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Jreissati Defends Bassil after Franjieh Remarks

Free Patriotic Movement Minister of Justice Salim Jreissati replied to Suleiman Franjieh's remarks likening FPM chief Jebran Bassil to long-time head of Syria's security apparatus in Lebanon Ghazi Kanaan saying “we don't master Franjieh's rhetoric.”

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Report: General Security Source Says Hack Claims Part of Political Campaign

A report tying Lebanon's main intelligence agency to alleged hacking operations is part of a “political campaign” targeting the General Directorate of General Security and its role in protecting the country from Israeli incursions, al-Akhbar daily quoted a senior source in the Directorate on Friday.

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Lebanon Prepares for Rome II Aid Conference

The Higher Defense Council will hold a meeting on Friday at Baabda Palace under the chairmanship of President Michel Aoun, attended by Army Commander Gen. Joseph Aoun and heads of Lebanon's security agencies to discuss preparations for a major donor conference (Rome II) and to determine Lebanon's security needs from participating countries, media reports said Friday.

Heads of security agenceis have reportedly developed plans and a paper including the army and security forces' needs of weapons and military equipment to be presented to the conference, well-informed sources told al-Joumhouria daily.

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Franjieh Slams FPM 'Dictatorial' Approach, Likens Bassil to Ghazi Kanaan

Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh lashed out Thursday at the Free Patriotic Movement and compared its leader Jebran Bassil to Ghazi Kanaan, the long-time head of Syria's security apparatus in Lebanon.

“I reiterate that our project won through President Michel Aoun's election, and in the strategic issues we have triumphed with President Aoun,” Franjieh said in an interview with LBCI television.

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Shorter Meets Hariri, Stresses 'Importance of Disassociation Policy'

British Ambassador to Lebanon Hugo Shorter on Thursday stressed the importance of Lebanon's so-called disassociation policy during talks with Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

"It was an honor to meet Prime Minister Hariri and to discuss upcoming international conferences for Lebanon’s security and prosperity,” Shorter said after the meeting.

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Hariri Urges Calm Political Rhetoric

Prime Minister Saad Hariri chaired a Cabinet meeting on Thursday at the Grand Serail where he criticized media reports picturing “sharp differences” among political parties over contentious issues, saying that things are being exaggerated.

“Anyone who sees the sharp statements circulated in media outlets gets the opinion that political parties are deeply divided among themselves,” said Hariri at the beginning of the meeting.

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Thorny Extension of Expat Registration Referred to Electoral Panel after Futile Cabinet Debate

The Cabinet on Thursday referred to the electoral ministerial panel a controversial suggestion from Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil to extend the deadline for the registration of Lebanese expats who wish to vote abroad in the parliamentary polls, which if approved requires changes to the vote law.

The panel is expected to take a decision on Monday.

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Gunshots Fired during Armed Bank Robbery in Beirut

Masked armed men robbed the Lebanese Swiss Bank in Beirut neighborhood of Bir Hassan Thursday morning, firing gunshots and leaving with $17,000 in cash, media reports said.

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Khalil to Hariri: Bringing Extension of Expat Voter Registration to Cabinet Implicates Govt in Conflicts

Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil warned of attempts to introduce changes to the new electoral law saying they conceal intents to postpone the parliamentary elections, as he lamented listing the controversial topic on the Cabinet's agenda, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Thursday.

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Richard Hosts 32 Municipalities Receiving USAID Assistance in 2018

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard on Wednesday hosted at the U.S. Embassy leaders of 32 municipalities selected to receive United States assistance to implement community development projects in 2018.

The new set of selected projects was announced during a public event at Le Gray Hotel on January 17.

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