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Report: Economists Fear Consequences of ‘Shifting’ Govt. Responsibilities to BDL

As Lebanon grapples with a worsening economic crisis, economists fear the consequences of pushing the central bank to assume a role that is supposed to be the responsibility of the government, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Tuesday.

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Towering Arch Bridge Falls in Taiwan Bay, 5 Feared Missing

A towering arch bridge over a bay in eastern Taiwan collapsed Tuesday, sending an oil tanker truck falling onto boats in the water below. The search for potential victims involved an air force helicopter and more than 60 army and naval personnel, including divers.

Six people are believed trapped on one of the boats, the National Fire Agency said in a statement. Interior Minister Hsu Kuo-yung told reporters about five people were feared to have been on the bridge when it collapsed. Ten people were sent to hospitals, six of them with serious injuries.

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GOP Split over Impeachment Push-Back as Dems Plow Ahead

The president's lawyer insists the real story is a debunked conspiracy theory. A senior White House adviser blames the "deep state." And a Republican congressman is pointing at Joe Biden's son.

As the Democrats drive an impeachment inquiry toward a potential vote by the end of the year, President Donald Trump's allies are struggling over how he should manage the starkest threat to his presidency. The jockeying broke into the open Sunday on the talk-show circuit, with a parade of Republicans erupting into a surge of second-guessing.

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Salameh Seeks to Ease Demand for Dollars

Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh said on Monday that the bank will secure foreign currency for some imports in a move that is expected to ease the demand for hard currency.

Salameh said after meeting President Michel Aoun at Baabda that the central bank will secure foreign currency needs of the private and public sectors, according to official prices.

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Syrian Kurds Criticize UN Envoy over Constitution Committee

An official with the main Kurdish-led force in Syria said Sunday the ethnic minority is not represented on the committee formed earlier this month that will be in charge of drafting a new constitution.

The Syrian government does not trust the main Kurdish militia known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG, and its political wing because of its links to the U.S. Turkey, a main backer of the opposition, sees the YPG as part of a Kurdish insurgency in Turkey.

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Protests in Beirut over Worsening Economic Crisis

Hundreds of Lebanese protested Sunday in the country's capital and other areas over an economic crisis that worsened over the past two weeks, with worries over dollar-reliant Lebanon's local currency losing value for the first time in more than two decades.

Lebanon is facing a deep-running fiscal crisis as it staggers under one of the highest debt ratios in the world, at $86 billion or more than 150% of the country's gross domestic product.

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Afghans Vote for President amid Taliban Threats, Fraud Fears

Afghans headed to the polls on Saturday to elect a new president amid high security and threats of violence from Taliban militants, who warned citizens to stay away from polling stations or risk being hurt.

Fear and frustration at the relentless corruption that has characterized successive governments ranks high among the concerns of Afghanistan's 9.6 million eligible voters. The country has also been rattled by an upsurge in violence in the run-up to the elections, following the collapse of U.S.-Taliban talks to end America's longest war.

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Lebanese Clear Civil War-Era Mines from Famed Cedar Forests

Kneeling beneath Lebanon's ancient cedars, Waheeb Humayed peers through a protective visor and waves a metal detector until he hears the tell-tale beep. He clips the grass, pushes a small prodder into the ground and gently sweeps the dirt away with a garden trowel, revealing another deadly mine.

Three decades after the civil war ended, deminers are still working to clear this mountainous northern region, famous for its centuries-old cedar trees, which are Lebanon's national emblem. Humanity and Inclusion, an international demining organization, says it has removed hundreds of mines and other explosives since 2011.

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Aoun Urges World Leaders to Work for Safe Return of Syrian Refugees

President Michel Aoun urged the world leaders to exert all efforts needed for the safe return of Syrian refugees to their homeland, warning against turning them into "hostages in an international game.”

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Ukraine Entangled Yet again in American Political Storm

President Donald Trump's withholding of military aid from Ukraine and his calls for the country's new president to investigate the family of a political rival have thrust the East European nation into an American political storm for the second time in three years.

Before news broke that an intelligence whistleblower had filed a formal complaint based in part on a conversation between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, Ukraine had gained notoriety during the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. He was convicted last year on charges related to his political consulting work in the country.

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