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Conflicting Reports on Govt. Formation Progress

Conflicting reports emerged Wednesday on the level of progress that has been made in the cabinet formation process after optimism surged in recent days.

“The latest governmental developments, especially the France visit, were mere ideas that reflected Lebanese intentions towards pushing for resolving the formation obstacles, but the Elysee Palace did not have this intention and it did not raise the idea of bringing together (Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran) Bassil and (PM-designate Saad) Hariri in Paris,” informed sources told al-Joumhouria newspaper.

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Bassil Yet to Travel to Paris, Hariri 'Doesn't Want to Meet Him'

Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassi is still in Lebanon and did not travel Tuesday to Paris, contrary to the latest media reports, sources close to him said.

Bassil has however “received an invitation from the Elysee to visit Paris and his travel is hinging on a phone call to inform him of the date of a meeting whose nature is yet to be defined,” the sources told LBCI TV.

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Hariri to Meet Pope on April 22

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri was informed Tuesday by Papal Ambassador to Lebanon, Monsignor Joseph Spiteri, that Pope Francis will meet him at the Vatican on April 22, Hariri’s press office said.

Hariri had requested the meeting around two weeks ago, the office added.

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BDL Agrees to Submit More Documents to Forensic Audit Firm

Representatives of Banque du Liban -- Lebanon’s central bank -- met Tuesday via Zoom with officials from the Finance Ministry and Alvarez & Marsal and agreed to provide the New York-based firm with more documents and information to allow it to conduct a forensic audit requested by the Lebanese government, the National News Agency said.

The meeting was also attended by the government’s commissioner to the central bank.

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Macron Urged to Freeze 'Doubtful' Lebanese Assets

President Emmanuel Macron should freeze suspect assets held by Lebanese officials in France to break a "political-economic mafia" that has plunged Lebanon into crisis and misery, an open letter said Tuesday.

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Sarraf Hands Bitar 'Important Information, Documents' Linked to Port Blast

Former defense minster Yacoub Sarraf on Tuesday testified before Judge Tarek al-Bitar, the lead investigative judge in the Beirut port blast case.

In a statement, Sarraf said he had personally requested to testify in order to unveil “important information” that he possesses regarding the case.

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STL: Ayyash Defense Have No Standing to Appeal Ruling in Hariri Case

The Appeals Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) has found by majority that Defense Counsel representing the convicted Accused Salim Ayyash in absentia have no standing to appeal the Trial and Sentencing Judgments issued by Trial Chamber I in the Ayyash et al. case, the STL said on Tuesday.  

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'A Space to Listen': Lebanese Tackle Crisis on Clubhouse

In a break from social media mud-slinging and Lebanon's perennially polarised debates, audio app Clubhouse is hosting a new kind of conversation in the crisis-hit country. 

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Lebanon Receives Shipment of Sinopharm Vaccine

Lebanon received on Tuesday 50 thousand doses of the Chinese-developed Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine, the National News Agency said.

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Fahmi Says Rahi’s Efforts to Ease Govt Deadlock were Helpful

Caretaker Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi met with Patriarch Beshara el-Rahi on Tuesday and voiced “optimism” on the government formation.

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