Lebanon asked 11 states, U.N. for security help – PM

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon has asked 11 countries and the United Nations to help train its security forces after a string of bombings and assassinations that have fuelled fears of a slide into chaos, the prime minister said on Thursday. "We have knocked on the doors of all the countries that could help us," Fouad Siniora told a news conference after the cabinet’s weekly meeting. "We are not facing an ordinary criminal…But we will gather all the tools, training and expertise we can obtain to live up to the challenge," he said. The countries which have responded positively to Lebanon’s plea were the United States, France, Russia, Egypt and Qatar, Siniora said. The government has also asked for help from six other states including Britain, Canada and China. Twelve explosions have rocked Lebanon since the Feb. 14 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, which plunged the country into its worst political and security crisis since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war.

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BEIRUT – Defence Minister Elias Murr said insecurity in Lebanon was so rife that he has had to take refuge abroad, as Beirut prepares to seek US and French aid in bringing a halt to a series of bomb attacks. "I’m fed up after what happened to May Chidiac. We are all in the same boat," Murr said late Monday in a LBC television interview from Zurich. Chidiac, a leading Christian news presenter and political talk show host on LBC, was maimed when a bomb planted in her car blew up on the northern outskirts of Beirut on Sunday. Murr said he had been based in Zurich ever since a failed attempt on his life on July 12. And he has not resided full-time in Lebanon since January due to security fears, the minister revealed. He said he had had a fierce row with Syria’s military intelligence chief in Lebanon, Rustom Ghazaleh, before Syrian troops withdrew in April after a 29-year presence amid outrage over former premier Rafiq Hariri’s assassination.Ghazaleh figures among the Syrian officials on a witness list of a UN commission of inquiry into Hariri’s killing in a huge bomb blast. "I got information on threats against me personally," Murr told LBC.

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Lebanon to seek international help on security

 BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon will ask the United States and France to help train its security forces following a string of bombings and assassinations that have fueled fears the country is sliding back into chaos.  Prominent anti-Syrian news anchor May Chidiac was seriously wounded when her car exploded north of Beirut on Sunday, raising fears of more violence as Lebanon awaits the findings of a U.N. probe into the killing of a former prime minister.A close aide to Prime Minister Fouad Siniora told Reuters the government would ask the Americans and French to help instruct its security services and provide logistical support."The issue has been on the government’s agenda and a list of needs has been made, but it is more urgent now after Sunday’s attack," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Siniora said on Sunday he had asked the U.S. embassy for assistance in Chidiac’s case. An embassy spokesperson said the United States would respond positively to the government’s requests for help but declined to elaborate.Twelve explosions have rocked Lebanon since a truck bomb killed former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri and 20 others on February 14. Many Lebanese blame Hariri’s killing and the ensuing blasts on Syria which has repeatedly denied any involvement. The killing of Hariri plunged Lebanon into its worst crisis since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war.

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Lebanese journalist seriously wounded in bomb blast

BEIRUT (AFP) – A prominent Lebanese Christian journalist May Chidiac with the television station LBC has been seriously wounded as a bomb ripped apart her car north of Beirut, the private station said.  May Chidiac, a presenter of news and a political programme for the station, was "wounded in the feet by the explosion of a bomb placed in her car" in Jounieh, it said Sunday."May’s condition is serious. She has had a hand and her left leg amputated," it said.The station said the bomb was placed under her car seat and the explosion occurred as Chidiac was driving out of a parking lot. "The car was ripped apart by the blast which was followed by a fire," it said.The explosion follows a string of bombings in the Lebanese capital in the wake of the February murder of billionaire ex-premier Rafiq Hariri and 20 other people in a huge blast.On September 17, one person was killed and 28 wounded in a bombing in a Christian section of Beirut. The blast struck just before midnight in a small side street in the Jeitawi quarter of east Beirut.It was the 12th bomb attack in Lebanon since the Hariri assassination. 

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Lebanon’s Investcom Mobile Co To List In London, Dubai

 LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Beirut-based mobile telecoms firm Investcom said Sunday it will carry out two initial public offerings, listing shares in London and Dubai. The price range will be $10.35 to $12.35 per global depositary share, each representing five ordinary shares. There will be an offer of 59,995,428 GDS’s in London, representing 128,548,569 new shares […]

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Up to 10 Ukraine peacekeepers involved in fraud in Lebanon

 KIEV-ASTANA, September 24. KAZINFORM. – Up to 10 Ukrainian peacekeepers were involved in the fuel and money fraud in Lebanon, Acting Defence Minister Anatoly Gritsenko told journalists on Friday. According to him, the guilty will be sacked and some will stand trial. "There are grounds to believe that somebody will end up in jail," the Ukrainian acting defence minister said, Kazinform quotes Itar-Tass.
The official did not specify which violations he had in mind. Experts believe the Ukrainian military were selling the fuel they received. They pointed out the Ukrainians have the smallest salaries among foreign contingents deployed in Lebanon.
In the view of Gritsenko, the incident in Lebanon shows "how several people can tarnish very serious, responsible and risky work of hundreds of people." He said the Ukrainian contingent demined during the years of stay six million square metres of the Lebanese territory. The cost of mine clearance at one square kilometre of land is estimated at 300-900 US dollars.

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Brands Hatch: A1 Team Lebanon Practice

 A1 Team Lebanon, the first ever national racing team to represent the country in international motor racing, took to the race track at Brands Hatch today for the first day of the inaugural A1 Grand Prix race weekend. Completing two practice sessions, the team’s two drivers, Basil Shaaban and Khalil Beschir, each took a turn behind the wheel for A1 Team Lebanon. Shaaban drove the A1 race car in the first session, with dry weather providing the young Lebanese with a good opportunity to gain more experience with the car and familiarize himself with the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. For the second session the weather changed drastically, with heavy rain at the start. Beschir took over driving duties, but the rain, and a number of red flags due to track incidents, forced him to a limited number of laps.

Shaaban started the session well, posting lap times just outside of the top ten. As the session progressed, he dropped back, with the more experienced drivers starting to show their form, finishing 18th fastest as the session concluded. He reflected on his day, saying, "It’s been a special day for me. Leaving the pitlane with the Cedar tree behind me was quite an emotional moment, although as soon as I was out on track, I was focused on gaining more experience of the car and learning the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. The team has certainly improved the car since our last test at Paul Ricard and I feel more comfortable with the car each time I am behind the wheel. "

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Cell-phone sellers arrested in Lebanon

 ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER, BEIRUT, Lebanon — Police have arrested four men who allegedly sold cell phone chips to members of the plot to assassinate former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, court officials said Thursday.Investigating magistrate Elias Eid has accused the four traders of forgery and withholding information that could have helped the investigation into Hariri’s death, a court official said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the inquiry.

A second court official said the four were accused of providing cell phone lines to those who planned and carried out Hariri’s assassination. The official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity for similar reasons, said the chips for the cell phones were later destroyed in a bid to eliminate evidence. The arrests had been requested by the chief U.N. investigator into the Hariri killing, Detlev Mehlis. French and German experts assisting the U.N. investigation have studied thousands of calls made before and after the assassination.The phone dealers – Majed al-Akhras, Mustafa Misto, Ayman Tarabay and Raed Fakhereddine – were among 10 detained for questioning this week, the officials said. The four were formally arrested Wednesday and the others were released on bond.

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