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Soldier Injured as Army Seizes Drugs in Hermel

A soldier and a fugitive were injured Wednesday as an army patrol foiled a drug deal in the northern Bekaa region of Hermel.

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Ministers, Economic Committees Launch Food Safety Training Center

Several Ministers and the Economic Committees launched on Wednesday a training center to train workers on food safety measures during a conference at the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Beirut's Hamra area.

Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan stressed during the conference that his ministry will oblige all factories to register their workers in free obligatory courses related to the food safety process.

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Aoun Proposes Tasking Officers from ISF, Army to Keep Families Informed of Arsal Captives Case

Head of the Free Patriotic Movement MP Michel Aoun met on Wednesday with a delegation from the families of the servicemen who were kidnapped from the northeastern border town of Arsal in August.

He said after the talks: “An officer from the Internal Security Forces and another from the army should be tasked with keeping the families up-to-date with the developments linked to the case.”

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Security Forces Arrest Several Suspected Terrorists

State security arrested on Wednesday a Syrian member of the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front on suspicion of participating in the battles against the Lebanese army, the state-run National News Agency reported.

NNA said Salah al-Dik was apprehended by state security members in the Bekaa Valley's north.

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Fuel Prices Plunge Further in Lebanon, Affected by World Wide Crisis

Fuel prices dropped anew in Lebanon on Wednesday a day after oil suffered another dizzying plunge, with Brent crude sliding to a five-year low under $59.

The weekly update of fuel prices witnessed yet another LL1,100 drop on gasoline prices, while the diesel prices decreased by LL1,000.

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Moody's Downgrades Lebanon's Rating; Outlook Negative

Moody's Investors Service downgraded on Tuesday Lebanon's government bond ratings to B2 from B1 and maintained the negative outlook.

The key drivers of the rating action according to Moody's are the rise in the main government debt metrics, the harmful repercussions of the spillover from the Syrian crisis on government finances, economic growth and political stability.

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Gunmen Briefly Abduct 18-Year-Old in Baalbek

An 18-year-old boy was on Wednesday briefly kidnapped by armed men in the eastern city of Baalbek, the state-run National News Agency reported.

Bernard Serge Salameh was near his home in the "Christian neighborhood" of Baalbek when unidentified gunmen abducted him, it said.

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Masri Says Nusra Front Pledged to Release Prisoners if State Tasks Him with Negotiations

Muslim Scholars Committee member Sheikh Wissam al-Masri revealed on Wednesday the al-Qaida-affiliate al-Nusra Front pledged to release a soldier or more servicemen in its captivity if the state officially tasks him with the negotiations, a day after the group denied that he has been asked to mediate with the cabinet.

Masri pointed out in comments published in As Safir newspaper that the Islamist gunmen are losing hope regarding negotiations with the Lebanese state over a prisoners swap deal.

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Gas File Put on Right Track after Initial Agreement to Revive Exploration

The offshore gas exploration file is being put on the right track following Speaker Nabih Berri's campaign to adopt decrees that are necessary to stop Israel from drilling oil from Lebanon's reserves.

Local dailies on Wednesday quoted Berri as saying that an agreement was reached among Energy Minister Arthur Nazarian, the head of the parliamentary energy committee, MP Mohammed Qabbani, and the members of the Petroleum Administration to revive the file.

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Berri Says LF Stance Does Not Impede Electoral Draft-Law Discussions

Speaker Nabih Berri has said that the suspension of the Lebanese Forces' participation in discussions on an electoral draft-law would not impede the work of the parliamentary subcommittee that is dealing with the matter.

Berri told his visitors that the LF stance “does not end the work of the committee nor suspends the deadline set for it until the start of the new year.”

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