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Finance Committee, Mustaqbal Bloc in Parliament Showdown

The Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc has said that alleged attempts by the March 8 forces to call to task former finance ministers are a “media and a political advertisement."

The bloc’s sources told An Nahar daily in remarks published Sunday that they “haven’t seen in the history of constitutions or parliaments in the world that a parliamentary committee has held accountable former ministers.”

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Sunni Representation and Arslan’s Insistence on Portfolio Delay Cabinet Formation

Sources close to President Michel Suleiman ruled out on Sunday the formation of the new cabinet in the next few days as Premier-designate Najib Miqati’s sources said he hasn’t yet received the names of the candidates of the Free Patriotic Movement and Hizbullah.

The Baabda palace sources told Ad-Diyar daily that Miqati was still seeking to remove the obstacles hindering the formation of the cabinet.

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March 14 Sources: Political Vacuum Aimed at Backing Syria at Security Level

High-ranking March 14 sources have said that the March 8 coalition backed by Hizbullah was seeking to keep the political vacuum in Lebanon in an effort to help the Syrian regime at the security level.

The sources have expressed fears that a decision to keep the vacuum was aimed at “keeping the freedom of movement on the ground in case the situation in Syria deteriorated to the level that requires a security support from Lebanon.”

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Pietton Hints Rejection of Berri’s Call for Parliamentary Sessions

French Ambassador Denis Pietton has hinted that Speaker Nabih Berri’s calls for parliamentary sessions to renew the mandate of the Central Bank governor are unconstitutional.

In an interview published by An Nahar daily on Sunday, Pietton said: “With respect to the renewal of Central Bank governor Riyad Salameh’s mandate, the authorities of institutions should be respected on the basis of separation of powers.”

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Ahmed Karami Tells Miqati he is a Priority as Hizbullah, Amal Seek to Have a Sunni in their Cabinet Shares

MP Ahmed Karami has unveiled that he told his ally Premier-designate Najib Miqati that he should be a priority in getting a cabinet seat after Hizbullah and the Amal movement backed bringing Faisal Karami to the new government.

The lawmaker told Kuwait’s al-Seyassah newspaper in remarks published Sunday that “Miqati doesn’t have a problem in giving a seat to Faisal Karami.”

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Report: Hizbullah Backs off from Promise to Give Cabinet Seat to Sayyed Hussein

Hizbullah has officially informed resigned Minister Adnan Sayyed Hussein that it was backing off from its promise to allot to him a portfolio in the new cabinet, al-Mustaqbal daily reported Sunday.

The newspaper said that the Shiite party had promised Sayyed Hussein to either give him the foreign affairs or information portfolio when he announced his resignation from Caretaker Premier Saad Hariri’s government in January.

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AUB President Dorman Slams Petition, Media Coverage against Wolfensohn

American University of Beirut President Peter Dorman condemned on Saturday the petition against AUB honoring former World Bank chief James Wolfensohn, which also forced him to cancel his scheduled keynote address at the university’s Commencement ceremonies on June 25.

He also slammed the media coverage of the event, describing it as portraying the formed World Bank chief in a negative light.

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Great Lebanese Composer Walid Ghulmiyeh Mourned in Beirut Church

Lebanon's great composer Walid Ghulmiyeh's funeral was held at noon Saturday at St. Nicolas Church in Achrafieh. His body will be later taken to his birthplace in Marjeyoun town in the South, to be buried in the family cemetary.

Ghulmiyeh, President of the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music, had died at the age of 73 after a long battle with illness, state-run National News Agency reported Tuesday.

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Jerusalem Post: Hizbullah Has over 50,000 Rockets

An Israeli officer revealed that the Israeli army had amassed some 200 targets in Lebanon ahead of the July 2006 war, including 100 houses and storage areas the party had used to safe-keep long-range missiles it had received from Iran, reported the Jerusalem Post on Friday.

He added that these targets were all destroyed in the first night of the war.

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Aoun: We Will Twist Arm of U.S. Intelligence in Lebanon Like We Twisted Israel’s

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun announced on Saturday that Lebanon’s future will be stable, ruling out the eruption of a civil or sectarian war or Sunni-Shiite conflict in the country.

He said upon his arrival to the southern town of Mlita: “We will twist the arm of U.S. Intelligence in Lebanon like we twisted that of Israel.”

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