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Berri: All Parties Have Expressed Readiness to Offer Concessions

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Wednesday said “things are very positive” regarding the political talks to name a PM-designate, noting that “all parties have expressed readiness to offer concessions.”

“No one should evade responsibility amid the financial and economic crises that we are going through,” Berri told MPs during the weekly Ain el-Tineh meeting, stressing the need to “bolster national partnership to face the pressing challenges whose flames are burning the Lebanese.”

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Protesters Block Ring Road after Suicide, Overnight Clashes

Anti-corruption protesters blocked the vital Ring highway in central Beirut on Wednesday evening, hours after security forces fired tear gas overnight to disperse protesters blocking the same road.

Some demonstrators said they came to protest the way they were treated by security forces the night before as others said they were enraged after reports said a 41-year-old man took his own life on Wednesday due to his dire living conditions.

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Presidency Schedules PM Consultations for Monday

The Presidency on Wednesday announced that the binding parliamentary consultations to name a PM-designate will be held on Monday.

A statement issued by the Presidency said the consultations will begin at 10:30 am.

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Central Bank Slashes Interest Rates amid Crisis

Lebanon's central bank on Wednesday dramatically lowered interest rates on dollar and Lebanese pound deposits and loans -- the latest measure to shore up the country's banking system amid a burgeoning economic crisis.

Banque de Liban also announced that for the next six months it would pay 50% of the interest it owes banks on dollar deposits and deposit certificates in Lebanese pounds -- a move that would also ease the demand on the dollar.

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Raad Likens Economic Crisis Impact to 2006 Israeli War on Lebanon

Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MP Mohammed Raad likened the lingering economic crisis in Lebanon to the Israeli-Hizbullah war back in 2006, urging people to support each other in times of crises.

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Former PMs Denounce ‘Violations’ against Constitution and PM Post, Aoun Replies

Three former prime ministers on Wednesday denounced “gross jurisdiction violations” of the constitution, that drew a prompt reply from President of the Republic, and indirectly criticized a leading candidate to lead the new Lebanese government, Samir Khatib, without naming him.

“Any candidate for premiership who agrees to engage in (parliamentary) consultations on the form of the government and its members prior to his official designation to form a government, contributes to violating the constitution and weakening the position of the prime minister," said ex-PMs Najib Miqati, Fouad Saniora and Tammam Salam in a joint statement.

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Protests, Road Blockages after Reported Consensus on PM

Protests and road blockages resumed around various Lebanese regions on Wednesday denouncing reported consensus on businessman Samir Khatib to lead the new government.

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U.S. Court Sentences Hizbullah Operative to 40 Years in Jail

An American of Lebanese descent was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Tuesday for buying weapons and plotting attacks on behalf of Hizbullah party.

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Details of New Government's Line-Up Emerge

The new government will be techno-political and will consist of 24 ministers – six political figures as state ministers and 18 technocrats and representatives of the protest movement, media reports said on Tuesday evening, as the engineer and businessman Samir Khatib emerged as a consensus candidate for the PM-designate post.

“The ministers Ali Hassan Khalil, Mohammed Fneish and Salim Jreissati will certainly return as state ministers in the new government, while Speaker Nabih Berri is clinging to the finance portfolio, PM Saad Hariri is insisting on the interior portfolio and Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil is clinging to the energy portfolio,” al-Jadeed TV quoted sources as saying.

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Hariri: I Support Samir Khatib and Technocrats Will Represent Me in Govt.

Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Tuesday publicly announced that he endorses the nomination of the engineer and businessman Samir Khatib for the PM-designate post.

“I support Samir Khatib but some details remain pending and I will not take part in the government,” Hariri told reporters following a meeting with Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat at the Center House.

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