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Aoun Promises 'Economic Plan', Says Understands Citizens Dismay over Taxes

President Michel Aoun on Thursday promised that “a comprehensive economic plan” will be devised, noting that he “understands” citizens' dismay over the taxes that have been proposed to fund the wage scale of the public sector.

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Government Employees in Protest, Vow General Strike Next Week over Wage Scale

The public sector employees in Lebanon held a sit-in on Thursday near the Finance Ministry demanding the government approves a list of demands mainly the long-stalled wage scale file.

The Public Administration Employees Association expressed resentment in a statement against what it described as a policy of “procrastination” in relation to the pay scale, and demanded its approval as listed in the tables approved by the parliamentary committees.

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Hariri, Egytian PM Discuss Bilateral Ties

Prime Minister Saad Hariri held a meeting in Cairo with his Egyptian counterpart Sharif Ismail where talks focused on the latest developments at the Arab and international arenas, a statement issued by Hariri's press office said.

Means to bolster bilateral ties between Lebanon and Egypt at the economic, commercial and other levels were discussed, added the statement.

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Report: U.S. Military Delegation in Beirut Soon

A U.S. military delegation is expected to visit Beirut soon, to complete a visit paid a few days ago by Senator Richard Burr, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, An Nahar daily reported on Thursday.

Senator Richard Burr led a delegation of five senators including Senators John Cornyn, Marco Rubio , James Lankford, and Tom Cotton on a visit to Lebanon from March 17 to March 18.

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Report: Aoun's Position at Arab Summit Draws Fate of U.S. Measures against Banks

After his latest defensive statements of Hizbullah and its weapons, President Michel Aoun is under a “pressure campaign” at the domestic and international levels “to prevent him from making unfavorable positions at the upcoming Arab League Summit,” as concerns mount that U.S. authorities could tighten measures on Lebanese banks over alleged facilitation of Hizbullah transactions, al-Akhbar daily reported on Thursday.

It is estimated that the pressure campaign and intimidation will continue, at least until the Arab summit convenes at the end of March in Amman, to prevent Aoun from declaring “undesirable” positions at the highest Arab forum, said the daily.

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Gemayel: Proportional Representation Radically Changes Political System,Taef

Kataeb party leader MP Sami Gemayel emphasized that the party still prefers to hold the upcoming parliamentary elections using individual districts --one person, one vote--or proportional representation in small districts, al-Joumhouria daily said on Thursday.

“We are still on our position as for staging the elections using individual districts or proportionality in small districts,” Gemayel told the daily.

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Beirut Airport Says UK Laptop-Tab Ban to be Enforced Saturday Midnight

The presidency of Beirut's Rafik Hariri International Airport announced Wednesday that a British ban on laptops and tablets being brought into airline cabins will go into effect at midnight Saturday.

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Kremlin Denies Fillon Took Money to Arrange 'Makhzoumi-Putin Meeting'

The Kremlin has dismissed a report that French presidential candidate Francois Fillon was paid 50,000 euros ($54,000) to arrange a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lebanese oil magnate Fouad Makhzoumi.

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Berri Says Wage Scale to be Approved in April at the Latest

Speaker Nabih Berri announced Wednesday that the long-stalled new wage scale will be approved next month at the latest.

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Hariri's Statement at Arab Summit to Reflect Positions of 'Entire Lebanese'

Prime Minister Saad Hariri assured on Wednesday that he will deliver a statement during the Arab League Summit in March that reflects the view points of all the Lebanese.

The PM, who spoke from Cairo, said he will travel with President Michel Aoun to Jordan to partake in the Arab League Summit set for March 29 where his speech will “represent entire Lebanon.”

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