At 6:00 a.m., Israel today shelled the area extending between the villages of Touline and Kabreekha in the South from its outposts in Tallouseh and Qantara. Israeli bombardment also targeted the villages of Wadi Al-Qayseiyyeh, Wadi Al-Hojair and the outskirts of Sawwaneh. Israeli warplanes late last night raided Sojod, Lowaizeh, and Mazraat Okmata in the Iqlim Al-Touffah area. No casualties were reported in the attacks.
Inspection flights were also performed over Nabatieh. In the Bekaa, Israeli warplanes today carried out mock air raids over the area of Shtoura. For its part, the Lebanese Resistance in the South retaliated by shelling the Israeli outpost in Qantara, scoring direct hits in the operation.
The immigrants and foreign affairs committee in parliament discussed a recent report by the Secretary General of the UN Security Council, Kofi Annan which refers to Israel's conditional acceptance of the implementation of UN Resolution 425. The committee traced in this hidden intentions to study Israel's conditions adding this would cancel Resolution 425. Deputies also reiterated Lebanon's insistence on the implementation of the resolution without conditions and without amendments or explanations.
The parliamentary annual summer vacation starts today and extends until September 5. This adds to the standstill in the country's political activity. Meanwhile, cabinet is expected to hold its weekly session next week in the Grand Saray. Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri, who is still on a family vacation in Sardinia, will not return before next Monday. Last week's session was cancelled due to Hariri's absence.
Deputy House Speaker Elie Al-Firzli denied press reports referring to a disagreement between him and House Speaker Nabih Berri. Ferzli told a press conference in parliament yesterday that he personally takes full responsibility regarding discussions held by joint parliamentary committees during the ratification of the public sector pay scales draft law. He added Berri would not interfere in any of these details. For his part, Deputy Premier, Interior Minister Michel Al-Murr held talks over the phone with both the House Speaker and the Prime Minister in a bid to prevent any disagreement that might be renewed between the two leaders.
The executive committee of the General Labor Confederation said the current socio-economic crisis witnessed in the country is being fed by the flaws in the overall political system, mainly sectarianism and administrative mismanagement on the expense of the values of democracy, citizenship and law. Following its meeting yesterday which was headed by GLC's newly elected President Elias Abu-Rizk, the committee stressed the importance of preserving public, press and syndicate liberties. The statement also called for the amendment of the Law of Labor in Lebanon in a way that protects workers from unfair collective dismissal adding the National Fund for Social Security should also be protected in the country. The committee also demanded the immediate the ratification of the public sector pay scales project.
The Industrialists Association in Lebanon is expected to hold a press conference later today to launch the mission of joint Lebanese-Syrian committees. The meeting will also announce a work plan according to which the committees' talks will be organized. The work of the committees will center on implementing a trade agreement signed between Lebanon and Syria starting January 1999.
The fourth joint Lebanese-Syrian youth camp today concludes at the Scouts City in Smar-Jbeil. Around 1000 scouts from both countries have taken part in the 10-day camp. The head of the Union of Lebanese Scouts, Mount Lebanon Governor Mohammed Suheil Yammout told the National News Agency such camps can boost already brotherly and friendly ties between Lebanon and Syria. Friendship and bilateral cooperation between the youths of both countries would also be strengthened, Yammout added.
"Our ambassador to the stars", Feyrouz will again shine today in the city of the sun, Baalback. After a halt of 24 years, Feyrouz will sing tonight accompanied by the tunes of Mansour, Elias and Ziad Al-Rahbani. Tonight's opening concert will be widely covered by local and international media. Preparations for the event concluded yesterday.
The orchestra will be conducted by Mansour Rahbani with Ziad Rahbani, Feyrouz's son, as the managing co-producer. Six concerts will be presented on the 14th, 15th , 16th ,20th , 21st , and 22nd of this month.
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