Lebanon
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Gemayel Receives from Sabra Assurances that Kidnapped Bishops are in 'Good Health'

Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel discussed at length on Wednesday with the head of the Syrian National Coalition George Sabra the kidnapping of the two bishops in Syria's Aleppo region, reported the National News Agency.

It said that Gemayel received assurances during the telephone call that the clerics are in good health.

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March 14 Urges Incorporation of Baabda Declaration in Constitution

The March 14 General Secretariat renewed on Wednesday its condemnation of Hizbullah's involvement in the unrest in Syria, calling on it to withdraw its members from the country.

It urged in a statement “President Michel Suleiman, seeing as he is the guardian of the constitution, to refer in a letter the Baabda Declaration to parliament where it can be endorsed by lawmakers in order to keep Lebanon away from regional crises.”

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Al-Ferzli Meets MP Gemayel, Says There is More Conviction that Orthodox Plan is Best Option

Former Deputy Speaker Elie al-Ferzli said a meeting he held with Phalange MP Sami Gemayel on Wednesday enhanced the strong belief that the Orthodox Gathering proposal is the best option for a new electoral law.

Following the 90 minutes of talks with Gemayel in Bikfaya, al-Ferzli said: “There is more conviction after today's meeting that the Orthodox (proposal) is the best option.”

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Miqati Chairs Security Meeting on Tripoli: Residents Must Not Be Pawns to Create Instability in City

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati hailed on Wednesday the army and security forces for their role in preserving stability and security in the northern city of Tripoli.

He said: “The residents of the city should refuse being used as pawns to maintain instability in Tripoli.”

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Eichhorst Meets Miqati, Urges All Sides in Lebanon, Region to Respect Policy of Disassociation

Head of the delegation of the European Union Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst voiced on Wednesday the EU's support for Lebanon's policy of disassociation.

She called on “all parties in Lebanon and the region to respect this position.”

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Lebanon 'Liberal' for Mideast, but Gays Still Targeted

Lebanon has a reputation as the most liberal country in the conservative Middle East, but even a night on the town for gays can end in arrest and humiliating sexuality "tests".

They might be less persecuted than elsewhere in the region, but outside a few areas of the capital Beirut, Lebanese homosexuals are largely stigmatized and discriminated against.

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Constitutional Council Head: Our Decisions Cannot be Scrutinized

The head of the Constitutional Council, Issam Suleiman, refuted on Wednesday claims that the 10-member body had failed to take decisive stances, saying it has played an important role in legislation.

“There is no place for vacuum in the Constitutional Council, which monitors the constitutionality of laws and arbitrates parliamentary election challenges,” Suleiman said in a press conference.

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Berri Calls for Parliamentary Session on May 15 to Discuss Electoral Law

Speaker Nabih Berri called on Wednesday lawmakers for a parliamentary session on May 15 to discuss the adoption of a new electoral law.

The session will be held at 11:00 a.m. to tackle the endorsement of the new electoral law that has deepened the gap between the Lebanese foes.

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Syrian Woman, Family Members Rob her Lebanese Husband and Escape

A 73-year-old Lebanese man claimed on Wednesday that his Syrian wife, her brothers and mother disappeared after robbing him of 5,000 dollars in Rashaya district, the state-run National News Agency reported.

NNA said the man informed officers at Rashaya's police station that his 32-year-old wife stole the cash along with her mother and brothers from a bag at his house in al-Bireh.

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Vacuum Hits Bekaa, Sidon Mufti Posts as Row over HIC Deepens

Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani rejected to renew the tenure of Bekaa Mufti Sheikh Khalil al-Mays and Sidon Mufti Sheikh Salim Soussan, which have ended two days ago, over the row concerning the Higher Islamic Council.

According to al-Akhbar newspaper published on Wednesday, Qabbani has based his decision on the stances taken by the two Muftis, who didn't support him in his decision to hold the HIC elections.

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