Lebanon
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Geagea Denounces Gaza 'Massacre,' Says Lebanon Drawn Back to 'pre-History'

Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea considered on Thursday that Lebanon has been drawn back to a “pre-historic” phase, not because of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant's acts, but because of some political factions' stances.

“The presidential vacuum that we are witnessing is unacceptable, and it is no longer a farce only but a tragedy that is being reflected in a parliamentary and a ministerial vacuum,” Geagea stated during a meeting with a delegation of the World Lebanese Cultural Union.

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Kataeb Objects Parliament Term Extension, Rejects Turning Arsal into 'Confrontation Zone' between Syria Rivals

The Kataeb Party on Thursday strongly opposed extending the parliament's term, rejecting also transforming the border region of Arsal into a zone of “confrontation” between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime.

The Kataeb warned again on Thursday of “the repetitive postponement of parliamentary sessions dedicated for electing a new head of state,” the party's political bureau said in a statement after its weekly meeting.

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Lebanon Honorary Consul in Benin Shot Dead en Route to Togo

The Lebanese honorary consul in Benin was shot dead by gunmen while on his way from the African country's capital Cotonou to neighboring Togo, a statement released by the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

The ministry's statement detailed on the incident: “On Wednesday evening, Lebanon's honorary consul in the Republic of Benin Asaad al-Shaghouri was on his way from Cotonou to his house in Togo where he was scheduled to inaugurate a new business venture, a construction material company called La Roche.”

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Military Police Impersonators Abduct Citizen in Bekaa's Talya

Unidentified assailants on Thursday claimed being members of the military police and kidnapped a man in the Bekaa town of Talya, only to release him shortly afterwards.

"Two men kidnapped Nicolas al-Murr after stealing jewelry he was wearing and taking some of his money,” MTV reported, adding that the robbery and the abduction took place inside al-Murr's shop in Talya.

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Arrest Warrants Issued against 3 Lebanese over ISIL, Nusra Affiliation

Military Examining Magistrate Fadi Sawan issued on Thursday arrest warrants against three Lebanese on charges of belonging to terrorist organizations.

"Judge Sawan issued three arrest warrants against Lebanese nationals on charges of belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Al-Nusra Front,” the state-run National News Agency reported.

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Army Detains Six Syrians over Suspicious Links to Armed Groups

The army detained six Syrians in the eastern border town of Arsal over suspicious links to armed groups, the state-run National News Agency reported on Thursday.

NNA said that four of the suspects were apprehended on the Wadi Ain Ata army checkpoint, while the remaining two were arrested on Ain al-Shaaeb post.

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Report: Takfiri Groups Seeking Abduction of Civilians in Exchange for Roumieh Inmates

An armed takfiri group has started training to carry out abductions of civilians in villages in northern Lebanon in exchange for the release of Roumieh Prison inmates, reported al-Akhbar newspaper on Thursday.

Intelligence reports from major European countries told Lebanese security agencies that the takfiris are preparing to attack one of the villages, kidnap a number of civilians, and then carry out negotiations with the Lebanese government to release Islamists held in Roumieh.

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Efforts Underway to Show Media Solidarity with Mosul's Christians

Efforts are underway in order to show solidarity among the Lebanese media towards the Christians in the Iraqi city of Mosul in light of their persecution by the jihadist Islamic State, reported al-Mustaqbal daily on Thursday.

General Manager of Future television Ramzi Jubaili told the daily that invitations have been distributed to hold a meeting at 3:00 p.m. on Monday to discuss ideas over how to “demonstrate our rejection of the extremism in Mosul.”

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Debate over New Pay Hike Ongoing as Jumblat Calls for a Balanced Formula

The ongoing debate over the controversial pay hike for public employees is the center of a heated debate among political parties as the Progressive Socialist Party called for a balanced new wage scale.

“Consultations are ongoing between the concerned parties to agree on a balanced pay hike,” PSP chief Walid Jumblat told As Safir newspaper on Thursday.

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Report: Cabinet to Convene on Weekly Basis to Tackle Pressing Issues

The government general secretariat has started preparing the agenda for the upcoming cabinet session, scheduled for next week, reported al-Joumhouria newspaper on Thursday.

Sources of Premier Tammam Salam told the daily that the cabinet is likely to resume holding weekly sessions to restore its previous work rate and in order to tackle a number of affairs that have been pending for a long time.

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