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EU Envoy Meets Diab, Says Aid Hinges on Reforms

EU Ambassador to Lebanon Ralph Tarraf held talks Thursday with Prime Minister Hassan Diab at the Grand Serail and noted that the European Union’s assistance to Lebanon hinges on the implementation of economic reforms.

The meeting was held in the presence of Environment and Administrative Development Minister Demianos Qattar.

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Daryan Says Riots Tarnish Popular Cause

Grand Mufti of the Republic Sheikh Abdul Latif Daryan condemned the massive acts of “sabotage” that were witnessed in downtown Beirut yesterday evening, the National News Agency reported on Thursday.

The Mufti utterly rejected acts of vandalism against private and public property, saying “infiltrators have smashed shops, uprooted trees and violated private and public property.”

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Bassil at Davos Despite Uproar over Visit

Former Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil attended the elite annual World Economic Forum in the Swiss village Davos despite social media cries telling the forum to have him “uninvited.”

The National News Agency on Thursday said Bassil, who is also head of the Free Patriotic Movement, took part in two dialogue sessions, one on the situation in Syria and one that tackled the situation in the Middle East.

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Japan Prosecutors Hit Back at Ghosn's '8 Hours of Questions' Claim

Japanese prosecutors hit back Thursday at claims made by fugitive former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn that he was interrogated for "up to eight hours per day" during questioning over financial misconduct allegations.

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Wazni: Lebanon Seeks Loans to Purchase Wheat, Fuel and Medicine

Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni on Thursday said that around 4 to 5 billion dollars will be requested from international donor countries to finance purchases of wheat, fuel and medicines in crisis-hit Lebanon, according to media reports.

Named as new minister on Tuesday, Wazni said that Lebanon is looking to secure 4-5 billion dollars in soft loans to finance the purchase of the country’s needs of wheat, fuel and medicines in light of a dollar shortage crisis.

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Red Cross: 86 Wounded in Wednesday Clashes

Clashes in downtown Beirut between protesters and police on Wednesday left 86 individuals injured, according to a toll compiled by the Lebanese Red Cross.

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U.S. Urges New Government to Make 'Tangible' Reforms

The United States has called on Lebanon's new government to enact serious reforms to tackle the twin challenges of a collapsing economy and angry street protests.

"The test of Lebanon's new government will be its actions and its responsiveness to the demands of the Lebanese people to implement reforms to fight corruption," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

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Lebanon's New Govt. Faces Multiple Challenges, Growing Unrest

Lebanon's new government, made up of members nominated by Hizbullah and its allies, got down to business Wednesday, a day after it was formed. Questions arose immediately about its ability to halt a spiral of economic and political collapse.

As the government headed by Hassan Diab held its first meeting, protesters briefly closed off major roads in and around the capital Beirut, denouncing it as a rubber stamp for the same political parties they blame for widespread corruption. Later on Wednesday, a few hundred protesters from northern and eastern Lebanon engaged in violent confrontations with security forces in downtown Beirut.

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Netanyahu Discusses Hizbullah 'Precision Missiles' with Macron

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might urge Russian President Vladimir Putin to curb Iranian influence in Syria and French President Emmanuel Macron to push back against Iran in Lebanon at this week's 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, experts said.

Pro-Iranian militia in Syria have stepped up their efforts to launch attacks against Israel, which has responded with air strikes -- including on Damascus.

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Skepticism over Lebanon's 'Technocratic' Cabinet

Lebanon's new prime minister claims to lead a government of technocrats but critics argue the line-up is window dressing for a set of ministers who are neither experts nor independent.

Hassan Diab insisted the list of 20 ministers unveiled Tuesday night represented the demands of protesters who first took to the streets three months ago to demand change.

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