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Cabinet to Convene Monday, Tuesday to Address 2012 State Budget

Cabinet is expected to convene at the Baabda Palace on Monday and Tuesday in order to continue address the remaining articles on its previous agendas, most notably the Jal el-Dib bridge, reported the daily An Nahar on Saturday.

The sessions are also expected to address the 2012 state budget, which was referred to the government my Finance Minister Mohammed al-Safadi months ago, but put on hold to await minister remarks on it, said the daily.

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Nahhas Determined Not to Approve Transportation Allowance, Says No Dispute with Aoun

Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas reiterated on Saturday that he will not approve the transportation allowance taken by the cabinet because it’s "illegal."

Free Patriotic Movement Leader MP Michek “Aoun’s position is similar to mine” Nahhas told OTV after meeting with Aoun in Rabiyeh.

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Bkirki Follow-Up Committee Discusses Electoral Law with Suleiman

The committee tasked by the Bkirki Maronite Summit to follow up on the issue of drafting a new electoral law stressed Friday during talks with President Michel Suleiman its “keenness on real national partnership among the country’s components.”

It also emphasized its “adherence to coexistence, pluralism and equal power-sharing,” according to a statement it issued after the meeting at the Baabda Palace.

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Sarkozy: Whoever Attacks French Troops Will Bear the Consequences

French President Nicolas Sarkozy stressed on Friday that his country will maintain its support for Lebanon, noting that French troops have been participating in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon for some 30 years.

He therefore warned that anyone who attacks a single French soldier will have to suffer the consequences of their action.

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Berri: Must Focus on Appointments, Forming Petroleum Regulatory Authority

Speaker Nabih Berri stressed on Friday the importance of Lebanon exploiting its petroleum wealth, saying that the oil will bring the country economic comfort.

He added before members of the Editors Syndicate: “The state appointments and formation of the petroleum regulatory authority should be a priority for the government.”

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Report: Thailand Issues Arrest Warrant against 2nd Lebanese Hizbullah Suspect

Thailand charged another Lebanese Hizbullah suspect identified as James Sammy Paolo, who is an alleged accomplice of Hussein Atris, for planning to carry out a terrorist activity.

The Criminal Court in Thailand issued on Thursday an arrest warrant against Paolo, 40, who will face the same charges as Atris, of possessing forbidden chemical substances.

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Owners of Collapsed Building Charged, to be Questioned Monday

A judge charged on Friday the owners of the building that collapsed in the Beirut neighborhood of Ashrafiyeh for causing the death of 27 people due to negligence.

Beirut Prosecutor Judge George Karam filed the charges against Michel and Claude Saadeh based on articles 564 and 565 of the criminal law.

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U.S. Source Hails Lebanon’s Neutrality on Syria Says Washington Playing Role in Stability

The decision of Premier Najib Miqati’s government to remain neutral on the Syrian crisis is the best formula to preserve stability in Lebanon, a U.S. diplomatic source said Friday.

“The government has resorted to the policy of neutrality towards the Syrian crisis to achieve stability … which we admit it’s the best recipe to preserve stability,” the source told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat.

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Report: Fransen Setting Stage to Issue Indictments in 3 Cases Linked to Hariri’s Murder

Special Tribunal for Lebanon Pre-Trial Judge Daniel Fransen has made a progress in preparing the indictments in the assassination attempts of MP Marwan Hamadeh and ex-Defense Minister Elias Murr, and the murder of former Communist party leader George Hawi, Lebanese sources said Friday.

The informed sources told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat that STL Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare has referred to Fransen his probe into the three cases and that the pre-trial judge is preparing the indictments pending their release.

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Appointments Back in the Spotlight as Bkirki Complains of Suleiman-Aoun Differences over Maronite Posts

Public sector appointments came back to the spotlight after the government approved a much awaited wage hike but differences between President Michel Suleiman and Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun on the Maronite shares in state institutions will most likely delay the process.

“There is no strain with MP Michel Aoun or anyone else,” Suleiman said Thursday. “I have invited him to dinner.”

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