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Many Lebanese Say Bassil Has No Business Being at Davos

Caretaker Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil is attending the elite annual World Economic Forum in the Swiss village Davos. In Lebanon, however, where mass protests have forced the government to resign, a campaign is afoot to have him uninvited.

Many Lebanese took to social media to tell the forum they think Bassil has no business being there. More than 18,000 participated in a Twitter poll, in which over 75% said he doesn't represent them. Online petitions against his participation collected nearly 50,000 signatures.

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American Journalist Freed in Lebanon after Questioning

An American freelance journalist who was detained in Lebanon on suspicion of broadcasting live footage of protests to an Israeli news outlet has been released, the journalist said Tuesday.

Nicholas Frakes, 24, told The Associated Press he was released from nearly two days in detention after an official Lebanese investigation showed he was innocent.

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Iraqi Officials: 3 Dead, Dozens Wounded in Baghdad Protests

Iraqi security forces fired tear gas and live rounds during clashes with anti-government protesters overnight and Monday morning in Baghdad, killing three and wounding dozens of demonstrators, officials said.

Separately, three katyusha rockets landed in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, the seat of Iraq's government and home to several foreign embassies, but caused no injuries or damage, two security officials said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

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Baabda Security Meeting Vows Crackdown on 'Sabotage Groups'

Lebanon's top security officials said on Monday that they planned to crackdown on vandalism after a week of rioting in Beirut that left hundreds of people injured and damaged public and private property -- violence that comes against the backdrop of a deepening political deadlock.

The announcement followed a presidential palace meeting that included President Michel Aoun, the caretaker interior and defense ministers and the chiefs of security agencies. The officials called for more coordination among the Lebanese security agencies to better deal with the unrest.

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U.S. Journalist Held for 'Broadcasting Beirut Demo to Haaretz'

Lebanese security forces overnight detained an American freelance journalist on suspicion of broadcasting live footage of the central Beirut clashes to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

In a statement, the State Security agency said the U.S. citizen was at the scene of the protest near the parliament building, a location from which someone was broadcasting live to the Israeli paper.

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Prince Harry: 'Powerful Media' Is Why He's Stepping Away

Prince Harry has taken aim at the journalists who have dissected his life since the day he was born as he expressed regret for the way he has had to step down from royal duties.

In a personal speech th at referenced his late mother, Princess Diana, who died in a car accident while being pursued by paparazzi, Harry said Sunday he had "no other option'' but to step away as he and his wife, Meghan, seek a more peaceful life.

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China Counts Sharp Rise in Coronavirus Cases, 2 in Beijing

China reported Monday a sharp rise in the number of people infected with a new coronavirus, including the first cases in the capital. The outbreak coincides with the country's busiest travel period, as millions board trains and planes for the Lunar New Year holidays.

Health authorities in the central city of Wuhan, where the viral pneumonia appears to have originated, said an additional 136 cases have been confirmed in the city, which now has a total of 198 infected patients. As of the weekend, a third patient had died, bringing the death toll to three.

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Beirut Braces for More Violence, after Night of Riots

Public Prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat ordered Sunday the release of 34 people detained in clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters that wounded hundreds in the capital.

It was the worst violence since the unrest erupted three months ago.

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Israel Building Underground Defense System on Lebanon Border

Israel's military said it began construction of an underground defense system Sunday along its northern frontier with Lebanon to protect against cross-border tunnels.

The infrastructure project will identify underground acoustic and seismic activity indicating tunnel digging, accompanied other defensive measures, said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman.

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Human Rights Watch Slams ISF's 'Brutal Use of Force'

Human Rights Watch has described the Internal Security Forces’ response to the central Beirut demo which turned violent on Saturday as "brutal," calling for an urgent end to what it called a "culture of impunity" for police abuse.

"There was no justification for the brutal use of force unleashed by Lebanon's riot police against largely peaceful demonstrators in downtown Beirut," said Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at HRW.

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