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​In other highlights, the presidential seat remained vacant; Health Minister Wael Bou Faour persisted in his food safety campaign and dialogue continued between Hezbollah and the Future Movement. Below is the daily digest of news
January 1 
 Sheikh Hamza Hommos meets his captive son Wael, a serviceman held by An-Nusra Front, and reveals the list of terms set by the Front for the families seeking to visit their sons.
 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon extends the mandate of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon for another three years starting next March. 
 
January 2 
 Lebanon’s General Security unveils new procedures for the entry of Syrians to Lebanon.
 Former PM Omar Karami laid to rest in Tripoli in the presence of the current and the previous prime ministers. Grand Mufti Deryan recites prayers upon the soul of the deceased.
 
January 3 
 The Karami family continues to receive condolences over the death of former PM Omar Karami. Sympathizers include the Army Commander, MP Walid Jumblat and a delegation of Hezbollah. Syrian President Bashar Assad extends condolences over the telephone to former Minister Faisal Karami and Saudi Ambassador conveys sincere condolences on behalf of King Abdullah.
 Major General Abbas Ibrahim reveals in a press conference that several explosive-laden cars have been seized cautioning that the threat of car bombs is still present.    
 The Directorate General of Islamic Awqaf holds a ceremony at the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque in Downtown, Beirut in the presence of Muslim religious leaders. Grand Mufti Deryan assures that Lebanon will not be an incubator of terror and sedition.
 
January 4 
 In an interview on Al-Jadeed TV, MP General Michel Aoun reports that the Lebanese Forces might accept his candidacy for presidential elections, stressing that he does not challenge the nomination of MP Suleiman Frangieh.
 
January 5 
 Hezbollah and the Future Movement hold their second dialogue meeting at the residence of Speaker Nabih Berri. The statement issued following the session reiterates working towards defusing the Sunni-Shia’a tension and promoting stability.
 Health Minister Wael Bou Faour reveals that the sugar warehouses he inspected at the Tripoli Port do not conform to the safety requirements. He criticizes the failure of the Minister of Economy and the latter holds a press conference branding the measures taken by Bou Faour as a circus.
 Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil reveals in a press conference that the Customs officers at the Beirut Port have seized dangerous radioactive components in kitchen items imported from India.
 The arrival of the snow blizzard brings with it intensifying winds and heavy rain and snow.
 
January 6
 The storm hits more violently, halting air traffic at the Rafic Hariri International Airport and prompting Education Minister to order closure of schools on Wednesday, January 7 and allowing universities to decide for themselves whether to suspend classes or not.
 General Michel Aoun extends condolences to the Karami family in BIEL, Beirut, and Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah calls Faisal Karami expressing his deepest sympathies for the loss of his father.
 MP Ibrahim Kanaan reveals on Radio Liban Libre that Aoun and Geagea will be meeting in the not-too-distant future.
 Armenian Catholicos Aram I Keshishian holds Christmas mass at the Armenian Church in Antelias.
 
January 7 
 Speaker Nabih Berri adjourns the 17th session held to elect a president until January 28 due to lack of quorum.
 The monthly statement of the Maronite Bishops calls for comprehensive dialogue, noting that the prolongation of presidential vacuum exposes Lebanon to vulnerability.
 Speaker Nabih Berri announces during Wednesday’s meeting that the third dialogue session between Hezbollah and the Future Movement is scheduled for January 16 to resume security plan discussions.
 Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea announces that the LF has exchanged two working blueprints with the Free Patriotic Movement, stressing that 30 years of political rivalry were enough.
 Snow blizzard, Zina, results in blocking mountain roads, disrupting schools and plunging several towns in total blackouts. 
 PM Tamam Salam adjourns the six-hour Cabinet session following an unfruitful debate over a solution to the solid waste management crisis. The Phalangists refuse the formulas proposed to solve the crisis and Salam says he will not schedule another session unless a solution is found for the garbage crisis.
 The Special Tribunal for Lebanon resumes its work and listens to the testimony of journalist Faisal Salam who assures that Hariri was keen on his relationship with Syria.
 Banque du Liban governor, Riad Salameh, announces on Kalam El-Nas talk show that his name is among the potential presidential candidates, insinuating that 
the presidency of the republic is a right reserved for the Maronite poles. Salameh draws a stable image for the financial situation in Lebanon.
 Education Minister extends closure of schools until next Monday due to stormy weather. 
 After talks with Speaker Nabih Berri, Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim Ali assures As-Safir that the Lebanese government will not proceed with the financial requirements for the entry of Syrians to Lebanon.
 Head of the Order of Physicians refuses to license additional med schools.

January 9 
 Hezbollah’s Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah says during a televised speech at the ceremony organized by the Al-Emdad Charity that the dialogue with the Future Movement is very serious. Nasrallah welcomes dialogue among Christians, lauds the late PM Omar Karami and lashes out at the Bahraini regime.
 Former Minister Faisal Karami resumes political activity pledging to hold high the torch of his father. Karami appoints a new chairman for Al-Manar Society.
 Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rai links between presidential elections and the Sunni-Shia’a conflict, noting that both Iran and Saudi Arabia have a say in the election of a president. Al-Rai assures that he has no preferable candidate and does not mind amending the constitution.
 The committee tasked with Moussa Sadr case accuses former MP Hassan Yaacoub, son of Sheikh Mohammad Yaacoub, of taking advantage of the case to serve his own financial interest. Yaacoub had been in touch with the Gaddafi regime.
 Justice Council sentences five brothers from the Shamas family to death in absentia over the 2007 murders of Ziad Ghandour and Ziad Qabalan. 

January 10 
 Two suicide bombers from Tripoli- Taha Samir Kayyal and Bilal Mohammad Ibrahim- blow themselves up near a popular café in Jabal Mohsen killing 9 people and injuring 37 others. An-Nussra Front claims responsibility for the attack and threatens to attack the strongholds of both Hezbollah and the Alawites for their crimes against the Sunni of Lebanon and Syria.
 MP Ibrahim Kenaan meets LF leader Samir Geagea in Meerab in order to arrange for a meeting with General Michel Aoun.

January 11 
 PM Tamam Salam hosts a security meeting at his residence to discuss the Jabal Mohsen attack.
 Victims of the Jabal Mohsen attack laid to rest amidst calls for unity and counter-extremism. Interior Minister Nouhad Mashnouq announces after inspecting the area that the Hariri Foundation will reconstruct all the damage. 
 The Lebanese rally in Sami Qassir Square in support of the murdered Charlie Hebdo journalists.

January 12
 Following an investigation which found that some prisoners had exchanged phone calls with one of the Tripoli bombers, the Internal Security Forces raid Roumieh Prison’ notorious bloc B under the supervision of Interior Minister Nouhad Mashnouq, then transport Islamist inmates to another bloc. 
 The cabinet approves a new solid management plan and extends the contract with Sukleen and the Naameh landfill operations by three additional months until the new concessions are completed. 
 Lebanon bids farewell to Tripoli’s Mufti Sheikh Taha Sabonji and lays him to rest in Al-Mina.
 The Press Federation elects a new board headed by owner and editor-in-chief of daily Ash-Sharq newspaper, Aouni al-Kaaki. Al-Kaaki who is backed up by the Future Movement won the vote, defeating a rival list led by Salah Salam, the editor-in-chief of Al-Liwaa. Hezbollah and the Pahalnges Party skipped the elections and 52 voters attended out of 92.
 An Arab League delegation chaired by Kuwaiti Minister of Foreign Affairs arrives in Lebanon to explore ways to help Lebanon address the Syrian refugee crisis. 
 Former President Amine Gemayel says that the Cabinet shall abide by unanimous voting, warning against ‘playing with fire’.
PM Tamam Salam receives Patriarch al-Rai at the Grand Serail.

January 13 
 Former President of the Republic Michel Suleiman visits the Grand Mufti and the Sheik Akl of the Druze community, cautioning that the disaster is fast approaching if no president is elected soon.
 Interior Minister Nouhad Mashnouq inspects Roumieh Prison and announces the allocation of USD 60 million for the reconstruction of the prison. The government will provide half of the amount and the other half will be collected from private donations.
 It is rumored that the Saudi-funded weapons provided by France to the Lebanese Army are outdated and unsuited to properly arm the Lebanese Army.

January 14 
 Interior Minister Nouhad Mashnouq visits General Michel Aoun, relaying to him a message from Hariri that reiterates the need for dialogue among Lebanese.   Mashnouq says that dialogue is a definite strategic choice although it is still early to speak of any progress in the dialogue between Hezbollah and the Future Movement.
 The Lebanese Forces holds a ceremony at the residence of LF leader Samir Geagea to distribute membership cards to new Lebanese Forces recruits in the presence of a Free Patriotic Movement representative.
 Intelligence Branch arrests Charbel Khalil, the suspect accused of murdering Yves Nawfal in Kfardebian last week. 
 Walid Jumblatt announces following an extensive meeting held at his residence in Beirut’s Clemenceau neighborhood, his support for the Cabinet’s recent decision to extend the deadline for closing the Naameh landfill by three months. Jumblatt says there won’t be a landfill in Sibline asserting that they will conduct environmental restoration to Sibline’s factory in 2015.
 The Lebanese Army denies having received outdated weapons from France as alleged earlier and assures that it has not received until now any arms or munitions as part of the donation.
Military expert defuses a 10 kilogram bomb on the Zgharta-Tripoli road.

January 15 
 The Cabinet approves credits worth LBP 36 billion to municipalities neighboring the Naameh landfill and endorses the security plan for Northern Beqa’a. Cabinet discussions cover different disputed items such the filling of the Beirut Port’s fourth basin and leveling off gasoline prices.
 In an interview with Al-Mayadeen TV, Hezbollah’s Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah expresses his readiness to meet Saad Hariri at the end of the dialogue sessions, stressing that the resistance is capable of entering Al-Jaleel should there be war with Israel and adhering to General Michel Aoun as presidential candidate.
 Former MP Ghattas Khoury testifies before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, reaffirming the threats he and Hariri had received from the Syrian regime.
 Former PM Fouad Seniora slams Hezbollah in a keynote speech he delivered in the UAE.
 Army Intelligence announces the arrest of suicide bombers in North Lebanon and seizes a car laden with explosives in the outskirts of Ersal.

January 16 
 The Future Movement and Hezbollah attend their third dialogue session and their joint statement emphasizes the continuity of dialogue.
 Nasrallah’s hostile comments on Bahrain draw criticism from politicians, particularly Interior Minister Nouhad Mashnouq and MP Walid Jumblat.
 Parliament’s General Secretariat clarifies in a statement that former MP Ghattas Khoury has mixed between the legislative session to amend the constitution, and the session of electing the President in his testimony before the STL.
 Former PM Fouad Seniora requests postponement of his STL testimony over health reasons.
 Former MP Ghattas Khoury resumes his testimony and avows that Hariri was leading the opposition from behind the scenes.

January 17 
 In reference to Nasrallah’s comments against Bahrain, PM Tamam Salam states that the position of Lebanon on regional issues can only be conveyed through the Lebanese government.
 Salafist Sheikh Osama Shahabi threatens the Interior Minister from Ain El-Helweh camp and announces that the release of the Islamist inmates is drawing nearer. 
 The Internal Security Forces stops violations on the Choueifat road.

January 18
 Israeli airstrike against a Hezbollah convoy near Quneitra leaves six dead including Jihad Mughniyeh, son of Imad Mughniyeh.
 Maronite Patriarch extends condolences over the death of the victims of Jabal Mohsen’s attack, then moves to Tripoli where he expresses his sympathy for the bereaved family of former PM Omar Karami. Al-Rai commends the self-restraint of residents in Jabal Mohsen and says that there won’t be peace amidst deprivation and misery. Al-Rai is the first Maronite patriarch to ever set foot in Jabal Mohsen.
 Families of the Islamist inmates protest in Tripoli over the alleged abuse of prisoners in Roumieh. Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi receives a delegation of the families, declaring that the trials will be completed in two months.
 Lebanese lawyers clash with Syrian colleagues during a conference in Cairo.

January 19
 Hezbollah lays his martyrs to rest and schedules a funeral service for tomorrow. Statements by the March 14 Forces deplore the Israeli operation and criticizes Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria. The Phalanges Party urges return to the disassociation policy toward Syria. 
 A sonic bomb explodes in Saida causing panic among residents.

January 20 
 Dutch diplomat Sigrid Kaagm, the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, officially starts her mission by visiting Minister of Foreign Affairs Gebran Bassil. 
 Women take to the streets of Tripoli to protest the alleged abuse of their Islamist sons and relatives in Roumieh Prison.
 The STL continues to listen to the testimony of former MP Ghattas Khoury and Judge Sir David Baragwanath states that the trials will last two years.
 Minister of Finance Ali Hassan Khalil inspects the Customs at the Rafic Hariri International Airport and foils a number of attempts to manipulate data, evade fees and smuggle illegal products. 
 State Commissioner to the Military Court Judge Sakr Sakr takes legal action against 28 suspects in the Jabal Mohsen suicide attack. Among them are four men already in detention on suspicion of belonging to an armed terrorist organization. The suspects on the run include Shadi Al-Mawlawi and Osama Mansour.

January 21
 Lebanese Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji inspects army units in the outskirts of Ersal and Labwi and asserts that the Army is resolved to prevent the expansion of terrorism toward Lebanon stressing that, eventually, only the state would be able to protect Lebanon.
Minister of Justice Ashraf Rifi visits the Bar Associations of Tripoli and Beirut to voice his support to the lawyers who were assaulted in Cairo and emphasizes Lebanon’s right to prosecute the assaulters.
 Head of the Future Parliamentary Bloc calls Hezbollah’s Secretary General’s political aide Hussein Khalil to offer condolences over the death of the Quneitra victims. 
 The Shura Council dismisses the appeal submitted by an environmental NGO to stop the Janna Dam project and suspend the construction works in the Nahr Ibrahim region.

January 22 
 The Cabinet deplores the Quneitra operation and asserts that Lebanon’s position on regional issues can only be voiced by the Lebanese government.
 The Lebanese Army defuses a car bomb rigged with 25 kilograms of explosives near the Ain Shaab checkpoint in Ersal.
 Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rai admitted to Sayyidat Al-Maounat Hospital in Jbeil after an alleged brain stroke.
 Parliamentary committees approve the Food Safety law.
 Former MP Salim Diab explains in his testimony before the STL how the electoral campaign of Hariri worked and reveals that the Syrians requested the withdrawal of three Hariri candidates including Bahij Tabbara and Mohammad Amin Daouk and nominated instead Bahaa Itani, Muhieddine Doughan and Adnan Arakji who was close to Rustom Ghazali.

January 23
 The Lebanese Army succeeds in regaining control over Tallet El-Hamra post which was briefly overrun by An-Nusra Front militants. The clashes leave eight members of the Army dead and a tragic toll among militants.
 PM Tamam Salam announces three days of mourning on the death of Saudi King Abdullah.
 Senior Fatah official Azzam Al-Ahmad continues his official visit to Lebanon and 
calls on addressing the case of suspects in the Palestinian camps patiently.  
 Two ISF officers and a number of soldiers sacked for engaging in offences inside Roumieh Prison.

January 24 
 An official delegation including Speaker Nabih Berri and PM Tamam Salam as well as LF leader Samir Geagea and former President Amine Gemayel arrives in Saudi Arabia to pay condolences on the passing away of Saudi King Abdullah. The delegation later visits Hariri at his residence in Riyadh where he held a dinner in their honor. 
 Shadi Al-Mawlawi reported to have fled Ain El-Helweh camp toward Ersal.

January 25 
 ‘Any illegitimate weapons used internally would be deemed a terrorist tool used to incite sectarian strife’ says Grand Mufti Abdul Latif Deryan during the inauguration of Sultan Yaacoub mosque. 
 Army Commander and MP Walid Jumblat arrive separately in Saudi Arabia to pay condolences.
 US Embassy in Beirut urges US citizens to exercise caution and to avoid going out, even to areas which are normally considered less dangerous.
 The March 8 and March 14 coalitions unite in one list and win the majority of seats in the elections of the League of Public Secondary School Teachers. The incumbent chief Hannah Gharib and another member manage to grab two seats.

January 26
 Lebanese officials and dignitaries head to Saudi Arabia to pay condolences over the death of Saudi king. Sympathizers include General Michel Aoun, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, Education Minister Elias Bou Saab, MP Michel Murr and Major General Abbas Ibrahim.
 Ghassan Khaled Ajaj, head of the Internal Security Forces Information Branch, killed late Sunday evening in the town of Miryata.
 At the end of their fourth dialogue session, Hezbollah and the Future Movement reiterate support for the Lebanese Army in the face of terrorism. 
 A Hezbollah parliamentary delegation pays condolences to the Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon on the passing away of the King.

January 27 
 Casino du Liban’s management sacks 191 employees under the pretext that most of them were either unproductive or not showing up at work. In response to the sacking, staff members stage a sit-in at the premises of the Casino and demand the dismissal of management.
 Patriarch al-Rai hopes that the dialogue will facilitate the election of a president during the meeting of Catholic bishops in Bkerke.
 MP Walid Jumblat visits Speaker Nabih Berri accompanied by Health Minister Wel Bou Faour.
 Interior Minister Nouhad Mashnouq asserts that Shadi Al-Mawlawi is mingling with An-Nusra Front in Ersal.

January 28 
 Hezbollah issues a statement in the name of the Quneitra martyrs where it announces that it has retaliated against an Israeli patrol in the occupied Sheba’a Farms. Israel confirms that two soldiers died in the operation and another seven were wounded and responds by bombarding bordering areas in south Lebanon, killing a soldier of the Spanish contingent in UNIFIL.
 The Future Parliamentary Bloc states that the Cabinet is the only one entitled to take the decision of war and peace and LF leader Samir Geagea brands what Hezbollah did as ‘unacceptable’.
 PM Tamam Salam announces Lebanon’s adherence to Resolution 1701.
Speaker Nabih Berri adjourns the 18th session held to elect a president until February 18 due to lack of quorum.
 Minister of Agriculture Akram Chehayeb halts the construction works of the Janna Dam project due to its adverse environmental impact. 
 Ahbash member shot dead in the Ain El-Helweh Palestinian camp.
 Shadi Al-Mawlawi tweets that he has left Ain El-Helweh camp to avoid Muslim bloodshed
 Investigative Judge Peter Jermanos orders the execution of six people involved in the murder of Yves Nawfal in Kfardebian.

January 29 
 The Cabinet condemns Israeli attacks on Lebanon and reiterates Lebanon’s commitment to Resolution 1701. It also approves increasing ISF personnel to 35,000 members amidst objection of the Free Patriotic Movement ministers.
 Strida Geagea says OTV channel has clearly cut-off the video it shared before she could finish the full construction of her comments on the Israeli attacks against Lebanon.
 Iranian official Alaeddine Boroujerd arrives in Lebanon to participate in the ceremony commemorating the Quneitra martyrs, reiterating support for the resistance and urging calm, and restraint in Lebanon.
 The dismissed employees of Casino du Liban continue with their protest action.
 MP Walid Jumblat says to An-Nahar that the implementation of the Baabda Declaration is impossible today and requires a different international climate.

January 30 
 Hezbollah’s Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah says during a ceremony commemorating the Quneitra martyrs that the party no longer recognizes the rules of engagement with Israel stressing that Hezbollah does not want a war, but does not fear it either
 Iranian official Alaeddine Boroujerd visits Speaker Nabih Berri, PM Tamam Salam and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil stressing that the regional developments serve stability in Lebanon.
 “We are clear on the condemnation of the Israeli assault but refuse to embroil our country in conflict without unanimous consent”, states former PM Fouad Seniora.
 Sacked Casino workers continue their protests and two board members representing the Amal Movement and the Free Patriotic Movement tender their resignation. 

January 31 
 Former PM Fouad Seniora says during a ceremony organized by the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at AUB to commemorate Minister Mohammad Shatah that Sayyed Nasrallah’s unyielding position abolishes the will of the people and the constitutional entities.
 The Lebanese Army Directorate of Orientation announces that the army has found a bomb rigged with four kilograms of explosives on the Mejdlaya-Zgharta road and is working on dismantling it.
 Casino board members retract their resignations and a committee is formed to consider the conditions of the sacked workers. 


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