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Mashnouq Deems Municipal Polls 'Most Important in Decades'

Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq vowed on Wednesday that the municipal elections will be held as scheduled, saying that those who had been skeptical of them will be proven wrong.

He said during a press conference: “The municipal polls are probably the most important elections to take place in Lebanon in decades given the trend of extending the terms of state institutions.”

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Maronite Bishops Urge Election of President who Will 'Protect Lebanon's Identity'

The Maronite Bishops Council reiterated on Wednesday its call for the election of a president in Lebanon, while highlighting the recent visits of international figures to the country.

It said after its monthly meeting: “We urge the election of a president, who will protect Lebanon's constitutional and state identity.”

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Report: No Controversial Files on Wednesday’s Cabinet Agenda

The cabinet is set to convene Wednesday afternoon to tackle several pending issues on its agenda but it does not include the controversial file of the State Security agency, An Nahar daily reported.

The cabinet's agenda includes 65 items and 116 draft-laws. It will not discuss the file of the State Security agency until Prime Minister Tammam Salam, who was tasked with finding a solution to the leadership rift between the agency’s chief and his deputy, concludes his mission.

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German Bank in Spotlight over Panama Papers with Links to Hizbullah

Berenberg Bank, one of the oldest and most venerable institutions in private banking in Germany, is finding its squeaky clean reputation coming under scrutiny in the wake of the Panama Papers global tax evasion scandal.

Berenberg may not be a household name like some of its bigger peers, but the upscale Hamburg-based bank has cultivated an impeccable image, the epitome of courtesy and discretion for both customers and employees alike.

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Change and Reform Calls for Fair Electoral Law, Granting Expats Representation in Parliament

The Change and Reform bloc reiterated on Tuesday its call for the approval of a parliamentary electoral law that would offer fair representation, while revealing that it would propose that expatriates be granted representation at parliament.

MP Ibrahim Kanaan said after the bloc's weekly meeting: “The electoral law is not something we can strike a deal over, but it is linked to rights stipulated in the constitution and National Pact.”

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Bassil: Most Successful Foreign Policies are Independent Ones

Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil remarked on Tuesday that the existence of several foreign policies yields lack of national unity, reported the National News Agency.

He said: “This has resulted in the creation of such jokes as the policy of disassociation, which is aimed at evading disputes.”

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Orthodox Electoral Law Referred to Parliament Bureau after Joint Committees Meeting

The joint parliamentary committees convened on Tuesday to study various electoral draft-laws.

Change and Reform bloc MP Ibrahim Kanaan revealed that so far the Orthodox Gathering electoral law has been referred to the parliament bureau for discussion.

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Daryan Condemns Failure to Elect President: Taking Part in Municipal Polls is National Duty

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Daryan slammed on Wednesday officials' ongoing failure to elect a new head of state, while emphasizing the importance of the municipal polls.

He said during a message on the occasion of Isra and Miraj: “Failure to elect a president is dangerous and taking part in the municipal elections is a national duty.”

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Report: Hizbullah Encourages Franjieh to Keep Candidacy

Hizbullah has asked Marada chief MP Suleiman Franjieh, to uphold his candidacy for the presidential elections because the party is not willing at the time being to look for a third nominee other than Franjieh and Change and Reform bloc chief MP Michel Aoun, the Kuwaiti al-Seyassah daily reported on Tuesday.

According to the daily, Franjieh has planned to meet with Aoun in a final attempt to persuade him to withdraw his candidacy, as advised by Hizbullah.

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Transparency: Perceived Corruption Worsens in Arab States Mainly Lebanon

Ordinary people feel that corruption has worsened in nine Arab countries and territories over the last year, especially crisis-hit Lebanon and war-torn Yemen, a study by graft watchdog Transparency International said Tuesday.

Its survey of nearly 11,000 respondents showed that sleaze was also seen to be on the rise in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Sudan and Tunisia.

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