Lebanese emigrants in Freetown- now facing the chaotic situation were a main concern in Lebanon today. Lebanese emigrants who were called today on phone reported large scale cases of looting and robbery. They said losses of the Lebanese community there were enormous, additional to the killing of two Lebanese named Hassan Jamil Saeed, son of the reputed businessman Jamil Saeed, and Walid Rumieh. This evening it was sure a Lebanese airliner MEA plane will be flying tomorrow to Freetown to bring back the two dead bodies and Lebanese dependents. US ambassador Richard Jones said after a meeting today with speaker Nabih Berri the US has no plans for the time being to evacuate its nationals there but it is watching the situation very closely. He said his country will be working together with Lebanon to follow up the situation. Fresh reports from Freetown said Marines units and Nigerian peace keepers would enter Freetown to restore order and stability.
-News in Beirut said the spouse of Sierra Leone president Ahmad Tijan Kabah, who was ousted in the last military coup, is in Beirut since few days. The news said the spouse of the ousted president arrived to Beirut last week for shopping and she is now residing at Bustan hotel in Beit Meri.
- Lebanon's government at its ordinary meeting today reached a compromise on the 3 years pending issue of 22 emigrants attaches in the absence of foreign minister Fares Boueiz who is in Damascus. The compromise stated that 21 attaches will be given special not diplomatic passports and be assigned in Lebanese missions abroad only not in Lebanese consulates. The Lebanese ministers endorsed unanimously a mechanism on the way out which was proposed by prime minister Hariri.
-Among other government decisions, the appointment of Fouad Zebian as financial inspector, endorsing two loan agreements with Japan and the European bank, planning schemes of Sin el Fil, and preparation for the year 2001 Francofone sports tournament. The government agreed in principle to the establishment of the LU new tourism faculty but after counseling the Shura, also completion of Jounieh-Harissa road.
- The well known reputable CNN network is to return back to Beirut 12 years after its evacuation following the kidnap of its then director. Beirut will be the regional head office of the American network though no American staff will be running the office. The staff members will be Lebanese and Jordanian nationals. The CNN has remarkably covered Qana massacre and "Grapes of Wraths" blitz. The office will be located at Sanayeh and will cooperate with agencies such as WTN and others. Prime minister Hariri declared today saying the CNN return signals confidence in Lebanon.
- Patriarch Sfair received today at Bkerke a committee representing families of persons reported missing in 1990 who asked him to inquire their whereabouts. He said a list of the missing persons was conveyed to authorities outside Lebanon and it is hopeful to have good news about them. Among other visitors of Bkerke today was Douri Chamoun who declared he is boycotting the provisional by elections until a government of national unity is formed and election law be modified.
-Lebanon state run television station Tele Liban is celebrating today its 38 years service. The news broadcasters who were first in the Arab world 38 years ago appeared on the screen today in a remembrance of the occasion. Jean Khoury, Camile Menassa, and Irfan Malas this evening told the story of their early service years.
-Lebanon Prime Minister Rafic Hariri sudden new proposal on election law is now a debating topic. Mr. Hariri has hinted to the proposal during a TV seminar with Orbit network Saturday. He discussed the proposal with Patriarch Sfair during their last meeting at Bkerke. The proposal is similar in form to earlier proposals announced by president Hrawi and speaker Berri but differs in its merit and content. The proposal is unclear, unspecified, and Hariri himself was reserved to give more details. On May 26 Hariri discussed his proposal with 16 visiting MP. His circles said the proposal aims to seek a new modern law, that entitles an MP to represent the nation not the sect, and makes him responsible before the Lebanese people not his community, constituency, or his group. President Hrawi has proposed last year that all Lebanon be a large one constituency. Though the proposal of Mr. Hariri is not publicized yet, the parliament prominent opposition figures including former speaker Hussein Husseini, and MP Boutros Harb and Nassib Lahoud, were the most opponents, saying the proposal aims to strike at the national entente pact, and warned of a scheme to oust majority of Lebanese from representation. They said the prime minister saying that his proposal is open to discussion is merely on surface because the decision has been already taken. Loyalists of Mr. Hariri including his parliamentary "decision bloc" called all those concerned to study the idea and crystallize it in order to reach common grounds on the proposed plan. The new proposal would be discussed today by the council of ministers out of the agenda. The government session is to be held today at 10.00 a.m. instead of 5.00 p.m. (LT), due to engagements of Mr. Hariri. He will participate today in laying the cornerstone of Beirut Forum hotel in downtown Beirut, also to reopen of Mar Elias street after its rehabilitation.
Parliament general debate Wednesday and Thursday will be only and exclusively centering on MPs inquiries. There are 24 various questions put before the debate, dealing with development, services, and other nonpolitical issues such as budget deficit, municipal elections, challenges of last year's elections. Out of the 24 question, 6 were submitted by former premier Selim Hoss, 7 by MP Najah Wakim, 3 by MP George Kssarji, One by each of the MPs Zaher el Khatib and Talal Merebi, and another one by An Nidal bloc. The debate will not be televised and will be disciplinary and calm while the Parliamentary circles exclude a vote of confidence.
- The parliament finance and budget committee under MP Khalil Hrawi is said to have almost finished the study of the new salary scale for the public sector. During the past months there were skepticism and doubts over the possibility to lay down and implement the new scale. The committee sources said 4 essential and vital provisions which pave grounds for implementing the scale were approved, and 31 out of the 34 attached tables were finalized. The last meeting of the committee on May 26 took 6 consecutive hours.
- Patriarch Sfair addressing champville students at Bkerke yesterday said the apostolic guidance is a constitution of life and the line between what was before and what will come next. He told them to adhere to Christian virtues, as faith, hope, affection, justice, straightness, equality, freedom, independence, and sovereignty. He said Bkerke is first the home of the Maronites and for all the Christians and Lebanese. He said he wants to congratulate them for learning languages they need in their social and practical life, but he wants to congratulate too learning the Arabic language and pronouncing it properly.
-Patriarch Sfair received the former adviser of the LF commander Toufic Hindi. Hindi said the first pre condition of a successful Syrian Christian dialogue is to be without exclusion. Hindi also said it is better to work seriously on clearing the Syrian-Christian atmospheres in order to lend success to the dialogue, starting with :
1. A fast treatment of the Christian political situation, through the release of Dr. Samir Geagea, with a pardon law of no exceptions, also through a free come back of the leaders who are out and an affirmation on the freedom of political action
2. halt the second naturalization phase and suspension of the effects of the first phase until the time a balance in the state political institutions is maintained, after which a review of the whole entire naturalization process takes place
3. to put aside the proposal of Lebanon one constituency because this proposal forms the first step on the way to abolish political confessionalism.
- The parliamentary national decision bloc headed by prime minister Hariri praised the apostolic guidance signed by his pontiff during the visit to Lebanon. The bloc said "it touched a new moral push for the national entente and the common living in Lebanon.
- The popular democratic movement headed by former MP Habib Sadek praised the apostolic guidance and regard it a frank call to a frank dialogue, also see it consecrating the affiliation to Arab identity and environment.
- Israeli warplanes raided Ain Tineh hills in west Bekaa after two SLA men were wounded in a blast explosion at the road leading to Toumat Niha outpost. The raiding planes fired air to surface missiles at 5.00 p.m. SLA sources said its posts at Sojod and Rihan came under mortar fire Sunday.
- The parliament planning and development committee in an unprecedented move ever by a parliament committee visited the CDR council May 26. The committee reviewed the projects now carried by the council, and was briefed on the various sectors in charge of the council, and mechanism of work also the financing.
- Kataeb party leader George Saadeh called party members to abide by the party decision on the by elections when the party takes its decision on that. He called the party members not to engage with any of the candidates in all the by elections constituencies.
- Provisional by elections in north Lebanon starts on but alliances are unclear yet and voting average is expected to be high.
- Interior minister Michel Murr assured yesterday that the general elections was honest, and the thesis of the Constitutional Council indicate the honesty of the political authority. Murr said the circulated rumors in the media or in the political society aim to discredit the state and sabotage the entire election process.
- UK state minister for foreign affairs is due to arrive to Beirut Thursday coming from Syria by land. He will hold talks in Beirut for hours before continuing his tour in the M.E.
- Lebanon foreign minister said the Iranian elections results are highly regarded, especially as it is hopefully preaching a more open method of work on hands of the new president, and because it may open new horizons for Islamic Iran regarding its international relations. He said he cabled congratulating the new president and have great hope that his election will be a further step on enhancing the two countries bilateral relation.
- Faiza Rafsanjani, daughter of Iran's outgoing president Hashimi Rafsanjani and member of the Iranian Shura council now visiting Lebanon, met yesterday prime minister Hariri and Hizbullah S.G Hassan Nasrallah.
- News reports said Lebanon and Iraq are on verge of resuming bilateral relations and perhaps diplomatic relation in the forthcoming time on charge d'affaire level as first step. The diplomatic relations were severed in 1994. Some 3,750 weekly truck are supplying Iraq with Turkish commodities and the Lebanese producers can supply same quality products both if its in the framework of oil for food principle or out of it. Lebanon and Syria show solidarity regarding openness toward Iraq, recalled that Lebanese trade with Iraq will be via Syria.
- Governor of Beirut Nicolas Saba checked yesterday the construction works at the sport city in Beirut and the nearby Malaab Baladi in Tarik Jedideh. Chairman of the sport city board confirmed that the construction works are over and the city is ready to host the Arab sport 8th tournament.
The Luxurious Hotel in the heart of Kaslik, Jounieh, Lebanon
[ Lebanon.com Weekly Business Reports ]
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