Iran's parliament speaker says keen to maintain sound ties with Lebanon

BEIRUT, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani announced on Sunday that Iran is keen on maintaining excellent bilateral ties with Lebanon, LBCI local TV channel reported.

"Lebanon is an influential country in the region and Iran is keen to always see that the country is free, sovereign and independent," Larijani said upon his arrival at Beirut's airport.

Larijani also congratulated Lebanon on its new government.

Hezbollah warns of huge negative impact of U.S. Mideast peace plan on Lebanon

BEIRUT, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah warned on Sunday that the U.S. Middle East peace plan, known as the Deal of the Century, will have a huge negative impact on Lebanon, TV Channel Al Manar reported.

"This deal will give Shebaa Farms, Kfarchouba Hills and Ghajar village to Israel ... and deprive Lebanon of its total rights in the oil and gas wealth," Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech remembering the martyrs of the resistance.

Freezing weather compounds crisis for displaced in Syria

BEIRUT (AP) — A military offensive on an opposition-controlled region of northwestern Syria has created one of the worst catastrophes for civilians in the country’s long-running war, sending hundreds of thousands of people fleeing, many of them sleeping in open fields and under trees in freezing temperatures.

The military campaign in Idlib province and the nearby Aleppo countryside has also killed hundreds of civilians, and a bitter winter has compounded the pain.

UN says 140,000 displaced in 3 days amid Syrian offensive

BEIRUT (AP) — Over 140,000 Syrians have been displaced in the last three days alone by violence in the country’s northwest, bringing the total of those uprooted in a Syrian government offensive against the last opposition stronghold to over 800,000, the United Nations said Thursday.

The U.N. said at least 60% of the more than 800,000 displaced since Dec. 1 are children. The humanitarian crisis in the already overcrowded opposition-held enclave is compounded by freezing weather conditions, and existing severe needs.

Lebanon to seek IMF technical help: government source

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon will ask the International Monetary Fund for technical assistance to draw up a stabilization plan in the face of a financial and economic crisis, including how to restructure its public debt, a government source told Reuters on Wednesday.

“There has been contact with the IMF but Lebanon will send an official request in the coming hours to have a team dedicated to dealing with technical assistance,” the source said.

Lebanese security forces, protesters clash ahead of vote

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Security forces fired tear gas and water cannon at protesters in Beirut on Tuesday as the Lebanese parliament convened to hold a vote of confidence on the new government led by Prime Minister Hassan Diab.

MPs are set to vote on the government’s policy statement which says “painful steps” are needed to address a financial crisis that has weakened the currency and pushed banks to severely curb access to deposits.

Lebanon gathers to protest no-confidence vote

09 Feb 2020; MEMO: Hundreds of demonstrators protested Saturday in front of the Parliament building here against the Hassan Diab government and a vote of confidence to prevent a new government, Anadolu Agency reports.

The vote is expected Tuesday.

Another group gathered in front of the Association of Banks in Lebanon and protested its policy limiting foreign money transfer and withdrawing foreign currency. The policy was implemented 17 October 2019 when demonstrations began in the country.

5 bank owners moved over $2bn abroad: Lebanon speaker

07 Feb 2020; MEMO: Lebanese House Speaker Nabih Berri said on Wednesday that the owners of five large banks have transferred “personal money” amounting to $2.3 billion abroad.

Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar newspaper said the figure disclosed by Berri during a meeting of the Development and Liberation Bloc in parliament is close to the figure revealed by the Chairman of the Banking Control Commission of Lebanon (BCCL), Samir Hammoud, in his letter to the Attorney General, Ghassan Owaidat.

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