Pressure mounts for ‘detained’ Lebanon PM to return from Riyadh | AFP

[Published here on November 16, 2017]

Hardening his tone, Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun accused Saudi Arabia of “detaining” Hariri, who is to meet in Riyadh on Thursday with France’s chief diplomat.

Speculation has swirled around Hariri’s prolonged stay in the kingdom since he announced in a televised statement on November 4 that he would be stepping down as Lebanon’s prime minister.

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Avoiding risky sea journey, Syrian refugees head to Italy ‘pronto’ | AFP

[Published here on March 19, 2017]

Beirut (AFP) – Just before midnight in a sleepy district of Beirut, dozens of Syrian refugees huddle in small groups around bulging suitcases, clutching their pinging cellphones and one-way tickets to Italy.

“Torino! Pronto! Cappuccino!”

They practise random Italian words in a schoolyard in the Lebanese capital’s eastern Geitawi neighbourhood, waiting for the buses that will take them to the airport, and onwards to their new lives in Italy.

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