News from Beirut November 13  1998 ...Search

Hrawi still under observation after undergoing surgery

President Elias Al-Hrawi is in stable health condition after undergoing a balloon angioplasty to clear a blocked coronary artery. This according to a statement released today by Dr. Antoine Nassrallah at the Sacre Coeur Hospital in Hazmieh. The hospital's administration today said the president spent a quiet night adding he is now under ordinary medical observation.

Meanwhile, well wishers continued to pour in at the hospital today including official, diplomatic, religious, and popular delegations. The president is still in the intensive care unit following a mild heart attack he had suffered Tuesday night. The president also underwent an angiography to determine the condition of his heart and arteries.

US Trade Minister starts official talks in Beirut

The US Trade Minister, William Daley, today began an official visit to the country; the first of its kind since the United States lifted its travel ban restrictions on Lebanon last year.

The US official this morning visited his country's embassy in Awkar where he met the newly appointed US ambassador to Lebanon, David Satterfield and a number of officials at the embassy.

The US Trade Minister also held talks today with Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri at his residence in Kraytem in the presence of Trade and Economy Minister Yassin Jaber, Administrative Reform Minister Bshara Merhej, and Acting Finance Minister Fouad Sanyoura.

Daley later visited the headquarters of the Economy Ministry where he held official discussions with his Lebanese counterpart and held a press conference afterwards. A reception ceremony was organized in his honor at the Bristol Hotel.

Lahhoud meets US Trade Minister in Yarzeh

Visiting US Trade Minister today visited president-elect General Emil Lahhoud in Yarzeh. He was accompanied by the US ambassador to Lebanon, David Satterfield.

The US Minister, William Daley, told reporters after the meeting his visit comes under the framework of the lifting of the US travel ban on Lebanon. He added his country is highly interested in starting trade activities with Lebanon. The US Minister also said his visit aims at boosting cooperation between the two countries and encouraging US businessmen to invest in Lebanon.

Meanwhile, the president-elect continued today his discussions with government officials on the important files of the upcoming phase.

Austrian Foreign Minister arrives tomorrow in Beirut

Austria's Foreign Minister is expected tomorrow in Beirut for talks with the government's high-ranking officials. The Austrian official presides over the current session of the European Union. During his short visit to the country, the Austrian official is scheduled to hold discussions with Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri and his Lebanese counterpart Faris Boueiz.

His talks are expected to focus on Mideast peace process developments in light of the Wye Plantation Accord. He will also tackle the causes behind the delay in reaching a partnership agreement between Lebanon and the EU.

The Austrian Foreign Minister will be accompanied by a high-ranking diplomatic delegation.

Israeli warplanes intensify their air attacks on Lebanon

Israeli warplanes carried out two air raids early this morning on the hills of Mazraat Okmata in the Iqlim Al-Touffah Mountain Ridges. Heavy smoke was seen above the area but no casualties were reported. This is the third raid targeting the area in less than 24 hours.

The attacks were accompanied by intensive inspection flights and mock air raids over the areas of Nabatieh and Iqlim Al-Touffah in the western sector of the occupied zone.

A UNIFIL source in the South said Israeli occupying forces have been carrying out intensive air raids for the last few days over different areas in South in the aim of training new pilots through targeting resistance positions.

Warplanes also carried out four consecutive air raids yesterday over areas extending between the villages of Jbal Al-Botom, Zebkeen, and Majdel Zoun in the western sector of the occupied zone.

Israeli shelling injures a child in Arab Saleem

Lebanese Rami Abu-Zeid, 15, was wounded this morning in a rocket attack on his village in Arab Saleem. The rocket was launched from the Israeli outpost in Swaydaa. The boy was directly admitted to hospital for treatment.

Israeli shells earlier fell on the hills of Sreereh, Maydoon, and Dellafeh originating from Israeli positions in Wadi Abu-Qamha. More than 15 shells targeted these areas.

Israeli bombardment also targeted today Mazraat Okmata and the riverbanks of Habboush and Litani where heavy material losses in plantations and property were inflicted.

Public high school teachers continue their strike for a fifth day

Teachers at Lebanon's public high schools continued their strike for a fifth day today. An administrative committee is scheduled to convene later today to discuss future plans.

The head of the high school teachers' league, Fouad Saab, today expressed the teachers' readiness to halt their strike if joint parliamentary committees ratify a draft law constituting their demands.

The teachers started their nation-wide open-ended strike Monday escalating pressure on the government to grant them salary increases and better end-of-service payments. Intermediary and primary teachers also joined the move for two days on Tuesday and Wednesday.

SSNP unifies after 11-year split

The Syrian Social Nationalist Party yesterday declared its unification after a split of 11 years. This was announced by party chief Ali Qansou who released the party's "Unity Platform", a document assuring the SSNP's capability of rising again as a unified body. But the party president added it was too early to discuss its participation in the next government.

Qansou reiterated the party's rejection and denunciation of any peace settlement with Israel. The secular party also envisages a sectarian-free Lebanese political system and a single electoral district in the country.

It also supports the project of voluntary civil marriage.

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