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Report: Gemayel to Announce Candidacy this Week

Kataeb party leader Amin Gemayel has informed his allies that he would officially announce his candidacy for the presidency, the party's officials said.

As Safir daily quoted the officials, who were not identified, as saying that Gemayel, a former president, informed the March 14 coalition that he would make the announcement by the end of this week.

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Jumblat Refuses to Announce his Nominee for Presidency ahead of Parliamentary Session

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat refused to reveal the name of his candidate to the presidency a day after Speaker Nabih Berri called for a session to elect a new head of state.

“Those who want to know my candidate for the presidency should wait until the parliamentary session,” Jumblat said in comments published in As Safir newspaper.

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Detained Berlusconi Ally Transferred to al-Hayat Hospital

An Italian ex-senator and ally of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi who was arrested in Lebanon at the weekend was hospitalized near Beirut on Wednesday, his lawyer said.

Marcello Dell'Utri "was transferred to the al-Hayat Hospital on the prosecutor's orders because he suffers from heart problems," lawyer Nasser al-Khalil said.

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Crime Uncovered in Saadiyat, Body of Dead Woman Found in Zgharta

An Internal Security Forces investigation uncovered on Wednesday the circumstances surrounding the death of a Syrian national in al-Saadiyat region, as a body of a female was found hanging in the northern Zgharta district.

“Howaida Hussein Salloum was found hanging with a cord on the balcony of her house in the Zgharta town of Meryata,” the state-run National News Agency said.

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Hale Meets Mufti Shaar: U.S. Welcomes Govt. Success with Security Plan in Tripoli, Bekaa

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale praised on Wednesday the government for the implementation of the security plan in the northern city of Tripoli and the eastern Bekaa region.

He said: “The United States welcomes the government’s success with the plan and Washington stands with the government, the security forces, and the people as they work towards peace.”

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Syrian Air Raids Target Village on Outskirts of Arsal

Syrian warplanes staged two raids on al-Maslaha village on the outskirts of the eastern border town of Arsal, the state-run National News Agency reported on Wednesday.

Al-Mayadeen Network reported that the area was bombarded with several rockets.

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Suleiman Appeals for Election of New President, Says Vacuum is Unacceptable

President Michel Suleiman on Wednesday called on all parties to guarantee the appropriate atmosphere to avoid vacuum as parliament is expected to convene next week to elect a new head of state.

During a cabinet session held at Baabda Palace, Suleiman said: “Vacuum is unacceptable. Laws haven't been put in place so that we fall in vacuum.”

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Geagea Announces Presidential Program, Stresses Need to Control Proliferation of Arms

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea announced on Wednesday his presidential program that focused on restoring the authority of the state against the proliferation of weapons during a time of regional unrest.

He declared: “No country in the world would accept that its authority be subject to armed groups that exist outside of the state.”

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Berri Invites Parliament to Elect New President Next Wednesday

Speaker Nabih Berri called on Wednesday for a parliamentary session to elect a new president on April 23.

The session is scheduled to be held at 12:00 pm.

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SCC Takes to the Streets and Bou Saab Warns: Academic Year at Risk

The Syndicate Coordination Committee held on Wednesday a protest near the education ministry in Beirut's UNESCO area to pressure MPs into approving the pay hike, as Minister of Education Elias Bou Saab warned that the academic year is “in danger.”

“Official exams are at risk and the academic year is at risk,” Bou Saab said after meeting with a SCC delegation in the afternoon.

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