Lebanon
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Next move: FPM might boycott legislative sessions

Hezbollah MPs are seriously leaning towards voting for Marada leader Suleiman Franjieh in the upcoming presidential vote session, a senior politician said.

The source told al-Joumhouria newspaper, in remarks published Wednesday, that this is what sparked the Free Patriotic Movement's reaction to the caretaker cabinet session that took place on Monday despite being boycotted by the FPM.

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From Jordan, al-Rahi renews call for int'l conference for Lebanon

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Wednesday noted that “Lebanon is suffering from the absence of an authority that can take decisive resolutions, which generated several authorities and influential figures.”

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FPM: Hezbollah didn't keep its promise not to join cabinet session

Hezbollah had promised the Free Patriotic Movement that it would not take part in Monday’s cabinet session but it did not honor its pledge, MP Ghassan Atallah of the FPM said on Wednesday.

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Lebanon arrests of Israel spy suspects surge amid crisis

Lebanon has arrested 185 people suspected of collaborating with enemy state Israel since its economic collapse three years ago left many Lebanese desperate for cash, two security sources told AFP Wednesday.

That number has jumped significantly from a previous average of four or five arrests a year, one of the sources said.

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Boujikian dismissed from Armenian bloc for attending Monday's session

Caretaker Industry Minister George Boujikian has been dismissed from the Armenian parliamentary bloc, following a cabinet session that he attended despite his bloc's decision to boycott.

Boujikian had attended Monday a caretaker cabinet session, despite a declared Free Patriotic Movement boycott and a decision by the Tashnag party not to attend.

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Bassil lashes out at Hezbollah and others over 'partnership'

Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil on Tuesday blasted Hezbollah, caretaker PM Najib Mikati and other parties over the caretaker cabinet session that was held on Monday, threatening to seek "broad administrative decentralization" should the other forces continue with the same course.

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LGBTQ people in Lebanon: There’s no protection, but there’s existence

Throughout the Muslim and Arab worlds, either government neglect or outright hostility toward LGBTQ people, said Rasha Younes, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch who investigates anti-LGBTQ abuses in the Middle East and North Africa.

In some countries, apparent advances for LGBTQ people have been followed by pushbacks. Lebanon is an example. Over recent years, its LGBTQ community was widely seen as the most vibrant and visible in the Arab world, with advocacy for greater rights by some groups, and gay bars hosting events such as drag shows.

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Ministers say decrees of Monday session may create new row

The signatures that the decrees issued in Monday’s cabinet session need might lead to a new dispute between the Free Patriotic Movement and the rest of the government parties, ministerial sources said.

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Bassil won't break ties with Hezbollah despite 'strong blow'

Hezbollah’s cover for Monday’s cabinet session was a “strong blow to the Free Patriotic Movement and its head Jebran Bassil, who will hold a press conference today and is expected to mainly address Hezbollah in it,” al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Tuesday.

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Finance committee calls for exchange rate correction, salary taxes review

The Finance and Budget parliamentary committee, headed by MP Ibrahim Kanaan, convened Tuesday to discuss circulars and decisions issued by Finance Minister Youssef Khalil.

After listening to the minister, the committee decided to delay the implementation of two salary taxes resolutions.

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