News from Beirut July 26 1997 ...Search

Government New headaches

-The audiovisual private stations that were not licensed continue to defy the government decision to close for the second consecutive day and go on broadcasting as usual. Information minister Bassem Sabbaa was affirmative that the stations will today receive formal notice to comply to the government decision. Prime minister Rafic Hariri has also affirmed that the media file was definitely closed, but things on the ground are different. More opposition to the government decision on media was observed. The head of the Muslim Shiite High Council sheikh Mohammed Mahdi Shamseddine yesterday declared that the government decision was short and insufficient, and called the government to complete giving license to all applicant stations that fulfilled the requirement. His declaration was general and included all stations, but perhaps he wanted to raise the point of "religious media stations", adding more feud to the turbulent issue-headache of the government. Former prime minister Selim Hoss yesterday said giving license to some stations and refusing that to others which completed the license documents is unjust and irrational. Hoss added that since some of the officials are beneficent of the licenses granted to their stations, it is then a mix up between what's private and public and its sort of illegal gain of the public post.

-The second government's headache is the lack of space-location for Beirut and its northern and southern suburb's garbage that are accumulating on the street sides warning a dangerous environmental pollution. People who could not tolerate the odor and piles of garbage were forced to burn their house wastes at the main streets, adding smoke to odor, and accuse the government of ignoring the crisis. At the southern suburbs of Beirut, the outcries against the pending garbage file went far to the extent of warning to close down the airport highway. Southern suburbs MP Salah Harakeh called representative of the suburbs including the government ministers to resign in protest, and asked an urgent meeting with the president to discuss the case. Harakeh said fifth of the Lebanese people that are living in the suburbs deserve a government care. Papers here said the problem is not tolerable and it came in a bad timing on verge of the summer season that was hopefully expected to help Lebanon's economy. Environment minister Akram Shehayeb said a place to compile garbage near the old incinerator at Amrousieh was located but this new place would take months to be ready to receive the garbage. Shehayeb said let it be frank to say that whenever we locate a place people demonstrate to reject the idea. The Amrousieh incinerator has been lately set on blaze by angry residents, mostly Shiite, as they refuse to locate it within their residential area. An alternative to Amrousieh and Bourj Hammoud dump that was closed on 20th July was not yet found. The Lebanese opposition argued how the government planned a successful summer season without anticipating the garbage problem. Sheikh Mohammed Mahdi Shamseddine argued why all the southern suburbs people, counting hundreds of thousands, are being punished now, because some people have burnt the Amrousieh incinerator. The Muslim religious leaders said in their Friday's sermons that the government should deal with the garbage problem both at the southern and northern suburbs of Beirut.

-The third headache of the government is the Kesrouan planned protest on Sunday at Mayrouba. Papers here describe it as a duplicate of the hunger revolution, or a Kesrouan rejection movement. The protest was architected by MP Rshayd el Khazen to protest the government ignorance of the region's demands and state services. The possibility to turn it from a protest against lack of services to a political one involving more Christians is a possibility. Some reports hinted that the organizers would add to their social and development demands some political slogans, including the demand to return back to Lebanon the Christian leaders who are either in exile or reside out such as Gen. Aoun, former president Amin Gemayel and Raymond Edde, also demand the government to issue a new pardon law. MP Rshayd el Khazen yesterday said there is no need to ask for a government permission to hold the protest because it will be held at a closed place and a prior notice to the authority is enough. He said he won't ask a permission, if need to, from other than sheikh Subhi Tufeili and not anyone else. Reports said some 400 police force will ensure security at Mayrouba and the Lebanese army units will be ready to back it up if needed. Observers are looking to Patriarch Sfair reaction toward the move as some reports said he would dispatch a representative or perhaps send a message. The Kataeb party in Kesrouan said Kesrouan demands were old one but have been always ignored by the successive governments. The party said the Kesrouan prosperous era during the 80's was a result of individual or private effort only, and the region did not see any government development after the term of late president Fouad Chehab.

-The three prementioned headaches are pressing the government. Meanwhile, premier Hariri who ended his visit to Athen arrived to Paris in a private visit. An outlook on the accumulating socio-economic problems warns serious crisis and plight. Hariri said he was relaxed to his talks in Greece which promised more European pressure on Israel to make a breakthrough in the staled M.E. peace process. Hariri was granted the golden medal of Athen which was a precedent as its granted only to heads of states.


-The Islamic resistance attacked SLA outposts at Sojod, Bir Kallab and Hadatha. Hizbullah sponsored magazine published today what it called the file of SLA officials who were executed by the Islamic resistance in Jezzine. The list included Emile Youssef Nasr, Elias Youssef Moussa, Talid Abdallah Khoury, Claude Majid Khalil, and Tony Nohra. The resistance said it fired today several Katyusha rockets at the Israeli post at Tallet Kamha inside the security zone, in retaliation to Israeli shelling of civilian areas in west Bekaa.

-The return of the displaced which is at stalemate continues to dominate local pages. Former minister Joseph el Hashem claimed that 55,000 nondisplaced family benefited the compensation of eviction. Hashem said the Christian displaced, who are the majority, did receive L.L279.7bn compared to the non Christians who received L.L343.2bn. Hashem claimed that only 5 per cent of the displaced have returned while the ministry for the displaced claimed the ratio is 40 per cent. In a survey published in a leading daily Caritas said it spent $16mn on the displaced since 1990. Deputy head of the displaced fund Abdel Hamid Nasser said the displaced fund will resume financing the return plan in the coming few weeks.

-A political analyst today questioned what fate is facing south of Lebanon in case the Golan heights were finally annexed to Israel.

-A news paper dispatch from Paris published today said Paris won't provide names and nationalities of Gen. Aoun's visitors both at Marseille and Haute Maison to the Lebanese authority if the latter formally asked for that. French political sources said the French security agencies, though documenting all the daily moves of Gen. Aoun visitors in compliance with the French government commitment to ensure his security, have no such legal authority to provide the information. The dispatch and report came amid information saying Lebanon would dispatch a judicial delegation to Paris to inquire what president Hrawi mentioned recently. He affirmed that Gen. Michel Aoun has met an Israeli senior officer.

-Patriarch Sfair received, among the usual daily visitors, the head of the Maronite missionary in Mexico accompanied by the aide of Mexican interior minister Emilio Cheifat, who is from a Lebanese origin, who came to extend an invitation to Patriarch Sfair to visit Mexico where some 250,000 Lebanese origin community are living, including 80 per cent Maronites.

-The NLP party led by Douri Chamoun in a statement issued yesterday said the Lebanese officials continue to impose an unfair equation on the Lebanese citizens. The equation is putting them before two choices, either the unconditional surrender to the de facto situation, or suffer the marginalisation, oppression and discrimination.

-Australian parliament delegation now visiting Lebanon met president Elias Hrawi and said so much things have changed in Lebanon since the reopening of the Australian embassy two years ago.

-Brazil's house speaker Michel Tamer, from a Lebanese origin, is due to arrive to Lebanon tomorrow in a visit that will last until 2nd August upon an invitation from his Lebanese counterpart. Tamer will be heading a delegation of five Brazilian Mps. Tamer will visit his parents birth place the Btaaboura village in the Koura region north of Lebanon. He said his parents were Lebanese and migrated to Brazil in the 20's.

-Former Algerian president Ahmad Bin Bella is to be hosted today at a launch to his honor by Patriarch Sfair. The 6th day of Bin Bella visit to Lebanon is to take him to north Lebanon where he will lectures a Tripoli forum and visits former premier Omar Karami.

-Three Lebanese origin members of the US house of representatives including Mickel Jarjoura, David Capillo and William Hamzeh sent a memo to the US secretary of state asking to lift the US travel ban. They supported their demand by the last moves which took place in Lebanon including the Pope's visit and the Pan Arab Games. They said the lift of the ban will allow US businessmen to contribute in the $3.5bn reconstruction process in Lebanon. The memo also said that the lift will help Lebanon's peace and consolidate its independence.

The Eighth Pan Arab Sports Games

-The Pan ArabGames is to end tomorrow when the banner will be handed to the Jordanian delegation that will host the 9th games.

-The list of medals after the 13th day games

State ----------- gold ---------- silver --------- bronze -----------  total

Egypt ----------- 94 ------------ 52 ------------ 37 --------------- 183

Algeria --------- 38 ------------  42 ------------ 42 --------------- 122

Morocco ------- 19 ------------ 14 ------------ 17 ---------------- 50

Syria ------------ 14 ------------ 26 ------------ 36 --------------- 76

Qatar ------------ 9 ------------- 6 -------------- 2 --------------- 17

Tunisia ----------- 8 ------------ 12 ------------- 24 -------------- 44

Jordan ----------- 7 -------------- 9 ------------- 20 -------------- 36

Lebanon --------- 6 ------------- 16 ------------  46 -------------- 68

Saudia ----------- 5 ------------- 10 ------------- 19 --------------34

Kuwait ---------- 1 ------------- 12 ------------- 17 -------------- 30

Oman ---------- 1 --------------- 1 -------------- 1 ----------------3

Sudan - ---------------------------1 -------------- 2 --------------- 3

Libya ---------------------------- 1 -------------- 1 ---------------- 2

Palestine ----------------------------------------- - 4 -------------- 4

Bahrain ------------------------------------------ - 1 -------------- 1

Total----------- 202 ------------ 203 ------------ 269 ------------ 674

Official Exams- Result

-Baac Science Ex result ranged between 46.5 per cent and 60.7 per cent. Charlotte Afif abu Elias from south Lebanon was ranked first among the 9898 student with 5,270 succeeded.

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