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Aridi: ‘Political Decision’ Preventing Army’s Consolidation

Caretaker Minister Ghazi Aridi said Sunday that a “political decision” was preventing the arming of the Lebanese military with weapons that consolidate it and help it confront Israel.

While Aridi did not say who had taken such a political decision, he stressed that Lebanese leaders should take a “unified stance” that says “no to using arms locally by any side or any team.”

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Thousands Rally against Confessional System

Thousands of Lebanese held a protest in Beirut on Sunday, the third in less than a month, to demand an end to the country's confessional system.

Men and women of all ages set off with children on a march from the residential neighborhood of Ashrafiyeh to the interior ministry demanding "the fall of the confessional regime."

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Raad Calls March 14 Officials ‘Filthy,’ Hints Cabinet Formation Waiting for Regional Developments

Hizbullah MP Mohammed Raad said Sunday that cables released by WikiLeaks on the alleged conspiracy of March 14 officials against the resistance would further unveil their “filthiness.”

During the opening of a conferences hall and a public library in the town of Nabatiyeh in the south, Raad said: “The upcoming leaks would probably show more filthiness from them.”

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Health Minister Vows to Take Action Over Alleged Tainted Cooking Oil

Caretaker Health Minister Mohammed Jawad Khalife vowed on Sunday to investigate the alleged import of tainted cooking oil to Lebanon.

In remarks to Voice of Lebanon radio station, Khalife said he would contact the Consumer Protection Authority on Monday to probe the issue and take the appropriate measures.

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March 14 Snaps Back at Nasrallah: He Abolished the Constitution

A March 14 source criticized Hizbullah leader Sayyed Nasrallah, telling An Nahar daily that the party chief spoke as if he was behind all freedoms in Lebanon. “He abolished the constitution and the state.”

In remarks published Sunday, the source mocked the Hizbullah chief, saying Nasrallah believes that “all Lebanese should thank him for allowing them to express their opinions.”

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Report: No Regional Green Light Yet on Cabinet Formation

Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun continued over the weekend to hold onto his demands for 12 ministries, including the interior ministry portfolio, in a 30-member cabinet, Premier-designate Najib Miqati’s circles told An Nahar daily in remarks published Sunday.

Aoun’s demands have further delayed the formation of the government, the circles said.

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Nasrallah Says Ready to Aid Arab People: Arms Uproar Won't Affect Us, Resistance to Keep Arming

Hizbullah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Saturday stressed that "all this uproar" in Lebanon over his party's arsenal of weapons "will not affect the performance of the Resistance which will carry on with training and arming" its fighters.

"We have to deal calmly with everything being said, as the Resistance's arsenal of weapons is fine and it will always be pointed at the (Israeli) enemy, but let no one try to harass us," Nasrallah added.

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Lebanon Files U.N. Complaint over Attack on Embassy in Libya, Miqati Briefs Suleiman on Govt Formation Consultations

President Michel Suleiman condemned on Saturday the attack on the Lebanese Embassy in Libya and the burning of the Lebanese flag.

He said: "It is a blatant attack on Lebanon's sovereignty."

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WikiLeaks: Elias Murr Believes Hizbullah Cannot Launch Rockets from Downtown Beirut

A leaked U.S. Embassy cable published exclusively in Al-Akhbar Saturday revealed that Defense Minister Elias Murr believed that the Lebanese army would be able to swiftly deploy its troops in southern Lebanon.

The WikiLeaks cable, dated August 8, 2006, said that Murr informed then U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffery Feltman that 15,000 soldiers would be able to deploy in the South within 12 hours if they are ordered to do so.

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WikiLeaks: March 14 Christians Supported Extending July War to Allow Israel to 'Finish the Job'

Christian officials in the March 14 camp feared during the July 2006 war that the conflict would empower Hizbullah more than ever before, revealed a leaked U.S. Embassy cable published exclusively in Al-Akhbar on Saturday.

The WikiLeaks cable, dated August 5, 2006, reported on a meeting between then U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman, then assistant to the U.S. Secretary of State David Welsh, Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel, his slain son former minister Pierre, National Liberal party leader Dory Chamoun, National bloc leader Carlos Edde, March 14 general secretariat coordinator Fares Soaid, MPs Georges Adwan, Nayla Mouwad, Nassib Lahoud, and minister Butros Harb.

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