Prime Minister Tammam Salam chairs a Cabinet session at the Grand Serail, Thursday, Feb, 11, 2016. (The Daily Star, Dalati& Nihra, HO)
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Future Movement leader MP Saad Hariri distanced himself from Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi Thursday after the latter stormed out of a Cabinet session that declined to discuss the terrorism case against former Minister Michel Samaha. Ministers approved a handful of urgent expenditures during the session, financing a portion of the controversial trash export scheme and paying wages to teachers and Ogero employees. They did not vote to raise taxes, however, after a proposal to levy a new gas tariff was panned by ministers, labor unions and civic movements earlier this week. Rifi, who associates with Hariri's Future Movement bloc, and two Kataeb ministers left the session when it became apparent that the government would not discuss his proposal to refer Samaha's case to the Judicial Council. Kataeb ministers also walked out of the session.However, Education Minister Elias Bou Saab said in a tweet that the Free Patriotic Movement ministers rejected the matter and didn't sign the decree.Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb said at the time the deal would cost the country more than $200 million over the next 18 months.
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