Xinhua Middle East news summary at 2200 GMT, March 23

BEIRUT -- Ernesto Ramirez Rigo, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation to Lebanon, on Thursday called on Lebanese authorities to accelerate the implementation of financial reforms to unlock a rescue package.

"Lebanon is in a perilous situation; the progress of reforms in Lebanon is slow, given the degree of complexity of the situation," he told a press conference at the end of his visit to Lebanon, the Elnashra website reported. (Lebanon-IMF-Reforms)

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JERUSALEM -- A total of 82 Israelis were arrested during a nationwide "Day of Paralysis" on Thursday, the police said, as the protests against the government's judicial overhaul showed no signs of abating.

The demonstrations, organized by opponents of the far-right government's plan to weaken the Supreme Court, were held in several cities across the country. (Israel-Protests-Judicial Overhaul)

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ADEN -- Yemen's internationally-recognized government on Thursday banned the export of vegetables and fruit in an effort to ease soaring prices during the holy month of Ramadan.

According to an official decree issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade in the southern port city of Aden, the government officially halted fruit and vegetable exports during the month of Ramadan. (Yemen-Export Ban-Ramadan)

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JERUSALEM -- Israeli lawmakers passed on Thursday a law to make it harder to declare Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as unfit to serve, the first in a series of laws comprising the far-right government's controversial judicial overhaul plan.

The bill was passed early in the morning after a heated overnight debate, with 61 members of the 120-seat Knesset (parliament) voting in favor and 47 against. The remaining lawmakers either abstained or were not present for the vote. (Israel-Law-Prime Minister)

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