The press federation and the journalists' union today remained adamant that President Elias Al-Hrawi should apologize from the publisher of al-Shiraa weekly Hasan Sabra for slapping him in the face at the residence of Interior Minister Michel Al-Murr. The unions warned of a strike unless quote the president takes a courageous move. Baabda remained silent yesterday after it received the statement issued after the meeting of the two unions. Sources in the press syndicate today refused to comment further on the issue saying the statement issued yesterday was enough. The statement condemned the incident considering it a threat to the country's democratic life.
In another development in this story, government sources today denied press reports saying Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri was behind the Btighreen incident. Sources close to the premier today reported Hariri's surprise at these reports. The sources added the premier highly respects the president. Hariri had called Sabra hoping he would work on cooling down the atmosphere.
Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri today discussed education-related issues and a number of teachers' demands with the head of the parliamentary education committee deputy Bahiyya Al-Hariri. He also held talks with a delegation from the doctors' union in North Lebanon headed by Dr. Nabil Fattal.
Discussions centered on the demands of the doctors of the North and a number of health-related issues. Hariri also discussed with Administrative Reform Minister Bshara Merhej a number of current issues in the country.
The premier had received the new Sri Lankan ambassador to Lebanon during a protocol visit. He later met the ambassador of Uruguay. He also discussed with the Moroccan ambassador to Lebanon Mohammed Ali Mohammadi bilateral ties between the two countries. Mohammadi later told reporters at the government palace discussions also centered on ways to boost economic cooperation and trade exchange between the two countries. He revealed his country will sign an important economic agreement with the Lebanese government in the near future.
For a second day today, Israeli warplanes carried out air raids over areas in South Lebanon and the Western Bekaa. Three consecutive air raids were conducted this morning over the Iqlim al-Touffah Mountain Ridges in the South. Israeli shells also fell on a hill overlooking the Israeli outpost in Sojod.
The raids were accompanied by intense overflights of Israeli warplanes in the skies of Nabatieh and Iqlim Al-Touffah. Mock air raids were also carried out over the area.
An Israeli military spokesman admitted Israel carried out those raids on Iqlim Al-Touffah claiming they were aimed at resistance positions in the area and quoting the Israeli pilots as saying the raids accomplished their goals. Inspection flight had also been carried out this morning over different areas in Iqlim Al-Touffah following Israeli shelling on the area of Jabal Al-Rafii.
The five-nation cease-fire monitoring group meets tomorrow at the UNIFIL's headquarters in Naqoura. The group will discuss two official complaints. One complaint was filed by Lebanon over Israeli shelling of a number of freed villages in the Western Sector which inflicted damage in a number of civilian homes in addition to the electricity network in the village of
Al-Sawwaneh. The Israeli complaint alleges that the Lebanese resistance launched attacks from civilian areas in the Western Sector of the zone Israel occupies in the South. Security sources expected a rise in the number of complaints following Israel?s recent stepping up of attacks on civilian areas especially targeting some villages in the Western Bekaa and inflicting damage in these areas.
The Australian foreign minister today informed his Lebanese counterpart Faris Boueiz of his government's support to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 425. The Australian stance was carried by the Australian ambassador to Lebanon and it came in response to letters directed by the Lebanese foreign ministry to foreign ministries in a number of Arab and foreign countries in the world regarding Israel's latest offer on 425. The letters also explain Lebanon's stance on the necessity of the resolution's immediate and unconditional implementation.
The ambassador of the Czech Republic also voiced a similar stance by her government supporting the implementation of the UN Resolution.
Canadian Senator Marcel Lebrun who is on an official visit to Lebanon today held talks with House Speaker Nabih Berri. Their discussions centered on the situation in South Lebanon and issues related to the two countries' bilateral ties. Lebrun described as unacceptable Israel's occupation of South Lebanon. He also stressed on the importance of implementing
Resolution 425 which he said cannot be negotiated. The Canadian Senator noted that Israel doesn't want Lebanon to progress and develop. He also called on Lebanon to be aware of Israel's jealousy saying Israel does want to see Lebanon a prosperous country.
The parliamentary joint committees today continued discussing and studying the public sector pay scales draft law during a session headed by deputy House Speaker Elie al-Ferzli and attended by the director general of the
Finance Ministry Habib Abu Saqer. Clause 7 of the draft law was discussed today. Last week, the committees ratified three clauses and suspended the ratification of the fourth clause. Ferzli later announced discussions today tackled a number of administrative issues in the project.
Also in parliament today, House Speaker Nabih Berri received a delegation from the teachers' office. During the meeting, Berri reiterated the support granted by the Development and Liberation parliamentary bloc to the teachers' demands. Sources in parliament revealed the teachers' office will hold a meeting to discuss their situation on Thursday. Berri also met this afternoon the famous Arab writer and thinker Mohammed Hasanein Haykal. They discussed the general situation in the region and the Arab world.
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