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Ros-Lehtinen Accuses Obama of Offering Concessions to Syria which 'Destabilizes' Lebanon

Republican Florida lawmaker Ileana Ros-Lehtinen criticized U.S. President Barack Obama's move to appoint an ambassador to Damascus, accusing him of offering concessions to a country that is "destabilizing" Lebanon.

"During the past two years, Syria has continued to sponsor violent extremism and pursue dangerous weapons programs, and has also supplied long-range missiles to Hizbullah and reasserted its destabilizing influence in Lebanon at the expense of that nation's sovereignty," Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement after Obama bypassed Congress to name Robert Ford as ambassador.

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Al-Mustaqbal Sources: March 8 Ministers Should End Animosity with People's Interests

Al-Mustaqbal movement officials confirmed that President Michel Suleiman and Premier Saad Hariri were making strong efforts to hold a cabinet session immediately after New Year.

The sources told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat in remarks published Wednesday that there are now more than 500 items on the cabinet agenda and most of them are linked to people's daily lives.

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Harb Accuses March 8 of Seeking Total Defeat of March 14 in Return for Overcoming Crisis

Labor Minister Butros Harb ruled out on Wednesday a possible agreement between Riyadh and Damascus to resolve the Lebanese deadlock based on the current proposals.

"As if it is required to announce the total defeat of the March 14 forces in return for overcoming the crisis," Harb told Voice of Lebanon, Voice of Freedom and Dignity radio station.

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Wissam Eid's Parents Hope for Justice after Indictment

As Lebanon braces for the international tribunal to issue indictments in the Rafik Hariri murder, the parents of the policeman believed to have cracked the case are hoping it will also shed light on who killed their son.

Major Wissam Eid, a top communications analyst with the police intelligence bureau, was assassinated in a January 25, 2008 car bombing outside Beirut.

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Khazen Says Sfeir Lauded Suleiman's Consensual Role, Called for Inter-Lebanese Deal

Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir has reportedly lauded President Michel Suleiman's latest stances and urged the Lebanese to cooperate with regional efforts to solve their country's crisis.

Suleiman is playing his consensual role, head of the General Maronite Council former Minister Wadih al-Khazen quoted Sfeir as saying.

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Assiri Urges Dialogue: Lebanon's Future should be Decided by Lebanese

Saudi Ambassador Ali Awad Assiri stressed on Wednesday that Lebanon's future should be decided by the Lebanese through their unity and solidarity.

Urging the Lebanese to engage in dialogue, Assiri told Voice of Lebanon radio station: "Lebanon's future should be made through the solidarity and unity of its citizens."

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Qabalan Urges Lebanese to Cooperate to Safeguard Lebanon

Vice President of the Higher Islamic Shiite Council Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan on Wednesday called on Lebanon to cooperate to safeguard their nation.

"We are with Lebanon -- a country of coexistence and constructive cooperation, and we have to protect Lebanon, but not by force ... particularly since we are living through difficult times which require us to put hand-in-hand to bring peace to the country," he said.

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Mufti Qabbani Prays to Spare Lebanon Sectarian Strife

Mufti of Lebanon Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani on Wednesday prayed to God to spare Lebanon sectarian strife.

"May God bless Lebanon and its people and give them wisdom in addressing the nation's issues so that they could get out of the ordeal in peace," Qabbani said.

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Web Helps Revival of Zajal Poetry in Lebanon

Zajal, an old form of improvised Arabic poetry that enjoyed its heyday in Lebanon before the 1975-1990 civil war, is making a tentative comeback with thousands of fans on Facebook and YouTube.

Traditionally an emotional oratory duel between two men, zajal once drew crowds of tens of thousands who revered its artists as poets of the highest order. It also enraptured fans who sat glued to their black-and-white television sets for the shows.

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International Judicial Sources: Indictments in Feb. or March

International judicial sources said Special Tribunal for Lebanon Daniel Bellemare is likely to submit the indictments to pre-trial judge Daniel Fransen in January.

Pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat on Wednesday quoted the sources as saying that Fransen will request to examine the indictments at the Appeals Chamber to see which of the laws the STL should apply -- international law or Lebanese law.

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