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Hariri to Meet with al-Rahi Monday in Rome

Head of al-Mustaqbal Movement Saad Hariri is expected to meet with Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Monday in the Italian capital Rome.

Local newspapers published on Wednesday reported that the meeting will tackle the presidential impasse.

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Rome Mayor: Pope Calls for More People to Donate Organs

Pope Francis has called for more people to donate their organs in a bid to stop illegal trafficking, but spoke out against the legalization of the organ market, Rome's mayor said Saturday.

"The pope authorized me to say that in his view organ donation through generosity must be encouraged, but the commercial use of organs is immoral," mayor Ignazio Marino said, after meeting with Francis on Friday.

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MEA Flight Returns to Beirut after 'Precautionary' Landing in Rome

A Middle East Airlines flight from Geneva arrived in Beirut on Sunday after landing in Rome over the absence of a passenger, the airline announced.

MEA said in a statement that the aircraft was heading from the Swiss city to Rafik Hariri International Airport in the Lebanese capital when it was revealed that a passenger with a boarding pass did not take the flight.

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Plumbly Sounds Alarm Bell on International 'Trust' in Lebanon

U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly warned that the vacuum in the presidency would impact the international community's trust in Lebanon.

In remarks to As Safir daily published on Monday, Plumbly said: “We've seen a tangible progress in the formation of Prime Minister Tammam Salam's government and the implementation of the security plan.”

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Lebanon Extradites Berlusconi Ally over Mafia Links

A judicial source on Friday confirmed Beirut had extradited an ally of Italy's former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

"Senator Marcello Dell'Utri was handed over to an Italian security delegation and left the country on board an Alitalia aircraft at 4:00 am (0100 GMT) following a presidential decree," the source told Agence France Presse.

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Suleiman to Chair Cabinet Session Friday, Tackle Appointments

President Michel Suleiman is expected to head on Friday a cabinet session at the Baabda Palace after he returns from Rome, where he attended the canonization mass of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII that was held at the Vatican.

A ministerial source said in comments published in An Nahar newspaper on Monday that the session will not make the appointment of top civil servants in a single package.

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John Paul II: Beloved Pope who Left Reformists Cold

Pope John Paul II, who will be made a saint on Sunday along with John XXIII, was a charismatic leader who helped topple communism but was criticized for failing to tackle the scourge of child sex abuse by priests.

The first non-Italian pope since the Renaissance, and the first from eastern Europe, Polish Karol Wojtyla was hugely popular, eschewing the pomp that surrounded his predecessors and seeking contact with ordinary people.

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John XXIII: A Tradition-breaking Pope Like Francis

Pope John XXIII, who will be made a saint with John Paul II on Sunday, surprised many by leading the Catholic Church to more open relations with the world.

When the man nicknamed "Good Pope John" became head of the Catholic Church on October 28, 1958 at the age of 77, many thought he would be a simple caretaker.

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Al-Rahi Expected to Meet with Hariri in Rome over Presidential Polls

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi is scheduled to travel to Rome on Thursday to attend several religious ceremonies and is expected to meet with al-Mustaqbal movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri, al-Joumhouria daily reported.

The newspaper said that al-Rahi will attend a ceremony on Saturday night on the centenary of the establishment of Saint Maroun church in Rome. President Michel Suleiman will also participate in the event.

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Clashes as Rome Police Move to Evict Squatters

Clashes broke out at an abandoned office block in Rome on Wednesday as scores of riot police moved to evict some 350 poor families who had occupied the building because of a chronic housing crisis in the city.

Police officers struck out with truncheons at some 200 protesters outside the building who were trying to prevent them from entering, and the squatters could be seen banging on pots on the rooftop.

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