News from Beirut July 15  1998 ...Search

Hrawi meets Hariri ahead of cabinet's session later today

At the presidential palace in Baabda, a meeting was held between President Elias Al-Hrawi and Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri this morning. Talks centered on a number of issues that will top the agenda of discussions during an ordinary session for cabinet to be held in Baabda this afternoon.

Cabinet is expected to renew the mandate of three vice governors at the Central Bank. Also on the agenda of talks will be the issue of granting licenses to two Armenian radio stations. Prime Minister Hariri will head the session.

Merhej expects drug bureau problem to be tackled by cabinet

President Elias Hrawi today held a meeting with Administrative Reform Minister Bshara Merhej who later told reporters he discussed with the president issues related to the public sector pay scales draft law. Merhej also tackled with Hrawi allegations of corruption in the national bureau of medicines. He added this might also be tackled by cabinet tonight. Health Minister Suleiman Franjieh yesterday ordered the general manager of the bureau to present a full financial report after three of the board members threatened to resign citing a number of financial irregularities.

Discussions on pay scales and drug bureau held in parliament

The joint parliamentary committees today continued discussions on the public sector pay scales draft law. Acting Finance Minister Fouad Sanyoura today said funding the project will be discussed by cabinet after the joint committees finish studying all the clauses of the draft law. Deputy House Speaker Elie Al-Firzli who headed the session today said the whole issue will be finalized during next week's sessions.

Also in parliament today, Deputy Ismail Sukkariyyeh demanded that the general manager of the national bureau of medicines, Qassem Hmade, be sacked. Sukkariyyeh earlier announced the "death of the bureau even before its birth". Deputy Ahmad Fatfat, for his part, demanded accelerating the investigation process in this case.

Diplomatic issues tackled at government palace today

Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri today received at government palace a delegation of the Lebanese Community in Mexico. The delegation invited the premier to visit their second country and Hariri promised to do so in the near future.

The Prime Minister also met the ambassador of Bangladesh to Lebanon in a farewell visit. The ambassador later praised the reconstruction process in the country. He also reiterated his country's support for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 425 without conditions.

Conference on press freedom in the Arab World opens tomorrow

A conference titled "Press Freedom in the Arab World" will open tomorrow in Beirut. A delegation of the Union of Arab Journalists, who will be active participants in tomorrow's meeting, today visited Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri at government palace. The meeting was attended by the head of the union Ibrahim Nafeh, the head of the press syndicate in Lebanon Mohammed Al-Baalbacki, the head of the editors syndicate Melhem Karam, and Hariri's advisor Nuhad Al-Mashnook. The head of the Arab Press Federation later praised press freedom in Lebanon adding the Lebanese press is free and progressive.

Lebanon files a complaint to the monitoring group

Lebanon today filed a complaint to the five-nation cease-fire monitoring group over Israeli shelling that targeted the Southern village of Haddatha two days ago. Sources close to the Lebanese delegation to the panel said a second complaint might also be lodged against last night's Israeli shelling of civilian areas in Nabatieh causing fire in a civilian home, belonging to Daher Mourad, in the Assalam neighborhood. Israeli shells also fell last night on areas in the Iqlim Al-Touffah Mountain Ridges. The monitoring group is expected to meet next Tuesday at the UNIFIL's headquarters in Naqoura.

For its part, the Lebanese resistance today carried out a number of operations against Israeli outposts located on hills facing the village of Nabatieh. Israel earlier shelled the villages of Sojod, Rayhan, Mazraat Okmata, and Lowaizeh in the Iqlim Al-Touffah area just North of the zone Israel occupies in the South.

Teachers resume correcting official exams

Public secondary school teachers today started correcting official exams. Their decision to boycott was dropped yesterday following talks with House Speaker Nabih Berri and the head of the education committee in parliament deputy Bahiyya Al-Hariri. Berri promised a visiting delegation yesterday at parliament their pay and other demands would be addressed during parliament's extraordinary session. The decision to resume correcting exams was released in a statement by the union of public secondary teachers late yesterday.

Second Annual Immigrants Summer Camp opens next week

The Immigrants Ministry Director General Haythem Joumaa today announced the second annual immigrants' summer camp will open on the 17th of this month. The camp will be held at the Chowaifat International School extending over a period of 8 days. The Immigrants Ministry official added 300 Lebanese immigrants from the five different continents will take part in the camp.

The event is aimed at boosting ties between Lebanese youth living abroad and their mother country.

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