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Retired Military Officers Escalate Protests, Block Major Highways into Beirut

Retired servicemen blocked major highways around Lebanon early on Thursday as angry commuters stuck in traffic expressed dismay standing in long queues of vehicles in the scorching heat.

The five-hour protest, which began at dawn on Thursday, saw closures of the northern, southern and eastern entrances to Beirut. The demonstration caused major traffic jams and delays in getting into the city.

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Hariri: Entire Lebanon against 'Deal of the Century'

Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Wednesday stressed that “the government, the parliament and entire Lebanon” are against the so-called “deal of the century,” a phrase referring to the Trump administration’s proposed plans to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

“Our constitution prohibits refugee naturalization,” Hariri said in parliament.

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Hadat Controversy: A Small Example of Lebanon's Deeply-Rooted Divisions

Mohammed Awwad and his fiancee, both Muslims, recently found an affordable apartment for rent online in the town of Hadat, southeast of Beirut.

The 27-year-old journalist called the number and asked the owner when they could drop by to take a look. He was stunned by her response: Muslims are not allowed to settle in the town, she said.

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Retired Servicemen to 'Besiege' Beirut in Protest at Budget Articles

Retired servicemen have decided to escalate their protests against the benefit cuts proposed in the 2019 draft state budget, vowing to block all roads leading to and from the capital on Thursday morning.

In a statement, the servicemen said that they would cut off “all main roads” linking Beirut to the various regions from 5am till 10am Thursday.

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5 MPs Walk Out in Protest at Prearranged Constitutional Council Vote

The MPs Sami Gemayel, Nadim Gemayel, Paula Yacoubian, Jamil al-Sayyed and Jean Talouzian on Wednesday walked out of parliament during a session to elect half of the members of the Constitutional Council.

In a statement, Sami Gemayel slammed what he called “a prior agreement on names and a show election.”

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Arslan on Refugee Return: Problem in Lebanon, Not in Syria

Lebanese Democratic Party leader MP Talal Arslan on Tuesday commented on the delay in returning Syrian refugees to their country, noting that the “problem is not in Syria but rather in Lebanon.”

“Under the sponsorship of President Michel Aoun, we are convinced of the importance of resolving the Syrian refugee crisis in a manner befitting of refugees as well as of Lebanese residents,” Arslan said at a press conference.

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Demos in Beirut, Camps in Rejection of 'Deal of the Century'

Palestinian and Lebanese factions on Tuesday organized a number of protests in Beirut and several Palestinian refugee camps in rejection of a U.S.-led peace conference in Bahrain.

“Our stance on the 'deal of the century' is the stance expressed by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Lebanon will not take part in this blatant crime,” AMAL Movement politburo member Hassan Qabalan said at a demo outside the U.N.'s ESCWA headquarters in central Beirut.

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AMAL, Mustaqbal MPs in Verbal Clash over ISF Chief

A verbal clash erupted Tuesday in parliament between two MPs from the al-Mustaqbal and AMAL movements.

Media reports said AMAL MP Ayyoub Hymayyed and Mustaqbal MP Mohammed al-Hajjar engaged in a verbal dispute as the finance committee convened to continue its debate of the 2019 state budget.

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Jumblat Says to Become Less Dependent on Twitter

Progressive Socialist Party leader ex-MP Walid Jumblat announced Tuesday that he will no longer use Twitter to relay political messages.

“Nowadays, the social media tools may carry some positivities, but their negativities are bigger, that's why from now on I have decided to use conventional communication methods,” Jumblat tweeted, following the latest “war of tweets” with al-Mustaqbal Movement.

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IMF Delegation Meets Khalil ahead of Critical Report

Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil on Monday met with a delegation from the International Monetary Fund led by Chris Jarvis.

The National News Agency said the talks tackled “the economic and financial situations in Lebanon, the latest developments regarding the state budget and the reforms it included.”

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