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Connelly: Fully-Empowered Govt. Will Help Lebanon Face Local, Regional Challenges

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly stressed on Wednesday that the Lebanese people deserve a government that reflects their aspirations.

She said: “Lebanon would be better placed to face current regional and domestic challenges with a fully-empowered government in place.”

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Airport Customs Foil the Importation of 70,000 Smuggled Cigars

Official at the Rafik Hariri International Airport's customs foiled on Wednesday an attempt to import a huge quantity of smuggled cigars into Lebanon.

"72325 cigars imported from the Dominican Republic were seized in the shipping department at Beirut's International Airport,” the state-run National News Agency reported.

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Jumblat: I Advise Nasrallah to Withdraw from Syria as Demise of Regime is near

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat noted on Wednesday the Syrian rebels' breakthrough in taking over the strategic Minnigh airport in Aleppo, saying that changes on the ground are beginning to take place in the conflict, reported Egypt's Asharq al-Awsat news agency.

He told the agency: “I advise Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah to withdraw from Syria because the countdown for the demise of the regime has begun.”

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Maronite Bishops Call for Supporting Army, Security Forces to Help them Maintain Stability

The Maronite bishops council hailed on Wednesday the army and security forces for their efforts in confronting the various security incidents that have taken place in Lebanon in recent months.

It said: “We call on the people to respect and support the army through all possible means in order to allow it to perform its duties.”

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Fire Erupts at Gas Station in al-Laylaki in Renewed Clashes between Zoaiter, Hjoula Families

A fire broke out on Wednesday at a gas station in al-Laylaki area in Beirut's southern suburbs as a result of armed clashes between two rival families, reported the National News Agency.

It said that Mehdi Nassif and Firas Zoaiter were wounded in the renewal of clashes between the Zoaiter and Hjoula families.

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Gemayel Calls on Hizbullah to 'Cooperate' to 'Save Lebanon'

Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel expressed readiness to exert all efforts needed to help line-up a cabinet and urged Hizbullah to join efforts and abide by the Baabda declaration to save Lebanon.

“We are ready to offer sacrifices and to exert all efforts needed to help form a cabinet that meets the ambitions of all the Lebanese and the approval of all parties,” Gemayel said after a meeting with outgoing PM Najib Miqati at the Grand Serail.

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4 Israeli Troops Injured in Lebanon Border Blast, Houla Forestland Set Ablaze

Four Israeli soldiers were injured in a landmine blast along the northern border with Lebanon, media reports said on Wednesday.

A Lebanese army communique said that the “Israeli patrol violated Lebanon's sovereignty."

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Charbel Says Tripoli Situation 'Not Comforting,' Calls for 'Iron Fist' to Quell Unrest

Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said Wednesday security forces should strike gunmen with an “iron fist” in the northern city of Tripoli, which he described as having an “uncomfortable” security situation and “bad” economic conditions.

“Tripoli residents are fearing an upcoming turmoil … but the army and security forces are coordinating to prevent security incidents,” Charbel said ahead of a meeting of the Central Security Council aimed at implementing a strategy to impose order in the city.

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Security Forces Boost Presence in Roumieh over Fears of Riots

Security forces stepped up security measures near Roumieh prison after obtaining information of riots inside and outside the facility amid reports that an escape attempt was thwarted.

The state-run National News Agency said that the heavy security deployment came in light of reports that the supporters and relatives of Islamist inmates intend to protest outside the facility, while prisoners will riot inside their cells.

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Suleiman Says Army-People-Resistance Formula No Longer Applicable in Policy Statement

President Michel Suleiman has said that the army-people-resistance formula can no longer be used for the new cabinet's policy statement over Hizbullah's involvement in the war in Syria, al-Liwaa newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The daily quoted Suleiman as telling a delegation from the Beirut National Gathering that the resistance took a unilateral decision to fight in Syria without consulting with the army and the people.

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