This evening, prime minister Rafik Al-Hariri signed economic and trade agreements in Tehran. Hariri, meanwhile, continues his four-day official visit to Iran which he started last Saturday. After the premiers meeting with Iranian President Mohammed Khatemi yesterday, the Iranian President praised Lebanon and the governments ongoing effort to reconstruct their country and rehabilitate its main sectors. Khatemi also expressed admiration at the Lebanese people and their ability to overcome all obstacles especially their struggle with the Israeli occupation adding these people are fighting on behalf of the whole Arab nation. Tomorrow, the premier is expected to hold talks with Iranian spiritual leader Ali Khamenei, former president Hashemi Rafsangani, and foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi.
Interior Minister Michel Al-Murr today held a press conference to discuss the details of the draft for the municipal and mayoral election law. He said the issue will be further discussed by cabinet on Wednesday. Among the most important changes on the draft law were those changes introduced to the election ID previously used by citizens in parliamentary elections to be allowed to be used in the coming mayoral and municipal elections. About one million IDs were distributed for this purpose. Murr said a special committee will be dealing with electoral lists and cards. The mayoral law also underwent some other changes. A mayors mandate was extended to six years instead of four. The Interior ministry will request the army to provide a detailed geographical map that clearly defines the different voting districts in the country.
At the presidential palace in Baabda, President Elias Al-Hrawi today met a delegation from the American University of Beirut. The delegation was headed by AUBs newly appointed president Dr. John Waterberry. Waterberry thanked the president and the Lebanese government for establishing the conditions of security and stability in the country that will allow him to come to Beirut and reside here. The new AUB American president will be the first to take up residence in Beirut for some 12 or 13 years. Waterberry added he will spend these years working in the American University and trying to rebuild its justified reputation for high quality higher education in Lebanon and the Middle East. He finally thanked the president and the Lebanese government for giving him the chance of re-acquaintance with Lebanon and the Lebanese people. Waterberry along with the accompanying delegation also met House Speaker Nabih Berri at parliament later today.
Lufthansa German Airlines resumed flights to Beirut after a 14-year suspension of activities during Lebanons civil war. The first Lufthansa plane landed at Beirut International Airport last night. There were 74 passengers on board, including a German delegation of some 40 people from the business community, the tourism sector, and the press corporations in Germany. The delegation is headed by Lufthansas senior vice president Stephan Pichler. Today, a press conference was held at the Commodore Hotel in Beirut to inaugurate the resumption of non-stop flights from Frankfurt to Beirut. The three weekly flights are scheduled for every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. During the press conference, the German ambassador to Lebanon Peter Wittig described the Lufthansas decision to fly back to Beirut as a wise move.
He added the fact that Lufthansa comes back to Beirut is a sign of confidence in the new Lebanon, in the capacity if the Lebanese to reconstruct their country, in Lebanons safety and its economic and touristic potential. The German ambassador said the return of Lufthansa will stimulate the German business community to come to Lebanon, invest, and make business. He reiterated his countrys support for Lebanon and its reconstruction drive. Lufthansas senior vice president, meanwhile, expressed admiration at the reconstruction efforts going on in the city center of Beirut adding his companys move will contribute directly and positively to the development of the tourism and business sectors in Lebanon. Pichler hoped for more cooperation between Lufthansa and the Middle East Airlines in the form of creating a common-handling company, a move which he believes will improve the quality of the service of both and thus increase customers. Lufthansas return raised to 32 the number of foreign airlines that resumed flights to Beirut since the end of the civil war. The German national carrier which first began flying to Beirut in 1956, stopped flying to the Lebanese capital in 1983.
Ansar won over Al-Ahed scoring four-one during the game held two days ago on the Bourj Hammoud football field. The Ansar team did not face any difficulty in winning this game. The team is still ranking first in Lebanon. Meanwhile, Nijmeh won over Safaa (2-1), while Bourj lost in the face of its rival Homentmen which scored six points, two more ahead of Bourj.
The Luxurious Hotel in the heart of Kaslik, Jounieh, Lebanon
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