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Franjieh: We Won't Join Govt. without Public Works Portfolio

Marada Movement chief Suleiman Franjieh announced Thursday that his bloc will not accept to join the new government if it does not get the public works portfolio.

“We want the public works portfolio or the energy portfolio or else we won't take part in the government and will join the opposition without practicing obstruction,” Franjieh said in an interview on MTV.

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Hariri: Government to be Formed This Week

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri said Thursday that the new government “will be formed this week and not next week.”

“There are some small pending details and the government will bring together everyone,” Hariri added, in a chat with reporters at the Center House.

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Armenian Parties Insist on Two Ministers in New Govt.

Lebanon's Armenian political parties held a meeting Thursday at the Orthodox Armenian Archbishopric to discuss reports suggesting that the Armenian community will be represented by one rather than two ministers in the new government.

In a statement, the conferees from the Tashnag Party, the Hunchak Party and the Ramgavar Party welcomed the efforts that are being exerted to form the cabinet, hoping the new drive will “lead to a government that would pull the country out of its political crisis.”

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Geagea Reassured on LF's Govt. Share, Denies Obstructing Aoun's Tenure

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea boasted Thursday that the LF will eventually obtain all its demands regarding its share in the new government.

Noting that Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri is keen on the LF's participation in the cabinet, Geagea told Free Lebanon Radio that “the consultations will continue to resolve the pending points and form the government as soon as possible.”

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Two Killed, Several Wounded in Water Tank Explosion in Nabatieh

Two individuals have died and more than sixteen were wounded when a hot water tank exploded in the southern town of Nabatieh, the National News Agency reported on Thursday.

NNA said the explosion took place at a sweets factory that killed a woman. A man sustaining serious injuries had succumbed to his wounds after he was taken to hospital.

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Aoun: Government Lineup is Imminent

President Michel Aoun affirmed on Thursday that the formation of Lebanon’s government has become imminent, telling reporters “it is just round the corner.”

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Swedish Princess Victoria Tours Palestinian Refugee Camp, Meets UNRWA

Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria, accompanied by the Swedish Minister of the Elderly and Social Affairs, and the Swedish Ambassador to Lebanon, Jurgen Lindstrom, toured the neighborhoods of Bourj al-Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp where she was briefed on the “dire situation of the residents,” the National News Agency reported Thursday.

At the camp, Princess Victoria was received by Director-General of the UNRWA, Claudio Cordone. The visit was preceded by a tour for a Swedish press delegation around the camp to take photographs of the living conditions in which the refugees live.

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Report: Breakthrough in Govt. Lineup Looms as Obstacles Ease

Signs of a breakthrough in the government formation started to emerge, most importantly is the end of a “political breakup” between the Lebanese Forces and Free Patriotic Movement after Wednesday’s meeting between FPM chief Jebran Bassil and LF Minister Melhem Riachi, Ashraq al-Awsat daily reported Thursday.

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Hariri Receives Sweden Crown Princess Victoria

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri received Wednesday evening at the Center House Sweden Crown Princess Victoria, her spouse Daniel and the accompanying delegation, Hariri’s media office said.

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Bassil, Jaafari Discuss Bilateral Relations

Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil held talks on Wednesday with his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari where they discussed bilateral relations between the two countries.

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