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Lebanon PM-designate eyes end to 10-month government vacuum

Lebanon's prime minister-designate Tammam Salam was set to present a proposed cabinet line-up to the president Friday as he looks to end a 10-month vacuum, an aide told AFP. Beirut has been without a government since Salam's nomination in April last year amid deep divisions between the Shiite Hezbollah movement and the Sunni-led bloc of ex-premier Saad Hariri over the conflict in neighbouring Syria.

Suicide bomb blast kills one south of Beirut

A suicide bomber detonated an explosive belt inside a public minibus south of the Lebanese capital Beirut on Monday, killing at least one person, the interior minister said. "A man wearing an explosive belt boarded a public minibus in Choueifat and blew himself up," Marwan Charbel told Lebanon's Mayadeen television channel. He said at least one person was killed in the blast, but it was unclear if that was in addition to the suicide bomber.

Britain bars entry to French comedian accused of anti-Semitism

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Monday it had banned a French comedian accused of anti-Semitism, saying he would not be allowed to enter the country for public policy and security reasons. Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, 46, has been repeatedly fined for "hate speech" in his native France where local authorities in several towns have banned his shows as a threat to public order. He is closely associated with the "quenelle", a gesture that critics have likened to an inverted Nazi salute and said carries anti-Semitic overtones.

French gay marriage protest draws thousands

PARIS (Reuters) - Thousands of demonstrators began gathering in Paris and Lyon on Sunday in a renewed protest against France's legalization of gay marriage, which has mobilized conservatives of all stripes. Organizers and police expected tens of thousands of people to join the marches against the Socialist government's "Marriage for All" law. Ahead of the protests, Interior Minister Manuel Valls vowed that any violence against police would be dealt with severely.

East Lebanon car bombing kills at least 3

A car bomb killed at least three people Saturday near a petrol station in eastern Lebanon's town of Hermel, a stronghold of the Shiite movement Hezbollah, the army said. "A car bomb exploded near the Al-Aytam service station in Hermel," a security source said of the second blast to hit the area in less than a month. hs-kam/tl/srm

East Lebanon car bombing kills at least 4

A car bomb killed at least four people Saturday at a petrol station in eastern Lebanon's town of Hermel, a stronghold of the Shiite movement Hezbollah, the interior minister said. "At least four people were killed and more than 15 wounded, two or three of them in critical condition," Interior Minister Marwan Charbel told Hezbollah's Al-Manar television station. "We think it is a suicide attack," he added. The explosion, which took place around 6:00 pm (1600 GMT) after night had fallen, sparked a huge blaze that hindered the arrival of emergency services.

Muslim group threatens Canada PM with libel suit

A Muslim organization said Tuesday it will sue Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his spokesman for libel unless they retract and apologize for a statement linking the group to Hamas. Canada lists Hamas as a banned terrorist organization. "To say that our organization has illegal affiliations is deeply offensive to us and to Canadians of all faiths and backgrounds and only serves to reinforce ugly stereotypes about Canadian Muslims," Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), told a press conference.

France intensifies crackdown on controversial comic Dieudonne

France's crackdown on Dieudonne M'bala M'Bala intensified on Tuesday with police raiding offices and properties of the controversial comic and a Paris theatre at which he regularly performs. The raids were carried out as part of an investigation into suspected fraud by a performer who has been widely accused of promoting anti-Semitism and has a string of convictions for hate speech.

Egypt's Morsi back on trial -- this time over jaibreak

Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Morsi was due back in court on Tuesday, this time facing charges of breaking out of prison during the 2011 uprising against veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak. Morsi, deposed by the army in July, is already on trial for allegedly inciting the killings of opposition activists during his presidency, and faces two other trials which have yet to begin.

Egypt's Morsi back on trial -- this time over jailbreak

Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Morsi went on trial Tuesday on charges of breaking out of prison during the 2011 uprising against veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak. Morsi, ousted by the army in July, is already on trial for inciting the killings of opposition activists during his presidency and faces two other trials that have yet to begin. Official news agency MENA said the trial had commenced, but did not say whether Morsi was present in the dock.
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