News from Beirut December 28  1998 ...Search

Lebanese-Syrian Higher Committee starts talks in Beirut

The joint Lebanese-Syrian Higher Committee met today at the Grand Saray during a session headed by Lebanese Prime Minister Salim Al-Hoss and his Syrian counterpart Mahmud Al-Zohbi. This is the first meeting of the committee in Beirut after a series of meetings held in Damascus. The meeting was attended by ministers of finance, economy, trade, industry, and agriculture from both countries.

The Secretary General of the Higher Syrian-Lebanese Council, Nasri Khoury said the meeting today examines the committee's reports regarding industrial exchange. Nasri added discussions on agricultural issues were delayed in response to a demand by the Lebanese side. Other sources at the meeting said the committee is also studying ways to implement agreements on custom duties and bilateral trade between the two countries.

Prime Minister Hoss had received the Syrian premier and the accompanying official delegation earlier today at the Lebanese-Syrian border in the area of Masnaa. He was accompanied by ministers Suleiman Franjieh and Nasser Al-Saiidi and the head of the Lebanese-Syrian Higher Council Nasri Khoury.

Cabinet holds last meeting this year at Baabda

The Lebanese cabinet will hold its last meeting this year Wednesday at the presidential palace in Baabda. The session will be headed by President Emil Lahhoud and attended by Prime Minister Salim Al-Hoss and the ministers.

During the meeting, ministers are expected to discuss an agenda of 11 clauses. Before the end of next month, cabinet is due to debate several bills related to administrative decentralization, naturalization, and parliamentary elections. This was revealed by Deputy Premier Interior Minister Michel Al-Murr after a visit to Bkirki Sunday.

Niger Premier opens his country's consulate in Beirut

Niger's Prime Minister today opened his country's consulate in Lebanon in the area of Rabieh. The visiting official stressed the strong ties between the peoples of Lebanon and Niger. He reiterated his country's will to coordinate efforts with Lebanon in a bid to boost relations between the two countries' businessmen.

During the opening ceremony, accompanying Niger Foreign Minister also stressed the importance of bilateral relations between Lebanon and Niger. He also praised the role of the Lebanese community in developing his country.

Israeli occupying troops destroy six civilian homes in Arnoun

Israeli forces in South Lebanon today destroyed six civilian homes in the village of Arnoun-Shkeef in the district of Nabatieh. The houses belong to Ahmad Ibrahim Besher, Yassin Youssef Sharafeddine, Hussein Nayef Ollayk, Afif Nayef Ollayk, Ali Ahmad Qaedbey and Mohammed Salim Qaedbey.

After a meeting with a number of Arnoun residents, Amal Movement official, Khalil Hamdan called on Prime Minister Salim Al-Hoss to file an urgent complaint to the UN Security Council over the latest Israeli moves against the residents of Arnoun.

Israeli siege continues on Shibaa

For a third day today, Israeli occupying troops continue their siege on the southern village of Shibaa. The Israeli siege was implemented following the killing of one Israeli allied militiaman, Ghassan Daher in the village.

This morning, 16 residents of the village were detained by the occupying troops. The residents, including six members of the Israeli allied militia, were questioned into the killing of Daher at an Israeli base on the hill of  Zeghli.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese Resistance today attacked the Israeli outposts of  Sojod and Bir Kallab scoring direct hits in both operations.

Israeli security cabinet meets again over the fate of South Lebanon

The Israeli inner security cabinet will hold a second meeting this evening to continue discussions on the fate of South Lebanon. The security cabinet had met last night to discuss the future of Israeli troops in Southern Lebanon but failed to reach any decision on the matter. The meeting yesterday examined Israeli options in the South amid growing speculation of a possible unconditional troop pullout from the occupation zone.

Up to now, the Israeli government has been proposing an implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 425 in exchange for a number of security guarantees to be provided by the Lebanese government. Lebanon, however, refuses to consider any conditional proposal of Israeli troop withdrawal stressing the necessity of implementing Resolution 425 without any conditions.

Analysts say any decision by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the fate of South Lebanon would be determined by two factors: a mounting domestic opposition to the occupation amid rising casualties of Israeli soldiers in South Lebanon, in addition to the upcoming Israeli elections.

Three killed and one injured in a building collapse in Tripoli

Suleiman Ibrahim, a Lebanese, and Mohammed Hamid Arnous and Ali Mohammed Tamer, Syrians, were killed over the weekend in Tripoli when the building they lived in collapsed. Tamer's brother, Mahmud, was injured as he managed to jump out of a window before the building finally collapsed.

The building, which lies in the Qibbeh district, was one of several previously deemed by the authorities as unfit and unsafe for habitation because it had been seriously damaged during the civil war. But it was illegally inhabited by Syrian workers and Lebanese war-displaced.

President Emil Lahhoud gave instructions to the Interior and Public Works Ministry to form a committee to look into the matter starting Monday. Meanwhile, an official investigation was launched Sunday by Gendarmerie commander, Brigadier Nasser Rahban.

Dany Boustros dies and is believed to have committed suicide

Lebanese dancer, Dany Boustros, died yesterday from a brain hemorrhage after shooting herself in the head on Saturday. She was found bleeding in her bedroom where she locked herself up before she had reportedly shot herself in the head at close range with a small pistol.

Present at the house at that time where her Filipino maid and Saudi national, Nasser Malik Darrar, who had been living with Dany for almost a year.

Investigators believe Dany may have committed suicide because of financial difficulties and emotional problems. Dany had made two previous suicide attempts after the death of her 16-year-old son in a drowning accident more than four years ago.

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