- - Monday, June 13, 2011


New Cabinet gives Hezbollah more power

BEIRUT — Five months after Hezbollah and its allies brought down the Lebanese government, the prime minister formed a new Cabinet on Monday that gives the Iranian-backed militant group far more power.

Najib Mikati announced a Cabinet that gives Hezbollah and its allies 16 of the 30 seats. In the previous government, they had 10 seats.

The Cabinet still must be formally presented to Parliament for a vote of confidence.

Hezbollah has seen a steady rise over the past few decades from a resistance group fighting Israel to Lebanon’s most powerful military and political force.

Opponents of Hezbollah — which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization — say having an Iranian proxy at the helm of Lebanon’s government will lead to international isolation.


Israeli defense minister meets top Chinese general

BEIJING — Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has pledged to work for closer ties with China’s military during a visit to Beijing, China’s Defense Ministry said Monday.

Mr. Barak’s statement came in a meeting Sunday with the chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army, Gen. Chen Bingde, the ministry said.

“The Israeli side values the development of military exchanges and cooperation with China and wishes to work together with our Chinese friends to raise military-to-military relations to a new level,” the ministry quoted Mr. Barak as saying.

Gen. Chen told Mr. Barak that relations between their militaries were an important part of overall ties and have strengthened markedly over recent years, the ministry said.


Berlusconi: Nuclear energy ‘probably’ out

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