The Week in Review from Beirut November 28  1998 ...Search

" Newborn Garden Project "  Join us in planting a tree for every newborn


Is organizing a nationwide tree planting activity on December 6, 1998. This event is planned in the occasion of the National Tree Day and consists of  establishing " Newborn Garden " in all Lebanese governorates.

The science subcommittee (SSC) of the AUB Alumni Association was established in 1987, with the goal of disseminating scientific subcommittee includes faculty members, students, and graduates of AUB and other institutions of higher education, all working in one team to invest their expertise in serving the community. The projects carried out by the SSC are aimed at raising the intellectual level and the quality of life in Lebanon and the world in general.

The environment in Lebanon was victimized during the long years of war and even more after the war got over. Pollution of air and water is common in many parts in the country and green spaces have increasingly shrunk over the last few years. The problem was aggrevated by the series of fires that devastated large Lebanese forests in Summer 1998. For these reasons, SSC set up the " Newborn Garden Project " to reinstate some balance between the human being and his/her environment. The project is aimed at educating children as well as their parents about the vital link between humans and the earth.

Just like a seed nurtured in the ground so is the baby in its mother's womb. The seedling like the newborn, then comes into the world and contributes tremendous beauty to its environment. The little tree and the little baby require a lot of attention and care in the beginning, then grow among their peers and produce lots of fruits and seeds and so continues the cycle of life.....

From here came the idea of planting a tree for every baby that will be born on December 6, 1998. This tree will grow with the baby, under his care, to contribute to beautiful gardens which rehabilitate the soul and body of the future generations.

For this project, work teams will be distributed to every hospital and delivery room around Lebanon. These teams work in conjunction with others, set up in 6 sites where the gardens will be established. Starting at 22:00 GMT, Dec 5, the Hospital Teams will immediately inform the Planting Team in every governorate of the name of any newborn as soon as the baby is born.

The Planting Team will then plant a tree and surrounds it with a tag carrying a number in addition to the name of the newborn. The Hospital Team then issues a certificate to the newborn carrying the tree number and its location and this certificate will be delivered to the mother and serves as a contract enforcing the responsibility of that family for that particular tree. After 2 years, if the tree is still in a good condition, another certificate will be issued to congratulate the family. In every governorate, a municipality donated the piece of land that will be made into a garden. The Agriculture Chapter and all the Branches of the AUB Alumni Association are active participants in this project. Moreover, a number of nongovernmental organizations have volunteered for this project.

It is worth mentioning that these gardens have been landscaped to include a space for children playground to be added at a later stage. Agriculture engineers are also ensuring that the trees planted in every garden are suitable for the weather conditions in that area of the country. A maintenance program has been established for each one of these gardens to ensure the survival and proper growth of the trees.

This project will be an annual tradition and will be expanded to other locations in the country and the Arab world.

If you would like to have a tree planted for anybaby of Lebanese origin, born between 22:00 GMT,Dec 5 and 22: GMT, Dec 6, please send an email message to or phone 961.3.728474. Please note that you should also fax a supportive document verifying the baby's birthdate to 961.1.345185

Sweden funds project to cleanse Litani River and Qaroun Lake

A $300,000 cash injection from the Swedish International development Cooperation Agency would help save the highly polluted Litani River and Qaroun Lake. The 15-month project was launched earlier this week at the Lebanese Environment Ministry. Swedish company MVN Konsult is expected to start work on the project next week.

The massive environmental master plan is highly significant for the residents of Southern Lebanon and the Western Bekaa Valley. The Council for Development and Reconstruction has already listed the river and the lake in a project that aims at providing the area with drinking and agricultural water.

The Litani is the only major river in the region whose basin in inside the country's national boundaries. The river, which enters the Qaroun Lake before emptying into the Mediterranean Sea, is highly polluted due to sewage water, solid waste, hospital waste, slaughterhouse trash, and industrial waste that are constantly deposited in the river.

Textile and clothing sector seeks government action in easing competition

The textile and clothing sector in Lebanon is appealing for the government to intervene in easing pressure from competition faced by its companies.

The President of the Lebanon's Federation of Textile Industrialists, Sleiman Khattar, said the industry is in bad shape due to the lack of international export markets in light of a shrinking world market. The federation and the Industry Ministry have proposed tax concessions to help the industry in Lebanon.

Efforts to revitalize the country's textile and clothing sector were also at the heart of discussions earlier this month between the Lebanese Industrialists' Association and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia.

ESCWA officials said the meeting aimed at improving the quality of the industry and boost exports. A detailed study will soon be issued by the UN House listing the difficulties faced by this sector in Lebanon and the region in light of new developments in trade.

World Association of Newspapers discuss press liberties in Lebanon

The World Association of Newspapers this week held a two-day board meeting in the Lebanese capital. The gathering included editors and publishers representing more than 15,000 newspapers from Europe, Asia, and South America. WAN members defend and promote press freedom worldwide and encourage the reading of newspapers, especially among the young.

During their visit to Lebanon, members in the Paris-based organization held talks with President Emil Lahhoud and Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri in addition to press officials in the country.

President Lahhoud addressed a visiting delegation from WAN at Baabda saying a free press was "the only way for leaders to learn about the true conditions of the country and the people." Lahhoud also underlined his support for the freedom of press and the need to respect the country's press institutions.

WAN called on the government to abolish Lebanon's press law and do away with censorship. WAN's President, Bengt Braun, asked Prime Minister Hariri in a meeting to dispense with the legislation in his policy declaration, should he be re-appointed premier. But Mr. Hariri denied that there was any censorship in Lebanon. He also pledged that Lebanon would remain a free and democratic country where the freedom of the press would be preserved for there lies Lebanon's power.

Hariri described Lebanon as the oasis of he Arab world, adding "Democracy and freedom of press are our precious jewels and we will cherish and preserve them for no country can develop without them." Hariri also defended the government's policy regarding the freedom of press, stressing that this freedom is secured. One thing is prohibited, Hariri added, which is libeling the president of the republic and the heads of brotherly and friendly states. Other than that, there are no red lines for the freedom of press in Lebanon.

Housing experts evaluate Arab implementation of Habitat Agenda

The Habitat Agenda, adopted at the United Nations Meeting for Human Settlement in 1996, topped the agenda of talks between housing and urban development experts at the UN House in Beirut.

Delegates from across the region evaluated the progress of Arab countries in implementing the agenda, which aims at improving living conditions and urban development on a global level.

This is the first gathering of such regional significance in the Arab world. During the four-day sessions, participants tackled the decision-making process of urban development, the issue of continuity in urban development, and the role of municipalities in administrating plans. Speakers stressed the importance of cooperation and coordination on a regional level to achieve the desired results.

Workshop aims at teaching Muslim women secure their rights

Under the title "Legal Illiteracy and Human Rights Education", a four-day workshop was held in Beirut in preparation for the 50th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

The event is jointly organized by the Lebanese American University in Beirut and the Sisterhood Global Institute, a non-governmental organization with members in 70 countries, including Lebanon.

It aims at helping Muslim women understand the full extent of all their rights. It also plans to teach them, through training sessions, that securing their rights does not mean a violation of their religious beliefs.

Ex-hostage Terry Anderson says his suffering gives him no good reason to hate Lebanon

In 1985, Terry Anderson, who was working in Lebanon as the Associated Press Bureau Chief, was taken hostage during the chaos of the Lebanese war. Today, almost seven years after his release, Anderson is back in Beirut and refuses to let his horrible experience destroy his love for this country.

"If I fell in love with Lebanon during the war, what do you think I feel about it now," he asked.

Mr. Anderson, one of the world's most famous journalists and the longest-held Western hostage in Lebanon, suffered during his imprisonment years. He was confined to small rooms in various locations across the country with very little news of the outside world.

In his second visit to the country since his release in 1991, the American ex-hostage said he intends to educate US journalists on Lebanon and the Middle East. He said he would try to instruct his students on how to report objectively on this region.

Mr. Anderson, who is currently working as a professor of journalism at the University of Ohio, plans to return to Lebanon next summer and bring with him a number of his students from Ohio to the American University in Beirut where he will teach a course on Middle East politics and culture.

Award-winning director of "West Beyrouth" addresses LAU film students

Ziad Doueri, the award-winning Lebanese director and writer of "West Beyrouth" earlier this week visited the Lebanese American University in Beirut to hold a discussion panel with LAU film students and instructors.

"West Beyrouth" was one of the 15 films, out of 700, to be nominated for the Director's Fortnight at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival. It also won the Journalistic and the Arab Critics Awards. Earlier, the film received awards in Paris, Taipei and Toronto and has been accepted to take part in 17 other film festivals.

This is Doueri's first feature film. It depicts life in West Beirut during the war. Doueri told students about the different problems he faced while shooting the film in Beirut during the summer of 1997. He also spoke about his experience in filmmaking, encouraging his audience to start working on student films. "West Beyrouth" is currently on display in Lebanese cinemas.

Top Model killed in horrific car crash

Lebanon's 1996 Top Model, Catalina Prince, was driving on the Sarba-Jounieh Highway at 10:30 p.m. Monday when a range rover flipped over her convertible Mazda. The two cars began leaking fuel and it took them only a few seconds to explode into a huge fireball.

The range rover was doing around 110 kilometers per hour when it veered sharply to the left after its front right tire scraped against the roadside barrier causing its driver to lose control and fly over the central divide, landing on Catalina's car. Traveling in the range were Arzeh Nasr, who was driving, her daughter, a friend, Laure Daccashe and her daughter.

The two vehicles burned for more than 45 minutes with the victims still inside before firemen were able to extinguish the flames. There were no survivors in the crash and the bodies were burnt behind recognition.

Miss Prince, a famous fashion and photographic model in Lebanon, has featured in a series of television and print advertisements. She is only 18 years old. Farewell Catalina and all the victims of the crash.

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