News from Beirut September 30 1998 ...Search

Email your presidential candidates. Member of parliament Boutros Harb said he would run in Lebanon's presidential elections planned for October. You can contact him using E-mail : or read about his Personal Biography, Political Life and candidacy speech.

Murr expects Lebanese-Syrian summit to be held in 10 days

Deputy Prime Minister, Interior Minister Michel Al-Murr today expected the Lebanese-Syrian presidential summit to be held within a period of 10 days. Murr was speaking after talks with Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri at the Grand Saray. Murr added all matters will be clarified afterwards, referring to the upcoming presidential elections. Murr said the subject of holding these elections should be finalized before October 20, the date of opening parliament's ordinary sessions. Minister Murr reiterated the opening of an extraordinary parliamentary session is in no need of a prime ministry decision. He said the issue depends on consensus between the prime minister and the house speaker. Murr also downplayed the possibility of presenting the amendment to Article 49 of the constitution for discussion by President Elias Al-Hrawi during cabinet's session tomorrow.

Berri holds a number of local meetings in parliament

House Speaker Nabih Berri today received Minister of State Michel Eddeh at his office in parliament. Berri later met Marjayoon Deputies Ahmad Swayd, Anwar Al-Khalil, and Ali Hasan Khalil. The three deputies later held a press conference in parliament calling on the residents of Marjayoun to stop paying water and electricity bills.

Also at Nijmeh Square today, the parliamentary immigrants and foreign affairs committee held a meeting headed by Deputy Ali Al-Khalil and attended by Foreign Minister Faris Boueiz. The session discussed a number of recent regional developments.

Russian ambassador discusses presidential elections at the foreign ministry

The Russian ambassador to Lebanon today said Moscow was interested in seeing that the new head of state should be chosen by the people. He also stressed his country's respect for the Lebanese people's will in electing their new president, adding it made no difference whether the new president was a military figure or not. The Russian ambassador was speaking this morning after talks with the Foreign Ministry's Secretary General, Zafer Al-Hasan at Boustros Palace.

Kuwaiti Minister tackles judicial cooperation with Tabbara

Kuwait's Justice Minister, Ahmad Khaled Al-Kolayb, today started his official talks in Lebanon by meeting his counterpart, Justice Minister Bahij Tabbara. Tabbara stressed the importance of activating all agreements signed with Kuwait and the possibility of benefiting from the Kuwaiti experience especially in the field of information. For his part, the Kuwaiti Minister said his country possess an important center for judicial information that can become a regional center for the whole Middle East. The Kuwaiti official also held talks today with President Elias Al-Hrawi and Mufti of the Republic Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani.

Israeli shelling continues and the resistance retaliates

Israeli shelling today intensified over the area of Zellaya in the Western Bekaa. Israeli bombardment this morning targeted the outskirts of Nabaa Al-Tasseh and Mazraat Okmata in Iqlim Al-Touffah. For its part, the Lebanese resistance retaliated by shelling Israeli and Israeli allied militia outposts in the hills of Kwakaba, Ahmadieh, Zoumrayya, and Wadi Abu-Kamha in the area of Hasbayya. Meanwhile, the Amal Movement today announced its groups attacked enemy troops in the Sojod position scoring direct hits among soldiers there.

Central Bank figures head to Washington for financial talks

The governor of the Lebanese Central Bank, Riad Salameh today leaves Beirut heading for Washington to participate in the meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Salameh will be accompanied by his two vice governors, Nasser Al-Saidi and Marwan Nsouli. Salameh is expected to hold meetings with officials from the two financial institutions in the presence of the Lebanese ambassador to the US, Mohammed Shatah. Discussions will center on financial and monetary issues related to Lebanon and its common projects with the two international institutions.

Sources in Washington revealed that Lebanon and the World Bank are expected to sign four new loan agreements, including a project to organize transportation in the capital ($60 million), a project to preserve heritage ($5 million), a project to re-structure the educational sector in Lebanon, and a project to handle the coastal pollution. The sources added that the Lebanese government will accept a demand by the World Bank to establish a representative office in Beirut covering the needs of both Lebanon and Syria.

Sea-dumping now restricted to already polluted zone

The real estate company ''Solidere" has stopped dumping contaminated sludge and household wastes off the Beirut coast, the Greenpeace Mediterranean Office in Lebanon revealed today. The company, in charge of rebuilding the downtown area of Beirut, has shifted the dumping from a virgin marine area to a zone already polluted.

Greenpeace uncovered the dumping practice two weeks ago when the ship "Sirius" was in Lebanon and has been raising the issue since then. Solidere had been dredging a canal in the seabed parallel to the 'Normandie' coastal waste dump. The dumping was carried out over a 500-meter deep zone that is rich with marine life. Analysis from sediments taken by Greenpeace off the "Normandie" household waste dump showed that it is contaminated by high levels of the toxic heavy metals.

Greenpeace Mediterranean Campaigner in Lebanon, Fouad Hamdan today said Solidere now shifted the dumping to an area north of the 'Normandie' waste dump that is part of a seabed zone already contaminated with wastes from the dump. He added the pollution is now at least restricted to the same area where the dredging is taking place, and is not being transferred to a virgin zone. Numerous waste dumps all over the country are causing immense health and environmental problems. Hamdan concluded the waste crisis in Lebanon can only be solved at source by reducing, separating, reusing, composting and recycling all kinds of waste.

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