Lebanon
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Gemayel: No Confidence in Govt. 'Architected by Hizbullah'

Kataeb Party chief MP Sami Gemayel on Wednesday lashed out at Hizbullah during his debate of the Cabinet's Policy Statement in parliament, describing it as the “architect” of the new government.

“The wooden rhetoric is of no use and no government can succeed without an opposition. We will not grant this government our confidence and we hope it will gain our confidence if it works in the right way,” Gemayel said.

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Parliament Continues Discussing Government's Policy

Members of Lebanon's Parliament convened for a second day and started discussing the new government's policy statement, which focuses on improving the country's economic conditions.

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Saudi Envoy Congratulates Aoun, Berri, Hariri on Govt. Formation

President Michel Aoun received Saudi envoy Nizar al-Aloula on Wednesday accompanied by Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Walid al-Bukhari, the State-run National News Agency reported.

NNA said the envoy has conveyed congratulations of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the formation of Lebanon’s government.

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Israel Resumes Installation of Concrete Blocks on Border

Israeli troops on Wednesday resumed the installation of a controversial concrete barrier wall on the border between Lebanon and occupied Palestine opposite the village of Kfarkila, LBCI television reported.

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Geagea Says Iran Didn't Record a 'Victory' in Lebanon

Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea considered as “unfounded” the claims that Iran has “triumphed” in the region and is trying to reflect that in Lebanon, noting that the “unwillingness of parties to engage in a confrontation does not mean that Iran has won,” the Saudi Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported on Wednesday.

In remarks Geagea made to the daily in an interview, and whether Iran is trying to invest its alleged “regional victory” in Lebanon, Geagea said: “I totally oppose this theory.”

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Al-Sayyed Clashes with Khalil, Withholds Confidence as Hariri Walks Out

Firebrand lawmaker Jamil al-Sayyed on Tuesday engaged in a verbal dispute with Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil as he addressed Parliament during a session to debate the new government's Policy Statement.

The minister said that “the state's treasury was empty and then it turned out that there were 600 billion liras and that the state did not pay the wheat farmers in the Bekaa,” al-Sayyed said, drawing a swift and angry response from Khalil, who interrupted his speech.

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Israel Warns Iran and Hizbullah that Its Missiles Can Travel 'Very Far'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran Tuesday that Israeli missiles can travel "very far," on the eve of a conference in Poland about peace and security in the Middle East.

Speaking during a visit to a naval base in the northern port of Haifa, Netanyahu said: "The missiles you see behind me can go very far, against any enemy, including Iran's proxies in our region" -- an apparent reference to Lebanon's Iran-backed Hizbullah.

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Al-Hassan Orders Removal of Violating Street Vending Kiosks

Interior Minister Raya al-Hassan on Tuesday issued a memo ordering a crackdown on illegal and violating street vending kiosks and tents that sell soft drinks, coffee, tea, food, alcoholic beverages, vegetables and fruits.

In the memo, al-Hassan said illegal and violating kiosks and street vendors are “obstructing traffic and causing traffic accidents on highways and public roads, while some of them do not meet the hygiene and public health requirements.”

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Two Men Face Death over Gavin Ford's Murder

A Lebanese prosecutor requested a death sentence Tuesday against two Syrian men accused of the November murder of a British radio host, the National News Agency reported.

The pair, both in their twenties, were charged with the premeditated murder of Gavin Ford, a British national who had been a popular radio host in Lebanon for years.

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Salam Defends PM Powers, Slams 'Constitutional Heresies'

Ex-PM and Beirut MP Tammam Salam on Tuesday defended the premiership's jurisdiction, describing recent calls for “withdrawing the designation from the PM-designate” as a “constitutional heresy.”

“Ever since independence, Lebanon's history has never witnessed what we experienced during the long months of the cabinet formation process,” Salam said in an address before Parliament during a session to debate the new government's Policy Statement.

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