News from Beirut July 29 1997 ...Search

South Lebanon- Violence

-Military escalation is going unabated in south Lebanon. The Israeli warplanes yesterday raided a valley west of Iqlim Toffah hours after the Islamic resistance attacked an SLA outpost Al Bourj near Saidoun in Jezzine area. The Israeli and SLA artillery bombarded the town of Habbouche near Nabtieh causing damages in three houses and the electricity network. The Israeli shelling at several other villages in Iqlim Toffah caused severe damage. The resistance claimed responsibility of several attacks against targets inside the security zone.

-In Jerusalem, Israel said the five nation ceasefire monitoring committee will convene Wednesday to examine three complaints filed by Israel. The first was against Hizbullah shelling Sunday of areas inside the security zone where a Lebanese civilian woman was wounded. The second was a complaint against Hizbullah shelling of Kaoukaba village also inside the zone with Katyusha rockets. The third was against Sunday's shelling of an SLA outpost. Lebanon has also filed three complaints against Israel and its backed militia.

-Hizbullah deputy leader sheikh Naim Kassem said the Katyusha rocket is a strategic weapon aimed to preserve the civilian's security and to give them strength in facing the world powers that support the enemy. Kassem said the Islamic resistance knows how and when to use the weapon. He said firing the Katyusha is not upon an external wish but it is fired under a wise and responsible decision.

-International campaign for the release of Suha Beshara, a Lebanese suicider girl who shot and seriously wounded commander of the Israeli backed SLA Antoine Lahd and now jailed at Khiam prison, already started in Paris and Beirut. Signers of the memo in Paris demanding her release included prominent figures in the fields of arts, music, politics and press. Some of the names has the history of resisting the Nazis during the 2nd world war.

-In a dispatch from Nicosia, where the cease-fire monitoring committee's administrative headquarters, it was learnt that France has appointed ambassador Joseph Rabain as new head of the French team at the monitoring panel.

Environment -Garbage, The Top Story

-Piles of garbage that have accumulated since Bourj Hammoud and Amrousieh dumps were closed will be removed quickly. The Deputy premier Michel Murr, environment minister Akram Shehayeb and other officials have located a new temporary dump west of the airport road after an emergency meeting that was held at Baabda serail. The temporary new dump at Maramel area would serve until a deadline ending 30th September this year. The Amrousieh incinerator that was set on blaze lately will be equipped with modern facilities to treat the 600 daily tons of garbage.

Audio-Visual Religious Media Stations

-Information minister Bassem Sabbaa is to visit today Mufti Mohammed Rashid Kabbani to discuss the issue of religious broadcasting after the Iftaa inaugurated its religious radio station the Koran Karim radio station in Lebanon. Sabbaa has met earlier this week with another Muslim religious leadership sheikh Moahmmed Mahdi Shamseddine to discuss the issue. Last week he met a delegation of the Catholic information center. The government closure of the nonlicensed private audio-visual stations would exclude religious stations, but the problem is that each community wants to have its own station.

US Travel Ban

-US ambassador Richard Jones after a meeting yesterday with state minister for finance Fouad Seniora said his administration would take a decision on the travel ban within the coming 24, 48 or 72 hours. News sources in Beirut said Jones did not convey a definite decision to Seniora, since the decision making is up to secretary of state Albright. Mrs.. Albright would announce the decision before 30th July and perhaps the ban will be replaced by strong warning for the US nationals not to travel to Lebanon.


-President Elias Hrawi called on telephone his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak to express his well wishes after the medical check up. Hrawi congratulated the education minister Jean Obeid on the Pan Arab Games and wished him to call all Lebanese athletes who participated in the games to visit the presidential palace.

-Brazil's house speaker Michel Tamer is expected to visit today his parent's birth place at Btaaboura in the Koura region. He started his official talks with Lebanese officials and said he is seeking the largest and strongest relation with Lebanon. He also announced that the third conference of  the Lebanese origin parliamentarians will be held on Feb. in Washington.

-Patriarch Sfair speaking to a delegation from Bekaa said Lebanon is for all its citizens, Christians and Muslims, who were here since the early Christianity and early Islam, will remain here and die here afterward their children and grand children will remain too. He said all the invading armies that had passed over the country went away, while the Lebanese people did stay because of their faith and mutual trust. The Patriarch received a delegation representing nonpolitical radio stations in north Lebanon who said some 400 family are earning their living of their employment with these stations.

-The Greek Catholic High Council warned of shaking down the common coexistence formula in the country if return of the displaced is delayed. The council warned also of what is taking place in Jezzine saying the government should do the best it can to ease burdens of Jezzine's people. The council also called the government to preserve the community's right in the public administration's posts.

-Contacts behind curtains with Iraq to heel the rift that followed exclusion of its sports delegation to the eighth Pan Arab Games are underway and hopefully will settle the crisis.

-France's foreign minister is due to arrive to Beirut on 25th August as part of his M.E. tour that aims to move ahead the stalemate peace process.

-Mar Youssef church at Qana in south Lebanon which burnt as a result of an electrical mass two weeks ago is to be rebuild according to council of the south. Politicians and ordinary people are visiting the site and appeal its rebuilding.

- Driving a car from the St. George hotel to the airport in 7 minutes, from Ashrafieh to Ain Mreisse in two minutes, and the same two minutes from Hamra to Bab Edriss, that is the hopeful expected traffic situation in Beirut at the first months of the coming year. The traffic will face no crosspoints, no jam, and no traffic signals thanks to the three tunnels that are under construction.

Pan Arab Games

-Jordanian monarch King Hussein and several other thousands of Jordanian citizens welcomed Monday their country's athletes who participated in the Eighth Pan Arab games in Beirut. The Jordanians were back home with 39 medals and 10 gold medals including the football golden medal. The athletes were officially received at Amman airport by King Hussein, his spouse, the crown prince, and members of the royal family and senior officials. They toured Amman on open cars and greeted by thousands of citizens. The Jordanian television urged the public to contribute for sports, starting with King Hussein $17,000, and could raise up $170,000. An insurance company presented a $70,000 life insurance policy to each of the Jordanian football team's players.

-Damaging the Sports City seats, marble and some walls during Lebanon-Syria and Syria-Jordan's football games were not justified and was an irresponsible action. 2,000 plastic seats were smashed by the furious audience during the two games.

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