News from Beirut December 2  1997 ...Search

Three Israeli soldiers wounded in the South

Three Israeli soldiers were wounded today in a rocket attack by Hizbullah guerrillas on a radar installation in the South. Lebanese security sources said the soldiers were wounded when several rockets were fired at an Israeli army position in Bayada in the western sector of the occupied zone.

Hizbullah claimed responsibility for the attack and said it had destroyed a radar station there. Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes flew over the city of Tyre and the Iqlim Al-Touffah hills.

Hrawi voices support for the Baabda agreement

President Elias Al-Hrawi today held talks with the new council of the editor's syndicate headed by syndicate head Mr. Melhem Karam. The president voiced his support for the so-called Baabda agreement reached between the country's three top leaders. But Hrawi was quoted as saying the economic revival plan cannot yet be described as obligatory adding it still needs to be discussed by cabinet. The president also stressed that municipal and mayoral elections will take place in April saying the approaching end of his term will have no negative effect on these elections. Hrawi added appointments will only be made in a limited number of cases and in places where holding elections was impossible. Hrawi also referred to the access in government employees saying the number of those employees was 80,000 before the war but now it has reached 160,000.

Hariri holds ministerial meetings

At the government palace today, prime minister Rafik Al-Hariri held talks with ministers Sleiman Franjieh, Ali Harajli, and Bshara Merhej and Elias Hanna. He also met a delegation of the Armenian bloc in parliament. After his meeting with the premier, health minister Sleiman Franjieh said his ministry will continue to treat patients suffering from cancer and kidney problems. But Franjieh added discussions are under way to reduce the number of the government's contracts with private hospitals to half. For his part, Public works minister Ali Harajli announced that his ministry will get the minimum financing needed to complete road construction projects underway.

Committees hold meetings in parliament

The parliamentary justice and administration committee today approved a bill that would grant amnesty to all people who committed drug crimes before 1992. Head of the committee deputy Shaker Abu Sleiman told reporters after the session people who committed all types of drug crimes before December, 31, 1992 are to get general amnesty whether they were sentenced by military of civilian courts or are wanted for drug-related crimes. The committee also ratified 17 clauses of the mayoral and municipal election law. Other clauses will be considered during a meeting of the committee scheduled for next Thursday. Today's session was attended by interior minister Michel Al-Murr who stressed the necessity of ratifying the election law before the end of this month to enable his ministry to take the necessary administrative measures in the meantime. The education committee also met today headed by deputy Bahiyya Al-Hariri. Al-Hariri reiterated her support for the teacher?s demands but said she was against resorting to negativity in approaching these demands. Deputy Al-Hariri added she will continue her efforts in the way of achieving the teacher's rightful demands. The teachers of Lebanon will stage a strike tomorrow in this regard.

Investigations continue into the MEA case

Investigations continued today at the ministry of justice on the case of the Middle East Airlines. The judiciary has been investigating the leasing by the company of three Airbuses form Singapore Airlines. The head of the criminal investigation department Bshara Slam listened to the testimonies of the head of MEA's board of directors Khaled Slam and his son Salim Slam. The director of the company Youssef Lahhoud also gave his testimony today.

Meanwhile, some MEA workers and employees signed a petition demanding Lebanese newspapers to handle the case only under judicial guidelines. They added some reports by the media have reflected negatively on their work in the company.

Arab member of Israeli parliament to visit Beirut

An Arab member of the Israeli parliament, Azmi Bashara, said late Sunday he would make an unprecedented visit to Beirut next week for a conference on Arab unity. Bashara of the opposition communist Hadash party, added he would be taking part not as a member of the Kenesset but as an intellectual and philosopher. He also said he would be bearing no official message.

Bashara added he might also go to Syria. Six MPs were among 30 Arab Israelis who went to Syria in August and met President Hafez Al-Assad in the first visit of its kind since Israel was founded in 1948.

Vedrine in Lebanon next month

The French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine is expected in Lebanon during mid next month. This was announced today by the French ambassador to Lebanon Danielle Jouaneau who visited foreign minister Faris Boueiz at Boustrous Palace. Jouaneau later reiterated France's stance with respect to the peace process and the implementation of UN resolutions. The French ambassador also praised the efforts of the European union envoy to the Mideast Miguel Angel Moratinos who held talks in Beirut yesterday concerning peace mediation in the region.

Classes begin in the newly opened Technical University College in Sidon

The Technical University Institute or the IUT opened recently in Sidon. The Institute is overseen by the Lebanese university, the French government and the Hariri Foundation. Today classes began in the institute. This after the administration gave the results of entrance examinations. Of the 370 students who applied, 136 were accepted according to the standards set by the institute. The students are distributed over three majors:

communication engineering, civil engineering, and industrial engineering with an average of 45 students per branch. The students come from different areas in the country.

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