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Mansour Denies Death of Lebanese Hostages Kidnapped in Nigeria

  Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour denied on Monday reports that the Lebanese hostages, kidnapped in Nigeria in February, have been killed, in light of the emergence of a video allegedly showing the victims. He told LBCI television that none of the individuals shown in the video are the Lebanese hostages. He explained: “The hostages separated the seven hostages into two groups.” The first group includes the two Lebanese and two Syrian captives, while the second one includes the Greek, British, and Italian nationals. The foreign minister had held talks with the Lebanese charge d'affaires in Abuja, Wassim Ibrahim, who said…

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Activists hold Beirut march in support of women’s rights

  Rights activists on Sunday afternoon held a march in Beirut on the occasion of International Women’s Day, the National News Agency reported. The women’s rights advocates started their procession from the UNESCO building in West Beirut and headed down the Corniche al-Mazraa Street before arriving to Beirut’s Hamra area, where they ended their march in-front of the Information Ministry and the nearby Interior Ministry headquarters. The demonstrators called for a series of reforms, including the implementation of laws to: protect women from domestic violence, allow women to pass on Lebanese nationality, implement a female-representation quota in elected bodies, allow…

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Ministry launches three environmental projects

  The Environment Ministry launched three climate change initiatives Monday with the United Nations, as the ministry looks for ways to combat the country’s wasteful energy use in difficult economic times. The announcement, which came from Environment Minister Nazem Khoury and U.N. Development Program representative Robert Watkins, also included a new list ranking the best technology investments for Lebanon to fix its weak infrastructure without further damaging the environment. The three initiatives are intended to reduce the country’s carbon footprint and make use of green energy programs. The Low Emission Capacity Building program will rank Lebanon’s progress in reducing its…

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Verdicts issued for two men collaborating with Israel

The Military Tribunal issued verdicts Wednesday against two men accused of collaborating with Israel and a family for illegally entering an enemy state. Retired Brig. Gen. Ghassan al-Jidd was found guilty of providing sensitive information to the Israeli Army and the Mossad. Lebanese authorities issued an arrest warrant in 2010 against Jidd, who is a fugitive from justice. Separately, the Military Tribunal also issued a two-year sentence of hard labor for Salam Michel Ishaq, for providing Israel with information related to the Lebanese Army and Hezbollah. Ishaq was accused of collaboration in September 2011 and is currently in custody. The…

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Protesters demand Lebanon prioritize wage hike

  Protesters in Beirut demanded Saturday that the government devote exclusive attention to studying a public sector salary scale draft law during next week’s Cabinet session and then refer it to Parliament. “The Cabinet session on March 21 should only be held for the salary scaly, its financing and referring to Parliament and [they should] remove all traps from its agenda that could prevent that,” Hanna Gharib, the head of the Union Coordination Committee, said during a protest outside the Finance Ministry. Civil servants and teachers have held almost daily protests outside several ministries, the port of Beirut as well…

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For Lebanese women, the biggest battles are still ahead

  In a country where hearing the word “yes” with respect to amending women’s legal rights is rare, Rita Chemaly has reason to be excited: Three parliamentary commissions have accepted changes to grant female employees 10 weeks maternity leave subject to a parliamentary vote. As these seemingly tiny amendments have come a long way, it is appropriate that the National Commission for Lebanese Women, for whom Chemaly is a consultant, has called their national campaign to amend provisions in legislation that discriminate against women “The Long Road Ahead.” Lebanon was once considered a pioneer of women’s rights after the country…

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STL amends rules of procedure and evidence

  The Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the entity responsible for the trial of four Hezbollah members for the 2005 bombing that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, approved amendments on the rules of procedure and submission of evidence, the STL announced on Monday. Among the most significant of the changes adopted were: -Considering deadlines as being calendar days and not working days. -Assigning more powers to a single Judge of a Chamber [the Judge Rapporteur] in order to speed up proceedings. -Cases of contempt and false testimony will be heard by a single Judge, with the aim of simplifying…

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STL calls for innovation in quest for accused

  The Special Tribunal for Lebanon hopes to see “novel and intensified efforts” from Lebanese authorities in the coming months to detain and turn over four men accused of involvement in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. In the court’s fourth annual report, released to the public Friday, the STL expresses its gratitude for the contributions of the Lebanese government to its investigation but also reminds Prime Minister Najib Mikati and his Cabinet that “trial in absentia does not detract in any way from the continuing obligation of the Lebanese authorities ... to locate, apprehend and surrender…

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U.S. to push for quick delivery of aid to Syrian refugees

  The United States will push for a quick delivery of aid recently pledged to Syrian refugees in Lebanon and other countries, a U.S. official said, according to a statement from President Michel Sleiman Tuesday. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for the Bureau of Near East Affairs Lawrence Silverman said his country will continue talks with relevant countries to implement the $1 billion pledge made during a donor conference in Kuwait on Jan. 30 to provide assistance for Syrian refugees in the region. A delegation of officials from the United States arrived in Lebanon Sunday overnight for talks with senior…

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