Lebanon
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Experts: Coronavirus Can't be Transmitted via Mail, Imported Items

It has not been shown that the new coronavirus spreading in China and other parts of the world can transferred through items bought online from China, media reports said.

“There is no evidence this is a risk… Cold viruses tend to survive less than 24 hours outside the human body,” the BBC has reported.

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Diab Chairs Policy Meeting, Says Budget Approval Sends Positive Signal

Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Monday presided over the fourth meeting of the ministerial panel tasked with drafting the Policy Statement of the new government.

“PM Dr. Hassan Diab stressed at the beginning of the session that the approval of the state budget in parliament sends a positive signal domestically and externally, regardless of the reservations related to the circumstances of this budget and its content,” Information Minister Manal Abdul Samad said after the meeting.

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Hariri on Budget Session: Mustaqbal Won't Boycott or Obstruct Institutions

Al-Mustaqbal Movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri stressed Monday that al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc will not “boycott or obstruct” state institutions, defending the bloc’s decision to take part in a controversial parliament session that approved the 2020 state budget.

“I stress to whom it may concern, and to anyone who is trying to seize the chance to fabricate campaigns, that al-Mustaqbal bloc will not be a tool for boycotting or obstructing institutions,” Hariri tweeted.

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Jumblat: Budget Approval Better than Vacuum, Extrabudgetary Spending

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat on Monday noted that “the step of approving the state budget is better than vacuum or extrabudgetary spending,” although the PSP-led Democratic Gathering bloc has abstained from voting on the bill in parliament.

“The government must propose serious reforms, topped by ones related to the electricity sector, its regulatory commission and the law on the judiciary’s independence,” Jumblat tweeted.

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Sayyed at Parliament: This is Not Jamil al-Sayyed's Govt.

MP Jamil al-Sayyed on Monday stressed that Hassan Diab’s new government is not “Jamil al-Sayyed’s government,” denying media reports and political accusations that have suggested that he played a key role in its formation.

“This is not Jamil al-Sayyed’s government as it is being said and I will speak about the issue during the confidence session,” Sayyed said in a speech before parliament during a session to vote on the 2020 state budget.

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Injuries, Arrests as Beirut Protesters Seek to Disrupt Budget Session

Security forces clashed with protesters in downtown Beirut on Monday, leaving several demonstrators injured and others detained. As the protests simmered outside parliament, lawmakers held a controversial session to discuss and later approve the state budget amid a crippling financial crisis.

Hundreds of soldiers, including special forces, as well as riot policemen were deployed on major roads in the capital and its suburbs. They had sealed off the zone leading to parliament to prevent protesters from barricading the lawmakers' path. The protesters had in turn blocked roads further afield in an effort to stop lawmakers from reaching the building, but security forces managed to keep a single road open.

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Diab Says Won’t Obstruct Budget Prepared by Previous Cabinet

Prime Minister Hassan Diab said on Monday that his government is not going to obstruct the 2020 state budget prepared by the former government of PM Saad Hariri who resigned in October.

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Several Lawmakers Boycott Budget Session

The Lebanese Forces Strong Republic parliamentary bloc on Monday boycotted a parliament session dedicated to discuss and later endorse the 2020 state budget.

The bloc said it decided not to participate because the parliament convenes to discuss the budget before a confidence vote for the new chosen government, and because the people reject it.

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Parliament Braces for Budget Approval amid Tight Security Measures

Tight security measures were imposed near Lebanon’s parliament on Monday as lawmakers are scheduled to begin a two-day discussion and later approval of the state budget amid a crippling financial crisis.

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Mashnouq Slams Mustaqbal Supporters who Attacked al-Jadeed TV

Beirut MP Nouhad al-Mashnouq on Sunday blasted Mustaqbal Movement supporters who had attacked the building of al-Jadeed TV in Beirut on Friday.

“I was worried for the Sunni community… and I grew more worried after I saw thugs attacking al-Jadeed TV’s building and smashing its entrance, and after thugs whose loyalty is well-known came out of our ranks to attack a media outlet, after their brilliant success outside my house,” Mashnouq, who distanced himself from al-Mustaqbal bloc after the 2018 elections, tweeted.

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