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Hariri Pays Brief Visit to Saudi Arabia

Prime Minister Saad Hariri traveled to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday where he held talks with the newly appointed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah, his media office said in a statement Thursday.

Hariri flew back to Beirut Thursday morning.

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Netanyahu Caught by Live Microphone Admitting Syria Strikes on Hizbullah

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was caught Wednesday by a live microphone making a rare public admission that Israel has struck Iranian arms convoys in Syria bound for Hizbullah "dozens and dozens of times."

Netanyahu was also heard railing against the European Union's "crazy" insistence on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a precondition for closer ties with the 28-state bloc, and trumpeting Israel as essential to its prosperity and survival.

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Parliament Approves Tax Bills to Finance the Wage Scale

The parliament convened in a second legislative session on Wednesday, under the chairmanship of Speaker Nabih Berri, and approved a number of laws that introduced tax provisions that secured revenues to finance the wage scale after it was approved during Tuesday's session.

At the beginning of the meeting, the council approved an amendment to Article 10 which imposes an amount of 5000 Lebanese pounds on non-Lebanese passengers upon their entry into Lebanon.

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Men Seen Abusing Syrian Man in Video Arrested

The Internal Security Forces Intelligence Branch on Wednesday arrested a group of Lebanese young men who appeared in a video posted on social media beating up and shouting xenophobic insults at a young Syrian man, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq said.

The video, which has sparked outrage on social networking websites, shows the Lebanese men kicking the Syrian man as he sobs and cowers on the ground. They also ask him to curse his country, the jihadist Islamic State group and to repeat slogans supportive of President Michel Aoun, the Lebanese army and Army chief General Joseph Aoun.

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Report: Military Leadership 'Doing All It Can' on Abducted Servicemen File

Efforts to uncover the fate of Lebanese servicemen abducted by the Islamic State terror group are “ongoing away from media spotlight,” and the “military leadership is doing everything it can” in that regard, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Wednesday.

In an interview to the daily, a security source who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “Let us stop the bidding in the file of hostaged servicemen. The military leadership is doing everything it can and will not hesitate to open any possible channel that could lead to results.”

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'We Want Accountability' Protesters Block Finance Ministry, Reject Tax Hikes

Civil society activists from the 'We Want Accountability' campaign gathered on Wednesday near the Finance Ministry in a move they said aimed at discouraging the government from imposing new taxes.

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Parliament Approves New Wage Scale as Debate of Funding Continues

Parliament on Tuesday approved the long-awaited new wage scale for civil servants and the armed forces although without a final agreement on the sources of funding.

Speaker Nabih Berri adjourned the legislative session to Wednesday after lawmakers approved the reforms related to the wage scale following the amendment of some articles.

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Hariri Emphasizes 'No Coordination' between Lebanese and Syrian Armies

Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Tuesday stressed that there is no coordination between the “Lebanese and Syrian armies” emphasizing that the country's military forces are responsible to defend Lebanon's territory.

“There is no coordination between the armies of Lebanon and Syria,” he said pointing out that the “Lebanese military will carry out a well-calculated plan in the outskirts of Arsal. The government gives it full freedom,” to react, said Hariri during a parliamentary meeting.

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Aoun: Lebanon Incapable of Bearing Refugees Burden Any Longer

President Michel Aoun on Tuesday said that Lebanon was no longer capable of handling the growing burden of Syrian refugees on Lebanese territories, the National News Agency reported.

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Report: Arsal Battle Draws Closer after Failed Negotiations with Nusra

Mediated negotiations between al-Nusra Front group and Hizbullah, through Saraya Ahl al-Sham and other mediators, to evacuate Nusra militants from the outskirts of Arsal have reportedly failed, raising the prospects of a Hizbullah operation to oust them from the area, the pan-Arab al-Hayat daily reported on Tuesday.

“Negotiations between al-Nusra and Hizbullah to evacuate militants from the outskirts were halted around three days ago. Its failure will likely give Hizbullah the green light to carry out a military operation, it gestured ten days ago, unless some new developments emerge,” security sources told the daily on condition anonymity.

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