An Israeli warplane today raided Mazraat Okmata in the Iqlim Al-Touffah region. The warplane launched two rockets at the area but no casualties were reported. The raid raised to 79 the number of Israel air assaults on
Lebanon since the start of this year. It was accompanied by heavy shelling of suspected Hizbullah positions in the same area. Two Israeli aircrafts also fired two rockets at Sojod just north of the zone Israel occupies in the South.
At the presidential palace in Baabda, a ceremony was held this morning on the occasion of the Flag day. The reception was attended by public school students who came from different parts in the country to participate in this event. The President urged students to work hard for maintaining national unity. Hrawi also called for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Israeli troops from South Lebanon and the Western Bekaa. The same occasion was also celebrated at the Education Ministry, where thousands of students from the entire country also gathered. Education minister John Obeid also called on the students at his ministry's headquarters to safeguard national unity and to work together for liberating their land from Israeli occupation.
This morning, prime minister Rafik Al-Hariri inaugurated a new system at Beirut Port for rehabilitating the country's custom procedures. Ministers, deputies, and port officials were present at the ceremony. Hariri said the top priority at this stage must be to rebuild the country adding all administrations in Lebanon will be enhanced to better serve the citizens as well as the state's treasury. He also thanked the President Elias Al-Hrawi, the parliament, and the Lebanese citizens for their support saying that without their help any of the achievements made during the past five years in the country would be impossible. The prime minister also praised the outcome of his talks with House Speaker Nabih Berri over the past few days.
The premier had updated the president on the outcome of these discussions last night in Baabda. After their meeting, Hariri said a consensus was reached for an economic strategy adding he was satisfied with the results of these meetings that focused on the government's economic policy.
Azerbijani Foreign Minister Hassan Hassanov arrived in Beirut yesterday as part of a regional tour in the Middle East. Hassanov held official talks today with top Lebanese leaders. He met President Elias Al-Hrawi at the presidential palace in Baabda. The Azeri official handed Hrawi a message from his president Haidar Aliyev. After meeting Hrawi, the Azerbijani foreign minister said he informed the Lebanese president on the situation in Azerbijan especially in light of his country's dispute with Armenia which occupies 20% of Azerbijani land. Hassanov also held talks with Prime minister Rafik Al-Hariri at the government palace. They discussed issues related to bilateral relations. He earlier met Foreign Minister Faris Boueiz at Boustrous palace. Discussions centered on bilateral economic and political ties. After the meeting, Hassanov said he had traced many ways of possible cooperation between the two countries. The Azeri official who came here after a three-day official visit to Syria, will next continue his regional tour by heading to Dubai. It is worth noting that Azerbijan does not have an embassy in Lebanon. Lebanon's ambassador to Russia represents its interests in Azerbijan.
In Parliament today, a number of committees held meetings and discussions. The Agriculture and Tourism parliamentary committee approved three articles of the municipal and mayoral election law. But the committee decided to delay any decision concerning clause 19 of the same election law which says the government can appoint one third of the municipal council members in certain areas and towns. It said this will be discussed during another session on Thursday attended by Interior Minister Michel Al-Murr. The committee of foreign affairs is parliament also convened today in the presence of prime minister Rafik Al-Hariri and Acting Finance Minister of State Fouad Sanyoura. The committee praised the recent contacts the premier had carried out with a number of foreign countries. Head of the committee Ali Al-Khalil hailed the government's foreign policy regarding all efforts to boost bilateral relations with the different countries officially visited, especially those countries where some Lebanese live and work. The premier along with Sanyoura later convened with the committee of telecommunication and media headed by deputy Abdel Latif Al-Zein. The premier told the committee that the expected revenues of cellular phones to the treasury may reach 140 million dollars during this year.
The Luxurious Hotel in the heart of Kaslik, Jounieh, Lebanon
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