meet in Baabda

President Michel Aoun received at Baabda Palace Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza who conveyed a message from Venezuela’s President briefing him on the current developments in Venezuela, the National News Agency reported on Wednesday.

NNA said discussions highlighted the Lebanese-Venezuelan relations, and the situation of the Lebanese and Venezuelans of Lebanese origin and their role in public life in Venezuela.

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In Israel Election, Palestinians are Nowhere to Be Found

In a charged election campaign that has been heavy on insults and short on substance, Israel's conflict with the Palestinians has been notably absent from the discourse.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud Party has offered no plan for what many believe is the country's most existential problem. His main challenger speaks vaguely of "separation," while Netanyahu's hard-line partners speak openly of the once unthinkable idea of annexing all or parts of the West Bank. Talk of a Palestinian state, the international community's preferred solution for the past two decades, is non-existent.

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Trump's Threat to Close Border Stirs Fears of Economic Harm

President Donald Trump's threat to shut down the southern border raised fears Monday of dire economic consequences in the U.S. and an upheaval of daily life in a stretch of the country that relies on the international flow of not just goods and services but also students, families and workers.

Politicians, business leaders and economists warned that such a move would block incoming shipments of fruits and vegetables, TVs, medical devices and other products and cut off people who commute to their jobs or school or come across to go shopping.

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Despite Setbacks, Hamas' Grip on Gaza Has Never Been Tighter

Over the weekend, Gaza's Hamas rulers marked a year of bloody, weekly protests that have failed to break the Israeli blockade. Rocket attacks brought a wave of Israeli airstrikes and unprecedented protests broke out against the Islamic militants' increasingly unpopular rule.

And yet Hamas' control over Gaza is tighter than ever.

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Afghans Recruited to Fight in Syrian War Struggle Back Home

Too poor to even buy pens and notebooks for school, Mehdi left his home in Afghanistan soon after his 17th birthday and headed to Iran, hoping to make his way to Europe and find work.

Instead, Mehdi ended up fighting in Syria's civil war, a conflict he had nothing to do with, 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) from home. He was one of tens of thousands of Afghans recruited, paid and trained by Iran to fight in support of Tehran's ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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Arab Summit Shows Unity against Trump's Israel Policy, Qatar Emir Leaves Early

Leaders meeting in Tunisia for the annual Arab League summit on Sunday were united in their condemnation of Trump administration policies seen as unfairly biased toward Israel but divided on a host of other issues, including whether to readmit founding member Syria.

This year's summit comes against a backdrop of ongoing wars in Syria and Yemen, rival authorities in Libya and a lingering boycott of Qatar by four fellow League members. Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir skipped the meeting as they contend with mass protests against their long reigns.

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Iran to 'Resist' Trump Decision on Israel's Hold over Golan

Iran's president said Friday that Iranians would "resist" the Trump administration's acceptance of Israel's control over the occupied Golan Heights, adding his voice to many Arab nations, including a number of U.S. allies, who have denounced the U.S. decision.

Hassan Rouhani said the U.S. move is "trampling on international regulations about the Golan." Iranians too "should resist and that way gain victory" over the U.S. and Israel, he said.

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