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Qortbawi Slams Politicians and Journalists for 'Issuing Verdicts' before Judiciary

Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi criticized politicians and the media for interfering in judicial cases, saying investigations should remain confidential until indictments are issued.

In remarks to An Nahar daily published on Sunday, Qortbawi said: “The probe into any judicial case should remain secret until an indictment is issued.”

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U.N., EU Urge from Beirut for More Syria Aid as Conflict Enters 'New Phase'

EU and U.N. aid chiefs called in Beirut on Saturday for urgent funds to help internally displaced and refugee Syrians, in a new phase of a "brutal conflict" that has killed tens of thousands and affected hundreds of thousands more.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres told reporters during a visit to Beirut that "this is not a conflict like many others. This indeed became a brutal conflict in the context of dramatic humanitarian tragedy."

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Qahwaji Warns: Army Will Not Tolerate Instability, Security Breach

Army chief Gen. Jean Qahwaji stressed on Saturday that the military will safeguard civil peace in Lebanon through preserving the national principles regardless of political crises in the country.

“The army will not tolerate any security breach or meddling with the country's stability,” Qahwaji said during a visit to the Army Commando Regiment in Roumieh prison.

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Syria to Hand Over on Sunday Bodies of Four Fighters Killed in Tall Kalakh

Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim Ali informed Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour that his country will hand over on Sunday the bodies of four Lebanese fighters who were recently killed in the Syrian town of Tall Kalakh, the state-run National News Agency reported.

“The competent Lebanese authorities will be handed over on Sunday noon the corpses of four men who were killed in Tall Kalakh,” Ali said on Saturday.

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Miqati Says Syrian Arrest Warrants Political, Legally Void

Prime Minister Najib Miqati said on Saturday that the Syrian arrest warrants against former PM Saad Hariri and al-Mustaqbal lawmaker Oqab Saqr are politically motivated and have no legal value.

“These warrant are political and legally void,” Miqati said during a meeting with Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi at the Grand Serail.

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Charbel Lights Up an Underwater Christmas Tree

Interior Minister Marwan Charbel lit up on Saturday an underwater Christmas tree that was constructed by a team of civil defense divers in the bay of Jounieh, the state-run National News Agency said.

Charbel lit up the tree from a Civil Defense boat, in the presence of Head of Civil Defense Brigadier General Raymond Khattar, head of the Syndicate of Maritime Firms Jean Beiruti and members of the regional maritime rescue unit.

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Army Detains Man who Stormed Byblos Bank in Sidon, Demanding LL1 Mln

The army detained on Saturday a citizen after he entered Byblos Bank in the southern city of Sidon, demanding employees to hand him over LL1 million.

According to the National News Agency, Ahmed al-Err threatened staff with a knife before an army patrol arrived at the scene and arrested him.

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Al-Rahi Urges Approval of Electoral Law, Formation of New Govt.

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi hoped on Saturday that politicians in Lebanon would assume their “national responsibilities” before the people.

He said: “They should work on approving a new parliamentary electoral law and avoid the 1960s law.”

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Syrian Crisis Casts Shadow on Electing a Successor for Hazim

Electing a successor to replace the late Greek Orthodox Patriarch of the Levant and Antioch Ignatius IV Hazim, which is due on Monday, could be delayed “until the situation crystallizes in Syria”, As Safir daily said Saturday.

Metropolitan Saba Esper, who was elected as a temporary successor to Hazim, called earlier on Orthodox officials to meet on Monday to elect a successor for Hazim.

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Bassil: Elections Will Not Be Held if 1960s Law is Adopted

Energy Minister Jebran Bassil stressed that the March 8 camp will not be pressured to accept the adoption of the 1960s parliamentary electoral law, reported al-Akhbar newspaper on Saturday.

He told the daily: “The elections will not be held if this law is adopted.”

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