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Khatib in 'Very Good Health', His Office Says

The leading candidate for the post of PM-designate, Samir Khatib, is in “very good health,” his office said on Friday.

“Some media outlets published a report about Engineer Khatib’s health, following a series of rumors in this regard that involved insulting and false information which are totally baseless,” the office said in a statement.

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Bassil Warns Europe against 'Chaos' in Lebanon

Caretaker Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil on Friday warned Europe that chaos in Lebanon would create repercussions similar to those of the Syrian crisis, such as extremism and a refugee influx towards Europe.

“Chaos in Lebanon – which some foreign forces are plotting – will have a similar outcome as that of the Syrian crisis: the country’s ruin, the destruction of its institutions, bloodshed among its sons, roving extremism and an influx of refugees towards you,” Bassil warned in a speech in Rome during the Mediterranean Dialogues conference.

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Al-Rahi: Embassies Facilitating Emigration to Empty Lebanon of Its People, Christians

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Friday warned that “some embassies” are facilitating emigration for Lebanese citizens in order to “empty Lebanon of its people and Christians.”

Addressing the “young men and women of the civil protest movement,” al-Rahi warned them that “some embassies, which I will not name now, are facilitating the issue of emigration, as if it is a second war to empty Lebanon of its people and Christians.”

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Over 60 Companies Notify Ministry of Plans to Lay Off Employees

In the span of one week, over 60 companies notified the labor ministry of plans to lay off employees, caretaker minister Camille Abu Suleiman told LBCI television on Friday.

The union of restaurant and bar owners has recently said that 265 establishments have closed since the protests began in early October, and warned that this figure could rise to 465 by the end of the year.

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Paris to Hold Lebanon Support Meeting on Wednesday

France intends to hold a Paris meeting Wednesday for the International Support Group for Lebanon to help the country cope with its dire economic crisis, media reports said.

A European official confirmed that invitations to the meeting have been sent out.

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Hariri Asks Friendly Nations for Credit amid Economic Crisis

Outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Friday openly asked Arab and world leaders to help his country secure credit lines for imports from friendly nations as the tiny Mediterranean country passes through its worst economic and financial crisis in decades.

According to a statement released by his office, Hariri sent letters to the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, France, China, Russia, Italy and the United States as part of his efforts to ease the liquidity crisis and secure food stuff and raw materials.

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Report: Street Protests Expected Sunday ahead of Consultations to Name PM

Despite reports that political parties have neared a consensus on supporting Samir Khatib for the post of PM-designate, “cautious anticipation” prevails as protests gear for mass rallies against that nomination Sunday, one day before the binding consultations.

President Michel Aoun is expected to initiate the binding parliamentary consultations to name a premier on Monday, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Friday.

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Report: Parties Putting the ‘Finishing Touches’ on Form of Govt.

Amid reports that a breakthrough has been made on the formation of a new Lebanese government, parties still have to decide whether it will be composed of 18 or 24 ministers and whether figures of the previous government are set to take seats in the new cabinet, the Saudi Ashaq al-Awsat reported on Friday.

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Miqati Says His Bloc to Vote for Hariri, Not Khatib

Ex-PM and Tripoli MP Najib Miqati on Thursday announced that his four-member parliamentary bloc had decided to vote for caretaker PM Saad Hariri in the binding parliamentary consultations to name a new premier.

Hariri should “continue the mission that he has been leading since the presidential settlement three years ago, because we are not in a period that allows experiments,” Miqati said in an interview with Al-Arabiya’s al-Hadath television.

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Geagea Says Proposed Govt. Nothing but 'One-Sided Govt.'

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Thursday noted that the proposed techno-political government is “nothing but a one-sided government.”

“The techno-political government that the ruling forces are proposing today is nothing but a one-sided government, seeing as its technocrats are mere fronts for the same political forces who have pushed people inside and outside Lebanon to lose confidence in the country,” Geagea said after a meeting for the Strong Republic bloc.

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