By BASSEM MROUE
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s government has approved the state budget for the current year, with a 17% deficit. The prime minister described the development on Thursday as a first step in reforms desperately needed in the crisis-hit country. The budget will now be sent to parliament for discussion and once lawmakers approve, it will go into effect. A two-day parliament session on the budget has been scheduled for Feb. 21. Lebanon has been undergoing its worst economic crisis. Talks with the International Monetary Fund have failed to make progress amid deep disagreements between the government, the central bank and the banking sector.