During an extraordinary session cabinet today decided to send to parliament the new public sector pay-scales draft legislation. The draft will specify sources to finance the salary-increases.
Discussions are expected to continue. Information minister Bassem Sabaa told reporters cabinet issued a decree citing 21 villages where local elections will not be held because the war displaced have still not yet returned to their original homes.
Elections for the municipality of Haret Hreik will be postponed until October when a second round of local polls is scheduled for municipalities which have yet to be created.
Sabaa said this will give the municipality time to fulfil the conditions stipulated in the election law.
Information minister Bassem Sabaa today announced the United Arab Emirates will deposit one hundred million US dollars in Lebanon central bank. The deposit is the third in a row; Saudi Arabia and Kuwait had made similar deposits. This was described by government officials as another sign of confidence in the country's economy.
Prime minister Rafik al-Hariri will pay a one-day visit to Armenia tomorrow to congratulate the newly-elected Armenian president Robert Kutcharian.
Hariri will also hold talks with high-ranking Armenian officials concerning strengthening of bilateral ties between the two countries.
Hariri will be accompanied by minister Agop Dimarjian and a number of Armenian MP's.
Prime minister Rafik al-Hariri today laid the foundation stone for the Raymond Ghosn engineering building at the American University of Beirut. The building was named after Ghosn who was assassinated during the war. He was a founding member of the University school of engineering. Senior officials from Lebanon, Syria, and Bahrain attended the ceremony. Hariri stressed this is a manifestation of Lebanon's leading role, adding internal strife is now a thing of the past.
He praised AUB for its leading educational role in the region and stressed Lebanon has made great strides in rebuilding its national, educational, and economic institutions.
Justice minister Bahij Tabbarah said to day that prisons in Lebanon should be within the jurisdiction of the ministry of justice. Tabbarah stressed a modern civil concept of prison punishment presupposes that prisons be administered by experienced and specialized people, not by policemen. He added that the way a state treats its prisoners indicates how civilized it is.
Tabbarah was speaking this morning in the opening session of the Future Lawyers' Conference at the lawyers' syndicate in Beirut.
The conference is a result of coordination between the layers' syndicate in England and Wales and the Arab layers' Union in the context of EU general program: Democracy and the rule of law.
The five-nation ceasefire monitoring group will meet today in the Un headquarters in Naqura. The group will discuss ten complaints filed by both Lebanon and Israel.
The Lebanese complaints concern a number of Israeli violations of the April Understanding, which resulted in a number of casualties and extensive damage in the villages of Kafra and Mansouri.
Israel claims resistance men carried out attacks on Israeli troops from civilian areas.
In an effort to encourage the return of Christians displaced during the war, the St. George's Maronite church in Mazraat al-Chouf was reopened yesterday. Crowds gathered in the courtyard of the church to celebrate the event.
The ceremony was attended by several officials, including Walid Jumblatt, minister for the displaced, who emphasized the need for reunification. During a mass held at the church, father Youhanna Helou called for further reconciliation, and Neemeh Tohme, a businessman who funded the church's renovation, stressed the importance of coexistence in Chouf villages.
The Luxurious Hotel in the heart of Kaslik, Jounieh, Lebanon
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