Lebanon
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Presidential Election Session Postponed Anew over Lack of Quorum

Speaker Nabih Berri postponed on Wednesday a parliamentary session to elect a new president to February 18 over lack of quorum.

The 18th session was adjourned over ongoing disagreements between the rival parties on the character of the presidential candidate.

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2 Israeli Troops Killed, 7 Hurt in Hizbullah Operation in Shebaa

Two Israeli soldiers were killed and seven wounded on Wednesday in a Hizbullah attack on a military convoy in the occupied Shebaa Farms.

The Israeli army announced that two of its troops were killed, while a spokesman said seven Israeli soldiers were “lightly-to-moderately wounded” in the attack.

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Tourists Give Hope to Residents of Battered Tripoli

As the tour group made its way through the narrow alleys of the seaside city of Tripoli, marveling at its medieval architecture, residents stared back at a sight that for them was just as exotic — visitors in their poor, restive corner of Lebanon.

"Foreigners!" residents called out to each other as the group of around 30 Lebanese and foreign tourists made their way through the Old City's labyrinth of cobblestone alleys, snapping pictures of centuries-old archways and graceful minarets. "We put you on our heads!" coffee seller Abu Mohammed, 65, said, using a traditional Arabic greeting for honored guests.

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Families of Hostage Servicemen Say Negotiations Reached Final Stages

The families of abducted soldiers and policemen cited on Wednesday progress in the negotiations between the Lebanese state and the abductors of the servicemen.

According to al-Mustaqbal newspaper, the relatives expressed relief over the near end of the abduction ordeal, expressing belief that a deal has been reached between negotiators to release a captive servicemen in return for three Roumieh prison inmates and women prisoners in Syria's jails.

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Hariri Pays Tribute to Late King Abdullah, Says Successor Keen on Ties with Lebanon

Al-Mustaqbal movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri has paid tribute to Saudi King Abdullah, who passed away last week, saying the monarch had been keen on preserving Lebanon's stability.

Abdullah “had made exceptional efforts over the past years to preserve the security and stability of Lebanon and stop it from sliding into the wars and storms that raged in the region and threatened to expand to our country,” Hariri told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat in remarks published on Wednesday.

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Ahbash Member Gunned Down in Ain el-Hilweh

A Palestinian member of the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects, also known as al-Ahbash, was killed on Wednesday at the southern refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh, the state-run National News Agency reported.

NNA said unknown assailants gunned down Issa Fares at the camp's grocery market.

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Israel Increases Movement along Border as Hizbullah Ups Security Measures

Israel and Hizbullah boosted security measures on Wednesday as tension soared along Lebanon's southern border tens days after an Israeli airstrike against a Hizbullah convoy, which killed six fighters.

The state-run National News Agency reported that Israeli warplanes have been flying over the eastern sector since 2:00 am. The drones flew over Arqoub, Hasbaya, Rashaya and Mount Hermon (Jabal al-Sheikh) heights.

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Report: Berri, Bassil Reach Understanding on 2 Controversial Issues

Speaker Nabih Berri reached an understanding with Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil to resolve two controversial files that had been a point of contention between him and Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, a report said Wednesday.

Berri and Bassil, who is Aoun's son-in-law and a top FPM official, held talks on Tuesday in Ain el-Tineh for more than 90 minutes.

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Khalil Says 55 Real Estate Registry Employees under Scrutiny

Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil has revealed that he referred 55 employees from the Real Estate Registry to investigation over corruption allegations.

Khalil told An Nahar newspaper published on Wednesday that he took a decision to stop the permits of all staff members tasked with following up transactions at the registry.

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Lebanon's Streets to become Free of Political Banners, Posters

The Lebanese authorities will kick off a campaign to remove all political and party posters, banners and flags that are erected in various areas across Lebanon, local newspapers reported on Wednesday.

The decision comes in light of the fourth dialogue session between al-Mustaqbal Movement and Hizbullah after the two parties agreed to further defuse the sectarian tension in the country and fortify the security situation.

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