News from Beirut May 8  1998 ...Search

Hrawi heads to Vatican

President Elias Hrawi today left for the Vatican to take part in a ceremony to beatify Maronite monk Niemetallah Hardini. The ceremony will be headed by Pope Jean Paul II. Thousands of Lebanese from around the world will be attending that ceremony.

Hrawi today headed a large ministerial and parliamentarian Lebanese delegation to the Vatican. The president's family and minister Michel Murr, Michel Edde, Nicola Fattoush, Shawki Fakhoury, and a number of deputies accompanied the president. Around 10,000 Lebanese worshippers began arriving in Rome for a ceremony on Sunday led by Pope Jean Paul II to beatify Maronite monk Niemetallah Hardini in the Vatican.

The monk died in 1858. Beatification is the last step before declaring some one a saint. Hardini was born in Hardine, near Batroun in north Lebanon. Ordained priest in 1835, he devoted his life to teaching of theology. Around fifteen Lebanese bishops are expected to attend the ceremony.

Escalation in South Lebanon

Violence escalated in south Lebanon. Seven Lebanese civilians including three children were injured in Israeli shelling. A pro-Israeli militia man was also killed in an operation by Hizbullah men.

Seven Lebanese civilians were wounded this morning after Israeli artillery targeted southern villages.

Lebanese security sources said shelling from the Israeli occupation zone hit three women, two boys and a man in the village of Mansouri, and a man in the village of Yater, just north of the occupation zone.

The shelling raised to 24 the number of Lebanese civilians wounded in south Lebanon this year; nine had been killed in the same period. Homes and cars were also damaged in the shelling.

Lebanon is expected to file a complaint to the five-nation ceasefire monitoring group over the shelling which violated the April Understanding.

Meanwhile Hizbullah claimed responsibility for an attack in the district of Kfarhouna in the Jezzine enclave. A security chief in the Israeli-allied militia was killed this morning when his house was destroyed by large blast.

Thirty-year-old Yousef Melhim was a sergeant in the militia, according to Hizbullah sources.

Saadi, Hariri, and Local Elections

The head of the Phlalange party George Saadi told a local television today his party supports prime minister Rafik Hariri's call for consensus in upcoming local elections.

Saadi reiterated Hariri's call during the Martyrs' Day ceremony in downtown Beirut that citizens should choose the most qualified candidates away from sectarian allegiances.

The prime minister called on all candidates in upcoming municipal and mayoral elections to stay away from alliances that have a negative impact on voters' choices.

Hariri discusses farmers' situation

The situation of farmers in Bekaa region and other parts of the country to day topped the agenda of prime minister Rafik Hariri. The prime minister discussed a number of issues related to the agricultural sector with the delegation representing farmers' union.

Jaber: prices on the decrease

Minister of economy and trade Yassin Jaber today said prices of basic goods have decreased following a strategy employed by the ministry that encourages competition among supermarkets.

After gathering information about the markets and prices of goods, the ministry of economy and trade compiled a study which it published in March. That study included prices of basic goods in numerous supermarkets across the country. The price-lists of 147 basic items were compared. Jaber explained that a month later another study was made and the results showed most supermarkets decreased their prices from between 2 and 9%.

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