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Bassil Raises Refugee File, Urges Giving Arab League Seat Back to Syria

Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil on Tuesday urged from Moscow the Arab League to return Syria to its seat and raised calls from Moscow for the repatriation of Syrian refugees from Lebanon, the National News Agency reported.

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Aoun: Judicial Body Not Dependent on Anyone During My Term

President Michel Aoun stressed on Tuesday that “the judicial body is the cornerstone for the establishment of the state and law,” stressing that his term only tolerates an independent judicial authority.

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Lebanon Expresses Solidarity with France after Notre Dame Fire

Prime Minister Saad Hariri expressed sadness over the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in France that he described as a "heritage and humanitarian disaster."

Hariri added in a tweet late Monday that Lebanon expresses strong solidarity with the "friendly French people."

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Report: Govt. 'Mulling' Pay Cuts as It Seeks to Reduce Deficit

The focus of political forces, citizens and trade union bodies continues on the latest debate on reducing the budget deficit, which some government components aim to achieve “at the expense of public sector employees and the investment and operating expenses of the state,” al-Akhbar daily reported on Tuesday.

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Hariri Meets UK Ambassador

Prime Minister Saad Hariri met with British ambassador to Lebanon Chris Rampling who welcomed the Premier’s strong commitment to tackling the government deficit, and the efforts to reform the electricity sector, the UK embassy said in a press release.

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Bassil Flies to Moscow

Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil traveled to Moscow on Monday to take part in the upcoming ministerial session of the Russian-Arab Cooperation forum.

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MP Says Servicemen Not Responsible for Budget Deficit

As reports emerge that the government might cut financial benefits for public sector employees, MP Shamel Roukoz said that servicemen are not responsible for the country’s budget deficit or the waste of public money, stressing that there are others areas to recover funds.

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Defense Council Meets in Baabda amid Reported Pay Cuts

A few days before the weekly cabinet meeting scheduled to start in Baabda to begin discussions of the 2019 draft budget law, a meeting was held at the Presidential Palace reportedly to "review pensions and compensations of the public sector," media reports said on Monday.

The Higher Defense Council convened at the behest of President Michel Aoun, with the participation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the concerned ministers, and chiefs of military and security apparatus, said the National News Agency.

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Jumblat Decries Bassil Wage Cut Calls, Disagrees with Hizbullah over Meeting Place

Progressive Socialist Party leader ex-MP Walid Jumblat criticized the Foreign Minister’s call to cut wages of the government employees as part of austerity measures, and noted that his recent conflict with Hizbullah arose over the place of a meeting scheduled between the two, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Monday.

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Dima Jamali Wins Tripoli’s By-Elections

Lebanon’s Interior Minister Raya al-Hassan announced on Sunday that Tripoli parliamentary candidate Dima Jamal has won the Sunni seat in Sunday’s by-elections.

“In accordance with the provisions of Article 107 of the electoral law, we announce the final official results of the parliamentary elections that took place in the smaller constituency of the city of Tripoli on the basis of majoritarian electoral system. As received from the Higher Registration Committee, Dima Jamali has won with a total of 19387 votes,” announced Hassan from the ministry.

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