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Lebanon Prepares for Rome II Aid Conference

The Higher Defense Council will hold a meeting on Friday at Baabda Palace under the chairmanship of President Michel Aoun, attended by Army Commander Gen. Joseph Aoun and heads of Lebanon's security agencies to discuss preparations for a major donor conference (Rome II) and to determine Lebanon's security needs from participating countries, media reports said Friday.

Heads of security agenceis have reportedly developed plans and a paper including the army and security forces' needs of weapons and military equipment to be presented to the conference, well-informed sources told al-Joumhouria daily.

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Franjieh Slams FPM 'Dictatorial' Approach, Likens Bassil to Ghazi Kanaan

Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh lashed out Thursday at the Free Patriotic Movement and compared its leader Jebran Bassil to Ghazi Kanaan, the long-time head of Syria's security apparatus in Lebanon.

“I reiterate that our project won through President Michel Aoun's election, and in the strategic issues we have triumphed with President Aoun,” Franjieh said in an interview with LBCI television.

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Shorter Meets Hariri, Stresses 'Importance of Disassociation Policy'

British Ambassador to Lebanon Hugo Shorter on Thursday stressed the importance of Lebanon's so-called disassociation policy during talks with Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

"It was an honor to meet Prime Minister Hariri and to discuss upcoming international conferences for Lebanon’s security and prosperity,” Shorter said after the meeting.

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Report Links Hacking Campaign to Lebanon's General Security Agency

A major hacking operation tied to Lebanon's main intelligence agency has been exposed after careless spies left hundreds of gigabytes of intercepted data exposed to the open internet, according to a report published Thursday.

Mobile security firm Lookout, Inc. and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, said the haul, which includes nearly half a million intercepted text messages, had simply been left online by hackers linked to Lebanon's General Directorate of General Security.

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Military Court Orders 6-Month Jail Term for Journalist Hanin Ghaddar

The Military Court has handed down a six-month prison sentence to a journalist for presenting views critical of the army, a court official told the AFP news agency on Thursday.

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Aoun: Judgments of Judicial Institutions Must Be Respected

President Michel Aoun stressed on Thursday that judgments made by the judicial institutions “must be respected,” the National News Agency reported.

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Hariri Urges Calm Political Rhetoric

Prime Minister Saad Hariri chaired a Cabinet meeting on Thursday at the Grand Serail where he criticized media reports picturing “sharp differences” among political parties over contentious issues, saying that things are being exaggerated.

“Anyone who sees the sharp statements circulated in media outlets gets the opinion that political parties are deeply divided among themselves,” said Hariri at the beginning of the meeting.

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Thorny Extension of Expat Registration Referred to Electoral Panel after Futile Cabinet Debate

The Cabinet on Thursday referred to the electoral ministerial panel a controversial suggestion from Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil to extend the deadline for the registration of Lebanese expats who wish to vote abroad in the parliamentary polls, which if approved requires changes to the vote law.

The panel is expected to take a decision on Monday.

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Gunshots Fired during Armed Bank Robbery in Beirut

Masked armed men robbed the Lebanese Swiss Bank in Beirut neighborhood of Bir Hassan Thursday morning, firing gunshots and leaving with $17,000 in cash, media reports said.

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Khalil to Hariri: Bringing Extension of Expat Voter Registration to Cabinet Implicates Govt in Conflicts

Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil warned of attempts to introduce changes to the new electoral law saying they conceal intents to postpone the parliamentary elections, as he lamented listing the controversial topic on the Cabinet's agenda, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Thursday.

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