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Judicial Council: Judges Benefited from Housing Loans under Special Protocol

The Higher Judicial Council clarified Monday that a number of judges have recently been granted housing loans under a special 2010 “protocol,” after media reports decried alleged favoritism in light of the suspension of loans granted to ordinary citizens by the Public Corporation for Housing.

In a statement, the council clarified that the protocol had been signed in 2010 between the Association of Banks in Lebanon and the Judges Solidarity Fund, noting that the agreement stipulated that “loans granted to judges would be paid from the banks' own assets.”

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Army Asks UNIFIL to Tell Israel to Stop Drilling near Kfarkila

The Lebanese Army on Monday asked the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to tell Israeli forces to stop drilling works on the electronic border fence after they violated the U.N.-demarcated Blue Line and encroached on Lebanese territory, the National News Agency said.

Lebanese troops, UNIFIL peacekeepers and Israeli forces went on alert in the area of the Lebanese border town of Kfarkila during the standoff, NNA added.

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Berri Says Joint Parliamentary Committees to Meet Thursday

Speaker Nabih Berri called on the joint parliamentary committees for a meeting on Thursday to resume discussing several projects and draft laws, the National News Agency reported on Monday.

Berri invited the Finance and Budget Committees, Administration and Justice, National Defense, Interior and Municipalities, National Economy and Trade, Industry and Planning, Agriculture and Tourism, Public Works, Transport, Energy and Water and Information Technology.

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Aoun Promises World Bank Delegation Economic Reforms in Line with Political One

President Michel Aoun broached the overall economic situation at the local scene with a visiting delegation from the World Bank headed by World Bank Group Vice President for Middle East and North Africa, Ferid Belhaj, the National News Agency reported Monday.

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LF MP Says Bassil’s Stance Reflects 'Dualism'

Lebanese Forces MP Antoine Zahra said the process of forming the government got more complicated after the return of Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil from abroad, VDL (100.5) said on Monday.

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Report: LF 'Rejects' Cabinet Quota Same as Before

The Lebanese Forces denied scenarios on Monday claiming the party has agreed to a “certain” government format, stressing their “steadfast” refusal to get a Cabinet quota similar to the one they have in the current government, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Monday.

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Hariri May Submit Govt. Format Monday as Talks Reportedly Make Progress

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri is expected to submit a government format early next week to President Michel Aoun, an MP from his bloc said, amid reported progress in the marathon negotiations.

“The formation process is definitely in the hands of PM-designate Saad Hariri, not caretaker Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil,” MP Rola al-Tabsh of al-Mustaqbal bloc told Asharq al-Awsat daily in remarks published Sunday.

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Report: Russia Plan Requires Presence of Govt. in Beirut within 48 Hours

The Russian plan for repatriating Syrian refugees requires the presence of a new government in Beirut “within 48 hours,” a media report said.

The 48-hour deadline “begins on Sunday morning,” Kuwait's al-Anbaa newspaper quoted informed sources as saying.

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Arslan: Jumblat Conspiring against Syria, Executing Foreign Agendas

Lebanese Democratic Party leader MP Talal Arslan has launched a fresh blistering attack on his Druze rival Walid Jumblat, accusing him of “conspiring against Syria and the Druze of Syria.”

“Jumblat is continuing his ploys against Syria and he is executing foreign agendas,” Arslan added in a TV interview.

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Lebanon Sinks Old Tanks to Create Underwater Dive 'Park'

Lebanese environmentalists on Saturday sank 10 old tanks and armored vehicles to the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea in a novel attempt to attract divers and create new habitats for marine life.

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