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WikiLeaks: Hamadeh Called for Employing Madina Bank File to Tarnish President Lahoud’s Image

MP Marwan Hamadeh stressed the importance of money in confronting Hizbullah’s growing influence in Lebanon, revealed a leaked U.S. Embassy cable published in Al-Akhbar newspaper on Wednesday.

The August 2006 WikiLeaks cable spoke of a meeting between Hamadeh, then MP Nayla Mouawad, and then U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman during which they hoped that the American administration would pressure Arab gulf states to transfer political funds to the March 14 camp to confront Hizbullah.

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Maronite Bishops Call for Cooperation and Quick Cabinet Formation after Security Shakeups

The Council of Maronite Bishops on Wednesday urged politicians to cooperate and speed up the formation of a government that is capable of dealing with the demands of citizens.

Following their monthly meeting at Bkirki, the bishops stressed the need “to speed up the formation of a new cabinet capable of taking responsibility and dealing with the affairs of the nation and citizens.”

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WikiLeaks: Saniora Rejected Transfer of 500 and 300 Million Dollars ‘So They Don’t Go to Berri’s Pocket’

A leaked U.S. Embassy cable published exclusively in Al-Akhbar newspaper on Wednesday revealed that then Prime Minister Fouad Saniora had rejected a transfer of 500 and 300 million dollars to Lebanon aimed at rebuilding the country after the July 2006 war.

The WikiLeaks cable spoke of a meeting between Saniora and then U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman on August 18, 2006, during which the former explained that he rejected the aid money from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait “because he didn’t want the money to go to Speaker Nabih Berri’s pocket.”

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Cabinet Lineup Reportedly Awaiting Nasrallah-Aoun Meeting but FPM Leader Holds Onto Demands

A final agreement on the cabinet lineup awaits a meeting between Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun, a March 8 source said despite reports that Aoun continued to hold onto his demand for 11 cabinet ministers, including the interior ministry portfolio.

“The meeting between Sayyed Nasrallah and General Aoun hopefully will pave the way for the formation of a government,” the source told The Daily Star in remarks published Wednesday.

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WikiLeaks: Israeli Official Called on U.S. to Support March 14 Camp instead of Lebanese Government

An Israeli official had requested in 2008 that the United States directly support the March 14 camp instead of the Lebanese state out of fears that Hizbullah may take over the cabinet, said a leaked U.S. Embassy cable published exclusively in Al-Akhbar newspaper on Wednesday.

Nimrod Barkan, then head of Israel’s Foreign Ministry Center for Policy Research, made his statements during a meeting with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman in Israel.

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WikiLeaks: Jumblat Says ‘We Currently Don’t Need Democracy, But Money’

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat stressed in a number of leaked U.S. Embassy cables from 2006 and 2009 published exclusively in Al-Akhbar on Wednesday Lebanon’s need for funds after the July 2006 war.

A July 11, 2006, cable spoke of meeting between the MP and then U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffery Feltman during which he told him about his July 7 visit to Saudi Arabia which he said was aimed at convincing newly crowned Saudi King Abdullah to finance the March 14 camp.

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Obscure Group that Claimed Kidnapping of Estonians Asks for Unspecified Ransom

The Movement for Renewal and Reform that had allegedly claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of the seven Estonian tourists is now asking for ransom to set the men free.

The demand was made through an email sent to a local website. It said the tourists were in good condition.

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First Ivory Coast Evacuees Arrive in Beirut from Ghana

The first Middle East Airlines plane carrying Lebanese who have escaped the violence in Ivory Coast arrived at Beirut airport on Wednesday.

The National News Agency said around 136 Abidjan residents flew to Beirut from Ghana. They were transported by French authorities from the Ivory Coast to Mali and then to Ghana, it said.

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Berri: An Active Government is a Must to Help Inmates

Speaker Nabih Berri reiterated on Wednesday during his weekly meetings with lawmakers that discussions are carried out to get rid of all disputes over the government formation.

“There are no more March 8 forces but a national front,” Berri said.

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Najjar and Ofeish Suggest Solutions to Overcrowded Roumieh Prison

Caretaker Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar suggested that one of the solutions to ease overcrowding at Roumieh prison was to expatriate some foreigners who have illegally entered Lebanon or whose work permits have expired.

“Those who have only one more year could serve their remaining sentence at another location,” Najjar told An Nahar daily in remarks published Wednesday.

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