News from Beirut October 17  1997 ...Search

Israeli warplanes raid Naameh

Israeli warplanes rocketed the Naameh Hill South of the capital. There were no immediate reports of casualties in the attack. The attack raised to 64 the number of Israeli raids on Lebanon this year. The warplanes launched three attacks on Naameh, firing six missiles which sparked fires in the region. Earlier today, a Lebanese civilian Omar Zaki Radwan was wounded by Israeli shelling on the village of Mashghara on the edge of the zone Israel occupies in South Lebanon. Meanwhile, the resistance in the South rocketed two Israeli posts in Tawmat Niha in Western Bekaa and said it scored direct hits. Last night, Israel shelled the areas around Nabatieh and Iklim Al-Tuffah. The shelling ignited fire in the villages of Habboush and Arab Saleem.

Beirut to host Arab Investors' Conference

Some 1000 Arab officials and businessmen are due to take part in the Seventh Arab Investors' Conference this weekend for the first time in Beirut. Organizers today said the forum, starting tomorrow at the Summerland Hotel, is designed to help boost investment between Arab nations, discuss problems hindering inter-Arab investment and encourage economic, financial and stock exchange cooperation. The three-day conference which will be opened by President Elias Al-Hrawi is organized by the Arab League, the Confederation of Arab Chambers of Commerce and the Arab Institution for Investment Guarantees. Syrian Prime Minister Mahmud al-Zohbi arrived in Lebanon this afternoon along to participate in the conference as a guest of honor. The forum is also expected to draw ministers of finance and trade from various Arab countries. Secretary general of the Arab League Ismat Abdel-Majeed is expected in Beirut for the same purpose.

Hrawi holds talks with Egyptian Ambassador

President Elias Al-Hrawi today received the Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Adel Al-Khodari who handed the president a letter from his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak. The letter says Mubarak nominates Former UN Secretary General Boutrous Ghali for the post of the Francophone movement Secretary General. After the meeting, Al-Khodari said Hrawi supports Ghali's nomination. Concerning the Doha Summit to be held next month in Qatar, the Egyptian ambassador said his country did not yet decide whether to participate or not. The conference which was boycotted by Lebanon, Syria, UAE, Saudi Arabia had earlier announced they will not take part in the summit which Israel is expected to attend.

Electricity workers suspend strike

The three-day strike by electricity workers in Lebanon will be suspended for three months. This after the government promised to meet 10 of their union's 39 demands tied to higher wages and better work conditions. A spokesman for the Electricity Workers Syndicate told a press conference the union was promised a new pay scale and medical insurance after retirement. Electricite du Liban today approved increasing education allowances by 30% in addition to considering earlier payments to some workers as an advance payment on retirement pensions. Director General of the company Joseph Al-Hawa said work will resume normally in the company. Some 5,000 public sector workers took part in the strike which began on Tuesday and caused power cuts in several areas around the country.

International day for the Eradication of Poverty celebrated in Lebanon

The United Nations Development Program in Lebanon and the ministry of  social affairs today held a press conference in recognition of the International day for the Eradication of Poverty. UNDP Representative Ross Mountain opened the conference by reading UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's message on this occasion. In his message, Annan said the eradication of poverty requires enhanced economic growth and employment opportunities adding what is needed is a renewed determination and willingness to bring actors together in one effort. For his part, Mountain discussed the context of the Regional program for Baalbeck-Hermel under implementation by the Council for Development and reconstruction with UNDP support. He said the objective of cooperation between the UNDP and the ministry of social affairs is to assist the Lebanese government to improve the people's standards of living and their access to basic social services in the country. The ministry of social affairs pioneered with the support of the United nations Food and Population agency a national survey of population and demographic characteristics, which produced a comprehensive set of data for the first time in several decades.

New way for addressing politicians

Following last night's cabinet meeting at the presidential palace in Baabda, Information Minister Bassem Al-Sabaa said a new form for addressing politicians has been introduced. The courtesy title "excellency" has been abolished. Sabaa said it was President Elias Al-Hrawi who demanded the change. Now politicians from the president of the republic down will be addressed as "Sayyed", or mister. Hrawi reportedly confirmed that local elections will be held next April. The president also criticized media coverage of the agreement reached between House Speaker Berri and Premier Hariri after weeks of discussions and presidential meetings.

Greenpeace Dinghy in sampling tour along the Lebanese coast

The Greenpeace Mediterranean Office started earlier this week a campaign to spot and ample the main sources of industrial pollution along the Lebanese coast. The sampling tour in Lebanon is part of a regional campaign in the Mediterranean to be carried out with a dinghy boat. Greenpeace aims at highlighting hot spots in the basin to convince governments to carry out immediate and concrete measures in line with a United Nations anti-pollution strategy. The dinghy boat started at the beginning of this week sampling several sewage pipes leading into the Mediterranean in Beirut from Ouzai till Bourj Hammud. The activists took samples directly from pipes and sediments including two sediment samples under the sea near the coastal waste dumps of Normandie and Borj Hammud. Lebanon campaigner of the Greenpeace Mediterranean Office, Fouad Hamdan said the sampling work will shed the light on the main Lebanese industries polluting the Mediterranean Sea and rivers.

After the five-day tour from Tripoli to Tyre, Greenpeace activists will inspect industrial overflows in the Ibrahim River north of Beirut, Ghadir River south of Beirut as well as the Litani River and the Qarun lake in the Bekaa valley. Later, the test results will be handed over to Mr. Jacques Sarraf, President of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists, to Environment Minister Akram Shhayyeb, to Industry Minister Nadim Salem and to the President of the Council of Development and reconstruction Nabil Al-Jisr.

Sports Review

Table Tennis:

The tournaments for the championship of Lebanon in table tennis were concluded today in Mont La Salle, Ain Saade. Mohammed Al-Habash (Al-Maani, Saida) won over Joseph Chalhoub (Homentmen). Larissa Shaeib for her part won over Larakjeh Bastian, and Mahmoud Charqawi excelled Mazen Kalash.

Basket Ball:

The Hosam Al-Deen Al-Hariri seventh Arab tournament in basket ball was opened today by Deputy Bahiia Al-Hariri in Sidon. Sports delegates from around the Arab World are expected to participate in the six-day tournament.

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