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Hizbullah and Amal Condemn ‘Criminal Act’ of Qoran Burning

Hizbullah and Amal have condemned the burning of a copy of the Qoran by controversial U.S. Pastor Terry Jones at a small Florida church earlier in the week.

The burning was carried out by pastor Wayne Sapp under the supervision of Jones, who last September drew sweeping condemnation over his plan to ignite a pile of Qorans on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

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Berri Urges Fast Cabinet Formation, Denies Accusations Against Syria

Speaker Nabih Berri stressed on the importance of speeding up the formation of the Lebanese cabinet, denying that Syria rejected efforts to form the new government.

In his remarks to As Safir daily published on Tuesday, Berri said that accusations about the lack of a Syrian green light on the cabinet are not true.

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Jumblat Denies Remarks on Banking Sector, Salameh Confirms Banks Not Targeted

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat has denied that he had said Premier-designate Najib Miqati was being pressured by the U.S. through the Lebanese banking sector.

“I haven’t talked about any pressure over the banking issue” or other sectors, Jumblat told An Nahar daily in remarks published Monday after Hizbullah’s al-Manar TV quoted him as saying that Washington was pressuring Miqati by threatening to target banks in which he has shares.

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Mullen: Initial Part of Operation in Libya 'Successful'

The initial part of an international operation to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya "has been successful" and the government's offensive on Benghazi has been stopped, top U.S. military commander Michael Mullen said Sunday.

The initial part of an international operation to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya "has been successful," Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told ABC's "This Week" program.

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Former U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher Dies

Warren M. Christopher, the attorney turned envoy who tirelessly traveled to Bosnia and the Middle East on peace missions during his 1993-96 tenure as secretary of state in the Clinton administration, has died at age 85.

Late Friday, Christopher died at his home in Los Angeles of complications from bladder and kidney cancer, said Sonja Steptoe of the law firm O'Melveny & Myers, where Christopher was a senior partner

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Japan Cites Radiation in Milk, Spinach Near Nuclear Plant

Japan announced the first signs that contamination from its tsunami-crippled nuclear complex has seeped into the food chain, saying that radiation levels in spinach and milk from farms near the facility exceeded government safety limits.

Japanese officials insisted that the small amounts of radiation — with traces also found in tap water in Tokyo — posed no immediate health threat, and said the situation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, while still unpredictable, appeared to be coming under control after near-constant dousing of water to prevent spent fuel rods from burning up.

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West Pounds Libya with Airstrikes, Tomahawks after Paris Summit

The United States, Britain and France pounded targets in Libya with airstrikes and Tomahawk missiles on Saturday, in a campaign to prevent Moammar Gadhafi from crushing a month-old uprising against his rule.

Libyan state television said a French plane was shot down, as an official in Tripoli denounced the "barbaric aggression" despite its announcement of a ceasefire in a month-long showdown against rebels.

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Obama Threatens Military Action if Gadhafi Defies U.N. Resolution

U.S. President Barack Obama Friday threatened defiant Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi with military action unless he met specific, "non-negotiable" demands for a ceasefire, a halt to attacks on civilians and a retreat from rebel strongholds.

Obama said the world could not stand by because, if left unchecked, Gadhafi would commit atrocities in which thousands could die, adding that the Libyan strongman had been given "ample warning" to change his behavior.

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U.S. Lawmaker Rejects Aiding Lebanese Army if Hizbullah is ‘Calling the Shots’

A high-ranking Republican legislator has said that the U.S. Congress should cut off funding for the Lebanese army if Hizbullah plays “even a minor role” in Premier-designate Najib Miqati’s government.

Representative Steve Chabot of Ohio, chairman of the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, told The Daily Star in an interview published Friday that Congress should not donate U.S. taxpayer money to Lebanon if the assistance winds up under Hizbullah’s control.

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Jumblat Advises Miqati to Ignore U.S. Pressure, Calls for Calm Dialogue on Hizbullah Arms

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat has urged all Lebanese political parties to use a calmer political rhetoric to prevent any clashes between foes.

He addressed caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri in remarks to As Safir daily on Friday, asking him if he sees any solution to the issue of Hizbullah’s arms except for “calm and rational dialogue.”

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