News from Beirut November 28  1997 ...Search

Hrawi receives head of Islamic Bank for development

President Elias Al-Hrawi today received a delegation from the Islamic Bank for Development. Head of the delegation Mohammed Ahmad Ali held talks with Hrawi in the presence of Acting Finance Minister of State Fouad Sanyoura.

Ahmad Ali said after the meeting a delegation from the bank will visit Lebanon next month to be able to formulate a 3-year cooperation plan between the bank and Lebanon. Sanyoura hoped the bank will consider opening a branch in Lebanon. Later, Sanyoura accompanied Ahmad Ali to Saida were they met Deputy Bahiyya Al-Hariri. Discussions centered on the educational projects that were being funded by the bank in the country. Afterwards, the head of the Islamic Bank inaugurated an elementary public school near the southern port city of Tyre financed by the Islamic Bank.

MEA will pay employees their salaries

The Middle East Airlines board of directors today decided the company will pay the employees there salaries for this month after it got the acceptance from Lebanon's central bank, which controls almost 100 percent of MEA shares. A source in the company today denied any resignation in the board of directors. Two top executives of the company were questioned by prosecutors yesterday as part of an investigation into embezzlement. Company chairman Khaled Salam and director general Youssef Lahud were questioned by General Beshara Salem, the head of a crime unit operating under attorney general Adnan Addoum. A judicial source said the MEA bosses submitted documents surrounding the lease in June of three Airbus aircraft by Lebanon's national airline to Singapore Airlines. Salam and Lahud are due to be questioned again on Tuesday. Prosecutors are investigating allegations that commissions were pocketed during the conclusion of a contract for the 39 million dollar lease of the Airbus planes to Singapore Airlines for a five-year period. The inquiry was opened after a request by Lebanon's central bank.

Amnesty calls for sparing civilians in the South

The human rights group Amnesty International today issued a statement calling for urgent action to avoid putting civilian lives at risk in South Lebanon. Amnesty also said it decided to launch a campaign to denounce the killing of eight Lebanese civilians on Sunday in the occupied village of  Beit Lif. The group also called on people to send letters to all parties involved in the fighting to remind them that under international law attacks against the civilian population are never justified.

Japanese ambassador promises more loans to Lebanon

The Japanese ambassador to Lebanon Yasuji Ishigaki today held talks at Boustrous Place with the Acting Director general of the Foreign Minister Lawyer Samir Khouri. After the meeting, Ishigaki told reporters his country will provide Lebanon more loans, adding the Japanese economic delegation that visited Lebanon last week studied the possibility of implementing new projects in Lebanon and has asked the approval of the Lebanese government.

For his part, Khouri said he demanded that Ishigaki report to his government the necessity of reconsidering its decision to decrease the percentage of its participation in UNICEF. Ishigaki promised to do so adding that Japan will grant the refugees in Lebanon an amount of one million US dollars.

Russian Mideast envoy to visit Beirut next week

The Russian special Mideast peace envoy, Victor Posuvalyuk is expected in Beirut next week to discuss a possible swap of prisoners between Israel and Hizbullah. This was announced today by the Russian ambassador to Lebanon, Oleg Peresipkine. Posuvalyuk was due to meet with Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah whom Peresipkine visited today. Talks are expected to focus on the possible exchange of prisoners and bodies between Israel and Hizbullah. Israel wants to regain the body of a soldier killed in a failed in failed commando operation carried out in September in the village of Ansariyeh, north of the zone Israel occupies in the South.

Hizbullah demands the release of Lebanese detainees held by Israel's allied militia in the South and a number of others imprisoned by Israel. Lebanese diplomatic sources today said the Russian envoy was also due to hold talks with Lebanese prime minister Rafik Al-Hariri and Foreign Minister Faris Boueiz.

Beirut port organizing architectural contest

The Beirut Port Committee today held a press conference to announce an architectural contest was being organized with the aim of building a marine museum and a passenger station in the port area. The Director General of  the Beirut Port Mohib Itani called on all Lebanese architects who are registered in the Architects Syndicate to present plans for the two projects no longer than the 28th of February. A special committee will then study the submitted plans and three winners valuable awards. The first winner will be awarded $25,000, the second $12,000, and the third $7,000.

The plans will be considered according to standards of beauty, applicability, originality, and adequacy to the Lebanese unique style of architecture.

Beirut to host European film festival next week

The Lebanese capital is to host a European film festival next week, the fourth such event to be held in Lebanon since 1993. An official of the European Commission, Giorgio Ficcarelli today said the festival features 15 European movies giving an image of the most recent European productions. He added the festival will be held between December 5 and 12 at the Empire II cinema in Ashrafieh. Among the films on show will be Britain's "The Full Monty" by director Peter Cattaneo and starring Robert Carlyle who appeared in Trainspotting, and the French film L'Appat directed by Bertrand Tavernier. the festival will also for the first time feature 10 short movies made by students and graduates of Lebanon's three film production schools.

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