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Fneish Demands Withdrawing Illegal Medications Case from Media Spotlight, Political Discussions

Minister of State for Administrative Reform Mohammad Fneish said on Wednesday that the illegal medications case should be withdrawn from media spotlight and political discussions.

“This case is harming the reputation of pharmaceutical companies,” Fneish told reporters before attending a cabinet session at the Grand Serail.

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15 People, Including Soldiers, Injured in Traffic Accidents

Fifteen people, including Lebanese soldiers, were wounded in traffic accidents in the eastern Bekaa Valley and in northern Lebanon's Akkar district, the state-run National News Agency reported on Wednesday.

The Bekaa accident happened when a refrigerated truck carrying a license plate from a Gulf country hit four vehicles at the Deir Zanoun intersection on the main Bar Elias-Masnaa road, injuring a Lebanese man and nine Syrians, NNA said.

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Lebanese Man Swallows 220 Diamonds in Johannesburg-Dubai Smuggling Bid

South African police on Wednesday said they had caught a Lebanese man who swallowed 220 polished diamonds in an audacious bid to smuggle them from Johannesburg to Dubai.

Officers arrested the 25-year-old at Johannesburg's international airport carrying the gems, worth an estimated $2.3 million.

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Opposition Criticizes Berri over Parliamentary Committees

The March 14 alliance lashed out on Wednesday at Speaker Nabih Berri's decision to activate the work of the parliamentary committees, who said that the parliament will remain open despite the boycott of the opposition.

“Calling on the parliament's Administrative and Justice Committee to convene by its rapporteur MP Nawwar al-Saheli is not constitutional,” March 14 MP Robert Ghanem said in comments published in An Nahar newspaper.

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Cabinet Convenes Amid Differences on Several Administrative Appointments

The cabinet convened on Wednesday with a loaded agenda that includes the appointment of a director-general for the railway authority and the extension of the mandate of the acting director-general of General Security during a session that is likely to witness a hefty discussion on the recent security incidents in the southern city of Sidon.

Sources ruled out to An Nahar daily any appointment from outside the agenda of the government that will meet at the Grand Serail except for the appointment of Yehya Shakib Khamis and the extension of the term of Brig. Gen. Fouad Khoury.

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Report: Miqati Heads Delegation to Paris on Monday

Prime Minister Najib Miqati is set to travel to Paris on Monday on a three-day visit to meet with French President Francois Hollande, his counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault and several other senior officials.

According to al-Akhbar newspaper published on Wednesday, Miqati will head an official delegation to the French capital and is expected to ink four joint cooperation agreements.

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Geagea Hits Back at Nasrallah, Says Berri Could Retain his Post if he Joins March 14

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Wednesday snapped back at Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, and stressed that the March 14 alliance would only bring Speaker Nabih Berri to the speakership if he falls out of the March 8 coalition.

Free Patriotic Movement chief Michel “Aoun is no longer the top Christian leader in the country,” Geagea told several local newspapers in response to a televised speech made by Nasrallah on Monday.

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Hariri Hits Back at Nasrallah, Accuses Hizbullah of 'Clinging to Power'

Former prime minister Saad Hariri on Tuesday hit back at Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, defending Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and stressing that al-Mustaqbal Movement “has never been an advocate of sectarian strife.”

“There are certain constitutional principles for ousting governments, unless Sayyed Hassan wants to write us a new constitution and wants to teach us that the new method for that (changing governments) is (national) dialogue,” said Hariri after meeting Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi in Rome.

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Franjieh from Bkirki: No for Boycotting Dialogue and We Reject Neutral or Technocrat Cabinets

Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh criticized on Tuesday March 14's position to boycott the national dialogue, explaining that rejecting to participate in all-party talks in the past led to “the civil war and and allowed foreign powers to meddle in Lebanese disputes”.

"Lebanese leaders should discuss and agree on all national topics, including the formation of a new government,” the Zgharta MP said after meeting with Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi in Bkirki.

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Families of Aazaz Abductees Visit Tombs of Hariri, Hasan with March 14 Youths

A delegation from the families of the Lebanese abductees in Syria's Aleppo on Tuesday visited the tombs of slain former premier Rafik Hariri and Intelligence Bureau chief Maj. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan in downtown Beirut, escorted by members of March 14's youth organizations and parents of Lebanese in Syrian prisons.

"Rafik Hariri transformed Lebanon from a war zone into the dream country every ones wishes to have,” said Mahdi Zgheib on behalf of the group.

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