Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri today called French President Jacques Chirac and his Prime Minister Lionel Jospin in a bid to congratulate them on their country's victory in last night's final world cup tournament held at Saint Denis. Chirac attended the event along with a number of French officials.
In Lebanon, the tournament attracted thousands of viewers many of whom took to the streets late after last midnight to celebrate the French team's victory over Brazil. Pulsing car horns echoed throughout the whole country yesterday as cars roamed the streets in many areas with their drivers holding French flags and chanting for the team's star Zineddine Zidane.
The joint parliamentary committees will tomorrow continue their talks on the remaining clauses of the public sector pay scales draft law. The issue of funding the project is expected to top the agenda of talks.
Acting Finance Minister Fouad Sanyoura today stressed from parliament the necessity of further studying the suggested increases on the retirement pensions. Sanyoura said the project now costs the government around 495 billion Lebanese Liras. He also said the government is not against the increases but added it is against putting additional burdens on the budget.
The Finance Minister added the government considers the issue needs further study. Sanyoura had earlier participated in two parliamentary sessions for the Justice and Administration Committee and the Finance Committee.
Parliament is expected to start a series of extraordinary sessions when the joint committees finish studying and ratifying the public pay scales project. These sessions are expected to tackle this project in addition to that related to sea property and other topics.
Interior Minister Michel Al-Murr is heading a meeting for the Security sub-committee in Mount Lebanon. The meeting, held at the Saray of Jdeidet Al-Metn, aims at discussing the security situation in different areas of the governorate. It is attended by the governor of Mount Lebanon, Metn Qaemmaqam, and a number of security and military officers in addition to municipality heads in the Metn area. A statement by Murr is expected to be issued later today. The meeting was prompted by a number of incidents violating the security of this area.
Prime Minister Hariri today met a delegation of the Union of Arab Publishers headed by Ibrahim Al-Mousleh. Hariri also held talks with deputies Talal Al-Merebi, Salah Al-Harakeh, Jihad Abdel Samad and many others. The premier's discussions with the deputies centered on a number of developmental issues and the subject of opening an extraordinary session in parliament. Deputy Merebi reported Hariri's concern to follow the execution of water and road network projects in the North governorate.
The head of the political wing at the Palestinian Liberation Organization Farouq Al-Kaddoumi today visited Boustrous Palace where he held a meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Faris Boueiz. Discussions centered on the current stalemate in the Mideast peace process. Kaddoumi had arrived in Beirut on Saturday. During his visit, the Palestinian official also held talks on a number of Palestinian-related issues at the Marriott Hotel in Beirut. He is expected to hold a Q&A session with Lebanese students at the American University of Beirut this evening.
Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri discussed today issues related to the regional developments in light of the deadlocked Middle East peace process with the Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Adel Al-Khodari. Al-Khodari also briefed the premier on the outcome of the recent visit of Egyptian Foreign Minister Amro Moussa to Washington. The meeting also tackled the expected meeting of the Lebanese-Egyptian higher committee to be held next month in Cairo. Prime Minister Hariri will head the Lebanese delegation to the meeting. As to the Egyptian side, it will be headed by Egyptian Prime Minister Kamal Al-Janzouri.
At the presidential palace in Baabda, President Elias Al-Hrawi received a delegation of the Lebanese Women Council. The delegation recently participated in the Arab Women Conference held over a period of three days at the Coral Beach Hotel in Beirut. The head of the Council Linda Mattar reported the president's support to women's participation in political and public life.
Speakers at yesterday's seminar on women in politics stressed setting quotas for women in positions of authority should be adopted as a temporary solution until their role as capable political leaders is fully accepted.
A meeting was held today by the Union of Secondary School teachers to discuss the split within their association over whether to boycott the correction of official exams or cancel this decision. Secondary public school teachers are insisting on the boycott. But private school instructors in addition to primary and elementary public school teachers yesterday decided to suspend their decision after being promised that their demands concerning their retirement pensions will be resolved during the expected extraordinary parliamentary sessions.
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