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Ban Tells Assad to End Military Onslaught in Syria

U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon told Syrian President Bashar Assad on Saturday to immediately end his deadly military campaign against opponents, the United Nations said.

Ban also said the use of mass arrests must also be halted in Syria in the first contacts between the two since April.

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Report: U.N. Accuses Iran, Hizbullah of Killing Syrian Soldiers

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) committee said that Iran and Hizbullah are involved in killing Syrian soldiers who refused to shoot at anti-regime protesters, the French radio station reported on Saturday.

The committee reported that it will publish a detailed report from 20 pages during the upcoming days.

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U.N. Rules Out Hizbullah Ownership of Weapons Increased Fivefold

U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy has ruled out Hizbullah allegations that its ownership of weapons has increased fivefold.

During his final press conference in New York, Le Roy said that Hizbullah is probably better organized but he ruled out that it owns fivefold of weapons it used to own before.

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Maritime Border Law Awaits Decrees to Start Oil Exploration

Energy Minister Jebran Bassil described parliament’s adoption of a draft law on the delineation of Lebanon’s maritime border as an “achievement,” saying however, it was now time for the cabinet to issue decrees paving way for the exploration of oil and natural gas in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

Bassil told As Safir daily published Friday that Premier Najib Miqati’s government should commit to its policy statement and issue the decrees that would give licenses for international companies to explore oil.

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Human Rights Groups Slam Lebanon for Harassing Alkarama Activist

A group of eight international and local groups urged Lebanese authorities on Wednesday to cease the harassment of human rights activist Saadeddine Shatila for his work documenting torture by security forces.

Shatila, who is a member of the international human rights group Alkarama, was summoned by Lebanon’s military intelligence to their headquarters in Beirut at 8 a.m. on July 25, said a statement released by the organizations, including Alkarama, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

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France, Norway Withdraw Aircraft Carrier and Fighter Jets from Libya

France said Thursday its aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle would return home for maintenance next week from the NATO-led mission over Libya, but insisted there would be no respite for Moammar Gadhafi.

The vessel, France's only aircraft carrier and Europe's biggest warship, will leave on August 10 to head for its home port of Toulon for several weeks of work, defense minister Gerard Longuet told Var-Matin newspaper.

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Parliament Gives Lebanon Right to Explore Maritime Resources

Parliament approved on Thursday a draft law on the delineation of Lebanon’s maritime border after introducing an amendment to article 6, two days after the cabinet’s adoption of the decree.

The adoption of the law comes amid a dispute between Lebanon and Israel over their maritime boundary. Both countries are moving to assert sovereignty over an area potentially rich in gas.

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March 14: Lebanon’s Disavowal of U.N. Statement on Syria is ‘Disgraceful’

Lebanon’s disavowal of a U.N. Security Council statement condemning Syria's deadly attacks on civilians is “shameful,” high-ranking March 14 sources said.

The sources told An Nahar daily published Thursday that “despite the unanimity of the other 14 members of the Security Council on the statement, Lebanon’s disavowal is a shameful and disgraceful stance.”

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U.N., U.S. Targets of Major Cyber Spying Campaign

Over 70 organizations including the United Nations and major U.S. defense groups have been targets of a global cyber spying effort, according to security firm McAfee, with analysts pointing to China as the culprit, the Washington Post said Wednesday.

Targets for the intrusions -- identified from logs tracked to a single server -- included computer networks of the United Nations secretariat, a U.S. Energy Department lab, and some dozen U.S. defense firms, said the McAfee report to be released Wednesday, according to the Post.

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Troubled Waters Dispute between Lebanon, Israel Heats Up

A dispute between Lebanon and Israel over their maritime boundary has heated up and sparked fears of conflict as both countries move to assert sovereignty over an area potentially rich in gas.

Tension rose last month after Israel's cabinet approved a map of the country's proposed maritime borders with Lebanon and submitted it to the United Nations, which has been asked to mediate.

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