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Hariri Meets with U.S. Ambassador

Prime Minister Saad Hariri met Friday afternoon at the Center House with the U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard.

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Report: Fitch to Downgrade Lebanon's Credit Rating

Fitch Ratings, one of the "Big Three” credit rating agencies in the world, has decided to downgrade Lebanon’s rating from B- to CCC, a media report said.

“Lebanese sides have been informed that the Fitch agency has finalized its report and downgraded Lebanon’s rating to the level of CCC,” al-Joumhouria newspaper reported on Friday.

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Khalil: We're Not a Bankrupt Country

Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil on Friday stressed that Lebanon is not a “bankrupt country,” hours before the release of a key financial report by the Standard and Poor’s international credit rating agency.

“We are not a bankrupt country and we have the ability to overcome difficulties and get out of our crises, regardless of rating headlines or foreign stances,” Khalil said at a financial seminar in Sidon.

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Turkish Foreign Minister Meets Aoun, Berri and Hariri

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Friday held separate meetings with President Michel Aoun, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

The National News Agency said Aoun told Cavusoglu that "the international community's continued disregard for the need to repatriate Syrian refugees to their country raises several question marks about the reasons."

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Leftover Israeli Bomblet Kills Man in South

Lebanese citizen Ali Nehme Hamzeh was killed Thursday when a bomblet from an Israeli cluster bomb fired during the 2006 war exploded under his bulldozer in the southern town of Majdel Selm, Lebanon’s National News Agency reported.

NNA said Hamzeh succumbed to his wounds at the Tebnin Hospital.

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Lebanese Tourists Stranded Abroad after Travel Agency Scam

Dozens of Lebanese tourists are stranded in Turkey and Georgia after falling victim to a scam pulled off by an unlicensed Lebanese travel agency, Lebanese TV networks reported on Thursday.

“After we booked travel tickets and hotel rooms via the New Plaza Tours agency, we realized after arriving in Marmaris that the return tickets and hotel reservations were fake,” four of the victims, who are also lawyers, told MTV.

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Cabinet Names Constitutional Council Members amid LF, Marada Objections

The Cabinet on Thursday appointed five new members on the country’s Constitutional Council, amid the objections of the ministers of the Lebanese Forces and the Marada Movement.

The LF objected after the Cabinet did not endorse its candidate, Saeed Malek.

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Turkish Foreign Minister to Visit Lebanon Friday

Lebanon is readying to host Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who will arrive in Beirut on Friday, media reports said.

“In his two-day visit, Cavusoglu will discuss with Lebanese officials a number of issues of common interest,” al-Liwaa newspaper reported on Thursday.

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Report: U.S. Asked Hariri to 'Revive March 14', Play Role in Gas Dispute

The U.S. has pressured the Standard & Poor’s agency into keeping Lebanon’s credit rating at the B- level in return for a “political price” from Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who visited Washington in recent days, a media report said.

According to al-Akhbar daily, which quoted sources close to Hariri, the premier was asked to “revive” the March 14 political coalition, to become “a partner with Speaker Nabih Berri in the negotiations over the demarcation of the border of the gas-containing areas that are disputed with Israel, and to secure the win of General Electric in the electricity tenders.”

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Richard Calls on Every Lebanese to 'Believe in Lebanese Army'

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard and U.S. military representatives on Wednesday attended a live-fire exercise conducted by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) at the Akoura military complex.

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