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Watkins Meets Charbel, Calls for Protecting Lebanon from Region Turmoil

U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon ad interim Robert Watkins on Monday briefed Interior Minister Marwan Charbel on the preparations for the next report on the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the July 2006 war between Israel and Hizbullah.

The report is due to be presented to the Security Council at the end of February.

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Violence Kills 103 across Syria as 'Terrorists' Attack Homs Gas Pipeline

At least 95 civilians, six members of the security forces, and two deserters were killed in violence across Syria on Monday, activists and a rights group said.

Security forces killed 95 people, including eight children and a woman, the Local Coordination Committees, the main activist group spurring protests on the ground, said.

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Bellemare Reportedly Refused to Postpone Release of New Indictment

Special Tribunal for Lebanon Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare refused to postpone the release of a new indictment until the renewal of the STL’s cooperation protocol, according to al-Liwaa newspaper published Monday.

An opposition parliamentary source told the daily that Bellemare’s discussions with Lebanese officials during his farewell visit to Beirut last week increased the political tension in the country.

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Tumult in Akkar over Reports of Death of Lebanese 'Gunmen' in Homs

Several families in the northern Lebanese border towns of Mashta Hassan and Mashta Hammoud have received information that two Lebanese citizens and a Syrian man were killed and two Syrians wounded when they came under gunfire on the al-Jaafariyat bridge in the Syrian town of Tal Kalakh, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported Sunday, as another report spoke of a 9-strong Lebanese armed group led by an Iraqi man.

NNA said the “unconfirmed reports have sparked a major tumult in both border towns, to which local and foreign media outlets have flocked in a bid to scrutinize the authenticity of these reports.”

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99 Killed Sunday as Syria Rebels Say Clashes Inching Closer to Capital

Fierce clashes approached the Syrian capital on Sunday as fresh violence across the country killed at least 59 civilians, 31 regime troops and nine army deserters, according to activists.

Regime forces fired heavy artillery and mortar rounds against the Damascus suburbs of Douma, Saqba, Irbin and Hamouriyeh and were locked in close battle with rebel fighters emboldened by a fresh wave of desertions, activists said.

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Qabbani Condemns Attempts to Destabilize Lebanon

Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani condemned on Saturday the attempts by some parties to destabilize the security in Lebanon.

“We demand an end to political assassinations in Lebanon,” Qabbani stressed in a statement.

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Collapse of Inhabited 2-Storey Building Sparks Panic in Akkar

A two-storey building collapsed on Friday in the Akkar town of Bebnin, reportedly leaving one person wounded.

“The collapsed building in Bebnin belongs to citizen Zakariya Soufan and it was inhabited by six people; however, the divine providence rescued everyone,” Al-Manar television reported.

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57 Civilians, 12 Troops Dead as Syrians Rally for 'Right to Self-defense'

Syrian forces on Friday raided the rebellious city of Homs and shot dead at least 60 people across the country, activists said, as protesters took to the streets under the slogan "The Right to Self-defense," which refers to their support for the rebel Free Syrian Army.

The Local Coordination Committees, the main activist group spurring protests on the ground, said security forces shot dead 60 people including five children, three women and three army deserters.

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Suleiman-Aoun Differences on Appointments Linger as Berri Slams Procrastination

The deadlock on judicial appointments hasn’t been solved yet as President Michel Suleiman and Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun continue to hold onto their own candidates for the post of the head of the Higher Judicial Council.

An Nahar daily quoted Suleiman’s visitors as saying on Friday that the appointments should not be in a state of stalemate under any excuse. “Differences of opinion should not prevent the process of necessary appointments in the state.”

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Iran Says 11 Pilgrims Kidnapped in Syria

Eleven Iranian pilgrims have been kidnapped in unrest-swept Syria, the foreign ministry said on Thursday, calling on Damascus to help secure their release.

"According to our information, 11 Iranian pilgrims travelling by road to Damascus were kidnapped by an unknown group," said ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast, quoted by the state news agency IRNA.

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