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Lebanese Drug Smuggler Busted at Beirut Airport

A Lebanese man was arrested on Wednesday at Beirut's Rafik Hariri International Airport for trying to smuggle drugs to Lebanon, the state-run National News Agency reported.

NNA said 22-year-old M.A. was apprehended for carrying with him 3.2 kilograms of cocaine.

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Change and Reform Bloc Reiterates Importance of Partnership to Terminate Crises

Change and Reform lawmakers toured for the third day in a row parliamentary blocs to tackle Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun's initiative to end the lingering presidential crisis in Lebanon.

“Aoun's initiative is an opportunity that we should cease as it's a chance to end the deadlock,” MP Emile Rahme, who is loyal to Aoun, told reporters after meeting with Hizbullah's Loyalty to the Resistance bloc at its headquarters in Beirut's southern suburbs.

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Pond Collapses in Akoura, Causing Heavy Damages to Crops

An artificial pond collapsed in a town in the district of Jbeil on Wednesday, causing material damages, the state-run National News Agency and the village's municipal chief said.

NNA said the accident triggered a landslide that blocked Akoura's main road and caused damages to crops.

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Berri at Ease on Negotiations to Release Captive Servicemen

Speaker Nabih Berri expressed relief on Wednesday over the progress made in the case of the servicemen taken hostage by the al-Qaida-affiliate al-Nusra Front.

“There is an important and positive development in the case,” Berri was quoted as saying by his visitors in comments published in al-Joumhouria newspaper.

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STL Spokesperson Says Transfer of Samaha Case Requires Approval of Lebanon, U.N.

The spokesperson of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon has said there was no direct contact with the court on efforts to refer to it the file of former Minister Michel Samaha, adding the issue required an agreement between the Lebanese government and the United Nations.

“I cannot comment on the statements made by politicians or officials,” Wajed Ramadan told As Safir daily published on Wednesday.

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Report: Mustaqbal Seeking to Pressure Aoun to Abandon Presidential Race

Al-Mustaqbal Movement would reportedly agree on the appointment of Commando Regiment chief Brig. Gen. Chamel Roukoz as army chief if Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun abandoned his presidential aspirations.

Al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Wednesday that the adviser of al-Mustaqbal Movement chief Saad Hariri, Nader Hariri, informed the aide of Speaker Nabih Berri, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, that the movement doesn’t reject the appointment of Roukoz, Aoun's son-in-law, on condition the FPM chief withdraws from the presidential race.

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Hizbullah, Mustaqbal Discuss Security, Cabinet, Call for Continuing Dialogue

Hizbullah and al-Mustaqbal movement on Tuesday discussed the latest security developments in Lebanon and the region and called for continuing dialogue to address all issues.

The conferees “discussed the security developments and the work of the cabinet,” said a joint statement issued by the two parties after their 12th dialogue session in Ain al-Tineh.

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Mustaqbal Slams Nasrallah's Arsal Remarks, Warns against Constitutional 'Heresies'

Al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc cautioned Tuesday that Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's latest remarks on the town of Arsal would only fuel “sectarianism,” as it reiterated its keenness on the Taef Accord and warned against any constitutional “heresies.”

“Nasrallah called for implicating the Lebanese state and army in a conflict that would only lead to further drowning in the quicksands of the region,” the bloc warned in a statement issued after its weekly meeting.

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Aoun: How is it Treason when we Ask the People to Choose their President?

Head of the Free Patriotic Movement MP Michel Aoun defended on Tuesday his initiative that is aimed at ending the country's presidential deadlock, while renewing his attack against Defense Minister Samir Moqbel over security appointments.

Aoun said: “We are returning power to the people. How is it treason when we ask the people to choose their president?”

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Gemayel Fears Repercussions of Lingering Vacuum

Outgoing Kataeb Party chief Amin Gemayel lashed out Tuesday at those who are obstructing the election of a new president, expressing concern over the yearlong vacuum at the Baabda Palace.

“There are several initiatives but we are only concerned with heading to the parliament and electing a new president as the country can no longer endure” the lingering circumstances, Gemayel told reporters after meeting with Speaker Nabih Berri at his residence in Ain el-Tineh.

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