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Al-Hasan: Deal with Transport Unions Costs Treasury LL24 Billion Per Month

Caretaker Finance Minister Rayya al-Hasan said that the “temporary solution” reached on Wednesday to solve the crisis of taxi drivers will cost the treasury around LL24 billion monthly.

This solution remains more suitable than “cutting LL4,850 (taxes) that will cost the treasury around LL500 billion yearly,” al-Hasan told An Nahar newspaper Thursday.

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UNIFIL Reportedly Mulls Ways to Limit Impact of Violence but Denies Change in Rules of Engagement

The leadership of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon and several European countries that have contingents in the peacekeeping force are reportedly mulling ways to avoid confrontations similar to last Sunday’s clashes between Israel and demonstrators in the border town of Maroun al-Ras.

Western diplomatic sources told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat in remarks published Thursday that the UNIFIL leadership and the European countries were discussing with high-ranking Lebanese officials ways to keep the mission of the peacekeepers intact.

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Aoun’s Bloc Nearing Decision to End Miqati’s Nomination

MP Fadi al-Aawar, who is a member of Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun’s bloc, said Thursday that the Change and Reform bloc was nearing a decision to withdraw the nomination of Premier-designate Najib Miqati.

Al-Aawar told Voice of Lebanon radio station (93.3) that the major reason behind the delay in the formation of the cabinet was that politicians were waiting for messages from abroad.

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Ghosn Calls for Comprehensive Strike over Deteriorating Economic Situation

The General Labor Confederation (GLC) is planning on staging a comprehensive strike in Lebanon that would encompass all fields of society “to protest the deteriorating economic situation in Lebanon,” reported As Safir on Thursday.

The head of the GLC, Ghassan Ghosn, told the newspaper that a national conference that will include the syndicates of various professions, including the labor and education sectors, will be held in order to prepare for the strike.

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Miqati Meets Berri, New Cabinet Initiative in the Making

Premier-designate Najib Miqati held talks with Speaker Nabih Berri in Ain el-Tineh on Tuesday night amid reports about efforts to launch a new initiative to solve the cabinet deadlock.

Al-Liwaa and An Nahar dailies said new efforts have been made to end the government impasse and speed up its formation.

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Miqati’s Circles Accuse Aoun of Turning Against Cabinet Deal, Say Wise Men Remain Silent

Premier-designate Najib Miqati’s circles have snapped back at Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun expressing “surprise” at his demands and accusing him of turning against an alleged deal reached on the new cabinet more than a month ago.

In remarks to several Beirut newspapers, the circles denied that Miqati was behind the delay in the formation of the government, saying the prime minister-designate was rejecting Aoun’s new demands after the FPM chief turned against an agreement reached between the different parties.

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Thursday’s Strike Halted as al-Hasan Decides to Give Drivers Free 12 and Half Gasoline Jerry Cans Monthly

Lebanon’s land transportation unions on Wednesday decided to call off a strike scheduled for Thursday, following talks with caretaker Finance Minister Rayya al-Hasan.

Under the agreement reached between al-Hasan and the unions, every taxi or truck driver will be granted monthly free 12 and a half jerry cans of gasoline for a 3-month period, which would be extended for another three months should the cabinet formation impasse drag on or in case gasoline prices were not lowered below LBP 25,000 per jerry can (20 liters).

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Azouri to Challenge 2 Articles in Fransen Ruling on Releasing Documents to Sayyed

Akram Azouri, the defense attorney of former General Security chief Maj. Gen. Jamil Sayyed, has sent an urgent request to Special Tribunal for Lebanon Pre-Trial Judge Daniel Fransen, asking him to define the procedures applicable to the filing of a challenge against two articles mentioned in his May 12 ruling, the Central News Agency reported Wednesday.

On May 12, Fransen ordered that STL Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare release more than 270 investigation documents to Sayyed.

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Gemayel Meets Miqati: How Can We Hand Power over to a Technocrat Cabinet?

Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel stated on Wednesday that a technocratic government contradicts the Taif Accord, which stands as the political and executive authority in Lebanon.

He asked after holding talks with Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati: “How can we hand over executive and national power to a Cabinet that is not connected with parliamentary blocs?”

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Touring Puppet Show to Perform in Beirut’s Parks

A touring puppet show for the entire family, organized by Dar Onboz and Collectif Kahraba will bring public parks and squares to life through art and culture to the young and old with mobile shows, music, puppets, books, games and storytelling on three consecutive weekends.

The event, called "Nhar W Layl/ Day and Night", will present two performances free of charge to ensure accessibility to the largest number of people in three different locations: Sanayeh park will host the event on May 21-22, Sioufi park on May 28-29, and Horsh Snawbar park on June 4-5.

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