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Health Ministry Sends Team to Nursery after Death of 3-Month-Old Boy

The health ministry sent a team to a nursery in New Jdeideh to unveil the circumstances behind the death of a three-month-old baby boy, Voice of Lebanon radio station (93.3) reported Tuesday.

The National News Agency said Monday that the father of the infant, Fadi Mansour, pressed charges after he was told by the nursery that his son was taken to Arz hospital in Zalka.

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Report: Paris Informs Lebanese Officials about Troops Downsize

France has decided to decrease the number of its troops serving with UNIFIL despite pledges by French Prime Minister Francois Fillon that last week’s attack on his country’s peacekeepers would not dampen Paris’ commitment to the mission, An Nahar daily reported Tuesday.

The newspaper said consultations are underway between French army generals to set the number of the downsize before informing the U.N. peacekeeping leadership that is reviewing UNIFIL’s strategic mission about their decision.

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Suleiman, Qortbawi Stress Independence of Judiciary

President Michel Suleiman and Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi have stressed that the cabinet cannot interfere in the judiciary’s work after the military appeals court’s presiding Judge Alice Shabtini released four members of the al-Alam family convicted of spying for Israel.

“No one can interfere in the work of the judicial authority. This is an independent body,” they said.

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Cabinet Approves Giving Citizenship to Lebanese Expatriates

The cabinet has approved a draft law that would allow Lebanese expatriates to apply for the citizenship of their country of origin, a move that would help them in the future to take part in parliamentary elections.

Interior Minister Marwan Charbel told An Nahar daily on Tuesday that the draft law was approved with minor amendments. He said only the children of fathers and grandfathers of Lebanese origin would get the citizenship and not the children of Lebanese mothers who are married to foreigners.

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Administrative or Political Mishap? Syrian Refugee Camps Face March 8 Rejection

Several March 8 ministers have rejected a measure by the Higher Relief Council to give Syrians, who have escaped their country, refugee cards and establish camps for 50,000 refugees, As Safir daily reported Tuesday.

During a cabinet session held at Baabda palace on Monday, the ministers expressed fears that such a move would put “political, administrative, financial, security and demographic” burdens on the Lebanese state under the pretext of humanitarian support.

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Maronite Summit in Bkirki to Discuss Impact of Regional Situation

Lebanon’s top Maronite leaders are expected to discuss the repercussions of the region’s upheaval on Lebanon in a meeting scheduled to be held in Bkirki on Friday, An Nahar daily reported Tuesday.

According to the newspaper, the dangerous situation in southern Lebanon would be at the top of issues to be discussed by Phalange leader Amin Gemayel, Free Patriotic Movement chief Michel Aoun, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and Marada movement’s head Suleiman Franjieh.

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Israel: Rocket was Aimed at Kiryat Shmona, Hizbullah Playing with Fire

Israeli security sources on Monday noted that the trajectory of the rocket fired overnight from the southern town of Majdal Selem into the nearby town of Houla “indicates that it was aimed at the (northern Israeli) town of Kiryat Shmona,” warning that “Hizbullah’s continuous playing with fire may lead to a security deterioration.”

Israel’s public radio quoted the sources as saying that the incident was part of a spate of attacks “in which the Hizbullah organization has a hand, including the firing of rockets into the western Galilee two weeks ago and the targeting of the members of the French UNIFIL unit in the Tyre region last weekend.”

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Hizbullah Slams French Accusations Linking Party to UNIFIL Attack

Hizbullah on Monday slammed as a “condemned behavior” accusations by French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe who claimed Sunday that the party had a hand in the latest attack on French U.N. peacekeepers in southern Lebanon.

“Juppe made blatant accusations against Syria and Hizbullah and he himself acknowledged that he had no proof to substantiate his allegations,” Hizbullah said in a statement.

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Asarta Says UNIFIL Won't Tolerate Acts Aimed at Destabilizing South

The commander of U.N. troops stationed in southern Lebanon on Monday condemned an overnight attack in which a rocket apparently fired towards Israel landed in Lebanese territory, injuring a woman.

"This is the third incident involving serious security breaches south of the Litani river in a period of two weeks," UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Alberto Asarta Cuevas said in a statement.

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Fillon on UNIFIL Attack: Cowardice Won't Shake Our Determination

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon on Monday paid homage to the French U.N. peacekeepers who were wounded in a bombing last week against their patrol in southern Lebanon, saying the attack would not dampen France's commitment to the mission in Lebanon.

Speaking at a military base in the northeastern French town of Saint Dizier, Fillon said: "I want to send a thought to the five French UNIFIL peacekeepers who were injured Friday in the south of Lebanon, in an attack whose cowardice will not shake our determination."

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