Politics - Alain Aoun: open crises would upshot if spending issue not solved
 

Fri 11/05/2012 12:16

NNA - 11/5/2012 - Member of Parliament Alain Aoun said that Lebanon would be facing an open crisis if a solution to the spending issue were not reached.

"If the will were not found to solve that issue, whether by some cabinet members or by the President of the Republic, we would be facing an open crises," The MP told "Voice of Lebanon" radio station.

He added that "Free Patriotic" movement had no intent to separate the spending of previous years from that of the current year.

Responding to a question whether the Movement would launch a campaign against the President of the Republic and resort to the street, The MP ruled out that. He explained that their actions intended only to make each one shoulder his responsibilities.

Commenting on the meeting between Hizballah and the Progressive Social Party, Aoun said, "it is not the first of its kind and it surely affects positively the governmental situation."
He rejected presence of any mediation to pacify situation between MPs Michael Aoun and Walid Jumblatt, pointing out that "we are not against any attempt to bring them together provided that stances against Michael Aoun and the movement stop."
L.Y.R.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi urges Expats to preserve their identity
 

Fri 11/05/2012 11:14

NNA - 11/5/2012 Maronite Patriarch Mar Beshara Rahi Friday urged Lebanese Expatriates to preserve their roots and their Lebanese citizenship in order to preserve their country.

In his religious sermon delivered at a Church in Toronto- Canada, Rahi said Lebanese people, Christians and Muslims, were asked to safeguard their coexistence and diversity by being united.

L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Security Council condemns terrorist attacks in Damascus
 

Fri 11/05/2012 11:00

NNA - 11/5/2012 - The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks that occurred in Damascus, Syria on 10 May, causing numerous deaths and injuries. They expressed their deep sympathy and sincere condolences to the victims of these heinous acts and to their families, a statement issued by the Council stated.

The members of the Security Council called upon all parties in Syria immediately and comprehensively to implement all elements of the Joint Special Envoy six-point proposal, in conformity with resolutions 2042 and 2043, and in particular to cease all armed violence in all its forms. In this regard, the members of the Security Council reaffirmed their full support to the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria and the Joint Special Envoy for the United Nations and the League of Arab States.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their determination to combat all forms of terrorism, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations.

The members of the Security Council reminded States that they must ensure that measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Abboud: Solution to spending issue on the way
 

Fri 11/05/2012 10:58

NNA - 11/5/2012 Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud Friday said a radical solution to the overspending issue is being figured out despite attempts to prevent legalization of current government's spending.

The Minister told Voice of Lebanon that these endeavors aimed at justifying the non-issuing of a law that legalized spending of former governments.

Abboud said Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi was responsible for the delay in transferring the 2012 Budget to the Cabinet.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Aswad: Presidency not limited to personal stances
 

Fri 11/05/2012 10:49

NNA - 11/5/2012 MP Ziad Aswad Friday said Presidency is not summarized in a personal stance or an unforeseen benefit of a prior commitment in practicing politics, but it is an implementation to the constitution.

In a statement, Change and Reform bloc member said the President's stance regarding not mobilizing Cabinet's decisions "i.e. public spending issue" was unconstitutional.

Aswad said that the President could or might not sign as he also could not practice his authorities for a personal reason however, he said, "Presidency post and its role are not to be summarized in a personal stance."

"President ought to apply constitution in this case so as to avoid constitutional institutions troubles and protect Lebanon's interest," he concluded.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati promises near economic plan to iron out social problems
 

Fri 4/05/2012 22:44

NNA - 04/05/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati said on Friday that the Government was endeavoring to address social affairs, promising an economic plan that will be launched soon with the aim of achieving considerable economic growth and new work opportunities.

The Prime Minister, whose words came in a speech he delivered during a celebration organized by the "55th Arab Scouts Forum" in Tripoli, shored up laborers' right to demonstrate, saying this is fully legitimate.

"The solution to social problems does not lie in a mere increase of wages that is not accompanied by growth. This will come out with temporary results," the PM said.

Mikati went on to warn that the performance of some political leaders - which is based on personal interests regardless of national interests -- could affect all the Lebanese alike.

The PM finally pledged that the Lebanese government would stick to its promises regarding the implementation of development projects in the region.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Abu Faour says government fully accomplishing duties with Syrian refugees
 

Fri 4/05/2012 22:25

NNA - 04/05/2012 - Social Affairs Minister, Wael Abu Faour, said on Friday that the Lebanese government was fittingly accomplishing its duties with Syrian refugees -- fleeing their country's unrest in Lebanon -- by providing them with necessary aid and simultaneously adopting appropriate measures to prevent the spread of the Syrian crisis to Lebanon.

Minister Abu Faour, whose words came during a reconciliation meeting at the village of Kfarkouk Caza-Rachaya, called on the Lebanese to opt for the logic of reconciliation in an attempt to avoid bogging Lebanon down in regional and international wrangling.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kataeb deplores FPM campaign against Sami Gemayel
 

Fri 4/05/2012 20:26

NNA - 04/05/2012 - Kataeb Party insisted on Friday that a parliamentary investigations committee be formed to look into all transgressions and illegal profit-making.

Kataeb's stance came in response to the Reform and Change Parliamentary bloc leader MP Michel Aoun and Water and Energy Minister Gebran Bassil's most recent positions in which they highly criticized MP Sami Gemayel's insistence on the need to form a parliamentary committee to investigate alleged illegalities in the electricity sector and to addresses the issue of power generating ships -- during the three-day Parliamentary sessions two weeks ago, which had been devoted to discuss the government's policies.

"It is quite surprising to see a campaign being launched against an MP's words (...) when practicing his sanctimonious right at Parliament," a statement by Kataeb information bureau said.

"He is not speaking for himself, but on the behalf of the people who gave him their votes and tasked him with this mission," the statement read.

Kataeb also denounced the Free Patriotic Movement's reaction to Gemayel's speech, when he requested a vote for the Mikati-led cabinet.

"He exercised his sacred right to vote under the Parliament's roof," the statement said.

Moreover, Kataeb sharply criticized Water and Energy Minister, Gebran Bassil, saying "his popularity is drastically deteriorating with each failure he makes."
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea meets BBC delegation, South Korean envoy
 

Fri 4/05/2012 19:38

NNA - 4/5/2012 - The Editor-in-Chief of BBC and the Director of the Middle East Bureau had been Friday to Meerab for a meeting with the Lebanese Forces leader, Samir Geagea, over the general situation in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

The meeting was also an opportunity to exchange viewpoints on the "Arab Spring" and the eagerness of the region's peoples to freedom and democracy.

Talks also touched on the recent botched attempt on Geagea's life earlier this month.

The LF leader later with the South Korean Ambassador to Lebanon, Pyong Ji-kin, with talks featuring high on most recent developments.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman: problem in 2012 finance budget, expats vote according to law
 

Fri 4/05/2012 19:36

NNA - 04/05/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman saw that the pending 2012 public budget was a problem by itself, especially that the 2011 budget draft was unconstitutional and could not stand valid for 2012's that needed another solution.

Sleiman's words came Friday in the context of an annual meeting with accredited journalists at Baabda Presidential Palace, on the occasion of martyr journalists commemoration.

Sleiman affirmed that upcoming parliamentary elections would occur on their due date and expatriates would vote in accordance with the forthcoming elections law, so that results would not be contested later on.

Sleiman tackled with the journalists the issue pertaining to the boat recently caught by the Lebanese Army at Salaata airport. He said that investigations were still underway in this concern. "Exporting weapons to Syria is a duplicated crime and punishment procedures could not be easy at all," said the President.

Sleiman also engaged with the journalists in talks relevant to his recent meetings with Iranian senior Muhammad Reda Rahimi, and US senior Jeffrey Feltman.

Separately, Sleiman met with former Finance Minister Dimianos Qattar and reviewed with him the local financial situation as well as the scope of finding a solution to pending financial files, notably the necessity for rectifying the 2011 extra-budgetary spending before being approved by the House of Parliament and published by the Lebanese President.

Separately, Sleiman received the secretary general of the Syrian Lebanese Supreme Council, Nasri Khoury, and discussed with him the situation in Syria as well as bilateral ties.

Amongst Baabda's visitors have been Army Intelligence senior Edmund Fadel, who briefed the host over the actual security situation in the country; Attorneys Syndicate chief Nuhad Jabr, who invited the President to an honorary ceremony for Attorney Muhammad Chehab on May 17, 2012 at the Attorney House "Beit Al-Muhami" in Beirut; and others.
A.M>
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Independent Christians gathering: current elections law exacerbates sectarianism
 

Fri 4/05/2012 17:16

NNA - 05/04/2012 - The independent Christians gathering held its regular meeting Friday at Our Lady of Harissa in presence of its Secretary General, former Minister Abdallah Farhat and other ranking dignitaries.

Farhat stressed in his statement on "the legislative elections' deadline and the intended procrastination to block the approval of the newly proposed electoral law aimed at achieving diversity and equity."

Conferees held opponents of this project a historical responsibility due "to the many aspects of danger posed by the current electoral law."
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Independent Christians gathering: current elections law exacerbates sectarianism
 

Fri 4/05/2012 17:16

NNA - 05/04/2012 - The independent Christians gathering held its regular meeting Friday at Our Lady of Harissa in presence of its Secretary General, former Minister Abdallah Farhat and other ranking dignitaries.

Farhat stressed in his statement on "the legislative elections' deadline and the intended procrastination to block the approval of the newly proposed electoral law aimed at achieving diversity and equity."

Conferees held opponents of this project a historical responsibility due "to the many aspects of danger posed by the current electoral law."
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Moqbel, Audi tackle Orthodox conditions
 

Fri 4/05/2012 16:27


NNA - 4/5/2012 - Deputy Prime Minister Samir Moqbel visited Beirut Greek Orthodox Metropolitan, Bishop Elias Audi, with whom he tackled affairs basically concerning the Orthodox community.

Moqbel said the visit was aimed at briefing Audi on the atmosphere of the broad orthodox meeting held in Rabieh last week with talks featuring high on key solutions to unify the orthodox ranks and be able to claim the community's full rights.

Also, Moqbel confirmed that President Michel Sleiman will not sign any decree that might deepen the schism between the country's factions.

As for the postponement of yesterday's cabinet session, Moqbel said it was a wise decision in light of the tension prevailing among politicians regarding the "LL8.9 trillion" issue.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Moqbel, Audi tackle Orthodox conditions
 

Fri 4/05/2012 16:27

NNA - 4/5/2012 - Deputy Prime Minister Samir Moqbel visited Beirut Greek Orthodox Metropolitan, Bishop Elias Audi, with whom he tackled affairs basically concerning the Orthodox community.

Moqbel said the visit was aimed at briefing Audi on the atmosphere of the broad orthodox meeting held in Rabieh last week with talks featuring high on key solutions to unify the orthodox ranks and be able to claim the community's full rights.

Also, Moqbel confirmed that President Michel Sleiman will not sign any decree that might deepen the schism between the country's factions.

As for the postponement of yesterday's cabinet session, Moqbel said it was a wise decision in light of the tension prevailing among politicians regarding the "LL8.9 trillion" issue.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Syrian diplomat in Yarze
 

Fri 4/05/2012 15:57

NNA - 4/5/2012 - Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji, met Friday at his office in Yarze the Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul Karim Ali, with talks featuring high on the current general situation.

Qahwaji later met with the Secretary General of the Higher Lebanese-Syrian Council, Nasri Khoury.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman: problem in 2012 finance budget, expats vote according to law
 

Fri 4/05/2012 15:11

NNA - 04/05/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman saw that the pending 2012 public budget was a problem by itself, especially that the 2011 budget draft was unconstitutional and could not stand valid for 2012's that needed another solution.

Sleiman's words came Friday in the context of an annual meeting with accredited journalists at Baabda Presidential Palace, on the occasion of martyr journalists commemoration.

Sleiman affirmed that upcoming parliamentary elections would occur on their due date and expatriates would vote in accordance with the forthcoming elections law, so that results would not be contested later on.
Separately, Sleiman received the secretary general of the Syrian Lebanese Supreme Council, Nasri Khoury, and discussed with him the situation in Syria as well as bilateral ties.

Amongst Baabda's visitors have been Army Intelligence senior Edmund Fadel; Attorneys Syndicate chief Nuhad Jabr; and others.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman: problem in 2012 finance budget, expats vote according to law
 

Fri 4/05/2012 15:11

NNA - 04/05/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman saw that the pending 2012 public budget was a problem by itself, especially that the 2011 budget draft was unconstitutional and could not stand valid for 2012's that needed another solution.

Sleiman's words came Friday in the context of an annual meeting with accredited journalists at Baabda Presidential Palace, on the occasion of martyr journalists commemoration.

Sleiman affirmed that upcoming parliamentary elections would occur on their due date and expatriates would vote in accordance with the forthcoming elections law, so that results would not be contested later on.
Separately, Sleiman received the secretary general of the Syrian Lebanese Supreme Council, Nasri Khoury, and discussed with him the situation in Syria as well as bilateral ties.

Amongst Baabda's visitors have been Army Intelligence senior Edmund Fadel; Attorneys Syndicate chief Nuhad Jabr; and others.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Majdalani : to forbid "High Commissioner" from disrupting Lebanon ties with Arab Countries
 

Fri 4/05/2012 13:21

NNA - 4/5/2012- Member of Parliament Atef Majdalani called in a statement the cabinet to bar the violations of the "High Commissioner" in Beirut and forbid him from disrupting Lebanon ties with Arab Countries on top of them Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) .
The Syrian Diplomat said Wednesday 2/5/2012 following his meeting with Foreign minister Adnan Mansour that political leaderships in Qatar, KSA and other countries were behind the Syria -bound arms shipment that was intercepted Friday night by the Lebanese army
Majdalani said since the cabinet raised the motto of dissociating itself from the Syrian crisis it should apply, at least, that, and forbid the Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon from making of the Foreign Ministry a podium to attack friend countries to Lebanon.

He added that the Lebanese cabinet should ask Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour to issue a clarification in which he would confirm that Lebanon had nothing to do with the accusations which the Syrian Ambassador announced against KSA.

Majdalani added that they would not accept to risk the interests of the Lebanese people, inside and outside Lebanon, because of the dependence policy adopted by the current cabinet and imposed on all the Lebanese.

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2012 All rights reserved











 

Politics - Gemayel meets WLCU head Doueihi
 

Fri 4/05/2012 13:09

NNA - 4/5/2012 Kataeb leader Amine Gemayel Friday received a delegation of the World Lebanese Cultural Union headed by its President Michel Doueihi.
Talks touched on the WLCU affairs and most recent activities.

Douheihi reported after the meeting that he engaged with Gemayel in talks concerning the Lebanese Expatriates' situation as well as their demands of the right to vote and to regain citizenship.
L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ghosn: investigations into impounded boat made progress
 

Fri 4/05/2012 12:58

NNA - 4/5/2012 - Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn said in a statement today that the investigation concerning the weapons boat which was captured by the authorities in Lebanese territorial waters made significant progress, adding that these investigations will continue until all those involved in this ship are identified.

"Let's leave the investigation take its course and refrain from making speculations and analysis," the minister argued.

He stressed that it is not allowed to demean the investigations through speculations and gossips.

The minister assured that all attempts to deviate the investigation from its course are doomed to failure.

"The army is the only one capable of protecting Lebanon and delivers a blow to anyone who tries to sow discord and strife."
O.H

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Politics - Berri meets Safadi, Eichhorst
 

Fri 4/05/2012 12:55

NNA - 4/5/2012 House Speaker Nabih Berri convened Friday tackled financial and economic situation during his meeting with Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi.

Berri also convened with EU Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst and discussed with her most recent up-to-dates.
L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Zasypkin commends the capture of arms ship in Lebanon
 

Fri 4/05/2012 11:42

NNA - 4/5/2012 - Russian ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin commended the Lebanese authorities for seizing a boat loaded with weapons destined to Syria.

Zasypkin, who paid a visit to foreign minister Adnan Mansour, told reporters after the meeting that Moscow assesses positively the seizure of the ship loaded with arms in Lebanese territorial waters, hoping that investigations will continue to identify those responsible for this "criminal attempt."

Asked if Russia accuses certain countries of financing the arms shipment, the ambassador said his government wants full investigation on this incident to determine the parties behind the arms smuggling.

He reiterated that his country is still against any foreign military intervention in Syria and is surely against arming of the opposition.

Zasypkin declined to accuse any country that could be behind the smuggling of weapons to Syria.

The ambassador also commented on U.N. Special envoy Kofi Annan's initiative that aims at ending the ongoing fighting in Syria, assuring that Moscow fully supports this initiative.

Zasypkin stressed that the U.N. monitors in Syria should be given more time to establish a truce in the country, adding that his government has received representatives of the Syrian opposition while it continued to maintain contacts with the Syrian authorities.

The ambassador believes that there are certain parties which are still influencing the armed groups in Syria.

Zasypkin repeated that Annan should be given ample time to achieve peace in Syria, warning that a military option in not on the table at the moment in case the initiative failed.

He also refused to comment directly on the recent visits of senior U.S. and Iranian officials to Lebanon.

"We hope that these visits will cement stability and security in Lebanon."

O.H
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Layyoun: Cabinet session holdup unnecessary
 

Fri 4/05/2012 10:57

NNA - 4/5/2012 - Culture Minister Gabi Layyoun Friday said Cabinet session postponement is not needed neither are new projects on financial spending.

"The LL 8.9 trillion's project is at the Parliament and ready to be discussed, amended, and ratified," he told Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio station.

Also on the overspending crisis, Minister Layyoun considered that the President has created a non-existent problem.

Pertaining to the Iranian-Lebanese signed agreements, Layyoun saw no captivation whatsoever to Lebanon's sovereignty herein.
L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Politics - Harb mocked from Assafir photo of him
 

Fri 4/05/2012 10:38


NNA - 4/5/2012 - Member of Parliament Butrous Harb described the photo published in Assafir newspaper as he was greeting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffry Feltman as a "solid prove of the campaign staged by March 8 against March 14 as a result of this visit."

The MP mocked the caricaturist manner in which the photo was taken as he was bending for Feltman, adding that he was merely pointing to his quest to sit in a chair.

"We only bow to God and no one else and we will never abandon our principles and dignity," Harb told Voice of Lebanon.

The MP said that Feltman's visit has reasserted the U.S. commitment to Lebanon's sovereignty and independence and protecting the country from the ramifications of the events in Syria.

"March 14 has asked the United States and the world to ensure that the parliamentary elections in Lebanon are held on their constitutional time."
O.H

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Politics - Harb mocked from Assafir photo of him
 

Fri 4/05/2012 10:37

NNA - 4/5/2012 - Member of Parliament Butrous Harb described the photo published in Assafir newspaper as he was greeting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffry Feltman as a "solid prove of the campaign staged by March 8 against March 14 as a result of this visit."

The MP mocked the caricaturist manner in which the photo was taken as he was bending for Feltman, adding that he was merely pointing to his quest to sit in a chair.

"We only bow to God and no one else and we will never abandon our principles and dignity," Harb stressed told Voice of Lebanon.

The MP said that Feltman's visit has reasserted the U.S. commitment to Lebanon's sovereignty and independence and protecting the country from the ramifications of the events in Syria.

"March 14 has asked the United States and the world to ensure that the parliamentary elections in Lebanon are held on their constitutional time."
O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahimi visits Maroun Al- Ras, says Hezbollah mortified Israel
 

Thu 3/05/2012 22:45

NNA - 03/05/2012 - Iranian First Vice President, Mohammad Reza Rahimi, said on Thursday that Hezbollah humiliatingly forced Israel to withdraw from the Southern part of Lebanon, proving to have its last say, presence, and victory in the region.

Rahimi's words came during a visit on Thursday afternoon to the Iranian Garden of Maroun Al-Ras - South Lebanon.

"The Zionist entity feels squeezed in the corner, to the extent of thinking of building a wall that infinitely separates it from this resistance," he said.

Furthermore, the Iranian official demanded an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from all Arab territories, seeing in Arab uprising an obvious clue that the people of the region could no longer take humiliation and oppression.

As for Syria-related developments, Rahimi relayed Iran's full support to the Syrian people's legitimate right to demand reforms, as well as to the Syrian President's initiative to implement reforms that satisfy his people.

"The majority of the Syrian people stand next to the Syrian President, but unfortunately, we witness the 'arrogant forces' making use of armed and dangerous terrorist pockets to ignite strife in this country," he added.

In turn, Hezbollah MP Hassan Fadlallah, who welomed the Iranian official alongside official and popular delegations, heaped praise on the Islamic Republic, saying it was the sole security and stability factor in Lebanon.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Feltman meets Mikati, March 14 leaders on last day visit to Lebanon
 

Thu 3/05/2012 22:12

NNA - 03/05/2012 - Prior to his departure, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman met on Thursday with Prime Minister Najib Mikati, in the company of Ambassador Maura Connelly and an accompanying delegation from the U.S. embassy.

Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman completed his visit to Lebanon today after meeting with senior officials to discuss the political, economic, and security situation in Lebanon, developments in Syria, and other regional issues.

Earlier, MP Boutros Harb held a lunch banquet in honor of Feltman, in the presence of U.S. Ambassador Maura Connelly and MPs Marwan Hamadeh, Dory Chamoun, Michel Pharaoh, Atef Majdalani, and former MPs Fares Souheid, Ghattas Khoury, and Kamil Ziade.

A meeting touching on most recent developments in Lebanon and the region proceeded lunch between Feltman and March 14 leaders.

Before departing Lebanon, Feltman also held talks with Former Prime Minister Foaud Siniora and former Minister Nayla Moawad.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Layoun says Feltman, Liberman's Lebanon visit aims to rock security
 

Thu 3/05/2012 21:56

NNA - 03/05/2012 - Culture Minister Gaby Layoun derided the visit of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman and U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman, as incitement-ridden, hoping that the Lebanese officials and people are "immuned enough to fight off the outcome of this visit which carries within U.S. interests."

Feltman completed his visit to Lebanon today and met with senior officials to discuss the political, economic, and security situation in Lebanon, developments in Syria, and other regional issues.

"We will not allow anyone to interfere in our internal affairs, especially when it gets down to incitement against neighboring Syria," he said.

Layoun, in a radio talk show, also saw in Leibermen's visit to North Lebanon an attempt to rock the shaky security situation at the "Northern Lebanese gate."

Moreover, Layoun utterly refused to make a link between Feltman's and Rahimi's visits to Lebanon.

"[The Iranian official's] visit is a state visit which witnessed the signature of agreements between both countries."
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahimi says Iran determined to fortify Mikati's cabinet
 

Thu 3/05/2012 20:55

NNA - 03/05/2012 - Iranian First Vice President, Mohammad Reza Rahimi, confirmed on Thursday Iran's unyielding will to strengthen the government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

Rahimi made his remarks during a meeting by the Iranian-Lebanese joint] committee's meeting at the Grand Serail, in which three implementation programs of previously Okayed memos of understanding have been inked.

"What distinguishes Lebanon from other countries in the region is its remarkable freedom," he said, hoping that other Middle Eastern countries will take Lebanon as an example to follow.

The delegation of 45 Iranian officials, including ministers, has been in Lebanon for talks with Lebanese counterparts. Their main aim is to implement previously made agreements between Lebanon and Iran.

Fueling hopes to see a near end to Syria's unrest, Rahimi voiced his country's utter condemnation against foreign interference in Syrian affairs.

"We oppose such interference for the general interest of the Syrian people," he said, adding "the Syrian President should be allowed the opportunity to communicate with his people and with the Syrian opposition to reach a political solution that would hopefully result in the desired outcome -- to form a government capable implementing required political reform."

In turn, Prime Minister Najib Mikati thanked the Islamic Republic for its support to the Lebanese government -- protecting the country's stability and consolidating unity and solidarity among citizens, which has spared Lebanon the impact of events in several Arab countries, including Syria.

"Lebanon is determined not to interfere in Syrian internal affairs," Mikati confirmed, hoping for a close end to violence and bloodshed.

In addition, a meeting by the Iranian-Lebanese joint committee had been held with Prime Minister Mikati chairing the Lebanese side and Rahimi chairing the Iranian side.

Three former executive programs MOUs were signed. The first was signed between the Minister of Industry, Vrej Sabounjian, and Iranian Minister of Public Transport, Nikraz Ali.

The second was signed between the CEO of Libnor and Iran's director of standards and qualifications, Mortada Imami Rawadni, on broadening scientific and technical cooperation between the two countries.

The third executive program was signed between the Director General of the Institute of Industrial Research and Bassam El Forn Rawadni on certificates of conformity.

The Iranian-Lebanese joint committee was formed in 2010 during ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri's visit to Tehran with aim of strengthening economic ties between Lebanon and Iran.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Future Bloc demands Cabinet assume responsibility
 

Thu 3/05/2012 19:34

NNA - 03/05/2012 Following its weekly meeting, Future Bloc issued a statement Thursday holding government responsible for deteriorating living conditions, and demanding cabinet finalize state budget.

The meeting held at Central House in Beirut was presided over by head of the Bloc, MP Foad Siniora, with MP Mohammad Qabbani addressing the statement to the press.

"We hope that the unconstructive impact on people's livelihoods would end with the removal of the government," said the statement which hoped that soon citizens would be free of faulty decisions based on spiteful politics.

"The government's malicious practices [and disputes] have blinded it and negatively affected economic growth in Lebanon," the statement added. On that note, it urged decision makers to finalize the expenditure budget so that life can go on in the country.

Turning to security news, Future Bloc congratulated Lebanese navy and security apparatuses for intercepting the ship, Lutfallah II, loaded with arms and bound to Syria from Libya.

"We hope...[this incident] would pave the way to the confiscation of weapons that are smuggled into Lebanon through various crossings."
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Assistant Secretary Jeffrey Feltman completes visit to Lebanon
 

Thu 3/05/2012 19:11

NNA - 03/05/2012 - Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman completed his visit to Lebanon today and met with senior officials to discuss the political, economic, and security situation in Lebanon, developments in Syria, and other regional issues.

Assistant Secretary Feltman and U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly met with President Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Kataeb Party Leader former President Amine Gemayel, former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, His Eminence Metropolitan Elias Audi of the Orthodox Archdiocese of Beirut, and March 14 politicians.

Assistant Secretary Feltman expressed the United States' steadfast support for pluralistic and democratic governments in the region that protect the rights of all citizens, including ethnic and religious minorities.
He renewed the United States' commitment to a stable, sovereign and independent Lebanon.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi meets Mexican President
 

Thu 3/05/2012 19:03

NNA - 03/05/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi visited on Thursday the Mexican President Felipe Calderon at the Mexican Presidential Palace.
Both engaged in talks relevant to the overall situation in the Middle East region as well as to means of enhancing bilateral ties.

Calderon voiced Mexico's readiness to provide any sort of assistance for the Lebanese Cause.

The Patriarch, for his part, said that the Christians in Middle East countries should not be deemed as minorities, highlighting that Christians and Muslims in Lebanon played throughout history a significant role in establishing a democratic state.
A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati presides over UAE, Lebanese businessmen meeting
 

Thu 3/05/2012 18:45

NNA - 03/05/2012 Prime Minister Najib Mikati held a meeting Thursday at the Grand Serail for Emirati and Lebanese businessmen, probing means of encouraging investments in Lebanon via Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL).

State Minister Marwan Kheireddine attended the meeting which brought together entrepreneurs from different sectors, such as information technology, hotels, hospitals and transportation.

"The ministerial committee specialized in developing implementation decrees for IDAL has concluded its work and presented the Prime Minister with a project that would restructure IDAL in a contemporary way, making full use of its ten years of expertise," said Kheireddine.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - New Austrian ambassador arrives to Lebanon
 

Thu 3/05/2012 18:11

NNA - 03/05/2012 New ambassador of Austria to Lebanon, Ursula Fahringer, arrived Thursday via Istanbul.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri holds lunch banquet for Iranian senior Rahimi
 

Thu 3/05/2012 18:08

NNA - 03/05/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri held on Thursday at his residence in Ain Tineh a lunch banquet in honor of Iran's Deputy President Dr. Muhammad Reda Rahimi. The event was attended by Prime Minister Najib Mikati, his deputy Samir Mokbel and a number of ministers and deputies.

It is to be noted that the banquet has been precedented by a one-on-one meeting between Berri and Rahimi, focusing on boosting bilateral ties and on recent developments at the regional and international scenes.

Berri gave a word highly speaking of Iran as "an exporter of the culture of unity." According to the Speaker, Iran does not strive for finding a Shiite peculiarity in the East Mediterranean region as this is something that runs against Iran's interest. "For this reason, the mobilization of regional and international forces under the veil of opposing the Shiite crescent is not at all at the right place. It is rather a conspiracy against the region's culture, creed and interests."

Berri called for an East Mediterranean region void of nuclear and mass destruction weapons. Turning to the Syrian file, Berri underscored Lebanon's disassoctaion policy in this concern since any lack of such policy would negatively affect Lebanon and drag it into living the Syrian crisis.

Berri called for enhancing the role of Vatican, Najaf and Azhar references and opposing fanaticism, especially that the Arab countries were prone to division and divergence among their political groups.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk defends online media regulation bill
 

Thu 3/05/2012 17:56

NNA - 03/05/2012 Information Minister, Walid Daouk, said in a lecture at the grand hall of the Lawyer's Syndicate headquarters Thursday that those who attacked his online media regulation bill did so from a political standpoint without taking into consideration national interest which dictated freedom of expression.

The bill, submitted to the Cabinet by Daouk on March 7, called for the registration of news websites and the application of existing media laws to those who work for them. This stirred online uproar against the bill prompting Prime Minister Najib Mikati to use Twitter to say on March 12 that he was calling for a review of the law.

The Minister explained that the primary objective behind said project-law was to strengthen the online media sector against any attempt to marginalize it or attack freedom of expression.

The process of shaping the bill branched into three main axes. The first being legal, focusing on safeguarding intellectual and artistic royalties.

"These days any news item or information is delivered to us with the speed of light. The eyewitness is no longer a passive spectator to an event, but rather... a reporter supplying various outlets with live [information] or photos."

"As a Minister of Information directly involved with all that is being published and broadcasted...I cannot stand idle in face of rapidly evolving communication media...it is my duty to protect the primary source of news, specifically electronic websites which exert a lot of effort to acquire and present the item to the end receiver in the utmost professional way."

Daouk asserted that only laws and legislations could protect literary and intellectual copyrights and punish plagiarists. Under the ceiling of the law a better and more sophisticated form of competition would emerge.

The second axis of the law required optional registration of websites at the Ministry, whereby each site declares its specific location to the government.

"This also aimed at protecting [owners] against defamation," explained Daouk, "whereby each registered site would have a special mark from the Information Ministry as a token of the seriousness of this webpage."

The final axis tapped at the comprehensive law of media, which did not refer to electronic media in any way, shape or form. Thus, the bill served as a temporary viable solution to this shortcoming until the specialized ministerial committee, currently at work, finalized its study of the law of electronic formalities.

Daouk assured that cabinet would soon go back to studying his bill, despite vicious attacks by those more interested in politics than freedom of speech.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora, Saudi diplomat meet
 

Thu 3/05/2012 17:38

NNA - 3/5/2012 - Head of Future parliamentary bloc, MP Fouad Siniora, received Thursday at his office in Sadat Tower the Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Awadh Asseri.

Talks reportedly touched on the current general situation in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

 

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Politics - Nasrallah, Rahimi meet over situation
 

Thu 3/05/2012 17:36

NNA - 3/5/2012 - Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, on Thursday met with the Iranian vice President, Mohammed Reza Rahimi, over the current political situation in the region and the Israeli menaces.

According to a statement by the party's press office, the Iranian official highlighted his country's unwavering support for assisting Lebanon on all levels.

For his part, Sayyed Nasrallah thanked the Islamic Republic, in the name of the Resistance and the Lebanese people, for its full support for Lebanon.

Today's meeting was also attended by Public Works Minister Ghazi Aridi, Energy Minister Gebran Bassil, Telecommunications Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui, Education Minister Hassan Diab, a number of Islamic Shoura Council's Deputies, Iranian Assistant Foreign Minister, and the Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Situation of Lebanese regions tops Aridi's meetings today
 

Thu 3/05/2012 17:23

NNA - 3/5/2012 - Minister of Telecommunications and Transportation, Ghazi Aridi, keenly followed up Wednesday on the current situation in a number of Lebanese regions with his itinerant visitors at his ministerial office.

The Minister met today with Deputy Ali Ammar from the Loyalty to the Resistance bloc, with talks featuring high on an array of development-related dossiers relevant to the Southern Suburb region.

In response to a question on the visit to Lebanon of the US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, Ammar said the project of the US administration was to render the [Mideast] region into splinters through fanning continuous sectarian and ethnical conflicts.

He then cautioned the Lebanese against such policies, calling them to keep vigil over the true friend and enemy.

On today's general labor strike, the Deputy avowed that Hezbollah upheld the syndical demands, urging the cabinet to assume its responsibility in that respect.

Aridi later met with Member of the Change and Reform bloc, Simon Abi Ramia, over ongoing public works in Jbeil region.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, the Deputy saw that today's GLC strike indeed mirrored a division within the syndical sector.

"The syndical movement is in need of dynamism, away from political mazes," he said.

Furthermore, the Minister respectively met today with MP Emile Rahme and former Deputy Samir Azar.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qahwaji's itinerants today
 

Thu 3/05/2012 16:43

NNA - 3/5/2012 - Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji, met Thursday at his office in Yarze with former Deputy Prime Minister, retired General Issam Abu Jamra, over the current general situation.

Qahwaji later received at his office in Yarze a delegation of Qaytah municipalities union.

Talks reportedly featured high on an array of development-related affairs as well as on the ongoing cooperation with the Lebanese military institution.

 

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Politics - Asseri rejects Syrian ambassador's accusations
 

Thu 3/05/2012 15:53

NNA - 3/5/2012 - Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Awadh Asseri, responded to the statements of Syrian ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abd ElKarim Ali, in which he accused KSA and the Gulf countries of standing behind the ship issue which the Lebanese authorities confiscated recently, a statement issued by Saudi embassy said.
The Syrian Diplomat said Wednesday following his meeting with Foreign minister Adnan Mansour that political leaderships in Qatar, KSA and other countries were behind the Syria -bound arms shipment that was intercepted Friday night by the Lebanese army.
Asseri expressed his astonishment of hearing such haste statements from the Syrian ambassador inspite of he's well- known for logic and patience before rushing to taking stances. However, such statements won't seem odd if read within the escaping policy framework adopted by the Syrian government in a desperate attempt to deviate attention from the Syrian people suffering, Asseri said.

He added that everybody is certain, despite such statements, that KSA has always presented Humanitarian aids and support for all Arab and Muslim brethrens and its humanitarian aid to Syrian displaced took place under the attention of the international society and in agreement and coordination with the Lebanese authorities.

Asseri hoped that the Syrian ambassador statements were not intended to be from the Lebanese Foreign ministry to imply that his statements came in coordination with officials in the ministry, pointing out that the Lebanese State had adopted the dissociation policy regarding Syrian situation.

Asseri concluded that he paid today Thursday 3/5/2012 a visit to PM Najib Mikati and sensed that the Lebanese cabinet doesn't agree with such statements which contradict the latter's appreciation to KSA position and role.
L.Y.R.

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Politics - US's Feltman, Iran's Rahimi in Baabda
 

Thu 3/05/2012 15:42

NNA - 3/5/2012 - Both the Iranian vice President and the US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs had been respectively to the Baabda presidential palace on Thursday, with each shouldering a spectrum of items currently occupying the region and world's scenes.

President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, met today with Mohammad Reza Rahimi, who handed him a written letter from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, hereby inviting him to the Non-Aligned conference to be held in Tehran.

Besides, the Iranian official did not fail to relay Iran's full commitment to support Lebanon and conclude two-pronged agreements of cooperation.

Sleiman, for his part, heaped praise on the ongoing cooperation with Iran, shining light on the "good relations between the two countries."

The President later received Jeffrey Feltman, who confirmed the US support for Lebanon's independence, sovereignty, and stability.

The pair reportedly skimmed through most recent developments in the Mideast region.

Separately, the President received today former ministers Ibrahim Dedeyan and Ibrahim Daher with talks featuring high on the current general situation on the local domestic scene.

Besides, a delegation of Lions Clubs Association had also been to Baabda today, headed by the Governor of Region 351, Wafa Khoury.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea: Regional developments historical par excellence
 

Thu 3/05/2012 15:33

NNA - 3/5/2012 - Lebanese Forces party Head Samir Geagea told Al-Watan Egyptian newspaper that the events taking place in the region were historical par excellence. He deemed this Arab Spring as a rare, difficult, popular step towards freedom.

"The Arab Spring has not yet ended. It actually just started, and I believe it would last for long years in some countries, so as to finally reach stability in the Arab world overall," Geagea estimated.

He described the Arab unrest as a conflict between two currents, the first eager to equality between citizens in rights and duties, and the second less open and just.

When asked about the situation in Egypt and to what extent was it similar to the Lebanese conditions in the mid-70s, Geagea reassured listeners that Egypt did not seem to be heading toward civil war as its circumstances were much different from Lebanon's at the time.

As for the Syrian crisis, Geagea confirmed that "sooner or later, Assad's regime will no longer be able to persist."
"It's just a matter of time as the international community is still a bit inconclusive, unlike its stances vis-a-vis Egypt, Tunisia and Libya," the LF leader noted.

"Elections in Syria were not serious regardless of their date. They're just a maneuver by President Assad," he considered as well.

Eventually, Geagea was asked about his assassination attempt whereby he confirmed that it only aimed at changing the balance of power at the internal scene.

D.K.
 

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Politics - Kheireddine from Grand Serail: cabinet cannot stay without spending money
 

Thu 3/05/2012 15:23

NNA - 03/05/2012 - State Minister Marwan Kheireddine said the Mikati-led cabinet could not remain without the Fiance Ministry's spending the required money for ministerial works.

The executive secretary of ESCWA Rima Khalaf, accompanied by State Minister Marwan Kheireddine, met on Thursday at the Grand Serail with Prime Minister Najib Mikati. "And we must find the constitutional means for spending the money so that we would not be subjected to legal questioning," said Kheireddine, who urged for settling a finance budget for 2012, especially that Lebanon has been lacking it since 2005.

Separately, Mikati received Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour and discussed with him the general situation as well as ministerial affairs.
Afterwards, he received the Saudi Ambassador Ali Awadh Asseri and reviewed with him bilateral ties.

Amongst the Grand Serail's visitors has been a delegation of the Danish Arab Gathering for Islamic Christian Dialogue.
 

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Politics - Aoun meets Tracy Chamoun
 

Thu 3/05/2012 14:54

NNA - 3/5/2012 Change and Reform bloc head MP Michel Aoun met Thursday with Tracy Dany Chamoun.

Chamoun said that she is working on starting a new political party, the "Democratic Liberal Party".

Asked about the 2013 legislatives, she uttered her support to the proportionality principle.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Taqieddine visits Charbel, touts proportionality
 

Thu 3/05/2012 14:54

NNA - 3/5/2012 - Head of National Understanding Party, Bilal Taqieddine, had been Thursday to the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities, for a meeting with Minister Marwan Charbel over the forthcoming 2013 legislative elections.

Taqieddine, who voiced full support for adopting proportionality, however cast gloom over the basis to be adopted in the impending parliamentary polls.

"Alas, it is clear that this [proportionality-based] project will not be adopted in 2013 election," he said.

Minister Charbel drafted a proposed electoral law on proportional representation in October last year and referred it to the Cabinet. Under Charbel's law, Lebanon would be divided into 10 to 14 medium-sized districts.

Taqieddine took to task the current electoral law, deploring that "Lebanon remains subject to political shares" whereby electoral districts are particularly tailored.

He called upon citizens wishing to adopt democracy and proportionality to take to the streets to claim their rights.

A proportional law would ensure a more effective representation of Lebanese voters than is provided by the current winner0takes-all 1960 law, in which an electoral list that receives at least 51% of the vote wins all the seats in a district.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Harb honors Feltman
 

Thu 3/05/2012 14:42
NNA - 3/5/2012 MP Boutros Harb Thursday held a lunch banquet to honor the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman.

The banquet took place in presence of MPs Marwan Hamdeh, Dory Chamoun, Michel Paharaon, Aatef Majdalani, and former MPs Fares Souaid, Ghattas Khoury and Kamil Zyade.
L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk: Laborers' strike to no avail
 

Thu 3/05/2012 14:31

NNA - 3/5/2012 Information Minister Walid Daouk asserted Thursday that the laborers' strike of both public and private sectors gave no results since several sectors did not commit.

"The will is not achieved by hampering the economic path but by respecting production," Minister Daouk said and reckoned herein the cooperation between workers and employees, being one of the best conditions to boost production.

Speaking to the National News Agency, Daouk said a Ministerial commission was recently formed to handle the aforesaid matter so as to anchor serene atmosphere and activate dialogue until the economic and social council be established.

The Minister attributed the cause of Cabinet's session delay to the signing of several agreements in addition to the President's private gatherings and Premier's hectic schedule.

Pertaining to the item of salaries' adjustment for public and private sectors, the Minister explained that it was a project MPs Sami Gemayel, Nicolas Ghosn, and Salim Salhab presented.
"It seeks equity between public sector civil and military workers," Daouk said.

Daouk uttered sorrow for what Lebanese television channels, the MTV, LBCI, Future, and others, are witnessing of bad economic situation and sacking of employees.
"It is shameful we be witnessing such a large dismission practice and we shall be holding necessary contacts to avoid it," he said.

Also, the Minister said he had met, during his visit to Kuwait, with his Kuwaiti counterpart who pledged to help rehabilitating the Tele Liban television channel, gearing up the Ministry of Information with missing equipments.

"Lebanon and Kuwait enjoy brotherly ties," he concluded and urged Kuwaiti nationals to visit Lebanon.

L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Audi, Feltman meet
 

Thu 3/05/2012 14:24

NNA - 3/5/2012 - Beirut Greek Orthodox Metropolitan, Bishop Elias Audi, met Thursday with the US Assistant State Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, accompanied by US ambassador Maura Connelly, with talks featuring high on current situation.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel meets Feltman, highlights Lebanon's central role at regional level
 

Thu 3/05/2012 14:04

NNA - 3/5/2012 - Lebanese Kataeb Head, former President Amin Gemayel, met Thursday with the US Assistant State Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, in presence of the US Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly.

Discussions featured high on local and regional affairs.

In the wake of the meeting, Gemayel said "these diplomatic visits to Lebanon confirm that the country is still the center of diplomatic activities in the region." He affirmed as well the importance of democracy, freedoms, and internal solidarity to overcome the region's changes.

"Lebanon's stance vis-a-vis the developments in Syria must be clear, in terms of compassion towards those seeking freedom, sovereignty and independence without any interference whatsoever in Syria's affairs," Gemayel corroborated.

He accordingly called on decisions makers to find best solutions for the Syrian crisis through the United Nations, by reactivating the peace plan of UN envoy Kofi Annan.

The meeting was also an occasion to thank the US administration for the constant assistance provided to the Lebanese Army and for its commitment to its support system for Lebanon.

Pertaining to the parliamentary elections issue, the Kataeb Head confirmed that they should be carried out on schedule.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qadiri from Meerab: Government fragmenting Lebanon, increasing schisms
 

Thu 3/05/2012 13:51

NNA - 3/5/2012 MP Ziad Qadiri Thursday said government aims at fragmenting the country, increasing schism and challenges amid Lebanese.

Following his meeting with the Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, Qadiri said it is of the government's responsibility to present the Budget since 2011 has passed without any and 2012 is going by with no budget yet set.

"We shall not accept the legalization of the LL 8.9 trillion exceptional spending without the legalization of the 2006 till 2010 spending," he said.

Future bloc member has, in that respect, heaped praise on the President's stance refusing to sign on the LL 8.9 trillion's legalization decree.
"Mikati's government adopts spending through payments in advance which is illegal for it can solely be done for public institutions and not administrations," he remarked.

Pertaining to the electoral law, the MP conveyed his bloc's holding on to the Taef Accord that stipulates the representation of an MP to the whole nation based on considering good representation and preserving coexistence.

In his words, MP Qadiri considered that Hezbollah was using reform mottoes to promote proportionality in electoral law.
He said that Hezbollah sought, through promoting proportionality, to consecrate the coup d'etat it has done by force of weapons.

"Reform cannot be broken down unless it was followed up by a series of other reforms," he said stressing herein the necessity to adopt a modern law i.e. lowering the voting age to 18, abolishing political sectarianism, and electing a Parliament outside sectarian restraint.

Concluding his speech, Qadiri stressed the need to respect Christians' obsessions in Lebanon regarding their participation in the authority especially within current regional changes.
L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hashem: Feltman's tours are bad omen
 

Thu 3/05/2012 12:25

NNA - 3/5/2012 - Development and Liberation Parliamentary bloc member Qassem Hashem blasted the visit of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman to Lebanon, describing the latter's talks with Lebanese political figures as bad omen.

The MP said what is more surprising is the visit of U.S Senator Joseph Lieberman, a staunch defender of the Israel, to the northern borders.

"The purpose of Lieberman's visit was to instigate and spread his poisons and this was clearly evident by his appalling intervention in local and national affairs," Hashem said.

He wondered if the Lebanese state was fully aware of Leiberman's visit to the northern borders.
"If the state was aware of Lieberman's visit then this a problem but if they were not aware of this visit then this would be a bigger problem."

The MP warned that the U.S. is trying to embroil Lebanon into the regional conflicts which suit the schemes of the United States and Israel.

"The U.S. policy stems from the protection of Israel's interest. We should all be aware of such U.S. and western intentions towards the region."
O.H

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Politics - Cabinet session adjourned
 

Thu 3/05/2012 12:10



NNA - 3/5/2012 - The cabinet session scheduled for Thursday 4:00 pm was adjourned to a different date to be set later, as reported by our NNA correspondent.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

Politics - Sleiman meets Rahimi
 

Thu 3/05/2012 11:38

NNA - 3/5/2012 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman is currently holding talks with Iran's vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi and the accompanying delegation.

The talks will focus on bilateral ties and means to develop them as well as the situation in the region.

Earlier, Sleiman held one hour of talks with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman and U.S. ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly.

Feltman left Baabda Presidential Palace with making any comment.
O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Manoujian: Agreement over financial file still absent
 

Thu 3/05/2012 11:16

NNA - 3/5/2012 - Minister of State Panos Manoujian told Voice of Lebanon that the agreement on the financial file is still absent inside the government, revealing that the military establishments and Internal Security Forces are suffering from an acute shortage of cash flow which could hinder their required security missions and confine these operations on limited important tasks.

He added that the government has empowered Finance Minister Mohammed Safadi to secure funds for the military institutions to enable them carry to out their security duties.

The minister indicated that Prime Minister Najib Mikati could postpone today's Cabinet session due to heavy agenda and meetings he has with the visiting Iranian delegation.
O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Mokbel stresses need to conclude crucial dossiers
 

Thu 3/05/2012 10:54

NNA - 3/5/2012 - Deputy Premier Samir Mokbel Thursday emphasized the necessity to hold a Cabinet session in order to review most important matters.

"Session will not approach laborers demand due to the critical nature of the spending and electoral law dossiers," Mokbel said.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon radio, Deputy Premier voiced optimism in the possibility to conclude the LL 8.9 trillion.

He said that all Ministers were keen on Lebanon's interest for they shall ratify the altered project law Finance Minister has transferred to the Cabinet so it would be presented for the Parliament.

L.W.

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Politics - Hajjar: Cabinet can't be trusted in integrity of elections
 

Thu 3/05/2012 10:52

NNA - 3/4/2012 - Future Parliamentary bloc member MP Mohammed Hajjar told Voice of Lebanon that the current government can't be entrusted in the integrity of the parliamentary elections.

"This Cabinet proved its failure and incapability in all fields. This Cabinet is from one political color and in other word the real maestro is Hezbollah which formed the government by the use of weapons," the MP said.

He stressed that this Cabinet can't continue till the next elections because it can't be trusted to run the affairs of the country and especially when it comes to economy.

"We demand the departure of this government and to be replaced by a neutral government."

Hajjar stressed that the message which March 14 will convey to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Easter Affairs Jeffrey Feltman is the same message which "we always express publically."

"We will express our opinion on the regional developments and their impact on the reality in Lebanon and how to protect the country. We will try to spare Lebanon from the schemes of the Syrian regime."

He called on the Lebanese government to provide assistance to the Syrian refugees and play a bigger role in protecting the internal security condition.

Hajjar declined to comment on the remarks of U.S. officials who criticized the regional states for taking action against Syria.

He assured that Future movement does not want to intervene in the Syrian affairs nor export weapons to the opposition.
O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman meets Feltman, Connelly
 

Thu 3/05/2012 09:14

NNA - 3/5/2012 - Lebanese President is currently meeting with the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, in presence of U.S. Ambassador Maura Connelly.

Both sides are discussing situation in the region as well as bilateral ties.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi meets Mexican President
 

Wed 2/05/2012 22:48

NNA - 02/05/2012 - Maronite Patriarch, Boutros Bechara Rahi, currently on a visit to Mexico, met on Wednesday with the country's President, Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, at Mexico's Presidential Palace.

The Patriarch had previously met with the head of the Federal District government, Marcelo Ebrard Luis, who awarded him with a Medal of Honor from Mexico.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (UPDATE)Cabinet concludes session, financial discussions adjourned
 

Wed 2/05/2012 22:44

NNA - 02/05/2012 - The Council of Ministers wrapped up its Wednesday session with a decision to adjourn financial discussions till tomorrow, Thursday.

On emerging, Information Minister Walid Daouk relayed some of the other cabinet decisions which include granting a two-billion Lebanese pounds credit to the Department of Telecommunications, the amendment of the wage adjustment law of full-time employees in the public sector, and the adoption of common standards for public sector electronic sites.

The Council of Ministers met in session at the Grand Serail on Wednesday afternoon, presided by Prime Minister Najib Mikati, with 68 items on its agenda.

In his address to cabinet members, the Prime Minister congratulated Lebanese laborers with Labor Day, which Lebanon celebrates on May 1st.

"The best that we can provide Laborers with is a free and decent living by ensuring a suitable political and security atmosphere," Mikati said.

He also clarified that a decision to form a committee for sustainable dialogue between production sectors, "aims at reaching a tranquil and cooperative atmosphere, not to mention the activation of dialogue at different levels."

Moreover, Mikati said that Laborers' demands were fully legitimate. "We hope that the comprehensive economic plan will manage to iron out prevailing social perils and pave the way for new work opportunities," said Mikati.

As for the Lebanese-Iranian joint committees' meetings, Mikati made clear that they would be wrapped up on Thursday, with talks basically focusing on bilateral ties, as well as joint economic and trade projects.

A delegation of 45 Iranian officials, including ministers, is in Lebanon for talks with Lebanese counterparts. The Iranian-Lebanese joint committee was formed in 2010 during ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri's visit to Tehran with aim of strengthening economic ties between Lebanon and Iran.

Touching on his most recent visit to Belgium, Mikati said that he had made sure that "Lebanon's massage got through to the European side -- which in turn seemed very understanding with regard to Lebanese stances."

The Prime Minister also heaped praise on the Lebanese Army's significant security achievement -- impounding a vessel carrying arms.

The army intercepted Friday off the northern coast the Sierra Leonean-flagged commercial vessel "Lutfallah II"; the army and relevant authorities inspected the vessel and confiscated three containers with a large quantity of assorted arms as well as heavy, medium and light ammunition, a Lebanese Army statement said.

Prior to the session, Labor Minister Salim Jreissati said that he had summoned the National Social Security Fund administrative council for a meeting at the Ministry of Labor on Thursday afternoon to discuss medical fee adjustments.

Most private hospitals in Lebanon are truning down all NSSF patients, despite unremitting efforts by Labor Minister Salim Jreissati and other officials to end a disagreement between both sides. Private hospitals say that rates offered by the NSSF are no longer satisfactory since the cost of medical treatment has risen a lot over the past years.

In turn, Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi, toned down mounting fears by public sector employees over threats of not earning their monthly salaries.

"There are no financial problems with regard to salaries (...) because the funds are ensured," the Minister confirmed, disclosing that he will be handing the Prime Minister the budget proposal soon.

Among the most important items on today's agenda are providing governmental hospitals with an additional contribution worth the amount of LP 15 billion, the amendment of the wages adjustment law, Lebanese-Syrian cooperation in oil exploration projects, replacing the death sentence with a life imprisonment with hard labor
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea meets Feltman, says government bears no intention to work
 

Wed 2/05/2012 22:33

NNA - 02/05/2012 - Lebanese Forces Leader, Samir Geagea, on Wednesday lambasted the Lebanese government, saying it has no intention to work. He also accused the ruling majority of avoiding the 2013 Parliamentary elections.

Geagea's words came following a meeting with Jeffrey D. Feltman, the Deputy U.S. Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs -- in the presence of U.S. Ambassador Maura Connelly -- over regional developments, most specifically over the battle-scarred Syrian nation.

The LF leader shed light on what he described as discrepancy in stances made by the ruling team, especially with regard to extra budgetary spending.

"Successive governments from 2005 to 2010 submitted their budgets to the Parliament despite keeping its doors closed, while the current government, which is its predecessors (...) refuses to present its own," Geagea said in a discussion with reporters at Meerab.

While describing the current government as a "group of saboteurs," Geagea sounded surprised about the pressures made on President Michel Sleiman to to use his powers -- as stipulated by Article 58 of the Lebanese constitution -- to sign a decree approving 8900 billion Lebanese pounds of extra-budgetary spending for the current cabinet. He also called for "the resignation of the government of corruption that has no intention to work."

Geagea tackled as well the 2013 Parliamentary elections, stressing they should take place as scheduled and accusing the ruling majority of avoiding them.

On another level, he indirectly accused Hezbollah and "the Aounist command" of being involved in one way or another, in the assassination attempt against him.

"They are misleading investigations and assisting the designers of this attempt, as they do with every assassination attempt in Lebanon," he said.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Cabinet convenes, Mikati promises laborers with decent living
 

Wed 2/05/2012 21:12

NNA - 02/05/2012 - The Council of Ministers met in session at the Grand Serail on Wednesday afternoon, presided by Prime Minister Najib Mikati, with 68 items on its agenda.

In his address to cabinet members, the Prime Minister congratulated Lebanese laborers with Labor Day, which Lebanon celebrates on May 1st.

"The best that we can provide Laborers with is a free and decent living by ensuring a suitable political and security atmosphere," Mikati said.

He also clarified that a decision to form a committee for sustainable dialogue between production sectors, "aims at reaching a tranquil and cooperative atmosphere, not to mention the activation of dialogue at different levels."

Moreover, Mikati said that Laborers' demands were fully legitimate. "We hope that the comprehensive economic plan will manage to iron out prevailing social perils and pave the way for new work opportunities," said Mikati.

As for the Lebanese-Iranian joint committees' meetings, Mikati made clear that they would be wrapped up on Thursday, with talks basically focusing on bilateral ties, as well as joint economic and trade projects.

A delegation of 45 Iranian officials, including ministers, is in Lebanon for talks with Lebanese counterparts. The Iranian-Lebanese joint committee was formed in 2010 during ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri's visit to Tehran with aim of strengthening economic ties between Lebanon and Iran.

Touching on his most recent visit to Belgium, Mikati said that he had made sure that "Lebanon's massage got through to the European side -- which in turn seemed very understanding with regard to Lebanese stances."

The Prime Minister also heaped praise on the Lebanese Army's significant security achievement -- impounding a vessel carrying arms.

The army intercepted Friday off the northern coast the Sierra Leonean-flagged commercial vessel "Lutfallah II"; the army and relevant authorities inspected the vessel and confiscated three containers with a large quantity of assorted arms as well as heavy, medium and light ammunition, a Lebanese Army statement said.

Prior to the session, Labor Minister Salim Jreissati said that he had summoned the National Social Security Fund administrative council for a meeting at the Ministry of Labor on Thursday afternoon to discuss medical fee adjustments.

Most private hospitals in Lebanon are truning down all NSSF patients, despite unremitting efforts by Labor Minister Salim Jreissati and other officials to end a disagreement between both sides. Private hospitals say that rates offered by the NSSF are no longer satisfactory since the cost of medical treatment has risen a lot over the past years.

In turn, Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi, toned down mounting fears by public sector employees over threats of not earning their monthly salaries.

"There are no financial problems with regard to salaries (...) because the funds are ensured," the Minister confirmed, disclosing that he will be handing the Prime Minister the budget proposal soon.

Among the most important items on today's agenda are providing governmental hospitals with an additional contribution worth the amount of LP 15 billion, the amendment of the wages adjustment law, Lebanese-Syrian cooperation in oil exploration projects, replacing the death sentence with a life imprisonment with hard labor
R.H.

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Politics - Lieberman northern borders visit draws Hashem's ire
 

Wed 2/05/2012 19:59

NNA - 2/5/2012 - A fresh visit by Senator Joseph Lieberman, Member of the US Senate Armed Services Committee, to the Lebanese northern borders, raised suspicions of Member of Parliament Qassem Hashem on Wednesday.

Qassem depicted Lieberman as a main advocator of Zionism and the Israeli entity, and said that the latter's visit to the borders with Syria was doubtful and unjustified.

"It was crystal clear that the visit was aimed at [fanning] incitement," he deemed.

The US official completed his visit to Lebanon today as part of a tour of the Middle East region.

Senator Lieberman last visited Lebanon in February 2011.

The Senator had meetings with President Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and Progressive Socialist Party Leader MP Walid Jumblatt. In his meetings, the Senator discussed bilateral relations and the situation in Syria.

 

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Politics - Feltman pays condolences upon loss of Walieddine
 

Wed 2/05/2012 19:46

NNA - 2/5/2012 - US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, paid condolences on Wednesday for the Druze community in Baakline upon the loss of Sheikh Abu Mohammad Jawad Walieddine, a Druze spiritual leader who passed away at the age of 96 last Friday.

Feltman, accompanied by the US Ambassador to Lebanon, Maura Connelly, also relayed the condolences of the US State Secretary, Hillary Clinton.

A panel of religious, political, and diplomatic figures also offered their condolences to the family of the deceased today.
 

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Politics - Ibrahim meets Lombardo, Strugar
 

Wed 2/05/2012 19:30

NNA - 2/5/2012 - General Security Chief, Brigadier General Abbas Ibrahim, met Wednesday with UNRWA Director General in Lebanon, Salvatore Lombardo, who came on a farewell visit upon the end of his mission in the country.

Ibrahim also met with Vice Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, Milos Strugar, over the current general situation in South Lebanon.

Talks also featured high on the ongoing cooperation between the General Security and the UNIFIL.

 

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Politics - Notary publics seek Gemayel's support in council establishment
 

Wed 2/05/2012 19:26

NNA - 02/05/2012 - A delegation of notary publics implored on Wednesday Kataeb Party Leader Amine Gemayel to adopt a law proposal suggesting the establishment of a council for notary publics in Lebanon.

"Gemayel positively pledged to tackle the matter with friends and allies," Notary Public Osama Ghoteimi said on emerging.
 

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Politics - (Correction) Safadi meets Nikzad, Merhi
 

Wed 2/05/2012 18:31

NNA - 02/05/2012 - Finance Minister Muhammad Safadi received on Monday at his office Iranian Road and Urban Development Minister Ali Nikzad. Both discussed the issue pertaining to Iran's assistance for Lebanon in the fields of energy and water.

Separately, Safadi met with acting director general of Customs Department Chafic Merhi. Both agreed on forming a committee tasked to identify the needs for customs centers.
 

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Politics - Sarkozy unwilling to withdraw citizenship from Lebanese descendants - French Deputy
 

Wed 2/05/2012 18:19

NNA - 2/5/2012 - French Deputy, Eric Raoult, said Wednesday that incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy is not willing to withdraw the French citizenship from Lebanese descendants.

Denying the freshly circulated rumors, the French official made it clear that the [French] Constitution does not allow any similar procedure.

Raoult visited today Interior and Municipalities Minister, Marwan Charbel, accompanied by Fabienne Abi Ramia, a representative of Sarkozy's UMP in Lebanon.

Earlier today, Charbel met with the Egyptian Assistant Foreign Affairs Minister, Ahmed Ragheb, accompanied by the Egyptian Ambassador to Lebanon, Mohammad Tawfiq, and a panel of representatives of different Egyptian ministries.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Ghaleb said the visit was part of a tour carried out by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry to discuss affairs of common interest between both countries, particularly pertaining to the Egyptian labor force.

 

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Politics - Feltman in Meerab
 

Wed 2/05/2012 18:03

NNA - 2/5/2012 - US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, arrived this afternoon to Meerab, for a meeting with the Head of the Lebanese Forces Party, Samir Geagea.
 

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Politics - Khoury touts proportionality as electoral basis
 

Wed 2/05/2012 18:01

NNA - 2/5/2012 - Minister of Environment, Nazem Khoury, on Wednesday said adopting the principle of proportionality in the forthcoming 2013 legislative elections would be a solution to the existing political and sectarian rift in the country.

He also refused that a minister runs for the parliamentary elections.

Khoury made these remarks to PSP's Al-Anbaa.

Touching on the recent stances of PSP leader, MP Walid Jumblatt, the Minister reassured that proportionality does not undermine the representation of minorities. "Instead, it guarantees [their representation]," he corroborated.

Turning to Syria, Khoury underscored the salient priority of keeping Lebanon well immune against any likely repercussion of the crisis in this neighboring country, defending the government's disassociation policy. "This policy is aimed to shirk the implication of Lebanon in the conflict; our country must uphold stability in Syria," he said.

 

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Politics - Safadi meets Nikzad, Merhi
 

Wed 2/05/2012 17:52

NNA - 02/05/2012 - Finance Minister Muhammad Safadi received on Monday at his office Iranian Roads and City Construction Minister Ali Nikzad. Both discussed the issue pertaining to Iran's assistance for Lebanon in the fields of energy and water.

Separately, Safadi met with acting director general of Customs Department Chafic Merhi. Both agreed on forming a committee tasked to identify the needs for customs centers.
 

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Politics - Saudi diplomat, UNIFIL Chief in Yarze
 

Wed 2/05/2012 17:23

NNA - 5/2/2012 - The Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, Ali Awadh Asseri, had been Wednesday to Yarze for a meeting with the Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji, over the current general situation.

Afterwards, Qahwaji met with Member of Parliament Al-Walid Sukkariya over most recent developments.

The General Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, Major General Paolo Serra, had also been to Yarze today.

The pair reportedly discussed the means to bolster cooperation and coordination between the UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces.

 

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Politics - Invigorated Iranian, US diplomatic activity highlights Grand Serail
 

Wed 2/05/2012 17:16

NNA - 5/2/2012 - A dynamic diplomatic activity occupied the scene of the Grand Serail on Wednesday, whereby Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, skimmed through array of talks with both the Iranian vice President on one hand, and the Member of the US Senate Armed Services Committee on the other.

Mohammed Reza Rahimi arrived this afternoon in the Grand Serail and met with the Prime Minister over the Lebanese-Iranian ties and cooperation in various fields.

The pair reportedly agreed to bring into effect the inked agreements and memorandums of understanding, in the interest of the two countries.

The two-pronged extended meeting was held with the participation of both the Iranian and Lebanese ministerial delegations.

Mikati also met with Senator Joseph Lieberman, who completed his visit to Lebanon today as part of a tour in the Middle East region.

The US official mainly raised the issue of the 13-month-old crisis in Syria, saying bickering in this neighboring nation has been at the core of his concerns.

"I have spent the few past days in the region focusing on the ongoing conflict in Syria, and I have been to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Qatar (...) I, along with a number of fellows at the American Senate, are concerned with this conflict and the crackdowns waged by the regime forces against the Syrian people," he told reporters following the meeting.

Lieberman also voiced concerns over the condition of the Syrians who fled the unrest in their country into Lebanon.

But he heaped praise on the efforts of the Lebanese government in that respect, though he criticized "the shortage in providing support to the Syrian opposition."

The pair also discussed the impact of the crisis on Lebanon. The US top official echoed the Prime Minister's fears over any expansion of the conflict in Syria in neighboring countries, particularly Lebanon.

 

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Politics - Feltman in Ain-el-Tineh
 

Wed 2/05/2012 16:17

NNA - 5/2/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, met Wednesday with the US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, in presence of the US Ambassador to Lebanon, Maura Connelly, and Berri's media advisor, Ali Hamdan.

Separately, the Speaker dwelled on the current general situation on the local domestic scene with Wednesday Deputies during their weekly periodic meeting.

The meeting also touched on an array of economic and living affairs as well as on the underway syndical and workers' mobilizations.

The Deputies echoed Berri's call to multiply efforts so as to address the current intricate living and economic hardship.

Besides, they quoted him as highlighting the obligation to settle on the much-heated issue of public spending, namely considering its dicey repercussions on the work of the state and its institutions as well as on both the public and private sectors.

On the other hand, the Speaker met today with the Charge D'Affaires of Paraguay, Adella Fares, in presence of Amal's official, former Minister Talal Sahili.

The pair reportedly skimmed through the bilateral relations between both countries.

 

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Politics - Sleiman meets Mikati before cabinet session today
 

Wed 2/05/2012 15:59


NNA - 02/05/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman met on Wednesday with Prime Minister Najib Mikati over general developments and the cabinet session scheduled to convene today afternoon.

Separately, the President received head of US Internal Security Committee, Senator Joseph Lieberman, with talks featuring high upon bilateral ties on all levels. Both also exchanged opinions regarding recent developments at the local and regional scenes.

Deputy Prime Minister Samir Moqbel visited the President and informed him of the works of ministerial committees that Moqbel headed.

Brigadier Abdul Rahman Shheitelly notified Sleiman of the procedures covered thus far as concerning Lebanon's Exclusive Economic Zone, corroborating Lebanon's rights in this concern.

On a different note, former Deputy Faysal Dawood invited Sleiman to attend a ceremony of laying the cornerstone for an educational, social center in Rashaya on May 12, 2012.

Separately, the President, during an oath taken by new members of the Civil Service Board, addressed control bodies to follow up issues pertaining to contraventions and scandals referred to them [control bodies], urging for adherence to right in favor of public interest.
 

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Politics - Senator Joseph Lieberman Visits Lebanon
 

Wed 2/05/2012 14:56

NNA - 2/5/2012 - Senator Joseph Lieberman, Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, completed his visit to Lebanon today as part of a tour of the Middle East region, a press release by the US Embassy in Beirut indicated on Wednesday.

Senator Lieberman last visited Lebanon in February 2011.

The Senator had meetings with President Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and Progressive Socialist Party Leader MP Walid Jumblatt. In his meetings, the Senator discussed bilateral relations and the situation in Syria.
 

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Politics - Rahimi arrives in Beirut
 

Wed 2/05/2012 14:53

NNA - 5/2/2012 - Iranian vice President, Mohammed Reza Rahimi, arrived Wednesday in Rafik Hariri International Airport aboard a private jet.

Foreign Minister, Adnan Mansour, and the Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, were at his reception.
 

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Politics - Fetlman in Maronite Archbishopric
 

Wed 2/05/2012 14:42

NNA - 2/5/2012 - US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, visited on Wednesday Beirut Maronite Archbishop Boulos Matar.

But the US top official did not deliver any relevant statement following the meeting, attended by the US Ambassador to Lebanon, Maura Connelly.
 

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Politics - Aoun tackles local affairs with visitors
 

Wed 2/05/2012 14:41

NNA - 2/5/2012 - Deputy Michel Aoun met Wednesday at his Rabyeh residence with the ambassador of Malta Knights Organization, Charles-Henri d'Aragon.

Later on, Aoun received a delegation of the administrative board of the Islamic charitable projects association with talks featuring high on Lebanese and regional political affairs.
D.K.

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Politics - Abdul Karim Ali: Mansour keen on Lebanon's effective role in borders' control
 

Wed 2/05/2012 14:28

NNA - 2/5/2012 Syrian Ambassador conveyed Wednesday Minister Adnan Mansour's keenness on Lebanon's effective and positive role in controlling borders and preventing security chaos.

Following their meeting, Abdul Karim Ali said that messing with borders' security might negatively reflect on Lebanese-Syrian ties.

Asked about the decision of military interference in Syria and whether it has become certain, the Ambassador said Syria is keen on the success of Annan's peace plan as it deems all weapons smuggling operations as attempts to abort Kofi Annan's plan.

"These attempts are doomed to failure due to the internal Syrian cohesion as to the Syrian command on carrying out reforms," he noted.

Pertaining to the vessel "Lutfallah II", Abdul Karim said the ship was heading for the Syrian opposition for it was under the patronage of accomplices with opposition members.

The Lebanese Navy seized Friday a cargo ship suspected of carrying a large cache of weapons headed to Syria, security sources told The Daily Star.

The vessel "Lutfallah II", which bears the Egyptian flag and had been headed to one of Syria's ports, was forced to dock at Selaata port, 50 kilometers north of Beirut, where its cargo is being inspected, the sources said. Members of the crew have been put under arrest.

"Qatari and Saudi Arabia political and security leaders were also behind this operation and all other operations targeting Lebanese and Syrian security," he remarked.
At another level, Mansour met with Ambassador Ahmed Ragheb, assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Egyptian Expatriates, in presence of Egypt's Ambassador in Lebanon Ahmed Toufic.

Ragheb stressed the importance of Lebanese-Egyptian ties and said that respecting both countries' interests is a red line that ought not to be crossed.

Both men also went over the issue of visa cancellation between the countries whereby Ragheb said he has invited the committee tasked with this issue to visit Egypt so as to follow up on the matter.

L.W.
 

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Politics - Saniora meets Greek ambassadress
 

Wed 2/05/2012 13:55

NNA - 2/5/2012 - "Future" parliamentary bloc head Fouad Saniora met today (Wednesday) at his office in Sadat Tower building with Greece ambassadress to Lebanon Catherine Boura.
Discussions reportedly featured high on general issues and current developments in Lebanon and the region.
L.Y.R.

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Politics - Jumblatt meets South Korean ambassador
 

Wed 2/05/2012 13:49

NNA - 2/5/2012 - Progressive Socialist Party Head MP Walid Jumblatt met Wednesday with the South Korean ambassador to Lebanon with talks featuring high on latest developments.
D.K.

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Politics - (Updated) Elections to be carried out on time: Charbel
 

Wed 2/05/2012 13:36

NNA - 2/5/2012 - Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel affirmed Wednesday that elections will be held on time to respect constitutional deadlines and democratic norms.

The Minister confirmed as well that the Lebanese state was keen on preserving the rights of the Lebanese Diaspora, mainly by guaranteeing their right to participate in the elections and in the country's decision making process.

He noted in his statement before a crowd of Lebanese expatriates in Abu Dhabi that holding the municipal and parliamentary elections aimed at steering the wheel of development.

The Lebanese Diaspora had held a dinner banquet in honor of Minister Charbel, attended by the Ambassadors of Qatar, Palestine, Tunisia, Morocco, and Sudan, as well as by ranking dignitaries.

The Minister thanked the United Arab Emirates for welcoming the Lebanese expatriates who sought a decent life, noting that those expatriates had contributed to the economic and cultural growth of UAE, proving their loyalty to their Arab surroundings.

Pertaining to the Diaspora's participation in the elections, Charbel called on expatriates to register their names at all embassies and consulates abroad so as to guarantee their participation.

Separately, Charbel wrapped up his visit to UAE meeting with his Emirati counterpart, Sheikh Saif Ben Zayed Al-Nahyan to whom he conveyed the salutations of the Lebanese government.

Charbel highlighted the depth of the fraternal ties between Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.

The meeting was an occasion to agree on forming a joint team charged to reactivate expertise and visits exchange and discuss affairs of common interests.
D.K.

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Politics - Elections to be carried out on time: Charbel
 

Wed 2/05/2012 12:59

NNA - 2/5/2012 - Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel affirmed Wednesday that elections will be held on time to respect constitutional deadlines and democratic norms.

The Minister confirmed as well that the Lebanese state was keen on preserving the rights of the Lebanese Diaspora, mainly by guaranteeing their right to participate in the elections and in the country's decision making process.

He noted in his statement before a crowd of Lebanese expatriates in Abu Dhabi that holding the municipal and parliamentary elections aimed at steering the wheel of development.

The Lebanese Diaspora had held a dinner banquet in honor of Minister Charbel, attended by the Ambassadors of Qatar, Palestine, Tunisia, Morocco, and Sudan, as well as by ranking dignitaries.

The Minister thanked the United Arab Emirates for welcoming the Lebanese expatriates who sought a decent life, noting that those expatriates had contributed to the economic and cultural growth of UAE, proving their loyalty to their Arab surroundings.

Pertaining to the Diaspora's participation in the elections, Charbel called on expatriates to register their names at all embassies and consulates abroad so as to guarantee their participation.
D.K.

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Politics - Elections to be carried out on time: Charbel
 

Wed 2/05/2012 12:59

NNA - 2/5/2012 - Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel affirmed Wednesday that elections will be held on time to respect constitutional deadlines and democratic norms.

The Minister confirmed as well that the Lebanese state was keen on preserving the rights of the Lebanese Diaspora, mainly by guaranteeing their right to participate in the elections and in the country's decision making process.

He noted in his statement before a crowd of Lebanese expatriates in Abu Dhabi that holding the municipal and parliamentary elections aimed at steering the wheel of development.

The Lebanese Diaspora had held a dinner banquet in honor of Minister Charbel, attended by the Ambassadors of Qatar, Palestine, Tunisia, Morocco, and Sudan, as well as by ranking dignitaries.

The Minister thanked the United Arab Emirates for welcoming the Lebanese expatriates who sought a decent life, noting that those expatriates had contributed to the economic and cultural growth of UAE, proving their loyalty to their Arab surroundings.

Pertaining to the Diaspora's participation in the elections, Charbel called on expatriates to register their names at all embassies and consulates abroad so as to guarantee their participation.
D.K.

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Politics - Berri, Feltman meet
 

Wed 2/05/2012 11:46


NNA - 2/5/2012 - Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri met today (Wednesday) at 11:00 am in Ain El- Teneh, American Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs ,Jeffrey Feltman, and the American Ambassadress to Lebanon Mora Conelli in presence of Berri's media counselor Ali Hamdan.

L.Y.R/N.AF

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Politics - Nahhas: Meetings with Iranian delegation to reactivate prior agreements
 

Wed 2/05/2012 11:31

NNA - 2/5/2012 Economy Minister Nicolas Nahhas Wednesday said today's meetings with Iranian side are a follow up to the prior gatherings that took place to reactivate agreements countries have signed in Industry sector.

"Agreements left aim at developing agriculture and industry sectors," he told Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio.

Nahhas refused to exhibit similarity between current phase of Lebanese-Iranian ties and past phase of Lebanese-Syrian relations.
L.W.

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Politics - Layoun: Some sought paralyzing the cabinet
 

Wed 2/05/2012 11:23

NNA - 2/5/2012- Minister of Culture Gaby Layoun said that some are trying to bloc projects presented by ministers, pointing out that they wanted this cabinet to be paralyzed by not giving it a budget.

Layoun's comments came during an interview with "Voice of Lebanon" radio station in which he ruled out that the stances of the President of the Republic Michel Sleiman and Deputy Michel Aoun would affect negatively the cabinet's performance.

Responding to a question regarding Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi's draft about the spending issue, Layoun said, "Let the cabinet's session tomorrow crystallize the plan that will be put in that regard."

Layoun confirmed his support to the people and employees' righteous demands, pointing out that "Change and Reform" bloc reached authority with a clear vision which is to improve the social and economic situation by having long term plans not short term ones which would disappear gradually.

L.Y.R/N.AF

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Politics - Qortbawi urges Cabinet to conclude pending dossiers
 

Wed 2/05/2012 10:56


NNA - 2/5/2012 Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi Wednesday hoped Cabinet would finalize the electoral law dossier as on that of the LL 8.9 Trillion.

"The legal solution was to have the President use his constitutional right and, since he did not, we are working on finding an alternative one," the Minister told Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio.

Qortbawi said no consensus prevailed over appointments issue however, he added, consultations are in progress to assign the Higher Judicial Council head.

Concluding his word, the Minister denounced the weapons' smuggling operations from Lebanon to Syria.
L.W.

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Politics - Youssef: Feltman's visit warns of Syrian events' backfire
 

Wed 2/05/2012 10:39

NNA - 2/5/2012 MP Ghazi Youssef Wednesday said U.S. official Jeffrey Feltman's visit to Lebanon comes at the backdrop of Syrian events and aims at warning of their probable repercussions at Lebanon.

Youssef also commented on the Iranian delegation's visit deeming the purpose to be the formulation of Lebanese-Iranian ties by which Iranian regime seeks to anchor its relations with Lebanon.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon radio, Youssef reiterated March 14 calls on the government to conclude Budget before moving to the spending issue.
L.W.
 

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Politics - Jumblatt holds a dinner banquet in honor of Feltman and US delegation
 

Tue 1/05/2012 23:11

NNA - 1/5/2012 - Upon arrival to Beirut Tuesday evening, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffery Feltman, and his accompanying US delegation visited MP Walid Jumblatt at his Clemenceau Residence in Ras Beirut.
Jumblatt held a dinner banquet in honor of Feltman and his accompanying delegation, in presence of US Ambassador to Lebanon, Mora Connelly, and Cabinet Ministers: Ghazi Aridi, Wael Abu Faour and Alaeddine Terro; as well as Teymour Walid Jumblatt and Progressive Socialist Party Vice Head for Foreign Affairs, Dureid Yaghi.
News reporters were informed that no statements will be given following the dinner banquet.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk returns from Kuwait
 

Tue 1/05/2012 23:00

NNA - 1/5/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk returned to Beirut Tuesday, following his visit to Kuwait, where he took part in the "9th Arab Media Forum" meetings.
In a statement upon arriving at Rafic Hariri International Airport, Minister Daouk expressed his great honor to have met with Prince of Kuwait, Sheikh Subbah Al-Ahmad Al-Subbah, to whom he relayed the sincere greetings of President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman, and Prime Minister, Najib Meqati. He added that the Kuwaiti Prince, in turn, relayed his heartfelt greetings to the Lebanese President, government and people; expressing his sincere wishes for permanent stability, peace and a flourishing future for Lebanon.
Daouk indicated that he also met with Kuwaiti Foreign and Labor Ministers during his visit, with whom he reviewed a number of mutual concern issues.
"I encouraged Kuwaiti brethrens to visit Lebanon during the upcoming summer season, for stability is well-rooted in the country, which is a reassuring factor for all; thus, impelling friends and brethrens, and whoever loves Lebanon, to come for the summer," said Daouk. He added that he received a promise on part of the Kuwaiti Prince to aid and support the "Lebanese Television," especially with regards to its archives' department.
Daouk hailed the important role pertaining to the "9th Arab Media Forum" held in Kuwait; "especially with regards to boosting future media cooperation between Lebanon and participants in said Forum," Daouk noted.
 

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Politics - Feltman arrives in Beirut
 

Tue 1/05/2012 20:58

NNA - 1/5/2012 - US Assistant Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Jeffery Feltman, arrived in Beirut Tuesday evening heading a delegation, coming from the British Capital, London.
Feltman was preceded by US Senator Joseph Lieberman, who arrived earlier in Beirut to join the delegation, coming from the Saudi Capital, Riyadh.
Feltman and Lieberman are to meet with MP Walid Jumblatt at his Clemenceau Residence in Beirut this evening.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Al-Rai pursues his parish visit to Mexico
 

Tue 1/05/2012 20:49

NNA - 1/5/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai pursued his parish visit to Mexico, whereby he accepted a breakfast invitation by Lebanese Honorary Consul, Antonio Jreissaty, Tuesday morning. Jreissaty expressed great joy at the Patriarch's blessing visit and parish tour in Mexico, which has provided him a chance to have a closer look at the conditions of Lebanese expatriates residing there. Jreissaty considered the Patriarch's encounter with members of the Lebanese expatriate community as a chance to boost the national and spiritual sense of belonging within their souls. "The Lebanese are loyal to their roots, history, culture and spirituality, and the Patriarch's visit serves to boost and rekindle their love for Lebanon and closeness to God," said Jraissaty.
In turn, Patriarch Al-Rai expressed his sincere gratitude for the warm reception he has encountered in Mexico. He added that his heart has been filled with joy at seeing the remarkable achievements, as well as the civil and ecclesiastical efforts exerted by Lebanese expatriates in that part of the world. "We are living under very difficult circumstances and crises in the region; yet Lebanon is still required to play an important role towards the Arab world," Al-Rai added. He considered that Lebanon ought to reflect the message of Christian-Islamic co-existence and living in democracy and liberty; denoting an oasis of coming together in dialogue and understanding; thus, posing a need to all Arab countries, Al-Rai noted.
Later, Al-Rai blessed the laying of the cornerstone for the new Saint Charbel Church to be built in Guadalajara.
Al-Rai then headed to Chihuahua on board a private plane, where he was welcomed by a crowd of Lebanese expatriates who gathered at the airport, in presence of State Governor Cesar Duarteh Juakiz and Parish Pasteur Alberto Moushie.
Juakiz gave a word of welcome in honor of the Patriarch's visit to the "kind State of Chihuahua which has witnessed the valuable contribution of the Lebanese expatriates to its development, economy, trade and culture."
Al-Rai, for his part, congratulated the Lebanese expatriate community for their role in ensuring the rise of the State of Chihuahua and its flourishing future. He also hoped that they would remain strongly attached to their mother country and exert all possible efforts for the sake of the land on which they were born.
The Patriarch visited Saint Joseph Monastery in Chihuahua, where he headed a church mass and later laid flowers on the "Lebanese Expatriate Statue" in the City.
 

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Politics - Hizbollah condemns burning of the Holy Koran by Jones!
 

Tue 1/05/2012 19:55

NNA - 1/5/2012 - Hizbollah condemned Tuesday the burning of a copy of the Holy Koran by American Priest Terry Jones, and transmitting the incident via the internet! In a statement issued denouncing the incident, Hizbollah considered this forbidden crime as a reflection of the extent of spite and vengeance deeply-rooted in the soul of the aforementioned Priest against Islam and its Holy Koran! "It also reflects an intimidation act that aims at spreading hatred against said religion in the hearts of Western people," the statement added.
Hizbollah went on to note that the burning of the Holy Koran by such a man could have been considered as a "haphazard act" at the beginning. "However, yesterday's repeated act and the silence of the US and the world towards it, and its coinciding with the burning of the Holy Koran at the American bases in Afghanistan, reveal the fact that such an act falls within the framework of an adopted strategy targeting Muslims' holy book," the statement added.
Hizbollah held the American authorities totally responsible for said crime. The Party also implored all Arab and Muslim people, and all those harboring keen concern and respect for sacred entities in the world, to launch a wide campaign in condemnation of such criminal acts that draw a wedge between people and hinder their harmonious coexistence, the statement noted.
 

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Politics - Hizbollah condemns explosions in Idlib
 

Tue 1/05/2012 19:31

NNA - 1/5/2012 - In a statement by "Hizbollah" Tuesday, it condemned the explosions that targeted the Syrian City of Idlib, categorizing them under the destructive, sabotage attempts aiming at thwarting any chance to reaching a solution that would rescue Syria from its current crisis.
The statement went on to consider such acts of killing and destruction in a peaceful city merely seeking security and stability, as being away from any political opposition act aspiring for the country's interest as a whole! Hizbollah considered such sabotage acts as "criminal explosions targeting stability and causing tension, in a bid to allow for pursuing the conspiracy plotted against Syria and the region!"
Hizbollah viewed such an atrocious crime as "new proof of the international and regional, and unfortunately Arab, scheme in combating Syria and its resistance strategy through targeting civilians in Syria."
Hizbollah concluded its issued statement by urging the Syrian people to come together in solidarity and unity in the face of such a conspiracy, and show support to the Syrian authority towards restoring security and ensuring the country's rise and reform.
 

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Politics - Geagea meets with Doueihy
 

Tue 1/05/2012 19:14

NNA - 1/5/2012 - Lebanese Forces Party Head, Samir Geagea, met Tuesday with Lebanese International Culture League Head, Michel Doueihy, accompanied by a senior League delegation. The visit came within the framework of Doueihy's cordial visits to Lebanese officials upon his new assumption of duties as League Head. The encounter was a chance to review various matters pertaining to Lebanese expatriates around the world.
Geagea later met with a delegation from Al-Mina-Tripoli, who came to congratulate him on his safety in the wake of the assassination attempt against him. The delegation raised with Geagea a number of developmental issues related to the North region.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Lebanon's policy towards Syria valid: Mansour
 

Tue 1/05/2012 15:54


NNA - 01/05/2012 Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said in a radio interview Tuesday that the country's position of self-disassociation from events in Syria proved suitable in light of current international changes seeking a political resolution for the crisis, adding that many breakthroughs have been made in investigation into the case of disappeared Imam Moussa Sadr.

Lebanon was one of the few countries which decided to pursue a policy of non-interference in the popular uprising in Syria demanding ousting of President Bashar Assad. Also on the foreign affairs agenda was the vanishing of Imam Moussa Sadr in 1987 while on a visit to Libya.

Mansour retaliated to all criticism against his ministry's stances from the Syrian crisis, asserting that "it was the correct decision for Lebanon's own national interest," specifically now that a political solution was sought after.

Turning to the case of the vanished Imam, Mansour revealed that outcome of secret investigations would be made public once they were concluded."

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri sends letter to Sheikh al-Azhar on confidence building
 

Tue 1/05/2012 14:07

NNA - 01/05/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, sent a letter Tuesday to Sheikh al-Azhar Ahmad Mohammad Tayeb on how to build trust and boost relations between al-Azhar and top spiritual leaders in Lebanon to preserve unity within the country.

Berri sent his message through a Lebanese delegation, highlighting the possibility of a forthcoming conference entitled "Towards a Stable Humanitarian Life."

For his part, the Sheikh said that a spritirual conference was planned to take place in the near future, bringing together Arab religious references, reiterating the importance of safeguarding the unity of Lebanon, which he described as an "example of coexistence."
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun urges silent majority to expose corruption
 

Tue 1/05/2012 14:03

NNA - 01/05/2012 At a dinner held Monday by Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) on the occasion of Labor Day, MP Michel Aoun threatened to expose corrupt officials of rival political camp, pushing for the people to speak out against vice in order to put an end to it.

The dinner was attended by a number of House Deputies and Ministers affiliated with the FPM, as well as Head of the General Workers Union Ghassan Ghosn.

"Lebanon is not a broke country, but a robbed one," stated Aoun, "We are still struggling with the echelon that led Lebanon to this bad economic situation, and which has morphed into a disruptive force against growth."

He vowed that in upcoming parliamentary elections of 2013 none of those corrupt officials would remain in power, while dismissing all criticism against him and his bloc as "trivial."

"The silent majority encourages crime...the majority must shout out in the face of every corrupt person."

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Houri addresses absence of government
 

Tue 1/05/2012 13:46

NNA - 01/05/2012 - MP Ammar Houri, a member of Future parliamentary bloc, told Voice of Lebanon radio Tuesday that the government is living in another world, occupied by its own internal division, away from real concerns of people.

"The government does not seek to find solutions and does not take into consideration proposals," he said in relation to soaring fuel prices and ever strenuous living conditions.

Houri stated that only once cabinet resolved the controversial issue of expenditures budget can serious discussions begin.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Sleiman felicitates workers on labor day
 

Tue 1/05/2012 12:46

NNA - 01/05/2012 President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, addressed Lebanese laborers on their day wishing them a better and brighter future.

He also urged workers to increase their efforts to rise with the country into the "horizon of a bright future which all Lebanese long for."

Sleiman noted that Lebanon has for decades enjoyed a democracy that most other countries were striving for, and this made for a good work incentive.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Sahili: Government unveils corruption inherited from former ones
 

Tue 17/04/2012 21:46

NNA - 17/04/2012 - Hizbullah's Deputy, Nawwar Sahili, said it was unfair to defame a government that uncovered corruption being inherited from former governments.

Sahili's words came Tuesday in the context of the second round of the general session at the House of Parliament.

Sahili urged government to activate apparatuses and increase the number of monitors at ministries, affirming that "the government is currently working at hard circumstances on the interior and external levels."
A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Habr: Government's program void of citizen's priorities
 

Tue 17/04/2012 20:26

NNA - 17/04/2012 - Kataeb's Deputy, Fady Habr, lashed out at the Mikati-led government, saying it was void of anything that could serve the priorities of citizens.

Habr's words came Tuesday in the context of the second round of the general session at the House of Parliament, after House Speaker Nabih Berri had adjourned the first round earlier this afternoon.

"The government is the outcome of the well known coup and following suspension, threats and black intimidation."

According to the deputy, this government came solely to serve the strategic interests of Iran as well as the orders of the Assad Syrian regime.

He wondered, "Why to carry on the hard track with a government unable to serve its citizens?"

Nevertheless, Habr said the government included national economic figures which, unfortunately, were unable to unite under one wing to solve pending issues. He thereby depicted the government as a divided one "whose rescue has become impossible."
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kataeb regrets "governmental cracks"
 

Tue 17/04/2012 20:19

NNA - 17/04/2012 - Kataeb party on Tuesday said it was sorry for what it described as "widening cracks" hitting the Lebanese governmental body, saying they were being blatantly exposed.

Kataeb Party held its regular weekly meeting on Tuesday presided by Kataeb Party Deputy Head, Chaker Aoun, due to the Party Leader Amine Gemayel's presence in Italy.

"The last flagrant act by the government was a standoff which had erupted between the Prime Minister and Finance Minister -- two positions which ought to be in complete harmony," a statement by Kataeb Party said, fearing the ramifications of such behavior on the people.

Marking the commemoration of April 13 which sparked long years of war in Lebanon, Kataeb conferees called on the Lebanese to learn from past experiences.

"All those incidents (...) had been woven at the hands of high professionals in an attempt to flare up strife among the Lebanese and the Palestinian Liberation Organization," the statement read.

Touching on the highly disputed history book, Kataeb supported one which is tailored to fit the historical achievements of all the Lebanese alike.

"It should be written objectively and not subjectively, comprehensively and not selectively," the statement added.

At another level, Kataeb stepped up calls for speedy appointments, especially at the National Social Security Fund.

Conferees also requested a project law for rectifying the wages of employees working within the public sector.

"This issue should not be linked to the 2012 budget project law," Kataeb's statement added.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 

 

 


 

Politics - Qabbani sees government must fall
 

Tue 17/04/2012 19:56

NNA - 17/4/2012 - Member of Parliament Mohammad Qabbani on Tuesday said it was about time for the Mikati-led government to fall, reckoning that it scored a record in corruption.

Future Deputy was speaking today during the second round of the general session at the Parliament, called forth by House Speaker, Nabih Berri.

He mainly lambasted the Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Gebran Bassil, whom he accused of "resorting to demagogy to intimidate his audience."

"Whoever mounts a seat in this government owing to his personal status and not to his political popularity and competence, and plays solo with billions of dollars (...) indeed embodies corruption," the Deputy said.

Turning to the long-simmering electoral law issue, Beirut Deputy said dialogue was needed so as to reach an electoral system compliant with Taef Accord and guaranteeing the unity of the country.
But he saw that proportionality was not feasible amid the current juncture.

"There is a public opinion which sees that the presence of weapons indeed takes a toll on democracy," he deemed.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel, Mamberti promote Christian-Islamic dialogue
 

Tue 17/04/2012 18:58

NNA - 17/04/2012 - Kataeb Party Leader Amine Gemayel, on Tuesday, tackled the Christian-Islamic dialogue initiative, anticipated to take place in Beirut and other countries -- with the aim of bolstering ties -- with Vatican's Foreign Minister, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, a statement by Gemayel's information bureau read.

Both men also skimmed through the repercussions of the Syrian crisis on the Lebanese and Arab scenes.

"Christian-Islamic dialogue establishes the gateway towards achieving democracy and stability in many countries," both men agreed.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea, MP Fadel meet
 

Tue 17/04/2012 18:54

NNA - 17/4/2012 - Lebanese Forces Leader, Samir Geagea, on Tuesday met at his residence in Maarab with Member of Parliament Robert Fadel, who deplored Geagea's killing attempt earlier this month.

He later received Nawfal Daou from March 14 General Secretariat, who presented him with an invitation to attend the second annual "Independent Gathering," to be held on forthcoming April 27 in Byblos Palace.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi says Christian Spring spurns violence, touts dialogue
 

Tue 17/04/2012 18:39

NNA - 17/04/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Beshara Boutros Al- Rahi voiced on Tuesday "the Christian Spring's" utter rejection to cave in to war and violence, saying it opted instead for dialogue and understanding.

Rahi's words came in his opening speech of a Liturgical Conference organized by USEK University's Institute of Liturgy, titled "Liturgical reform in Eastern Churches" at Pope John Paul II hall, in presence of Patriarch Mar Ignatius Yusuf II, and other religious figures and dignitaries.

"The Christian Spring is the spring of truth, justice, love, and freedom -- on which true, comprehensive and permanent peace is built," Rahi stressed, demanding peaceful solutions which respect everybody's aspirations and human rights.

Emanating from existing Liturgical ties and rich diversified cultures, Rahi called for heightening cohesion with the Arab world.

"We are tasked to delve into deep and responsible dialogue with our Muslim brethrens (...) to build a future together based on coexistence and equity," Rahi said.

Rahi also upped calls for augmenting the Christian Spring "which echoes the calls of our ancestors (...) the pioneers of renaissance."
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - NNA hacking draws Gharios rebuff
 

Tue 17/04/2012 18:31

NNA - 17/4/2012 - An attempt to hack the website of the National News Agency last night earned sharp rebuke from Deputy Naji Gharios Tuesday.

The National News Agency and 15 government websites were hacked last night by a group calling itself Raise your Voice.

The Change and Reform Bloc member reiterated his unwavering siding with the NNA "considering its pioneering media role and constant standing at an equal distance from everyone."
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Chevalier inspects Syrians in Tripoli, Chtoura
 

Tue 17/04/2012 17:39

NNA - 17/4/2012 - French Ambassador to Syria, Eric Chevalier, met Tuesday with a number of Syrians who fled the unrest in their country to Tripoli and Chtoura.

A closing statement issued in the wake of the meeting indicated that the visit aimed to voice solidarity with these Syrians, survey their needs, and provide required assistance.

Chevalier also met with the Higher Relief Committee, the International Committee of the Lebanese Red Cross, and representatives of local and international NGOs.

The diplomat has arrived earlier today in Lebanon coming from Jordan.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - ARCENT Commander visits Lebanon - US Embassy
 

Tue 17/04/2012 16:55

NNA - 17/4/2012 - Army Central Command (ARCENT) Commander Lieutenant General Vincent K. Brooks visited Lebanon today and met with Lebanese Armed Forces Commander General Jean Kahwagi and other senior military officials, a statement by the US Embassy in Beirut said on Tuesday.

In his meetings, Lieutenant General Brooks emphasized the strong and sustained military cooperation between the two countries, including the full range of military assistance, as well as U.S. support for Lebanon's initiatives to implement its obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701.
Lieutenant General Brooks renewed the United States' commitment to a stable, sovereign, and independent Lebanon. He remarked on the U.S. Military's ongoing support in strengthening the professional capacity of the Lebanese Armed Forces to serve the Lebanese people as the sole legitimate defense force to secure Lebanon's borders and defend the sovereignty and independence of the state.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman pursuits Australia visit
 

Tue 17/04/2012 16:11

NNA - 17/4/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Tuesday touted the role of the Lebanese Diaspora in Australia -- where he is currently on a week-long state visit with the accompanying delegation.

The President said that Australia has become a second home for hundreds of thousands of Lebanese emigrants, who today constitute an essential component of the Australian fabric.

"They are the cornerstone of the Lebanese-Australian bilateral relations," he said.

On his third day in the Australian capital Canberra, Sleiman met with the Australian Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, to whom he relayed high esteem for the special role assumed by women in Australia in running public affairs, and in the economic, political, social, sports, and cultural fields.

He also heaped praise on the efforts wielded by Australia to achieve the millennium development goals, face climate change, encourage sustainable development, limit poverty, curb natural disasters' risks, empower women, and abide by a more efficient transnational cooperation.

The President did not fail to turn to the upheaval-swept Arab arena, whereby he uttered that there would be no real stability and peace in the Middle East, unless social justice is done.

Earlier today, the President, accompanied by the First Lady and a ministerial delegation, had arrived in Haulker Pacific Flight Center base in Sydney city.

He then headed to his stay residence at Intercontinental Hotel, where he received a wide panel of spiritual leaders and heads of communities.

He later met with a delegation of Parliamentarians of Lebanese origins.

The President also met today with the Prime Minister of New South Wales, Barry O'Farell at Sofitel Hotel.

The pair reportedly engaged in the substantial role of the Lebanese Diaspora abroad, the Lebanese-Australian bilateral relations, and the impending visit of O'Farell in Beirut next month.

"We live in an interrelated world, where global plights started to emerge," the President said in a word delivered during an official dinner banquet in the capital of NSW, Sydney.

He also shone light on the obligation to fully implement the UN resolution 1701 -- stating Israel's withdrawal from the occupied territories, as well as to revive the peace process in the Mideast region, building on the related international resolutions, the reference of Madrid Conference, and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.

Sleiman, who had arrived Sunday to Australia, is the first Lebanese President to ever visit this country, currently bidding for a non-permanent membership in the New York-based Security Council for the year 2013-2014.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kahwaji tackles US military assistance to Lebanese Army
 

Tue 17/04/2012 15:30

NNA - 17/4/2012 - Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Kahwaji, received Tuesday the commander of the US land forces, Vincent Brooks, with talks featuring high on the US military aid to be offered to the Lebanese Army.

Discussions touched on joint activities as well as means to boost bilateral cooperation.

D.K.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri adjourns legislative session till 6:00 pm
 

Tue 17/04/2012 15:24

NNA - 17/4/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri adjourned Tuesday's general legislative discussion session to be resumed at 6:00 pm.

In the wake of the adjourned session, Prime Minister Najib Mikati answered journalists' question, assuring that the attack launched against the government was democratic.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Cabinet deafening fall down coming soon, Hmadeh
 

Tue 17/04/2012 14:16

NNA - 17/4/2012- Member of Parliament Marwan Hmadeh criticized the cabinet's work, considering that the deafening fall down of this cabinet is coming soon no matter how much it dissociated itself.

Hmadeh said that nothing had been left in Lebanon except misery, pointing out that the constitution is no more respected.

speaking in the Parliamentary Public Session, Hmadeh said that crime had reappeared on the Lebanese scene, pointing out that although the bullets which targeted Samir Geagea, one of 14 March pillars, had missed him they sounded the alarm and announced the arrival of miserable days.

Hmadeh said that Premier Najib Mikati talked about "stability while as stability in the south is controlled by Foreign Forces", explaining that stability regarding the Syrian situation should not be partiality against the Syrian people who would one day hold those who dissociate themselves responsible. He went on "dissociating oneself should not support the killers; we say so to protect the Lebanese stability."

"Thank God that the President of the Republic, who has been denied even of his right to express his wise opinion regarding the appointments, did not fall in the trap," Hmadeh said.

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Fadel holds government responsible for political assassinations
 

Tue 17/04/2012 14:11

NNA - 17/4/2012 - Provocation among social factions represents a knockout for both private and public sectors, Deputy Robert Fadel said Tuesday during the legislative session.

Fadel held the government responsible for any political assassination in the country, deeming those attempts as a "red line".

"We expected this government to be productive but the depth of the conflicts hampered its work," Fadel said, noting that Lebanon needed leaders who talk less and work more.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ghanem: Parliament place to solve quarrels
 

Tue 17/04/2012 13:05


NNA - 17/4/2012 - MP Robert Ghanem asserted Tuesday that the Parliament is the place to start a serious dialogue leading to frankness and reconciliation even if with a minimum level.

During today's discussion session, Ghanem called on the Lebanese Premier to reinforce internal ground for "Lebanon is, more than ever, in need of such an initiative."

The MP went on to say that the Taef accord was supposed to be a solution to the problem but we have put it aside and when we refer to it we take what serves our interests.

"Taef accord items ought not to be broken down," he remarked.
L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahra lashes out on government
 

Tue 17/04/2012 12:56

NNA - 17/4/2012 - MP Antoine Zahra said during the legislative session Tuesday that the government is dragging the country back to the era of mandate and custody.

"It's the government which stands in the way of supporting the Lebanese Army and preserving the people's interests even though people, Resistance and Army were the major components of its ministerial statement," Zahra said.

He pointed fingers of accusation to the government which, in his words, was unwilling to submit the budget for ratification.

He criticized all those who pretend being on the path of "change and reform", calling for forming a parliamentary committee to investigate into the electricity issue.

The telecommunication sector was also a topic of criticism during Zahra's statement.

"This government loathes the parliament and underestimates its role," he noted, assuring that accountability mechanism was totally broken down.

"We've heard that this government will persist despite all the gaps, this is why I chose to inform you that no one trusts you anymore," he announced, calling on defecto forces to guarantee his personal safety so as he could participate in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahmeh: Current Cabinet inherited lot of problems from previous governments
 

Tue 17/04/2012 12:53

NNA - 17/4/2012 - Member of Parliament Emile Rahmeh castigated the former governments over the past 10 years for burdening the current Cabinet with many unsolved and problematic files.

Rahmeh, who was speaking at the opening of parliamentary session to discuss the government's performance, said this Cabinet is not responsible for the $64 billion public debt which was accumulated by the previous governments.

"Each Lebanese is now burdened with debts thanks to the policies of the previous governments," the MP said.

He added that it is not fair to hold this government which formed only 10 months ago responsible for the existing problems while the previous governments caused most of these problems.

The MP argued that the former governments have borrowed money at an interest rate of 44 percent and this caused the debt problem.
He claimed that some countries are planning to allocate billion of dollars in the 2013 elections to ensure the victory of certain parties in the country.
O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Makari urges Mikati's resignation, elaborates government's security failures
 

Tue 17/04/2012 12:39

NNA - 17/4/2012 - Deputy Speaker Farid Makari Tuesday urged Premier Mikati to resign after stating the government's spoiled food, fuel, and other vital dossiers during the Parliamentary discussion session.

"You, dear Premier, encouraged terrorists to mobilize again due to your failure to pursue them.

You are responsible for terrorism comeback," he said and deemed government an accomplice for hiding telecommunications data.

Makari's berating the government did not fall short on the internal demeanor but it enclosed the regional disassociation policy from events in Syria.

Deputy Speaker reprimanded Foreign Minister's stances, wondering how the latter could be an advocate of the Syrian regime.

"Disassociation policy ought not to be adopted regarding violations to the Lebanese territories," he said.

"Government's leniency and failure to adopt a firm decision turned into a justification of Syrian regime's practices," he concluded.

L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati lists government's achievements
 

Tue 17/04/2012 11:40


NNA - 17/4/2012 - Parliament session started Tuesday with the word of Prime Minister Najib Mikati who listed in brief the government's achievements.

Mikati tackled security topics, assuring that his government had done the best in its capacity to establish stability in South Lebanon, with the support of the UNIFIL.

"We also stepped further toward stability by funding the Special Tribunal and voicing dissociation from the Syrian developments, a stance which represents such a responsible political step that protects Lebanon's internal scene," Mikati explained.

As for the public administrations, Mikati said his government had carried out the appropriate administrative appointments, admitting that "there is some laxity in accomplishing them."

The Premier skimmed through economic and social affairs, particularly at the power generation level.

"We have discussed renting power-generating ships and we are now awaiting the cabinet's approval," said the Prime Minister.

"We achieved a lot in the telecom sector, providing affordable internet to all Lebanese regions," he added, assuring that social issues were of major importance and would be followed up appropriately.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Parliament session kicks off
 

Tue 17/04/2012 11:07


NNA - 17/4/2012 - The public Parliamentary session kicked off in presence of 64 MPs.

This three-day session is a first within the current government's mandate.

Premier Mikati is scheduled to answer all MPs' questions and demands.

Mikati met earlier with House Speaker Nabih Berri when he first arrived at the Parliament.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sehanoui: Ministry not accountable for data inspection
 

Tue 17/04/2012 11:04

NNA - 17/4/2012 - Telecommunications Minister Nicolas Sehanoui Tuesday said the Ministry is presenting telecom data every month without inspecting them.

"We are not a security Ministry and it is not of our obligation to inspect data demands," Sehnaoui told Voice of Lebanon radio.

The Minister deemed such a practice to disclose the country's security and violate privacies.

He thus assigned the Cabinet to regularize this matter through a judicial body to settle it however, this judicial committee tasked with approving access to telecoms data refused the demand for data regarding assassination attempt of LF leader Samir Geagea.

The Minister expressed support to the committee's decision deeming it needless to remit such data.
L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea: We chose living in democratic system
 

Tue 17/04/2012 10:54

NNA - 17/4/2012 - Head of the Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea told a Christian-Druze delegation from Falouga that March 14 forces have opted living in a democratic system that respects human being and his views.

Geagea stressed in his speech that since the Cedar revolution seven years ago, March 14 did not even toss a flower on their political opponents nor resorted to violence in anytime.

"But in the other hand, some forces have pursued the path of assassination against any person or group which did not share their political views," he said.

He added that Mount Lebanon has always embraced Druze and Christians hundreds of years ago and have refused any attempt to dictate their policies on them.

"We won't allow anyone to extract the reasons for the presence of the Lebanese in this country. The essence of our existence here is that we live as free people and this freedom has been manifested in the mountain," Geagea explained.

He also commented on the assassination attempt against him few days ago.

"Those who tried to assassinate me are cowards because if they had the guts to face us politically they could have done so. Let them face us politically as we are doing. Their policy is the policy of killing and murder."

Geagea stressed that for the past 40 years and until this date, the Lebanese have been partially living under a dictatorial system similar to the regimes around us which are falling one after the other. At the end of the day this tyrannical system in Lebanon will have the same fate as the regimes which were toppled by their people."

He suggested that some parties in Lebanon are nothing but an extension of regional powers in the Middle East.

Geagea also slammed the current government.

"This government which we are ashamed to talk about does resemble a government."

Geagea also renewed his criticism on the authorities for failing to provide the telecom data in order to prevent further assassination attempts.

He accused the government and Telecommunication Ministry of withholding the telecom data.

Geagea refused the argument that providing the data is considered as invasion of privacy of the Lebanese.

He also denounced the slaying of Al Jadeed cameraman at the hands of the Syrian forces a week ago.
O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hajjar: Confidence vote depends on discussion's session debates
 

Tue 17/04/2012 09:58

NNA - 17/4/2012 - MP Mohammad Hajjar Tuesday presumed that government's confidence vote during public discussions' session depends on the session's ongoing debates.

Future bloc member said if debates head toward voting then the confidence matter would be linked to the majority and minority as to the stance of MP Walid Jumblatt.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio, Hajjar said that they, as opposition, shall be shedding light on the violations and breaches current government had been making.

L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - # NNA web site hacked
 

Tue 17/04/2012 09:44


NNA - 17/4/2012 The National News Agency and 15 government websites were hacked last night by a group calling itself Raise your Voice.
The sites which were hacked are the following

1.http://www.presidencyinfo.gov.lb
2.http://www.isc.gov.lb
3.http://www.nna-leb.gov.lb
4.http://www.omspa.gov.lb
5.http://www.customs.gov.lb
6.http://www.justice.gov.lb
7.http://www.transportation.gov.lb
8.http://www.moew.gov.lb
9.http://www.foreign.gov.lb
10.http://www.ebml.gov.lb
11.http://www.bccl.gov.lb
12.http://www.isf.gov.lb
13.http://www.interior.gov.lb
14.http://www.southernlebanon.gov.lb
15.http://www.state-security.gov.lb
16.http://www.pcm.gov.lb
O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Fatfat: Education Ministry is not practicing proper guidance
 

Mon 16/04/2012 21:34

NNA - 16/4/2012 - Member of the Future Parliamentary Bloc, MP Ahmad Fatfat, patronized Monday a ceremony organized by the "Faith Association" in Dinnieh, in collaboration with the Arab Academy for Sciences, during which certificates were distributed to technical school teachers.
In his word on the occasion, Fatfat highlighted the need for education and enlightenment for the youth to bring forth true development and progress. However, Fatfat expressed dismay at the "seemingly absent role" of the Education Ministry at the current phase. He considered, herein, that said Ministry is not playing its role in proving proper educational guidance nor in serious follow-up on scholastic programs. "It has plunged us into a maze of history forgery and cheating, and there exists a lot of forgery nowadays!" Fatfat exclaimed.
Fatfat went on to note that schools ought not to be "political centers" nor are they required to become "political bureaus" to any politician whatsoever! Fatfat held the Education Minister responsible for all shortcomings in his Ministry's role in this respect, especially in the region of Dinnieh.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Politics - Aoun confers with Franjieh over current issues
 

Mon 16/04/2012 21:06

NNA - 16/4/2012 - Change and Reform Parliamentary Bloc Head, MP Michel Aoun, met with Maradah Trend Head, Sleiman Franjieh, who visited him at his Rabieh residence Monday noon. Talks during the meeting touched on current prevailing issues.
R.Sh.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Meqati meets with Husseini and contacts Aoudeh and Hazim
 

Mon 16/04/2012 20:38

NNA - 16/4/2012 - Prime Minister, Najib Meqati, met with former House Speaker Hussein Al-Husseini, who visited him at his Verdun residence Monday evening. The encounter was a chance to dwell on current developments in Lebanon.
On the other hand, PM Meqati contacted Monday Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and the East Ignatius IV Hazim, congratulating him on the occasion of Easter. Meqati also contacted Beirut Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Bishop Elias Aoudeh, expressing his Easter greetings.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Franjieh meets with outgoing French Ambassador
 

Mon 16/04/2012 19:23

NNA - 16/4/2012 - Maradah Trend Head, MP Sleiman Franjieh, met with outgoing French Ambassador to Lebanon, Denis Pietton, who paid him a farewell visit at his Rabieh residence Monday. Pietton was accompanied by the Political Advisor at the French Embassy, Ann Charlotte de Martin. The encounter was a chance to review current developments.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hariri contacts Aoudeh, Mkary and Mokbel on the occasion of Easter
 

Mon 16/04/2012 19:18

NNA - 16/4/2012 - Future Parliamentary Bloc Head, former PM Saad Hariri contacted Monday Beirut Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Bishop Elias Aoudeh, expressing his Easter greetings. Hariri contacted for the same purpose Deputy House Speaker, Farid Mkary, and Vice Prime Minister, Samir Mokbel. He also contacted a number of cabinet ministers, deputies and prominent figures in the country, relaying his sincere greetings on the Easter occasion.
On the other hand, a luncheon banquet was held at the "House of Center" Monday afternoon in honor of Austrian Ambassador to Lebanon, Eva Maria Zigler, marking the end of her term of office in Beirut. Premier Hariri's Advisor for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Mohamad Shatah, and Mr. Nader Hariri were present during the luncheon event.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun meets with Pietton on a farewell visit
 

Mon 16/04/2012 19:01

NNA - 16/4/2012 - Change and Reform Parliamentary Bloc Head, MP Michel Aoun, met with outgoing French Ambassador to Lebanon, Denis Pietton, who paid him a farewell visit at his Rabieh residence Monday afternoon. Diplomatic Relations Official at the "Free Patriotic Trend", Michel de Shadaravian, also attended the meeting.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sit-in at al-Jadeed
 

Mon 16/04/2012 17:39

NNA - April 16, 2012 - A sit-in in front al-Jadeed TV station in Msaytbeh/Beirut featured a number of speakers who vigorously condemned the killing of cameraman Ali Sha'ban at the hands of Asad's soldiers inside Lebanese territory last Monday. There were calls by the International Union of Medias, the International Organization for Human Rights, League of the Sons of the Earth and Human Rights' Magazine.

Ali Khalil from the International Human Rights' Organization demanded a serious inquiry into Sha'ban's murder while Karim Hajj the Dean of photographers pointed a finger of accusation at the Syrian authorities whom he challenged to put to trial of the real culprit.

Ali Khalil read a special message from the International Union of the Media demanding protection for journalists and photographers. Other speakers challenged Asad to put the real murderers to trial.
G.G./A.B

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt's al-Anba'Monday Editorial
 

Mon 16/04/2012 16:34

NNA - April 16, 2012 - Druze leader Walid Jumblatt declared opposition to any compromises with Bashar Asad's regime saying this outcome is tantamount to striking out all heavy sacrifices exacted on the Syrian people.

Writing in his party organ al-Anba'weekly editorial, Jumblatt warned against the Devil who lies in the logistical details of Kofi Annan's initiative, saying the initiative must ultimately provide regime-change through peaceful transition. He added that any political compromise allowing the 40-year-old Asad clique to stay in power would send the wrong message to dictators that they can stay in power through the use of force and oppression. Jumblatt concluded that the Syrian people, old, young and women must achieve their legitimate rights.

Jumblatt and, in the same vein, made fun of the autocrat of Bahrain whose main worry is to launch his car rally on time and the repressive government in Khartoum.

He urged the government to expose all those involved in the expired food scandal and challenged cabinet constituents to address long-standing problems rather than engage in counterproductive slogans and distractions

G.G./A.B

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Politics - Berri's Easter Greetings!
 

Mon 16/04/2012 16:01

NNA - April 16,2012 House Speaker Nabih Berri greeted in a phone call today Greek-Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and the Orient Ignatius IV Hazeem at the advent of Easter. He also e-mailed Easter greetings to Greek-Orthodox Metropolitan bishop of Beirut Elias Awdeh.

Berri contacted for this purpose his former Deputy Elie Firzli, MPs Fareed Mkari, Sameer Muqbil and a number of ex-MPs.

G.G./A.B

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Faysal Karami urges President to "Use Powers"
 

Mon 16/04/2012 15:42

NNA - April 16, 2012 Youth and Sports' Minister Faysal Karami urged the President to use his powers and prerogatives stipulated under article 58 of the Constitution or else, Mikati-led government would have to grapple alone with the actual financing or spending hurdle. He retorted that the parliament finds itself face-to-face with a dire test due to constant feet-dragging by the opposition. Henceforth he concluded grey areas with regards to taking fateful decisions must not be allowed. He urged Cabinet Ministers to give the semblance of a united front when dealing with important agenda issues.

Among minister Karami's itinerant visitors today, has been Czech ambassador to Lebanon Swatoblok Comba who explored with him venues for improved relations including the signing of bilateral cooperation protocols.

A delegation of Contractual Lebanese University instructors headed by Prof. Mahmoud al-Ali presented him with a number of standing demands pertaining to their work which he promised to examine pending final decision-taking by the government.


G.G./A.B

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Politics - Sleiman's Australian State Visit
 

Mon 16/04/2012 15:08

NNA - April 16, 2012 On day 2 of his Australian State Visit, president of the Republic Michel Sleiman, conferred with Premier Julia Gillard over venues for improved bilateral relations. The president brought to the Prime Minister's attention the Middle Eastern region's craving for a just, durable comprehensive peace prone to bring about a settlement to a complex multifaceted conflict-resolution. The president reiterated need for commitment to peace by all sides concerned based on international resolutions; The international legitimacy according to the president has its focal point of reference in the Madrid peace conference and the Arab Peace Initiative.

With respect to what he described as the "Syrian brushfire" he warned against the likelihood of its spreading to Lebanon and other neighboring Arab countries. He concluded that the Arabs ought not fan the fires of the Syrian revolution for their own peoples' sake.

Prime Minister Guillard who welcomed Sleiman, affectionately recalled a long history of bilateral cooperation and deep friendship binding both nations. She aspired to bolster bilateral relations so that they mimic in their height the eternal Cedars of Lebanon as she said.

Sleiman's Australian visit itinerary included a meeting with accredited Arab diplomats and ambassadors to Camberra. A visit to the nation's war memorial cemetery situated in the Central national park.

G.G./A.B

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Politics - Shouheyib condemns Syria's violation of Lebanese borders
 

Mon 16/04/2012 14:01

NNA - 16/04/2012 Israel may be the sole enemy of Lebanon, but that does not give Syria the right to violate Lebanese borders and slaughter 11 Lebanese civilians in cold blood, according to MP Akram Shouheyib Monday who spoke from Aalayeh while representing MP Walid Jumblatt at a social event.

New-TV cameraman, Ali Shaaban, was killed last Monday when the car he was travelling in along with two of his colleagues in the Wadi Khaled region, on the northern border, came under fire from the Syrian side of the border. A similar attack took place earlier, as 10 Lebanese within the Lebanese borders were shot dead by the Syrian army.

"The Syrian regime's army practices systematic killing...and brazenly denies it," commented the MP, demanding Lebanese factions who were affiliated with Syrian regime to take Lebanon's side for once and admit that all borders must be safeguarded.

R.Z.

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Politics - Saleh: Israel sole enemy of Lebanese and Arabs
 

Mon 16/04/2012 13:48

NNA - 16/04/2012 - MP Abdel Majid Saleh, a member of the parliamentary bloc of Development and Liberation, said Monday at the annual commemoration of the martyrs of the massacre committed by the Israeli enemy in Nabatiye - Fawqa, that Israel is the only enemy of Lebanon and the Arabs.

The Israeli aggression dubbed as "grapes of wrath" in 1996 was a bon fide massacre committed by the Jewish state against civilians hiding from hostilities in a shelter at the time of the attack.

"The massacres committed by the Israeli enemy during the attack on Qana in July 1996, Mansouri and Nabatiye-Fawqa and its wars against Lebanon, Palestine and the Arab region, clearly show the real picture of this enemy which considers itself above international law ", he stated.

Concerning the internal situation in Lebanon, Saleh advised Lebanese of various political affiliations to unite for the sake of their homeland.

"National unity is a responsibility for all and it should not, under any circumstances, be taken lightly," he said.
 

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Politics - Aridi meets Australian counterpart
 

Mon 16/04/2012 13:36


NNA - 16/04/2012 As a part of President Michel Sleiman's official visit to Australia, Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi met Monday with his Australian counterpart.

Talks reportedly focused on fortifying ties between both ministries for future cooperation.

Aridi told the press afterwards that the Australian Minister planned a visit to Lebanon in the near future, ahead a delegation of experts.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Arslan criticizes foreign intervention in Lebanon
 

Mon 16/04/2012 13:31


NNA - 16/04/2012 - MP Talal Arslan, head of the Lebanese Democratic Party, lamented to his Khalde residence visitors Monday the current political decadence that has crossed all limits and systemic depletion of the Lebanese people by politicians, as well as flagrant interference by ambassadors in the country's domestic affairs.

"It is unacceptable that people continue to pay the price of dispute between the parties in power and in opposition".

On another level, the MP said that "the brazen interference of ambassadors from around the world in Lebanese internal affairs is very demeaning".

"We have a government of ambassadors that works in parallel with the legitimate Lebanese government," he said.
He concluded on the grim note that "the stranger" does not like or respect the Lebanese, but despises all those on his payroll.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Nadim Gemayel: Minorities pivotal part of region
 

Mon 16/04/2012 13:20

NNA - 16/04/2012 - MP Nadim Gemayel called Monday upon minorities to assume their responsibilities as they are an integral part of the region, during a seminar on "Building the political and democratic foundations for youth gatherings in the Middle East," held at Monroe Hotel in Beirut and organized by democratic German parties in collaboration with the Lebanese Forces.

"Minorities must raise their voices to demand democracy and diversity," said Gemayel.

He assured that "extremism is a threat in itself. The Middle East has faced a lack of democracy and freedom and dictatorial regimes imposed by force of intelligence."

"The Arab spring was triggered providing evidence that freedom is an absolute reality," he said, recalling that "authoritarian leaders have encouraged the emergence of religious parties to justify their presence in power ".

The Deputy encouraged Arabs "fighting for freedom and diversity to achieve democracy."
 

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Politics - Hashem warns against risky policies
 

Mon 16/04/2012 11:55

NNA - 16/04/2012 - MP Qassem Hashem, member of Development and Liberation parliamentary bloc, warned Monday against adventurous policies pursued by certain parties who bet on the negative developments of the Syrian crisis.

Over a year of constant turmoil caused by popular uprising against the regime of President Bashar Assad brought about hundreds of deaths, as Assad's army battled against the free Syrian army. With international sanctions hanging in the balance, the crisis continues.

Hashem spoke to the press upon emerging from a cordial visit to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in Marjeyoun where he presented his best wishes to Archbishop Elias Kfoury for Easter.

The member refused "to use the crisis for political gain," stressing the importance of avoiding tense discourse and seeking larger spaces for the national meeting to address important issues.

"Priority should be given to protecting the homeland and to ensure a dignified life for citizens away from altercations," he concluded.
 

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Politics - Rahi meets Vatican official
 

Mon 16/04/2012 11:18

NNA - 16/04/2012 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi met Monday with Vatican Secretary for the Eastern Compound Monsignor Mauricio Valvestata.

Later in the morning, the Patriarch met with Easter felicitators, among whom were Director General of State Security, Major General George Qaraa, accompanied by Regional Director General of Mount Lebanon, Brigadier Adnan Saiid.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Sleiman doubts the return of political assassinations
 

Sun 15/04/2012 22:10

NNA - 15/4/2012 - Lebanese dossiers featured high during President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman's visit to Australia on Sunday.
In an informal discussion with his accompanying media delegation, Sleiman responded to a question regarding practicing his prerogatives towards initialing the "8,900" billion Lebanese pounds project law by questioning, in turn, whether such practice is only evident through signing the aforementioned decree in the absence of the President's right to appoint a "Supreme Justice Council Head"?! Moreover, Sleiman went on to explain that he is still studying the case from all facets and has not adopted a final decision yet. Then again, he stressed that the door is still open before the Parliament Council to solve the issue. "Members of Parliament ought to practice their duties in discussing and reaching proper solutions in this regards," Sleiman noted. Hence, he highlighted the need to await the Parliament Council's decision on the matter, especially in light of the fundamental comments made by the "Money and Budget" Committee over said project law.
Furthermore, the President expressed surprise towards recent talk about public sector employees not cashing their salaries during the upcoming month of May. He assured that all salaries shall be paid on time, which is the right of all employees; adding that Finance Minister, Mohamad Safadi's words in this respect were misunderstood!
Over fear of not holding the parliamentary elections at their scheduled times, President Sleiman stressed that said elections shall take place in accordance with their constitutional dates, regardless of the electoral law to be adopted - whether that of the year 1960 or 1860! However, he voiced his belief that ratio principle ought to be adopted since it denotes the means to limit sectarian grouping in the country. Yet, he expressed respect to whatever the majority decides within the framework of the democratic game.
Regarding the issue of prolonging his presidential mandate, Sleiman voiced total rejection towards proposing this matter. He indicated that if he were faced with having to choose between prolonging his mandate or presidential void, his choice shall be based on the Constitution's stipulations in such case. However, he noted that matters have not reached such an extent, adding that he has always relied on the Lebanese Army in protecting the State's institutions and civil peace. He added that the Army has always been, and shall remain, the guarantor of stability and security in the country.
Responding to another question, Sleiman doubted the return of political assassinations on the local scene. He refused, herein, to discuss details of the recent assassination attempt against "Lebanese Forces" Party Head, Samir Geagea, prior to the completion of investigations still underway into the incident. However, he did not underestimate the danger of such an attempt, describing it as "hideous"!
President Sleiman reiterated his attachment to Lebanon's sovereignty with regards to adopting the self-distancing policy in dealing with the Syrian crisis, based on Lebanon's geo-political position vis-�-vis Syria. He stressed herein that it is up to the Syrians themselves to choose the democracy they deem suitable to them.
R.Sh.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Khalil: Nation's rise cannot be preserved within a decaying political regime
 

Sun 15/04/2012 21:04

NNA - 15/4/2012 - Public Health Minister, Ali Hasan Khalil, considered that the nation's rise cannot be preserved within the framework of a decaying political regime. He added that the choice of protecting the resistance ensures Lebanon's stability and strength in the face of the enemy.
Khalil highlighted the need for true representation of the people at the Parliament and the endorsement of a new electoral law on the ratio basis.
Khalil's words came is his speech during the inauguration of "West Beqaa" Hospital in Sohmor on Sunday.
Khalil considered the region of "West Beqaa" as a "trade mark" that places all Lebanese politicians before an additional responsibility in said region, namely in preserving its unity and diversity, which serves to provide immunity at the national level. He also referred to the region's long years of deprivation and dire need for development and services, as well as catering to the daily burdens of citizens residing there.

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Politics - Qaouq: Hizbollah discontent with government's performance!
 

Sun 15/04/2012 19:32

NNA - 15/4/2012 - Hizbollah Executive Council Vice Head, Sheikh Nabil Qaouq, stated that the "Resistance" has succeeded in mounting its military capacities; thus, rendering it ready to achieve victory in any confrontation that the Israeli enemy wills, despite all attempts to weaken it and the challenges witnessed in Lebanon and the region. Qaouq pointed, herein, to an intensive campaign being waged against the "Resistance Movement" ever since the year 2005, supported financially as well as media and security-wise, with the aim of distorting its image and accountability. "However, such campaigns have failed to achieve their goals, whereby the Resistance has increased in strength and in gaining the respect and trust of the nation's people," Qaouq noted. Hence, he stressed that such politically-waged campaigns and media tension shall not cause any change in the resistance equation whatsoever!
Over the current government's status, Qaouq voiced Hizbollah's discontent at its performance, namely with regards to its delay in accomplishments, slow productivity and wasting of chances. He stressed the need to activate the government's work cycle through abstaining from betting on political-electoral or Syrian calculations!
Over the situation in Bahrain, Qaouq expressed Hizbollah's condemnation of the ongoing killing and oppression practiced there, urging its regime and leaders to follow in the footsteps of Syria's reform moves.
Qaouq's words came during a memorial event in the Southern town of Kounin on Sunday.
R.Sh.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Raad: Enemy Idiocy/Government for All
 

Sun 15/04/2012 16:30

NNA - 15/04/2012 - Head of the Hezbollah parliamentarian Bloc MP Muhammad Raad, warned Israel against the eventual idiocy of attacking Lebanon.

Speaking at a one-week commemoration of the passing away of the mother of a certain party member in the Village of Taybeh/South Lebanon, Raad confidently indicated that the idiocy of perpetrating any misadventure against Lebanon; This would provoke a sweeping regional face-lifting prone to leave local/regional scenarios beyond recognition. The MP added that both equations and the whole balance of forces would be totally modified.

Turning inward, MP Raad described the Mikati-led cabinet as belonging to all regardless of their respective ideological/political affiliations.
He also credited the government with catering to the needs of both loyalist and oppositionist camps and that the latter seemed to have benefitted more.

G.G./R.K.

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Politics - Bkirki Sunday Service
 

Sun 15/04/2012 15:57

NNA - 15/04/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai, spoke extensively about white spread corruption, hatred and oppression.

The Patriarch discontent was expressed during the sermon given at Sunday sermon in Bkirki today.

Marking the first week after Easter, the Patriarch vigorously condemned what he termed as a flagrant assault on dignities including smearing of one's reputation.

The Patriarch deplored white spread fraud social hypocrisy and money-making the illicit way.

He beseeches the Almighty one to grant him the eternal life and salvation.

Among itinerant Sunday well-wishers to Bkriki were a delegation of local municipal heads from Jbeil headed by Fady Martinos who briefed the Patriarch over local economic development projects they also presented him with a number of demands pertaining to the district of Jbeil.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Cameraman's First Week Marked in Mayfadoun
 

Sun 15/04/2012 15:05

NNA - 15/04/2012 - Cameraman Ali Sha'ban's death a week ago has been marked at the Housayniyya mosque of his southern Lebanese home-village of Mayfadoun today.

Taking the word, Amal and Hezbollah officials took extra care to mend moral and political damage that might have been caused by fallout from the slaying of the NTV cameraman at the hands of the Syrian military.

Acting at the behest of Hezbollah, MP Hassan Fadlullah demanded that all facts surrounding the circumstances of the slaying of Sha'ban be unveiled. Fadlullah concluded that nobody is permitted to exploit the killing by capitalizing on Syrian soaring wounds. He duly threw the ball into Mikati's court saying the government is responsible for unraveling the whole truth.

Amal deputy of the House Ali Bazzi, spoke in the same apologetic vein saying:"Nobody's permitted even pondering the possibility of substituting Amal's confrontation lines with the Zionist enemy with another presumed enemy along the Syrian border."
G.G./R.K

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora Critical of Opponents
 

Sun 15/04/2012 14:03

NNA - 15/04/2012 - Head of the Hariri parliamentarian Bloc MP Fouad Siniora, accused certain March 8 opponents of picking on president Sleiman by forcing his hand on the question of government-spending allocated for various ministries.

Siniora who inspected so-called ecologically-green projects in the Saida area told interlocutors that March 8 strived to make Sleiman's task increasingly difficult by merely compartmentalizing the issue of budgetary allocations.

He referred the issue of l.l. 8900 billion to what he termed as a "spiteful rival attempt eventually aimed at blocking the 2012 annual budge". Siniora duly accused the Mikati-led cabinet of ineptness with government constituents distracting themselves with minor disputes.

He singled out minister of Finance Mohammad Safadi saying he was wasting everybody's time and challenged him to draft the annual budget rather than engage in empty talk.

G.G./R.K.

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Politics - Audi: people and politicians must bond
 

Sun 15/04/2012 13:46

NNA - 15/04/2012 Metropolitan bishop of the Greek Orthodox Church for the Archdiocese of Beirut, Elias Audi, announced during his Easter Sunday sermon at St. George cathedral in downtown Beirut the end of the days of arbitrary assassinations, and pointed out the shortcomings of current cabinet in protecting its citizens and offering optimal living conditions.

Recent scandals of expired food, collapsing buildings and contaminated water, in addition to the assassination attempt on the life of Lebanese Forces leader, Samir Geagea, were among the main topics discussed by Audi.

"We refuse murder and assassinations and denounce them."

Audi also brought into light the issues of unremitting electricity blackouts, accompanied by constant rise in prices of fuel and life expenses.

"People are after money and power�Hatred leads to more hatred and aggression to more hostility," he pitied the nation which focuses on animosity rather than life. He urged politicians to place the good of the people and country above all other considerations.

The sole solution for current conundrum was the unity between politicians and citizens to rise above decadent state of affairs and focus on a moral, cultural, social and political renaissance.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabalan Condemns Syrian Cleric's assassination
 

Sun 15/04/2012 13:13

NNA - 15/04/2012 - Deputy-head of the Shiite Supreme Council Abdul-Ameer Qabalan, vigorously condemned the assassination of senior colleague of the Damascus Zeinabite Hawza (religious seminary) Naser Alawi at the hands of unidentified gunmen saying he fell victim to a cowardly terrorist act.

Qabalan who offered deep condolences to the regime and Damascus-based Hawzas, urged Assad's authorities to crack down on the presumed killers in order to bring them to justice and exact a harsh penalty on them.

The senior Shiite cleric urged the Syrian people to heed the sound of reason by renouncing terrorism and by talking to the head of the regime. He argued that terrorism must stop in the only Arab country which dared to stand up to the Israelis and their U.S. backers. Qabalan beseeched the Almighty One to keep Assad and his regime safe and sound

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman arrives to Australia
 

Sun 15/04/2012 12:31

NNA - 15/04/2012 President Michel Sleiman arrived Sunday to Canberra- Australia, for an official visit.

Sleiman along with the accompanying delegation were met at the airport by Governor General, Quentin Bryce, and a host of Australian military leaders, ministers and deputies.

Ambassador of Lebanon to Australia, John Daniel, was also present at the reception with other prominent Lebanese figures.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Kataeb-Baabda Branch marks 'April 13th' Commemoration
 

Sat 14/04/2012 23:38

NNA - 14/4/2012 - Kataeb Political Party's Baabda Branch marked Saturday the "April 13th, 1975" commemoration in an event organized at the "Shiyah Municipality Field," in presence of various Lebanese political parties' representatives and prominent figures. The event took place under the headline, "To our history we bow, to our tomorrow we aspire!"
In his word marking the occasion, Kataeb Political Party Central Council Coordinator, MP Sami Gemayel considered that it is high time everyone in the country learned that none can be victorious over the other nor eliminate the other's existence! He added that practicing power over one another is of no benefit to any side whatsoever!
Gemayel continued to indicate that remembering "April 13th, 1975" denotes not remembering the Lebanese war outbreak since the war began long before that date, with attacks against the Lebanese Army and State sovereignty in the year 1969. He added that "April 13, 1975" is actually the start of the "Kataeb Resistance" in the wake of the Lebanese State's failure to carry out its duties. He noted that without the "Kataeb" Lebanon would not have existed but would have been named "Palestine or Greater Syria"! He described herein the act of buying lands in the areas of Ain Remaneh, Shiyah and Hadath as a "geographic war" and a "not so innocent programmed plan"!
Gemayel stressed the need to learn from the past so that history does not repeat itself. He voiced support to maintaining neutrality so as to avoid plunging into political axes and resorting to the streets to solve problems in Lebanon. However, he considered it a cowardly act when relinquishing responsibility to protect Lebanese borders; stressing that this falls far from being an act of self-preservation!
Gemayel highlighted the various reasons and painful stages of the Lebanese war and sufferings of Lebanese citizens in the absence of the State. He pointed to the true 'State" every Lebanese aspires for: the strong and capable Lebanese State that respects and protects its borders and preserves the sovereignty of its territories. He added that the real and advanced "State" every Lebanese wishes for is one that respects the rights of its citizens and caters to their needs and daily burdens, allowing them the chance to live in a decent, stable and civilized environment in dignity and peace.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Bassil inaugurates Faytroun's Electricity Station
 

Sat 14/04/2012 22:04

NNA - 14/4/2012 - Water and Energy Minister, Gebran Bassil, inaugurated on Saturday Faytroun's Electricity Station, in presence of "Change and Reform" Parliamentary Bloc Head, General Michel Aoun, and Kesserwan deputies and municipality heads.
In his inaugural speech, Bassil outlined the various water, electricity and sewage projects currently underway in the region of Kesserwan. He pointed out, herein, that planning for such projects always lacked comprehensiveness in the past due to the "state of chaos" and the "intended waste expenditure" policies adopted by previous governments. He added that the "Hariri" plots to empty the 'State" of its ministries, and ministries of their administrations and employees, so that they become void on the inside, also served to hinder such development and services projects in the past years. For this reason, Bassil noted, the new electricity station in such a top tourism attraction place like Kesserwan is being inaugurated after 11 years of the region's deprivation of electric current supply!
Bassil highlighted the importance of this 10-million USD project for the whole Kesserwan region, adding that all of Lebanon deserves more of such projects at the larger scale.
Bassil noted that struggle has been ongoing with those who wish to keep the truth in the dark, so as to hide their faults and corruption whilst undermining others' attempts for reform in the country.
In turn, MP Aoun also gave a word on the occasion, in which he outlined the long years of corruption in the country, especially in the electricity field. However, he considered that not all politicians are similar, whereby there are the "decent" ones and the "filthy" ones! He also referred to the relentless attempts to hinder his Bloc's efforts towards achieving reform in the country. He pointed, herein, to the accusations directed against his Bloc over the "4 billion USD" issue whilst giving no attention to the 17 billion USD of waste expenditure in the past years!
Aoun went on to note that "taxes" are not to be considered as "dues" enforced on citizens but as a contribution by the people towards their State, to be spent in various developmental projects.
Aoun, Bassil and attending deputies and prominent figures toured the newly inaugurated Station, having a closer look at its various equipments and manner of operation.
R.Sh.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel's Preparations for Municipals Get Underway
 

Sat 14/04/2012 16:08

NNA - 14/04/2012 - Preparations for the forthcoming sub-municipal elections on May 6, practically got underway at the ministry of the Interior with minister Marwan Charbel chairing a high-brass security meeting comprising main security and army chiefs.

Charbel informed conferees that the decision and timing of the municipal elections is intended to demonstrate Lebanon's continued upholding of democratic values despite unfavourable regional conditions.

He opted for resolving the electoral law issue by six months at least prior to the date for holding them.

With respect to the decision at withholding telecommunications' data, the minister indicated that authorized judicial bodies alone and, under specific circumstances preserve the right of having access to, the release of or withholding of telecom data as deemed necessary.
G.G./R.K.

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Politics - Grand Serail Itinerants Today
 

Sat 14/04/2012 15:39

NNA - 14/04/2012 - Iranian ambassador to Lebanon Ghadanfar Roknabadi, has been at the Grand Government Serail for talks with P.M. Najib Mikati over ways
for boosted diplomatic relations.

Discussions also explored preparations for holding the forthcoming Iranian-Lebanese Economic meeting in Beirut at the close of this month. Meeting coincides with the arrival in the capital of special Ahmadinejad envoy Muhammad Rahimi.
The P.M. criticized Ahmadinejad's utterances in the Iranian-occupied island of Abou-Mousa in which he claimed eternal Persian sovereignty saying such speeches would in no way appease worries of the rulers and peoples of the Gulf, nor would they help bring about a sense of security and stability to the region.

Information minister Walid Daouk briefed the PM over normal business at his respective ministry while Nasri Khouri of the Syro-Lebanese Supreme Council discussed repercussions of the killing of the NTV cameraman at the hands of the Syrian military last Monday. Khouri demanded "further cooperation between both sides in order to sort out what really happened" as he said.

Mikati also cabled condolences to president Abdul-AZIZ Bou-Tafliqa at the death of one of the principle founders of independent Algeria Ahmad Ben-Bella; He extolled his heroic anti-colonial struggle an both Algeria and the World.

G.G./R.K.

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Politics - Baabda Itinerant Visitors Today
 

Sat 14/04/2012 14:41

NNA - April 14, 2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati reviewed with the president unfolding domestic and regional events during the run-up to the parliament hearing upcoming Tuesday.

Education minister Hassan Diab briefed president Sleiman over normal business at his ministry against the backdrop of preparations for the appointment of new deans to respective faculties of the Lebanese University.

Former cabinet minister Yousef Sa'adeh came to Baabda presidential palace for a similar purpose after which president Sleiman headed foe Australia on head of an official delegation for talks with leading figures.
G.G./R.K.

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Politics - Geagea: Shiites chief component of Lebanon
 

Sat 14/04/2012 13:58


NNA - 14/04/2012 Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea pointed out Friday, during a dinner in Maarab, that artillery hindered, rather than progressed, the situation of Shiites or any other sect in Lebanon.

The Maarab dinner in honor of Jbeil (Byblos) municipality heads was also an occasion for Geagea to address his supporters and affiliates after a serious attempt at his life earlier this month by snipers while at the balcony of his residence.

"Shiites are a key constituent of Lebanon and they will remain thus through the will of God, not through Hezbollah," said the veteran politician. He attributed the special role enjoyed by Shiites to their hard work, politically and socially, rather than to their weapons.

"A resistance in Lebanon is useless without the support of the entire Lebanese people," he added.

Geagea suggested a genuine resistance be put under control of the State.
R.Z.
 

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Politics - Lebanese Expats in Guinea-Bisao; Safe and Sound
 

Sat 14/04/2012 13:05

NNA - 14/04/2012 - Lebanese expats to the West African nation of Guinea-Bisao are reported safe and sound following a coup d'�tat by disgruntled military Haytham Jum'a of the Expats' department at the ministry of Expatriates announced today.

Both President Raimundo Pereira and premier Carlos Gomes were arrested by rebel soldiers following 2-days'fighting with unrest marred by protests by the president's supporters taking to the street in a bid to secure his release.

According to Jum'a, Lebanese expats and their property are in good shape and that they can move freely around the country.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman Favours Allocation Discussion at Parliament
 

Sat 14/04/2012 12:23


NNA - 14/04/2012 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman favours a public discussion of proposed government spending allocation of ll. 8900 at the parliament.

This came in an official presidential statement today when Sleiman indicated that major discussion of the allocation at the parliament were conducive to a democratic-constitutional practice. He expressed hope that both loyalist and oppositionist blocs undertake what's regarded as the best for a smooth functioning of the political process.

He prompted parliamentarians to decide quickly on allocations destined for government spending while taking at the same time amendments proposed by the House Budget Commission during the last fiscal year of 2011.

The president also stressed need for parliamentarians to draft the best of bills possible in order to safeguard both interests of the treasury while strictly adhering to the law and preserving people's vital interest.

G.G./R.K.

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Politics - Kassem: Whoever has been betting on the government's resignation is in delusion!
 

Fri 13/04/2012 22:14

NNA - 13/4/2012 - Hizbollah Deputy Secretary General, Sheikh Naim Kassem, considered that whoever has been betting on the government's resignation has been delusional. However, Kassem stressed on three main issues of utmost priority at this stage, namely the need to protect Lebanon against the Israeli danger and any political project that serves the Israeli enemy; adding that this can only be achieved through the resistance and the comprehensive, strong and persistent formula of the "resistance, army and people." Kassem continued to cite another issue of great importance, namely actively catering to the people's needs and to completing the various appointments, which is a responsibility shouldered by the President of the Republic, Prime Minister, the whole cabinet and all sides, Kassem noted.
Kassem continued to refer to another issue in need of attention, namely the completion of a fair and just electoral law that can yield a true representation of the people.
At the regional scene, Kassem referred to an international conspiracy along with some Arabs against Syria, with the aim of thwarting the Syrian regime. He noted that such a conspiracy is due to the fact that Syria denotes a "state of prevention" in the region in the face of attempts to change the region's map to become in harmony with the American-Zionist project. However, Kassem stressed that such threats are of no value!
Kassem's words came during a ceremony held at Al-Mahdi Schools for Girls in Hadath on Friday.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (Update) Mansour denies finding Al-Sadr's remains!
 

Fri 13/04/2012 21:08

NNA - 13/4/2012 - Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Adnan Mansour, denied Friday recent quoted news by a Libyan official about finding the remains of Al-Sayid Mousa Al-Sadr!
"Such news lacks accuracy and there is no clear-cut proof over the information's precision," Mansour indicated. He added that he had previously agreed with the Libyan side not to let out any information to the public until investigations reach their final course.
"This is being tackled through diplomatic channels. To-date, we are still within the framework of investigations and exchange of information; hence, such news is viewed as lacking precision," Mansour noted. He expressed surprise herein at such declared news, since it hinders the course of investigations before their end.
Mansour concluded by indicating that the interview with the Libyan official on "France 24" Channel was held prior to his recent visit to Libya to follow-up on the ongoing investigations.
 

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Politics - Mansour denies news of finding Al-Sadr's ashes!
 

Fri 13/04/2012 20:35

NNA - 13/4/2012 - Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Adnan Mansour, denied Friday recent quoted news by a Libyan official about finding the ashes of Al-Sayid Moussa Al-Sadr!
"Such news lacks accuracy and there is no clear-cut proof over the revealed information's precision," Mansour indicated. He added that he had previously agreed with the Libyan side not to let out any information to the public until investigations reach their final course.
"This is being tackled through diplomatic channels. To-date, we are still within the framework of ongoing investigations and exchange of information; hence, such news is viewed as lacking precision," Mansour noted. He expressed surprise, herein, at such declared news, since it hinders the course of investigations prior to their end.
 

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Politics - Al-Mashnouq visits Geagea
 

Fri 13/04/2012 19:56

NNA - 13/4/2012 - "Lebanese Forces" Party Head, Samir Geagea, met Friday with "Future" Parliamentary Bloc Member, MP Nuhad Al-Mashnouq, who came to congratulate him on his safety, in the wake of the assassination attempt against him. Geagea updated Al-Mashnouq on the investigations into the incident.
Both men also tackled the latest developments on the local and regional scenes.
 

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Politics - A-Rai meets with Gemayel, Khazen and Obeid
 

Fri 13/04/2012 19:38

NNA - 13/4/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai met Friday afternoon with Kataeb Political Party Central Council Coordinator, MP Sami Gemayel, who visited him in Bkirki offering Easter greetings.
Al-Rai later met with MP Farid El-Khazen, with whom he reviewed latest developments. Upon emerging, El-Khazen indicated that the encounter was a chance to conduct a tour d'horizon over all prevailing issues. He stressed on the Patriarch's important role and the initiatives he adopts in various fields. He also highlighted the importance of placing words within their proper content, without any needless extractions.
Former Minister Jean Obeid also called on the Patriarch today offering Easter greetings and tackling general issues.
Furthermore, A delegation from the "Life Family" Association visited the Patriarch, requesting him to patronize the Association's first annual dinner banquet. Al-Rai hailed the role and goals of the Association, which caters to the well-being of "woman and child" from the social, legal, health and Christian education sides. Al-Rai implored the delegation to cooperate with other associations operating within the Patriarchate.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Fatfat: March 14 cohesion restored
 

Fri 13/04/2012 15:19


NNA - 13/4/2012- Leading pro-Hariri deputy of the House Ahmad Fatfat praised a newly-found March 14 cohesion at geagea's Meerab home. Fatfat and, in an interview on "Future" news T.V network indicated that the solidarity meeting between March 14 leaders and Geagea at his Meerab home totally healed the rift between them.

He brought to attention the plight of more than 17 thousand Lebanese who went missing during the civil war and that up-to-date they remain an accounted for. Fatfat predicated any ultimate meaningfull national reconciliation on the ability to sort this matter out seriously.

He had words of praise for the LF commander saying ,he was the only one among war protagonists who proved bold enough to exercise auto-criticism, While others became
ranking officials of the regime, Fatfat's reading of the present political junction highlights Mohammad Safadi becoming the prime substitute to Mikati as Lebanon's Prime Minister and that he officially submitted his accreditation to March 8 leaders.

With respect to the withholding of info-data by the government, Fatfat held Mikati personally responsible for any future political assassinations.

Fatfat expressed regret at Hizbullah's weapons turning to the interior rather than pointing towards Israel. He concluded that deliberations are underway to form a new March 14 commission to study a draft electoral law.

G.G/N.AF

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Politics - Islamists hold sit-in in Tripoli
 

Fri 13/04/2012 15:05


NNA - 13/04/2012 Families of apprehended Islamists held a march in Tripoli Friday in protest against the continuous incarceration of Sheikhs Tarek Merhi and Khaled Seif. The gatherers plan a sit-in at Abed al Hameed Karamy Square.
R.Z.

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Politics - Abu -Jamra urges Berri to conduct democratic accountability
 

Fri 13/04/2012 14:55


NNA - 13/4/2012- Former Aoun ally and army officer Issam Abu -Jamra, challenged House Speaker Nabih Berri to conduct what he termed as a "bold democratic accountability" of mal-practicing politicians.

Commenting on the L.B.C people's chat "Kalam Al-Nass" talk show , Abu -Jamra urged Berri to hold cabinet ministers accountable for their mal-practices particularly in the case of renting offshore power- generating ships.

Abu- Jamra added that since such calls fell on deaf ears, it is high time for the Speaker to act.

He also accused the Prime Minister of inaction towards the assassination attempt on Geagea's life in his own home. Abu-Jamra also brought to attention the killing of NTV cameraman Ali Shaaban at the hands of the Syrian military and concluded that this is not the right place for listing all of the serial of killings.

G.G/N.AF

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Politics - Arslan, Plumbly discuss Syrian affairs
 

Fri 13/04/2012 14:47

NNA - 13/04/2012 MP Talal Arslan convened Friday with United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, who insisted Lebanon aid Syrian refugees without political considerations, while the former highlighted his trust in Assad's intentions for reform.

Over one year since the beginning of the uprising in Syria, protests rage on in various regions of the country demanding ousting of President Bashar Assad. The regime, however, maintained that terrorist groups have launched an assault on the state and vowed to bring an end to the chaos while promising social and political reform.

Plumbly suggested an inter-Lebanese consensus be reached on the issue of Syrian refugees flocking the northern border, fleeing the bloody fights, so that these refugees be aided on a humanitarian basis solely. The UN official voiced optimism over Kofi Annan and Arab League's initiative to end the hostilities.

"The media exaggerates the events in Syria to serve the benefit of certain countries which are taking advantage of the chaos in the Middle East," commented Arslan in his turn. He maintained that the Druze community in Syria supported Assad.

R.Z.

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Politics - (corrected)Qabalan for unity on April 13 anniversary
 

Fri 13/04/2012 14:31

NNA - 13/4/2012- Deputy- head of the Shiite Supreme Council Abdel Amir Qabalan, urged the faithful to draw lessons of April 13, so that there would be no negative recurrences in the future.

Qabalan and, in his Friday sermon at the Shiite Supreme Council mosque urged the Muslims to keep the unity among themselves in order to connect with the Lebanese Christians . He predicated a return to inter-confessional coexistence on the ability of the faithful to stick to the teachings of religion.

He added that if this precondition is not mat there will be no national salvation . He also called on Arab leaders to do the same by making peace among themselves and their peoples.

The Senior cleric concluded that April 13, offers a unique opportunity for national unity and reaching out to the other only through dialogue to the benefit and, in the high interest of all.

G.G/N.AF

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Politics - Qabalan for unity on April 13 anniversary
 

Fri 13/04/2012 14:21


NNA - 13/4/2012- Deputy- head of the Shiite Supreme Council Abdel Amir Qabalan, urged the faithful to draw lessons of April 13, so that there would be no negative recurrences in the future.

Qabalan and, in his Friday sermon at the Shiite Supreme Council mosque urged the Muslims to keep the unity among themselves in order to connect with the Lebanese Christians . He predicated a return to inter-confessional coexistence on the ability of the faithful to stick to the teachings of religion.

He added that if this precondition is not mat there will be no national salvation . He also called on Arab leaders to do the same by making peace among themselves and their peoples.

The Senior cleric concluded that March 13, offers a unique opportunity for national unity and reaching out to the other only through dialogue to the benefit and, in the high interest of all.

G.G/N.AF

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Abou Faour honors media for hard work
 

Fri 13/04/2012 14:08

NNA - 13/04/2012 Media personalities were honored Thursday during a dinner held by Minister of Social Affairs for their hard work and constant attempts to bring social awareness into the spotlight.

A large host of media figures were present at the banquet, including Press Syndicate Dean, Mohammad Baalbaky, and Director General of the Ministry of Information, Hassan Falha.

Minister Wael Abou Faour gave credit to media outlets for genuinely reflecting social ailments and seeking means to remedy social injustices. He urged media figures to push on with their good work.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sit- in to mark April 13 missing
 

Fri 13/04/2012 13:57


NNA - 13/4/2012- The Committee for parents and relatives of the missing during the 1975 - 76 civil war staged a sit-in in Riyad Solh square to demand the release of Lebanese civilians in Syrian jails.

Organizers of the sit-in signed a petition demanding the immediate release of more than 17 thousand Lebanese nationals thought to be in the jails of the Syrian regime.

Speaking in their name Wadad Halawani read a press release accusing the Lebanese government of doing nothing to defend their rights, she recalled the three commissions set up already in pursute of this claim.

She also broke to attention the declaration of human rights , the Lebanese Constitution and International treaties against torture and incarceration of al those missing and their right to be free in joining their families and friends.

Halawani also demanded parliamentarians to draft a law safeguarding rights of the missing and presumed detainees in Syrian jails , she concluded that the fate of thousands who went missing during the civil war must be investigated.

She spoke about Mass graves and the need for running DNA tests to determine their identity and urged whoever disposes of vital information to dispense with it on special websites in order to avoid future recurrences of victimization.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman to draw April 13 lessons
 

Fri 13/04/2012 13:27

NNA - 13/4/2012- President of the Republic Michel Sleiman ,urged the Lebanese to draw important lessons from April 13 ,1975; the date of the outbreak of the civil war.

Marking the 33rd anniversary of two years' civil war ,the President opted for drawing appropriate lessons from arm conflicts and strife when they surpass financial interest and teaming with external interests in pursute of narrow selfish concerns.

The President who noted relative stability enjoyed by Lebanon in a boisterous sea of regional tensions expressed hope for Lebanese getting to realize the importance of internal understanding based on patriotic constants and essentials .He noted that all differences must remain confined to constitutional democratic contexts since in his words, a true resurrection of a nation state remains predicated on Lebanese commitment to constitutional precepts because the Constitution is the only guarantor which safeguards the unity of the country and its sons.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabbani drawing civil war lessons
 

Fri 13/04/2012 13:01

NNA - 13/4/2012- Grand Mufti of the Republic Sheikh Mohammad Qabbani, urged Muslims and Christians to draw the appropriate lessons from the 15 - old- year civil war in order to prevent similar sad future occurrences.

The Senior cleric and, in his Friday sermon marked the anniversary of April 13, 1975 by urging politicians on both sides of the political divide to give up their defiant discourse which he designated as being to obtrusive.

By doing so, Qabbani said they would avoid future strife reflecting negatively on various confessions. Among other things , the Mufti called on them to bring up new generations of Lebanese in noble morals of mutual compassion.

The Mufti of the Republic staked high hopes on their wisdom to avoid similar future out brake

G.G/N.AF
 

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Politics - Mikati stipulates national unity on civil war anniversary
 

Fri 13/04/2012 11:39

NNA - 13/04/2012 On the 37 anniversary of Lebanese civil war, Prime Minister Najib Mikati called upon citizens to assemble and bond to protect their motherland.

The Lebanese civil war erupted on April 13, 1975 and lasted up till 1990, killing an estimated two hundred thousand people.

"Coming together over serious dialogue...is the optimal way to safeguard Lebanon, especially in light of the tragic events in the region," said Mikati.

It was imperative to keep the country away from regional and international disputes, which may have dire effects on domestic unity.

"Only through genuine and open cooperation between all Lebanese factions can true and complete national partnership come to be."

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman offers condolences to Syriac Catholics
 

Fri 13/04/2012 11:28

NNA - 13/04/2012 President Michel Sleiman offered Friday his condolences on the passing of Cardinal Mar Ignatius Moussa I Daoud, at Patriarchate of the Syriac Catholic Church in Beirut.

Following prayers, Sleiman convened with Patriarch Mar Ignatius Joseph III Younan.
R.Z.
 

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Politics - Jumblatt says Shaaban's killing entails International Tribunal
 

Thu 12/04/2012 20:59

NNA - 12/04/2012 - National Struggle Front Leader, Walid Jumblatt, requested on Thursday the referral of Ali Shaaban's killing to the International Tribunal.

Shaaban was killed on Monday in the northern border area of Wadi Khaled when he and two of his colleagues came under gunfire from the Syrian side of the border.

Jumblatt refused holding investigations into the killing, saying facts confirm his death by Syrian fire.
R.H.

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Politics - Rahi's evening activities
 

Thu 12/04/2012 20:49

NNA - 12/04/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi received on Thursday evening Former Minister, Layla Solh Hmadeh.

Rahi met as well with Ambassador Abdul Rahman Solh, who confirmed on emerging "the firm ties that link him to the Patriarch."
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman tackles developments with interlocutors
 

Thu 12/04/2012 19:50

NNA - 12/04/2012 - Lebanese Army Intelligence Department head Brigadier General Edmond Fadel on Thursday informed President of the Republic Michel Sleiman of measures adopted by the intelligence unit tackling a number of local security issues.

The President separately skimmed through general developments with former vice Prime Minister Issam Abou Jamra.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rifi, Plumbly meet
 

Thu 12/04/2012 19:21

NNA - 12/4/2012 - Internal Security Forces Chief, Major General Ashraf Rifi, on Thursday took up the general security situation in the country with the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt, Jamaa delegation meet
 

Thu 12/04/2012 18:50

NNA - 12/4/2012 - PSP Leader, MP Walid Jumblatt, on Thursday met with a delegation of Jamaa Islamiyyah at his residence in Clemenceau, with talks featuring high on most recent political developments.

The meeting took place in presence of the Minister for the Displaced, Alaaeddine Terro.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi: Christians are pillars of civilization
 

Thu 12/04/2012 17:28

NNA - 12/04/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi said on Thursday that Christians were the pillars of civilization in the east, not on the margin of history.

The Catholic International Education Office in the MENA region opened on Thursday its 76th conference at the Lady of Mountain Church in Fatka/Keserwan, in presence of Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi, the representative of President Amine Gemayel, Sajaan Qazzi, the representative of the Papal Ambassador, Gabrielli Catcha, the representative of General Michel Aoun, Deputy Gilbert Zwein, and other academic dignitaries.

"Christians in the East must not be regarded as minorities in the East as they are genuine citizens in the Arab World," said the Patriarch, who added that the Christians of the East must accomplish what he [Rahi] termed as Christian Spring via casting off violence and boosting dialogue.
A.M>

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Politics - Sahnawi from Berri's: giving data to security apparatus not decided by minister
 

Thu 12/04/2012 16:51

NNA - 12/04/2012 - Telecommunication Minister Nicholas Sahnawi said it was not him as a minister who would decide whether or not providing telecommunication data to security apparatuses, because there was a judicial committee composed of four judges that would take the appropriate decision in this concern.

Sahnawi visited on Thursday Speaker of the House Nabih Berri at the latter's residence in Mousaileh.

"Gaining access to all the telecommunication data by the security apparatus will violate the privacies of all Lebanese citizens and subject Lebanon to an open spy, hence allow the spying battleship to enter the Lebanese lines," said the minister.

Separately, the Speaker received at his residence the Mufti of Tripoli and the North Sheikh Malik Shaar, who discussed with the Speaker local security and economic matters as well as religious affairs.

In another development, Berri cabled the Algerian President Abdul Aziz Bou Taflika and offered him condolences on the death of Algeria's first President Ahmad Ben Bella.

Also, Berri cabled deputy President of the Republic of Malawy, Joyce Panday, offering him condolences on the death of the President of said republic.
A.M>

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Politics - Druze clergyman reckons on Iran's contribution to solution in Syria
 

Thu 12/04/2012 15:57

NNA - 12/4/2012 - Druze Sheikh Akl, Naeem Hassan, on Thursday upped calls upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to contribute to restoring the much-sought political solution to the yearlong crisis in neighboring Syria.

The clergyman met today at the Druze House in Verdun with the Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, over the current juncture prevailing in Lebanon and throughout the broader Arab region.

Talks also touched on the Lebanese-Iranian bilateral ties.

Besides, the pair shone light on the obligation to anchor the Islamic unity on one hand, and the Islamic-Christian accord on the other, as relayed by the diplomat to reporters following the meeting.

Roknabadi also made it clear that the problems sweeping the Middle East and the world indeed stemmed from the Zionist entity.

Turning to Syria, he held out hope that stability would be eventually restored in the neighboring nation through the political and peaceful solution.
 

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Politics - Qahwaji's itinerants today
 

Thu 12/04/2012 15:21

NNA - 12/4/2012 - Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji, on Thursday met with the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, over the current general situation.

Qahwaji later received, at his office in Yarze, a delegation of JAD association, headed by Joseph Hawwat.

He also met with the head of Labora Association, Father Toni Khadra, with talks featuring high on an array of humanitarian and social affairs.
 

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Politics - Sabounjian discusses with Youssof activating industry agreements
 

Thu 12/04/2012 15:11

NNA - 12/04/2012 - Industry Minister Vrej Sabounjian received on Thursday at his office the Sudanese Ambassador Idriss Sleiman Youssof, and discussed with him means of activating the industry agreement between Lebanon and Sudan that had already been signed by the minister in Khartoum last November.

The agreement encourages Lebanese and Sudanese businessmen to invest in either of the two countries.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Sleiman meets members of official delegation to Australia
 

Thu 12/04/2012 14:30

NNA - 12/4/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, headed Thursday a meeting comprised of Deputy Premier Samir Moqbel, Ministers Ghazi Aridi and Adnan Mansour as well as members of the official delegation accompanying him on his diplomatic trip to Australia.

Discussions featured high on the final touches and arrangements introduced to the trip's schedule which includes official visits and meetings to be held with Lebanese Diaspora in Australia.

Separately, President Sleiman tackled with a delegation of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) latest political developments at both local and regional levels.

Minister of Displaced Alaa Al-Din Terro had also been to Baabda Palace today, briefing Sleiman on the measures adopted by the MOD at the level of reconciliations, within the preparations to wind up the displacement dossier.

On a different note, Sleiman discussed with the Secretary General of the Syrian-Lebanese Supreme Council Nasri Khoury the course of the investigations into the martyrdom of Al-Jadeed TV cameraman, Ali Shaaban, at the Lebanese-Syrian borders.

The President met as well with the Head of Industrialists' Association Naamet Efram, whereby they skimmed through the procedures aimed at reactivating Lebanon's industrial sector.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Arab Spring crushes silence, fear barriers
 

Thu 12/04/2012 14:28

NNA - 12/4/2012 - "Future" parliamentary bloc head Fouad Siniora stressed that the Arab spring movement is a continuous operation which came as a result of Arab citizens' longing for freedom, pointing out that it crushed two main barriers in the Arab world: Silence and fear barriers.

Siniora told "Russia Today" TV that the Movement is an accumulated issue which would lead to a gradual change in the nature of the democratic work in the Arab world, considering it a "natural development to democratic practice in the Arab World."

Responding to a question, Siniora regretted that "the Syrian blood had become a commodity open for negotiation and exchange at the international stock exchange relations among international camps."

He added that resorting to the security solution became useless and of high cost on the Syrian regime itself, on the Syrian and Arab people and on the change and democratic movement in the Arab world.
Siniora blamed Russia because it didn't cooperate with the Arab League to adopt together methods that lead to real solutions away from the military ones which as " I (Siniora) mentioned became useless."
He said, " surely there are regional dimensions, but there is also Arab suffering... no Arab leader can see that and dissociate or isolate himself from what is happening," indicating that a neighbor country is suffering a serious situation which should be radically resolved.

The MP added that Syria agreed on the special envoy of the United Nations and Arab League Kofi Annan's six-point peace plan. However, now "we witness more conditions ... which would eventually lead to aborting that attempt," indicating that there won't be any Arab interest and of course no Russian one in that.

Siniora added that the dissociation policy could be necessary at certain times and in certain occasions but surely not in issues related to breaching Lebanon's sovereignty, pointing out that dissociation policy had limits.
L.Y.R

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Politics - Aridi: session to tackle gasoline price will be held soon
 

Thu 12/04/2012 12:12

NNA - 12/4/2012 - Public Works and Transportation Minister, Ghazi Aridi, announced Thursday that Ministers concerned with the gasoline sector will hold a session soon, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

The Minister noted that oil prices are increasing worldwide, assuring however that a formula ought to be found so as to lessen the gasoline price burden weighing on the citizens' shoulders.

"Taxi drivers and all Lebanese are requesting a fixed price ceiling for the 20 liters of gasoline," the Minister explained.

Separately, Aridi commented on the martyrdom of Al-Jadeed cameramen Ali Shaaban, assuring that Lebanese-Syrian borders ought to be controlled to protect the citizens.

"Nothing justifies the assassination of Ali Shaaban," he said.

On a different note, Minister Aridi met with Deputy Akram Shehayeb, former MPs Jihad Al-Samad and Mansour Al-Bon with talks touching on developmental affairs.
D.K.

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Politics - Kanaan: Sleiman authorized to sign spending law draft
 

Thu 12/04/2012 11:17

NNA - 12/4/2012 - MP Ibrahim Kanaan said Thursday that the President has the constitutional jurisdiction to sign the LL8.9 trillion draft law, assuring that Sleiman is fully aware of his authority and will soon take action at this level.

Talking to the Voice of Lebanon, Voice of Dignity and Freedom radio station, Kanaan estimated that Sleiman would probably sign this draft law as the situation must not remain as is.

"No constitutional references have thus far voiced negative opinions regarding the legality of disbursing the LL8.9 trillion," Kanaan said.
D.K.

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Politics - Maalouf calls for legal action to retrieve data
 

Thu 12/04/2012 11:08

NNA - 11/4/2012 - Lebanese Forces parliamentary bloc member Joseph Maalouf said
legal and political action would be taken to compel the concerned parties to hand over the communication data to the security forces.

Maalouf confirmed that the issue is being followed up in the parliament. However, he did not rule out the possibility of resorting to the street.
L.Y.R

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Politics - Zahra calls for re-activating March 14 forces
 

Thu 12/04/2012 10:35


NNA - 12/4/2012 - Member of Parliament Antoine Zahra called for the reactivation of March 14 forces role and to set new guidelines for the next political confrontation.

The MP, who was speaking to Voice of Lebanon, underscored the importance of the Maarab meeting to voice solidarity with head of the Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea who escaped an assassination attempt.

"The meeting rejected assassinations and violence and has called on the government to hand over the communication data to the security forces," the MP said.

He ridiculed the notion that the communication data will be a violation of the privacy of citizens, accusing some parties in the government of invading the privacy of the Lebanese.

Zarha called on the government to step down if it cannot carry out its duties.
O.H

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Politics - Hamadeh warns of Syrian-Iranian attempts to terminate opposition in Lebanon
 

Thu 12/04/2012 09:44


NNA - 12/4/2012 - Member of Parliament Marwan Hamadeh warned that the collapse of the Syrian-Iranian influence in Lebanon may prompt them to terminate its opponents in that country.

Speaking to "France 24" TV channel on Thursday, the MP demanded to refer the assassination attempt against Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea to the file of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in order to curtail the spate of killings and assassinations in the country.

He cautioned that both Damascus and Tehran, who are under pressure, may try to annihilate its opponents in Lebanon.

"If God forbidden Geagea was killed then the return of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri to Lebanon would have been nearly impossible in the short term and this may have discouraged MP Walid Jumblatt from freeing himself politically," Hamadeh argued.

He stressed that the only way to activate democratic life in Lebanon, hold free election and protect the institutions was to re-activate the international tribunal.

Hamdeh called on the STL to extend its authority by including other files.

The MP suggested that the parties which assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri may be the same sides which attempted to assassinate Geagea.

Hamdeh blasted the government for failing to end the repeated Syrian incursions into Lebanon, calling for the deployment of the Lebanese army along the border.

The MP was skeptical about reports that Syrian forces will comply with the cease fire call by United Nations peace envoy Kofi Annan, noting that not a single Syrian tank withdrew from the Syrian cities.
O.H

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Politics - Syria's Information Minister cables condolence to Shaaban's family
 

Wed 11/04/2012 22:00

NNA - 11/04/2012 - Syria's Information Minister, Adnan Mahmoud, on Wednesday sent a cable of condolences to the family of late Lebanese cameraman, Ali Shaaban, who was killed on Monday by gunfire coming from the Syrian side of the Lebanese-Syrian borders, in the northern part of Wadi Khaled.

A delegation representing the Syrian News Agency (SANA) visited the relatives of the martyr in Mayfadoun, South Lebanon, in order to deliver the Syrian Minister's condolences.
R.H.

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Politics - Kabbani, UNDP delegation tackle means of cooperation
 

Wed 11/04/2012 21:49

NNA - 11/04/2012 - Member of Parliament Mohammad Kabbani met on Wednesday with a visiting delegation representing the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) of New York, headed by Marshen Bozenskni, in presence of Future Movement's youth representatives, Rabih Fakhreddine and Khalil Choker.

Talks reportedly focused on means of cooperation to halt political disputes and support the role of women and youth in the Lebanese political life.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Politics - March 14 meets in solidarity with Geagea, warns from procrastination probing his killing attempt
 

Wed 11/04/2012 21:30

NNA - 11/04/2012 - Marshaling unanimous condemnation against the assassination attempt of Lebanese Forces Leader, Samir Geagea, March 14 magnates gathered in Meerab on Wednesday only to warn the Lebanese government from stalling investigations unveiling the identity of perpetrators.

Last Wednesday, Geagea was the target of a failed assassination attempt at his Maarab residence.

"March 14 warns the Lebanese authorities from acts of procrastination handling investigations into Geagea's assassination attempt," March 14 said whilst expressing full attachment to justice and utter rejection to be cowed by acts of terrorization.

Ratcheting up pressure on the Lebanese government, March 14 promised appropriate measures facing all attempts at striking freedom, independence, and civil peace.

In a 6-point statement issued in the wake of the meeting, March 14 also requested the referral of Geagea's assassination attempt to the Judiciary Council, saying this act only threatened to sap the home stays of civil peace.

Conferees also considered attempts at concealing telecoms data via the government's sudden decision not to hand it over to security apparatuses as tantamount to an "indirect involvement in the crime by means of hindering the course of Justice."

"In this vein, we request of the government to immediately back from its decision to prohibit handing the telecoms data to security apparatuses (...) to enable it to aptly practice its role, probing the crime," the statement read.

"March 14 keeps its right to take all the necessary political, legal, and popular steps if the government fails to fulfill this demand."

Moreover, conferees saw in this abominable crime "a desperate attempt at dragging the nation back to its black era -- an era of assassinations and terrorist acts -- which had always targeted the symbols of independence but was brought to a halt following Doha agreement."

March 14 did not fail to place this assassination attempt within the frame of repercussions hitting Lebanon by Syria's unrest.

"March 14 urges the government to adopt firm measures countering Assad regime's threats which target Lebanon's security and stability," the statement read, demanding clear and decisive measures for its (March 14) protection.

The assassination attempt which had targeted Geagea is a response to the significant role he plays at the local and regional scenes, conferees agreed.

"[It is a response] to his firm attachment to national constants which long years of imprisonment had failed to make him let go off them (...) as well as to his role in abolishing the so called 'minorities alliance' and support to Arab revolutions."

The meeting which took place in presence of senior March 14 political and civil society members, started with a word by March 14 Secretary General, Fares Soueid, welcoming attendees and thanking them for their participation.

Upon the request of Brigadier Carlos Karam, Geagea shared with the attending crowd the details of his assassination attempt.
R.H.

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Politics - Jumblatt touts dialogue between Bahraini government, opposition
 

Wed 11/04/2012 19:51

NNA - 11/04/2012 - MP Walid Jumblatt on Wednesday pushed for accelerated talks between the Bahraini government and opposition.

Tensions have simmered in the island nation since the government cracked down on last year's demonstrators, who took to the streets to demand democracy and equal rights. Small-scale protests are still taking place daily and sometimes spill over into the capital, Manama.

"Since the concept of freedom cannot be fragmented, it is necessary that we call for activating political dialogue between the Bahraini government and opposition in order to achieve a political solution that anchors stability by recognizing the legitimate political rights and full participation in the management of public affairs," Jumblatt said in a statement.

Moreover, Jumblatt expressed belief that political reforms might reduce tension exacerbated by the existing schism.

"Taking bold steps, such as releasing some political prisoners and allowing freedom of expression and opinion, as well as freedom of peaceful demonstrations in accordance with the rules and laws, could create a climate conducive to dialogue, not to mention strengthens its success opportunities," Jumblatt's statement added.
R.H.

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Politics - March 14 holds extraordinary meeting in solidarity with Geagea
 

Wed 11/04/2012 19:20

NNA - 11/04/2012 - March 14 is currently holding an extraordinary meeting in Meerab in solidarity with Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea.

Last Wednesday, Geagea was the target of a failed assassination attempt at his Maarab residence.

The meeting which is taking place in presence of senior political and civil society members, started with a word by March 14 Secretary General, Fares Soueid, welcoming attendees and thanking them for their participation.

Upon the request of Brigadier Carlos Karam, Geagea shared with the attending crowd the details of his assassination attempt.
R.H.

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Politics - France to hold onto participation in UNIFIL - diplomat
 

Wed 11/04/2012 18:27

NNA - 11/4/2012 - France does not intend to withdraw its soldiers from the international peacekeeping forces in the South, the French Ambassador to Lebanon, Denis Pietton said Wednesday.

He said his country would remain an efficient member in the UNIFIL, where France participates, after it downsized its strengths herein, with 900-element contingent.

The diplomat visited today former President Amine Gemayel at the Kataeb Central House in Saifi.

The pair reportedly skimmed through latest development in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

"We discussed the current political situation and keenly followed up on President Gemayel's viewpoint on underway events, especially as to the necessity of the internal agreement and understanding in order that stability should be maintained," Pietton said.

But the Ambassador cast gloom over the intention of the Syrian regime to abide by UN-Arab envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan in Syria.

"France has clearly announced that Syria would not respect its obligations and we must wait until April 12 to determine a final stance; but we do not see any serious determination as yet to abide by Annan's initiative particularly as to retreating from cities and ceasing violence," he said.

He did not fail to maintain that the first step must certainly be borne by the Syrian government.

"I do not think that we would sense any positive developments and the international community as well as the Security Council must act accordingly."
 

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Politics - Berri: all favor proportionality law pretendedly
 

Wed 11/04/2012 16:57

NNA - 11/04/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri said all politicians claimed that they would favor an election law based on proportionality, but the truth was that they wanted to return to the 1960's law.

Berri's stance came Wednesday upon a media chat at his residence in Mousaileh. Berri said his Liberation and Development bloc would favor any law that would reduce the effect of confessionalism and sectarianism in the country. Berri voiced support for an election law based upon proportionality and taking Lebanon as one electoral district.

Turning to the oil file, Berri said, "Oil cannot be explored by one side in the region without another." Berri explained that Lebanon had its own rights to extract oil from its sea zone, and if Israel opposed that and negotiations with the UN failed in this concern, Lebanon would resort to its resistance as a solution.

Turning to the Syrian crisis, Berri wondered, "Why do some want to create another enemy on the northern borders of Lebanon? Isn't Israel enough for us?"

Separately, Berri received today Deputy Akram Shuhayeb and later on met with head of the Syrian National Socialist Party, Assaad Hardan.
 

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Politics - Charbel chairs meeting on airport security
 

Wed 11/04/2012 16:22

NNA - 11/4/2012 - Improving the performance of Beirut International Airport featured high in an extended meeting held Wednesday under the chairmanship of Interior Minister, Marwan Charbel, with the facility's senior security officials and employees.

"The airport is the Lebanon's facet; therefore, workers herein must be up to scratch on the level of courtesy and order," the Minister said following the first-time meeting, which he assured it would not be the last.

Charbel did not fail to accentuate the importance to gear up the Tourism Police at the airport.
 

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Politics - Qahwaji's itinerants today
 

Wed 11/04/2012 15:38

NNA - 11/4/2012 - Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji, on Wednesday tackled the current general situation on the local domestic scene with his itinerant visitors at his office in Yarze.

He respectively met with Member of Parliament Ali Fayyad and the head of the Higher Judicial Council, Judge Ghaleb Ghanem.

Qahwaji later received the head of Amshit municipality, Antoine Issa, with talks featuring high on the ongoing cooperation with the military institution on the level of developmental works therein.
 

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Politics - Pietton from Qabalan's: for politicians to have sense of responsibility
 

Wed 11/04/2012 15:14

NNA - 11/0/04/2012 - The French Ambassador Denis Pietton hoped Lebanon would remain united and that the Lebanese politicians would have their sense of responsibility for fulfilling their national duties.

Pietton's fresh stance came after his meeting with the Deputy Head of the Islamic Shiite Supreme Council, Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan, who conveyed to the guest his deep salutations to France and French people.

Separately, Sheikh Qabalan received at the headquarters of said council head of Baath Party, Fayez Shukr, and discussed with him overall developments at the local and regional scenes.

Shukr attacked Turkey, notably Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as pouring oil over fire as concerning the Syrian crisis.
A.M>

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Politics - Array of affairs occupies Baabda scene today
 

Wed 11/04/2012 15:13

NNA - 11/4/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Wednesday skimmed through a spectrum of various ministerial, political, and security affairs with his itinerant interlocutors at Baabda presidential palace.

Sleiman met today with the Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul Karim Ali, over the fresh martyrdom of Al-Jadeed TV cameraman, Ali Shaaban, who was shot dead earlier this week in the northern area of Wadi Khaled on the border with Syria.

Earlier today, the President received the Minister of Telecommunications, Nicolas Sehnaoui, with talks featuring high on relevant ministerial affairs.

He later met with the Minister of Labor, Salim Jreissati.

He also discussed the work of the Finance and Budget parliamentary committee pertaining to the extra budgetary public spending with Member of Parliament Ibrahim Kanaan.

Furthermore, Sleiman broached the current general situation prevailing over the local domestic scene with former Minister Elias Hanna.

He also received Gendarmerie Chief, General Salah Gebran.
 

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Politics - Layoun for reducing taxes on gasoline
 

Wed 11/04/2012 12:33

NNA - 11/4/2012 - Culture Minister Gaby Layoun called for reducing taxes on gasoline, assuring that the solution lies in the import of natural gas-powered cars.

The Minister expressed surprise over the obstinacy of some parties in this matter, noting that the use of gas in operating cars was much more profitable, effective and safe.

He separately called on border control forces to prevent incidents similar to that which claimed the life of Al-Jadeed TV cameraman, Ali Shaaban.
D.K.

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Politics - Hassan Fadllalah: Cabinet stays, resistance for everybody
 

Wed 11/04/2012 12:08

NNA - 11/4/2012- Member of Parliament Hassan Fadllalah said that the Israeli enemy fears the resistance strength and that's what protects Lebanon, indicating that resistance protects and is for everybody.

Talking during a political meeting with him in Iklim Al-Kharroub, the MP said, "the cabinet will stay through the Parliament's will and its Premier and ministers' willpower," confirming that Hizbullah would not have any problem with the election law whatever it would be.

Fadllalah assured that Hizbullah had a vision to a perfect election law, but it would not talk about it to help in crystallizing a national vision for the law.

"Hizbullah is keen on Lebanon and solidarity; Islamic solidarity in the first place and national solidarity between Muslims and Christians because it's Lebanon's strength," Fadllalah said.

L.Y.R/N.AF

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Politics - Ghanem calls for appropriate measures to absorb livelihood crisis
 

Wed 11/04/2012 12:05

NNA - 11/4/2012 - MP Robert Ghanem Wednesday called on the government to adopt adequate measures so as to absorb the repercussions of the high cost of living, as it became impossible to bear the current economic stagnation.

The Deputy reminded of late Premier Rafic Hariri's government which had fixed a ceiling for gasoline cost while the oil barrel price was over 130$ worldwide.

Ghanem accordingly called for putting the government to trust vote as it has to bear the responsibility of its actions.
D.K.

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Politics - Houri rules out structure change of communication management committee
 

Wed 11/04/2012 10:36

NNA - 11/4/2012- Member of Parliament Ammar Houri stressed that the Communication and Information Committee would decide today (Wednesday) on the issue of killing "Al-Jadeed" cameraman Ali Shaaban, pointing out that the committee would take the appropriate recommendation.
It is to note that "Al-Jadeed" cameraman Ali Shaaban was shot dead on Monday in the northern area of Wadi Khaled near the border of Syria , "Al-Jadeed" blamed the Syrian army for the death of Shaaban.

Houri told "Voice of Lebanon - Voice of Freedom and Dignity", that the second item which would be discussed today is the cabinet's suggestion to modify the structure of the Communication sector Management Committee by making the presidency rotational among six members.

However, the MP ruled out the possibility of approving that suggestion because it would disrupt the cabinet's work.

L.Y.R/N.AF

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Politics - Marceau makes electoral tour in Lebanon
 

Tue 10/04/2012 21:01

NNA - 10/04/2012 - The French candidate for the parliamentary elections in France, Alain Marceau, made on Tuesday an electoral tour in Lebanon where he visited the French citizens working in the field of grapes in Bekaa region, and the French troops working in the context of UNIFIL's peacekeeping mission in South of Lebanon.

Marceau stressed on the necessity that French people living outside France participate in the elections.
 

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Politics - Aoun: For proportionality in elections with biggest district possible
 

Tue 10/04/2012 20:27

NNA - 10/04/2012 - Deputy Michel Aoun said the best electoral law would be that adopting proportionality over the biggest electoral district possible.

His new stance came Tuesday after the regular weekly meeting of the Reform and Change Bloc, under his chairmanship at his Rabieh residence.

In connection with this topic, Aoun saw it clear from the meetings in Bkerki that the majority of Christians favored an electoral law based on proportionality.

Aoun countered those blaming the Telecoms Minister for not providing communications data to security apparatuses in respect of criminal actions, saying there was a lawful course for giving information related to the telecoms network. He indicated that there was a committee composing of several judges and the committee had released out a decision in this concern. "The minister has nothing at all to do with the subject."

Turning to the administrative appointments issue and President Michel Sleiman's saying that political polarizations would impede appointments, Aoun said, "we stand for political polarizations and the persons were not proposed by us on political basis, but on professional skills."

Asked about the reason for not calling Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and congratulating him on his safety, Aoun said there was no reason for not calling him and that he was waiting for investigations results to take the suitable position in this concern.
A.M>
 

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Politics - Future: Fire from Syrian side act of terrorism
 

Tue 10/04/2012 20:26

NNA - 10/04/2012 - The Future Bloc accused the Syrian regime of killing yesterday, Monday, cameraman Ali Chaaban, from Al-Jadeed TV.

"Fire from the Syrian side always aims at sparking terrorism and killing," said the bloc whose fresh stance was issued Tuesday from the Center House of Beirut under the chairmanship of Fouad Siniora.

Accordingly, the "Future" attacked the Lebanese government for its loose control of the Lebanese borders in face of the cruel assaults made by the Syrian regime thereon. It thereby called upon the Lebanese government to summon Syria's Ambassador and send the Syrian government a strong worded objection for its performance on the Lebanese territories.

The bloc also deplored the assassination attempt against Lebanese Forces head Samir last week in Meerab, expressing fear that the assassination scenario might get back to use by sides wanting to destroy all those opposing them in opinion.
The "Future" also blamed the government for the performance of the Telecoms Ministry, urging the security apparatuses to gain access to the telecommunications data for security demands.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Future: Fire from Syrian side act of terrorism
 

Tue 10/04/2012 20:15

NNA - 10/04/2012 - The Future Bloc accused the Syrian regime of killing yesterday, Monday, cameraman Ali Chaaban, from Al-Jadeed TV.

"Fire from the Syrian side always aimes at sparking terrorism and killing," said the bloc whose fresh stance was issued Tuesday from the Center House of Beirut under the chairmanship of Fouad Siniora.

Accordingly, the "Future" attacked the Lebanese government for its loose control of the Lebanese borders in the face of the cruel assaults made by the Syrian regime therein. It thereby called upon the Lebanese government to summon Syria's Ambassador and send the Syrian government a strong worded objection for its performance on the Lebanese territories.

The bloc also deplored the assassination attempt against Lebanese Forces head Samir last week in Meerab, expressing fear that the assassination scenario might get back to use by sides wanting to destroy all those opposing them in opinion.
The "Future" also blamed the government for the performance of the Telecoms Ministry, urging the security apparatuses to gain access to the telecommunications data for security demands.
 

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Politics - Pietton from Meerab says France supports inter-Lebanese agreement
 

Tue 10/04/2012 20:08

NNA - 10/04/2012 - French Ambassador to Lebanon, Denis Pietton, vehemently condemned the assassination attempt which targeted Lebanese Forces Leader, Samir Geagea, last week.

Last Wednesday, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea was the target of a failed assassination attempt at his Maarab residence.

"We are fully concerned because this attempt has targeted a person that plays an important role on the Lebanese political scene. We consider Geagea a role model, particularly after he apologized for mistakes he made during the Lebanese civil war," said Pietton.

He voiced support to "anything that strengthens understanding and consensus between the Lebanese and specifically in the shadow of the current regional situation."

Separately, Geagea also met with a delegation from the "Independence Movement", headed by Michel Mouawad, who in turn condemned the assassination attempt that targeted the head of the Lebanese Forces.

"The two bullets which had been aimed at Meerab did not solely target the head of the Lebanese Forces, but rather more those who advocate freedom of opinion and democracy in Lebanon -- those who work for sovereignty and state building," he said.

The Lebanese Forces leader finally met with Greek Melkite Catholic Archbishop of Zahle, Yohanna Darwish, who congratulated him for having survived the assassination attempt.
 

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Politics - UK hails Mikati's "wise" state policy
 

Tue 10/04/2012 19:58

NNA - 10/4/2012 - British Foreign Minister, William Hague, on Tuesday said he highly esteems the Lebanese government's "wise" policy, which contributes to bolstering stability.

The UK official visited today Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, at his residence in London, for talks over the current situation in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

The pair also skimmed through the Lebanese-British bilateral ties.

Besides, the situation in South Lebanon and the ongoing cooperation between the Lebanese Armed Forces and international peacekeepers, better known as the UNIFIL, were on-the-table between Mikati and Hague today.

The meeting was also an occasion to broach the aid by the UK to the Lebanese Army and the Internal Security Forces, whereby the Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji, will receive soon a state invitation to the Kingdom in that respect.
 

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Politics - Condemnations feature high on Kataeb's meeting
 

Tue 10/04/2012 19:55

NNA - 10/04/2012 - Kataeb Party's Political Bureau and Central Committee vehemently condemned on Tuesday the assassination attempt which targeted the Lebanese Forces Leader last week.

Last Wednesday, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea was the target of a failed assassination attempt at his Maarab residence.

In this vein, and Presided by Party Leader Amine Gemayel, Kataeb feared the return of the wave of assassinations targeting March 14 leaders.

"This falls within the frame of conspiracies plotted against national leaders and simultaneously aiming at striking stability and national peace," a statement by Kataeb said, calling on concerned apparatuses to cooperate in a bid to unveil the identity of the perpetrators.

On the other hand, Kataeb staunchly deplored the "bloody" killing of Al-Jadeed cameraman, Ali Shaaban.

"This is an outright attack against national media and a border crossing terrorist message which undoubtedly says that killing is a matter of viewpoints, whereas practicing media work is an unforgivable crime," confrees agreed.

Shaaban was killed on Monday in the northern border area of Wadi Khaled when he and two of his colleagues came under gunfire from the Syrian side of the border.

Moreover, Kataeb called on concerned sides to sternly tackle the matter with Syrian authorities at all levels.

Peeved by the Lebanese cabinet's performance, Kataeb expressed regret at the way "inter-cabinet polemic has rendered means to block the ruling cycle and the people's livelihood affairs."

Touching on the high voltage power lines issue, Kataeb warned from using force against the residents and students of Mansourieh and its whereabouts, and called instead on the cabinet to look for suitable alternatives.

Several people gathered last Tuesday in the town of Mansourieh, Metn, to protest the government's plan to install high-voltage power lines in the area, describing them as a health hazard. The Lebanese government said it was way too costly to install them underground.

In another act of condemnation, Kataeb lashed out at what it described as oppressive practices at the hands of the Syrian regime against its people.

"We wish international mediator Kofi Annan's plan success in resolving the prevailing [Syrian] crisis," the statement read.
R.H.

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Politics - Electoral law tops Charbel's talks with interlocutors
 

Tue 10/04/2012 18:04

NNA - 10/04/2012 - Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel tackled on Tuesday the heatedly-debated electoral law pending the Parliamentary elections of 2013.

Within this framework, Charbel met with "Arab Tawhid Party" leader, Weam Wahab, who supported on emerging the Lebanese President and the Interior Minister's vision of an electoral law.

"If they succeeded in passing an electoral law based on proportionality, they would be drawing a transition from the 'farm nation' to a real nation," he said.

Addressing those rebuffing a proportionality-based electoral law, Wahab promised them failure opting for a majority-based one, saying it has proven to be a big failure wherever implemented around the world.

"Waad" Party leader, Joe Hbeikah, also had his share of elections-related talks with Charbel, seeing in any return to a majority-based elections law a further consecration to the prevailing political scene.

"The current political status will not change unless we try to renew the prevailing political life," said Hbeikah.

Separately, Charbel held developmental talks with MPs Akram Chouhayeb, Ziad Aswad, Kassem Abdullatif, Joseph Maalouf, and others.
R.H.

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Politics - Sfeir says Lebanese must rally around Maronite Patriarch
 

Tue 10/04/2012 17:26

NNA - 10/4/2012 - Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir on Tuesday hoped that the Lebanese rally around the person of the Maronite Patriarch and that understanding and agreement would prevail among them in that respect.

The Cardinal was interviewed today on Voice of Lebanon-Freedom and Dignity radio station.

Turning to Syria, Sfeir depicted the situation in the unrest-swept nation as "fragile," saying he does not rule out that the crisis develops into a civil war.

"If we think about what is happening around us, we see that the situation in Lebanon is still better than elsewhere; there cannot be prosperity in Lebanon if the situation of its neighbors allows no prosperity," he reckoned.

Sfeir said if he saw any good coming out from visiting Syria, he would have done so.
 

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Politics - Lebanon bids Shaaban farewell
 

Tue 10/04/2012 17:16

NNA - 10/04/2012 - Lebanon said its final good-bye on Tuesday to late cameraman Ali Shaaban who was shot dead by heavy Syrian fire as reporting with Al-Jadeed TV crew from inside Lebanese territories.

Al-Jadeed TV blamed the Syrian Army for the death of Shaaban whilst Lebanon demanded a Syrian investigation into the killing which took place in Wadi Khaled near the northern Lebanese border with Syria.

The Lebanese media corps along with official and popular delegations bid late Shaaban farewell in a crowded funeral which had been held inMayfadoun, Nabatieh.

Leading the funeral crowd had been MP Abdulatif Zein representing President Michel Sleiman, House Speaker Nabih Berri, and Prime Minister Najib Mikati, as well as the Ministry of Information's General Director, Mr. Hassan Falha representing Information Minister Walid Daouk, alongside senior officials and dignitaries.

Representing Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, head of the Media and Communications Parliamentary Committee, MP Hassan Fadlallah urged the Lebanese cabinet to undergo dauntless endeavors in a bid to capture and try the perpetrators.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Shaaban's martyrdom puts journalists' safety on top of Press Syndicate's interests
 

Tue 10/04/2012 15:36

NNA - 10/4/2012 - Head of the Press Syndicate, Mohammad Baalbaki, on Tuesday visited Al-Jadeed TV channel and paid condolences for the martyrdom of Ali Shaaban, the TV's cameraman who was shot dead yesterday in Wadi Khaled near the border with Syria.

Baalbaki saw that it was about time to endeavor to draft a law on guaranteeing the safety and security of journalists and mediamen on duty.

He also assured that the Press Syndicate would keenly follow up on the affair of Shaaban's killing, urging the concerned authorities in both Lebanon and Syria to unearth the incident's details.
 

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Politics - Moqbel, Zasypkin tackle latest developments
 

Tue 10/04/2012 15:19

NNA - 10/4/2012 - Deputy Prime Minister, Samir Moqbel, on Tuesday skimmed through most recent developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region with the Russian Ambassador in Beirut, Alexander Zasypkin.

The meeting, which took place at Moqbel's office in Rabieh, also touched on the Lebanese-Russian bilateral ties.

The pair also shone light on Lebanon's participation in the commemoration ceremony upon the 130th anniversary of the foundation of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society.

Accordingly, Zasypkin highly esteemed Lebanon's participation therein and said that a number of countries of the Middle East would receive a similar invitation.

Besides, the diplomat deplored the killing of Al-Jadeed TV cameraman, Ali Shaaban, who was shot dead in the northern area of Wadi Khaled near the border with Syria yesterday.

He termed the incident as "a crime."

Turning to Syria, Zasypkin reiterated Russia's stance seeking a peaceful resolution to the Syrian domestic conflict. He said that Russia was ready to provide any required assistance and that it constantly called for an all-inclusive dialogue between the Syrian regime and the opposition in Moscow.
 

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Politics - Siniora, Pietton meet
 

Tue 10/04/2012 15:01

NNA - 10/4/2012 - Head of Future Parliamentary Bloc, MP Fouad Siniora, on Tuesday met with the French Ambassador to Lebanon, Denis Pietton, over the current general situation in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

The diplomat came today to Siniora's office in Sadat Tower on a farewell visit upon the end of his diplomatic mission in Beirut.
 

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Politics - Ghosn deplores Shaaban's killing
 

Tue 10/04/2012 14:58

NNA - 10/4/2012 - The fresh martyrdom of Al-Jadeed TV cameraman, Ali Shaaban, drew deprecation of the Minister of Defense, Fayez Ghosn, on Tuesday.

The Minister expressed in a statement today his deep grief and pain for the martyrdom of Shaaban, who was shot dead in the northern area of Wadi Khaled near the border with Syria.

Ghosn also condemned any attack on the media corps, voicing full solidarity with Al-Jadeed and the family of the late.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman follows up investigation into Shaaban's killing
 

Tue 10/04/2012 14:50

NNA - 10/4/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, keenly followed up Tuesday on the fresh martyrdom of Al-Jadeed TV cameraman, who was shot dead in the northern area of Wadi Khaled near the border with Syria.

Within this frame, the President met today at Baabda palace with the Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji, who informed him of the course of underway inquiry into the incident.

Talks also touched on the general security situation.

Sleiman later held a similar meeting with the General Security Chief, Brigadier General Abbas Ibrahim.

Earlier today, the President broached with the Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, an array of financial and economic affairs.

The meeting featured high on a bundle of draft laws relevant to the state budget. These proposals are currently on-the-table inside the cabinet with a view to further forwarding to the Parliament for endorsement.

Head of the Constitutional Council, Issam Sleiman, had also been to Baabda presidential palace today, for a meeting with the President over the Council's work.

Sleiman later received the Head of the State Shoura Council, Judge Shukri Sader, with talks featuring high on the Council's work and the ongoing cooperation with a number of ministries and administrations.

Among Baabda itinerant visitors today had also been a delegation of the Arab Women Investors Union.
R.A.H.

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Politics - Rahme calls for transparent investigation in Shaaban's killing
 

Tue 10/04/2012 14:17

NNA - 10/4/2012 - "Unified Free Lebanon" Parliamentary bloc member Emil Rahme expressed his condolences to Al Jadeed TV cameraman Ali Shaaban's family, the TV station and Tahseen Khayyat, calling upon both, Syrian and Lebanese sides, to perform a quick, transparent investigation to determine those responsible for the slaying of Shaaban.

It is to note that Shabaan was gunned down by snipers from the Syrian territories while he was performing his duty in Wadi Khaled in Akkar.

Rahme stressed that borders between Lebanon and Syria are not controlled; calling upon the army and security forces to control the borders between the two countries in parallel with maintaining domestic security.

The MP pointed out that Premier Najib Mikati's stand from the Syrian situation meet Lebanon's higher interest.
 

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Politics - Charbel: investigation continues over killing of Chaaban
 

Tue 10/04/2012 13:48

NNA - 10/4/2012 - Interior Minister Marwan Charbel told "Al Sharq" radio that the Interior Ministry will continue to investigate the killing of Al Jadeed TV cameraman in Wadi Khaled yesterday in the hands of the Syria forces which gunned down the journalist as he was doing his job.

He described the killing as unfortunate incident especially since Chaaban and the journalists who were in the car carried no weapons.

"Chaaban was killed inside the Lebanese territories," the minister said.

He added that the president of the republic called the Lebanese ambassador to Syria as well as Syrian officials to investigate the incident and name those who were responsible for the killing.

Charbel refused to guess if this incident may be a prelude for similar incidents and killing in the future.
"I don't want to talk about speculations and assumption. Let us wait for the answers of the Syrian officials over this incident. We want to know why the cameraman was killed and who was responsible for the killing."

Charbel assured that the Cabinet is still discussing the election law, stressing that he will make sure that a law on election will be ready before the 2013 elections.

He added foreign observers and NGOs will monitor the elections in 2013.
O.H

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Politics - Qabbani, Pieton discuss developments
 

Tue 10/04/2012 13:45

NNA - 10/4/2012 Mufti of the Lebanese Republic Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani Tuesday engaged in talks about the latest developments in Lebanon and the region during his meeting with France's Ambassador Denis Pieton.

The Lebanese Mufti also phone called each of the Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi, and Army commander General Jean Kahwaji passing on his good wishes on the occasion of Easter.

L.W.
 

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Politics - Mansour press bureau denies rumors on visit to Libya
 

Tue 10/04/2012 13:02

NNA - 10/4/2012 - Foreign Affairs Minister Adnan Mansour's press bureau Tuesday responded to commotion over his visit to Libya.

The bureau said Minister Mansour denies any news diffused to harm the Imam Moussa Sader cause and investigations.

"The visit aimed at proceeding with investigations in cooperation with Libyan concerned authorities," the statement said.
L.W.

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Politics - Moussa : sovereignty, laws must be respected
 

Tue 10/04/2012 12:56

NNA - 10/4/2012- Development and Liberation parliamentary bloc member Michel Moussa expressed his sorrow over the incident that caused the death of "Al-Jadeed" cameraman Ali Shaaban in the northern area of Wadi Khaled

He called for respecting borders and rejected any intentional or unintentional violations, stressing on "the necessity of respecting and preserving sovereignty and observed laws for both countries (Lebanon and Syria).

The MP ruled out the possibility that the incident might lead to widening the fighting region on the borders, calling for waiting the outcome of the investigations and stressing that the shooter should be punished.

Commenting on the repercussions of the incident in light of the domestic political division and situation in Syria, the MP told "L'Orient" radio station that the division should stay within the political frame, pointing out that the dissociation policy protects Lebanon on the domestic scene.
Talking about the cabinet's status, Moussa called for" activating the cabinet work."

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Politics - Rahi condemns Chaaban's killing
 

Tue 10/04/2012 12:05

NNA - 10/4/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Beshara Rahi expressed deep sorrow over the slaying of Al Jadeed TV cameraman Ali Chaaban who was gunned down by snipers from the Syrian territories while he was performing his duty in Wadi Khaled in Akkar.

In a statement issued from Bkirki, Rahi denounced the killing of Chaaban and expressed his condolences to the TV station, his family, friends and all media people in the country.

"I join my voice with the voice of the president of the republic and all officials who denounced the killing of Chaaban and called for immediate investigation to determine those responsible for this incident," Rahi said in the statement.
O.H

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Politics - Qadiri conveys condolences to Al-Jadeed station
 

Tue 10/04/2012 11:53


NNA - 10/4/2012 - MP Ziad Qadiri Tuesday expressed condolences to the Al-Jadeed station and to the family of martyr Ali Shaaban.

In a statement delivered today, Qadiri avowed to raise the case in today's Telecommunications and Information commission's session as he shall be urging a stance rejecting all attempts to undermine Lebanese media, message, and freedom.

"The Najib Mikati government is responsible for Shaaban' martyrdom," Future bloc member said and reprimanded silence toward Syrian violations on Lebanese sovereignty.
L.W.
 

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Politics - Majdalani: cabinet should step down
 

Tue 10/04/2012 11:45


NNA - 10/4/2012- Member of Parliament Atef Majdalani told "Voice of Lebanon " radio station that the current cabinet should step down in light of the dissociation policy which is not limited to political foreign but also to interior security issues.

He added," this cabinet had proved again that it is Syrian regime's cabinet in Lebanon and we, as opposition, will work on toppling it by all possible means through democratic work in the Parliament".

The MP considered that the attempt of killing Lebanese Forces head ,Samir Geagea, is a dangerous indication on possibility of the return of assassinations, pointing out that some forces are trying to weaken March 14 and Lebanese forces because they fear the increase of its publicity on the Lebanese scene.

Talking about March 14 forces stand regarding elections law, Majdalani stressed that communications within March 14 forces are going on and they are searching for a common formula, pointing out that they "haven't yet taken the appropriate decision."

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Politics - Kanaan urges Jal-El-Dib bridge reconstruction
 

Tue 10/04/2012 11:07

NNA - 10/4/2012 - MP Ibrahim Kanaan Tuesday urged the reconstruction of Jal-El-Dib bridge during his participation in the protest citizens held early today.

The MP said the Cabinet adopted a decision in that respect and thus, works ought to be carried out.

Change and Reform bloc member said that if the decision to execute works was not adopted next week during the upcoming Parliament's questions session they would proceed with actions till the end.

L.W.
 

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Politics - Daher berates government security demeanor
 

Tue 10/04/2012 10:42

NNA - 10/4/2012 - MP Khlaed Daher Tuesday reprimanded the government's security conduct regarding latest Lebanese-Syrian clashes.

"Government ought to protect its country's borders and national sovereignty," he told Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio.

Future bloc member also put emphasis on the Syrian regime's alibis of Lebanese violations and armed persons' presence to murder citizens.

"Al-Jadeed cameraperson, Ali Shaaban, is not the first martyr since the beginning of Syrian incidents," the MP said.

Daher also said that the Syrian regime has lost ability to exist.

The MP presumed that such incidents would not have happened if the Lebanese government deployed its armed forces along the borders.

L.W.
 

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Politics - Daouk pays condolences to Khayyat
 

Tue 10/04/2012 10:34

NNA - 10/4/2012- Minister of Information Walid Daouk paid condolences over the phone to the head of "Al-Jadeed" T.V board, Tahseen Khayyat, on the death of Ali Shaaban.

The General Director of Information Ministry Ghassan Falha will represent Minister Daouk in Shaaban's funeral.

It is to note that "Al-Jadeed" cameraman Ali Shaaban was shot dead in the northern area of Wadi Khaled near the border of Syria , "Al-Jadeed" blamed the Syrian army for the death of Shaaban.
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Politics - Mokheiber supports Jil El-Deeb citizens, demands
 

Tue 10/04/2012 10:32

NNA - 10/4/2012 - Member of Parliament (MP) Ghassan Mokheiber supported the demands of Jil El-Deeb citizens and called for rebuilding Jil El-Deeb bridge.

He considered that traffic jam won't be solved except by the returning public transportation.

It is worth to know that National News Agency correspondent in El-Metn Yolla Haibi reported traffic congestion from Casino Du Liban north until Dora south.

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Politics - Jal al Deeb highway reopened in both directions
 

Tue 10/04/2012 09:46

NNA - 10/4/2012 - Protestors reopened Jal al Deeb highway for both directions before cars after closing the road to press the government to rebuild the dismantled bridge as soon as possible.
O.H

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Politics - # Metn residents block Jal al Deeb highway
 

Tue 10/04/2012 07:57

NNA - 10/4/2012 - Jal al Deeb residents blocked the coastal highway near the dismantled Jal al Deeb Bridge from all directions in another attempt to press the government to rebuild the bridge as soon as possible.

MPs Ibrahim Kaanan and Ghassan Mukhayber as well a number of dignitaries head also took part in the protest.
O.H

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Politics - Kataeb Media: Attack against 'NTV' team a 'bloody' message!
 

Mon 9/04/2012 23:25

NNA - 9/4/2012 - Kataeb Party Media Council condemned in a statement Monday evening the "group murder attempt" against the "NTV" news team in the region of Wadi Khaled, which led to the killing of cameraman Ali Shaaban earlier today.
The Council considered the attack incident as a "bloody message across the borders"! It urged, herein, the Lebanese government not to separate itself from ensuring the safety of its citizens and to follow-up on the regretful incident, so as to unveil the truth behind it.
 

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Politics - Franjieh strongly condemns 'NTV' attack and calls for serious investigations
 

Mon 9/04/2012 22:51

NNA - 9/4/2012 - In a statement by "Maradah" Trend Head, MP Sleiman Franjieh Monday evening, he strongly condemned the attack against the "New TV" news coverage team earlier today, which led to the killing of one cameraman and the injury of two other team members. Franjieh called for opening serious investigations into the incident, especially in light of the "ambiguous security situation" that has prevailed over the region where the incident occurred ever since the Syrian crisis began, Franjieh noted.
Franjieh expressed sincere condolences to the "NTV" family, hoping that said crime would be the last of the media body's sorrows, which has for long denoted a basic contributor to Lebanon's free democratic image.
 

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Politics - 'Hizbollah' condemns the attack against the 'NTV' team
 

Mon 9/04/2012 22:31

NNA - 9/4/2012 - In a statement by "Hizbollah" Media Relations Department Monday evening, it expressed deep sorrow at the loss of a media colleague, "New TV" cameraman Ali Shaaban. Hizbollah condemned such an attack against media representatives, who pay a cost for their courage while covering news incidents on the ground. It also condemned such an attack against the "media and professional body" during its attempt to relay the picture of news incidents to the people.
The statement expressed deepest condolences to the family members and colleagues of the late cameraman, and to the administration and various departments at "New TV", as well as to the Lebanese media body as a whole. It raised prayers to the Lord to rest his soul in peace and to grant his beloved ones patience and comfort.
 

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Politics - Syria: 'NTV' team was in a region that witnessed open fire exchange
 

Mon 9/04/2012 21:43

NNA - 9/4/2012 - Syrian News Agency 'SANA" has quoted a Syrian media source as saying that the "New TV" news team that was subjected to shooting on Monday in the region of Wadi Khaled along the Lebanese-Syrian borders was present in an area that witnesses continuous infiltration attempts on a daily basis by militants. The source added that open fire is continuously witnessed in said area by armed terrorist groups against border security guard locations within Syrian territories.
The source went on to explain that a Syrian border security guard location in the aforementioned area was subjected today, as the news team was apparently present in the region, to intense open fire by such armed terrorist groups during an infiltration attempt into Syrian territories across the borderline. The penetration attempt was in a bid to carry out terrorist operations on Syrian lands, the source indicated. Hence, such open fire triggered the border guards' shooting in response, the source added.
The Syrian source expressed sincere condolences to the family of Martyr Ali Shaaban, and to the media institution he belonged to and its various operating personnel members.
 

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Politics - Siniora condemns attack against 'NTV' team
 

Mon 9/04/2012 21:19

NNA - 9/4/2012 - In a statement by Future Parliamentary Bloc Head, former PM Fuad Siniora, he strongly condemned the shooting attack against "NTV" news team on Monday. Siniora considered that the "opening of fire" by Syrian Army members against the "NTV" team while they were carrying out their duty, which led to the death of the cameraman, was obviously an intended "act of murder"! He added that such an act comes in light of undermining and underrating the Lebanese State's authority, and a repetition of similar crimes and attacks that have targeted innocent civilians in the same manner in the last period.
Siniora concluded by expressing his sincere condolences to the family of Martyr Ali Shaaban and to all members of "NTV" Station, and the Lebanese Press as a whole. He renewed the call upon the Lebanese government to put a limit to such excessive attacks against Lebanese sovereignty and independence. He also called for informing the Arab League of such a refuted crime.
 

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Politics - Berry expresses condolences to 'NTV" and Martyr Shaaban's father
 

Mon 9/04/2012 20:46

NNA - 9/4/2012 - House Speaker, Nabih Berry, contacted Monday father of 'NTV' cameraman, Martyr Ali Shaaban, expressing his sincere condolences to all his family members at his sorrowful death. He also contacted "New TV" Station for the same reason.
 

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Politics - Meqati condemns the attack against the 'NTV' team
 

Mon 9/04/2012 20:37

NNA - 9/4/2012 - Prime Minister, Najib Meqati, expressed his great sorrow at the killing of the "NTV" cameraman Ali Shaaban, and the injury of journalist Hussein Khreiss and cameraman Abed Khayyat, while they were carrying out their news coverage duty in the border area of Wadi Khaled on Monday.
"We strongly condemn and denounce the opening of fire from the Syrian side at the Lebanese media team, especially while members of said team were performing their duties within the Lebanese border territories," Meqati stated. He added that, "We have requested the Lebanese Army to open quick investigations into the matter, so as to unveil its reasons and details," noted Meqati. "We condemn any attack against Lebanese citizens, especially media representatives, and we shall inform the Syrian side of our condemnation of such a rejected act and our demand for investigations into the attack incident, holding the perpetrators accountable," Meqati added.
Meqati went on to consider that the "New TV" Station, which is known for its patriotism and professionalism, has written, with blood, a new page of professional and national struggle. "However, it shall remain, just as we have always known it to be, steadfast in its values and media message," added Meqati. He expressed heartfelt condolences to "NTV" Administrative Board Head, Tahseen Khayyat, and its personnel members and the family of Martyr Shaaban, raising prayers for his soul to rest in peace. He also wished journalist Khreiss and cameraman Khayyat fast recovery and continuous health.
 

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Politics - Daouk expresses strong condemnation of the 'NTV' incident
 

Mon 9/04/2012 20:11

NNA - 9/4/2012 - Information Minister, Walid Daouk, vehemently condemned Monday any attack against media representatives, especially while carrying out their news coverage duties. In a phonecall interview to the "Lebanese Television" from Paris, Daouk strongly condemned the killing of the "NTV" cameraman Ali Shaaban, and the injury of journalist Hussein Khreiss and cameraman Abed Khayyat. He described the attack incident against the "NTV" news team as a "hideous crime against the media and journalism sector!" "We consider ourselves in a state of mourning, and the Lebanese media owes a lot to Martyr Ali," Daouk added.
Daouk urged all media representatives to abide by the instructions of security apparatuses in areas of critical security conditions. "Such occurring security incidents confirm, once again, that we solely have the Lebanese Army to resort to for protecting our borders, and the security forces on the inside," Daouk noted. He indicated that all security forces are carrying out their roles and duties to the utmost; adding that citizens ought to support said forces, continuously aiding them in performing their mission.
Daouk went on to declare that he adds his voice to the voices of many Lebanese who direly aspire for freedom of expression. He stressed, herein, that such freedom entails that the liberal journalist be allowed the chance to practice his profession in a liberal and objective manner anywhere and with no influence whatsoever.
Daouk expressed great dismay at the occurrence of such a regretful incident during the Easter holiday. He disclosed continuous contact with the concerned sides in a bid to unveil the details behind said incident, in order to prevent any such re-occurrence in the future.
Daouk concluded by expressing sincere condolences to "New TV" Administrative Board Head, Tahseen Khayyat, and the family of the late cameraman, Ali Shaaban, raising prayers to the Lord to rest his soul in heaven. He also wished the injured journalist Khreiss and cameraman Khayyat quick recovery and continuous health and well-being.
 

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Politics - Sleiman condemns the 'NTV' incident and calls for investigations on the Syrian side
 

Mon 9/04/2012 19:33

NNA - 9/4/2012 - President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman, condemned the shooting incident against the "NTV" news team nearby the Northern borders within the Lebanese territories on Monday, which led to the killing of the cameraman and the injury of the remaining team members. Sleiman expressed sincere condolences and complete solidarity with the family and work colleagues of the late cameraman.
Sleiman contacted "NTV" Head, Tahseen Khayyat, expressing condolences and condemnation of the regretful incident. He also contacted Justice Minister, Shakib Qortbawi; Lebanese-Syrian Supreme Council Secretary General, Nasri Khoury, and Lebanese Ambassador to Syria, Michel Khoury, giving his instructions for immediate investigations, so as unveil the details of the incident and adopt the necessary judicial measures in this respect. Furthermore, he called for necessary investigations on the Syrian side so as to determine responsibilities and prevent any re-occurrence of such attacks in the future.
 

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Politics - Bkerki on Day 2 of Easter
 

Mon 9/04/2012 16:10

NNA - 9/4/2012- Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai, officiated over a Traditional Mass service at Bkerki in homage to the special historical French relation- ship with the Maronites.

The second Day of Easter Mass service was attended by French Ambassador Denis Pieton and Embassy staff.

A number of deputies and Former Cabinet ministers were also present.

The Patriarch saw Easter well-wishers after the Mass at Bkerki reception hall. They included among others MP Farid El-Khazen, Former cabinet minister Michel Edd�.

The Patriarch expressed optimism over a peaceful prosperous future for the country.

Inspired by the spirit of Easter, the Patriarch told interlocutors that the resurrection of Christ must lay foundations of tolerance and harmony.

He criticized the present plight of Middle East Christians saying "it was rather contradictory to perceive people divided in accordance with their religion, or race as is happening nowadays in our region".

G.G/N.AF

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Politics - Faysal Karameh listing Tripoli problems
 

Mon 9/04/2012 14:33

NNA - 9/4/2012- Minister of Youth and Sports Faysal Karameh listed social problems facing Tripoli and took a stand on Islamists in Lebanese jails.

Addressing a gathering of Municipal Heads from their district of Tripoli, Karameh spoke about poverty and deprivation in the grater Tripoli area.

He also spoke about endemic unemployment in the city. The Minister welcomed Municipal Heads told them, he had come to listen to their grievances. With respect to Islamists in Lebanese jails, he proposed changing their appellation from "detainees" to the gathering of Islamists in Lebanese jails, he related the issue of Islamists to the widespread, poverty and deprivation and acknowledge that this is a problem of the hole of north Lebanon.

G.G/N.AF

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Politics - Defiant L.F. Fortified by Messages of Support!
 

Mon 9/04/2012 14:19

N.N.A. April 9,2012 A defiant Lebanese Forces' party, reiterated continued Geagea agitation in pursuit of high independents ideals despite the recent attempt on his life.

This, came in an announcement by Geagea's media bureau in which it said messages of support and, in condemnation of the attempt on his life kept pouring in throughout the day. The party reiterated Geagea's non-retraction or recoiling from the struggle and that his previous experience with pressure incarceration and oppression amply demonstrated that he never did.

G.G./N.AF
 

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Politics - Gemayel: no one's interest to expose internal stability
 

Mon 9/04/2012 14:07

NNA - 04/09/2012 - Former president and leader of Kataeb Party, Amin Gemayel, held Monday that neither Hezbollah nor the political party that opposes it have any interest in expose domestic peace to jeopardy.
Gemayel, making his remarks during an interview, stressed the importance of immunizing the country so as not to cause interstate conflict between Lebanon and Syria.

In this context, he stated that the policy adopted towards dissociation of Damascus is adequate for the moment, expressing his rejection of any interference in Syrian affairs.

The leader of the Kataeb noted however that the situation in Syria has now passed the point of no return, highlighting "the weakness" of the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Regarding Lebanon, the former head of state finally concluded that Hezbollah is "a prisoner of its own weapons."
R.Z.

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Politics - Cabinet must be vigilant against Israeli ploys - Hmayed
 

Mon 9/04/2012 12:56

NNA - 09/04/2012 Israel may rob Lebanon of its natural resources, while Lebanese government is oblivious and busy with holidays and squabbles, feared MP Ayoub Hmayed as he insisted that Lebanon must remain faithful to its allies.

Member of Liberation and Development Bloc spoke Monday during a funeral ceremony in Tyre, south Lebanon, about the procrastination in the issue of Lebanon's natural resources, particularly recently discovered oil in the country's territorial waters. This matter demanded prompt action, in light of hostilities with neighboring Israel.

"Cabinet must be in session at all times to live up to its responsibilities and keep pace with dangers within and outside the country."

Hmayed called upon Lebanon to be true to its historic debts, and stay loyal to those who stood by it during its hardships.

"We view disassociation in the positive sense rather than the negative one," he commented alluding to Lebanon's official stance from the year-long uprising in Syria.

"Lebanon's borders must not be a hub for arms smuggling and terrorist empowerment against Syria's domestic stability."

R.Z.

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Politics - Sleiman continues to receive Easter well-wishers
 

Sun 8/04/2012 21:20

NNA - 8/4/2012 - President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman, continued to receive well-wishers on the occasion of Easter, who visited him at his Amshit residence Sunday afternoon.
Amongst his visitors were: former Deputy Prime Minister Issam Abu Jamra; former Minister Youssef Salameh; a Palestinian Embassy delegation headed by Ambassador Ashraf Dabbour; in addition to various delegations from the regions of Byblos, Keserwan and other areas.
 

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Politics - Jumblatt stresses government constants and weapons in the face of Israel
 

Sun 8/04/2012 19:56


NNA - 8/4/2012 - National Struggle Front Head, MP Walid Jumblatt, stressed Sunday on the government's constants and the use of Hizbollah's weapons in defending Lebanon against the Israeli enemy, away from being directed internally. He added that at the right time, said weapons shall become part of the "State," noting that this issue can only be tackled with the "Shiite Sect" through dialogue.
As for the situation in Syria, Jumblatt considered that the security solution has only led to more killings and destruction! He noted that the Russians shall soon realize that they have erred in supporting the Syrian regime. However, he hoped that the Russians, and the Iranians, would be able to rescue Syria from its ongoing crisis. He added that the important thing at this stage is Syria's unity and sparing it from plunging into sectarian strife, in a bid to preserve the whole region's safety and stability.
Jumblatt's words came during a meeting organized today with the Progressive Socialist Party's Upper Metn Branch in Falougha. Jumblatt gave a round-up on past events that have occurred in Mt. Lebanon, and on the local and regional scenes in general. In this context, he stressed that the May 7th settlement in the Lebanese Mountain still persists, highlighting the importance of preventing any strife attempt or on-ground conflict.
 

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Politics - Papal visit Upcoming September confirmed
 

Sun 8/04/2012 17:13

NNA - April 8, 2012 - The Forthcoming Papal visit upcoming September to the Lebanese capital Beirut has been officially confirmed by the Vatican today.

The Vatican announced Pope Benedict XVI's visit would be taking place between 14th and 16th September 2012.

An apostolic injunction to this effect has been handed to leading prelates in the Middle East.

According to the Vatican, the Pope intends to deliver the draft copy of the resolutions adopted by the 2010 Catholic Synod in Rome.

Pope Benedict is also to hold meetings with all three presidents and leading Lebanese political and religious leaders.
G.G/A.B

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Politics - Yazbek Appeals for Unity!
 

Sun 8/04/2012 15:35

NNA - April 8, 2012 - Special Khamena'i representative to Lebanon and leading Hizbullah cleric Muhammad Yazbek, appealed for unity of ranks and purpose!

Addressing a funeral at the Beqaa village of Youneen, the senior cleric added that rapprochement and unity between Lebanese communal constituents must be erected on solid bases since in his words, the country must not constructed on hatred, grudge, murder and destruction.

The durable affliction visited on Lebanon he largely attributed to the struggle between super powers of arrogance namely the American/Israeli axis which his party deems to confront here and in Palestine. He concluded that as long as Israel persists, struggle and affliction persists.
G.G/A.B.

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Politics - Qabalan Condemns Jousiyyeh Attack
 

Sun 8/04/2012 15:01

NNA -April 8, 2012 - Deputy-head of the Shiite Supreme Council Abdul Qabalan, vigorously condemned yesterday's attack on the 2 buses laden with pilgrims destined for Iraq at Jousiyyeh border-crossing.

The senior Shiite cleric described the attackers as terrorists bent on attacking Syrians and Lebanese as they once did to Shiite pilgrims in Iraq. He added that terrorists were in the pay of Zionism and that they were perpetrating diabolical acts. He offered condolences to the dead and injured and prayed the Almighty to preserve Syro-Lebanese stability and security.
G.G./A.B

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Politics - Sleiman Well-wishers
 

Sun 8/04/2012 14:45

NNA - April 8, 2012 - Having partook in Bkirki's Easter mass service today, Lebanese president Michel Sleiman received well-wishers at his Amsheet residence. Among others, were Finance minister Muhammad Safadi, Environment minister Nazam Khouri, ex-cabinet ministers, Moukhtars, municipal heads and Asad of Syria who cabled him on the advent of Easter.
G.G./A.B.

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Politics - Fayyad: Calm Prior to Elections
 

Sun 8/04/2012 14:32

NNA - April 8, 2012 - Hizbullah parliamentarian Ali Fayyad, urged loyalists and oppositionists to keep the peace prior to the 2013 electoral campaign.

Addressing a Oudayseh funeral ceremony in South Lebanon, the MP said "pro-Hariri supporters and the rest of March 14 are motivated by an insatiable lusting for a quick return to power."

Fayyad accused certain March 14 constituents of assuming that by demolishing the Mikati-led government, they would erroneously be rendering the Hariri camp a political service even at the expense of people's vital interests.
G.G./A.B

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Politics - Berri contacts political, religious figures for Easter
 

Sun 8/04/2012 13:44

NNA - 08/04/2012 House Speaker Nabih Berri contacted Sunday a number of political and religious figures, felicitating them for Easter.

Among said figures were President Michel Sleiman, Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East for the Roman Catholic Melkite Gregorios III Laham, Head of Change and Reform Bloc, MP Michel Aoun, Head of Kataeb Party, Amine Gemayel, Head of Marada, Sleiman Frangieh, Army Commander, Jean Qahwaji, and Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Major-General Paolo Serra.
 

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Politics - Sleiman for modern electoral law
 

Sun 8/04/2012 13:27

NNA - 08/04/2012 President Michel Sleiman said to reporters in Bkirky Sunday that thanks to the Taef Accord, political balance has been instituted in the country, voicing hope that there would be no need to return to the outdated 1960 parliamentary electoral law.

Taef Accord was an agreement reached in 1989 to provide the basis for the ending of a decades-long civil war and the return to political normalcy in Lebanon. It was negotiated in Taef, Saudi Arabia.

Sleiman held a private meeting with Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi on the sidelines of Easter mass in Bkirky.

Rahi has come under criticism due to stances supportive of Syrian regime against a year-long popular uprising demanding ousting of President Bashar Assad.

"The Patriarch represents the principles of Bkirky," Sleiman said in Rahi's defense.

Commenting on recent assassination attempt on head of Lebanese Forces, Samir Geagea, the President hoped culprits would soon be brought to justice. He categorically refused to allow instability to reign over Lebanon.

Upcoming parliamentary elections, due in 2013, stirred heated squabble between different political factions, namely March 8 Camp and the Progressive Socialist Party, with the former opting for an electoral law based on proportional representation, while the latter claiming this limited Druze political influence.

"We live in a democratic country, and I hope we do not return to 1960 electoral law which all factions agree does not suit our day and age."

The President wished all Lebanese happy holidays.
 

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Politics - Presidential office confirms Pope's visit
 

Sun 8/04/2012 12:58


NNA - 08/04/2012 Media office of President Michel Sleiman confirmed in a statement Sunday upcoming visit of the Pope to Lebanon.

Sleiman sent an official invitation to Pope Benedict XVI, which is scheduled to take place from September fourteen till the sixteenth.

"This visit will confirm the deep historic relations that connect Lebanon with the Holy See, and will be an occasion to confirm Lebanon's position, message and role as a witness to freedom and common living."

R.Z.

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Politics - Charbel for a resurrected Lebanon!
 

Sun 8/04/2012 12:57

NNA - April 8, 2012 - Minister of the Interior Marwan Charbel, expressed optimism over a resurrected Lebanon capable of sidestepping its present predicament.

Having conferred with Maronite patriarch Bshara Ra'i in Bkirki today, the minister told waiting newsmen that the resurrection of Lebanon from its predicament must coincide with that of Easter's. He stressed need for the Lebanese political discourse to remain confined to the norms of respect for varied opinions.

On the recent attempt on Geagea's life in Mi'rab, Charbel indicated that secretive investigation is underway to determine the identity of the culprits in order to refer them to justice.

He concluded that security forces are presently in the process of safeguarding civil peace under prevailing circumstances.
G.G. /A.B

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Politics - Rahi on Easter mass: Lebanon must remain oasis of peace
 

Sun 8/04/2012 12:46


NNA - 08/04/2012 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi held Easter mass at Bkirky Sunday, whereby he capitalized on cooperating with the President to inculcate peace among all Lebanese factions, and announced the Pope's upcoming visit to Lebanon.

The mass was attended by a large crowd of social, political and civil figures, on top of which was President Michel Sleiman and First Lady Wafaa Sleiman.

"We are working with President Michel Sleiman to safeguard Lebanon's impartiality so that it remains an oasis of tranquility, righteousness, and dialogue between cultures."

Rahi stressed that Lebanon's historic role as a bridge between East and West must continue through its neutrality and value of cultural and religious multiplicity, which lies at the core of any democracy.

Head of the Maronite Church announced that Pope Benedict XVI planned to visit Lebanon between September 14 and 16.
R.Z.

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Politics - Monti, Siniora convene
 

Sun 8/04/2012 11:58


NNA - 08/04/2012 Head of Future Bloc, Foad Siniora, met Saturday evening with Italian PM at the residence of Italian ambassador to Lebanon.

Mario Monti currently on an official visit to Lebanon surveyed an array of current domestic and regional affairs with Siniora.

R.Z.

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Politics - Sleiman attends Easter mass in Bkirky
 

Sun 8/04/2012 11:53


NNA - 08/04/2012 President of the Republic Michel Sleiman and his First Lady arrived Sunday at Bkirky to attend Easter Mass, presided by Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi.

The head of the Maronite Church began Easter mass in the presence of many political and social figures, including Kataeb party leader Amin Gemayel.

A private meeting was held between the Head of State and Maronite Patriarch before the mass.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahle gathering in condemnation of Geagea's assassination attempt
 

Sat 7/04/2012 22:10


NNA - 7/4/2012 - A popular gathering took place Saturday evening in Zahle, organized by the "Lebanese Forces" Party's Zahle and Middle Beqaa Branch, in condemnation of the assassination attempt against Party Head, Samir Geagea. Zahle Deputies Bloc Head, Toni Abu Khater, and Deputies Joseph Maalouf and Elie Marouni, as well as former Minister Selim Wardeh and March 14th Forces party members took part in said gathering.
In a word by MP Maalouf, he congratulated Geagea for surviving the assassination attempt, considering it a "survival of Lebanon as a whole!"
In a televised word by Geagea, he addressed his greetings to the people of Zahle, hailing their genuine support and solidarity at times of national crises. Geagea considered that the assassination attempt against him actually reveals the underlying conspiracies and evil actions intended for the nation.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Al-Rai receives Meqati's Easter greetings
 

Sat 7/04/2012 20:36

NNA - 7/4/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai continued Saturday to receive well-wishing greetings on the occasion of Easter, most prominently from President of the Republic General Michel Sleiman; House Speaker, Nabih Berry, and Prime Minster, Najib Meqati.
In his greeting message, PM Meqati expressed his sincere appreciation for the continuous efforts exerted by the Patriarch for the sake of strengthening internal unity and boosting co-existence amongst all Lebanese. Meqati greatly valued the Patriarch's ongoing work at local, regional and international podiums and in all fields, especially during the current critical circumstances witnessed in the region, with the aim of defending Lebanon and preserving its dignity, liberty, sovereignty and the safety of its citizens.
Al-Rai also received Easter greeting messages for former PM Saad Hariri; Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and the Orient, Ignatius IV Hazim; Army Commander, General Jean Kahwaji, and Mrs. Nazik Rafic Hariri, in addition to a number of cabinet ministers, deputies, military figures and ambassadors.
It is to note that Al-Rai headed evening church mass in Bkirki with the participation of Cardinal Nasrallah Butros Sfeir.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman confers with Monti over bilateral relations
 

Sat 7/04/2012 20:03

NNA - 7/4/2012 - President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman, met Saturday afternoon with Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti, who visited him at Baabda Presidential Palace heading an official delegation. Bilateral relations in various fields and at different levels topped their discussion.
The Italian Prime Minister described relations with Lebanon as being excellent and dating back to a long time in history. He stressed herein Italy's continuous support to Lebanon, while highlighting the importance of boosting economic, investment and trade relations between both countries.
In turn, President Sleiman thanked Italy for its active and essential contribution to the UNIFIL peace-keeping forces operating in South Lebanon, and the good relations that connect the people of Southern towns and villages with members of the Italian Contingent. He also valued Italy's ongoing support to Lebanon and the bilateral cooperation existing between both countries.
At the end of the encounter, Sleiman relayed his greetings and wishes for continuous progress to his Italian Counterpart through PM Monti.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Italian Prime Minister visits UNIFIL (Press Release)
 

Sat 7/04/2012 19:48

NNA - 7/4/2012 - Naqoura, Lebanon - The Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Monti, visited Saturday his country's troops deployed with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major-General Paolo Serra welcomed the Prime Minister at UNIFIL's Sector West headquarters at Shamaa in southern Lebanon. Also present was Brigadier-General Carlo Lamanna, the UNIFIL Sector West Commander.
"Italy is a leading contributor to UNIFIL. Prime Minister Monti's visit is yet another proof of the continued commitment of Italy and the international community as a whole to UNIFIL's mission. This is very much appreciated," the Force Commander said.
The Force Commander briefed the Italian Prime Minister about UNIFIL's deployment and tasks and stressed that UNIFIL was committed to the implementation of its mandate under UN Security Council resolution 1701 (2006).
During the visit, Prime Minister Monti met with Italian troops serving in UNIFIL and greeted them on the occasion of the Easter Holiday.
Italy currently has more than 1,100 military personnel serving in UNIFIL and also provides four helicopters for air support to the Mission. UNIFIL has a total of about 12,000 military personnel, including about 1,000 in the Maritime Task Force, from 37 countries.
The civilian component of UNIFIL numbers more than 300 international and some 700 national staff.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Al-Daher accuses Syrian regime of Geagea's assassination attempt
 

Sat 7/04/2012 19:14

NNA - 7/4/2012 - Member of "Future" Parliamentary Bloc, Deputy Khaled Daher, said Saturday that he is not surprised at the assassination attempt against "Lebanese Forces" Party Head, Samir Geagea, since targeting Geagea and all March 14th leaders is an ongoing threat.
Speaking in an interview to "MTV" Station Saturday morning, Daher considered that the series of assassinations in Lebanon has not ended but has only stopped momentarily. He added that the main goals behind such assassinations are weakening Lebanon and causing it to succumb to a controlling hand. "Geagea has a main role that complements that of former PM Saad Hariri and March 14th leaders in preserving Lebanon and preventing it from yielding to the Iranian project," Daher noted. He accused, herein, the Syrian regime of the assassination attempt against Geagea, adding that Al-Asad's strategy aims at striking stability in the region.
Daher also accused the Lebanese government of being an "agent" to Syrian President Bashar El-Asad, for it solely cares about the Syrian regime, Daher noted!
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Serail itinerant visitors
 

Sat 7/04/2012 17:48

NNA - 07/04/2012 - Having conferred with visiting Italian counterpart, Mario Monti, and accompanying delegation, Lebanese PM Najib Mikati, expressed deep appreciation for the Italian position vis-a-vis Lebanon. The PM Minister highlighted the peace keeping role of the Italian contingent serving with UNIFIL.

Mikati envisaged in the present political juncture, an appropriate moment for the peaceful resolution to the ongoing unrest in Syria. In this respect, the PM reiterated Lebanon's unconditional support for Kofi Anan's peace initiative for Syria.

The visiting Italian PM for his part, highly praised the Lebanese model of coexistence saying, the nation succeeded in presenting a genuinely constructive passive model. He also expressed appreciation for the Lebanese government's position towards the Syrian uprising.

Monti renewed the Italian government's commitment to peace national unity and sovereignty of Lebanon.

British Ambassador Tom Fletcher, who visited the Grand Serail, reportedly discussed with the PM the present state of bilateral relations before he went on a personal family trip.

G.G/R.K
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahra advises Berri, Jumblatt be vigilant as Doha Agreement cancelled
 

Sat 7/04/2012 14:58

NNA - 07/04/2012 The assassination attempt on Head of Lebanese Forces (LF) had been in the making for the past two years and was very serious, according to MP Antoine Zahra who denied during a TV interview Saturday claims that the incident was a publicity stunt and cautioned Speaker Berri and MP Jumblatt against similar attempts on their lives now that the Doha Agreement has been annulled.

Snipers using state-of-the-art long range rifles targeted Samir Geagea while at his residence in Mehrab last Wednesday, as the two different shots missed the politician by inches.

"LF did not go public with the attempt until field investigators confirmed that it was a serious and professional assassination plot."

Geagea has been monitored for a long time via electronic cameras installed in the vicinity of his residence, revealed Zahra.

"Despite our doubts which lean towards Hezbollah or others, we await the results of the investigation."

The MP signaled out Nabih Berri and Walid Jumblatt as possible future murder targets by those aiming to shake the foundations of the country. He marked Geagea's assassination attempt as the fall of all that was agreed upon in Doha Agreement of 2008.

The Doha Agreement was an accord reached to by rival Lebanese factions, upon the invitation of the Price of Qatar, after Hezbollah militants invaded western Beirut, following a squabble over a government issued decision to remove Hezbollah's telecommunications network and dismiss the head of Rafik Hariri International Airport's security after finding out about a Hezbollah surveillance camera monitoring one of the runways used primarily for executive jets.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mehrab incident, power generating vessels top President's agenda
 

Sat 7/04/2012 14:08

NNA - 07/04/2012 President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, received Saturday at Baabda Palace Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi, Prosecutor General Saiid Mirza and Judges Claude Karam and Hatem Madi, with discussions focusing on last Wednesday's assassination attempt of head of Lebanese Forces at his residence in Mehrab.

Lebanese Forces Political Bureau issued a press release earlier in the week announcing that unknown assailants attempted to murder Samir Geagea. The incident received series of local and international condemnation.

President Sleiman called on his visitors to follow the case through to prohibit any attempt to sow discord in the country.

Sleiman also discussed with his interlocutors the importance of justice in the fight against corruption, particularly in terms of food security.

In this context, the Head of State met with the Chief of Internal Security Forces, Ashraf Rifi.

Separately, President Sleiman received the Minister of Economy and Trade, Nicolas Nahhas.

The two men discussed the economic situation in the country and the case of electricity generating vessels to take effect in accordance with the decision adopted by the Council of Ministers.

The government recently approved the lease, for a maximum period of three years, of boat power generators of 270 megawatts (MW) and power plant construction with a capacity of 1500 MW, to redress the power sector.

Minister of Energy and Water, Gebran Bassil, said that the choice fell on the Turkish company "Karadeniz" for rental boats. The company had reduced its prices by 9%. The first boat will be provided to Lebanon this summer.

Finally, Sleiman respectively received a delegation from the association "Paths of Life" that deals with road safety in Lebanon and a delegation of the association of builders.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti arrives to Beirut
 

Sat 7/04/2012 13:45

NNA - 07/04/2012 - Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti arrived to Beirut Saturday to meet with Lebanese officials and the Italian contingent operating within the framework of UNIFIL in southern Lebanon.

He was greeted at the airport by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Adnan Mansour, representing t Prime Minister Najib Mikati, ambassador of Italy Giuseppe Morabito and embassy employees.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Bazzi: It is high time we feel safe about our future
 

Sat 7/04/2012 13:41

NNA - 07/04/2012 - MP Ali Bazzi, a member of Development and Liberation parliamentary bloc, considered it due time for Lebanese to live at peace and be at ease with regards to their future after years of crisis and discord.

Bazzi addressed a crowd of affiliates Saturday during a religious ceremony in southern Lebanon.

He stressed the importance of moving away from squabble as the Lebanese citizen needs "protection, electricity, water and all critical daily basics to survive."
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Tripoli Ministerial Meeting to Discuss Local Development
 

Sat 7/04/2012 13:30

NNA - 07/04/2012 A ministerial meeting comprising P.M. Miqati, Finance minister Muhammad Safadi, Youth Affairs' minister Faysal Karami, and minister of State without portfolio Ahmad Karami at Safadi Cultural Center in Tripoli discussed comprehensive local economic development.

A special study group submitted reports to the conferees bearing essentially on a plethora of urgent projects deemed stuck with the Reconstruction and Development Council as sources close to them said. Advisors suggested among other things to reactivate local health, education, economy and consumer-protective measures and mechanisms.

The study-Group also briefed the ministers over local highway-network construction projects deemed vital for developing the city.
G.G.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi holds Station of Resurrection at Bkirky
 

Sat 7/04/2012 13:26

NNA - 07/04/2012 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi held Saturday Station of Resurrection mass at Bkirky, and met with a number of felicitators on the holy occasion.

Head of the Maronite General Council, former Minister Wadih Khazen, Maronite Cypriot MP Anthony Haji Roussos were among Bkirky visitors today, along with head of the Coptic community in Lebanon.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Villa Bustros Itinerant Visitors Today
 

Sat 7/04/2012 12:57

NNA - 7/4/2012 - Cairo-based ambassador of Singapore Tao Hun Sang and honorary charge d'affaires to Lebanon Joseph Habees, have been at Villa Boutros for a courtesy meeting with Foreign minister Adnan Mansour and senior ministry aides.

Deliberations reportedly explored venues for boosted bilateral relations in all fields. Both Minister and accredited Singaporean ambassador also boarded domestic and regional developments with special attention accorded to the unfolding Egyptian situation and its potential bearing on Lebanon.

G.G.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Wahhab's Party Lashing Out at Erdogan!
 

Sat 7/04/2012 12:32

NNA - 7/4/2012 - Druze politician of the Tawheed Unification Party, Wi'am Wahhab, lashed out at Turkish P.M. Recep Tayip Erdogan for describing Iranian leaders in a derogatory fashion.

Wahhab's party commented on Erdogan's criticism of the Iranian attitude calling him a dishonest liar and hypocrite. Tawheed press release added that Erdogan's theatrical defense of the Palestinians was tantamount to effective liquidation of the Palestinian Cause in collaboration with the Zionists!

Party seized the occasion to recall the genocide and deportation of one million and the half Armenians and enslavement of most Muslims at the hands of Ottoman Turks and concluded that Erdogan's ultimate dishonesty manifested itself through his giving refuge to anti-Assad "gunmen".
G.G.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Politics - Baragwanath leaves for Frankfurt
 

Fri 6/04/2012 22:55

NNA - 6/4/2012 - Head of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Judge David Baragwanath, left Beirut Friday evening heading to Frankfurt. His visit to Lebanon lasted for a few days during which he met with a number of Lebanese officials.
Meanwhile, Beirut International Airport witnessed the arrival and departure of a number of officials. In this context, Public Works and Transport Minister, Ghazi Aridi, as well as MP Yassin Jaber left Beirut Friday heading for London. MP Jamal Jarrah and Moueen Merehbi also departed for Istanbul.
On the other hand, Labor Minister, Selim Jreissati, arrived in Beirut Friday, following a visit to Paris. Also returning to Beirut today were: Deputies Nayla Toueni, Hadi Hbeish, Abdel-Latif Zein and Gilberte Zouein.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Fatfat: We extend a hand to all to build the 'State' not the 'Statelet'!
 

Fri 6/04/2012 20:20

NNA - 6/4/2012 - Member of the "Future" Parliamentary Bloc, Deputy Ahmad Fatfat, considered that the country, and the region as a whole, are passing through a critical stage. He added that freedom, independence and dignity are "sacred"; hence, one cannot but be biased towards the Syrian people in their current crisis, supporting right and justice in this respect, Fatfat noted. He pointed out, herein, that Lebanon's benefit lies in what was mentioned in the "Syrian National Council's Declaration," in its acknowledgement of Lebanon as an independent and free country. "If there were no liberty in the Arab World, then democracy in Lebanon would become lost in history and guardianship rule will, thus, return!" Fatfat indicated.
He went on to state that freedom in Lebanon has led to the birth of its true resistance, for Lebanon is the sole country that enjoys democracy in the region. However, Fatfat questioned herein Hizbollah Secretary General, Hasan Nasrallah, about the reason behind the Party's silence that accompanied the case of traitor agent "Fayez Karam," despite its criticism and long struggle against such enemy agents?!
Moreover, in clear-cut words, Fatfat stated that the hand of cooperation is extended to all in the country in order to build together a "State" and not a "Statelet"! He added that the weapons' responsibility ought to be shouldered by the Lebanese Army and the Security Forces solely! Furthermore, he considered that all sides in the country ought to stand in "one rank" together, so as to prevent strife and any attempt of causing chaos and conflict on the internal scene; especially in the wake of the recent assassination attempt against "Lebanese Forces" Executive Council Head, Samir Geagea.
Fatfat concluded by questioning Prime Minister, Najib Meqati, on the reason behind the government's failure to allocate an amount of 100 million Lebanese pounds to the Social Affairs Ministry to be used in aiding innocent Syrian civilians who have come to seek refuge in Lebanon due to the incidents occurring in Syria? Fatfat questioned if such a "careless attitude" on part of the government towards Syrian brethrens can actually be viewed as a moral act?!
Fatfat's words came during an event organized Friday by the "Future Parliamentary Bloc" in the region of Al-Dinnieh honoring "Mayor's Day".
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Information Minister Honoring Hoss!
 

Fri 6/04/2012 17:06

NNA - 06/04/2012 - Acting at the behest of all 3 presidents; Sleiman, Berri and Miqati, Information minister Waleed Daouk, honored veteran politician and former P.M. Saleem Hoss at a public function attended by more than 800 V.I.Ps mainly from the loyalist political spectrum.

The annual function has been organized by Bshara Merhej-led "Gathering of Leagues and Committees"with representatives making speeches in praise of Hoss.

Hoss; the star of the party, spoke about the meaning of human dignity but stressed the significance of individuality and subjectivity.

Ma'n Bashshour of the Leagues and Committees' Gathering praised Hoss as a symbol of pan-Arabism and lashed out at the high doses of corruption in the country and cited the examples of Jalleddeeb Bridge and lack of power-supply-related problems to make his point. He condoned the view that both Syrian regime and opposition must discuss reform far away from violence.

Hoss has been awarded a coat-of-arms undersigned by a number of Arab and foreign personalities in appreciation of his political position.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Harb: Differences with L.F.are Illusory
 

Fri 6/04/2012 16:14

NNA - 6/04/2012 - Opposionist deputy of the House Boutros Harb, dismissed major differences between himself and Geagea-led Lebanese Forces' Party as completely illusory and untrue.

The deputy and, in a press release by his media bureau, categorically denied news reports of party rivalry between the L.F. and his own constituency in the district of Jbeil up to the point of pondering the establishment of an autonomous electoral bloc made of independent March 14 dignitaries during the upcoming electoral campaign.

Harb's Media office concluded that expanding L.F. sphere of influence in Batroun jeopardized in no way the alliance between them

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabalan's Friday Sermon
 

Fri 6/04/2012 15:52

NNA - 6/04/2012 - Deputy-head of the Shiite Supreme Council Abdul-Ameer Qabalan, attributed the root-cause of all problems in the Arab world to Muslims' oblivious attitude towards upholding the precepts of the Qur'an.

Qabalan and, in his Friday sermon at the Shiite Supreme Council's mosque, urged all Lebanese to start by conducting a sort of self-therapy by fortifying their national unity through communication and cooperation.

He deplored unjustified homicide such as what's been happening in Bahrain and urged the Syrians to sit down and talk. Qabalan also deplored Israeli violations of holy places in Jerusalem and elsewhere. He also urged Christians on Good Friday to hold steadfast to the teachings of Christ.
G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Sleiman attends Good Friday mass
 

Fri 6/04/2012 15:02

NNA - 06/04/2012 President Michel Sleiman, the First Lady, Army Commander and several officials attended a mass at Universite Saint-Esprit de Kaslik on Good Friday, presided over by Father Tannous Nehme who prayed that God guide and support the President in his path and leadership of the country.

Apostolic Nuncio, Gabriel Caccia, was also present at the mass commemorating the Station of the Cross.
R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Patriarch calls for peace on Good Friday
 

Fri 6/04/2012 11:31


NNA - 06/04/2012 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi addressed resident and expatriate Lebanese on Good Friday with a message of hope urging an end to violence and asking politicians to use the power they have responsibly without any dishonesty or ulterior motives.

The Patriarch commemorated Easter for Western sects with a religious albeit political letter denouncing bribery and theft of public funds. As for individual citizens, Rahi stressed that their contribution for a better society was by unanimously working towards justice and compassion.

Rahi commented on Arab Spring and events in neighboring countries, praying for domestic peace as well as peace to the world and Arab countries whose people rose against injustice in a daring attempt to live in pride.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Italian Prime Minister visits Beirut Saturday
 

Thu 5/04/2012 20:34

NNA - 5/4/2012 Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti visits Beirut on Saturday where he will meet with President of the Republic Michel Sleiman, Speaker of the House Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Italian Embassy in Beirut announced in a press release.

Monti is scheduled to visit south of Lebanon where he will inspect Italian contingent operating within UNIFIL, and will meet with its Commander General Paolo Serra.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Future: Geagea's assassination attempt prelude to new phase
 

Thu 5/04/2012 19:39

NNA - 05/04/2012 - The Future Bloc held on Thursday an extraordinary meeting, under the chairmanship of former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, to discuss the attempt of assassination against Lebanese Forces head Samir Geagea yesterday.

The bloc deemed such attempt as a prelude to a new dangerous phase in the country. The Future addressed the Lebanese government and the security and judicial apparatuses to unveil the perpetrators in a clear, transparent way, and to adopt strict security measures to prevent any such attempts or any sort of unrest in the country.

The Future congratulated Geagea and his family on their safety, depicting LF leader as one of the Cedars Revolution's pillars.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati chairs ministerial committee for leasing ships
 

Thu 5/04/2012 18:51

NNA - 05/04/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati chaired on Thursday at the Grand Serail a regular meeting for the ministerial committee tasked with exploring offers submitted by power ships leasing companies, in presence of Finance Minister Muhammad Safadi, Energy and Water Minister Jibran Bassil, Environment Minister Nazem Khoury and others.

Mikati received early Thursday at the Grand Serail Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour accompanied by a delegation of Public Housing Institution. Interviewed after the visit, Abu Faour said the current condition of said institution was the core of discussion between him and Mikati.

Abu Faour voiced a notice that the question of continuity of the institution's work has been subjected to certain threat, "because the protocol signed between the Banks Association and the Public Housing Institution is on the verge of expiring."

Separately, Mikati received at the Grand Serail a delegation of the Orthodox Patriarchal Advisory Committee, headed by Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim. The delegation included Economy and Trade Minister Nicholas Nahhas, who voiced a demand for preserving Orthodox locations.
A.M>
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati chairs ministerial committee for leasing ships
 

Thu 5/04/2012 18:51

NNA - 05/04/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati chaired on Thursday at the Grand Serail a regular meeting for the ministerial committee tasked with exploring offers submitted by power ships leasing companies, in presence of Finance Minister Muhammad Safadi, Energy and Water Minister Jibran Bassil, Environment Minister Nazem Khoury and others.

Mikati received early Thursday at the Grand Serail Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour accompanied by a delegation of Public Housing Institution. Interviewed after the visit, Abu Faour said the current condition of said institution was the core of discussion between him and Mikati.

Abu Faour voiced a notice that the question of continuity of the institution's work has been subjected to certain threat, "because the protocol signed between the Banks Association and the Public Housing Institution is on the verge of expiring."

Separately, Mikati received at the Grand Serail a delegation of the Orthodox Patriarchal Advisory Committee, headed by Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim. The delegation included Economy and Trade Minister Nicholas Nahhas, who voiced a demand for preserving Orthodox locations.
A.M>
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati chairs ministerial committee for leasing ships
 

Thu 5/04/2012 18:51

NNA - 05/04/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati chaired on Thursday at the Grand Serail a regular meeting for the ministerial committee tasked with exploring offers submitted by power ships leasing companies, in presence of Finance Minister Muhammad Safadi, Energy and Water Minister Jibran Bassil, Environment Minister Nazem Khoury and others.

Mikati received early Thursday at the Grand Serail Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour accompanied by a delegation of Public Housing Institution. Interviewed after the visit, Abu Faour said the current condition of said institution was the core of discussion between him and Mikati.

Abu Faour voiced a notice that the question of continuity of the institution's work has been subjected to certain threat, "because the protocol signed between the Banks Association and the Public Housing Institution is on the verge of expiring."

Separately, Mikati received at the Grand Serail a delegation of the Orthodox Patriarchal Advisory Committee, headed by Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim. The delegation included Economy and Trade Minister Nicholas Nahhas, who voiced a demand for preserving Orthodox locations.
A.M>
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman in Australia on April 14
 

Thu 5/04/2012 18:06

NNA - 5/4/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, accompanied by First Lady Wafaa Sleiman, and heading a ministerial delegation, will start a state visit in Australia on April 14, a statement by the Presidency's press office said on Thursday.

During the seven-day visit, Sleiman will be holding talks with the Australian officials and meeting with the Lebanese Diaspora.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Geagea: they wanted it to be final knockout
 

Thu 5/04/2012 17:53

NNA - 5/4/2012 - Lebanese Forces party Head Samir Geagea said the shooters wanted their assassination attempt to be the final knockout, confirming that it aimed not at striking the LF party but at tampering with the freedom of March 14 partisans.

Geagea who met with a delegation of LF students department assured that this attempt sought silencing the March 14 forces.

"This incident is a serious aggression against freedoms in Lebanon," Geagea considered, thanking god for his safety.

"We cannot face evil with evil. We have to be strong and resist those attempts with total commitment and determination," Geagea told the LF students, promising to keep following the same path toward freedom regardless of the circumstances, challenges and threats.

Separately the LF leader explained during an interview that security forces had surveyed the outskirts of Maarab residence and noticed that the snipers came from the western side of the surrounding meadow.

"Their monitors were fixed at 3 to 4 km away, independently from the shooters," he explained.

When asked whether his latest statements were the reason behind this assassination attempt, Geagea assured that this operation required at least 4 to 6 months of preparations.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved














 

Politics - Plumbly from Charbel's: wary of assassination attempt against Geagea
 

Thu 5/04/2012 17:16


NNA - 05/04/2012 - UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, said he was much perturbed about the attempt of assassination against Lebanese Forces head Samir Geagea yesterday, thanking God that nobody was accordingly harmed.

Plumbly visited on Thursday Interior and Municipalities Minister, Marwan Charbel, at the latter's office and discussed with him the local security situation as well as the upcoming parliamentary elections issue.

"The assassination attempt shows a necessity for alertness to the security condition," said Plumbly. "The important thing is that all Lebanese sides are pressing utmost efforts to secure ongoing stability," he added.
A.M>

NNA 2012 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Ministers of Environment, Telecoms take up developments
 

Thu 5/04/2012 16:07

NNA - 5/4/2012 - Minister of Environment, Nazem Khoury, on Thursday met at his ministerial office with the Minister of Telecommunications, Nicolas Sehnawi, over the current general situation and the coordination between both ministries.

He later met with MP Boutros Harb and the Director General of Urbanism, Elias Tawil, as well as an accompanying delegation of Tannourine village.

Khoury also received Head of Tarshish municipality, Gaby Semaan.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qahwaji's itinerants today
 

Thu 5/04/2012 15:35

NNA - 5/4/2012 - The current general situation featured high in talks held Thursday between Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji, and his itinerant interlocutors at his office in Yarze.

The Army Commander respectively met today, with Zahle MP Elie Marouni, former Deputy Faysal Daoud, and a delegation of Al-Orfan Foundation headed by Sheikh Ali Zeineddine.

Qahwaji also met with the State Security Chief, Major General George Qaraa.

The meeting reportedly touched on the security situation as well as on the cooperation between the two institutions.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour calls Moallem, checks on Syrian situation
 

Thu 5/04/2012 15:04


NNA - 4/5/2012 Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour Thursday phone called his Syrian counterpart Walid Moallem who briefed him on most recent developments in Syria.

Mouallem expressed relief over Syrian security situation and asserted Syria's responsiveness to the United Nations' envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan.

"Syria is working on implementing the plan, but armed factions ought to stick to it in order to cease violence," he remarked.
L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Politics - Sleiman meets Mikati, tackles various topics with Connelly
 

Thu 5/04/2012 14:59

NNA - 5/4/2012 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman received Thursday at Baabda Palace Prime Minister Najib Mikati with whom he tackled latest local developments as well as pending dossiers to be discussed and submitted to the Parliament.

Also, President Sleiman met with MPs Assem Araji and Tony Abou Khater accompanied by a delegation from Jdita with talks touching on inhabitants' developmental requirements.

On a different note, the President tackled bilateral ties with the US Ambassador to Lebanon, Maura Connelly. The pair discussed US military assistance to Lebanon and skimmed through the region's developments.

Connelly informed Sleiman of the talks held between US State Secretary, Hillary Clinton, and US Ambassadors all over the world.

The Ambassador finally voiced USA's concern over the return of political assassinations in Lebanon, assuring that its [Lebanon's] support to the special tribunal mirrored its stern objection to all aggressions of the sort.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved










 

Politics - Safadi deplores Geagea's assassination attempt
 

Thu 5/04/2012 14:40

NNA - 05/04/2012 - Finance Minister Mohammed Safadi condemned in a statement on Thursday the murder attempt which targeted Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea, refusing any attempt to use violence in political conflict.

Safadi stressed that any political party would neither accept the return of killings and assassinations nor jeopardizing civil peace.

Safadi duly requested of everybody to support security and military apparatuses in their mission to avoid erupting stability.
L.Y.R.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Moukbel: Cabinet takes decision to build Jil El-Deeb Bridge
 

Thu 5/04/2012 14:09

NNA - 5/4/2012- "Change and Reform" bloc head, Deputy Michel Aoun, met at his Rabieh residence with Deputy Premier Samir Moukbel, after which Moukbel said that there was a clear decision in the Cabinet to build Jil El-Deeb Bridge, pointing out that Reconstruction and Development Council was asked to study and improve the bridge.

Moukbel added that they would receive an answer within 15 days, indicating that they are concerned in making citizens on ground and morally satisfied.
L.Y.R.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Harb deplores Geagea's assassination attempt
 

Thu 5/04/2012 13:12

NNA - 05/04/2012 - Member of Parliament Boutros Harb vehemently condemned on Thursday the assassination attempt which targeted Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea.

Yesterday, the LF leader escaped an assassination attempt when shots were fired at his residence in Meerab.

Although Geagea said he would not accuse any party in the case, he warned that the political assassinations of the last decade had not ended.

"Indicators signify the return of killings and assassinations as means to settle political scores," Harb said, fearing that such eventuality would drag Lebanon back to the series of assassinations dating back to 2004.

Harb duly requested of security and military apparatuses to adopt speedy measures probing the incident in a bid to unveil the identity of perpetrators.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Moussa rushes investigations to reveal identity of Geagea's shooting perpetrators
 

Thu 5/04/2012 12:23

NNA - 5/4/2012- Member of Parliament Michel Moussa rejected any attempt to assassinate people because of their political opinion, condemning the attempt to murder "Lebanese Forces" head Samir Geaga. Moussa stressed the need to accelerate investigations and punish those who stand behind the attempt.

He told the "Voice of Lebanon" radio station that he believed that nobody had the intention to erupt security and instability in the country.

Responding to the House Speaker's description of the cabinet's performance as very slow, Moussa said that the democratic game should continue; duly, the cabinet should be criticized if it didn't fulfill its duties. He added that the Council of Ministers should step-up its work.

Moussa explained that "the (Parliament's) general discussion session aimed at revealing the cabinet's discrepancies not at embarrassing Prime Minister Najib Mikati."

Commenting on the issue of the election law and Deputy Walid Jumblatt's threat to withdraw his ministers, Mousa said, "Deputy Jumblatt is fully free to express his stances," pointing out "that the cabinet should quickly endorse the election law and refer it to the Parliament." He added that "the relation between Berri and Jumblatt is controlled by higher national interests."
L.Y.R

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman meets Mikati
 

Thu 5/04/2012 12:14

NNA - 5/4/2012 Lebanese President Michel Sleiman is currently holding talks about most recent governmental developments during his meeting with Premier Najib Mikati.
L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea's assassination attempt premeditated - Zahra
 

Thu 5/04/2012 12:10

NNA - 05/04/2012 - Member of Parliament Antoine Zahra affirmed on Thursday that the assassination attempt which had targeted LF Leader Samir Geagea yesterday was grim and premeditated.

Yesterday, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea escaped an assassination attempt when shots were fired at his residence in Meerab.

Although Geagea said he would not accuse any party in the case, he warned that the political assassinations of the last decade had not ended.

"As if the perpetrators bear the intention, as Dr. Geagea said yesterday, to have this incident as their final massage," the Lebanese Forces MP told "Free Lebanon" radio station.

But Zahra ruled out attempts at rushing to conclusions, preferring to wait instead for the outcome of investigations.

"Reaching investigations' outcome doesn't require a lot of time, but rather more a bit of serious technical work, sweeping operations, the use of high tech apparatuses, which all together will lead us to the perpetrators," he added.

However, Zahra said the assassination attempt had nothing to do with the 2013 Parliamentary elections, but rather more with the state building project.

"March 14 insists on projects aiming at building the state and opponents see Geagea standing at the forefront of this team because. He never hesitates to continuously voice his stances [at different levels]," Zahra added.

As for March 14 request to refer this incident to the International Tribunal, Zahra linked the assassination attempt to the series of attacks which had targeted March 14 pillars back in 2004.

March 14 General Secretariat requested of Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Justice Minister Shakib Cortbawi to adopt necessary measures to warrant the assassination attempt of Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea a referral to the International Tribunal for further investigations, a statement issued by March 14 members said following a meeting on Meerab shooting.

"I think that the same sides and the same political project are behind the assassination attempt of Samir Geagea yesterday."

"It was not a mere attempt to tamper with security (...) but an definite assassination crime," Zahra added, thanking God that Geagea safely survived this incident.
R.H.

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Politics - Hajjar fears return to assassinations series
 

Thu 5/04/2012 11:18

NNA - 05/04/2012 - In the wake of the assassination attempt which targeted Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, MP Mohammad Hajjar said on Thursday that said incident signals the beginning of a new precarious phase in Lebanon, fearing the return of the "assassinations series" to Lebanon with March 14 being the target.

Yesterday, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea escaped an assassination attempt when shots were fired at his residence in Meerab.

Although Geagea said he would not accuse any party in the case, he warned that the political assassinations of the last decade had not ended.

Interviewed on the Voice of Lebanon radio station, Hajjar held the Lebanese government, Prime Minister, and security forces responsible for this incident.

"All those who tamper with security should be struck with an iron fist," he said.

Moreover, he derided the Telecommunication Minister's attempts at hiding data from security forces, accusing him of playing a "destructive role."

Hajjar did not fail to place question marks at the way the drafting of a new electoral law was being handled.

"This law should be set on the firm basis of Taef accord," he added. "Proportionality does not ensure apt representation amid the sectarian reality we live in."
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved














 

Politics - MPs marshal staunch condemnation against Meerab attack
 

Thu 5/04/2012 10:53

NNA - 5/04/ 2012 - A number of MPs visited Meerab on Thursday sternly deploring the assassination attempt which targeted Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea on Wednesday.

Yesterday, gunfire was shot towards the residence of LF Leader, Samir Geagea, in Meerab. Security members tasked to ensure the residence's security said they discovered blank cartridges of a sniper rifle, type 12.7.

Geagea, however, refrained from accusing any specific side, saying the perpetrators only aim at exploiting Lebanon.

"We have come here to Meerab to express our utmost condemnation of this cowardly terrorist act (...) which wishes evil to Lebanon," MP Atef Majdalani said. "They tried to spark strife in Lebanon but God has rescued our nation."

In turn, MP Sami Gemayel deplored the assassination attempt which "Geagea miraculously survived."

He affirmed that this incident would not wind down belief in Lebanon's causes.

"We are well aware that the team behind this failing attempt (...) enjoys foreign and internal support," he said.

But the MP pledged to practice the "impossible" in a bid to prohibit "this team from carrying arms" and to continue the development of a robust nation, capable of placing assassins behind prison bars.

Geagea also received a number of phone calls from a number of MPs, former Ministers, and other political magnates who also deplored this abominable act.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 

Politics - March 14 demands Meerab crime referral to International Tribunal
 

Wed 4/04/2012 22:13

NNA - 4/4/2012 - March 14 General Secretariat requested of Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Justice Minister Shakib Cortbawi to adopt necessary measures to warrant the assassination attempt of Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea a referral to the International Tribunal for further investigations, a statement issued by March 14 members said following a meeting on Meerab shooting.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (UPDATE)Siniora sternly condemns Geagea's assassination attempt
 

Wed 4/04/2012 21:44

NNA - 4/4/2012 - "Future" Bloc leader, Fouad Siniora, staunchly deplored the assassination attempt which targeted Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea on Wednesday, saying the hands of treachery have reemerged to target leading Lebanese leaderships.
Earlier during the day, gunfire was shot towards the residence of LF Leader, Samir Geagea, in Meerab. Security members tasked to ensure the residence's security said they discovered blank cartridges of a sniper rifle, type 12.7.

Geagea, however, refrained from accusing any specific side, saying the perpetrators only aim at exploiting Lebanon.

"Today, Lebanon has survived a crime attempt in broad daylight targeting Dr. Samir Geagea, one of Lebanon's prominent leaders and independence revolution pillars," Siniora said.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt contacts Geagea, vehemently condemns assassination attempt
 

Wed 4/04/2012 21:12

NNA - 04/04/2012 - In the wake of the assassination attempt against Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea on Wednesday, Progressive Socialist Party Leader Walid Jumblatt, launched a fresh tirade against attempts at bogging down the nation with chaos and disintegration, warning that such contingency was doomed to escalate looming danger and threats.

Earlier during the day, gunfire was shot towards the residence of LF Leader, Samir Geagea, in Meerab. Security members tasked to ensure the residence's security said they discovered blank cartridges of a sniper rifle, type 12.7.

Geagea, however, refrained from accusing any specific side, saying the perpetrators only aim at exploiting Lebanon.

On Wednesday evening, Jumblatt contacted Geagea by phone vehemently condemning the shooting. He also reiterated attachment to "freedom of expression within a Lebanese democratic system that preserves pluralism and diversity."

The PSP leader also called on the Lebanese security forces to fully handle their responsibilities so as to avoid any scenario that might lead to security exposure in Lebanon.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel deplores Geagea's assassination attempt
 

Wed 4/04/2012 20:20

NNA - 04/04/2012 - Kataeb Party Leader Amine Gemayel on Wednesday marshaled downright condemnation against the assassination attempt which had targeted Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea.

Earlier during the day, gunfire was shot towards the residence of LF Leader, Samir Geagea, in Meerab. Security members tasked to ensure the residence's security said they discovered blank cartridges of a sniper rifle, type 12.7.

Geagea, however, refrained from accusing any specific side, saying the perpetrators only aim at exploiting Lebanon.

"The person of Geagea is not the meant target, but rather more Lebanon's stability and main leaders," Gemayel said, calling on the Lebanese state to fully handle its responsibilities, fearing a shift back to the miseries witnessed between 2005 and 2006.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - MOI employees' bid for full-time status reaps approval of media commission
 

Wed 4/04/2012 19:40

NNA - 4/4/2012 - Contractual employees at the Ministry of Information are likely to be full-timers soon as the legislative commission of Media and Telecommunications unanimously Okayed a relevant law proposal on Wednesday.

The commission convened today under the chairmanship of MP Hassan Fadlallah and in presence of the Ministry's Director General, Hassan Falha, to venture into the means to improve the condition of nearly 532 employees, who will still have to wait for further discussions within the parliamentary commissions of Justice and Finance.

Fadlallah explained to reporters following the session that the proposal was approached in way that does justice to concerned employees on one hand, and that consecrates the Law on the other.

He also made it clear that such a step would entail no burden on the State Treasury.

"I believe that we have put this proposal on the normal track and that it started today its legislative journey," he said.
R.A.H.

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Politics - Rifi demands tight measures to halt minor vagabonds' phenomena
 

Wed 4/04/2012 19:33

NNA - 04/04/2012 - Internal Security Forces General Director, Major General, Ashraf Rifi, demanded on Wednesday strict security measure cracking down on the expanding child begging phenomenon, an ISF communiqu� said.

Rifi's orders came in the wake a meeting between Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel, Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour, and Justice Minister Shakib Cortbawi who met earlier today at the Interior Ministry in an attempt to thrash out minors' begging.

The meeting underscored the necessity of strictly applying severe punishments against mafias which back acts of begging nationwide.

"Begging minors should be arrested and hence handed to concerned social institutions. Those exploiting them and forcing them to beg should be stopped as well," the communiqu� read.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora, European Parliament delegation tackle general situation
 

Wed 4/04/2012 19:22

NNA - 4/4/2012 "Future" Bloc Head Fouad Siniora met at his Sadet Tower office with a delegation of the European Parliament where they tackled the overall situation on the Lebanese and regional scenes.

The delegation is chaired by European Parliament "Progressive Alliance for Socialists and Democrats" Head Veronic Di Kezer. EU Ambassador to Lebanon Angelina Eichhorst was also present during the meeting.

Earlier, Siniora met with UAE Ambassador to Lebanon Youssef Al-Osseimi where they boarded the general situation in Lebanon and the region.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hariri contacts Gegage: This terrorist attack imposes great responsibilities on Lebanese authorities
 

Wed 4/04/2012 18:43

NNA - 4/4/2012 Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri contacted Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea, and expressed solidarity with him after the assassination attempt that targeted him this morning in Meerab, a press release by Hariri's press office said on Wednesday.

Premier Hariri considered that the assassination attempt on Dr. Geagea, which comes in the context of a long series targeting the Lebanese national leaders, as an attempt to eliminate a prestigious and significant figure of the Lebanese political life.

Hariri added "This terrorist attack that failed imposes great responsibilities on the Lebanese political and security authorities, to follow up the case, unveil all the circumstances surrounding it, and inform the public opinion of what truly happened and what is being planned to threaten Lebanon and its stability."

Hariri concluded "It is an occasion to reiterate our solidarity with Geagea, and our commitment, with him and all allies in March 14, towards defending the democratic Lebanon and the right of the Lebanese people to a sovereign, independent State, free from tutelage and from the terrorism of weapons and of those who use them as a tool to deviate the democratic political life from its normal track at every important stage."
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NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea: Shooting incident aims to 'finish everything'
 

Wed 4/04/2012 18:28

NNA - 4/4/2012 Lebanese Forces (LF) Leader Samir Geagea considered that the shooting on Meerab residence was not a sheer message but rather aimed to "finish everything".

The LF leader was speaking during a press conference he held at his Meerab residence on Wednesday, to speak about the gunfire incident.

Earlier today, gunfire was shot toward the residence of LF Leader, Samir Geagea, in Meerab. Security members tasked to ensure the residence's security said they discovered blank cartridges of a sniper rifle, type 12.7.

Geagea disclosed during the press conference that preliminary information showed the probability that the gunfire came from one sniper or more.

"The side that has undertaken the assassination attempt is professional per excellence," Geagea said, saying he awaits the outcome of investigations specially that the shooting incident required strict long distance observation and via up-to-date technological means.

"Meerab security has not been penetrated and the observation occurred from a remote area," the LF leader noted.

Geagea also indicated that a Lebanese Army helicopter is currently prosecuting the culprits in the vast woodlands.

Geagea also refrained from accusing any specific side, saying the perpetrators want Lebanon to turn an exploited arena.

"We are facing a series of criminality... Some thought that the assassination episode has come to a halt in Lebanon after the Doha Agreement.... But this does not hold true," Geagea said.

------------------L.Y

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Politics - Berri picks holes in 'slow' government performance
 

Wed 4/04/2012 17:26

NNA - 4/4/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Wednesday criticized the slow performance of the government, stressing the necessity that it speeds up its work on all levels.

He warned that such reluctance would take a toll on the overall current affairs and dossiers laid on-the-table.

He renewed calls to step up work on the level of offshore oil and gas natural resources.

Berri made these remarks during the Wednesday periodic meeting at the Parliament, which featured high on an array of affairs in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

Earlier today, the Speaker met with the Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Asseri.

The pair reportedly took up most recent political developments.

He also met with former General Security Chief, Brigadier General Jamil Sayyed, over the current general situation.
 

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Politics - Charbel, Abu Faour, Cortbawi discuss child begging phenomenon
 

Wed 4/04/2012 17:05

NNA - 04/04/2012 - Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel, Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour and Justice Minister Shakib Cortbawi met on Wednesday at the Information Ministry headquarters over the child begging phenomena's condition, in presence of high military figures.

The ministers reviewed their recent positive campaign against this phenomenon, which led to weaken the begging situation. They also underscored the necessity of augmenting utmost punishments against the mafias, which were still backing the begging work.
A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Gafo from Grand Serail: Spain is happy about government's accomplishments
 

Wed 4/04/2012 16:15

NNA - 04/04/2012 - Spanish Ambassador Juan Carlos Gafo said from the Grand Serail that Spain was content about the accomplishments of the current cabinet despite the difficulties facing it on several levels.

Gafo visited on Wednesday Prime Minister Najib Mikati at the Grand Serail and reviewed with him overall developments at the local and regional scenes as well as the condition of UNIFIL's troops in South Lebanon.

Mikati also received the French Ambassador Denis Pietton and reviewed with him the general situation.

Afterwards, the Premier met with UNESCO regional bureau senior over enhancing cooperation between the Lebanese state and UNESCO.

International Committee for Red Cross senior Jorg Montani also met with Mikati over the condition of Syrian citizens who have fled the Syrian crisis into Lebanon.

Amongst Mikati's visitors have been Lebanese Expatriates Council for Work senior, Nassib Fawwaz; a delegation of Lions Club; former Minister Salim Sayegh; and others.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Gafo from Grand Serail: Spain is happy about government's accomplishments
 

Wed 4/04/2012 16:15

NNA - 04/04/2012 - Spanish Ambassador Juan Carlos Gafo said from the Grand Serail that Spain was content about the accomplishments of the current cabinet despite the difficulties facing it on several levels.

Gafo visited on Wednesday Prime Minister Najib Mikati at the Grand Serail and reviewed with him overall developments at the local and regional scenes as well as the condition of UNIFIL's troops in South Lebanon.

Mikati also received the French Ambassador Denis Pietton and reviewed with him the general situation.

Afterwards, the Premier met with UNESCO regional bureau senior over enhancing cooperation between the Lebanese state and UNESCO.

International Committee for Red Cross senior Jorg Montani also met with Mikati over the condition of Syrian citizens who have fled the Syrian crisis into Lebanon.

Amongst Mikati's visitors have been Lebanese Expatriates Council for Work senior, Nassib Fawwaz; a delegation of Lions Club; former Minister Salim Sayegh; and others.
 

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Politics - Audi meets French Ambassador
 

Wed 4/04/2012 16:05

NNA - 4/4/2012 - The French Ambassador to Lebanon, Denis Pietton, on Wednesday visited Beirut Greek Orthodox Archbishop Elias Audi on a farewell visit upon the end of his diplomatic mission to Lebanon.

"The French Embassy had always had well entrenched relations with the Orthodox community," the Ambassador said in a statement to reporters following the meeting.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Moqbel, Australian diplomat meet
 

Wed 4/04/2012 16:02

NNA - 4/4/2012 - Deputy Prime Minister, Samir Moqbel, on Wednesday discussed most recent political developments with the Australian Ambassador to Lebanon, Alex Bartlem.

The diplomat, who had been to Moqbel's office in Rabieh on a protocol visit, also shed light the Lebanese-Australian bilateral ties.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Grand Mufti, Hashem take up latest developments
 

Wed 4/04/2012 16:00


NNA - 4/4/2012 - Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani on Wednesday met with Member of Parliament Qassem Hasehm over the wide array of challenges amid the current juncture prevailing in Lebanon and throughout the broader Arab region.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, the Deputy said Dar-al-Fatwa must be kept away from political polarizations as it has always been a national ground for all the nation's components.

Hashem also indicated that the meeting featured high on most recent political developments taking place in the neighboring Arab region, especially as a project to target the Arab nation is still on the go.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Kabalan meets Venezuelan Ambassador
 

Wed 4/04/2012 15:38

NNA - 4/4/2012 - Deputy Head of the Islamic Shiite Supreme Council, Sheikh Abdel Amir Kabalan, received Wednesday the Venezuelan Ambassador to Lebanon, Zoed Karam Duaiji, with whom he discussed bilateral affairs.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Belgian Ambassador visits Hezbollah official
 

Wed 4/04/2012 15:32


NNA - 4/4/2012 - Head of the International Relations in Hezbollah, Ammar Moussawi, on Wednesday received the Belgian Ambassador to Lebanon, Colette Taquet, for talks over the current situation on the Lebanese local scene.

The meeting also featured high on most recent events taking place in unrest-swept Syria.

A closing statement issued by Hezbollah's press office indicated that the pair also engaged in the much-awaited electoral law to be adopted in Lebanon.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Belgian Ambassador visits Hezbollah official
 

Wed 4/04/2012 15:32

NNA - 4/4/2012 - Head of the International Relations in Hezbollah, Ammar Moussawi, on Wednesday received the Belgian Ambassador to Lebanon, Colette Taquet, for talks over the current situation on the Lebanese local scene.

The meeting also featured high on most recent events taking place in unrest-swept Syria.

A closing statement issued by Hezbollah's press office indicated that the pair also engaged in the much-awaited electoral law to be adopted in Lebanon.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - UNIFIL marks International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action
 

Wed 4/04/2012 15:29

NNA - 4/4/2012 - The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) today observed the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. A ceremony at the UNIFIL Headquarters in Naqoura marked the 200th point de-mined on the Blue Line, and the head of the UN Mine Action Support Team (UNMAST) roller-skied on the road from Tyre to Naqoura on this occasion.

Speaking at the ceremony, UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major-General Paolo Serra underlined the importance of visibly marking the Line of Withdrawal (Blue Line) as "an essential task of our mandate." He added: "Completing the process will reduce the potential for incidents and tensions in the area."

The primary operational task for UNIFIL de-mining teams is to clear paths through minefields for the Blue Line marking process. Currently, UNIFIL has 11 combat engineering teams from its Belgian, Cambodian, Chinese, French, Italian and Spanish contingents.

The Force Commander honoured the UNIFIL de-mining teams and paid tribute to the de-miners and Lebanese civilians who lost their lives or were injured by mines and unexploded ordnance.

The Programme Manager of UNMAST, Michael Hands, marked the day by roller-skiing from the city of Tyre to UNIFIL Headquarters, where he was received by the Force Commander.

This initiative is part of the UN- led "Lend-your-Leg" global campaign to stop the damage landmines still cause while showing solidarity with all survivors of landmines and other explosive remnants of war.

During 2002-2008, mine clearance in southern Lebanon was coordinated by UN Mine Action Coordination Centre of Southern Lebanon (UNMACC-SL) as a partnership between the UN and Lebanese Armed Forces. With the transition of coordination authority to the Lebanon Mine Action Centre (LMAC) since January 2009, experts from UNMACC-SL - since renamed UNMAST - now operate as an integral part of UNIFIL's de-mining efforts.

As part of this coordinated effort, UNIFIL de-mining teams have since the 2006 conflict contributed to de-mining around 4.8 million square metres of affected land and destroyed more than 34,000 unexploded ordnance and mines in southern Lebanon. However, mine infestation remains a challenge in southern Lebanon as explosive remnants of war continue to claim innocent victims.
 

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Politics - Gemayel, Austrian diplomat meet over developments
 

Wed 4/04/2012 15:28

NNA - 4/4/2012 - An array of most recent developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region featured high in talks held Wednesday between the head of Kataeb Party, former President Amine Gemayel, and the Austrian Ambassador to Lebanon, Eva Maria Ziegler, at Kataeb Central House in Saifi.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, the diplomat said the get-together was an occasion to venture into Gemayel's viewpoint on the latest up-to-dates in the Arab world.

The meeting also touched on the current situation in Syria and its repercussions on Lebanon, as well as on a spectrum of Lebanese domestic affairs, on top of which the electoral law.

Ziegler revealed that the Austrian President would be bound to Lebanon on a two-day state visit, on forthcoming April 26 and 27.

Thomas Klestil, who is the first Austrian President to visit Beirut, will hold talks with the Lebanese officials over bilateral ties and the situation in the Mideast region.

Klestil is also scheduled to inspect the Austrian contingent and soldiers operating within the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.
 

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Politics - Sleiman: for international efforts on Israel to submit mine maps
 

Wed 4/04/2012 15:22

NNA - 04/04/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman voiced a call for international efforts on Israel to submit mine maps in South Lebanon, in order to avoid harms against innocent people seeking their way of living.

On the International Day of Mine Awareness, Sleiman expressed hopes on Wednesday that regional and international efforts be exerted to prevent the use of mines whose dangers exceeded that of wars.

Separately, the President received at Baabda Presidential Palace House Speaker Nabih Berri, who informed the host of law projects referred to the parliamentarian council by government.

Afterwards, Sleiman received the Syrian Ambassador, Ali Abdul Karim Ali, who reviewed with the host overall developments in Syria as well as bilateral ties.

Amongst Baabda's visitors have been a delegation of the Economy and Work Group; Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour; and Deputy Prime Minister Samir Moqbel.
 

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Politics - Berri, Asseri meet
 

Wed 4/04/2012 13:48

NNA - 4/4/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri received Wednesday at Ain El-Tineh residence the Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Awadh Asseri, with talks featuring high on latest developments.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Maronite bishops underscore Bkirki religious gathering's importance
 

Wed 4/04/2012 13:15

NNA - 4/4/2012 - Maronite bishops held Wednesday their regular monthly meeting presided by Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rahi, shedding light on the importance of the gathering held at Bkirki patriarchate on March 25 between Lebanese religious communities' heads who sought spreading the sense of unity and cohesion amongst Lebanese.

Bishops agreed on the proposal of holding a religious summit of the sort between Arab and Middle East religious leaders, voicing concern over "the escalating political rhetoric which is now targeting people's dignities."

Conferees discussed the law on expatriates of Lebanese origins' restoring citizenship.

They warned as well from the deteriorating livelihood situation and its repercussions on Lebanon and the Lebanese.

Bishops called for adopting a clear economic policy and addressing vital affairs with respect to people's rights.

Eventually, conferees offered condolences for the death of Coptic Pope Shenouda III, particularly at this crucial stage in Egypt's history.
D.K.

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Politics - PSP: Jumblatt keen to preserve historic ties with Berri
 

Wed 4/04/2012 13:03

NNA - 4/4/2012 - The Progressive Socialist Party refuted in a statement issued on Wednesday a report by Al-Liwa newspaper which claimed that PSP leader Walid Jumblatt is disappointed by Speaker of the House Nabih Berri.

"These reports are totally inaccurate and unfounded because Jumblatt is still keen to preserve the historic relations with Berri who has played a pivotal role in throughout all the stages," the statement said.
O.H

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Politics - Layoun follows up Lebanon's cultural ties with UNESCO
 

Wed 4/04/2012 12:53


NNA - 4/4/2012 - Culture Minister Gaby Layoun received Wednesday the new director of the UNESCO regional office in Beirut, Dr. Hamad Bin Saif Al-Hammami who conveyed to the Minister the regards of the organization's Director-General, Irina Bokova.

The pair discussed cultural ties between Lebanon and UNESCO, with special emphasis on the International Center for Human Science in Jbeil and means to reactivate its work and cultural activities.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour, Bartlem tackle Sleiman's upcoming visit to Australia
 

Wed 4/04/2012 12:29

NNA - 4/4/2012 - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour met Wednesday with the Australian Ambassador to Lebanon, Lex Bartlem, with talks featuring high on the forthcoming visit of President Michel Sleiman to Australia.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - De Freij fears government will install electricity cables by force in Mansouryeh
 

Wed 4/04/2012 11:05

NNA - 4/4/2012 - Member of Parliament Nabil De Freij expressed concern that the authorities will try to install the high voltage lines in Mansouryeh by force.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon, the MP said he was surprised that the ministers and MPs of the Free Patriotic Movement who in the past refused the installment of high voltage cables because this will pose a risk to health are now in favor of this move.

"This government has only produced problems and Hezbollah is the only side which made an accomplishment by keeping this Cabinet alive."
O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Fatfat blasts Cabinet's proportional election law
 

Wed 4/04/2012 10:41

NNA - 4/4/2012 - Member of Parliament Ahmed Fatfat told Voice of Lebanon that the Cabinet's new proportional election law is nothing more than a political law that serve the purpose of certain parties.

He added that March 14 forces refuse to allow the current government oversee the elections, reminding that Future bloc was one of the first to call for proportional elections based on the Taif accord.

Fatfat said that March 14 is waiting for the government to raise the election law to the parliament so it can be discussed.

The MP stressed that this government did not even dare to submit a budget and is still continuing to spend without any control or supervision amid signs of scandals and shady deals.

"This government is a complete failure and for this reason it should leave because it has become a catastrophe for the country and is unable to run the affairs of the state.
O.H

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Politics - Sehnaoui: Change and Reform supports proportionality
 

Wed 4/04/2012 10:11

NNA - 4/4/2012 - Telecommunications Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui told Voice of Lebanon that Change and Reform bloc will support parliamentary elections based on proportionality but assured at the same time that the bloc will take part in any election all parties agree on.

"Proportional law is a Lebanese demand because the previous laws were not fair to Christian representation. Our bloc supports the new law but will take part in any election and under any law which all parties agree on."

The minister stressed that his bloc did not join the Cabinet in order to kill time but to produce and reform.

Sehnaoui argued that some parties in the Cabinet want to hamper the work of the government.

He promised to solve the telecom networks problems, improve the services and cut prices in three months.

"The problems facing our ministry have been accumulated over the past years," the minister explained.
OH

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Politics - Rahi chairs Maronite bishops meeting
 

Wed 4/04/2012 09:45


NNA - 4/4/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Beshara al Rahi presided the monthly meeting of the Maronite bishops to discuss church and national affairs

O.H
 

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Politics - EU delegation meets with senior Lebanese officials, visits Wadi Khaled
 

Tue 3/04/2012 22:35

NNA - 3/4/2012 European Union (EU) Mission in Lebanon announced that European Parliament MPs Veronic De kezer and Ana Gumez paid a visit to Lebanon and met with President of the Republic Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour.

EU deputies also met with European-Lebanese Friendship Committee members and representatives of the Lebanese civil society.

The EU MPs are scheduled to meet later with Progressive Socialist Party Head Walid Jumblatt, "Loyalty to the Resistance" Bloc Head Mohammed Raad, "Future" Bloc Head Fouad Siniora and other deputies affiliated to the various political parties.

Within the framework of their visit to Lebanon to inquire about the present political situation and the impact of the Syrian crisis on it, the EU delegation visited a number of villages in Wadi Khaled to have a closer look at the situation on the ground there, especially the humanitarian joint assistance by the Lebanese government and non-governmental organizations to the displaced Syrians.

In the wake of the visit, Head of Progressive Alliance for Socialists and Democrats for Foreign Affairs Veronic De Kezer saluted the joint efforts by the Lebanese authorities, their international partners, non- governmental organizations and local population in assisting the displaced Syrians, stressing the importance of mobilizing all available capabilities for this purpose.

The EU delegation also encouraged the Lebanese authorities to increase their humanitarian assistance to the displaced Syrians and the Lebanese residing at the borders through activating the role of concerned public institutions in this regard.

The EU delegation re-affirmed EU's commitment towards Lebanon in the framework of European Neighborhood Policy, including the implementation of political, social and economic reform program.
--------------L.Y

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Politics - Rahi, Maronite dignitaries tackle relevant Maronite affairs
 

Tue 3/04/2012 20:48

NNA - 3/4/2012 Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rai met on Tuesday at Bkirki with a delegation of Maronite dignitaries where they tackled issues related to the Maronites and the Lebanese in addition to the current situation in the Middle East.

The Maronite delegation voiced full support to the Patriarch's positions at this critical stage, describing his visits abroad as crucial to Lebanon.

"His visits aim at disseminating the notion of the Lebanese exemplary.... to become a role model for the future of the peoples in the Middle East region," delegation noted.

On the other hand, Patriarch Rahi met with Check Ambassador to Lebanon Jose Miguel Minkaka who came on a protocol visit. Talks reportedly touched on means of bolstering bilateral relations and the current situation in a number of countries in the Middle East, including Syria.

The Patriarch then met with Hungarian Ambassador to Lebanon Lazilo Varaday who extended to the Patriarch an official invitation from the Hungarian government to visit Hungary.
---------------L.Y

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Politics - Aoun blames PM for dithering on electricity plight
 

Tue 3/04/2012 20:16

NNA - 3/4/2012 - Head of the Change and Reform bloc, MP Michel Aoun, on Tuesday passed the buck to Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, over a failure to settle on the long-simmering issue of electricity.

"No ships were assigned to generate power; the Prime Minister bears the responsibility for any delay," he said.

The electricity plight had been at the core of a spar among the members of the cabinet, namely between the Prime Minister and the Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Gebran Bassil, which ended last week as the cabinet agreed to an alternative of the proposals of Mikati and Bassil together.

Aoun chaired today in Rabieh the Change and Reform bloc's periodic meeting, which fell short of settling on the aforesaid issue, a day after a ministerial committee chaired by Mikati set the rules upon which the government would negotiate with American and Turkish companies to lease power-generating ships.

Aoun has ten ministers in the lineup of the Mikati-led cabinet, on which hopes are pinned to approve a bill for proportional representation in the 2013 legislative polls, drafted by the Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Marwan Charbel.

While Aoun advocates proportionality with the adoption of one electoral department, his fellows in the cabinet continue to demur on such a proposal.

PSP leader, MP Walid Jumblatt, who has three ministers in the cabinet, has made it clear that he preferred small electoral districts.

Aoun said today that he did not seek to weaken any party, stressing that everyone must take their own proportion.

PSP Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Ghazi Aridi, criticized yesterday any proportionality-based electoral law if it is intended to reduce the political weight of Jumblatt.

The financial dossier also occupied the Change and Reform's table today. Talks shone light on the elapsed article 58 of the Constitution, stating that in case the cabinet forwards an urgent draft law to the Parliament, which in turn fails to settle on it within a 40-day deadline, the President of the Republic is hence entitled, with the approval of the cabinet, to issue a decree hereby Okaying said draft.

In fact, a failure to legalize extra-budgetary public spending brought back to the forefront article 58-Constitution, hence reviving a power of the Republic President.

In another development, Aoun did not comment much on the fresh release of retired Brigadier General Fayez Karam. "Fayez Karam got out of jail after he served his sentence," Aoun said.

Karam, arrested in August 2010 on charges of collaborating with the Israeli enemy, benefited from the draft law issued by the parliament last week, reducing the sentence term to 9 months.

Karam visited Aoun in Rabieh shortly after his release from al-Rihaniyya military prison.

Later in the afternoon, the freed General arrived in his hometown in Zghorta, where rapturous crowds gathered in a popular reception.



 

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Politics - Mikati, Palestinian Forces Alliance tackle Palestinian situation
 

Tue 3/04/2012 19:52

NNA - 3/4/2012 Prime Minister Najib Mikati met on Tuesday afternoon at the Grand Serail with a delegation of the Palestinian Forces' Alliance where they boarded an array of matters related to the present Palestinian situation in Lebanon.

On emerging, Islamic Jihad Movement Representative Abu Imad Rifai said they discussed with Premier Mikati the overall hardships sustained by the Palestinian people in Lebanon at the economic and social levels, with emphasis on the necessity of speeding up the rebuilding operation of Nahr Bared Palestinian camp.

The delegation stressed before the Premier the importance of according civil and social rights to the Palestinians in Lebanon on the basis of bolstering the right of their return to their homeland.

Rifai said that the Premier duly stressed the importance of following up the Palestinian people's daily concerns.

Rifai also disclosed that the Palestinian factions in Lebanon shall put a work plan in the coming days bearing on a vision for addressing most of the problems sustained by the Palestinian people and means of resolving them with the Lebanese government.

Rifai underlined the importance of joint cooperation between the Lebanese government and Palestinian factions in a way that serves the stability of Lebanon and the Palestinian situation inside Palestinian camps.

On the other hand, Mikati met with National Education and Higher Learning Minister Hassan Diab and Lebanese University (LU) Head Adnan Sayyid Hussein, where they tackled relevant LU affairs and educational matters.
------------------L.Y

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Politics - Future attacks cabinet as living divergence among its members
 

Tue 3/04/2012 19:45

NNA - 03/04/2012 - The Future Movement attacked the present cabinet as living certain divergence among its sides and adopting decisions that deemed a satisfactory award among its members.

The Future's fresh stance came on Tuesday in the context of its regular weekly meeting under the chairmanship of Deputy Fouad Siniora, at the Center House of Downtown/Beirut.

The Future attacked the adopted power project as non-transparent and scandalous. It rather "recommended a clear strategy for power, a transparent book of conditions and permanent power plants."

Evoking the Syrian file, the Future condemned the regime's ongoing repression and killing against Syrian people, as the Future put it. The movement underscored the outcome of Syria's Friends Conference that acknowledged the Syrian National Council as representative of the Syrian public.
A.M

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Politics - Daouk quotes Mikati: national interest must limit divergence
 

Tue 3/04/2012 18:31

NNA - 03/04/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk quoted Prime Minister Najib Mikati as stressing that any divergence among government's members should stop on the borders of national interest, shortly after the cabinet session on Tuesday.

The cabinet convened today at the Grand Serail, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Najib Mikati. In the wake of the ministerial session, Minister Daouk read the outcome of the meeting.

"Our government doesn't escape any pending file, as it believes that authority is continuity," Daouk quoted Mikati as saying. The latter assured that the members or sides in the government were cooperating despite some divergence which must be limited in favor of serving the public welfare.

Eventually, Daouk read the most important ratified item in the session: "Approving on reducing the Telecoms Ministry's tariff for the services of the broadband, internet and commercial lines, so that the internet connection service will become free between 12 midnight and 07:00 a.m."
A.M>

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Politics - Jumblatt lambasts bids to chide Akkar with terrorism
 

Tue 3/04/2012 18:25

NNA - 3/4/2012 - PSP Leader, MP Walid Jumblatt, lashed out Tuesday on the bids by some state apparatuses to chide the region of Akkar with terrorism.

He then held in high esteem the patriotism and Arabism of the locals in this deprived region, "which has assumed a leading role in supporting Arab and national causes, on top of which that of Palestine and the Cedar Revolution."

Jumblatt had received today at his residence in Clemenceau a wide delegation of Akkar region, comprised of lawmakers Mouein Merhebi and Khaled Daher and a panel of mayors and municipalities heads, in presence of the National Struggle Front bloc member, Deputy Akram Shohayeb.

As saluting the sons of Akkar and the region, Jumblatt did not fail to renew calls upon the state authorities to fully assume their ethical and humanitarian responsibility vis-a-vis the Syrians who fled the unrest in their country into Lebanon.
 

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Politics - Sami Gemayel follows up Jal El-Deeb Bridge dossier, utters Kataeb's support for inhabitants
 

Tue 3/04/2012 17:11

NNA - 3/4/2012 - Kataeb central committee Head, MP Sami Gemayel, contacted by phone Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Deputy Premier, Samir Moqbel, to discuss Jal El-Deeb Bridge issue.

Gemayel considered this bridge as a vital and primary infrastructure for Northern Metn area.

"Removing this bridge, which provides entry and exit to Jal El-Deeb, will cause a heavy traffic jam at the local roads between Antelias and Zalka, therefore we call on the government to stop this injustice vis-a-vis the region's inhabitants and construct a new bridge the soonest possible," the MP said.

Gemayel wondered why the Free Patriotic Movement Deputies had participated in today's demonstration "while they themselves were directly held responsible for this issue as they were part of the current cabinet."

The Deputy finally reiterated Kataeb's support to Jal El-Deeb inhabitants and to their righteous demands, away from all politicization and media outbids.
D.K.

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Politics - Russia snubs double standards in Annan plan's implementation - Zasypkin
 

Tue 3/04/2012 16:27

NNA - 3/4/2012 - The Russian Ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, said Tuesday that Russia will not accept that the implementation of UN peace envoy Kofi Annan's plan on Syria be implemented as per double standards.

He renewed calls upon foreign parties supporting armed groups in the unrest-swept nation to guarantee their withdrawal from Syria's streets in line with the retreat of the Syrian Army with no delay whatsoever.

The diplomat's words came following his meeting today with a delegation of the Lebanese national personalities, forces, and parties' gathering.

"Russia had always been and is still keen on [preserving] international stability and security; it sees in Annan's mission a way to the balanced political solution," he said.

The Ambassador did not fail to commend the reforms thus far made by President Bashar Assad, saying they pave the way for setting off the much-sought serious dialogue on the overall national affairs expected to proof the internal scene in the face of foreign interference.
 

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Politics - Sleiman skims through various affairs
 

Tue 3/04/2012 15:32

NNA - 3/4/2012 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman tackled Tuesday with Baabda Palace visitors a series of political, educational, and social affairs.

Sleiman discussed with the Head of administration and justice parliamentary committee, MP Robert Ghanem a number of law drafts submitted to said committee.

Later on, the President met with a delegation of Arab Universities Union comprised of Business, Political and Economic Science Faculties' deans.

It is to note that the union is currently holding a conference in Lebanon on the "financial crisis, globalization, governance, and deduced lessons", upon the invitation of USEK university.

Sleiman welcomed the delegation, highlighting the importance of acquiring education, knowledge, and culture to meet the epoch's requirements.

The President accordingly shed light on the importance of boosting communities' openness to each other, particularly in light of the telecommunication outbreak.

Also, Sleiman skimmed through the current political situation at both local and regional scenes during his gathering with former Minister Fayez Shukr.

In turn, Lebanese University President, Adnan Sayyed Hussein, informed Sleiman of the university's academic and administrative conditions as well as on the ongoing preparations to appoint deans for the LU faculties.

Amongst Baabda's visitors was a delegation of the Lebanese International Business Council (LIBC), presided by Nassib Fawaz, with talks touching on the new electoral law which allows the participation of expatriates in the parliamentary elections.

Sleiman eventually received Lions Club delegation which presented him with the first model of the postal stamp issued by the Telecom Ministry on the occasion of Lions' 60th anniversary, in honor of its major role at the level of social services.

D.K.
 

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Politics - Grand Mufti, Belgian diplomat meet over developments
 

Tue 3/04/2012 15:20

NNA - 3/4/2012 - Grand Mufti, Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani, and the Belgian Ambassador to Lebanon, Colette Taquet, on Tuesday reviewed the current situation on the Lebanese domestic scene and the broader Arab region, namely in light of most recent events taking place in Syria.

The pair also shone light on an array of social affairs, especially those related to women.

Qabbani later met with former Deputy House Speaker, Elie Ferzli.

Talks featured high on the current affairs on the local level as well as on the recent meeting held in Bkerki.

Accordingly, Ferzli relayed the Mufti's relief over his relation with the Maronite Patriarch, Mar Beshara Boutros Rahi.
 

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Politics - Kanaan tackles Jal El-Deeb Bridge issue
 

Tue 3/04/2012 13:19

NNA - 3/4/2012 - Change and Reform bloc member, MP Ibrahim Kanaan, said during his participation in the demonstration staged Tuesday by Jal El-Deeb inhabitants that Northern Metn area will accept no marginalization.

"The cabinet has to take a decision concerning Jal El-Deeb Bridge," Kanaan noted, assuring that procrastination would draw all Metn inhabitants to resort to street demonstrations.

The Deputy called on the Development and Reconstruction Council to move on with the procedures agreed upon earlier pertaining to this matter.
D.K.

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Politics - Osseiran touts modern electoral law
 

Tue 3/04/2012 13:16

NNA - 03/04/2012 - Member of Parliament Ali Osseiran said on Tuesday he supported a modern electoral law capable of meeting the aspirations of the Lebanese people.

The MP's push for a new law comes amid mounting fears that the 2013 elections would be held under the current 1960 law.

The chronic problem of Lebanon's electoral laws has always been infested with confessionalism and sectarianism, which always winded up torpedoing all efforts at aptly running the nation, the MP said in a statement.

"If we aspire to raise Lebanon to stand parallel to advanced countries, then we have to opt for an advanced electoral law which preserves privacies and launches an open political life in the country," Osseiran added.
R.H.

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Politics - Mikati presides Cabinet session, tackles food safety, electricity issues
 

Tue 3/04/2012 12:48

NNA - 3/4/2012 - Cabinet convened Thursday at the Grand Serial in a regular session presided by Prime Minister Najib Mikati, with 62 items on its agenda.

Prior to the session, Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel said the electoral law would normally take over a year to be fully prepared.

Education and Higher Learning Minister Hassan Diab announced that efforts were underway to address the issue of Lebanese University full-time teachers, ruling out the possibility of approving this item in today's session.

Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour clarified for his part that his Ministry's employees were working for free as the Higher Relief Committee lacked staff.

Justice Minister Shakib Kortbawi hoped for the ratification of the Higher Judicial Council Head's designation the soonest possible.

Minister of Displaced Alaa Din Terro said no administrative appointments would take place today.

State Minister Panos Manjian objected to the government's LL100 million donation for Syrian displaced, considering that there was no disagreement within the government over the fact that Syrians were temporary guests.

Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan called on news media to consider the negative impact of exaggerated reports on rotten food issue.

Environment Minister Nazem Al-Khoury separately considered that the high voltage cables matter will be settled in today's cabinet session.

Premier Mikati delivered a word during the session pledging to keep working hard, and assuring that the government did not avoid any vital dossier whatsoever.

Mikati tackled the food safety and electricity topics, calling on Ministers to set all required files pertaining to these matters to be submitted to the parliament, as requested by House Speaker Nabih Berri.

It is to note that Ministers Salim Karam, Salim Jreissati, Faysal Karameh and Nicolas Nahas were absent from this session.
D.K.

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Politics - Maalouf: March 14 proceeding with consultations on electoral law
 

Tue 3/04/2012 12:07

NNA - 3/4/2012 - MP Joseph Maalouf Tuesday said March 14 are proceeding with consultations to arrive at an adequate formula regarding the electoral law.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon radio, Maalouf hoped Zahle and Jbeil power plants would be allowed to generate electricity despite "our beliefs that the electricity network should remain within government's possessions."

"Several problems might be solved if we ever consider adopting decentralization in production," he remarked.
L.W.

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Politics - Zahra rejects irresponsible way of dealing with drinking water
 

Tue 3/04/2012 11:42

NNA - 3/4/2012 - "Lebanese Forces" parliamentary bloc member Antoine Zahra rejected the irresponsible way of dealing with citizens and not revealing to them the truth about drinking water issue in Batroun region.

He called in a statement upon concerned people to rush into treating this issue and its repercussions on citizens' health.

Zahra expressed his wonder of the administration's careless dealing with this subject without giving any attention to citizen's daily needs, indicating that citizens' have not been informed that the drinking water is still polluted and inappropriate neither for drinking nor for house use.
L.W

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Politics - Charbel: Government mulling options for Mansourieh cable
 

Tue 3/04/2012 11:41


NNA - 3/4/2012 - Interior and Municipality Minister Marwan Charbel Tuesday urged Mansourieh citizens not to assault security forces' members during protests that, in his words, fall "within freedom of expression" norms.

The Minister said that Cabinet ought to take the final decision regarding how to handle protesters.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio, Charbel said the government has three solutions regarding Jal-El-Dib Bridge and it is studying them to choose the best.

L.W.

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Politics - Abboud: Electricity plan worthless without Mansourieh line
 

Tue 3/04/2012 11:20

NNA - 3/4/2012 - Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud Tuesday said electricity plan has no value without having high voltage cables pass through Mansourieh.

The Minister expressed understanding for Mansourieh citizens who were affected by the high voltage power line and told Voice of Lebanon radio that extending underground cables was beyond government's capabilities.

Abboud also explained that the government turned to the less costing solution which is to buy apartments that may be affected by the voltage cables.

Pertaining to the electoral law issue, Abboud said proportionality principle ensures true representation for all society segments.
L.W.

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Politics - Houri: Proportionality needs serious discussion
 

Tue 3/04/2012 10:56

NNA - 3/4/2012- Member of Parliament Ammar Houri said that in light of the Lebanese complications and absence of non-sectarian parties, proportionality issue would need serious discussion.

Houri confirmed to "Voice of Lebanon - Voice of Freedom and Dignity" that the "Future" bloc would study any election law according to Taef Accord to preserve coexistence and equal power share, pointing out that the bloc is open to any discussion.
Houri added that the committee which the bloc had formed to communicate with all political parties had not reached yet unified results.

L.Y.R/N.AF

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Politics - Cabinet convenes at Grand Serial
 

Tue 3/04/2012 09:59


NNA - 3/4/2012- Cabinet has convened a while ago at the Grand Serial in a regular session presided by Prime Minister Najib Mikati to discuss an agenda of 62 articles.

L.Y.R.

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Politics - # Security forces reopen Jal al Deeb highway
 

Tue 3/04/2012 08:23


NNA - 3/4/2012 - The Internal Security Forces reopened Jal al Deeb highway before traffic after the residents blocked the roads for few hours to protest the government's reluctance to rebuild the dismantled bridge.

The residents announced that they intend to block the highway every Tuesday until the government complies with their demands.

Member of Parliament Ibrahim Kanaan, who visited the protestors, called on the government to take the appropriate action and rebuild the bridge.

Other MPs from Metn voices similar demands during the protest.
O.H

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Politics - Bkirki holds spiritual summit marking Rahi's election
 

Mon 2/04/2012 22:22

NNA - 02/04/2012 - Bkirki witnessed a spiritual retreat on Monday presided by Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi, marking his election one year ago.

The retreat was initiated by a spiritual meeting and an altar sacrament.

Following this ritual, an evaluation of the patriarchate's performance within the last year was read out and a work plan for the following year was later drafted.
R.H.

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Politics - Grand Serail lit blue marking World Autism Awareness Day
 

Mon 2/04/2012 22:07

NNA - 02/04/2012 - Under the patronage of Prime Minister Najib Mikati and in collaboration with the Lebanese Association for Autism, the Grand Serail was lit blue on Monday, marking World Autism Awareness Day in a celebration titled "Autism -- Care and Creativity".

Social Affairs Minister, Wael Abu Faour, delivered a word before a huge crowd of official and popular figures, saying that the Lebanese government, up to this moment, had not fully accomplished its duties towards the needs of autistic individuals.

"By means of compiled efforts we have managed to establish an awareness campaign in many Lebanese regions to define Autism which remains unknown in popular mediums," the Minister said, warning that late diagnosis of the disease would lead to drastic negative side effects.

"Early detection of Autism gives cure a better chance," the Minister added.

The Grand Serail has been lit in blue today, shining a very bright spotlight on the global epidemic of autism. But Abu Faour said that no matter which political party this color represented, it only symbolized Lebanon's dedication to this national cause.

At the political level, however, Abu Faour said the cabinet was burning the candle at both ends in a bid to unify all the "political colors" in a joint national workshop.
R.H.

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Politics - Daouk says new electoral law underway
 

Mon 2/04/2012 21:43

NNA - 2/4/2012 Information Minister Walid Daouk said that preparations for a new electoral law based on proportionality were underway, to be soon proposed to the ministerial council.

Minister Daouk's words came in an interview he accorded on Monday to the government-run Radio Lebanon.

"There is a project law [on proportionality] currently under preparation by the Interior Minister.... to be referred soon to the ministerial council with some modifications," Daouk said.

Daouk noted that every modern electoral law allocates space for setting media restraints for electoral campaigns, lauding the Lebanese pioneering media role in the Arab world.

"Lebanon is a meeting point for cultures and civilizations and has carried out a significant role in the Arab media," Daouk said.

On the other hand, Daouk regretted that every media institution was affiliated to a certain party, sect or confession, saying that the Information Ministry does not play a role in such a media distribution.

Moreover, Daouk commended government-run media institutions namely the Information Ministry, Television of Lebanon and Radio Lebanon, as objective institutions standing at equal distance from all sides.

Touching on the electronic media, Daouk underlined the importance of regularizing this new modern project in accordance with givings that secure electronic media rights' protection.

-----------------L.Y











 

Politics - Kataeb dismisses power-generating ships' deals as scandalous
 

Mon 2/04/2012 20:28

NNA - 02/04/2012 - Kataeb party on Monday launched a fresh tirade against what it derided as "flagrant" means to thrash out the country's mounting power crisis.

Kataeb Party's political bureau and central council held their regular joint meeting today presided by Party Leader, former President Amine Gemayel, with both sides marshalling utter condemnation and dissatisfaction at the "heresy" of power-generating ships' rental.

"It doesn't respect international norms and standards and fully lacks transparency," Kataeb said as comparing the power-generating lease conditions set forth by the cabinet to those adopted at the international level.

Ratcheting up pressure on those in charge of Lebanon's energy sector, Kataeb conferees said "they" fully lacked a sense of responsibility. Intertwining personal interests tackling this issue has led to a huge discrepancy between the proposed lease deals, Kataeb said.

Conferees went on to wonder where the Council of Ministers stood from the environmental pollution expected to be meted out by power-generating ships which are expected to remain anchored in Lebanese waters for years to come.

"The Environment Minister's warning against the grave pollution threat remains a cry echoing deep down a valley where the health and sanity of the citizens is worthless," the statement read.

Kataeb placed the pollution file in juxtaposition with the spoiled food scandal, saying they both posed a grave threat.

Turning to the Syrian scene, Kataeb warned from importing the calamity into Lebanon, calling on Lebanon's political and military authorities to adopt strict measures to protect the Lebanese-Syrian borders and avoid any scenario of spiraling up the nation with chaos.

But the Party had words of praise for Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan's efforts to wind down Syria's crisis.

"This is a rare chance to end Syria's prevailing disaster" Kataeb said, imploring both sides of the Syrian divide to facilitate Annan's mission.
R.H.

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Politics - Daouk at AUST: For legal media frames
 

Mon 2/04/2012 19:44

NNA - 2/4/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk underlined the necessity of determining legal frames for all media means in accordance with scientific and modern criteria, especially the electronic media.

Minister Daouk was speaking during a gathering with mediamen, organized by American University of Science and Technology (AUST) on Monday, attended by the University's administrative board and students.

Daouk noted that the modern media revolution introduced into the media world a new unusual pattern, citing the example of the world of the internet, Facebook, Twitter and other social communication media that gave the public the opportunity to express its opinion and future projects.

"This transformation in communication means contributed in accelerating the operation of consecrating new concepts in more than one Arab country (...) that led to popular movements calling for freedom and democracy reaching radical changes, notably acknowledging the necessity of introducing requisite reforms," Daouk said.

As such, the Minister underscored the necessity to set legal frames for social communication media.

Daouk also shone light on the importance of safeguarding media liberties in Lebanon and media work credibility based on set criteria and principles that ensure supreme national interest on one hand, and secure media profession on the other.

"The right to freedom of expression and critique is amongst basic liberties that contribute to defending democracy and diversity," he stressed.

The Minister also highlighted journalists' freedom in carrying out their press profession while abiding by their duties and rights, especially in specifying information source and avoiding unethical means in search of news and information.

Daouk duly called for the establishment of a supreme council for press profession ethics, made up of journalists themselves to implement profession's rules and principles. The Minister also hoped that a collective agreement would be soon crystallized to ensure immunity for all.
---------------L.Y

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Politics - Jumblatt: Lebanon's resistance will join Syrian people some day
 

Mon 2/04/2012 19:39

NNA - 02/04/2012 - Deputy Walid Jumblatt said that the resistance in Lebanon would inevitably join the resistance of Syrian people some day in the future.

Jumblatt's fresh stance came Monday in the context of his weekly editorial to Al Anba' newspaper that would be published tomorrow.

Jumblatt was speaking about the profound significance of the Land's Day. He accordingly recalled the history of the terrible Palestinian situation that was due to cruel Israel. He considered Belfour Declaration finding the state of Israel as blasphemous, pointing out that Israel was beyond supporting and reinforcing authoritarian and totalitarian regimes in Arab countries, like Syria.

"In Palestine there is an occupation that confiscates lands, destroys houses and kills people...In Syria there is a regime that confiscates lands, destroys houses and kills people," Jumblatt said comparing between the Palestinian and Syrian situation.
 

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Politics - Mikati chairs meeting on power-generating ships
 

Mon 2/04/2012 18:31

NNA - 2/4/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati chaired Monday a meeting at the Grand Serail for the ministerial committee tasked with reviewing proposals on leasing power-generating ships.

The Ministers of Finance, Environment, and Energy and Water Resources attended the meeting.
 

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Politics - (UPDATE) Local, regional affairs top Mansour-Gafo talks
 

Mon 2/04/2012 16:46

NNA - 2/4/2012 - Foreign Minister, Adnan Mansour, met Monday with the Spanish Ambassador to Lebanon, Juan Carlos Gafo, over a spectrum of political affairs in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, the Spanish diplomat said talks shone light on the current situation of the Lebanese government, the crisis in Syria, and the outcome of the recent visit to Lebanon by the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdullahian.

The meeting also featured high on the Lebanese-Spanish bilateral ties and the means to bolster them on all levels.

On the yearlong bickering in Syria, the diplomat said he was upbeat over the six-point plan of UN peace envoy, Kofi Annan.

"We must give a chance to Annan's plan (...) we always encourage dialogue, ceasing violence, and organized transition," he said.

Gafo's three-year diplomatic mission in Beirut ends in July.

On the other hand, Minister Mansour met with a European delegation comprised of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats at the European Parliament.

Afterwards, Mansour met with Brazil's Special Envoy to the Middle East, Cesario Melantonio.

"Brazil is a great economic state and highly concerned with the Middle East affairs as well as with boosting relations on all economic, political, and cultural levels. It is the seventh state in the world and has no colonialist history," the Minister noted following the meeting.

"The political tendency of Brazil today aims to be positive and efficient. This policy is clear, supporting the rights of Arabs, and refusing foreign interference in the Arab internal affairs," he said.

He pointed out Brazil's readiness to provide assistance in exploring gas and oil in the exclusive economic zone.

He also pinned hope on Brazil's ability to assume a major role nowadays through its special envoy to the Middle East and through its presence in the BRICS group.

The Minister had earlier met with Member of Parliament Abbas Hashem.
 

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Politics - Sami Gemayel, Nawfal Daou meet
 

Mon 2/04/2012 16:34

NNA - 2/4/2012 - Member of March 14 forces' General Secretariat, Nawfal Daou, had been on Monday to Kataeb Central House in Saifi for a meeting with Deputy Sami Gemayel mainly over a bundle of political dossiers.

Talks also touched on the role of March 14 forces in addressing the aforesaid files and confronting upcoming challenges.

Gemayel, for his part, explained his party's viewpoint on the local domestic political and social dossiers as well as on most recent developments sweeping the Arab and Mideast region.

Besides, the meeting was also an occasion to skim through development-related affairs in Keserwan-Ftouh region.
 

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Politics - Berri takes up local, regional developments with interlocutors
 

Mon 2/04/2012 16:11

NNA - 2/4/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Monday engaged in an array of most recent developments taking place on the Lebanese domestic scene and throughout the broader Arab region with his itinerant visitors at his residence in Ain-el-Tineh.

He first met with the Head of National Dialogue Party, Fouad Makhzoumi, who commended Berri's administration of the state's affairs.

He said that the Berri-Mikati pair was of high effectiveness pertaining to the living and social affairs.

"What matters to us is the moderation that we are witnessing nowadays especially amid the current extremism; we are interested in the moderation policy led by Speaker Berri because we do not wish to see that ongoing changes in the region have negative repercussions on us," Makhzoumi told reporters following the meeting.

Turning to Syria, Makhzoumi said it was important that everyone mulls over what is happening in this neighboring nation, hoping stability would eventually be restored therein.

Earlier today, Berri had met with Brazil's Special Envoy to the Middle East, Cesario Melantonio, accompanied by the Brazilian Ambassador to Lebanon, Paolo Roberto Da Fontoura, in presence of the Speaker's media advisor, Ali Hamdan.

The meeting reportedly featured high on most recent up-to-dates in the Mideast region.

The representative in Lebanon of Sayyed Ali Sistani, Hamed al-Khafaf, had also been to Ain-el-Tineh today to present the Speaker with a copy of his newly published book on "the journey of treatment of Sayyed Sistani, the crisis of Najaf."

Berri later received Mufti of Tyre, Sheikh Hassan Abdullah.
 

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Politics - Khoury to evaluate electricity projects' environmental impact
 

Mon 2/04/2012 15:46

NNA - 2/4/2012 - Environment Minister Nazem Al-Khoury assured Monday that the Ministry will carry out environmental impact assessment of all proposed electricity projects.

He said Ministries should get used to the presence of an effective Environment Ministry in Lebanon and deal with it as a partner in the governmental system.

"Environmental evaluation ought to be conducted so as to protect citizens and limit negative impacts on our environment," khoury said, assuring that his name was never tied to any financial or national scandals.

"We have managed, before the RIO +20 Summit, to provide the MOE with the appropriate legal tools, just as promised, by ratifying four environmental decrees pertaining to the environmental impact evaluation, the strategic environmental assessment, the facilities' environmental commitment and the formation of the national council for environment," the Minister explained.

Khoury held a press conference upon the endorsement of those four decrees and the launching of the Ministry's web page which he deemed as "a new page that would have never saw the light if it weren't for the support of President Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, colleagues and International Cooperation Boards."

"A web page which we intended to launch on the occasion of the Ministry's 19th anniversary, on the verge of the World Summit on sustainable Development in June 2012," the Minister announced, hoping that this step be a way for better contact between the MOE and the Lebanese people.

The Minister noted that "the responsibility is huge yet it is not laid only on the shoulders of the Environment Ministry as international boards, local committees, municipalities, civil society, non-profit Institutions, environmental advisors, banking sector, insurance companies and media are all held accountable for implementing these decrees."

Later on, Minister Khoury received Ecuador's Environment Minister, Yvonne Abdel Baki, with whom he discussed means to boost cooperation between the two countries particularly at the level of natural reserves.
D.K.

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Politics - Mikati meets Baragwaneth, chairs meeting for HRC
 

Mon 2/04/2012 15:36


NNA - 02/04/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati received on Monday at the Grand Serail head of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Judge David Baragwaneth, who briefed the host over STL's works.

Amongst Grand Serail's visitors have been State Minister for Presidency's Affairs in Ecuador, Evon Abdul Baqi, who informed Mikati of her environmental project pertaining to preserving petrol in Amazon; Brazilian Special Envoy for Middle East Affairs, Ambassador Cezario Melantonio, who was content about Mikati's upcoming visit to Brazil in June to participate in an environmental meeting; and head of Beirut Marathon Association, May Khalil, who presented the host with a shield of appreciation.
Mikati also presided a meeting for the High Relief Committee, in presence of National Defense Minister, Fayez Ghosn; Interior and Municipalities Minister, Mawrwan Charbel; Public Health Minister, Ali Hassan Khalil; Social Affairs Minister, Wael Abu Faour; Energy and Water Minister, Jibran Bassil; Displaced Persons Affairs Minister, Aladdine Terro; the secretary general of HRC, Ibrahim Bachir; and others.

 

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Politics - Qahwaji's itinerants extol Lebanese Army
 

Mon 2/04/2012 15:34

NNA - 2/4/2012 - Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji, on Monday met with the Head of the Lebanese Popular Conference, Kamal Shatila, on top of a delegation.

A delegation of Beirut mayors' league also visited Qhawaji today at his office in Yarze.

A statement by the Army Commander's office indicated that the visiting itinerants heaped praised on the national role assumed by the military institution and the sacrifices it is making amid the current critical stage so as to protect civil peace and stability in the country.
 

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Politics - Local, regional affairs top Mansour-Gafo talks
 

Mon 2/04/2012 15:00

NNA - 2/4/2012 - Foreign Minister, Adnan Mansour, met Monday with the Spanish Ambassador to Lebanon, Juan Carlos Gafo, over a spectrum of political affairs in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, the Spanish diplomat said talks shone light on the current situation of the Lebanese government, the crisis in Syria, and the outcome of the recent visit to Lebanon by the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdullahian.

The meeting also featured high on the Lebanese-Spanish bilateral ties and the means to bolster them on all levels.

On the yearlong bickering in Syria, the diplomat said he was upbeat over the six-point plan of UN peace envoy, Kofi Annan.

"We must give a chance to Annan's plan (...) we always encourage dialogue, ceasing violence, and organized transition," he said.

Gafo's three-year diplomatic mission in Beirut ends in July.

On the other hand, Minister Mansour met with a European delegation comprised of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats at the European Parliament.
 

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Politics - Jumblatt, Ozyildiz meet
 

Mon 2/04/2012 14:40

NNA - 2/4/2012 - Progressive Socialist Party Head Walid Jumblatt met Monday with the Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon, Inan Ozyildiz with talks touching on latest developments.
D.K.

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Politics - Sleiman for accomplishing budget, elections and administrative decentralization laws
 

Mon 2/04/2012 14:39

NNA - 02/04/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman hoped on Monday that governmental works would be augmented for accomplishing the public budget and parliamentary elections laws and referring them to the parliamentary council.

He also hoped that the administrative decentralization law would also be accomplished thereafter, in order to achieve a sort of balance among the Lebanese regions and reduce burdens on citizens at all levels.

Sleiman voiced optimism that the local political, security and economic stabilities deemed a good starting stage of productivity for the current cabinet.

Separately, Sleiman received on Monday at Baabda Presidential Palace Head of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Judge David Baragwaneth, who briefed the host over the tribunal's works and the indictments issued thus far.

Among Baabda's visitors have been former Minister Salim Wardeh; a delegation of the Democratic Renewal Movement; a delegation of the European Parliament; and the Australian Ambassador.
A.M.
 

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Politics - Qortbawi, Syrian diplomat meet
 

Mon 2/04/2012 14:38

NNA - 2/4/2012 - Minister of Justice, Shakib Qortbawi, on Monday met with the Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul Karim Ali, over an array of affairs of common interest between Lebanon and Syria.
 

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Politics - Hamdan meets Aoun, warns from sectarian schemes harbored against Lebanon
 

Mon 2/04/2012 14:25

NNA - 2/4/2012 - Change and Reform bloc Head, MP Michel Aoun, received Monday at his Rabyeh residence the Head of Mourabitoun Party, Mustafa Hamdan, who said the meeting boosted the party's sense of optimism as well as its clinging to the reform policy.

Hamdan warned of the religious sectarian scheme harbored against Lebanon, criticizing the Lebanese Forces party Head, Samir Geagea, who he deemed as "the only one willing to form a canton in Lebanon."

As for the Lebanese-Syrian cross-borders arms smuggling, Hamdan considered it as a very critical matter led by the USA and threatening Lebanon's stability and peace.

Hamdan also criticized all those who suspected the role of the Lebanese Army and doubted the patriotism of General Jean Kahwaji.

Separately, Aoun met with former MP Wajih Baarini on top of a delegation from Akkar.

Discussions touched on local affairs mainly urging the government to submit to the parliament the electoral law draft.

The delegation called on FPM to render attention to Akkar region which suffers social and livelihood problems.
D.K.

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Politics - Sahili: To stay away from political revenge
 

Mon 2/04/2012 13:04

NNA - 2/4/2012 - MP Nawwar Sahili Monday called on politicians to shun wrangling and revenge, stressing that any victory should not be credited to any party but to all of Lebanon.

In a ceremony held in Northern Bekaa Bezlaiyeh town, Sahili said it was shameful that the other party has built its stances betting on the Syrian regime collapse.

Addressing other party, the MP said when someone has to criticize let his criticism be constructive.

"Dialogue is the sole solution for the crisis in Syria," he concluded.
L.W.

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Politics - Houry lashes out on government
 

Mon 2/04/2012 12:01

NNA - 2/4/2012 - Parliament member Ammar Houry Monday said the government intends to tamper with citizens' stability and security, deeming its performance as the worst among all governments.

Houry noted that addressing local dossiers was neither transparent nor legal, assuring that mutual accusations among cabinet members were true.

Pertaining to the electricity issue, Houry wondered why the Free Patriotic Movement's Ministers, who were successively designated over the electricity portfolio, did not restore power plants needed for electricity generation.

As for Istanbul conference, the Deputy said it represented a qualitative leap in the Syrian crisis issue, noting that the participation of 83 states showed that the majority have made their final decision regarding the Syrian dossier.

"Lebanon's official stance emerged from the Arab unanimity in harmony with the Iranian and Iraqi positions," he finally said.
D.K.

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Politics - Hajjar berates Bassil, says government no longer trustworthy
 

Mon 2/04/2012 10:58

NNA - 2/4/2012 - MP Mohammad Hajjar Monday berated Water and Energy Minister's demeanor and said that Bassil solely wishes to have media appearances.

On the government's level, Future bloc member told Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio that the government, similarly to its members, is no longer trustworthy.

"Political circumstances are what the ones keeping this government (alive)," MP said.
L.W.
 

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Politics - Mokheibir urges Cabinet to speed up electoral law
 

Mon 2/04/2012 10:50

NNA - 2/4/2012 - MP Ghassan Mokheibir Monday urged Cabinet to speed up tackling electoral law and refer it to the Parliament for finalization.

Mokheibir voiced support to the proportionality principle in medium-size districts.

The MP told Voice of Lebanon it was important that Lebanese electoral system be developed especially concerning the item of means to control electoral funding, information, and media.

"Alliances shall remain at the same fragility unless, a new electoral law would be adopted," he noted.
L.W.
 

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Politics - Majdalani: March 14 discuss best electoral formula
 

Mon 2/04/2012 10:30

NNA - 2/4/2012 - MP Aatef Majdalani Monday said Future movement is studying different laid laws, through a committee tasked with following up on electoral law, in order to come up with the best formula.

Majdalani made clear that March 14 forces were working within the frame of Taef Accord, adding they had no intention to go beyond the agreement or even breach it.

"Adopting proportionality principle in upcoming legislatives is difficult within the candidacy on the basis of closed political parties' lists," he told Voice of Lebanon radio.

L.W.
 

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Politics - Bazzi: Blame regarding the government's slow pace aims not at failing it!
 

Sun 1/04/2012 21:12

NNA - 1/4/2012 - Member of the "Development and Liberation" Parliamentary Bloc, MP Ali Bazzi, stated that the blames addressed to the government at several junctures for its slow pace do not actually aim at failing it. "Instead, what is really aspired for is activating the government's work so that it becomes more productive to the benefit of the Lebanese as a whole," Bazzi noted.
Bazzi stressed the need to invest all efforts and capabilities for the sake of building the nation in unity, kindness and stability.
Bazzi's words came during a ceremony marking "Teacher's Day" organized in the Southern town of Al-Zrarieh on Sunday.
 

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Politics - Erslan: Syria has thwarted the conspiracy against its national role
 

Sun 1/04/2012 20:04

NNA - 1/4/2012 - Head of the Lebanese Democratic Party, MP Talal Erslan, considered that Syria, in its leadership, people and army, has thwarted the huge conspiracy targeting its pioneering national role in defending the nations' causes; and hence, is heading towards gradual stability and definite victory!
Erslan went on to indicate that Syrian President, Bashar El-Asad, is strongly determined to execute a series of reform steps, which he had promised his people; in a bid to pave the way for Syria to cross over to advanced positions on the basis of democracy and building of state institutions.
On the internal Lebanese scene, Erslan stressed the importance of government solidarity and activating the work of ministries, so as to meet the people's daily living and services needs.
Erslan's words came during his visit to the Party's branch in Rashaya and West Beqaa on Sunday. Erslan reviewed with Party members various issues related to boosting the Party's presence in the Beqaa region, as well as contributing to coexistence and dialogue for the sake of protecting civil peace.
 

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Politics - Rabbi Weis Touring South!
 

Sun 1/04/2012 16:28

N.N.A. April 1,2012 Rabbi Yisrael David Weis from the anti-Zionist Jewish-Orthodox Naturaii Karta sect toured South Lebanon and met with senior Hizbullah cleric Nabil Qaouq and aides over bilateral relations between the 2 fundamentalist groups in their shared opposition to Israel.

The rabbi and accompanying delegation were welcomed by cleric Qaouq who highly commended their very coming to the South as being tantamount to a slap in the face of World Zionism and the racist entity Israel. He extolled their shared religious-based animosity towards Zionism and Israel

Weis underscored the importance of seeing the Hizbullah official after partaking in Palestinian Land Day activities at Beaufort Castle (Shqeef) on the 30th of March.

He reiterated Naturai Karta's traditional anti-Zionist stance about "Jewish identity being essentially usurped by Zionism and that the sect hails Hizbullah's anti-Israel heroism." The rabbi concluded that Israel must eventually disappear never to rise again before the coming the Savior-Messiah. Nevertheless, he recognized full Palestinian right to statehood.

G.G./R.K

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Politics - Rahi: Turkey good paradigm for Arab Spring
 

Sun 1/04/2012 14:50

NNA - 01/04/2012 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi presided over Palm Sunday mass in Bkirky, whereby he expressed gratitude for the Turkish administration and described its separation of religion from government as an example to be followed by Arab Spring.

Rahi was on an official visit to Turkey, upon an invitation by the administration, where he held meetings with high-ranking Turkish officials, among them President Abdullah Gul, FM Ahmet Davutoglu, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"The Islamic Sunni Turkish State...completely separates religion from government, respects all religions, and acknowledges religious liberties. It can offer a model for the sought after Arab Spring."

R.Z.

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Politics - Hajj-Hasan: Blaming the opposition and seeking political solution in Syria
 

Sun 1/04/2012 14:19

NNA - 01/04/2012 Agriculture Minister Husein Hajj-Hasan blamed the opposition for accumulated public debt along the years and reiterated need for a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Baalbek 2012 Agricultural Fair in which Hezbollah-led business firms of Jihad al-Bina', the Italian Cooperation Auxiliary and other companies partook, the minister indicated that previous pro-Hariri governments handed over to the present administration not only a number of cancerous lesions but also enormous debts with which Miqati strives now to grapple.

On the Syrian unrest, minister Hajj-Hasan perceived what he regards a "new dawning phase" with the regime succeeding to gain the upper hand in its struggle to stay in power.
G.G.
 

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Politics - Siniora disappointed with cabinet
 

Sun 1/04/2012 14:03

NNA - 01/04/2012 Disappointment reigned over cabinet's latest session, according to Head of Future Bloc, MP Foad Siniora, who described government's actions as dodgy to his Sunday visitors in Sidon.

The former Prime Minister was surprised at fruitless decisions taken during session, merely for the sake of assuring the continuity of current government.

"Although decisions were taken [during cabinet meeting], the manner by which they were taken felt like they were compensation rewards for different groups within government so that they all get a piece of the pie."

He urged politicians to stop blaming one another for mistakes made instead of actually getting the work done.
 

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Politics - Khyam massacre commemorated
 

Sun 1/04/2012 13:38

NNA - 01/04/2012 Marking the anniversary of al-Khyam massacre at the hands of Israel back in 1978, where 31 civilians met their death, Public Health minister Ali Hasan Khalil spoke at the local municipal council about the need for continued Mikati-led government functioning. He reiterated Amal's position that the government must stay on against all odds.

The minister predicated the achievement of a durable civil peace and stability in the country on government's ability to stay in power. He, as usual, criticized anti-Assad Lebanese and accused them of helping Israel.

Taking the word, senior Hezbollah official Ali Fayyad urged party critics to give up all negative talk about holding onto one's weapons
G.G.

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Politics - Fatfat, Doueihi honored by WLCU in New South Wales
 

Sun 1/04/2012 13:09

NNA - 01/04/2012 - World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU) of New South Wales, headed by Wissam Azzi, hosted a luncheon in honor of MPs Ahmad Fatfat and Stephan Doueihi, who are currently visiting Australia.

The luncheon attended by the Consul of Lebanon Robert Naoum, President of WLCU, Michel Doueihi, and Lebanese expatriates was held under the theme of "not transferring political disputes from Lebanon to the Lebanese community in Australia."

Azzi praised "the moderation and openness that characterize the two families of Fatfat and Doueihi," saying that the Lebanese were in need of communication and dialogue for development and prosperity.

Michel Doueihi,in turn, called upon Lebanese diaspora to preserve the vanguard role of Lebanon in the world, despite political differences among them.

He called on the Lebanese state to give expatriates the right to participate in Lebanese politics.
"Receiving the identity is a vested right to all Lebanese and not a gift from anyone," he concluded.
 

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Politics - Abou-Fa'our for recognizing the Syrian uprising
 

Sun 1/04/2012 13:01

NNA - 01/04/2012 Social Affairs' minister, Wa'el Abou-Fa'our, urged fellow colleagues and politicians to acknowledge the Syrian Revolt arguing all attempts by them at giving such big magnitude events the blind eye is bound to reflect badly on Lebanon.

Addressing a Jibb-jinnen function organized by the PSP-affiliated Center for Developmental Services and the Union of local municipal councils, Abou-Fa'our urged politicians to take into account the exodus of thousands of Syrian families into the Beqaa away from Assad regime's oppression. He indicated that the Syrian refugee Question is well outside the pale of a government which decided to "keep aloof" from the uprising.

Commenting on the compromise reached between Aounist cabinet constituents and the Prime Minister, Abou Fa'our sided with Mikati saying his proposal to set up regular power stations proved their unquestioned feasibility and transparency.

He concluded that the pro-Jumblatt cabinet ministers' ultimate acceptance of the compromise between Aounists and the Prime Minister were dictated by conviction rather than by any other political considerations.
G.G.

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Politics - Raad: we act sensibly in the interest of preserving stability
 

Sun 1/04/2012 12:14

NNA - 01/04/2012 - Head of parliamentary bloc Loyalty to the Resistance, MP Mohammad Raad, said Sunday that his party is behaving wisely for the sake of preserving stability in Lebanon.

Raad questioned the good intentions of certain Lebanese factions, during the inauguration of the annual book fair organized by al-Rahma School, in Nabatiyeh, while asserting that his camp was only interested in local stability without taking sides particularly concerning the Syrian uprising and its subsequent events.

"Our part is to protect the structure of the state in this period, which preserves and supports security institutions... our concern is to preserve the stability of the country."

"We reassure our citizens that this situation will not last long. We are moving towards a new path that preserves common living and civil peace; a path in which politics will evolve in a manner that ensures the interests of Lebanon."

 

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Politics - Mansour: policy of disassociation safeguards Syrian-Lebanese affairs
 

Sun 1/04/2012 11:55

NNA - 01/04/2012 Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Adnan Mansour, told Voice of Lebanon Sunday that the policy of disassociation protects diplomatic relations between Syria and Lebanon, asserting that the government is united on this stance.

Lebanese administration attempted to distance itself from events in Syria over the past year, due to geo-political reasons. However, this has led to dispute among local factions, with one camp demanding taking a stance with the Syrian people, while the other camp siding with the regime.

"Aiding Syria can only happen by supporting the reform process," said Mansour, "and dialogue is the only way out of this crisis."

R.Z.

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Politics - Fneish: Syrian regime still popular
 

Sun 1/04/2012 11:36

NNA - 01/04/2012 Events in Syria are merely a regional and international rally led by the USA and the Zionist entity against the regime, according to a statement by Minister of Administrative Development Mohammad Fneish on Sunday.

Addressing a group of his peers during a political seminar in the southern town of Harouf, the Minister reflected on a year-long uprising in the neighboring country which continues despite a harsh crackdown against protestors by the regime of President Bashar Assad. In its turn, the regime claimed that protestors were rioters doing the dirty deed of foreign policies.

"The regime is still very popular," asserted Fneish, "had they listened to us, they would have saved the Syrian people a lot of suffering...and Syria would have taken serious steps towards reform."

R.Z.

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Politics - Al-Rai winds-up his visit to Turkey
 

Sat 31/03/2012 22:52

NNA - 31/3/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai ended his visit to the Turkish capital, Istanbul, by addressing the media with a briefing of highlights of his visit and meetings with Turkish officials. Al-Rai expressed deep appreciation to the Turkish government for all its contributions and assistance to Lebanon in supporting its development and stability. He added that his visit allowed the chance for more cooperation and communication with the Turkish government, for the sake of supporting stability and peace in the region and boosting dialogue between religions.
Al-Rai described his visit to Turkey as "greatly successful" in achieving its aspired aims, most prominent of which is the friendship and cooperation between Lebanon and Turkey, as well as between the Maronite Church and the local authority; with prayers that the "Arab Spring" would be a true spring in every state in accordance with its needs. He added that the each authority ought to work for the sake of public liberties and human rights and dignity.
As for incidents in Syria, Al-Rai noted that all efforts seeking to put an end to the ongoing violence, and reaching a peaceful solution, are blessed.
Al-Rai's final stop before winding-up his visit to Istanbul was at the "Suleimania Mosque" which is the largest and oldest in Turkey.
 

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Politics - Lights 'turned-off' at Presidential Palace and Government Serail marking 'Earth Day"
 

Sat 31/03/2012 22:28

NNA - 31/3/2012 - In response to the United Nations' "electric power for all" initiative, President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman, gave instructions to turn-off the lights at Baabda Presidential Palace at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday. This initiative has been launched by the "World Environment Fund" during the year 2007 under the headline of 'Earth Day," and in solidarity with 20% of people who are living without electricity in various parts of the world.
Similarly, Prime Minister, Najib Meqati, gave instructions for lights to be turned-off at the Grand Serail as well, in response to said initiative.

The National News Agency also marked this world initiative in partially turning-off the lights at its offices operating at night.
It is to note that the turned-off lights lasted for an hour's time (8:30 p.m. till 9:30 p.m.) Saturday evening.
 

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Politics - Geagea: Christians of the East ought to remain attached to their lands
 

Sat 31/03/2012 22:09

NNA - 31/3/2012 - Lebanese Forces Executive Council Head, Samir Geagea, urged Saturday all Christians of the East to remain attached to their lands and nations. He implored them to confront incidents, changes and dangers with courage and to interact with their environment, adopting and defending all just humane causes.
Referring to the situation in Syria, Geagea considered that the real solution lies not in maintaining silence towards the Syrian regime nor in practicing forgiveness towards it, but in actually calling for a true popular referendum, patronized by the Arab League and United Nations, over the regime's persistence. Hence, he considered that the true solution in Syria lies in democracy, in the sense that whoever gets to the rule democratically would govern.
On the internal Lebanese scene, Geagea moved on to state that the "Reform and Change" practices in Lebanon have began threatening the quality of political work and dealing with public matters at a time when people in the region are struggling and dying each day to cross over to a "green spring". Geagea considered that the aforementioned group aims merely for cheap political publicity and insulting the reputation of others! He added that they have been in authority for nearly a year now, yet no change or reform has been detected thus far! Geagea stressed the need for an internal order, leading to legislation, institutions and hence, a true nation.
Geagea's words came during the 18th commemoration event of the "Lebanese Forces annulment" which was held at "BIEL" in Beirut Central District Saturday under the motto of "Spring of People- Autumn of Mandates." A wide number of prominent political figures and members of parliament attended the event.
 

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Politics - Al-Rai meets with Turkish Prime Minister
 

Sat 31/03/2012 21:27

NNA - 31/3/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai met Saturday with Turkish Prime Minister, Resep Tayip Erdogan, in Istanbul. The meeting was a chance to review issues pertaining to the Maronites in Turkey, especially in Antioch, as well as those present in Aleppo. They discussed the possibility of their regaining their lands, in addition to the return of Cypriot Maronites to their villages in North Cyprus.
Erdogan hailed the visit by Al-Rai to Turkey especially that it comes at a time when everyone is in dire need for dialogue and reconciliation. He added that such a visit has not been witnessed by Turkey ever since the Ottoman rule days. "We accord great importance to Lebanon's stability and praise your role in this respect," Endogen told Al-Rai.
He concluded by thanking the Patriarch for such a historic visit, which serves in bringing distances closer and in activating dialogue and communication between religions and people.
In turn, Al-Rai expressed sincere appreciation to the Turkish government for its official invitation, relaying the greetings President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman. Al-Rai praised Turkey's contribution to raising the motto of dialogue between religions versus the talk about conflict of civilizations and religions. He also expressed his aspiration for more cooperation with regards to civilizations and religions coming together. He noted that Lebanon denotes a role model in this respect.
Following his meeting with the Turkish Prime Minister, Al-Rai paid a visit to the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese in Istanbul, where was warmly received by members of the Archdiocese and a crowd of believers. Al-Rai gave prayers at "Our Lady" Syriac Orthodox Church. He praised the deeply-rooted relations existing with the Syriac Orthodox Church, which ought to continue for the sake of Christianity in Turkey and the Middle East, he noted.
Al-Rai expressed deep appreciation to Turkey for its respect to Christians residing on its lands and in the whole Middle East, and for its belief in the important role of Christian churches in spreading peace in the region.
Al-Rai also visited the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in Istanbul, where he was warmly received by its Patriarch Bartilimos I. He wished Al-Rai success in achieving his fruitful mission as head of the Maronite Church and in his efforts to bring religions closer together.
In turn, Al-Rai hailed the role played by the Orthodox Church within the framework of international dialogue between religions.
 

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Politics - Jumblatt holds a luncheon in honor of Jordanian Ambassador
 

Sat 31/03/2012 19:40

NNA - 31/3/2012 - National Struggle Front Head, MP Walid Jumblatt, held a luncheon banquet at his Mokhtara Palace Saturday in honor of outgoing Jordanian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ziad Al-Majali. The luncheon was attended by the Ambassadors of Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Sultanate of Oman and Sudan. Cabinet Ministers Ghazi Aridi, Alaeddine Terro and Wael Abu Faour were also present.
Earlier, Jumblatt met with a large delegation from the regions of Hasbaya and Rashaya. Speaking before his visiting delegation, Jumblatt declined commenting on yesterday's words by Al-Sayid Hassan Nasrallah, in due respect to the martyrs who have fallen in the South and Beqaa. He added that it could have been possible to maintain dissociation from the Syrian regime. He also noted that freedom cannot be separated from Daraa to Palestine to South Lebanon to West Beqaa. "Liberty and dignity are indivisible, for tyranny is tyranny and freedom is freedom," said Jumblatt.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman reviews developments with Meqati
 

Sat 31/03/2012 19:11

NNA - 31/3/2012 - President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman, met with Prime Minister, Najib Meqati, who visited him at Baabda Presidential Palace Saturday afternoon. The meeting was a chance to review various political developments on the internal scene. Talks also touched on the Arab Summit which took place in Baghdad last Thursday.
 

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Politics - Ain Tineh itinerant visitors and activities
 

Sat 31/03/2012 16:00

NNA - 31/03/2012 - Chief of the Islamic Action Front, cleric Abdul Naser Jabri, met with House Speaker Nabih Berri at Ain Tineh in presence of senior Amal aides today.

Summing up meeting's outcome, cleric Jabri underscored means for immunizing the country from the nutritional standpoint. The cleric also issued an urgent appeal for dealing with endemic social and economic problems facing the country.

A Democratic Front delegation led by Ali Faysal boarded with Berri and senior Amal aides major domestic and Palestinian developments inside Palestinian camps in Lebanon and the occupied territories.

Speaking about the present predicament in the Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon, Faysal described them as an environment appropriate for militancy in quest of basic human rights. The senior Front official expressed willingness for the establishment of the best of relations possible with Lebanese society and polity.

Senior Amal cleric Ayatullah Ali Makki briefed Speaker Berri over activities undertaken by his charity organization in Beirut and Jbeil.
G.G./P.BC.

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Politics - Baabda highlights and itinerants today
 

Sat 31/03/2012 15:02

NNA - 31/03/2012 - President Michel Sleiman expressed sincere hope over a likely implementation of the prospective compromise reached between Minister Bassil and Prime Minister Mikati over an acceptable settlement of the electricity file.

He hoped that the said compromise serves as a last train stop in a long daunting trip.

Addressing interlocutors coming to see him at Baabda presidential palace today, he urged Lebanese businesses and firms to keep their lights shut for an hour between 8:30-9:30 p.m. today following promptings by the UN as a symbolic energy-saving gesture.

The president also heeded a previous call by the World Fund for Nature back in 2007 on Earth Day falling today, to save energy in a bid to provide a sustainable power supply for all. The presidential call coincides with UN-Secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon's call of solidarity with nearly 20% of the world population deprived from power supply.

Among itinerant Baabda Palace visitors today, were regional UNESCO Director Hamad Al-Imadi, who briefed him over regional office's activities and overseeing of Lebanese sustainable development programs while former cabinet Minister Naji Boustani boarded with the president the outcome of the Baghdad Arab Summit Conference which wrapped up at a final statement yesterday.

A leading municipal delegation from Akkar and Albert Geagea of the Christian Scout Association separately boarded matters of concern with the President.
G.G./P.BC.

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Politics - Villa Bustros agendas and activities today
 

Sat 31/03/2012 13:48

NNA - 31/03/2012 - Visiting Iranian Foreign Ministry official Hussein Abdollahian, has been at Villa Bustros for an audience with Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour and senior Ministry officials.

Abdollahian boarded with the Minister bilateral Lebanese-Iranian relations and explored venues for their development. Both sides expressed willingness to follow up on already agreed upon protocols and treaties.

Among other things, Minister Mansour and Iranian official Abdollahian agreed to reactivate the economic protocol of cooperation. They expressed support for Asad in his fight against foreign intervention and reiterated support for his intended reforms.

Abdollahian on the other hand, reiterated Tehran's full support for Hizbullah as part of an all-out effort to say "NO" to the enemy camp. He downplayed any major role Kofi Annan is bound to play saying that what really counts were reforms proposed by Bashar Asad.

Both men agreed on preserving the Syrian people and warding off any external intervention in Syrian affairs.

Lastly, Abdollahian reiterated full support for the regime in Damascus.
G.G./P.BC.

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Politics - Erslan thanking Iranian visitor for support
 

Sat 31/03/2012 13:25

NNA - 31/03/2012 - Druze leader Talal Erslan thanked visiting Iranian Foreign Ministry official Hussein Abdollahian for Iranian support for years on end.

Abdollahian who came to Erslan's house accompanied by Iranian Ambassador Roknabadi had a pledge to make; "Iran would go all the way in its endeavor to preserve Lebanon, its people and Hizbullah."

Erslan and Abdollahian reportedly explored venues for boosting bilateral relations in all fields. They agreed on Iran's domestic and regional role in the face of America and Israel. Both men expressed satisfaction with the performance of the Syrian regime in dealing with the opposition.

The Iranian official seized the occasion to reiterate support for the Damascus regime in the face of what he termed as "external meddling into Syrian domestic affairs." He equated regional peace with preserving Hizbullah and described Erdogan's visit to Tehran as being fruitful.
G.G./P.BC.

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Politics - Rahi meets Oglu in Turkey
 

Fri 30/03/2012 21:46

NNA - 30/03/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi met on Friday with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmad Daoud Oglu in Turkey.

The meeting, which lasted for two hours, was an opportunity to explore the condition of the Maronite community in Turkey and North Cyprus.

Both also reviewed overall developments in Syria and the East Mediterranean region.
 

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Politics - Sayyid Nasrallah: our struggle goes on to advocate Palestine
 

Fri 30/03/2012 21:02

NNA - 30/03/2012 - Hizbullah leader Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah affirmed the necessity of adhering to land and holy sites and continuing struggle for advocating the Palestinian Cause.

The leader's words came Friday evening upon opening Sayyida Zeinab Complex in Haret Hreik.

"The land where built this compound was known as a security zone. However, nowadays there becomes no more security zones!..."

He explained that the Israeli enemy started shelling the complex's region during the first days of July 2006 aggression, thinking mistakenly that some Hizbullah seniors were found therein.

"The Israelis wanted to destroy life and will in this location, and the message behind Israel's firing had been political, moral and psychic, in order to let the people of resistance feel they could no more be able to build or repair what had been targeted by Israel," said Nasrallah, who reiterated that Israel had failed in this concern, as constructions and restoring works were carried on by resistance people.

"The enemy wanted to smash us, yet we say to enemy we are here and that it is you [enemy] who will vanish away," said Nasrallah.

Turning to the Syrian file, Nasrallah highlighted the importance of resorting to a national dialogue between Syria's regime and opposition and starting administrative reforms, so as to totally resolve the Syrian pending issue.

However, he assured, the real danger had moved away from the country as any foreign or Arab military intervention would categorically no more happen.

He explained that the US administration could no more delve into a war against Syria, as its troops have been pulled away defeatedly from Iraq and its condition has become very bad in Afghanistan. Therefore, "Anyone thinking of toppling the Syrian regime by force has failed," the leader wrapped up on the Syrian file.
Evoking the Bahraini file, Hizbullah leader deeply regretted the terrible situation in Bahrain when innocent people were demonstrating in a peaceful way for reforms in the country, only to be killed savagely by the Bahraini regime forces. Nevertheless, Nasrallah assured that people of Bahrain would peacefully continue their struggle.
 

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Politics - Land Day March in Beaufort Castle, Arnoun
 

Fri 30/03/2012 19:36

NNA - 30/3/2012 - More than two thousands Palestinian refugees in camps in Lebanon and supporters of the Palestinian Cause gathered on Friday in Beaufort Castle in the southern village of Arnoun in the district of Nabatiyeh to mark the 36th anniversary of the Land Day and show solidarity with Palestinians in the occupied territories.

A crowd of representatives of the Palestinian factions, spiritual parties, Lebanese national forces, Asian and European delegations, as well as three Rabbis of anti-Zionist Neturei Karta group participated in today's "global march towards Jerusalem," amid strict security measures.
The celebration dais was erected in the side yard of the castle overlooking the occupied territories, and Palestinian, Lebanese, and Hezbollah flags were wavered.
 

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Politics - Daouk, Sahnawi visit land for media in Dekwaneh
 

Fri 30/03/2012 18:34

NNA - 30/03/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk and Telecoms Minister Nicholas Sahnawi, accompanied by Information Minister's Director General and others, visited on Friday a piece of land in Dekwaneh located behind the Car Registration Authority (Naf'a), inspecting the possibility of setting up a media city therein.

Daouk commented on the location as technically practical and successful for media. "The city is in the core of Grand Beirut and will be near an important road network and telecoms stations."
 

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Politics - Hajj Hassan battles corruption all the way
 

Fri 30/03/2012 18:30

NNA - 30/03/2012 Agriculture Minister, Hussein Hajj Hassan, confirmed after a visit to MP Michel Aoun Friday that the cabinet plans to follow up on corruption dossier till the very end, proving that this government is not corrupt in and of itself but rather combats all forms of fraud.

A recent scandal of expired meat and other food products put the spotlight on corruption and its guardians in Lebanon. The Agriculture Ministry promptly followed up on these cases and arrests were made pending further investigation with the perpetrators. Following the arrests, large amounts of discarded expired foods began surfacing in various regions of the country.

"This corruption is twenty years old," said the Minister upon emerging from a meeting with Aoun in Rabiyeh, "and today we are uncovering it...as the corrupt are faltering in front of the monitoring exercised by the government."

"We are studying a process with the ministry of Economy that would allow some of the owners of spoiled or expired products to declare them rather than discard of them," said the Minister.

Hajj Hassan lauded the effort of Justice Ministry and its Minister for taking rough measures against the corrupt.

R.Z.

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Politics - Daouk, Sahnawi visit media land in Dekwaneh
 

Fri 30/03/2012 18:26

NNA - 30/03/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk and Telecoms Minister Nicholas Sahnawi, accompanied by Information Minister's Director General and others, visited on Friday the piece of land in Dekwaneh on which the forthcoming media city would be set up.

Daouk commented on the location of the city as practical and would allow media to succeed technically. "The city is in the core of Grand Beirut and will be near an important road network and telecoms stations."
 

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Politics - Sleiman, former Deputies meet
 

Fri 30/03/2012 18:06

NNA - 30/3/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Friday met at Baabda presidential palace with former Deputies Mahmoud Awwad and Abdullah Hanna, over an array of most recent developments.
 

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Politics - Bassil signs seismic surveys agreement
 

Fri 30/03/2012 17:25


NNA - 30/3/2012 - Energy and Water Minister Gebran Bassil signed Friday an agreement on land and sea seismic surveys and met with members of the Beicip-Franlab company which conducts analysis on seismic data.

Bassil announced in a press conference held at the Ministry that this agreement was a practical step towards starting the oil exploration works in Lebanese waters.

"The Energy and Water Ministry had been designated by the government to carry out tender that allows companies to conduct those surveys," he explained.

"The French company Beicip-Franlab had informed us earlier that primary studies showed large and promising amount of fuel oil in our Lebanese waters," the Minister announced, assuring that serious efforts ought to be exerted in witness of this matter's criticalness.

When asked to what extent political hindrances might get in the way of this promising project, Bassil said "we are doing the best we can and when this project is settled, we will put it into the hands of the government which will then be held accountable for any delay."

Separately, Minister Bassil met with the Spanish Ambassador to Lebanon, Juan Carlos Gafo, with talks featuring high on political affairs and bilateral projects in the energy sector.
D.K.

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Politics - Qahwaji's itinerants
 

Fri 30/03/2012 17:16

NNA - 30/3/2012 - Member of the Development and Liberation parliamentary bloc Ayoub Hmayed had been on Friday to Yarze for a meeting with the Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji, over the current general situation.

Qahwaji later received the Director of Security and Defense Cooperation at the French Foreign Ministry, with talks featuring high on the bilateral ties between the Lebanese and French armies.

Besides, Qahwaji met with the Director of the Near East and South Asia (NESA) Center for US strategic studies, Ambassador James Larocco.

It is worth-mentioning that NESA Center had honored today General Qahwaji in a ceremony held at the Military Complex in Jounieh.
 

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Politics - Franjieh, Abdullahian meet over Mideast developments
 

Fri 30/03/2012 16:58

NNA - 30/3/2012 - The Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdullahian, had been Friday to Bnashii for a meeting with the Head of Marada Movement, MP Sleiman Franjieh.

The meeting, also attended by the Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, featured high on an array of affairs of common interest as well as on most recent developments on the regional and international scenes.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Abdullahian rekindled Iran's constant calls to preserve Lebanon's independence and national unity, and its unwavering siding with the Resistance.

"We also highlighted the brotherly openness and communication with all the political movements and spiritual communities especially with the Christians," he said.

The Syrian dossier also dominated today's discussions, whereby both Franjieh and Abdullahian heaped praised on the success scored by the Syrian leadership and people in overcoming the yearlong crisis.

Talks also touched on the Arab summit conference in Baghdad.

"We hope that the Arab League takes an initiative for the upcoming stage and adopts tangible steps taking into consideration the demands of the region's peoples on one hand, and enhancing security, calm, and stability on the other," Abdullahian said.

Turning to Lebanon, the visiting official shone light on the well-entrenched Lebanese-Iranian relations on all levels.
 

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Politics - Grand Mufti, Iranian official agree over cleaving to Islamic unity
 

Fri 30/03/2012 16:09

NNA - 30/3/2012 - Grand Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani, and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdullahian, on Friday shared viewpoints over the necessity to cleave to the unity of the Islamic nation, al-Umma, particularly amid underway attempts to sow seeds of sectarian strife in the region.

The visiting official, accompanied by the Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi, had been today to Tallet el-Khayat for a meeting with the Grand Mufti over the current Islamic awakening sweeping the Arab region.

"We confirmed to the Mufti that the Islamic awakening and popular uprisings that we are currently witnessing throughout the region would eventually lead to bolstering the Palestinian Cause. You know that the Islamic Republic of Iran has always asserted its principal and unswerving position in supporting the Palestinian people in the face of the Zionist entity," Abdullahian told reporters following the meeting.

Separately, the Mufti met with former Deputy Talal Merhebi.

Talks reportedly featured high on the current general situation on the local domestic scene and most recent developments in the Mideast region.
 

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Politics - Nasrallah, Abdullahian tackle latest developments
 

Fri 30/03/2012 15:46

NNA - 30/3/2012 - Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, met Friday with the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdullahian, in presence of the Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, with talks touching on latest developments at the local and regional scenes.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri follows up array of affairs
 

Fri 30/03/2012 15:24

NNA - 30/3/2012 - An array of affairs occupied Ain-el-Tineh's scene on Friday, as House Speaker, Nabih Berri, received numbers of itinerant visitors, on top of whom the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Adnan Mansour.

The meeting reportedly touched on the fresh Arab summit hosted in Baghdad.

The Speaker later received a delegation of Kurdish Razkari party, headed by Mahmoud Khodor Fattah Ahmed and comprised of Suleiman Omeirat, Ibrahim Farhat, and Mohammad Atris, in presence of Amal Movement's political bureau member, Mohammad Khawaja.

The delegation solicited Berri to mull over the decree on naturalization of the Lebanese Kurdish.

"The decree issued in 1994 is unjust to a lot of the Lebanese Kurdish," a memorandum presented by the delegation read.

The delegation hereby demanded as well grant the Kurdish the right to political representation.

Afterwards, the Speaker met with Head of Tebnin municipality, Nabil Fawwaz.

The Secretary General of the Maronite Patriarchal Authorities, Father Antoine Khalife, had also been to Ain-el-Tineh today.
 

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Politics - Sleiman tackles financial affairs with Safadi
 

Fri 30/03/2012 14:21

NNA - 30/3/2012 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman Friday tackled financial affairs and ongoing steps towards finalizing the budget law with Finance Minister Muhammad Safadi.

Sleiman also received a letter from the Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad conveyed by the Iranian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Hussein Amir Abdellahian, in presence of the Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi.

The letter confirmed Iran's unyielding support to Lebanon at various levels.

On a different note, President Sleiman tackled with MP Atef Majdalani latest developments and parliamentary committees' work in projects submitted to the parliament.

Deputy Shant Janjian also visited Baabda palace on top of an Armenian delegation, informing Sleiman of the forum held under the patronage of the Armenian embassy in Lebanon.
D.K.

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Politics - Aoun discusses national, regional issues with Deputy Iranian Foreign affairs minister
 

Fri 30/03/2012 14:16

NNA - 30/3/2012- "Change and Reform" head, Deputy Michel Aoun, met at his Rabeih residence with Deputy Iranian Foreign Affairs minister, Hussein Amir Abdullahyan, accompanied with Iranian ambassador Ghaznfer Rokn Abadi, discussions reportedly featured high on many affairs of common interest.

Following the meeting, Abdullahyan said that they came over many issues of common interest and politically scanned different issues in the region.

He added that they had many common approaches towards international and regional issues, indicating that they consider "the Syrian situation good and is getting better."

" I would like to announce, loud and clear, in this frame that all recent foreign conspiracies against Syria failed drastically," Abdullahyan said," the Iranian Republic has always confirmed the necessity of giving any people their righteous demands..."
He pointed out that they had always announced that the political process should grant the Syrian solution, condemning any military maneuvers or interferences to flare up the Syrian status.
Responding to a question, He said, "you know that Iran Islamic Republic stands are of principle and stable and we always confirmed that in our official stances... and we will continue to fully support Syria, leadership, state and people, in the direction that consolidates it in the resistance line."

L.Y.R.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi continues official visit to Turkey
 

Fri 30/03/2012 12:58

NNA - 30/3/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rahi continued Friday his official visit to Turkey upon the invitation of the Turkish authorities.

Rahi met today in Ankara with the Lebanese Ambassador to Turkey, Habib Adel Samad, who considered the Patriarch's visit as historical.

"This visit was necessary in light of the good relations bonding Turkey and Lebanon together. It is important as it allows the Turkish people to meet with one of Lebanon's senior religious figures and learn about the role he plays in the Middle East and the world at the level of dialogue between religions," Samad said.

"Turkey is an open Muslim country with a premiership that welcomes all positive initiatives led by Christian religious figures," he added.

The Ambassador said as well that Turkey's concern at this stage is Christian's stability in light of the Arab unrest, assuring that Rahi's visits boost this stability.

Separately, Rahi is expected to meet with the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu before heading to Istanbul to follow up his three-day official visit.
D.K.

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Politics - Mikati, Charbel, Hobeish disscus security cooperation agreement with Australia
 

Fri 30/03/2012 12:41

NNA - 30/3/2012- Prime Minister Najib Mikati met today ( Friday) before noon at the Grand Sareil with Municipalities and Interior Minister Marwan Charbel and State Minister of Administrative and Development Affairs Mohammed Fneish.
"The meeting disscused the security cooperation agreement between Lebanon and Australia. Disscusions aslo featured high on a number of remarks which we presented regarding the agreement," Fneish explained

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Politics - Zahra: Abolishing Lebanese Forces again is history
 

Fri 30/03/2012 12:04

NNA - 30/3/2012 - Lebanese Forces Parliamentary member Antoine Zahra told Radio Free Lebanon that attempts to annul the Lebanese Forces again is part of history and this will never happen again.

He reminded of the statement of former information minister Michel Samah who announced at that time the abolishment of the Lebanese Forces.

"They considered the Lebanese Forces as a weak body. But it seems they forgot that this party is a spirit inhibiting the Lebanese people and most notably the Christians."

The MP refused all the attempts to downsize or abolish the Lebanese Forces, assuring the line of the party is firm.

Alluding to the arms of Hezbollah and other armed groups in the country, the MP stressed that weapons which are not under the control of the state cannot derail the emergence of this state indefinitely and these attempts are doomed to failure.
O.H

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Politics - Hout denounces government's competitiveness logic
 

Fri 30/03/2012 11:42

NNA - 30/3/2012 - MP Imad Hout Friday criticized government's logic of competitiveness deeming it to hinder citizens' affairs.

Future bloc member called for leaving political quarrels behind and work instead on ensuring Lebanese people needs.

Speaking to Al-Fajer radio, Hout said Arab League has become an image of Arab ineptitude.

"Arab stance of Syrian revolution is retreating every day while all what the
Syrians want are actions instead of words," he remarked.
L.W.
 

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Politics - Asswad renting electricity- power- generating-ships essential
 

Fri 30/03/2012 11:29


NNA - 30/3/2012 - Member of parliament Ziad Asswad told "Voice of Lebanon- Voice of Freedom and Dignity" radio station that March 14 forces concentrated on the issue of renting electricity- power- generating-ships and regarded the cabinet's decision illegal.

He explained that closing any electricity plant demands finding a replacement; accordingly, renting the ships is a vital part of the electricity plan.

The MP said , "vote of confidence on Water and Energy Minister Jibran Bassil during the parliament upcoming session is a political stance," confirming that he is not worried about Minister Bassil since he has demonstrated his transparency and had a complete file.
 

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Politics - Meraabi: politics dominate electricity file
 

Fri 30/03/2012 11:06

NNA - 30/3/2012 - Member of Parliament(MP) Muin Meraabi considered what is happening at the cabinet a combination of erronous actions and a political settlement, indicating that politics is now controlling the electricity file.

The MP told "Lebanon Free" radio station that each minister became an electricty expert instead of forming a regularity authority to deal with that issue.

"Since we all became energy experts, electricity can be generated from wind mills by a cost less than that of renting electricity- power- generating-ships; but nobody mentioned that option," Meraabi added," what is happening currently is just to satisfy Water and Energy Minister Jebran Bassil and use electoral money to keep him in his post."
Separately and responding to the issue of smuggling arms to Syria, he said that those accusations are reversed, pointing out that "...the party which smuggles weapons is known and Hizballah is the only party that buys and sells weapons."
 

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Politics - Manjian: Long discussions lead to leasing electricity barges
 

Fri 30/03/2012 10:51

NNA - 30/3/2012 - State Minister Panos Manjian Friday said Cabinet decision to lease power-generating barges was taken following extended discussions.

"Everyone has a sole aim which was to have electricity with good prices that might save money on the Treasury," the Minster told Voice of Lebanon radio.

Manjian accused the opposition of being non-constructive as it solely seeks to bring down the government.

Pertaining to the petroleum crisis, Manjian said Minister Bassil wanted to lessen citizens' burden by refusing to raise oil companies' royalties.

"Benzene canisters' prices increase in Lebanon is normal for oil prices are rising worldwide," he remarked.

On the topic of appointments, Manjian extolled government's courageousness to proceed with this dossier contrary to the former governments.
L.W.
 

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Politics - Ogassapian: March 14 not yet decided to cast confidence vote on Bassil
 

Fri 30/03/2012 10:32

NNA - 30/3/2012 - Future Parliamentary bloc member MP Jean Ogassapian told Voice of Lebanon "Voice of Freedom and Dignity" that March 14 forces has not made up its mind yet on whether to call for a new vote of confidence on Energy and Water Minister Gebran Bassil.

"There is an understanding to vote against Bassil in the parliament but the decision has not been reached yet,' the MP said.

Ogassapian criticized the political settlement on electricity, wondering how they (politicians) can reach such a settlement after exchanging accusations of corruption and theft.

"The reform advocates emerged with spoils at the expense of the state and its credibility. What happened in the Cabinet is a real scandal despite all Prime Minister Najib Mikati talks about loopholes in the project submitted by Bassil."
O.H

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Politics - Fatfat visits National News Agency Bureau in Sidney
 

Fri 30/03/2012 10:17

NNA- Sideny - 30/3/2012- Member of Parliament Ahmad Fatfat visited the National News Agency and Middle East Media offices in Sidney - Australia, and met with directors and editors of both institutions.

During the meeting, attendees discussed the status of the Lebanese Diaspora in Australia and situation in Lebanon .

L.Y.R.

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Politics - Sleiman returns to Beirut from Iraq this evening
 

Thu 29/03/2012 23:07

NNA - 29/3/2012 President of the Republic Michel Sleiman returned to Beirut on Thursday evening, after chairing Lebanon's delegation to the 23rd round of meetings by the Arab Summit that took place in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
President Sleiman delivered Lebanon's word at the Summit.

Speaking to reporters at the Airport, President Sleiman noted the presence of intentions at the level of joint Arab work but stressed further efforts should be exerted to build a complementarity network among Arab countries.

Sleiman also underlined the importance of following up decisions adopted by the Summit especially those related to economic complemntarity and ensuring prosperity to Arab citizens.
---------------L.Y

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Politics - Rahi starts pastoral visit to Turkey
 

Thu 29/03/2012 22:41

NNA - 28/3/2012 Within the framework of his pastoral visit to Turkey, Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi met on Thursday afternoon with Turkish President Abdullah Gul at Ankara palace. Talks reportedly touched on issues related to the Maronite existence in northern Cyprus and Turkey, in addition to the Armenian cause.

On emerging, General Patriarchal deputy Meropolitan Boulos Sayyah described the atmosphere of Gul-Rahi meeting as "very positive."

At noon, Rahi met with Turkish Religious Affairs Head Sheikh Mohammed Qermaz at Ankara Islamic Affairs Supreme Council.

In his delivered word, Rahi stressed the importance of Christian-Islamic relations especially in a secular country that respects all monotheistic religions. "Turkey plays an important role in this regard," Rahi said.

Rahi also underlined the importance of coexistence between Christian and Islamic civilizations. He said he supports Arab peoples seeking to live an Arab Spring through achieving requisite reforms rather than through violence and war.

"We look forward to an Arab Spring enjoying further public liberties, democracy, human rights and diversity in society," Rahi said, hoping that the Arab Spring will realize this new step.
---------------L.Y

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Politics - Gemayel calls on China for a greater role at the regional level
 

Thu 29/03/2012 21:31

NNA - 29/3/2012 Former President Amine Gemayel called on Beijing to play a greater role at the regional level and adopt Arab League's position on the Syrian crisis at the international podiums.

Kataeb Party Head Amine Gemayel was speaking in the wake of his meeting on Thursday at his Bekfaya residence with a delegation of Chinese Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee. Talks reportedly touched on bilateral relations and the current situation in the region, in general, and in Syria in particular.

Delegation Head Zau Jejoun denied that the Chinese position is supportive or protective of the regime in Syria, affirming that his Country stands at equal distance from all sides. He said Beijing is acting in accordance with UN Charter and its fixed principles based on avoiding interference in the internal affairs of any state and respecting every country's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

Jejoun also called for clinging to dialogue and negotiations and finding an immediate peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis, voicing support to UN Envoy Kofi Annan's initiative.

The delegation also extended to Gemayel an official invitation to visit Beijing to hold talks with senior Chinese officials on bilateral relations and regional issues.
---------------L.Y
 

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Politics - Sleiman upbeat over Baghdad Summit, seeks more unified Arab world
 

Thu 29/03/2012 19:56

NNA - 29/3/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, pinned hopes Thursday on the Arab Summit, currently taking place in Baghdad, to adopt decisions supporting the much sought reform and development path and bringing together the Arabs, in compliance with the objectives of the Arab League's Charter.

The President noted that events sweeping the Arab world started to spark fears at the backdrop of the underway transitional stage in a number of the region's countries, currently facing the threat to be on the brink of schism and sharp rifts.

Delivering Lebanon's word at the 23rd round of the Arab Summit Conference in Baghdad, Sleiman said there was a dire need to commit to a unifying nationalist thought as well as to a just and democratic Arabism, highlighting the necessity to maintain diversity within pluralist communities.

Turning to Syria, he said that Lebanon keenly follows up on the events taking place therein.

"The Lebanese state decided to disassociate itself from the repercussions of these developments, as it is keen on preserving Lebanon's stability and national unity," he said, hoping that underway efforts, on top of which the initiative of the UN peace envoy to Damascus Kofi Annan, would eventually lead to restore an agreed political solution to the yearlong crisis in this neighboring nation.

The President did not fail to shed light on the obligation to follow up the venture into justice in Palestine and skim though the means to side with the aggrieved Palestinian people.

"Where is the world from the incessant Israeli aggressions against Gaza? From the bids to judaize Jerusalem? From building illegal settlements on the Palestinian occupied lands? From just democracy which provides the establishment of a free, independent, and sovereign Palestinian state as well as the acceptance of the full Palestinian membership to the United Nations?" he wondered.

He upped calls upon Arabs to join efforts so as to create adequate and pressuring conditions to impose a just and comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict, building on the international resolutions, Madrid Conference, and the 2002 Beirut Arab Peace Initiative.

Sleiman had arrived at Baghdad International Airport on top of the Lebanese official delegation comprised of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Displaced, and Economy, as well as of a panel of security, administrative, and media advisors.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Environment Minister, Arab League Chief Nabil Elaraby, and a number of Arab ambassadors received the President at the airport.
Sleiman, who met with al-Maliki over the current general situation in the Arab world and bilateral ties, also met, on the sidelines of the summit, with Iraqi Speaker Ossama Najafi, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sobah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sobah, Head of the Libyan Transitional Council Mustafa Abdul Jalil, Sudan's President Omar Bashir, Tunisia's Moncef Marzouki, Jordanian Prime Minister Aoun Khesawna, and Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled Ben Ahmed Al-Khalifa.

It is to note that the summit, also attended by UN Chief Ban Ki-moon, is the first to be held in Iraq since the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein in 1990.

Twelve foreign ministers have arrived yesterday in Baghdad to partake in the three-day summit, marked by Syria's absence and nay, by the participation of Kuwait.

The Syrian foreign ministry said yesterday that Syria would not deal with any Arab League's initiative if it is not attending any instance on any level. "Syria, ever since the suspension of its membership in the Arab League, has been engaging with the Arab states in a bilateral way only; therefore, it will not deal with any initiative to be issued by the Arab League at any level in its absence," spokesperson of the Syrian Foreign Ministry, Jihad Makdessi, said yesterday.
The Arab League had voted last November to suspend the membership of Syria in the 22-nation group, accusing it of failing to implement an Arab peace plan.

Qatar, an Arab League's key broker to the Syrian dossier, said it was reducing its representation at the summit to a minimum. "Qatar is not boycotting the summit; [instead] it is sending a message to its brothers in Iraq," Qatari Prime Minister, Sheikh Hamad Ben Jassem Al-Thani has told Al-Jazeera channel.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabalan urges Arab Summit to unite in face of concocted projects
 

Thu 29/03/2012 19:37


NNA - 29/3/2012 Islamic Supreme Shiite Council Vice Head Abdel Amir Qabalan addressed a plea to the Arab Summit convening in Iraq, urging it to unite in face of projects concocted against the Arab nation in service of the Zionist enemy.

Sheikh Qabalan also called on the Arab Summit to give deaf ears to foreign dictations that aim at placing the Arabs in confrontation against each others and exploiting Arab potentials, resources and fortunes to further Arab divisions.

"Arab leaders should unite their efforts in face of Zionist project and work towards restoring Arab rights and calling for an independent Palestinian state with holy Quds as its capital," Sheikh Qabalan said, stressing that Israel is the sole Arab enemy.

Qabalan also considered that lifting up the suspension of Syria's membership in the Arab League restores the League's vitality. He said there exists no justification for the continuity of such a suspension specially that Syria has announced its cooperation with UN and Arab League's Envoy and is currently undertaking a wide political reform operation.

On the other hand, Qabalan met on Thursday with Iranian Assistant Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abed Lahyan and Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi, where they boarded the current developments in Lebanon and the region.

Qabalan underlined the importance of bolstering relations of cooperation between Lebanon and Iran for the welfare of both countries and peoples, and activating Arab-Iranian cooperation in service of Arab and Islamic solidarity in face of conspiracies concocted against the Islamic nation.

Al-Lahyan, for his part, expressed confidence that Syria shall successfully surpass its current crisis, saying that the best means to resolve the situation in Syria and Bahrain lies in meeting righteous and just popular demands and engaging in national dialogue.
---------------L.Y

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Politics - Sami Gemayel: the LF, Kataeb coalition is necessary for March 14
 

Thu 29/03/2012 19:10

NNA - 29/03/2012 - Kataeb Deputy Sami Gemayel said the coalition between the Lebanese Forces and Kataeb party was a necessity for March 14 Movement. "Nobody bets on the unavailability of such a coalition in upcoming elections."

Gemayel's stance came on Thursday in the context of an interview on "Ousbou Al-Arabi" magazine.

He considered divergences among the Christian sides to be normal and necessary if they did not embody an absolute hostility.

Gemayel called for setting up an opposition front to specifically face Hizbullah's logic.
A.M.

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Politics - Roknabadi meets UNTSO Head, says Iran ready to gear up army
 

Thu 29/03/2012 18:32

NNA - 29/3/2012 - Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, on Thursday met with the Head of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), General Juha Kilpia, over an array of most recent developments in the Mideast region.

A statement by the Iranian embassy in Beirut said that Kilpia had stressed during the meeting on the necessity to preserve security in both Lebanon and Syria.

It quoted the UN official as saying that the approval by the Syrian government of Kofi Annan's initiative indeed entailed a looming solution to the crisis in Syria based upon dialogue and political settlement.

For his part, Roknabadi reiterated the unwavering positions of the Islamic Republic of Iran in supporting security and stability in the region.

The diplomat pointed out the importance to back Syria in order that it should make reforms in a tension-free atmosphere under the command of President Bashar Assad.

Turning to Palestine, Roknabadi explained the comprehensive solution suggested by Iran to the Palestinian problem. He said that such solution is based upon acknowledging the Palestinians' right to return, to establishing their own state stemming from free elections, and to self-determination.

As to Lebanon, he highlighted the necessity to protect the country's stability and security, avowing Iran's full readiness to gear up the Lebanese Army with no restraints and conditions whatsoever.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati, Turkish Minister meet
 

Thu 29/03/2012 17:51

NNA - 29/3/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Thursday met at the Grand Serail with the Turkish Minister of Transportation, Binali Yildirim, in presence of the Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon, Inan Ozyildiz.

Talks reportedly featured high on the means to widen the horizons of cooperation between Lebanon and Turkey in the field of transportation.
 

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Politics - Qahwaji meets Amr Moussa, UNTSO Chief
 

Thu 29/03/2012 17:17

NNA - 29/3/2012 - Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji, on Thursday met with the former Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, over an array of most recent developments currently taking place throughout the Arab region.

The meeting, held at Qahwaji's office in Yarze, also touched on the Second Regional Conference on the Middle East after 2011, organized by the command of the Lebanese Army.

Earlier today, Qahwaji had met with the Head of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), on top of a delegation.

Talks reportedly broached the current security situation along the Lebanese southern borders as well as a spectrum of affairs of common interest.

Qahwaji later received journalist and political analyst Joseph Abu Fadel.
 

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Politics - Daouk rules out Mikati's resignation, makes reservations over power deal
 

Thu 29/03/2012 16:58

NNA - 29/3/2012 - Minister of Information, Walid Daouk, on Thursday ruled out the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati from the government, saying he [Mikati] enjoys utmost courage to protect the country from major crises and shirk strife.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon-Voice of Freedom and Dignity radio station today, the Minister expressed reservations over the power-related deal reached during yesterday's cabinet session at Baabda presidential palace.

The cabinet agreed to lease a maximum of three years power-generating ships to produce 270 megawatts and to build 1,500-megawatt power plants.
The deal is an alternative to the proposals of Mikati and Energy Minister Gebran Bassil together; Bassil had originally proposed leasing two power-generating ships, which have a capacity of close to 300 MW. But Mikati had voiced reservations over Bassil's proposal, which he saw too costly, and presented on offer from a foreign company to build a power-generating plan within a year.

Daouk depicted the deal as lacking transparence and clarity, and said it was not made at best prices.

"We did not carry out tenders for the ships but rather an undue prices survey; there was [hence] a consensual agreement instead of tenders and [prices] survey," he said.

"Norms provide that two dossiers be presented, one technical and another financial, and that prices remain concealed," he added.

The Minister made it clear that Premier Mikati's major concern was to provide 24-hour power supply and protect public funds.

He said that the 20-year-long electricity crisis could not be solved in three months.

He reminded that during the past government's seniority, nearly 60 companies have skimmed through this dossier, while only nine companies have done as such during the current government's term. "Where is the book of conditions?" he wondered.

The Minister did not fail to quote the reservations of the Environment Minister, Nazem Khoury, over the disagreeable upshot of ships rental on the environment.

On the possibility that the Ministers of the Change and Reform bloc present their resignation, Daouk said that the government was trying its best to fulfill people's needs and that every party to this government was entitled to have its own viewpoint. "I believe that the interest of the Lebanese currently provides that the government be preserved, albeit all surrounding tensions."

Pertaining to the relation between the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, Daouk said "what happened was nothing but a summer's cloud."

Minister Safadi has publicly supported Bassil's plan for leasing power-generating ships.

Besides, as pointing out respect-based relations with a number of Future Movement's leaderships, Minister Daouk highlighted the obligation to respect ranks and statuses, particularly the position of the premiership.

On the legalization of the much-heated issue of extra-budgetary 11-billion-dollar public spending, he said that yesterday's session put matters on the right track.

The cabinet approved five draft laws to conduct an audit on public spending between the years 2006 and 2010 inclusively.

Moreover, the Minister capitalized the importance to appoint a head for the Higher Judicial Council to sidestep any vacuum.

He also indicated a proposal to change the members of Tele Liban's administration board, noting that the chairperson shall be from the Catholic community.

"Tele Liban embodies Lebanon's heritage and I do have a plan, not to compete with private televisions, but to enable it [TL] to address the situation of the regions and to [broadcast] guidance programs," he said.

Moreover, the Minister underscored the reactivation of the work of the National News Agency, which constitutes "a producer of news for all the media means."

Turning to Baghdad, currently hosting the 23rd Arab Summit Conference, Daouk said that the President of the Republic would shed light, during the summit, on Lebanon's democracy and coexistence and that he would express his viewpoint on the means to have a unified Arab League.

He considered that talks over the Syrian dossier would stem from the initiative of Kofi Annan, the United Nations peace envoy to Damascus.

Separately, the Minister met today at his office in the headquarters of Tele Liban in Tallet el-Khayat, the Director General of the Turkish Radio and Television, Ibrahim Chahine, in presence of Tele Liban's Director General Ibrahim Khoury.

Talks reportedly featured high on the means to bolster cooperation between the two institutions and to develop the Lebanese state-run television.

Daouk and Chahine later toured the television's departments.
 

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Politics - Mikati sponsors agreement on sewage project, receives Iranian official
 

Thu 29/03/2012 16:34

NNA - 29/03/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati sponsored on Thursday holding a loan agreement with the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development. The agreement pertained to financing sewage projects in Marjeyoun region of South Lebanon.

The signing event took place at the Grand Serail in presence of Energy and Water Minister Jibran Bassil and Finance Minister Muhammad Safadi, who signed the agreement with the Kuwaiti Fund senior Abdul Wahhab Badr.

Separately, Mikati received at the Grand Serail Iranian Foreign Minister for the MENA Region Affairs, Hussein Amir Abdul Lahian, in presence of Iranian Ambassador Ghazanfar Roknabadi. Abdul Lahian reiterated that Iran was always urging for security and stability in Lebanon.

Afterwards, Mikati received the Chilean Ambassador who came to Serail on a protocol visit. Talks between both men reportedly focused on means of enhancing bilateral ties, notably on the academic and cultural levels.
A.M.

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Politics - Berri, Abdullahian tackle regional affairs
 

Thu 29/03/2012 15:49

NNA - 29/3/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri Thursday met with the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdullahian, on top of an Iranian delegation comprised of Ambassador Ghazanfar Roknabadi.

Conferees skimmed through various topics among which bilateral parliamentary affairs and fraternal ties.

Abdullahian conveyed to Berri the greetings of the Iranian Islamic Shura Council's Head, Ali Larijani shedding light on the importance of reactivating mutual official visits.

Discussions also touched on regional developments especially those pertaining to Syria, Yemen and Bahrain. The delegation uttered the Iranian official stance pertaining to the situation in Syria, saying "Iran supports Syria and the governmental and popular levels."

Abdullahian confirmed that Iran rejected double-standards policies in dealing with regional issues, assuring that people's demands ought to be taken into consideration, and condemning all interferences in Yemen, Bahrain or Syria's internal affairs.

Separately, Speaker Berri met with the Spanish Ambassador to Lebanon, Juan Carlos Gafo, with talks featuring high on latest developments and bilateral ties.
D.K.

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Politics - Jumblatt, Plumbly meet
 

Thu 29/03/2012 12:59

NNA - 29/3/2012 - Progressive Socialist Party Head, Walid Jumblatt, received Thursday the UN special coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, with talks touching on latest developments.
D.K.

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Politics - Gemayel tackles regional affairs with Chinese parliamentary delegation
 

Thu 29/03/2012 12:55

NNA - 29/3/2012 - Kataeb party Head, Amin Gemayel met Thursday with a delegation of the Chinese foreign affairs parliamentary committee with talks featuring high on bilateral relations.

Conferees engaged into reading the region's ongoing political events, particularly the developments in Syria.

The delegation praised Gemayel's policy and stances, assuring that China did not seek protecting the Syrian regime as it took no part in this matter.

"Beijing acts as per the United Nations charter and based on the solid principle of not interfering in any country's internal affairs, and respecting its sovereignty, independence and unity," the delegation said.

Gemayel, for his part, called on Beijing to play a better role at the regional scene and adopt the Arab league's stance pertaining to Syria's crisis in international arenas, so as to contribute in finding solution for the people's tragedy.
D.K.

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Politics - (update) Miakti heaps praise on Lebanese Army demeanor
 

Thu 29/03/2012 11:44

NNA - 29/3/2012 Prime Minister Najib Mikati Thursday said the Lebanese Army, which preserves the state, safeguards borders as well as public and private freedoms, gives the hidden research side a major importance in preparation to take necessary decisions for the future.

Speaking during the inauguration of the Second Regional Conference for the Lebanese Army's Center for Strategic Research and Studies, Mikati said it would have been better if changes in the Arab world happened without bloodshed as without targeting economic and developmental potentials of the countries.

"Lebanon, that has always been a ground for gathering and thus, enjoys the capacity to be the best model to be followed," Mikati remarked and said this fact was enhanced through Lebanon's experience in dialogue and agreement.

Tackling violence's negative outcome, Mikati stressed the importance of practicing democracy to repair any occurring disorder and to limit extremism.
"Democracy protects the civil state of which supporters remain much larger than those who seek to undermine it," he noted.

"Lebanon's stance was very clear in respecting the right of peoples to freedom without any interference," Mikati noted and affirmed that no one shall succeed in dragging Lebanon to changing its disassociation policy.

At greater length, the Lebanese Premier said disassociation policy Lebanon has adopted regarding events in Syria, "to which we hope stability," was a result to the orientations we work for.

"Israeli enemy is still occupying a precious Arab land," he remarked and said Arab states ought not to miss out on the ultimate goal and that is to support Arab causes.

L.W.
 

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Politics - Khazen: Electricity settlement agreed upon earlier
 

Thu 29/03/2012 11:19

NNA - 29/3/2012 - Deputy Farid Al-Khazen confirmed Thursday that the electricity plan ratified yesterday by the cabinet was agreed upon previously, assuring that no compromise have been made.

He considered in his talk with the Voice of Lebanon radio station that the decision to rent power-generating ships will be followed by building new power plants.

The MP called on those who have information about Minister Gebran Bassil's generation plan to disclose them before the media.

When asked about the administrative appointments ratified in yesterday's cabinet session, khazen hoped they'd pave the way for many others.
D.K.

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Politics - Moussa says electricity settlement enforceable
 

Thu 29/03/2012 11:16


NNA - 29/3/2012 MP Michel Moussa Thursday said the Cabinet- endorsed electricity settlement shall be enforceable.

Moussa told Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio that the settlement has set a road map for the matter.

He also said House Speaker Nabih Berri hasn't interfered in a direct way for things were ongoing through consultations between government components.

L.W.
 

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Politics - Miakti heaps praise on Lebanese Army demeanor
 

Thu 29/03/2012 11:06

NNA - 29/3/2012 Prime Minister Najib Mikati Thursday said the Lebanese Army, which preserves the state, safeguards borders as well as public and private freedoms, gives the hidden side a major importance in preparation to take necessary decisions.

Speaking during the inauguration of the Second Regional Conference for the Lebanese Army's Center for Strategic Research and Studies, Mikati said it would have been better if changes in the Arab world happened without bloodshed.

"Lebanon, that has always been a ground for gathering and thus, enjoys the capacity to be the best model to be followed," Mikati remarked.

Tackling violence's negative outcome, Mikati stressed the importance of practicing democracy to repair any occurring disorder and to limit extremism.

"Lebanon's stance was very clear in respecting the right of peoples to freedom without any interference," Mikati noted and affirmed that no one shall succeed in dragging Lebanon to changing its disassociation policy.

At greater length, the Lebanese Premier said disassociation policy Lebanon has adopted regarding events in Syria, "to which we hope stability," was a result to the orientations we work for.

"Israeli enemy is still occupying a precious Arab land," he remarked and said Arab states ought not to miss out on the ultimate goal and that is to support Arab causes.

L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Houry: Lebanon is Syria's sole window to world
 

Thu 29/03/2012 10:59

NNA - 29/3/2012 - Future bloc member, MP Amar Houry said the government's acts were disgraceful to the level of treason, describing it as Syria's only window to the world.

Houry told the Free Lebanon radio that "the government should not adopt the dissociation policy over the Syrian violations to Lebanon's borders for citizens' security is at stake."

Separately, Houry said the government was dragging Lebanon into further expenses at the electricity level, while the solution was to privatize at least the power production.
D.K.

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Politics - (update) Rahi bound to Turkey
 

Thu 29/03/2012 10:23


NNA - 29/3/2012 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi Thursday left Beirut and headed to Turkey in a pastoral visit.

"Cooperation binds Turkey with Lebanon especially at the level of Turkish forces UNIFIL contingent," Rahi said.

Speaking at the Beirut Airport, the Patriarch asserted that he is scheduled to tackle Maronite affairs in Cyprus in both Turkish and Northern sectors.

Representing Tourism Minister Michel Sleiman, Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud bid Rahi farewell at the airport in presence of Turkey's Ambassador Inan Ozyildiz.

Pertaining to the Lebanese level, Rahi passed on good wishes for the electricity-adopted Cabinet decision and said the country is in need of such events to escape stagnation, move forward, and have the country regain its economic, national, and developmental movement.

Rahi also uttered hopes that the Bkerki spiritual summit would bear positive outcome on Lebanese politicians.
L.W.

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Politics - Zahraman denounces Cabinet's upshot
 

Thu 29/03/2012 10:16

NNA - 29/3/2012 MP Khaled Zahraman Thursday said what happened during Cabinet's session is erroneous as it proves Hezbollah's evident interference to figure out a solution for the electricity problem.

Zahraman told Voice of Lebanon that Premier Mikati's proposal aimed at ensuring funds for the Treasury.

Future bloc member also said the opposition does not bet on Syrian regime's collapse to bring down the government.

"Opposition is cautious in dealing with the government considering the regional and domestic situation," he remarked affirming the inevitable collapse of the Syrian regime.

L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi bound to Turkey
 

Thu 29/03/2012 09:58


NNA - 29/3/2012 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi Thursday left Beirut and headed to Turkey in a pastoral visit.

"Cooperation binds Turkey with Lebanon especially at the level of Turkish forces UNIFIL contingent," Rahi said.

The Patriarch asserted that he is scheduled to tackle Maronite affairs in Cyprus in both Turkish and Northern sectors.

Pertaining to the Lebanese level, Rahi passed on good wishes for the electricity-adopted Cabinet decision and said the country is in need of such events to escape stagnation, move forward, and have the country regain its economic, national, and developmental movement.
L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman, Nahhas, Terro bound to Bagdad
 

Thu 29/03/2012 08:46

NNA - 29/3/2012 The Lebanese President Michel Sleiman left Beirut Airport early today and headed to Bagdad to participate in the Arab summit.

Sleiman was accompanied with Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas and Displaced Minister Alaa Eddine Terro.

Foreign Affairs Minister Adnan Mansour is scheduled to join the Lebanese delegation in Bagdad.
L.W.
 

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Politics - Syria will come back - Mansour
 

Wed 28/03/2012 21:25

NNA - 28/03/2012 - Missing Syria's presence at Baghdad's Arab Foreign Ministers' meeting, Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister, Adnan Mansour, expressed firm belief that Syria would eventually "come back" to retrieve its role as a supporter to joint Arab endeavors.

The Minister's words came in an intervention he had made in a preparatory meeting for tomorrow's Arab Summit which will be held in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

"It [Syria] will return to be the nation we knew before," he hoped.

On the other hand, Mansour said that the fact that Baghdad was hosting the Arab Summit was further proof that things in Iraq were going back on the right track.

"Having the conference held in Iraq is a major accomplishment, not to mention gives us great hope (...) Iraq has taken its normal position amid [Arab] nations, playing an active role in supporting the Arab people and their causes," he added.

Eager to see Iraq's summit a new beginning for successful joint Arab work, the Minister affirmed that Arabs needed to implement the decisions they make.

"Implementation is the sole witness to our work, which shall eventually earn the trust and satisfaction of our people."
R.H.

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Politics - Cabinet convenes in Baabda, approves a number of appointments
 

Wed 28/03/2012 20:24

NNA - 28/3/2012 - The Council of Ministers, currently convening in session, finally approved a number of lengthily awaited administrative appointments, National News Agency correspondent said.

Mr. Antoine Gebran has been appointed as head of the employees' administration at the Civil Services Council.

Natalie Yared has been appointed head of the research and guidance administration at the Civil Services Council.

Mona Awad has been appointed as the General Director of Ministerial Affairs at the government's presidency.

The cabinet convened Wednesday at Baabda presidential palace, under the chairmanship of President Michel Sleiman and in presence of Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, and the ministers.

The cabinet is scheduled to look into an agenda of 81 items, among which the power dossier and three appointments at the Civil Service Board and the Central Inspection.

Speaking to reporters before the session, Deputy Prime Minister Samir Moqbel said he expects the quandary over electricity to be ended today.

Both the President and the Prime Minister had met behind closed doors before the cabinet convenes in Baabda and dwelled on the current general situation and latest developments.
R.A.H.- R.H.

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Politics - MP Khalil holds book signing ceremony under Berri's patronage
 

Wed 28/03/2012 19:51

NNA - 28/03/2012 - Health Minister, Ali Hassan Khalil, held on Wednesday a signing ceremony for his book which reveals "Unknown Pages from July War", as the book title suggests.

The celebration which had been held at UNESCO Palace under the patronage of House Speaker Nabih Berri, represented by Amal political bureau head Jamil Hayek, witnessed a number of words which discussed the pages of the newly launched book, saying it basically reveals disclosures by Berri about the contacts he held during the 2006 Israeli aggression on Lebanon, in line with local and international stances.

"This book opens our eyes to the frailty of treachery and disintegration, and urges all to search instead for the elements of strength and immunity to preserve and protect Lebanon," Hayek said in a word he delivered to a crowd of senior political figures and dignitaries.

In turn, the author of the book, Minister Khalil, who delivered his word "guised as a journalist for the first time", said the pages of the book had been previously published by As-Safir Daily.

"It is a story about July war, with all what it carried along from misery and victory," he said, adding "it is a mixture between anxiety over a collapsing nation (...) reaching the details of a nation and cities rising from the ashes."
R.H.

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Politics - March 14: we don't accept any breach of Lebanon's sovereignty
 

Wed 28/03/2012 19:43

NNA - 28/03/2012 - March 14 Movement addressed the Lebanese government to hold responsibilities regarding the Syrian breach of Lebanon's sovereignty, especially that Lebanon sacrificed high for its sovereignty and independence.

March 14's fresh stance came from its headquarters in Ashrafieh in the context of its regular weekly meeting.

"We can't accept any violation of Lebanon's sovereignty either by the Israeli enemy or by the cruel present regime of Syria," said March 14's statement.

Turning to the local level, March 14 said the real Prime Minister of the country is Hassan Nasrallah. As such, March 14 added, the pending power file, if not resolved, would not cause the Mikati-led cabinet to collapse.
A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Gemayel returns from Belgium
 

Wed 28/03/2012 18:41

NNA - 28/3/2012 Former President Amine Gemayel returned on Wednesday afternoon to Beirut, winding up his visit to Belgium.
 

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Politics - Ibrahim, UNTSO chief tackle Blue Line situation
 

Wed 28/03/2012 17:34

NNA - 28/3/2012 - General Security Chief, Brigadier Abbas Ibrahim, and the Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) on Wednesday discussed the current situation along the Blue Line at the Lebanese southern borders.

Talks also touched on the means to bolster cooperation between the organization's workforce and the Lebanese security and military authorities on the level of joint operations and missions.
 

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Politics - Cabinet convenes in Baabda
 

Wed 28/03/2012 17:17

NNA - 28/3/2012 - The cabinet convened Wednesday at Baabda presidential palace, under the chairmanship of President Michel Sleiman and in presence of Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, and the ministers.

The cabinet is scheduled to look into an agenda of 81 items, among which the power dossier and three appointments at the Civil Service Board and the Central Inspection.

Speaking to reporters before the session, Deputy Prime Minister Samir Moqbel said he expects the quandary over electricity to be ended today.

Both the President and the Prime Minister had met behind closed doors before the cabinet convenes in Baabda and dwelled on the current general situation and latest developments.
 

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Politics - Mikati for true partnership between citizens, state
 

Wed 28/03/2012 17:15

NNA - 28/03/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati stressed that his work's priority focused on means of resuming a true partnership between Lebanese citizens and their state.

Mikati's words came Wednesday from the Grand Serail upon sponsoring a symposium pertaining to financial revenues for municipalities, in presence of Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel and others.

Mikati also stressed the necessity of finding a uniting national vision serving decisive issues. The premier spoke about the bad repercussion of the Lebanese war period, when a big rift has been caused between the citizen and his/her state.

Charbel, for his part, urged that the upcoming municipal elections must take place in a democratic way to avoid subsequent dissolution of municipal councils.

Separately, Mikati received on Wednesday at the Grand Serail Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and discussed with him bilateral relations.

Afterwards, the Premier received the Chief of Lebanese Army, General Jean Qahwaji, who briefed the host on the actual security situation in the country, especially the security measures taken by the army on the borders with Syria.

State Minister Marwan Kheireddine visited the Grand Serail and reviewed with Mikati the general situation.

Among Grand Serail's visitors has been High Relief Committee senior, General Ibrahim Bachir.
A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - (UPDATE) Latest developments top Berri's Wednesday agenda
 

Wed 28/03/2012 16:29

NNA - 28/3/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, broached the current general situation and latest developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region during Wednesday's periodic meeting at the Parliament.

MPs Abdullatif Zein, Michel Moussa, Ghazi Zeaiter, Ali Bazzi, Ali Fayyad, Naji Gharios, Hani Qobeissi, Abdul Majid Saleh, Qassem Hashem, Nawar Sahili, Ali Muqdad, and Ali Khreiss also raised with the Speaker an array of economic, services, and social issues.

Separately, Berri chaired a meeting for the Parliament bureau, in presence of the heads and rapporteurs of the legislative committees, and lawmakers Abdullatif Zein, Marwan Hamade, Antoine Zahra, Michel Moussa, Ibrahim Kanaan, Mohammad Qabbani, Robert Ghanem, Akram Shohayeb, Ammar Houri, Atef Majdalani, Neemtallah Abi Nasr, Farid Khazen, Simon Abi Ramia, Ali Bazzi, Nawar Sahili, Ali Muqdad, Hassan Fadlallah, Fadi Habr, Riad Rahhal, Assem Araji, Samer Saade, Nabil De Freij, Ghassan Mokhaiber, and Shant Janjanian, as well as the Parliament's Secretary General Adnan Daher.

Reportedly, it had been agreed to circulate the agendas of the parliamentary committees on all the lawmakers, for some Deputies are not members in the committees, and to take into account a bundle of key laws.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, MP Hamade said that the Speaker highlighted the obligation to hold an interrogatory session for the government. He said that the date would be set later after a consultation with the Prime Minister. The three-day session is expected to take place between April 11 and 13 or between April 18 and 20 with a live TV coverage.
R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman, Mikati meet in Baabda
 

Wed 28/03/2012 16:15

NNA - 28/3/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, and Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, are currently meeting in Baabda palace, ahead of a cabinet session of an 81-item agenda.

The pair is reportedly discussing the general situation and most recent developments.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Kanaan: BRC ready to withdraw from cabinet if reforms impeded
 

Wed 28/03/2012 15:18

NNA - 28/03/2012 - Deputy Ibrahim Kanaan said the Bloc of Reform and Change was ready to withdraw its ministers from the current cabinet if it felt unable to carry on the reforms it already promised the public of.

Kanaan's words came Wednesday in the context of an interview on Al-Manar TV.

Kanaan considered that "the present performance of Mikati-led cabinet made it the major ally to Future Movement." Kanaan referred to the Free Patriotic Movement's power project plan already approved by the Parliamentarian Council in 2010 only to be currently impeded by another project offer sent by e-mail.

The Deputy explained that 2010's plan constituted productivity of electricity via power ships, in a short run, and via power plants, in a long one.
A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Latest developments top Berri's Wednesday agenda
 

Wed 28/03/2012 15:11

NNA - 28/3/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, broached the current general situation and latest developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region during Wednesday's periodic meeting at the Parliament.

MPs Abdullatif Zein, Michel Moussa, Ghazi Zeaiter, Ali Bazzi, Ali Fayyad, Naji Gharios, Hani Qobeissi, Abdul Majid Saleh, Qassem Hashem, Nawar Sahili, Ali Muqdad, and Ali Khreiss also raised with the Speaker an array of economic, services, and social issues.

Separately, Berri chaired a meeting for the Parliament bureau, in presence of the heads and rapporteurs of the legislative committees, and lawmakers Abdullatif Zein, Marwan Hamade, Antoine Zahra, Michel Moussa, Ibrahim Kanaan, Mohammad Qabbani, Robert Ghanem, Akram Shohayeb, Ammar Houri, Atef Majdalani, Neemtallah Abi Nasr, Farid Khazen, Simon Abi Ramia, Ali Bazzi, Nawar Sahili, Ali Muqdad, Hassan Fadlallah, Fadi Habr, Riad Rahhal, Assem Araji, Samer Saade, Nabil De Freij, Ghassan Mokhaiber, and Shant Janjanian, as well as the Parliament's Secretary General Adnan Daher.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Khoury avows his ministry's reservations on power-generating ships matter
 

Wed 28/03/2012 15:09

NNA - 28/03/2012 - Environment Minister Nazem Khoury listed on Wednesday his ministry's reservations on the rental of power-generating ships, as he is member of the ministerial committee formed according to cabinet decision 47 issued on 11/10/2011.
Minister Khoury reiterated before conferees his comments and concerns over the environment, particularly after the rental of power-generating ships.

He drew attention, in this context, on environmental risks which precede, accompany and follow the process of renting these boats.

It is worth noting that the Environment Minister had given on March 9, 2012 similar remarks before the Ministerial Committee, with special focus on the Environment Ministry's decision issued on 06/02/2003 which specified all companies authorized to prepare evaluative studies of public projects' environmental impact.

Khoury assured that awaiting the abovementioned environmental studies, the Ministry of Environment will be available for providing additional information on this subject.

On a different note, Khoury met with MP Boutros Harb over Tannourine region's natural reserves.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (Update) Sleiman, Rahi discuss developments
 

Wed 28/03/2012 13:45


NNA - 28/3/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman Wednesday held talks on the most recent up-to-dates during his meeting with Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi at Baabda.

Following their one-hour meeting, Rahi left without giving any statement.

Sleiman also met with Britain's Ambassador Tom Fletcher with whom he tackled bilateral ties as well as Arab summit to be held tomorrow.

The Lebanese President convened later on with Jordan's Ambassador Ziad Majali within a farewell visit.

Sleiman is scheduled to chair today's Cabinet session at Baabda palace.
L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Berri, Kahwaji tackle security situation
 

Wed 28/03/2012 13:27

NNA - 28/3/2012 House Speaker Nabih Berri Wednesday tackled most recent security developments in the country during his meeting with the Lebanese Army commander General Jean Kahwaji.

On the other hand, Berri cabled the head of the International Campaign for Releasing the Abducted MPs, Musheer El Masri, denouncing such practices and pointing out ongoing efforts to release them.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Decision to topple Government not yet made
 

Wed 28/03/2012 13:27

NNA - 28/3/2012 - Deputy Kazem Al-Kheir Wednesday said that the government will not be at the edge of explosion in today's cabinet session as the decision to overthrow it has not been made yet.

In his talkshow to the Future News TV channel, Kheir said the government's toppling is tied up to the decision to be taken by the Syrian regime and Hezbollah.

The MP noted that this government would never last till 2013 as regional conditions had changed, hence implied different calculations.

"If Mikati's government collapsed, we would suggest forming a cabinet of technocrats capable to handle the remaining stage till the next parliamentary elections," Kheir explained in this regard.

The Deputy also announced to the public that deals were being closed at the level of the power-generating ships' issue.

Pertaining to the rumors on the presence of Free Syrian Army members inside Lebanon and on cross-borders arms smuggling, Kheir confirmed that no one but the Lebanese Army was assigned to control the frontiers and look over these matters.

Moreover, Deputy Kheir regretted the international silence over the Syrian developments, saying the people is being left helpless with total delay in concerned international authorities' action.

"Trying to put an end to the Syrian revolution at arms point will be fruitless. The regime must implement immediately the six-point plan submitted by the UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan," he considered, assuring that the Arab summit to be held in Bagdad is of major importance at this stage as it brings Iraq back to the foreground of the Arab scene.
D.K.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - 6 May, municipality elections
 

Wed 28/03/2012 13:18

NNA - 28/3/2012- Municipalities and Interior Minister Marwan Charbel issued a decision number 483 in which he determined elections of mayors in both Abey (Aley caza)and Barouk (Shouf caza) villages on 6/5/2012 and election centers in each of them.

Charbel also issued a decision numbered 484 in which he called upon electoral committees the under mentioned villages and towns to elect on 6/5/2012 municipality council members. The decision also included determining election centers in those villages and towns on the same date:

Bkaatouta, Aajaltoun (Kesrwan) Biakout (El-Metn); Selafaya & Abay - Ain Drafil (Aley) ; Brih, Almane and Mazraat El-Barghoutieh (Chouf); 19 villages in Akkar caza: Gebrael , Kantara, Tecrit, Bireh, Germanaya- Rameh, Wadi KHaled, Bani Sakhr, Daghleh, Al-Mijdel, Al-Chakdouf, Al-AAmayer - Rajem Issa, Al-Kornet, Kroum Arab, Dahr Al-Kanbar, Al-Fared, Ghouzaileh, Berbara, Aadbel and Minjez, Kateen (Minieh -Dinniyeh) ; Ban and Bazoun (Bcharri); Ardeh and Harf Ardeh , Beit awkar, beirt Obeid, Rachiine (Zghorta); Deir Bella and Chatine (Batroun); Rachdabine (Koura); Al-Fakiha - Jdeideh, Nabha Al-Mohfara, Nabha Al-Kodam and Nabha Al-Damdoum, Mokrak and Hoch Al-Nabi (Baalbeck); Chawaghir Fawqa, Chawaghir Tehta (Hermel); Zillaya , Saghbine, Yohmor (West Bekaa); Kfarmichki, Mazraat silsata (Rachaya); Bisariyeh , Kferchalal (Saida); Teir Harfa , Alma Shaab (Tyre); Annan, Sarfieh , Kfarjarra, (Jezzine) Yater (Bint Jbeil); Ible Al-Saki (Marjeoun); Al-Khalwat and Delfeh (Hasbaya).

L.Y.R/N.AF
 

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Politics - Abou Faour discuss cooperation with Italian integration Minister
 

Wed 28/03/2012 13:16

NNA - 28/3/2012 - Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour Wednesday held talks on the Lebanese-Italian cooperation fields during his meeting with the Italian Cooperation and Integration Minister, Andrea Riccardi, in presence of Italian Ambassador Giuseppe Morabito.

Abou Faour expressed appreciation to the Italian government's donations to back up "supporting the poorest families in Lebanon" project.

"This project should cover 32,000 requests that have been accepted for Lebanese families without any sectarian discrimination," he remarked.

As for his part, Riccardi said cooperation shall prevail in order to help Lebanese government build a society where democracy and social level are enhanced.

At another level, Abou Faour met with the Pharmacists Syndicate head Ziad Nassour.

Both men engaged in talks concerning combating drugs.

L.W.

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Politics - Hout: Bassil suffers failure
 

Wed 28/03/2012 12:27

NNA - 28/3/2012- Member of Parliament Imad Hout described the speech of Minister Gebran Bassil's as "inappropriate", pointing out that Bassil is suffering from failure in many files.

It is to note that minister of Water and Energy Gebran Bassil lashed at March 14 forces in his speech on Tuesday 27/3/2012 following the regular meeting of "Change and Reform" bloc.

Hout told "Al-Shark" radio station that the communications which took place during the last few days and hours regarding the electricity crisis would lead to a certain agreement without having to vote during Wednesday's cabinet session, indicating that the aim of that is not the electricity issue but showing that the current government is coherent.

The MP said, "this cabinet did not come to take care of citizen's affairs but to give cover to the Syrian regime.... in addition to preparing to 2013 elections."

Talking about news report of a Syrian military incursion in Al-Kaa area yesterday, Hout said, "this confirms two issues, first the Army's role in protecting citizens; second, protecting the Lebanese-Syrian borders which demands taking care of the Syrian refugees."

Responding to a question about their relation with "Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimin" in Syria, the MP stressed that they belong to one Intellectual Islamic school, pointing out that the document issued by Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimin confirmed that the regime's claims are just lies and aim at raising fears among minorities.

He added that no minority party in the Syrian Community was targeted.

L.Y.R/N.AF

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Politics - (Update) Sleiman, Rahi discuss developments
 

Wed 28/03/2012 12:25

NNA - 28/3/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman Wednesday held talks on the most recent up-to-dates during his meeting with Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi at Baabda.

Following their one-hour meeting, Rahi left without giving any statement.
L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Houry: Government performance unprecedented
 

Wed 28/03/2012 12:25

NNA - 28/3/2012 - MP Ammar Houry Wednesday said throughout Lebanon's history no government has differed on everything such as this government.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon radio station, Houry said government's continuity dependent on a regional decision considering the Syrian regime's need of it.

Future bloc member called on the government to control the Lebanese-Syrian borders to maintain stability in Lebanon as this is in everyone's interest.
L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Doueihi visits National News Agency Bureau in Sidney
 

Wed 28/03/2012 11:46

NNA - 28/3/2012- Member of Parliament Estephan Doueihi visited the National News Agency and Middle East Media offices in Sidney - Australia, and met with directors and editors of both institutions.

During the meeting which took place in presence of Bankstone Municipality head, Kal Aasfour and business man Jean Dekkan, attendees discussed the status of the Lebanese Diaspora in Australia and situation in Lebanon .

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics - (Update) Sleiman, Rahi discuss developments
 

Wed 28/03/2012 10:49

NNA - 27/3/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman Wednesday held talks on the most recent up-to-dates during his meeting with Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi at Baabda.

Following their one-hour meeting, Rahi left without giving any statement.
L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Britain donates one million pounds for STL
 

Wed 28/03/2012 10:47

NNA - 28/3/2012 - The British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced Wednesday that his country has offered to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) one million sterling pound as a gesture of support to international justice, according to the British embassy's press office.
Hague had presented to the parliament a written statement, saying that this donation reflects the British Foreign Office's priority which is to protect UK's national security by fighting terrorism and reducing conflicts.
"We offered that one million pound sterling for the STL, hence raising the level of our contribution to 3.3 million since 2009. This assistance mirrors the United kingdom's unyielding support for the special tribunal which plays a primordial role in punishing those who have committed the worst crimes and putting an end to impunity in the matter of political assassinations," Hague said, assuring that his country was fully committed to preserving Lebanon's sovereignty and independence.

D.K.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Houry: Government performance unprecedented
 

Wed 28/03/2012 10:35

NNA - 27/3/2012 - MP Ammar Houry Wednesday said throughout Lebanon's history no government has differed on everything such as this government.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon radio station, Houry said government's continuity dependent on a regional decision considering the Syrian regime's need of it.

Future bloc member called on the government to control the Lebanese-Syrian borders to maintain stability in Lebanon as this is in everyone's interest.
L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Zahra calls on Arab League to take clear stand on Syria
 

Wed 28/03/2012 10:30

NNA - 28/3/2012 - Lebanese Forces parliamentary member deputy Antoine Zahra called on the Arab League summit to take a clear stand on the event taking place in Syria.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon "Voice of Freedom and Dignity", the MP said the Arab League summit will convene amid prevailing tension in the region and most notably in Syria.

He added that the Arab League resolution on Syria was sidelined by the Russian position from the crisis.

"It seems that the Arab League is embarrassed by the developments. But nevertheless, the League must adopt a clear stand from the unfolding developments in this country. As for the Lebanese side, it is advisable not to take a position that runs contrary to the country's interest as well as the general atmosphere in the Arab countries," Zahra argued.

According to the MP, this Cabinet is still a vital need for the Syrian regime and Hezbollah despite all the setbacks.

He accused MP Michel Aoun and Energy and Water Minister Jibran Bassil of striking deals in the electricity sector before the formation of the Regulatory Authority and the creation of a new board of directors for Electricite du Liban.
O.H

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Politics - Sleiman, Rahi discuss developments
 

Wed 28/03/2012 09:39


NNA - 27/3/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman Wednesday held talks on the most recent up-to-dates during his meeting with Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi at Baabda.
L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Future: Muslim Brotherhood lives up to Arab Spring slogan
 

Tue 27/03/2012 19:31

NNA - 27/03/2012 - The Future Bloc hailed the document of Muslim Brotherhood in Syria as advanced and political and living up to the essence of the Arab Spring and its slogans.

The Bloc's fresh stance came from the Center House of Beirut upon its weekly regular meeting under the chairmanship of Deputy Fouad Siniora.

"The document underscored the cordial relation between Lebanon and Syria that is based upon a mutual respect," said the Bloc.

Turning to the local scene, the Bloc described the present government as terrible due to the party of arms and its allies which, according to the Bloc, harmed the interest of the nation and its citizens.

Evoking the power issue, the Bloc attacked the Free Patriotic Movement's ministers of Energy and Water who did not think four years ago of establishing a regulating body for electricity. According to the Bloc, the FPM did not even resort to Arab and International Funds aiming to increase power productivity. The Future thereby called for forming this regulating body and carrying out tenders regarding power projects, in order to solve the electricity issue.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ibrahim, Plumbly tackle bilateral affairs
 

Tue 27/03/2012 17:48

NNA - 27/03/2012 - General Security Director, Brigadier Abbas Ibrahim, discussed with UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, UNIFIL's situation in the south and ways to boost cooperation between the peacekeeping force and the security and military apparatuses.

The meeting was held on Tuesday with talks also touching on latest developments on the Lebanese scene, requirements to implement 1701 Resolution as well as the security of the region.

Moreover, Ibrahim met over general issues with former Minister Elie Skaff.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Maronite League honors French ambassador
 

Tue 27/03/2012 17:13

NNA - 27/3/2012 - Head of the Maronite League, Joseph Torbey, on Tuesday hosted a lunch banquet in honor of the French Ambassador to Lebanon, Denis Pietton, at Le Maillon Hotel, Ashrafieh, on the occasion of the end of his diplomatic mission in Beirut.

A panel of diplomats, former ministers and deputies as well as high ranking dignitaries attended the event.

In a word delivered on the occasion, Ambassador Pietton raked up the historic relations between France and Lebanon and hoped that Lebanon would remain a model of coexistence in the Middle East.

The diplomat did not fail to touch on the developments in Syria, whereby he said that the political change therein must take place in the nearest time possible and without shedding blood.

"This peaceful change is advantageous for the entire world, especially for the Syrian people and the Lebanese as well," he said.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri reviews development with Chinese, Syrian diplomats
 

Tue 27/03/2012 17:03

had been Tuesday to Ain-el-Tineh for a meeting with House Speaker, Nabih Berri, over the current general situation in the Mideast region and the bilateral Lebanese-Chinese ties.

"We met with Speaker Berri and we agreed over the well entrenched relations and the deep-rooted friendship between Lebanon and China (...) we also agreed to develop cooperation in the fields of politics, economy, and culture," the vice chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference told reporters following the meeting.

"Both the Lebanese and Chinese sides support each other in the international affairs, on top of which the Middle East question," he said.

Besides, the Chinese official said if the situation in the region was composed, Lebanon would score bigger achievements and that it would be a better and more prosperous state.

Berri later met with the Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul Karim Ali, over most recent political developments.

Earlier today, the Speaker received the Italian Minister for International Cooperation, Andrea Riccardi, on top of a governmental and diplomatic delegation.

The meeting reportedly featured high on latest developments and the Lebanese-Italian bilateral relations.

Former head of Sidon municipality, Abdul Rahman Bezri, had also been to Ain-el-Tineh today for a meeting with the Speaker over the current general situation.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qahwaji meets Rahme, others
 

Tue 27/03/2012 16:48

NNA - 27/3/2012 - Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji, on Tuesday met with Member of Parliament Emile Rahme over the current general situation prevailing over the Lebanese domestic scene.

Qahwaji later received at his office in Yarze the Acting Director General of Customs, Toufic Merhi, with talks featuring high on the means to bolster cooperation between the two institutions.

Qahwaji also met with former head of Sidon municipality, Abdul Rahman Bezri, on top of a delegation.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Audi meets Asseri, Boutros
 

Tue 27/03/2012 16:17

NNA - 27/03/2012 - Beirut Greek-Orthodox Archbishop Elias Audi received on Tuesday the Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Asseri.

Earlier today, he met with former Minister Fouad Boutros over the current situation in the country.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Inauguration of Arab conference on volunteering culture under Mikati's patronage
 

Tue 27/03/2012 16:15

NNA - 27/3/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati, represented by State Minister Marwan Khaireddine, on Tuesday inaugurated the third Arab conference on spreading the culture of volunteering work, organized by the Lebanon Center for Volunteering Work and the Arab Union for Volunteering Work, at UNESCO Palace.

Speaking on the Prime Minister's behalf, Khaireddine said that volunteering work was the fruit of the individual responsibility and that the state could not alone take the initiatives which contribute to developing societies.

"Any progress cannot stem from a plan put by the state solely and the first step towards development and prosperity indeed starts with the people's will and individual initiatives," he said.

He explained that when responsibility turns from being an individual task into a broader and collective one, it shall hence spark citizens' deliberate and volunteering drive.

He said that volunteering work was not just a highly praised culture, but also evidence on the progress of societies and the level of their culture and responsibilities.

Besides, the Minister touted the disassociation policy adopted by the Lebanese Najib Mikati-led government towards neighboring unrest. "We, in Lebanon, decided to disassociate ourselves from what is happening in the Arab world, because we do know that cohesion shall [eventually] return (...) we are keen on fraternity and closeness and Lebanon cannot stand with its brother against another brother," he said.

Today's event took place in presence of Arab Ambassadors to Lebanon, Head of the Court of Audit Judge Aouni Ramadan, General Charbel Wakim representing Army Chief, General Tarek Abdullah representing ISF Chief, Head of the Lebanese University Adnan Sayyed Hussein, and a panel of representatives of the civil society.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Egypt's Ghad El-Thawra meets Aoun, confirms candidacy for elections
 

Tue 27/03/2012 15:23

NNA - 27/03/2012 - Head of Egypt's Ghad El-Thawra pledged on Tuesday that his party would be running for Egypt's presidential elections.

Dr. Ayman Nour delivered his statement in the wake of a meeting with the Reform and Change bloc Leader, MP Michel Aoun in Rabieh.

Ghad El-Thawra participated in the previous round of Egypt's presidential elections under the title of "Ghad Party", but Former Egyptian President winded up winning said electoral battle, only to leave Ghad Party ranking second.

"They tried to deprive us of our party, so we emerged with a new party and a new name "Ghad El-Thawra - 'The Revolution's tomorrow'," he said, making clear that his party was currently represented at the Egyptian Parliament.

"We shall delve into elections at a presidential team or presidential level," Nour promised.

"It is quite obvious that Lebanon and Egypt establish an important ally facing different political trends," Nour added, explaining that his visit to Aoun aimed at seeking the latter's expertise.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Suleiman activities on Tuesday
 

Tue 27/03/2012 15:10

NNA - 27/3/2012- President of the Republic Michel Suleiman carries on Tuesday in Baabda Presidential palace his activities and communications to control political and cabinet management of the files which are to be discussed during the cabinet session tomorrow (Wednesday), mainly the electricity file.

Suleiman reiterated the importance of managing that file scientifically and technically, keeping it away from political polarization and taking into consideration state and citizens' interest.

Suleiman also discussed that subject with each of Prime Minister Deputy Samir Moukabel, Environment Minister Nazem Khoury, Public Health Minister Hassan Ali Khalil, Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour, Energy and Water Minister Jebran Bassil and Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel. Discussions stressed the importance of reaching a settlement that allows cabinet to put this issue on the implementation track in preparation to reach a final solution for it.

On the other hand, The President met with Beirut Maronite archbishop Boulos Matar and discussed with him general issues and the atmosphere of the spiritual summit which was held in Bkreki last Sunday.

Suleiman also met with head of oil- importing companies association Maroun Shamas and the heads of the Syndicates of owners of oil stations and of oil- tanks, Sami Braks and Ibrahim El-Srayni respectively, who briefed him on their demands, imploring him to seek appropriate solutions.

L.Y.R.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea: other party fabricates pretexts for its failure
 

Tue 27/03/2012 15:10

NNA - 27/3/2012 - Lebanese Forces' Samir Geagea Tuesday received a delegation of Beirut and north engineers' syndicates.

Geagea felicitated the delegations for winning the syndical elections despite the toughness of the battle. "The other party fabricates pretexts for its failure," Geagea criticized.

The LF leader separately tackled internal affairs, saying the domestic situation had become unbearable, at the level of hospitality, electricity, education, fuel, water, food products, and administrative appointments which had all been subject to corruption and scandals.

"The only solution for this economic relapse is the government's resignation," Geagea said, adding that forming a government of technocrats to address people's livelihood issues had become a necessity.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Khalil follows up diplomatic, health affairs
 

Tue 27/03/2012 14:58

NNA - 27/3/2012 - Minister of Public Health, Ali Hassan Khalil, on Tuesday met with the Swiss Ambassador to Lebanon, Ruth Flint, over an array of health-related affairs, considering that Switzerland is the first exporter of drugs to Lebanon.

The meeting also touched on the current general political situation in the country and the broader Arab region.

The Minister also received the Belgian Ambassador to Lebanon, Colette Taquet, with talks featuring high on affairs related to the health sector.

Separately, Khalil is scheduled to chair tomorrow Wednesday a meeting for the public insurance representatives devoted to discuss the adjustment of medical fees.

A final closing report will be later forwarded to the cabinet with a view of approbation.

The meeting is set to take place at the Ministry of Public Health, shortly after a get-together between the Minister and the head of the public hospitals owners' syndicate, Suleiman Haroun.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati skims through political, bilateral affairs with visitors
 

Tue 27/03/2012 14:47


NNA - 27/3/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati Tuesday met with the Italian International Cooperation and Integration Minister, Andrea Riccardi, in presence of the Italian Ambassador to Lebanon Giuseppe Morabito, with talks focusing on bilateral affairs.

Riccardi affirmed in the wake of the meeting Italy's unyielding support to Lebanon and its commitment to Lebanese-Italian historical relations at various levels.

He also shed light on the Italian contingent operating within the UNIFIL in South Lebanon to contribute in preserving peace.

On a different note, PM Mikati received the UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, Maria Calivis, in presence of said organization's representative in Lebanon Anna-Maria Laurini.

Calivis sensed Mikati's commitment to improving the conditions of marginalized groups in the region by implementing social protection and education projects.

"UNICEF is willing to support the government and the concerned ministries to make a difference for Lebanon's children," he assured.

Separately, Mikati met with the Jordanian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ziad Al-Majali, who came on a farewell visit upon the end of his mission in Lebanon.

Telecommunications Minister Nicolas Sehnawi had also been to the Grand Serail to tackle with Mikati various ministerial affairs.

Amongst Mikati's visitors was also the former Formula 1 champion Kimi Raikkonen with talks touching on the possibility of Lebanon's hosting to Formula 1 races.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour to Bagdad
 

Tue 27/03/2012 13:12

NNA - 27/3/2012 - Minister of Expatriates and Foreign Affairs Adnan Mansour left Lebanon Tuesday at 1:00 pm heading to Bagdad to take part in the Arab Summit works.
Separately, Sudan Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmed Mohamed stopped at Rafic Hariri International Airport on his way from Sudan to Bagdad to participate also in the Arab Summit.

L.Y.R.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aridi tackles various affairs with visitors
 

Tue 27/03/2012 13:10

NNA - 27/3/2012 - Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi Tuesday met with the Australian Ambassador to Lebanon, Lex Bartlem, with talks touching on bilateral relations as well as on the Minister's scheduled visit to Australia next month with the President's delegation.

Aridi also tackled with MP Hadi Hobeish ongoing projects in Akkar region, and the reopening of Renee Mouawad airport. Aridi pledged to raise this dossier before the cabinet.

Amongst Aridi's visitors were also Tyre Maronite Archbishop, Shekrallah Al-Hajj, Hermel municipalities' union head, Mustafa Taha, Zaraoun municipality Head, Adel Daou, head of Lebanese aerial shows administrative council, Marie-Louise Seghbini, and the Lycee Francais school administrative Director, Michel Boudo.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Moukbel heads Marine fishing committee
 

Tue 27/03/2012 13:02

NNA - 27/03/2012- Deputy Prime Minister Samir Moukbel headed at the Grand Sareil a meeting of the ministerial committee designated to study and develop the status of the marine fishing sector in Lebanon.

Minister of Agriculture Husein Hajj Hassan, Minister of Environment Nazem Khoury, Minister of Labor Salim Jerysati and Minister of State Panos Manjain attended the meeting.
Following the meeting, Moukbel said that they discussed the study for organizing and developing the marine fishing sector and notes of the ministers on it. The committee also discussed the issue of making the fishermen benefit from the National Social Security Fund. The attendees decided to put a draft decree on this proposal and raise it to the Council of Ministers.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi, Khazen discuss developments
 

Tue 27/03/2012 12:55

NNA - 27/3/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi Tuesday tackled most recent developments during his meeting with Maronite Council head Wadih Khazen.

Rahi met later with former Minister Ibrahim Daher who passed on good wishes on the occasion of the annunciation day.

Rahi also convened with Director Jean Dibs, delegation of the deceased Bishop Hanna Chedid.
L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Tohme lashes out against cabinet
 

Tue 27/03/2012 11:45

NNA - 27/3/2012 - "Future" parliamentary bloc member Nidal Tohme said that the current cabinet brought nothing but calamity to the country.

Tomeh remarks came during an interview with "Future News" T.V. in which he also said that the current cabinet of "Let's all work" motto became "without work" because of its internal disagreements.
" This cabinet is currently a need to the Syrian regime, duly that regime won't allow its resignation," the Deputy said," (General Michel) Aoun Ministers won't resign because they are well aware that they will not get the 1/3 veto power again."

He considered that the Syrian regime would pressure so that MP Michel Aoun would be given a share of the appointments.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Khoreis: Israel is ultimate evil
 

Tue 27/03/2012 11:43

NNA - 27/3/2012 - Liberation and Development bloc member, Deputy Ali Khoreis reiterated Tuesday his camp's keenness on considering Israel as the ultimate evil.

The MP made these comments in a ceremony held by Amal movement in honor of martyrs' mothers.

The Deputy said "we abide by the constants of Imam Moussa Sadr in clinging to coexistence, safeguarding national unity, and preserving institutions on top of which the Army."

"Tampering with these national institutions is sheer violation of national unity and conviviality as it serves the enemies of Lebanon," he concluded.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Houry: Regional decision keeps government alive
 

Tue 27/03/2012 11:42

NNA - 27/2/2012 - Member of Parliament told Al Sharq radio that the current government still exists due to a regional decision.

"What is keeping this government enact is the passive common interest that alters on the tempo of changes in the region and this was reflected in the elections of the Engineering association which saw the victory of March 14 forces," the MP said.

"The Cabinet's performance did not satisfy all the government's components who bicker every day. Lebanon has not seen such a bad government throughout its history," Houry said.

The MP commented on the Free Patriotic Movement assurance that it will re-elect Prime Minister Najib Mikati in case the government collapsed.

"This (statement) reflects the state of confusion which the Free Patriotic Movement is going through these days. If this government is not capable of running the session, how can it supervise the parliamentary elections?," Houry asked.

The MP expressed his deep reservation over the final statement of Bkirki regarding the developments in Syria after the Christian-Muslim spiritual meeting.

"This statement runs contrary to solidarity of Muslims and Arabs with the Syrian people and is against the Arab League and United Nations initiative."

He stressed that the protection of Christians or any other minority can only be done through the adoption of a free and democratic system.

The MP also denounced the meeting between the Grand Mufti of the Republic Sheikh Mohammed Racheed Qabbany with the Syrian ambassador to Lebanon.
O.H

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Politics - Kanaan vouches for Safadi's financial calculations
 

Tue 27/03/2012 11:12

NNA - 27/03/2012 - Member of Parliament Ibrahim Kanaan on Tuesday voiced consent to Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi's most recent steps breaking down the government's financial accounts, dating back to 2006 till 2010.

"This is a constitutional move as it managed to breakdown yearly accounts," he said.

The Reform and Change MP also disclosed that his bloc looked forward to tomorrow's cabinet session to take a closer look at Safadi's proposal, and give its remark on it.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Al-Kheir says cabinet founded to nab spoils
 

Tue 27/03/2012 10:59

NNA - 27/03/2012 - Future bloc MP Kazem Al-Kheir slammed on Tuesday the Lebanese cabinet saying all it aimed for was "nabbing the spoils."

"Each side [of the cabinet] is trying to incur personal gains," the Future bloc MP told "Free Lebanon" radio station.

Touching on the heatedly debated lease of power-generating ships, the MP suspected an underhanded deal "just similar to that of the diesel scandal."

"They are handling the electricity file as if they are inventing a nuclear technology!" Al-Kheir added.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahra supports Mikati's argument on electricity
 

Tue 27/03/2012 10:56

NNA - 27/3/2012 - MP Antoine Zahra Tuesday said Premier Mikati's logic on electricity issue is sound.

"A safe logic does not stipulate making people believe we have a solution," he explained.

Lebanese Forces member said Iran's offer was acceptable in current world markets but unacceptable for the time being due to the U.S. imposed sanctions.

Speaking to voice of Lebanon, Zahra wondered why Minister Gibran Bassil was insisting on paying half a billion dollars to lease power-generating barges.

On the 2013 legislatives, Zahra uttered support to MP Michel Pharaon's stance regarding the refusal to hold elections in presence of weapons.

L.W.

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Politics - Moussa: reactivating government's work delayed
 

Tue 27/03/2012 10:39

NNA - 27/3/2012 - Deputy Michel Moussa Tuesday said that reactivating work within the government has been delayed, noting that political disagreements and conflicting approaches are creating a certain level of tension prevailing over the cabinet.

The Deputy called for reconsidering all work mechanisms through serious discussions in parliament and cabinet sessions, particularly pertaining to the electricity issue.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Rahi receives Turkey's Ambassador
 

Mon 26/03/2012 22:48

NNA - 26/03/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi received on Monday the Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon Inan Ozyilidiz.

Both men reportedly touched on preparations underway for the Maronite Patriarch's anticipated visit to Turkey.

Separately, former MP Mansour el-Bon also visited Rahi to express well-wishes marking the Annunciation feast.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - March 14 welcomes Syria's Muslim Brotherhood statement
 

Mon 26/03/2012 22:13

NNA - 26/03/2012 - March 14 General Secretariat expressed on Monday profound appreciation to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood statement, saying it proposes firm foundations for a social agreement based on modernization.

The Brotherhood's declaration vowed to build a state that would become a source of stability for Lebanon and build ties based on equality with "a country whose people have suffered as much as the Syrian people in the face of injustice and tyranny."

"It paves the way for an up-to-date national relation between the Syrian social fabrics," March 14 said as praising the Syrian Brotherhood's statement.

Saying it was of equal importance to Egypt's Al-Azhar statement, March 14 said the newly drafted statement obviously vouched for human rights.

Syria's Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohammad Riad Al Shaqfa, said on Sunday that his party is committed to building a democratic country "that cherishes gender and religious equality and respects human rights."

March 14 also highly commended the statement's call for national reconciliation.

"It shall put disintegration to a halt," March 14 statement read, hoping that the Syrian brotherhood would manage to torpedo the Syrian regime's tactics which only extended the Assads' ruling period.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kataeb censures 'dormant cabinet'
 

Mon 26/03/2012 21:43

NNA - 26/03/2012 - Kataeb party sternly condemned on Monday what it described as governmental stagnation handling political and pressing livlihood issues.

Kataeb's stance came in a statement issued following its political bureau's weekly meeting which had been chaired vice president, Chaker Chamoun, in Saifi.

Conferees mostly shone light on existing problems between the National Social Security Fund and Lebanese hospitals "who refuse to provide one-third of the Lebanese citizens their right to health."

Kataeb has sounded its alarm as Lebanese hospitals have stopped receiving patients registered with the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), except for emergencies. This move comes in response to the NSSF's failure to pay its dues which have mounted up to almost $ 333 million.

Conferees subsequently stepped up calls to solve fuel and electricity related problems and to initiate oil exploration operations.

On the other hand, Kataeb urged the cabinet to keep following up the so called subversive cells, some of which have been found within the Lebanese Army ranks.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman tackles range of affairs with interlocutors
 

Mon 26/03/2012 20:26

NNA - 26/03/2012 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman held a series of talks at Baabda Palace on Monday afternoon with a number of visitors who engaged with him in an array of affairs.

Within this framework, visiting Italian Cooperation and Integration Minister, Andrea Riccardi, met with the President to reiterate his country's support for Lebanon.

"Lebanon is of high importance to Italy, so is its stability," affirmed Riccardi as praising Lebanon's democracy, saying it was one of the first countries to develop a democratic system in the Middle East region.

In turn, the President highly commended the ongoing bilateral cooperation between both countries, especially in running UNIFIL and the Italian battalion in South Lebanon.

Nicolas Nahhas, the Minister of Trade and Economy, also held talks with the President over a number of economy-related dossiers listed on the cabinet's Wednesday session agenda for discussions.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Energy Minister meets Mikati
 

Mon 26/03/2012 19:17

NNA - 26/03/2012 - Water and Energy Minister Gebran Bassil had been to Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Monday for the latter's opinion over a number issues he said he would like to share with the Lebanese public opinion before Wednesday's cabinet session.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rifi, UAE Ambassador tackle security situation
 

Mon 26/03/2012 18:17

NNA - 26/3/2012 Internal Security Forces Chief Ashraf Rifi met on Monday afternoon at his Barrack office with UAE Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Al-Osseimi, who came on a protocol visit.

Talks reportedly touched on the general security situation in the country.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk: for safeguarding media freedom
 

Mon 26/03/2012 18:07

NNA - 26/03/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk said he would never hesitate to safeguard and defend the freedom of media in Lebanon.

Daouk's words came Sunday evening during a dinner banquet held by the World Catholic Union for Press (USIP), at the As-Soufara Palace of Dbayeh, in presence of Bishop Michel Aoun representing Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi and other dignitaries.

"I Promise that I will never stop my demand, whether secretly or openly, for safeguarding media freedom and defending it, regardless whether the others accept that or not."

Daouk appreciated the union's positive stance towards media, which insisted that the media figure had the right to express his/her opinion in an absolute freedom.

"Tithout these freedoms, Lebanon will join as an additional number those countries which do not respect such liberties," said Daouk.

Turning to the recent problem at Antonine University of Beirut, Daouk hoped that the deplored incident therein would never occur again and would be a passing cloud or folded paper. Daouk urged that Lebanon must preserve its traditions and beliefs which were based upon its adopted principles of democracy and freedom, so that Lebanon would remain a model for the countries struggling nowadays for democracy in their governing system.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabbani, Sabonjian tackle current situation
 

Mon 26/03/2012 18:06


NNA - 26/3/2012 Mufti of the Republic Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani met on Monday with Industry Minister Vrej Sabonjian where they tackled the current situation on the local and regional scenes.

Mufti Qabbani also met with General Security Chief Abbas Ibrahim, where they boarded an array of general affairs.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea: "Change" Bloc's formula either what Bloc wants or no electricity
 

Mon 26/03/2012 17:53

NNA - 26/3/2012 Lebanese Forces Head Samir Geagea said that "Change and Reform" Bloc's formula in the issue of electricity is "either working by what the Bloc wants or no electricity in Lebanon."

Geagea was speaking in a chat with media representatives following his meeting with Deputy Sami Gemayel on Monday, who visited him at his Meerab residence.

Geagea criticized the current governmental situation, especially the drastic electricity crisis.

About the possibility of the fall of the current government due to the dire power crisis, Geagea ridiculed the presence of such a government, anticipating its collapse sooner or later.

In response to another question about his position regarding Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi, Geagea said that the Patriarch's political words do not reflect their aspirations.

On the other hand, Geagea met with Greek Ambassador to Lebanon Catherine Boura.
 

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Politics - Jumblatt for solution to Syrian crisis to avoid civil war
 

Mon 26/03/2012 17:29

NNA - 26/03/2012 - Deputy Walid Jumblatt stressed on Monday that a political solution must be found for the crisis in Syria in order to avoid any civil war in the country.

Jumblatt's words came Monday upon his return from Istanbul where he participated in a meeting for international socialist parties.

"The bad situation in Syria, if persisted, would trigger a civil war in the country that would negatively affect the region and lead to chaos on all levels," said Jumblatt.

A.M./P.BC.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi, Ozyildiz discuss preparations for Ankara visit
 

Mon 26/03/2012 17:02

NNA - 26/3/2012 Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi met on Monday afternoon at Bkirki with Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon Inan Ozyildiz, with talks reportedly touching on bilateral relations.

Talks also dwelt on preparations underway for Patriarch Rahi's forthcoming visit to Turkey.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Plumbly from Serail: Security Council appreciates Lebanon's reception of Syrian citizens
 

Mon 26/03/2012 16:39

NNA - 26/03/2012 - UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, said the Security Council appreciated Lebanon's welcome for Syrian citizens escaping the crisis in their country.

Plumbly's words came Monday from the Grand Serail upon meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

Plumbly quoted Security Council members saying that they were satisfied about Lebanon's progress in the course of implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

Separately, Mikati received Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour and discussed with him ministerial affairs.

Afterwards, he met with Deputy Simon Abi Ramia who assured that the Bloc of Reform and Change would follow up livelihood files to the end.

Among Mikati's visitors have been EU Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst; head of the Future of Revolution Party head, Ayman Nour; and others.
A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Mansour briefs Berri on Moscow's visit
 

Mon 26/03/2012 15:58

NNA - 26/03/2012 - Foreign Affairs Minister, Adnan Mansour, briefed House Speaker Nabih Berri on the outcomes of his visit to Moscow.

Mansour, who visited Ain Tineh on Monday, discussed with Berri the general situation in the country.

Earlier, Berri received Finance Minister, Mohammad Safadi. No disclosure as to the meeting's outcome was made.

Furthermore, the Speaker met over current situation with Lebanese Democratic Party head, Talal Erslan, State Minister Marwan Kheir Ed-Din, as well as Deputy head of said Party, former MP Marwan Abou Fadel.

Later on, Berri received the Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon, Inan Ozyildiz, as well as former Minister Abdul Rahim Mrad with talks touching on general situation.
P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Daouk: for safeguarding media freedom
 

Mon 26/03/2012 15:28

NNA - 26/03/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk said he would never hesitate to safeguard and defend the freedom of media in Lebanon.

Daouk's words came Sunday evening during a dinner banquet held by the World Catholic Union for Press (USIP), at the As-Soufara Palace of Dbayeh, in presence of Bishop Michel Aoun representing Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi and other dignitaries.

"Promise that I will never stop my demand, whether secretly or openly, for safeguarding media freedom and defending it, regardless whether the others accept that or not."

Daouk appreciated the union's positive stance towards media, which insisted that the media figure had the right to express his/her opinion in an absolute freedom.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Ghosn, Karam meet
 

Mon 26/03/2012 15:13

NNA - 26/03/2012 - Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn met over local developments and general situation with State Minister Salim Karam, who visited him at his ministry office on Monday.

Moreover, Ghosn received Ukrainian Ambassador, Volodymyr Koval, accompanied by Ukrainian military Attache. Talks reportedly touched on boosting bilateral relations especially in the military field.

Later, Cypriot Ambassador to Lebanon Homer Mavrommatis, who extended an official invitation to Ghosn to visit Cyprus, discussed with him the importance of enhancing bilateral relations.
P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman calls for addressing livelihood topics
 

Mon 26/03/2012 14:57

NNA - 26/3/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman Monday hoped for addressing pending dossiers with total keenness on people's interests, and by providing to the citizens all their necessary requirements, so as the government could deal with livelihood affairs along with security situation's stability and civil peace.

The President was briefed by concerned authorities on the ongoing investigations in various infractions so as to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Sleiman met in the regard with the Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel, with talks touching on general security affairs, as well as on the security forces efforts to control situation and pursue outlaws.

The situation in Roumiyeh prison was also a topic of conversation between Sleiman and Charbel.

On a different note, the President met State Minister Marwan kheir El-Din with talks featuring high on latest developments at the internal scene.

The Director General of state security, Brigadier George Koraa briefed Sleiman on the performance of the directorate, particularly at the level of fighting corruption and bribery in the public administrations and institutions.

Sleiman later discussed with the head of the court of audit, Judge Aouni Ramadan, adopted steps and pending files.

Amongst Baabda's visitors was also the Emirati Ambassador to Lebanon, Youssef Ali Al-Assimi, with whom he tackled bilateral ties and means to boost them.

A delegation of the Lebanese Maronite order headed by Father Tannous Nehme invited Sleiman to attend the Great Friday mass at USEK.

Eventually, Sleiman received the Formula 1 champion Kimi Raikkonen who informed the President of Lotus Company's intention to inaugurate an office in Beirut and build a Formula 1 circuit in Lebanon.

Raikkonen said he was willing to put Lebanon's flag on the race car he drives in all Formula 1 competitions around the world.
D.K.

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Politics - Mansour meets with Future of Revolution party senior
 

Mon 26/03/2012 14:47


NNA - 26/03/2012 - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister, Adnan Mansour, met on Monday with head of the Future of Revolution (Ghadu Thawra) party, Dr. Ayman Nour, over recent developments in Arab countries as well as the preparations for the upcoming Arab Summit, which would hopefully enhance the course of cooperation among the Arab countries.
On different note, Mansour left for Baghdad to chair Lebanon's delegation that will participate on Wednesday in the meetings of Arab Foreign Ministers in Baghdad.
A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Mikati: Electricity issue not against any political team
 

Mon 26/03/2012 14:07

NNA - 26/3/2012 Prime Minister Najib Mikati Sunday affirmed that finalizing the work of the ministerial committee tasked with studying electricity-generating barges is not directed against any political team.

Mikati said the issue ought to be tackled during Cabinet session in order to study it and adopt an appropriate decision herein.

"Electricity crisis has no political dimension," he remarked.

Speaking to Al-Jadeed television station, the Prime Minister said "I am an institutional man, let the Cabinet decide and I shall abide by the decision."

Asked about a probable upcoming governmental crisis, Mikati said no crisis ought to be born reiterating the need to place electricity issue outside political context.

Pertaining to amending the nationality law to grant Lebanese women the right to pass on citizenship to their children, Mikati uttered hoped that, before the arrival of Mother's Day next year, a solution would be figured out.

L.W.

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Politics - Abou Faour, Kelley tackle relief affairs
 

Mon 26/03/2012 14:03

NNA - 26/3/2012 - Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour respectively met Monday with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ninette kelley, and the US Charge D'affaires, Rick Mills, with talks touching on general affairs and regional developments.

Discussions featured high on the cooperation required for rescuing the displaced from Syria to North Lebanon.

Abou Faour insisted on keeping this dossier in its humanitarian frame, away from political investments.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Politics - LF accuses government of failure
 

Mon 26/03/2012 13:29

NNA - 26/3/2012 - Lebanese Forces press office issued a statement on Monday pointing fingers of accusation to the current government for the relentless corruption calling on cabinet to ratify laws which provide food safety for citizens.

On the occasion of commemorating the dissolving of the LF, the statement dwelled on the threats endangering the citizens and their children's lives due to the chaos in the food sector.

"Some keep disfiguring facts, misleading the public opinion, and deepening the gap between factions, not to forget their attempts to cover up their corruption and failure at different levels," the Lebanese forces accused.

Pertaining to the Palestinian cause, the statement said "LF's stance is very clear, and it has been reiterated by the party's Head Samir Geagea during his last visit to the USA and his call on Americans to support the establishment of a Palestinian state."

The party confirmed as well that it was keen on all pacts which stipulate conviviality, democracy, the respect of international resolutions, and people's right to decide their fate.
D.K.

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Politics - Kansu: Oil wealth is Lebanon's only guarantee
 

Mon 26/03/2012 12:55


NNA - 26/3/2012 - Member of Parliament Asem Kansu stressed that Lebanon's oil wealth whether in regional territorial waters or onshore is the only guarantee to resurrect the country and rid it of its debts.

The MP, who was speaking to delegations at his residence in Harmel, voiced his rejection to the formation of the oil regulatory authority which is designed to organize the sector.

He called for the creation of a separate oil ministry to supervise this sector, promising to submit a proposal to the parliament on this matter.

Kansu also touched on the suspension of work on the Assi water dam since July 2006 war.

The MP expressed his confidence that Syria will emerge triumphant from its current crisis under the leadership President of Bashar Assad who is facing a vicious aggression.

He also hailed the decision of Assad to pave the way other non Baath party members to nominate themselves for the elections in the Syrian parliament.
O.H

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Politics - Kassem Hashem: state's interest above any consideration
 

Mon 26/03/2012 12:49

NNA - 25/3/2012 - Member of the Development and Liberation Parliamentary Bloc, MP Kassem Hashem, considered that the government has reached an unfavorable state in returning to tackling important dossiers through the media, instead of resorting to the cabinet's table which is the natural place for discussing such matters. Hashem considered it unacceptable for the government to pursue such a level of performance in dealing with the people's daily living issues and burdens.

In this context, Hashem stressed that the Council of Ministers ought to work on overcoming the obstacles hindering its productivity. He added that the government ought to tackle its pending matters and priority dossiers around the cabinet's table, away from all political polemic and narrow political interests! Furthermore, he stressed the need to place the nation's benefit above all other considerations at any cost.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kassem Hashem: state's interest above any consideration
 

Mon 26/03/2012 12:49

NNA - 26/3/2012 - Member of the Development and Liberation Parliamentary Bloc, MP Kassem Hashem, considered that the government has reached an unfavorable state in returning to tackling important dossiers through the media, instead of resorting to the cabinet's table which is the natural place for discussing such matters. Hashem considered it unacceptable for the government to pursue such a level of performance in dealing with the people's daily living issues and burdens.

In this context, Hashem stressed that the Council of Ministers ought to work on overcoming the obstacles hindering its productivity. He added that the government ought to tackle its pending matters and priority dossiers around the cabinet's table, away from all political polemic and narrow political interests! Furthermore, he stressed the need to place the nation's benefit above all other considerations at any cost.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Pharaon refuses having parliamentary elections under cabinet
 

Mon 26/03/2012 12:41

NNA - 26/3/2012- Member of Parliament Michel Pharaon said that the Syrian regime lost its previous control over the status of other countries because of its internal problems, pointing out that "it is not possible to have the coming parliamentary elections under the control of the current cabinet and the presence of illegal weapons."

Pharaon remarks came in a statement in which he also said that there were attempts to abuse the problems inside the Palestinian camps to drag Lebanon to security unrest, calling for real dialogue to prevent the deterioration of the situation in and outside the camps.

The MP confirmed the need to implement National Dialogue decisions and reach a common ground regarding the defense strategy and illegal weapons.

Pharaon called for "implementing the higher national interest and necessity to reach a step forward in the demarcation of Lebanese-Syrian borders," pointing out to the necessity of preserving democracy, freedom and sovereignty. He stressed the need to keep Lebanon away from the repercussions of the Syrian crisis, confirming "the need to put Lebanon's interest first."

Pharaon stressed that Bkerki should adhere to its national values and principles, confirming that Lebanon's interest would be preserved by keeping Bkerki above all internal conflicts.

The MP said that Lebanon is currently experiencing the fall of the state, morals, values and principles, expressing his sorrow for the spread of corruption in the state.

L.Y.R/N.AF

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Politics - Qadiri: We still believe in dialogue
 

Mon 26/03/2012 12:03

NNA - 26/3/2012 - MP Ziad Qadiri Monday said his bloc, despite weapons' predominance repercussions, hasn't lost faith in dialogue as a way to cross to a competent state.

During his tour in Brazil for the commemoration of the Rafic Hariri assassination, Qadiri said change in Syria shall not be a reason for sedition as everyone claim.

"This change ought to be a golden opportunity to rebuild peace in our nation on the basis of openness and tolerance," he remarked.

Future bloc member also said that change in Syria shall be a chance to establish a new phase of Lebanese-Syrian ties.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Farid El-Khazen calls cabinet to manage electricity crisis
 

Mon 26/03/2012 11:58

NNA - 26/3/2012- Member of Parliament Farid El-Khazen expressed his sorrow over the fact that the electricity issue is a "chronic crisis", calling upon the cabinet to deal with this crisis.

Talking to "Voice of Lebanon" radio station, Khazen said that the sudden talk about a replacement to the electricity- power- generation- ships after communications to find a solution " indicates the intention not to find solutions" to this problem."

El-Khazen called upon all parties to deal seriously with this issue because it does not bear any delay.

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Harb says government busy dividing spoils
 

Mon 26/03/2012 10:57

NNA - 26/3/2012 - MP Boutros Harb Monday said government is too busy taking over projects and distributing spoils instead of handling citizens' needs.

Harb told Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio that throughout Lebanon's history no government has differed on everything such as this government altough it represents one political line.
L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Bazi: We will not cover any blunder in Cabinet
 

Mon 26/03/2012 10:45

NNA - 26/3/2012 - Development and Liberation Parliamentary bloc member MP Ali Bazi stressed that Amal is part of the government and for this reason the bloc will not cover any blunder or setback.

Bazi, who made these remarks at a memorial service in the south, said: "We are still a major party in the government but this does not mean that we absolve ourselves from any responsibility that rests on our shoulders especially when it comes to matters that concern all citizens."

He stressed that the bloc should set an example for others when it comes to addressing all files away from polarization and fighting.

The MP emphasized that the state should play the role of the guardian and protector for all the citizens.

He also commented on the campaign targeting the Lebanese army.

"Some hot headed Lebanese are targeting this prestigious and patriotic institution. This institution (army) is a red line for us because its guarantees security and stability for all the citizens," the MP said.

Bazi hailed the army for uncovering and arresting a fundamentalist network within the ranks of the army.

"The entire region around is simmering. Why some quarters in Lebanon are trying to draw the country to this fire? If you were truly Lebanese then you should put off this fire and prevent it from reaching our country," the MP said.
O.H

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Politics - Nicolas Nahhas: Cabinet will emerge healthy in Wednesday' session
 

Mon 26/03/2012 10:14

NNA - 26/3/2012 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas told "Voice of Lebanon" that the government will emerge safe and sound from Wednesday's session especially since the sharp debate over the issue of the electricity generating boats is not the first of its kind.

"Prime Minister Najib Mikati offered his scientific approach to this file (electricity) based on capabilities and advance technology," the minister said.

He added that the position of Finance Minister Mohammed Safadi stems from his concern, adding that each one should come up with the best solution for the electricity file.

Nahhas stressed that it is in the interest of all parties in the Cabinet to find a solution for the electricity crisis as soon as possible.

"Logic and common interest will prevail at the end because the current bewilderment on this issue is no longer acceptable," Nahhas explained.

As for the patients who were deprived of treatment by the National Social Security Fund, the minister assured that this file needs to be addressed as soon as possible, calling on all parties to stop raising their political rhetoric on such files.
O.H

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Politics - Hashem: Government ought to maintain its productivity away from obstacles' circle
 

Sun 25/03/2012 22:13

NNA - 25/3/2012 - Member of the Development and Liberation Parliamentary Bloc, MP Kassem Hashem, considered that the government has reached an unfavorable state in returning to tackling important dossiers through the media, instead of resorting to the cabinet's table which is the natural place for discussing such matters. Hashem considered it unacceptable for the government to pursue such a level of performance in dealing with the people's daily living issues and burdens.
In this context, Hashem stressed that the Council of Ministers ought to work on overcoming the obstacles hindering its productivity. He added that the government ought to tackle its pending matters and priority dossiers around the cabinet's table, away from all political polemic and narrow political interests! Furthermore, he stressed the need to place the nation's benefit above all other considerations at any cost.
Hashem's words came during a visit to the Southern town of Al-Arqoub on Sunday.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - March 14th electoral list wins in the Engineering Syndicate elections
 

Sun 25/03/2012 21:52

NNA - 25/3/2012 - "Syndicate Work List" pertaining to March 14th Forces, Progressive Socialist Party and the "Jamaa Islamiya" won in the Engineering Syndicate branching elections which took place in Beirut Sunday.
Elections for 5 new members in the Beirut Engineers' Syndicate Council began at 9:00 a.m. and closed at 6:00 p.m. Sunday, with 9,824 engineers casting their votes out of 27,000 registered members.
Strict security measures were adopted by the Internal Security Forces, so as to ensure a smooth running electoral day.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Harb and Zahra against political maneuvers scoring illusionary victories!
 

Sun 25/03/2012 20:20

NNA - 25/3/2012 - Deputies Butros Harb and Antoine Zahra declared in a statement Sunday that they shall agree to no solution that would stop the "Batroun Hospital" from functioning. Both deputies referred herein to a decision by the National Social Security Fund, issued on 22/3/2012, that prolongs the period accorded to the Hospital Administration to remain in operation till end of the current year 2012, in a bid to allow ample time for serious solutions that would restore the Hospital's active role. Hence, they objected to any attempt to halt operations at said Hospital or tampering with its employees' rights or contributing to the deterioration of the Hospital's conditions.
In this context, Harb and Zahra urged all concerned sides to cooperate for the sake of preventing any political maneuvers that aim at scoring "illusionary victories" at the account of citizens' health and suffering!
Meanwhile, they expressed a word of gratitude to the Prime Minister, as well as Labor and Health Ministers, for their assistance in this matter. Furthermore, they implored the cabinet to endorse a decision to prolong the Hospital's investment agreement with the National Social Security Fund till the year 2025, while arranging for biddings to allow the private sector the chance to run the Hospital, in accordance with NSSF rules and regulations, so as to continue its catering to under-privileged citizens' health care needs.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hbeish: 'Smell of corruption' in electricity ships deal!
 

Sun 25/03/2012 19:44

NNA - 25/3/2012 - Member of the Future Parliamentary Bloc, MP Hadi Hbeish, stated Sunday that the "smell of corruption" is evident in the electricity ships deal. He added, herein, that there exist two teams within the government, one aspiring to provide electricity to citizens without wasting the State's funds while the other team aims at ensuring its required funds for the upcoming electoral campaign under the electricity cover! Hbeish explained that this was obvious in the huge difference between the proposals submitted by both teams, which reached an enormous sum of 300 million USD!
Hbeish went on to stress that his Bloc shall play its role at the Parliament Council in voicing total objection to this deal. He added that his Bloc is in support of any project that would provide electricity to the people, and not ensuring funds for candidates intending to run in the upcoming 2013 elections!
Over the current government's status, Hbeish considered it persistent through a political decision in the hands of Hizbollah Secretary General, Sayid Hasan Nasrallah, backed by the Syrian regime. He added that it is clear that the government is to remain standing, so as to confront the Arab and international communities as a "spokesperson" for the Syrian regime! However, Hbeish noted that political disputes within the government's constituents are apparently huge.
On the other hand, Hbeish addressed a word of gratitude on behalf of Akkar citizens to all forces who assisted in ensuring the sum of 100 million USD devoted to completing the North Highway. He also called on the Higher Refuge Body to compensate citizens who have incurred damages as a result of the snow storms that hit Akkar this winter season.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qortbawi to speak about appointments and expired food items
 

Sun 25/03/2012 19:05

NNA - 25/3/2012 - Labor Minister, Shakib Qortbawi, is expected to hold a press conference at 11:30 a.m. Monday at his Ministry office, during which he will tackle the judicial appointments issue. He will also be touching on investigations into the expired food items' dossier, as well as that of foreign laborers operating in Lebanon.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Women Marching for Gender Equality
 

Sun 25/03/2012 17:46

NNA - 25/03/2012 - Thirty-five women's associations staged a march from the Barbeer Crossing to the Government Serail to claim gender equality against the backdrop of full citizenship.

Demonstrators brandished slogans calling for: a secular personal status law--a 33% quota for women in private and public institutions--full social/economic rights for Palestinian women and gender equalization in terms of job opportunities.

Wafaa Sleiman, wife of the Lebanese president dispatched her support for the marchers through a special message read by one woman activist while social worker Fahmiyyeh Sharafuddeen expressed solidarity with refugee women in the camps. Leena Alamuddeen of the Arab Women's Network also spoke in the same vein before Caroline Salibi an Arab N.G.O. representative read messages of solidarity from Tunisian, Egyptian, and Jordanian and Syrian women in support of their Lebanese comrades. There were calls to overthrow Syrian and Arab dictatorships as a means for building a new future for the region and the world.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Islamo-Christian meetings final declaration
 

Sun 25/03/2012 17:08

NNA - 25/03/2012 - The Islamo-Christian meeting in Bkiriki comprising leaders from various Lebanese religious sects wrapped up at a final declaration in which they offered condolences to the Egyptian people at the passing away of head of the Orthodox Coptic Church of Egypt Shenouda III.

Religious Heads also offered condolences to the Syrian people at the passing away of Druze Akl of Syria in his hometown of Soueida.

Having reviewed Arab-Spring related events during the last year, religious representatives expressed deep apprehension at the level of violence and bloodshed meted against the peoples of Syria, Iraq and Palestine. They however, condoned people's right in liberty and freedom including their free choice of government. They expressed support for a future independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital.

Religious dignitaries also opted for continued national dialogue for the purpose of domestic resolution of conflicts and preferred to keep social and economic files away from politics.

They agreed to hold regular meetings over hot domestic and Arab issues.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Yazbek for Exposing Corruption!
 

Sun 25/03/2012 16:41

N.N.A. March 25, 2012 Special Khomeini representative to Lebanon cleric Muhammad Yazbek, demanded that all corruption be exposed.

Speaking at a Hizbullah funeral at the Khomeini Husayniyya mosque of Baalbek today, Yazbek commented on the appalling situation of spoiled food, expired medicines etc. in that corruption must be immediately exposed. He blamed all actual mishaps on a state so much wanting in terms of self-respect.

Politically-speaking, the senior Hizbullah cleric demanded that regimentation and incitement levels be reduced for the sake of safeguarding the country. He duly urged whom he qualified as striving to tailor the country to their own size to fear Allah, Man and good conscience that is, if they happen to possess any of those. Yazbek concluded that all religious-sects were ahead of their respective leaders in terms of preserving national unity.

G.G./R.K.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi for dialogue at Muslim-Christian gathering
 

Sun 25/03/2012 15:25

NNA - 05/03/2012 - Maronite patriarch Bechara Rai, underscored the significance of Islamo-Christian dialogue during an interconfessional meeting under his patronage in Bkirki today.

The Patriarch who welcomed inter-denominational dignitaries thanked them for their efforts deemed useful to further inter-confessional peaceful coexistence. He argued that dialogue is the best way for conflict-resolution between various sects. Rahi opted for a continued open dialogue between various religious heads in view of ongoing unforeseen developments at the local and regional levels.

The Patriarch concluded that talking is the best guarantee for Lebanese National unity.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (corrected) Siniora Critical of Government Performance!
 

Sun 25/03/2012 15:15

NNA - 25/03/2012 - Head of the Hariri Future parliamentarian Bloc Fouad Siniora, lashed out at negative government performance in all respe4cts of daily life and relevant activities.

Addressing supporters coming to check on him at his Hlaliyyeh office today, Siniora accused Makati-led cabinet of raising a storm over expired food stuffs, spent medicines, energy penury and faulty telecommunications without genuinely coping with this urgency in a meaningful-professional way.

Siniora attributed actual deteriorating conditions at all levels to "unprecedented decline in government attendance to incumbent tasks unlike any other cabinet"

The former Prime Minister refused to call Salafist preacher Ahmad al-Aseer a terrorist or extremist albeit, he turned down what he termed "subjecting his Future Bloc to a blood test in order to determine the extent of its patriotic commitment or loyalty to the country. He also refused to meet same treatment to the pro-government camp

Siniora underscored Hariri's moderate position not only verbally speaking but rather in the practical sense.
G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Syniora Critical of Government Performance!
 

Sun 25/03/2012 14:59

N.N.A. March 25, 2012 Head of the Hariri Future parliamentarian Bloc Fouad Syniora, lashed out at negative government performance in all respe4cts of daily life and relevant activities.
Adressing supporters coming to check on him at his Hlaliyyeh office today, Syniora accused Miqati-led cabinet of raising a storm over expired food stuffs, spent medicines,energy penury and faulty telecommunications without genuinely coping with this urgency in a meaningful-professional way.
Sinyora attributed actual deteriorating conditions at all levels to "unprecedented decline in government attendance to encumbent tasks unlike any other cabinet"
The former prime minikster refused to call Salafist preacher Ahmad al-Aseer a terrorist or extremist albeit, he turned down what he termed "subjecting his Future Bloc to a blood test in order to determine the extent of its patriotic commitment or loyalty to the country. He also refused to mett same treatment to the pro-government camp
Syniora underscored Hariri's moderate position not only verbally speaking but rather in the practical sense.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - No problem with Bkirky, current cabinet most fraudulent - Geagea
 

Sun 25/03/2012 14:01

NNA - 25/03/2012 Head of Lebanese Forces, Samir Geagea, denied Sunday reports of crisis with Maronite Patriarch, despite harsh criticism of the latter's stances concerning Syrian uprising, as he described current cabinet as the most corrupt in the history of the nation to a delegation of LF women from Zahle branch visiting his Meehrab residence.

The veteran politician has been at odds with Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi, who endorsed the Syrian regime against the people's revolt, citing his fear for Christian presence in the East as a main reason behind his stances.

"We will always revere Bkirky," exclaimed Geagea, who added that his reaction was stern because of his deep love and respect for the Patriarchate. His party, however, did not attend today's mass on the occasion of the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, presided over by Rahi.

"The Syrian regime attempted to market the idea that Christians are a weak minority in Lebanon, and everyone who collaborated with the regime explained this alliance using said logic." Head of the LF asserted that this was not true of Lebanese Christians.

Commenting on rival camp of March 8, particularly the Aounist trend, Geagea remarked that, "Lebanon has never witnessed a government as corrupt as this one, starting with electricity and ending with telecommunications."

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Aoun, Rahi convene in private
 

Sun 25/03/2012 13:32


NNA - 25/03/2012 Head of Free Patriotic Movement, MP Michel Aoun, held a closed-door-meeting with Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi on Sunday.

Upon emerging, Aoun congratulated Rahi on his first anniversary as head of the Maronite Church without tapping into the private conversation they had.
R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi refuses violence, calls for national reconciliation
 

Sun 25/03/2012 13:25

NNA - 25/03/2012 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi repudiated Sunday all forms of aggression in Lebanon and abroad and called for Lebanese to reconcile during a sermon celebrating the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the first anniversary of his election as Patriarch.

The mass was attended by Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, Energy Minister Gibran Bassil, and a host of officials and other figures.

Criticism against stances of Bkirky concerning Arab Spring, particularly Syrian uprising, has intensified over the past year. Rahi's ambiguous position, which leaned towards supporting the regime in Syria, made it urgent that he explain events of his year as Patriarch in a public letter issued today under the title "Partnership and Love," which has been his slogan of choice since 2011.

"Based on our Christian mores we denounce and refuse any violence...or incitement to violence committed on our territories or elsewhere," said Rahi, asserting that the Maronite Church rejected all forms of religious and political differences.

He urged the Lebanese of various factions to overcome their differences and achieve "sustainable reconciliation."
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Israel supports Assad's regime: Fatfat
 

Sun 25/03/2012 12:51

NNA - 25/03/2012 Future Bloc MP, Ahmad Fatfat, accused Sunday the Jewish-American lobby of supporting Assad's regime, as he attempted to calm worries of Maronite Patriarch towards Syrian Spring, describing stances of Mufti and Patriarch as most pivotal for Lebanon.

Fatfat spoke to reporters and Future Bloc members in Australia, where he is currently on a visit, about the uprising in Syria, fully supported by March 14 Camp in Lebanon, while Patriarch Beshara Rahi echoed March 8 Camp worries about effects of the revolt on domestic affairs in Lebanon.

Lebanon was bound to be positively affected by the inevitable democracy that would ensue after the fall of President Bashar Assad's regime, according to the MP. He asserted that an understanding with Syrian National Council would be put into action regarding recognizing Lebanon's sovereignty and borders, thus solving pending Syrian-Lebanese issues which have been lingering for over 43 years.

"Our support is political and humanitarian towards Syrian refugees; however, we are against using Lebanese territories as headquarters or passage-way for any security intervention or arms smuggling to Syria. We are also opposed to the presence of any non-Lebanese forces on our land."

Fatfat refused an argument that said events in Syria aimed at reprimanding the regime for supporting the Resistance against its struggle with Israel.

"The Jewish-American lobby is exercising great pressure on the White House to stray away from stern stances against President Bashar Assad. The Israeli government wants to maintain Assad's regime...to safeguard the peace in Golan [Heights] and strike at any Arab liberal movement that may shake the stability in the region, which goes against Israel's strategy."

Tapping on the subject of Hezbollah, the MP clarified that soon the party would realize that its artillery has become a burden and would focus on political activity more instead.

"We do not want to throw Hezbollah's arms to the sea, but rather integrate it with the Lebanese army." Fatfat insisted that all illegal arms be withdrawn from Lebanese militias and mafias.

Fatfat also tended to worries of Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi, which heightened with the onset of Syria's uprising, asserting that through dialogue everything would be clarified. "Bkirky is a national reference, regardless of political stances."

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Khalil rejects cabinet that doesn't guard its army, stands by Assad
 

Sun 25/03/2012 12:03

NNA - 25/03/2012 Public Health Minister, Ali Hassan Khalil, criticized the cabinet Sunday for not standing by the armed forces against slander by certain political parties, and insisted that he was partial towards the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria.

Khalil addressed a group of political affiliates in Nabatiyeh, south Lebanon during the joint annual meeting of the Municipal Councils and voluntary health bodies.

The resistant role that Assad's regime played through the years against the USA and Israel, particularly in its full support of Hezbollah, lay at the core of events in the neighboring country, according to the Minister. "This entails a great responsibility upon the Lebanese to stand by sister Syria, its stability and unity."

The Minister also slammed the cabinet for not taking a more stern stance against critics of the military institution.

"We cannot accept to be in a government that doesn't provide cover for its national army, which has always constituted a guarantee for our�domestic stability."
R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt returns from Istanbul
 

Sat 24/03/2012 23:02

NNA - 24/3/2012 - National Struggle Front Head, MP Walid Jumblatt, returned to Beirut Saturday, following his visit to the Turkish Capital, Istanbul.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Al-Rai heads church mass marking "Annunciation Day"
 

Sat 24/03/2012 21:43

NNA - 24/3/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai headed a mass service at "Our Lady of Lebanon" Basilica in Harissa Saturday, marking the occasion of "Annunciation Day."
In his religious sermon, Al-Rai shed light on meanings portrayed by this sacred occasion. Al-Rai condemned any and all acts of violence and aggression against human life, whether in body or soul or fate. He referred herein to God's clear call to mankind to refrain from any act of aggression or killing against fellow humans. Al-Rai reminded that while celebrating "Annunciation Day" or "good news," believers ought to demonstrate this loving joy in their affiliation to their nation and society and families, and to humanity as a whole. Hence, he urged all to become "good news" to their fellow citizens and groups, and live the joy of goodness in every day of their lives.
Following church mass, Al-Rai gave his blessings to believers as they marched in celebration holding candles. Al-Rai also inaugurated an art exhibition on the occasion.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Khoury: To place national interests above all others
 

Sat 24/03/2012 19:51

NNA - 24/3/2012 - Prime Minister, Najib Meqati, patronized Saturday the inauguration of Batroun Forum's first annual conference on culture and heritage, represented by Environment Minister, Nazem El-Khoury. The event marked the launching of the Forum's program agenda, which was attended by a number of prominent dignitaries.
In his word on behalf of PM Meqati, El-Khoury relayed the Prime Minister's greetings, while praising the valued initiative by the Batroun Forum in organizing such an important cultural event. Khoury considered that any society that fails to preserve its historical heritage cannot build its future nor ameliorate its present. He indicated herein that the "school of history" denotes an incentive to learn and progress towards a better tomorrow, avoiding any repetition of past mistakes.
Khoury went on to note that Lebanon, which has for long occupied a pioneering place in the world of culture and heritage, is facing today difficult challenges that target its role and position. However, he stressed that Lebanon can and will confront all challenges, so as to ensure its self-protection and preservation. Hence, he urged all Lebanese to maintain national interests above all other interests, avoiding all political strife and disputes that would only lead to increased internal tension and reflect negatively on the country's well-being.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Akkar Deputies: To speed-up aids to Syrian refugees
 

Sat 24/03/2012 19:23

NNA - 24/3/2012 - Akkar Deputies' Bloc held a meeting Saturday at MP Khaled Daher's residence in Tripoli, which was devoted to discussing various developmental, security, political & social issues pertaining to the region of Akkar.
Talks during the meeting also centered on the Syrian situation and the Syrian regime's continuous attacks against civilians along the border region, especially in Wadi Khaled. In this context, Bloc members expressed surprise at the Lebanese State's failure to carry out its duties in defending national sovereignty and protecting civilians present on its soil. The Bloc also criticized the Lebanese government's slow pace in transferring the needed funds to the "Higher Refuge Body" in order to aid innocent Syrian civilians and casualties seeking refuge on Lebanese territories. Hence, they called for speeding-up aids to Syrian refugees and widening the work scope of the Refuge Body to include those in the Beqaa.
On the other hand, Bloc members welcomed the increase of the allocated funds for the completion of the North-Akkar Highway far-reaching the Lebanese-Syrian borders. The Bloc considered this project as a first step towards ensuring the Akkar region's development and progress, especially after years of being deprived of proper attention by the State.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Amine Gemayel for humanitarian relief
 

Sat 24/03/2012 18:01

NNA - 24/03/2012 - Kataeb Party boss Amine Gemayel favored humanitarian relief to victims of ongoing Arab unrest.

His plea to the European Union came during a visit to Belgium where he attended an international conference and met with senior EU official Pierre Vemun who pledged support for victims of crisis fallout. Both men boarded the refugee question emanating from the troubled Syrian interior.

The Kataeb head also met with Belgian Crown Prince Philippe over strategic and economic concerns.

He also met with Head of the Transitional Libyan National Council Mahmoud Jibril and accorded Euronews TV station an exclusive interview over the Arab spring and stability in Lebanon.

Gemayel also accorded daily French newspaper La Croix an interview in the same vein.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri unhappy with Arab decision-makers
 

Sat 24/03/2012 17:06

NNA - 24/03/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri told interlocutors at Ain Tineh residence that Arab decision-makers are not to be trusted and that they never cared about us.

Berri told Faraj Abdallah from the Union of Arab Teachers that teachers must not be taken in by sweet words from Arabs. He expressed regret at the present Arab predicament saying all Arabs must return to the spirit of solidarity and compassion.

Berri recalled with nostalgia the old spirit that prevailed once upon a time between the Arabs; albeit, he had good words for the post-Qaddafi government in Tripoli. He noted the present Libyan government's concern for the fate of vanished Shiite Imam Moussa Sadr.

Berri disclosed that contacts between Ain Tineh and Libya persist over Sadr and that the Libyans must do all they could to close this file. He warned that Israel would take advantage of Arab disunity to strike at each and every Arab nation separately.

The House Speaker favored a comprehensive Arab educational policy taking into consideration Arab market's need.

One member of the visiting Arab delegation, Nehme Mahfouz, thanked Berri for his hospitality and commended him for his supportive role for teachers.

A delegation of Muslim scholars (Ulema) headed by Ahmad Zein boarded with Berri the present situation in Syria with Berri reportedly refusing to meddle in Syrian affairs.

Berri reiterated non-interference in Syrian affairs, keeping Lebanon out of the Syrian fray, protecting Lebanese citizens against spoiled food and exposing Israeli attempts to Judaize Jerusalem.

Among itinerant Ain Tineh visitors were Bassam Ayyoubi and Rania Bou Kheir who was awarded the Francophone 2011 prize for youth researchers.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 



















 


 

Politics - Daouk for a free E-D Law
 

Sat 24/03/2012 16:27

NNA - 24/03/2012 - Minister of Information Walid Daouk came out in favor of a free-open electronic dissemination (E-D)Law.

Interviewed on al-Fajr (Dawn) radio station today, the Minister reiterated that such legislations would be characterized by total freedom of expression and openness and that the purpose is not tantamount to a control-exercise rather than properly organizing electronic-news-dissemination. He indicated that the objective behind the intended voluntary law would be in keeping the ministry abreast of any newly-improvised operational websites.

He indicated that protection granted to websites by the ministry would improve and ensure a high- quality news dissemination based on a professional politically unbiased law.
G.G./P.BC.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 


Politics - Private hospitals halt social security approvals on Monday
 

Sat 24/03/2012 15:20


NNA - 24/03/2012 The Union of Private Hospitals in Lebanon called on private hospitals to stop accepting approvals issued by the National Social Security Fund as of Monday and for a week, except for dialysis and chemotherapy patients.
Workers at private hospitals plan to hold a sit-in outside the Grand Serail on Saturday to call for the amendment of hospitalization tariffs proportionately to the wage increase.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Baabda itinerant visitors and activities today
 

Sat 24/03/2012 14:41

NNA - 24/03/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman urged local municipal and security departments to do all they could to check violations and crackdown on outlaws with regards to expired food stuffs.

He reiterated need for preserving public health by referring all law-breakers to trial. He listed public health as his top priority adding to it the right of access of all citizens to medical supplies. He vowed violators would henceforth enjoy absolutely no cover from anyone saying Lebanon's reputation is at stake.

The Presidential affirmations came during visits to Baabda by Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi and the Association of Lebanese consumers head Zuheir Berro who reassured him to the effect that they would conduct precise investigation into the matter.

President Sleiman and Qortbawi also agreed on checking price list index for all consumer commodities with all violators liable to stand trial.

A visiting delegation of Arab teachers conferred with the President over holding their next conference in Beirut while head of the Lebanese Union of Fencing Ziad Chweiri briefed the President over Lebanese prize-winning champions in Jordan with President Sleiman conferring on Chweiri a medal of appreciation for the tournament for his team's recent achievements in the Jordanian fencing tournament.

Mountain climbers Rafi Farajian and Bassam Sfeir presented the President with the Lebanese flag they've planted on top of Mount Everest.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved














 

Politics - Rahi holds SESOBEL mass, defends stances
 

Sat 24/03/2012 14:12

NNA - 24/03/2012 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi celebrated the 35th anniversary of SESOBEL Saturday with a festive mass at Bkirky, as he retaliated to his critics, describing his stances as peaceful.

SESOBEL is a non-governmental organization founded in 1976 by Yvonne Chami. It implements a coherent and monitored service of assisting disabled children and accompanies their families as partners in facing life's challenges.

The mass was attended by Apostolic Nuncio, Gabrielle Caccia, Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, representative of President Michel Sleiman, Nehmetallah Abi Nasser, French Ambassador Denis Pietton, along with a crowd of concerned members of society.

The Patriarch's stance from the Arab Spring, particularly the situation in Syria, has placed him in an undesirable position with supporters of the people's uprising.

"The church needs you to face slander and smearing campaigns from within and outside [the country], caused by our call and commitment for truth, justice, unity and rejecting violence," said Rahi during his mass.


 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aridi complains about divisions
 

Sat 24/03/2012 14:01

NNA - 24/03/2012 - Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi complained at the present state of divisions marring the country.

Addressing a Socialist Party rally in Kharroub district today, Aridi told Party supporters marking the anniversary of the assassination of Kamal Jumblatt at the Local Cultural Club that the Lebanese now crave a discourse based on wisdom and rationality rather than tension and incitement.

About the present position charted by Jumblatt's PSP, Aridi confirmed that positions are determined by momentary reading of each and every political juncture. He described PSP attitude with regards to developments as being incisively comprehensive.

He warned all those critical of his party against going to the forthcoming elections in a tension-ridden spirit and concluded that any attempt at scratching out the PSP off the Lebanese political map is bound to fail.

He criticized the present Lebanese administration for total mismanagement saying due to such failures in the domains of water supply, expired food stuffs, lack of energy supply and scandals wrought on the agricultural sector were all causes of deep concern and a source of division.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved










 

Politics - Charbel bails out prisoners in Roumieh
 

Sat 24/03/2012 13:37

NNA - 24/03/2012 Minister of Interior and Municipalities offered Saturday bail for prisoners in Roumieh penitentiary who have served their term but did not have the means to pay the fines required for their release.

Inmates who have done their time but are unable to pay the fees required of them, for expenses while in custody, continue to languish in prison. The fee set for their freedom is one day detention for every ten thousand Lebanese Pounds not paid (almost six USD).

Minister Marwan Charbel's humanitarian move is a first in this regard. He planned to have a similar approach towards other prisons spread throughout the country.

The donors who aided in this move were: Talal Maqdisi Social Development Foundation; Mawarid Bank; Amal Abou Zaid and Michel Daher.

R.Z.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk sees Chadian counterpart today
 

Sat 24/03/2012 13:04

NNA - 24/03/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk met with visiting Chadian counterpart Hassan Sylla at his Ministry office in presence of Chadian Higher Learning Minister Ahmad Mohammad and Charge d'affaires to Beirut Ghazi Assaker.

In his welcoming address, Minister Daouk extolled excellent bilateral relations between Chad and Lebanon and called for fresh meetings between respective ministries in order to further bilateral cooperation.

He brought to attention that Arabic became a second official language in the African nation.

Minister Sylla for his part thanked his Lebanese counterpart for his warmth and hospitality and reiterated support for Arab causes. He also saw eye-to-eye with the Minister to further cooperation between both ministries to the benefit of Arab and Chadian media.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - MP Harb accuses ministers of corruption
 

Sat 24/03/2012 12:53

NNA - 24/03/2012 - Leading March 14 parliamentarian Boutros Harb accused Aounist ministers on board the Mikati cabinet of utter corruption saying what counts most now is to inculcate a sense of patriotic belonging into the body politic rather than proving one's loyalty to an external party.

Harb predicated any meaningful transition in Lebanon on radical changes underway in neighboring Syria. The deputy and, in an interview on Voice of Lebanon radio station, regarded the Hariri-led parliamentarian opposition as the mainstay for any patriotic conscience arguing that through its ability to hold the government fully accountable for its actions, the opposition would effectively place Mikati's cabinet under scrutiny.

He expressed skepticism with regards to any future role the Iranians were bound to play in Lebanon saying they were planning to mold Lebanon after their own religious-theocratic image.
The deputy reiterated that Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah acted at the behest of the Iranian regime and infringed laws of the land in many respects.

Harb pleaded with the president not to yield to pressure in nominating new cabinet members and ended on a call for a political renewal of the Lebanese political system.
G.G.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Syrian people punished for supporting Hezbollah - Khreiss
 

Sat 24/03/2012 11:53

NNA - 24/03/2012 Liberation and Development Bloc member Ali Khreiss summed up the Syrian uprising Saturday as a form of retribution for the people's support of the Islamic Resistance.

The MP addressed an audience of his supporters during a funeral ceremony in Tyre, south Lebanon.

"Arab states want the Syrian regime to dismantle its relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, and forget the Palestinian cause," he said.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi: we will help people learn that the final word is not for evil
 

Fri 23/03/2012 21:52

NNA - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi said on Friday, "We stick hard to our faith and we'll help our people to preserve their values, in order not to surrender to difficulties or even think that the last word is for evil."


The Patriarch received on Friday at his residence in Bkirki members of the office of priesthood affairs.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk: we'll cooperate to present best media laws
 

Fri 23/03/2012 20:23

NNA - 23/03/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk said he would negotiate with media resources to present the best formulation of a media law draft.

The Minister received Friday at his office the ones in charge of electronic websites for the following: Lebanon Files; Free Patriotic Movement; Kataeb; Lebanese Forces; Now Lebanon; and Naharnet. Talks reportedly featured high on finding a law project that would regulate the performance of the media sector.

"We discussed during the meeting ideas which we should follow up to serve the local media interest," said Daouk, who also affirmed, "I am an open-minded man who favors a communication that best serves the media sector."
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Nahhas, MPs raise Orthodox-related demands with Mansour
 

Fri 23/03/2012 19:39

NNA - 23/03/2012 - The status of full-time Orthodox employees at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry featured high Friday on talks between Foreign Affairs Minister Adnan Mansour and a visiting delegation representing the Orthodox Consultancy, headed by Minister Nicholas Nahhas and MPs Ghassan Moukheiber and Robert Fadel.

"The delegation handed the minister a hand written letter revolving around this issue," a statement by the consultancy read, stating as well that their main concerns were set on the diplomatic, consular, and administrative sector.

The hand-written statement requested the preservation of the 8 Orthodox Ambassadors quota, the appointment of an Orthodox person to head one of the ministry's four main directorates, and to give them similar treatment to other sects.

In turn, Minister Mansour duly promised to fittingly follow up the matter in coordination with Minister Nicholas Nahhas.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Turkish Minister says Turkey to continue supporting Lebanon
 

Fri 23/03/2012 19:08

NNA - 23/3/2012 - Turkey will continue to support and stand by the Lebanese people, Turkish Minister of National Education, Omer Dencer, said Friday from Kwashra village, where he had been to lay the cornerstone for a public school, a project donated and funded by the Turkish government.

Dencer, who said he was upbeat on the well-entrenched Lebanese-Turkish ties, arrived earlier today in Akkar, as part of a state visit he is currently effectuating in Lebanon.

The Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon, Inan Ozyildiz, accompanied the visiting Minister on his tour in the North. The pair will be attending a dinner banquet at Yildizlar restaurant in Kwashra, which the Lebanese-Turkish Friendship Association is hosting in their honor.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman, interlocutors tackle current developments
 

Fri 23/03/2012 18:52

NNA - 23/3/2012 President of the Republic Michel Sleiman met respectively on Friday afternoon at Baabda palace with former deputies Hussein Yateem and Jamil Shammas, with talks reportedly touching on the current developments on the domestic scene.
---------------L.Y

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Politics - Qobeissi: State bears responsibility for food corruption dossier
 

Fri 23/03/2012 18:51

NNA - 23/3/2012 "Development and Liberation" Bloc member Hani Qobeissi said that the State bears responsibility for food corruption dossier, pointing out that 60% of public positions are currently vacant.

Deputy Qobeissi's words came during a ceremony held in the southern town of Nabatieh, marking Mother's Day, attended by local dignitaries.

The MP stressed the necessity of filling up vacant public positions, since state institutions should carry out their full duties towards citizens' lives and their safety.

Qobeissi also indicated that state institutions remain hostage of unjustified disputes by officials, hoping that the Lebanese government would take steps to fill in vacant state posts.
----------------L.Y
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Politics - Osseiran promotes wind energy production
 

Fri 23/03/2012 18:40

NNA - 23/03/2012 - MP Ali Osseiran wondered on Friday why the Lebanese don't make use of Lebanon's rich wind to produce energy instead of bickering over "this or that power-generating ship."

"Not only that all the suggested power-producing means are insufficient, but they also pollute the environment," Osseiran warned in statement, suggesting that the Lebanese opt for wind energy as the best alternative.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Arab Teachers Union briefs Mikati on Beirut activities
 

Fri 23/03/2012 18:24

NNA - 23/03/2012 - A visiting delegation of Arab League Teachers on Friday briefed Prime Minister Najib Mikati on the outcome of their Beirut-based discussions, which are expected to last till Sunday.

It is to note that the delegation visited Mikati at the Grand Serail in the company of Higher Learning and National Education Minister Hassan Diab and Lebanon's teachers' syndicate head, Nehme Mahfouz.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ousseiran promotes wind energy production
 

Fri 23/03/2012 18:11

NNA - 23/03/2012 - MP Ali Osseiran wondered on Friday why the Lebanese don't make use of Lebanon's rich wind to produce energy instead of bickering over "this or that power-generating ship."

"Not only that all the suggested power-producing means are insufficient, but they also pollute the environment," Ousseiran warned in statement, suggesting that the Lebanese opt for wind energy as the best alternative.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman, interlocutors tackle current developments
 

Fri 23/03/2012 18:02

NNA - 23/3/2012 President of the Republic Michel Sleiman met respectively on Friday afternoon at Baabda palace wth former deputies Hussein Yateem and Jamil Shammas, with talks reportedly touching on the current developments on the domestic scene.
---------------L.Y

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Politics - Khalil, ambassadors take up health affairs
 

Fri 23/03/2012 17:39

NNA - 23/3/2012 - Minister of Public Health, Ali Hassan Khalil, on Friday held a series of meetings with a number of ambassadors and diplomatic and humanitarian missions, mainly to broach bilateral ties and health-related affairs of common interest.

The Minister met first with the Italian Ambassador to Lebanon, Giuseppe Morabito, with talks featuring high on the Lebanese-Italian relations and the cooperation protocol inked with Rafik Hariri university hospital in Beirut.

Khalil later met with the Dutch Ambassador to Lebanon over the means to facilitate the work of Netherlands' companies operating in the field of food supplements and energy drinks.

He also received the ambassador of Sudan, Idriss Suleiman, who proposed the signature of a health-related protocol on organizing the admission of Sudanese patients for treatment in Lebanon's hospitals within the frame of bolstering health tourism therein.

Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross also visited Minister Khalil today.

Talks reportedly focused on the condition of prisons and the role assumed by the Red Cross on this level.

Khalil later met with MP Atef Majdalani and former Deputy Jihad Samad.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel promises amendments to billboards' law
 

Fri 23/03/2012 17:18

NNA - 23/03/2012 - The Interior and Municipalities Minister affirmed on Friday that the street billboards' law would be subject to amendments, promising of a new project law which largely takes into consideration environmental preservation.

Minister Marwan Charbel said before a visiting delegation representing the billboard owners' syndicate, that the billboards' law item 8861, issued back in 1996, would be amended in a way where billboards would no longer distort the environment on the one hand, and controls fair revenues between the private and public sectors, on the other.

"Revenues incurred by billboards can cover the financial needs of a number of municipalities to accomplish their developmental requirements without having to resort to other funds," the Minister said.
R.H.

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Politics - Qahwaji, Ogassapian dwell on developments
 

Fri 23/03/2012 16:45

NNA - 23/03/2012 - Lebanese Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji on Friday skimmed through general developments with MP Jean Ogassapian who visited him at his Yarzeh office.


R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Beirut MPs tackle hippodrome plans
 

Fri 23/03/2012 15:14

NNA - 23/3/2012 - Beirut Deputies held Friday a meeting dwelling on the pending issue of the roman historical hippodrome in Wadi Abou Jamil, DT.

The meeting was held at the parliament in presence of Deputies Nabil De Freij, Muhammad Kabbani, Nadim Gemayel, Seboh Kalbakian, Serge Tersarkissian, Michel Pharaon, Ammar Houry and Tammam Salam.

Deputies convened in the wake of the former Culture Ministers' news conference held yesterday (Thursday) to voice objections to a decision by the Culture Ministry to allow construction on the site of a roman hippodrome in Downtown Beirut.

Deputy Pharaon added to the list of fraud and corruption lately taking place at the level of power-generating ships and the renewal for cell phone companies, the latest decision of Culture Minister Gaby Layoun to reverse a previous ministerial resolution to designate the roman hippodrome as a protected heritage site and allow a company to build there.

The MP settled for warning Minister Layoun not to go further with his action, as he would be incapable of preserving Beirut's heritage.

Pharaon confirmed as well that Beirut Deputies were willing to file a complaint before the Shura council so as to hamper the Minister's decision.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman adamant to protect security, civil peace
 

Fri 23/03/2012 15:02

NNA - 23/3/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Friday hailed the efforts by military and security forces to control maritime and land borders' security and maintain civil peace, mainly amid the current juncture sweeping the neighboring Mideast region.

The President met today at Baabda palace with Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji, and upped calls not to be lenient with saboteurs.

"Security remains on top of any consideration; it is the key to stability in the country," he said.

Separately, Sleiman met with State Minister for Parliament Affairs, Nicolas Fattoush.

The pair reportedly skimmed through a bundle of project laws forwarded by the cabinet before the Parliament.

General Abdul Rahman Shehaitli had also been to Baabda palace today for a meeting with the President over the underway measures adopted by the Lebanese side on the level of sea borders' demarcation.

Later on, Sleiman respectively met with a delegation of the Economic Solidarity Forum headed by Amer Arslan and a delegation of taxi drivers' syndicate headed by Marwan Fayyad.
 

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Politics - Ain-el-Tineh highlights
 

Fri 23/03/2012 14:38

NNA - 23/3/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Friday received at his residence in Ain-el-Tineh former minister Jean Obeid, with talks featuring high on the current general situation.

Berri later met with Member of Parliament Ali Osseiran.

General Security Chief, Brigadier Abbas Ibrahim, had also been to Ain-el-Tineh today, for a meeting with the Speaker, in presence of Ahmed Baalbaki.
 

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Politics - Majdalani supports banning smoking in schools
 

Fri 23/03/2012 13:29

NNA - 23/3/2012 - Head of Health, Labor and Social Affairs committee, Deputy Aatef Majdalani, called upon Minister of Education and Higher Learning Hassan Diab to circulate a memorandum to all public schools in which he asks them to abide by law number 170 which bans smoking in public schools.
Majdalani remarks came after meeting with a delegation from the National Care Committee in Saida who briefed him on the activities of the Committee, mainly the efforts which they perform to stop smoking in schools.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (updated) Mansour, Ali discuss Syrian affairs
 

Fri 23/03/2012 13:08

NNA - 23/3/2012 - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister, Adnan Mansour, tackled Friday with the Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdel Karim Ali, borders' control issues and fraternal relations.

Mansour briefed Ali on the outcomes of his visit to Moscow.

When asked about Syria's position regarding the Security Council's decision, Ali said Syria welcomed the visit of the international envoy Kofi Annan.

"The regime is working hard to manage its internal affairs and address the repercussions of the dangerous scheme harbored against Syria," Ali confirmed, assuring that Syria is reassured of its success at the internal level, owing to its solid stance, and the way it's managing the current crisis.

Separately, Minister Mansour received the director of the Arab center for legal and judicial researches at the Arab League, Ambassador Abdel Rahman Al-Solh, with talks touching on said league's affairs.

Also, Mansour met the Mexican and Ukrainian Ambassadors to Lebanon, with whom he respectively tackled affairs of common interest.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (updated) Mansour, Ali discuss Syrian affairs
 

Fri 23/03/2012 13:08

NNA - 23/3/2012 - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister, Adnan Mansour, tackled Friday with the Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdel Karim Ali, borders' control issues and fraternal relations.

Mansour briefed Ali on the outcomes of his visit to Moscow.

When asked about Syria's position regarding the Security Council's decision, Ali said Syria welcomed the visit of the international envoy Kofi Annan.

"The regime is working hard to manage its internal affairs and address the repercussions of the dangerous scheme harbored against Syria," Ali confirmed, assuring that Syria is reassured of its success at the internal level, owing to its solid stance, and the way it's managing the current crisis.

Separately, Minister Mansour received the director of the Arab center for legal and judicial researches at the Arab League, Ambassador Abdel Rahman Al-Solh, with talks touching on said league's affairs.

Also, Mansour met the Mexican and Ukrainian Ambassadors to Lebanon, with whom he respectively tackled affairs of common interest.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati tackles developments with itinerants
 

Fri 23/03/2012 12:35

NNA - 23/3/2012 - Prime Minister (PM) Najib Mikati met Friday before noon with Minister of Defense Fayez Ghosn and discussed with him ministry-related issues.
The PM also met with the Lebanese Syrian Higher Council Secretary General Nasri Khoury and discussed with him the performance of the council.
Mikati also met with Kuwait's ambassador to Lebanon Bassam Al-Naamani who briefed him on the Lebanese Diaspora's status in Kuwait.
The PM also met with former deputies Elias Skaff and Jihad Samad.

L.Y.R/A.B

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Politics - Mansour, Ali discuss Syrian affairs
 

Fri 23/03/2012 12:35

NNA - 23/3/2012 - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister, Adnan Mansour, tackled Friday with the Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdel Karim Ali, borders' control issues and fraternal relations.

Mansour briefed Ali on the outcomes of his visit to Moscow.

When asked about Syria's position regarding the Security Council's decision, Ali said Syria welcomed the visit of the international envoy Kofi Annan.

"The regime is working hard to manage its internal affairs and address the repercussions of the dangerous scheme harbored against Syria," Ali confirmed, assuring that Syria is reassured of its success at the internal level, owing to its solid stance, and the way it's managing the current crisis.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Manjian finding solution for electricity-power-generating ships problem important
 

Fri 23/03/2012 12:03
NNA - 23/3/2012 - State Minister Panos Manjian expected the cabinet to come out with a solution for the electricity-power-generating ships crisis because that issue is important for all Lebanese.

Talking to Voice of Lebanon radio station, Manjian acknowledged the presence of a kind of disagreement within the cabinet which erodes its credibility among people. Accordingly, he saw the need to find solutions for people's pending living issues.

The Minister called for punishing anyone who attacks the cabinet, the public interest and the Military institution.

Commenting on the appointments issue, Manjian called upon all parties to consider Higher Judicial Council presidency a point to start other appointments
instead of focusing on issues that would not address the Lebanese people living problems.
L.Y.R/A.B

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Politics - Moussa: to surpass government controversies
 

Fri 23/03/2012 11:31

NNA - 23/3/2012 - Deputy Michel Moussa on Friday called for overcoming inter-governmental technical issues, particularly those pertaining to vital affairs on top of which the fuel oil water resources matter.

Moussa criticized the government's delay in addressing the petroleum issue especially that Israel had immediately rushed into exploration works.

The Deputy refused to hold Premier Najib Mikati solely responsible for this delay, assuring that the worst that could happen within a government was reciprocal accusations.

Accordingly, MP Moussa called on political parties to take into consideration Speaker Berri's stance as it mirrored the legislative authority's concern.

D.K.
 

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Politics - Abboud: cabinet should be more productive
 

Fri 23/03/2012 11:24

NNA - 23/03/2012 - Minister of Tourism Fadi Abboud said to Voice of Lebanon radio station that the solution lies in changing the approach of the regime.

Commenting on the fact that Premier Najib Mikati did not call the committee designated to study the issue of renting electricity-Generating- ships, Abboud said, "this is an example of the way projects should be dealt with," confirming that the cabinet should be more productive.
L.Y.R/A.B

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Politics - De Freij: Government projects do not bode well
 

Fri 23/03/2012 11:20

NNA - 23/3/2012 - MP Nabil De Freij Friday said if we were to approach the government's projects we would end up with a negative indicator.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon radio, De Freij explained that such an indicator is due to foreign or domestic policy as well as to economic, financial, and food security dossiers.

The MP hoped for a radical solution to all dossiers especially concerning spoiled food crisis.
L.W.
 

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Politics - EU diplomats meet Aoun's invitation for deep, transparent get-together
 

Thu 22/03/2012 17:06

NNA - 22/3/2012 - European ambassadors accredited in Lebanon met on Thursday the invitation by MP Michel Aoun for a get-together at his residence in Rabieh, with talks broaching an array of local and regional affairs.

The EU Ambassador to Lebanon, Angelina Eichhorst, said that the meeting was "very good," terming it as "deep, thorough, and transparent."

"In the name of my fellows, I underlined to General Aoun that Lebanon is an important partner to us and that we encourage this country to make political, administrative, economic, and social reforms," she said.

"We believe that in light of neighboring developments, Lebanon must turn challenges into opportunities, whereas it shall be advanced in anchoring solid democracy and permanent social and economic growth," she said.

Eichhorst noted that the European Union was aware of Lebanon's critical position vis-a-vis Syria, but reminded that it shall respect its international obligations, namely with regard to the current juncture in the unrest-swept nation, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and the international peacekeeping force operating in the South.

"We also took note of Aoun's viewpoint on fighting corruption and we share with him his opinion in that respect. This is a joint responsibility for all the Lebanese officials," said the diplomat.

She added that talks also touched on the electoral law as well as on a spectrum of economic topics.

The Ambassadors of the EU, France, UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech, Greece, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, and Finland were present in today's meeting, raising the number of diplomats who met Aoun's invitation to 19 out of 23 invited.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Diplomatic meetings highlight Qahwaji's activity today
 

Thu 22/03/2012 16:14

NNA - 22/3/2012 - Much invigorated diplomatic meetings occupied Yarze office on Thursday, highlighting today's activity of Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji.

He first met with the Russian Ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, over the current general situation.

Qahwaji held a similar meeting with Brazil's Ambassador to Lebanon, Paolo Da Fontoura.

Jordanian ambassador, Ziad Majalli, had also been to Yarze today on a farewell visit, upon the end of his diplomatic mission in Beirut.

Separately, the army commander received Sheikh Imad Khazen and Fouad Obeid.
 

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Politics - Fares expects major changes following calm restoration in Syria
 

Thu 22/03/2012 16:08

NNA - 22/3/2012 - Member of Parliament Marwan Fares said there will be major changes after squabbling is mitigated in Syria, which he reckoned to be en route to ending the yearlong crisis.

The Deputy visited on Thursday former President Emile Lahoud at his residence in Yarze, for talks over the current general situation in Lebanon and the broader Arab region, namely in the neighboring unrest-swept nation.

Fares said that matters in Syria were heading towards the interest of President Bashar Assad, expecting major changes to sweep the Arab region in the upcoming few weeks.

"There will be major consequences on the Lebanese [domestic] scene, entailing changes in the political situation on the governmental level," he said.

"But the main goal must be the security of the Lebanese in the forthcoming stage," he noted.

Lahoud had met earlier today with a delegation of Al-Murabitoun Movement headed by General Mustafa Hamdan, who cautioned against implicating Lebanon in the events in Syria.

"The disassociation policy has failed; national forces and ministers must assume their role in discerning where all the funds paid under the guise of humanitarian aid are going," said Hamdan following the meeting.

Former Deputies Hassan Yaacoub, Jihad Samad, and Nader Sukkar also visited Lahoud today.

Talks reportedly touched on most recent developments on the local and regional scenes.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri tackles Lebanese-Georgian cooperation
 

Thu 22/03/2012 15:48

NNA - 22/3/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri Thursday met at Ain El-Tineh with the Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri, with talks featuring high on means to reinforce ties and boost cooperation between Lebanon and Georgia, particularly at the economic level.

Gilauri officially invited Berri to visit Georgia, confirming his country's keenness on opening new channels of cooperation with Lebanon.

The PM uttered his country's readiness for opening Georgian markets to Lebanese products, reactivating mutual investments, facilitating visas to Georgia, and the possibility of launching an MEA route between the two countries.

He also said his country was willing to cooperate with Lebanon in the field of power generation, with regards to its wide experience at this level.

Separately, Berri had received the Deputy Prime Minister of Peru, with whom he discussed bilateral affairs.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ghosn skims through developments with itinerants
 

Thu 22/03/2012 15:46

NNA - 22/03/2012 - National Defense Minister, Fayez Ghosn, tackled on Thursday bilateral ties between Lebanon and Brazil with the Brazilian Ambassador to Lebanon Paolo Roberto Da Fontoura.

Ghosn later held talks with the administrative body of Beirut City Mayors' league who briefed him on their pressing demands; most importantly means of maintaining access to the Social Security Fund's services after mayors retire.

The Minister later met with the Secretary General of the Lebanese Communist Party, Khaled Hdadeh, over local and regional developments.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahra: Bassil exploits state, Jumblatt harmonizes with March 14
 

Thu 22/03/2012 15:23

NNA - 22/03/2012 - Member of Parliament, Antoine Zahra, on Thursday slammed the Energy and Water Minister, saying he exploited the Lebanese state. He also noted that despite the fact that MP Walid Jumblatt was still out of March 14 camp, he stood at a %99 harmony rate along its side.

Zahra's stance came Thursday in the context of an interview with the Voice of Lebanon radio: Voice of Freedom and Dignity.

Zahra said if Bassil had negotiated two years ago with Arab donating funds, concerning the power file, he would have saved the state treasury millions of dollars. "Every step taken by the ministers of the Free Patriotic Movement is the worst in the history of the files they handled," said Zahra.

Zahra criticized Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi as the latter's stance "does not keep pace with the historical stance of Lebanon's Christians."

Zahra wondered how Rahi pledged not to disclose political stances at the time that his position towards Syria was political, "when he [Rahi] said that the Syrian regime was the closest to democracy."

Zahra affirmed the fall of the Syrian regime. "This regime does not cooperate with any initiative to solve the Syrian crisis in a peaceful or political way." Zahra added that there was no longer a state in Syria, indicating that the regime would fall at no specific time, and that Russia could not defend a regime that would collapse.

Zahra also criticized the Lebanese government whose 'disassociation policy" towards Syria drove it to express no objection at the regime's fire hitting Lebanese regions inside the borders.
A.M.

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Politics - Sleiman hopes cabinet gets chance to thrash out local issues, protect Lebanon's water
 

Thu 22/03/2012 15:10

NNA - 22/03/2012 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman expressed hope on Thursday that all obstacles and impediments hindering the cabinet's work be stamped out soon, so that it would get the chance to accord bigger attention to developmental and livelihood projects.

Marking "World Water Day" the President shone light on the importance of preserving God's gift of rich natural water resources to Lebanon.

"Water occupies the headlines of the 21st century struggles," the President told Baabda visitors, stressing the importance of implementing the national strategic plot to protect Lebanon's water, which he said was of equal importance to oil and fuel.

Among President Sleiman's itinerants for today have been Georgia's visiting Prime Minister, Nika Gilauri. The pair engaged in means of boosting-up bilateral relations between Georgia and Lebanon at all levels, and most importantly at the economic and investments level.

The Deputy Foreign Minister of Peru, Jose Brown, also visited the President to hand him another confirming invitation to attend a summit by Latin American countries, set to take place in Peru on September 26 and 27, 2012.

Most recent developments at the local and regional scenes also featured high on talks between Sleiman and MP Mohammad Raad.

The Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Awad Ousseiri, later paid a visit to Baabda Palace and tackled with the President Saudi-Lebanese bilateral relations. The pair also skimmed through local and regional developments.

Separately, Sleiman held an array of law-related discussions with Former Minister, Ziad Baroud.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel to Brussels to participate in Arab-international conference
 

Thu 22/03/2012 15:02

NNA - 22/3/2012 - Lebanese Kataeb party Head, former President Amin Gemayel, headed Thursday to Brussels to participate in the Arab-international conference to be attended by the High Commissioner of the European Union's foreign affairs and security policy, Catherine Ashton, and the NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Gemayel will give a lecture about the next stage subsequent to the Arab revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa.

On the sidelines of the conference, talks will be held between ranking international and European officials.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Charbel chairs meeting on northern borders' control
 

Thu 22/03/2012 14:44

NNA - 22/3/2012 - Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Marwan Charbel, on Thursday chaired a meeting for the technical committee tasked to ensure control of the Lebanese-Syrian joint borders.

The meeting reportedly skimmed through on-the-ground developments along the land borders and featured high on the mission of security forces deployed therein.

Further meetings were set to take place subsequently to finalize a draft on a comprehensive strategy to control borders on both the operational and developmental levels.

The draft will next be forwarded duly before the cabinet.

Today's meeting was attended by Internal Security Forces Chief, Major General Ashraf Rifi, Director General of the General Security, Brigadier Abbas Ibrahim, and a military and police brass.
 

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Politics - Wehbe: Security Council's Syria statement a step forward
 

Thu 22/03/2012 14:08

NNA - 22/03/2012 - Member of Parliament, Amin Wehbe, saw in the Security Council's latest statement on Syria a step forward, expecting it to receive a similar treatment to the one that the Syrian regime gave to Arab monitors.

"Having the [Syrian] regime implement even a few items of the Security Council's statement is tantamount to opening fire on itself!" he told Orient radio station.

Touching on the tangible ramifications of Syria's turmoil on the internal scene, Wehbe said that was a very well expected practice by the Syrian regime.

"They need smoke bombs to divert lights away from their brutal practices against their people," the Future bloc MP added.
R.H.

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Politics - Kadiri from Brazil: Arab spring never going backwards
 

Thu 22/03/2012 13:42

NNA - 22/3/2012 - Future bloc member, MP Ziad Kadiri, pursued his visit to Brazil whereby he assured that the Arab spring will never go backwards, and Lebanon will benefit the most from the radical regional changes towards democracy and humanity.

"The Lebanese will never surrender to the arms power, neither will they comply with the policies aimed at dragging Lebanon into regional axes' outbids," the Deputy confirmed before an audience attending a dinner banquet held in his honor.

"We as future movement members extend our hands to the other party without ceding our principles," Kadiri assured, saying the country stood before a golden opportunity which protects its future and goes along with the region's changes, cutting the way to civil strife.

Also, Kadiri shed light on the historical Lebanese-Brazilian ties, confirming the importance of the Lebanese Diaspora's presence in Brazil.

He accordingly noted that Brazil had stood by Lebanon in the darkest stages and embraced its people in different ways.

"It has also helped Lebanon deal with the Israeli threats by operating in the UNIFIL force in South Lebanon," Kadiri reminded, telling the attendees that Lebanon, the Future Movement and Saad Hariri counted on them to represent their country in the best means.
D.K.

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Politics - Mansour: Lebanese Diaspora in Mali safe and sound
 

Thu 22/03/2012 13:38


NNA - 22/3/2012 - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister, Adnan Mansour, Thursday confirmed that the Lebanese Diaspora in Mali is in good conditions.

"None of them was injured in the latest incidents," Mansour reassured the people.

Soldiers on Wednesday had stormed the state TV and radio station in the Malian capital, attacked the presidential palace, and there were reports of a mutiny at a base in the strategic town of Gao in the north.
A Defense Ministry official said a coup d'etat was under way.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Politics - Rahi holds talks with Bkerke interlocutors
 

Thu 22/03/2012 13:16

NNA - 22/03/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutors Al- Rahi held on Thursday a series of talks with Bkerke interlocutors.

Former House Speaker, Hussein Husseini, discussed with Rahi an array of local matters, with both men sharing "exact viewpoints" as Husseini stated on emerging.

Separately, the Cypriot Ambassador to Lebanon, Homer Mavromatis, visited Rahi for bilateral talks. Mavromatis also briefed Rahi on the outcome of the Cypriot Foreign Minister's visit to Lebanon.

Lebanon's Honorary Consul to Halifax-Canada, Wadih Fares, later had an audience with Rahi for discussions on preparations underway for the Maronite Patriarch's anticipated visit to Canada in May.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ogassapian says cabinet stale, filling lost time
 

Thu 22/03/2012 12:43

NNA - 22/03/2012 - Member of Parliament Jean Ogassapian on Thursday described the cabinet as stale, saying that Lebanon was undergoing a transitional phase pending a clear outcome to the storm of change hitting the region.

"A cabinet as such is mere means to fill lost time" the Future bloc MP's told Future News as indirectly referring to the remaining stint till 2013 parliamentary elections.

Oggassapian went on to accuse the Lebanese cabinet of relinquishing its role and duties to the House of Parliament.

"The cabinet is decayed, rather than impotent (...) consequently, the House of Parliament showed up to assume the role of the government," he said, sounding the alarm over what he described a "very dangerous matter."

"We are heading towards a rule which totally opposes with the Lebanese constitution," said Ogassapian.

Touching on the Syrian scene, the MP said that despite the Syrian people's fight for freedom, the Assad rule did not intend to admit that it had no future ruling the country.

"The [Assad rule] won't even admit that no solution will be reached if it remains in power."

He concluded his interview by saying that Hezbollah was the political, security, and strategic decision maker in Lebanon.

"This party [Hezbollah] intends to leave the internal situation as it is (...) because the region is undergoing unclear changes."
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun meets European states' Ambassadors
 

Thu 22/03/2012 11:24

NNA - 22/3/2012 Change and Reform bloc head MP Michel Aoun received Thursday European States' Ambassadors accredited in Lebanon.

The meeting took place in presence of MP Ibrahim Kanaan and Free Patriotic Movement diplomatic affairs responsible Michel de Chadarevian.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Khoreiss: Resistance last fort for national sovereignty
 

Thu 22/03/2012 11:22

NNA - 22/3/2012- "Development and Liberation" parliamentary bloc member Ali Khoreiss said that the Resistance is the last fortress for national sovereignty.

Speaking in a memorial service in Bedyass to honor those who fell during conflicts against the Israeli enemy, Khoreiss said that the bright history written by the martyrs' blood would always stay incomplete if the resistance with all its details were not mentioned .

"we want the real history to be within public schools' program, so that the coming generations know the martyrs' accomplishments and national sacrifices which should not be lost and described as terrorism...," he added,

Khoreiss confirmed that the Lebanese army is the symbol of Lebanon's unity strength and sovereignty, pointing out that all Lebanese territories is open to the Lebanese army.

L.Y.R/N.AF
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Aswad: Our bloc shall take positions against hinderers
 

Thu 22/03/2012 11:15

NNA - 22/3/2012 MP Ziad Aswad Thursday said Change and Reform bloc shall be having a position against those who are deliberately hindering the electricity-generating ships' lease issue.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon radio, Aswad said we are ahead of a major electricity problem in summer season and the responsibility shall be tossed on Minister Gibran Bassil for the purpose of political revenge.

Change and Reform bloc member said he was against reducing prison sentences for "we should not be rewarding inmates and cover up government's failure to build prisons."

"MP Sami Gemayel had a very sound stance herein," Aswad said.
L.W.
 

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Politics - Habib explains March 14 rejection to Syrian-Lebanese education agreement
 

Thu 22/03/2012 10:22

NNA - 22/3/2012 MP Khodr Habib Thursday said March 14 rejection to the Lebanese- Syrian cabinets' agreement on education is due to the presence of a paragraph stipulating that the Higher Lebanese-Syrian Council ought to manage the execution.

During a former Cabinet session, committees passed a draft law allowing the Cabinet to ratify an agreement of higher education and scientific research between the Lebanese and Syrian cabinets.

The agreement mainly stipulates joint work in favor of enhancing and promoting cooperation and coordination between the countries in the various fields of higher education, scientific research and consultations on scientific policies and planning.

MP Habib told Voice of Lebanon radio that Syrian Ambassador's presence in Lebanon causes a conflict in council's authorities.
He noted that the March 14 MPs call for returning the project to the government aims at radiating aforesaid paragraph.

Pertaining to the transportation allowance draft, Habib said what the Parliament passed was the best solution since "it is a compromise between employers and employees."

At another level, Future bloc member called for army deployment on Lebanese-Syrian borders in order to protect Lebanese from Syrian crisis repercussions.
L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour: Parliament to set clear citizenship mechanism
 

Thu 22/03/2012 09:51

NNA - 22/3/2012 Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour Thursday affirmed the Parliament's responsibility to set a clear and hurried mechanism on the issue of women right to pass citizenship.

"The subject needs further time in order to have all parties' consent over the law," Mansour told Voice of Lebanon radio.

Lebanese women cannot currently pass their nationality on to their children as they do not have the same legal entitlements to citizenship as men.
If a Lebanese woman marries a foreign national she is not entitled to pass her nationality to her spouse and children. This is not the case for Lebanese men who are allowed by law to pass their nationality to both their spouses and their children.

The Minister said reservations on having Lebanese women pass on citizenship to their Palestinian children on Lebanese territories mainly aims at helping them not to relinquish their right to return to their homeland.
L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


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