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U.S. Sanctions Alleged Hizbullah Network in Africa

The U.S. Treasury Department has said that it placed sanctions on an Africa-based Hizbullah support network.

Mustapha Fawaz, Fouzi Fawaz, and Abdallah Tahini were sanctioned for acting for or on behalf of Hizbullah in Nigeria, the Treasury said in a statement.

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Guterres: Lack of World Bank Grants to Lebanon over Refugees is 'Absurd'

The U.N. refugee chief, Antonio Guterres, has called for more financial assistance for Lebanon and other countries hosting Syrian refugees, saying it is “absurd” for the tiny country not to enjoy World Bank grants

“Countries like Lebanon and Jordan need much more financial assistance – not only to local refugee hosting communities, but also through government budget support for necessary structural investments in health systems, education, water supply, electricity and other public infrastructure cracking under the huge pressure,” Guterres told the Security Council on Thursday.

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Activists Slam French Judiciary as 'Farce' as Abdallah Denied Parole Anew

The French judiciary on Thursday dismissed a ninth parole request submitted by detained leftist Lebanese militant Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, who has been in jail since 30 years.

At a protest outside the French embassy in Beirut, a spokesman for the International Campaign for the Release of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah said the activists were notified by the prisoner's lawyer that the parole was rejected.

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Top Syria Dissident Freed on Bail

A leading Syrian opposition figure, Louay Hussein, said he was freed on bail on Wednesday, more than three months after he was detained.

"I just left prison, I am on my way home," Hussein told AFP in Beirut on the phone from Syria, adding that he was in good spirits.

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French Lawmakers Hold Talks with Assad in Syria

Four French lawmakers met with Syrian President Bashar Assad Wednesday during a private trip to the war-torn country, despite a breakdown in diplomatic ties between Paris and Damascus.

The French government, which supports the moderate Syrian opposition and wants Assad to leave power, was quick to clarify that the lawmakers were there in no official capacity.

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Charbel Khalil in Hot Water over Claims he Defamed Islam 

Lebanese satirist Charbel Khalil appeared before a prosecutor in Beirut on Monday after Dar al-Fatwa, the country's top Sunni religious authority, filed a judicial complaint against him for allegedly defaming Islam.

Khalil found himself in hot water after he shared a photo on Twitter that was perceived by some as insulting to Islam.

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Netanyahu Says Iran Using Hizbullah to Make Golan '3rd Front' against Israel

Iran is seeking to open a "third front" against Israel using Hizbullah fighters on the Syrian Golan Heights, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.

Netanyahu said Tehran's alleged attempts to entrench itself along Israel's borders was one of the biggest emerging security threats facing Tel Aviv.

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Czech Ivana Hrdličková Succeeds Baragwanath as STL President

Judge Ivana Hrdličková of the Czech Republic has been elected President of the U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon that is probing ex-PM Rafik Hariri's assassination, the STL announced on Wednesday.

She succeeds Judge David Baragwanath of New Zealand.

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3 Syrian Children Die in Tent Fire in Akkar

Three Syrian refugee children burned to death in a fire that destroyed their makeshift wooden hut in the northern region of Akkar on Thursday, a security services official told AFP.

The three children, two sisters and their cousin, were living in the hut built a year ago on the roof of a building in the town of Bhannine.

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Aoun Withdraws Confidence from Defense Minister for 'Exceeding his Privileges'

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun announced on Tuesday that he is withdrawing confidence from Defense Minister Samir Moqbel after the extension of the term of Higher Defense Council chief Mohammed Khair.

He said: “We withdraw confidence from the defense minister because he has exceeded his privileges and overlooked violations at the military institution.”

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