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Report: Richard Jones to Temporarily Head U.S. Mission

U.S. diplomat Richard Jones is expected to replace Ambassador David Hale pending the arrival of the new head of mission Elizabeth Richard, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Friday.

Jones, who served as Ambassador to Beirut between 1996 and 1998, will arrive in the coming days to take over the mission, informed sources said.

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Berri Says Cabinet, Parliament Paralysis is a 'Myth'

Speaker Nabih Berri has reiterated that the cabinet should convene to resolve the people's issues, describing the paralysis of the government and the parliament as a “myth.”

Berri told his visitors that the national dialogue, which he is chairing, has not discussed the issues that are on the cabinet's agenda, except for the waste crisis.

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Cabinet to Convene on Waste Crisis but Faces Dark Future

Prime Minister Tammam Salam is expected to call for a cabinet session to put into execution the waste management plan of Agriculture Minister Akram Shehayyeb.

The session will unlikely face a paralysis over differences between cabinet members on several controversial issues.

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Bassil Says Wants Appointments 'Under the Law', Criticizes Moqbel, Army Command

Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil announced Thursday that the FPM wants the stalled military and security appointments to take place “under the law,” criticizing Defense Minister Samir Moqbel and the Army Command over alleged “violations.”

“The FPM has never accepted any illegal measure … We want the appointments to occur under the law,” said Bassil during an interview on LBCI television.

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Arrests, Injuries as Police Fire Tear Gas, Water Cannons at Martyrs Square Protesters

Several protesters were arrested and many others were injured Thursday as security forces fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse civil society demonstrators who tried to enter into central Beirut's al-Nejmeh Square where the parliament is located.

The Red Cross announced transferring 35 people to hospitals after they suffered suffocation injuries due to tear gas inhalation.

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Reports: Maroun al-Qobayati Replaces Roukoz as Commando Regiment Chief

Colonel Maroun al-Qobayati has been appointed as commander of the army's Commando Regiment to replace Brig. Gen. Chamel Roukoz, media reports said on Thursday.

“The army commander has signed a decree naming Col. Maroun al-Qobayati as chief of the Commando Regiment to succeed Brig. Gen. Chamel Roukoz,” al-Jadeed television reported.

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Judge Summons MPs over Electricity File as Parliament General Secretariat Rejects Call

Financial General Prosecutor Judge Ali Ibrahim summoned on Thursday Mustaqbal MP Jamal al-Jarrah and Change and Reform bloc MP Ziad Aswad to listen to their testimony following the scuffle that erupted at a parliament committee meeting on Monday.

The summons was made after a report was filed by the “We Want Accountability” civil society campaign linked to the accusations of fraud and corruption made at the Public Works Committee regarding the electricity file.

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Hale Inaugurates Tactical Training Facilities at ISF Academy

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale celebrated on Thursday the inauguration of a new tactical village and administrative and forensics building at the Internal Security Forces Academy in Aramoun, while reiterating his country's ongoing commitment to Lebanon.

He said during the ceremony: “These are difficult times for Lebanon. The spillover of terrorism and extremism from Syria, the presence of huge numbers of refugees in Lebanon.”

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General Security Arrests Syrian al-Nusra Front Suspect

The General Security Department announced on Thursday the arrest of a Syrian man suspected of belonging to the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front.

A communique issued by the general-directorate said: “Syrian Aa.B. was apprehended for belonging to al-Nusra Front and participating along with others in purchasing weapons and ammunition.”

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Judicial Official Says Asir's Health not Worrisome

A judicial official has said there are no worries about the health of Salafist cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir who is detained at al-Reyhanieh prison in Yarze.

“The condition of Ahmed al-Asir is not at all worrying. He is receiving the proper care,” the unidentified official told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat in remarks published on Thursday.

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