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Follow Friday: @courtneyr and @pressfreedom, fighting for Greste and others

When it comes to press freedom, the Peter Greste case is only the tip of the iceberg, says Courtney Radsch from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

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Follow Friday: @LaurenWillgo, an adventurer through Syria

Australian journalist Lauren Williams gave up the easy beat of Sydney for the Middle East, arriving just in time for the Arab Spring. She talks about her adventures and Twitter.

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Pause for thought on Syrian chemical attacks — and reprisals

There’s still no clear evidence on which group was responsible for a chemical attack in Syria. This lack of information makes Western intervention risky, argues Crikey’s foreign affairs writer.

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Clashes erupt at funeral of Lebanon’s security chief

Violence swept through the crowd of thousands who mourned Brigadier-General Wissam Al-Hassan, writes Australian freelancer Scott Mitchell in Beirut.

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Lebanon’s status still a regional conflict fault line

Lebanon’s political crisis is set to deepen as the UN prosecutor’s findings into the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri were filed on Monday, writes freelance political writer Antoun Issa.

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Hezbollah quits Lebanon government … fears again of civil war

The people of Lebanon are sick of war, and all parties are desperate to avoid it, writes Michael Safi, who is studying politics and Arabic.

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Opposition walkout throws Lebanon into a state of flux

Lebanon’s Hezballah-led Opposition has resigned en masse from the country’s fragile national unity government, triggering its collapse, writes freelance political writer Antoun Issa.

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New York Times | PRINT|

Mickey mouse in a war zone: the power of war photography

Photography in a war zone can have a strong impact on how foreigners view a war. Erroll Morris talks with Middle East AP photographer Ben Curtis about manipulating and posing photos and the popularity of mangled toys amongst war debris.

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Daily Star (Lebanon) | FOOD & TRAVEL|

The new battlefront in the Middle East: hummus and tabbouleh

Lebanon and Israel are engaged in a heated battle; not over territory, religion or politics, but over which country invented hummus and tabbouleh. Lebanon has struck the latest blow, breaking world records by cooking a 2056kg bowl of hummus and 3557kg plate of tabbouleh.

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New York Times | COMPANIES|

The cupcake craze hits the Middle East

Cupcakes have conquered the West, and now they’re taking the Arab world by storm, with additions like dates, pistachios, tahini and pomegranate adding a regional flavour.

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New York Times | PLAYERS|

Meet the Lebanese Bernie Madoff

Salah Ezzedine, a Lebanese businessman with ties to Hezbollah, is the mastermind behind the biggest fraud scheme in the country’s history, swindling billions out of locals and leaving a long trail of ruined families in his wake.

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The warped logic of banning al-Manar

There are many good arguments for and against allowing the Lebanese Hezbollah-run TV station al-Manar to be broadcast in Australia, writes : but those put forward by the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council aren’t any of them.

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A big step backwards in the Middle East

A week after Lebanon’s elections were won by the moderate, pro-western forces, Iran has gone the other way, writes Charles Richardson.

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Lebanon an early success for Obama’s mid-east strategy

The power of Obama’s oratory is so great that it almost puts him at a disadvantage; it makes it easier for some critics to dismiss his Cairo speech as just “words”, in contrast with “deeds”, writes Charles Richardson.

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CNN | PRINT|

Hezbollah: Der Spiegel is conspiring with Israel

Political group and terrorist organisation Hezbollah has accused German magazine Der Spiegel of conspiring with Israel against them in an attempt to influence the upcoming elections in Lebanon.

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Wall Street Journal | BOOKS|

Banned in Beirut

Despite being named UNESCO’s 2009 World Book Capital City, a long list of books, films and music are banned in Beirut.

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Lebanese democracy in a state of farce

Although the West upholds Lebanon as a Middle Eastern democracy, vigorously supporting to its beleaguered “elected” government, there really isn’t much democratic about the country’s political process at all, writes Antoun Issa.

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Lebanese vote an exercise in confusion

It’s always good to start a political campaign off with a bang. In Lebanon’s case it was another political assassination, writes Guy Rundle.

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