Politics - Mikati chairs cabinet session, says executive authority cannot toil single-handedly
 

Wed 4/01/2012 23:26


NNA - 4/01/2011 - Acknowledging the Lebanese government's absolute vigilance regarding the significance of bolstering the internal scene, Prime Minister Najib Mikati revealed the cabinet's realization that it could never carry out national demands, single-handedly.

The Council of Ministers met in session at the Grand Serail on Wednesday, presided by Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and endorsed the Oil Sector Administrative Body's draft law. It also Okayed three different projects related to the electricity, communications, and civil aviation sectors.

"The Council of Minister's executive authority cannot be all active, responsible and capable of realizing its national tasks unless it functions in harmony and cooperation, firstly within its own components, and secondly with other constitutional authorities," Acting Information Minister, Wael Abu Faour, said as relaying Premiere Mikat's words during today's session.

Mikati herein stressed the importance of handling different Lebanese national issues at their right place. "Handling general national and political issues entails a great deal of national coherence, what if we are dealing with things at the security level?"

Within this framework, Mikati warned of negative security repercussions, once crucial matters of Lebanese concern are discussed outside the rein of their relevant institutions.

He also called for avoiding any attempt at intertwining political wrangles with security matters. "Regional developments entail instead more unity and solidarity."
R.H.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi meets Papal Nuncio Katchia
 

Wed 4/01/2012 21:13

NNA - 4/1/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi met on Wednesday afternoon with Papal Nuncio Gabriel Katchia.

R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kataeb criticizes government's dealing with salary file
 

Wed 4/01/2012 19:28

NNA - 04/01/2012 - The Kataeb criticized on Wednesday the government's surface level of performance whilst dealing with the wages increase file as said file has been thrice rejected by the Shoura State Council.

The Kataeb's stance came in the context of a meeting held by Kataeb's political bureau under the chairmanship of Former President Amine Gemayel in Beirut.

The Kataeb congratulated the Lebanese on the holy New Year occasion, hoping that officials would put a schedule for the government's works in 2012, especially that the country was facing numerous challenges and developments have on the local and regional levels.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Arms must be restricted to State, Hariri tweets
 

Wed 4/01/2012 19:14

NNA - 4/1/2012 - Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Wednesday said via Twitter any weapon in the country, whether inside the refugees' camps or belonging to the Resistance, must solely be at the disposal of the state.

In a chat with his followers on Twitter social network, Hariri said Christians were an integral part of the Syrian "revolution," stressing that the Syrian National Council truly represented the Syrian people.

Besides, Hariri seconded a suggestion by one of the followers who proposed that he [Hariri] deliver a joint speech with the Syrian National Council's Burhan Ghalioun on forthcoming March 14.

"The future will certainly bring to us truth, freedom, and prosperity," he couched.

On the bids alleged to be sowing seeds of confrontation between the Army and Sunnis in borderline villages, Hariri said these bids were doomed to failure.

Asked about what was diffused in some media outlets about sacking 35% of Future Movement's employees, he said he would not comment on "such grudge."

Hariri, who tweeted that his life changed radically since 2005, said he did not regret anything. "I learn from my mistakes and walk the path," he corroborated.

He did not fail to confirm that he would return to Lebanon via Rafik Hariri International Airport as well as to heap praise on the role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia "which always sided with Lebanon."

Eventually, he thanked his followers, saying he would not change despite some offenses and harsh words. "I do not mind criticism, but I do not accept humiliation; we must accept what others think with all due respect," he maintained.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Cabinet convenes at the Grand Serail
 

Wed 4/01/2012 18:58

NNA - 4/1/2012 The Council of Ministers is currently convening at the Grand Serail, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
Opening up today's session, Premier Mikati underlined the necessity of addressing domestic affairs, without the government being distracted from following up external up-to-dates.
"The government cannot be efficient unless its members are cooperative, harmonious and in solidarity with each other", Mikati stressed, indicating that dealing with public affairs requires national solidarity.
Mikati also underscored the importance of cooperation with the remaining constitutional authorities.
----------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Salam receives Hamas delegation
 

Wed 4/01/2012 17:40

NNA - 04/01/2012 - Deputy Tamam Salam received at his residence in Moussaitbeh a delegation of Hamas Movement including seniors of said movement Ra'fat Murra, Abd Mashhour and Ahmad Hajj.

Talks reportedly featured high on the condition of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

A.M.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 


Politics - March 14 warn of bids to link national security to Syria
 

Wed 4/01/2012 16:21

NNA - 4/1/2012 - March 14 forces on Wednesday cautioned against bids to link security in Lebanon to that in Syria as well as against what they termed as the "fabrication of Al-Qaeda scenario."

As lashing out at what they called "the silence" of the government over latest incidents and developments along Lebanese-Syrian borders, March 14 lambasted the stalling in the inquiry into the death of three Lebanese in Wadi Khaled in north Lebanon last week.

March 14 General Secretariat today held its weekly periodic meeting in Ashrafieh in presence of MP Ammar Houri, former Deputies Elias Atallah, Mustafa Alloush, and Samir Franjieh, Nawfal Daou, Wajih Norbatalian, Hrar Hovivian, Youssef Doueihi, Nasseer Assaad, Eddy Abi Lamaa, Rashed Fayed, Ali Hamade, and Michel Elian.

On last week's claims of National Defense Minister that members of Al-Qaeda were entering Lebanon under the guise of Syrian opposition activists, March 14 forces said such "scenario" tampered with the country's reputation, future, and stability. They said the Mikati-led government bore the responsibility to face Syrian violations and protect citizens.

As to the impending visit of UN Chief Ban Ki-moon to Lebanon next week, the forces maintained, in a closing statement issued in the wake of the meeting, that this visit was more of an occasion to remind the Lebanese, Arab, and international public opinion of the necessity to implement UN Resolutions 1680, 1701, and 1757.

They finally called Hezbollah to "reconcile" with the principle of the State, under the terms of the state merely, and to give priority to national unity.




R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri sees no impediments before appointments
 

Wed 4/01/2012 15:45

NNA - 4/1/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, avowed there are no hindrances to the execution of the awaited administrative and judicial appointments' mechanism, during the weekly Wednesday meeting at the Parliament.

The much-sought national dialogue was not absent from Wednesday Deputies' table today, whereby the Speaker reiterated the necessity to resume it [dialogue].

He revealed that the President of the Republic had set a specific mechanism for this dialogue "which remains the sole required mean for the Lebanese to communicate."

Members of Parliament Mohammad Qabbani, Emile Rahme, Ali Muqdad, Ayoub Hmayed, Ali Bazzi, Ali Khreis, Qassem Hashem, Ghazi Zeaiter, Hani Qobeissi, Marwan Fares, and Abdul Majid Saleh attended the meeting.

Earlier today, Berri had met with Head of Al-Waad Party, Joe Hobeika.

He had also met with Lebanese Forces Deputy Antoine Zahra.

Berri later broached most recent developments on the local domestic scene with former Deputy Faysal Daoud.

He also met with former Minister Talal Merehbi who said, in the wake of the meeting, that he relayed to the Speaker hope to renew national dialogue over all the divisive issues in the country.

"I also highlighted the importance to maintain, bolster, and proof national unity, so as to face ongoing changes in the region," he told reporters.

"I also thanked the Speaker for his role in following up on the oil dossier which can put an end to many economic problems," he added.




R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
























 

Politics - Adwan: for government to probe Syria's killing 3 Lebanese in Akkar
 

Wed 4/01/2012 15:41

NNA - 04/01/2012 - Deputy George Adwan said the Lebanese government must probe the killing incident in Akkar occurring last week when, according to him, Syrian forces members penetrated into the Lebanese territories only to kill three Lebanese in Wadi Khalid.

Adwan's word came on Wednesday in the context of a press conference he held at the House of Parliament.
Adwan described the current cabinet as absent from handling its responsibilities.

He explained that if probes showed that the Syrian forces members carried out their operation under an individual context, the Syrian government must hand over the criminals to the Lebanese for trial. If, he went on, the criminals belonged to the Syrian State, the Lebanese government must summon the Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon to interrogation.

Otherwise, Adwan added, it would be better for the Lebanese government to resort to the Security Council requesting reinforcing the Lebanese Army's presence on the borders. Adwan also addressed the government to urge Syria to haste to accomplish the borders democratic issue.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved










 

Politics - Mufti Qabbani keen on Arsal sons' 'dignity'
 

Wed 4/01/2012 15:26

NNA - 4/12/2012 - Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani, on Wednesday deplored the existing quandary over a likely presence of Al-Qaeda members in Arsal locality of Bekaa.

"We regret that some are trying to tamper with this Lebanese town and depict its sons as terrorists," a statement by the Mufti read.

"Sons of Arsal are Lebanese and patriotic par excellence; no one is entitled to scorn their patriotism or take advantage of the town's hardship amid political conflicts," it added.

The Mufti said herein that the state had best inquire into security information, if available, confirm their validity before staging unreasonable accusations, and endeavor to achieve the much-desired development in this deprived and underprivileged locality of Bekaa.

Separately, Qabbani met today with former Deputy Hassan Yaacoub over the current general situation in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

Yaacoub reckoned that the country could not bear the repercussions of any implication in neighboring unrest, namely in Syria.

But he underscored the necessity to maintain best relations with this bordering nation, as part of an out-and-out implementation of Taef Accord.

The former Deputy did not fail to renew calls to gather around the dialogue table in a bid to mitigate any divisive issue and preserve the current internal stability.

Afterwards, the Mufti respectively met with delegations of Iraqi scholars headed by Sheikh Ali Mirzati, Qatar Philanthropic Association, and Beirut Associations, Leagues, and Committees' Union headed by Raji Al-Hakim.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





















 

Politics - Sleiman, Mokbel tackle cabinet session's agenda
 

Wed 4/01/2012 15:13

NNA - 4/1/2012 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman Wednesday tackled current situation and items to be discussed in the cabinet session this evening with Deputy Prime Minister Samir mokbel.

Also, Sleiman met with Deputy Joseph Maalouf with talks featuring high on current developments as well as security and developmental conditions at Bekaa in general and Zahle in particular.

Amongst Baabda's visitors were also former Ministers Fares Boueiz, Karim Pakradoni, and Ibrahim Najjar with whom Sleiman discussed political developments at the local and regional scenes.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Aridi from Grand Serail: cabinet decides wages increase issue
 

Wed 4/01/2012 14:52

NNA - 04/01/2012 - Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi said on Wednesday the wages increase issue for employees would ultimately be decided by the cabinet after the increase was refused by the State Shoura Council yesterday.

Aridi's word came Wednesday at the Grand Serail in the wake of his meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati over the developmental workshop at Tripoli seaport.

Separately, Mikati headed a meeting at the Grand Serail for the High Committee for Relief, in which a number of ministers and seniors of said committee participated.
Amongst Grand Serail's visitors has been State Minister for Parliamentarian Affairs, Nicholas Fattoush.

A.M./P.B
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Maronite Bishops voice concern on security and economic situation
 

Wed 4/01/2012 14:41

NNA - 4/1/2012 Maronite Bishops Wednesday expressed concern over fragile security situation and lack of effective measures to handle ongoing daily events.

Bishops urged, during their monthly gathering at Bkerki held under the chairmanship of Maronite Patriarch Marbeshara Al-Rahi, Lebanese leaders to overcome schisms and abide by the constitution as well as laws and norms by which sound governance is guided.

Bishops also solicited political authority to execute national dialogue table decisions regarding weapons' issue and have security causes be solely handled by concerned competent security forces.

The approval of the law draft to restore citizenship to individuals of Lebanese origins and give them their national rights was highly praised by conferees who stressed herein difference between gaining back citizenship and participating in elections.

Besides, Bishops urged the government to speed up appointments' issue for delay ought to hinder public administrations' works and create unjustified vacuum.

A vast concern over the economic situation was also shown during their gathering whereby Bishops warned of the fluctuation in wages' subject as well as other rights that have become subject to political quarrels and not caring for both employees and employers' issues.

L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea conveys KSA leaders' concern over region's developments
 

Wed 4/01/2012 14:14

NNA - 4/1/2012 - Lebanese Forces Party Head, Samir Geagea, told Al-Ray Kuwaiti newspaper that his talks with the Saudi leaderships and higher officials, during his visit to Riyadh, dwelled on the situation in the region, on people's worries, and the Syrian dossier.

Geagea indicated that Saudi Arabia is in the mean time reconsidering and studying several issues, scrutinizing from close the region's developments.

He explained that the kingdom's stance regarding Lebanon is firm and will remain unchanged.

"All foreign states, except for Russia, unanimously agree that the Syrian regime cannot persist in any way," he announced.

Geagea said he tackled during his meeting with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri in KSA the Syrian situation and its dimensions. The two men discussed to what extent the Lebanese government's persistence is tied to the Syrian regime's continuance.

They focused on March 14 forces' plan to face the coming changes in the region.

"The stage that follows the collapse of the Syrian regime will not be the same as the one before it," he said, assuring that Assad regime's end is not the main reason behind Lebanese problems which need to be discussed inside Lebanon.

"Tackling Hezbollah's weapons issue can only be conducted after the overthrowing of the Syrian regime, hence the change the balance of power in Lebanon and the region," Geagea declared.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
















 

Politics - Geagea conveys KSA leaders' concern over region's developments
 

Wed 4/01/2012 14:14

NNA - 4/1/2012 - Lebanese Forces Party Head, Samir Geagea, told Al-Ray Kuwaiti newspaper that his talks with the Saudi leaderships and higher officials, during his visit to Riyadh, dwelled on the situation in the region, on people's worries, and the Syrian dossier.

Geagea indicated that Saudi Arabia is in the mean time reconsidering and studying several issues, scrutinizing from close the region's developments.

He explained that the kingdom's stance regarding Lebanon is firm and will remain unchanged.

"All foreign states, except for Russia, unanimously agree that the Syrian regime cannot persist in any way," he announced.

Geagea said he tackled during his meeting with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri in KSA the Syrian situation and its dimensions. The two men discussed to what extent the Lebanese government's persistence is tied to the Syrian regime's continuance.

They focused on March 14 forces' plan to face the coming changes in the region.

"The stage that follows the collapse of the Syrian regime will not be the same as the one before it," he said, assuring that Assad regime's end is not the main reason behind Lebanese problems which need to be discussed inside Lebanon.

"Tackling Hezbollah's weapons issue can only be conducted after the overthrowing of the Syrian regime, hence the change the balance of power in Lebanon and the region," Geagea declared.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 




 


Politics - Zahra: Ghosn paying lip service to Syria
 

Wed 4/01/2012 13:26

NNA - 4/1/2012 - MP Antoine Zahra Wednesday deemed Minister Fayez Ghosn's statement to be politically supportive of the Syrian regime.

Zahra said if it is true that the security and military references had information on the infiltration of dangerous members in Lebanon (Al-Qaeda), then they (security apparatus) should not pass this information to media institutions.

"Security apparatuses are bound to handle such a situation by preventing any similar practices," he told Free Lebanon radio station.

Pertaining to Marada movement leader MP Sleiman Franjieh's targeting to some Cabinet members, Zahra said it is perfectly understandable that every team inside the government seeks to utter political standpoints to embarrass others.
"This saves plenty of effort on opposition to spot gaps in government performance," he remarked.

Zahra also commented on MP Walid Jumblatt's stances regarding Syrian unrest and said that the latter advises reform and dialogue as a way to develop Syrian regime, political performance per se.

"It has become certain that the Syrian regime is heading for collapse due to tenacity and overlooking people's right to democracy, freedom, and partnership," Zahra added.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Nicolas: Minister Nahhas's plan complete
 

Wed 4/01/2012 13:26

NNA - 4/1/2012 - MP Nabil Nicolas Wednesday deemed raising minimum wage project as a complete and integral plan and not a political challenge.

In an interview with Al-Jadeed television channel, Nicolas said it is the first time General Labor Confederation (GLC) rejects a project law adversely affecting laborers' interest.

The MP said Minister Nahhas's project was the finest solution for laborers' problems.

"Change and Reform bloc shall support any plan officials would present provided that it fits with laborers' rights," he said.

Change and Reform bloc member impelled laborers to take actions and stand up for their rights when concerned persons fail to do so.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sabounjian inaugurates new Industrial Researches Institution building
 

Wed 4/01/2012 13:26

NNA - 4/1/2012 Industry Minister Freij Sabounjian Wednesday said an institution which ensures sustainability and financial stability, and provides job opportunities within tough economic circumstances, is worthy of appreciation.

During patronizing the inauguration of the new Industrial Researches Institution building, the Minister said progress of industry in Lebanon necessitates additional endeavors to follow up on modernization.

On the governmental level, Sabounjian said we respect the opinion of those who voice their criticism on government's performance yet "everyone should admit that this government was capable of ensuring stability despite regional economic crises," he remarked.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Sabounjian inaugurates new Industrial Researches Institution building
 

Wed 4/01/2012 13:16

NNA - 4/1/2011 Industry Minister Freij Sabounjian Wednesday said an institution which ensures sustainability and financial stability, and provides job opportunities within tough economic circumstances, is worthy of appreciation.

During patronizing the inauguration of the new Industrial Researches Institution building, the Minister said progress of industry in Lebanon necessitates additional endeavors to follow up on modernization.

On the governmental level, Sabounjian said we respect the opinion of those who voice their criticism on government's performance yet "everyone should admit that this government was capable of ensuring stability despite regional economic crises," he remarked.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Nicolas: Minister Nahhas's plan complete
 

Wed 4/01/2012 12:15

NNA - 4/1/2011 - MP Nabil Nicolas Wednesday deemed raising minimum wage project as a complete and integral plan and not a political challenge.

In an interview with Al-Jadeed television channel, Nicolas said it is the first time General Labor Confederation (GLC) rejects a project law adversely affecting laborers' interest.

The MP said Minister Nahhas's project was the finest solution for laborers' problems.

"Change and Reform bloc shall support any plan officials would present provided that it fits with laborers' rights," he said.

Change and Reform bloc member impelled laborers to take actions and stand up for their rights when concerned persons fail to do so.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahra: Ghosn paying lip service to Syria
 

Wed 4/01/2012 12:13

NNA - 4/1/2011 - MP Antoine Zahra Wednesday deemed Minister Fayez Ghosn's statement to be politically supportive of the Syrian regime.

Zahra said if it is true that the security and military references had information on the infiltration of dangerous members in Lebanon (Al-Qaeda), then they (security apparatus) should not pass this information to media institutions.

"Security apparatuses are bound to handle such a situation by preventing any similar practices," he told Free Lebanon radio station.

Pertaining to Marada movement leader MP Sleiman Franjieh's targeting to some Cabinet members, Zahra said it is perfectly understandable that every team inside the government seeks to utter political standpoints to embarrass others.
"This saves plenty of effort on opposition to spot gaps in government performance," he remarked.

Zahra also commented on MP Walid Jumblatt's stances regarding Syrian unrest and said that the latter advises reform and dialogue as a way to develop Syrian regime, political performance per se.

"It has become certain that the Syrian regime is heading for collapse due to tenacity and overlooking people's right to democracy, freedom, and partnership," Zahra added.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Youssif says electricity authority should not in confined to Bassil
 

Wed 4/01/2012 10:10

NNA - 4/1/2012 - Future Parliamentary bloc member Ghazi Youssif told Voice of Lebanon that a regulatory authority for the management of the electricity sector should be created but warned that this body must not be in the hand of Energy Minister Gibran Bassil.

He added that March 14 has engaged in a showdown with Bassil over the prerogatives of the regulatory authority and insisted that Bassil should not have any control on this body.

Youssif suspects that Bassil is trying to strip the regulatory authority of all its powers and confine them to himself.

"I hope some ministers in the Cabinet will voice their objection on Bassil's proposal," the MP said.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Nidal Tomeh calls for real national unity
 

Wed 4/01/2012 09:40

NNA - 4/1/2012 - Future Parliamentary bloc member deputy Nidal Tomeh called for a real national unity in order to preserve the country amid political and security turmoil in the region.

"We appeal to all sides in the country not to wager on the continuation of the regimes in the region because these regimes will not survive for long," the MP argued.

He added that the Lebanese must be convinced that Lebanon must be the permanent homeland for all the citizens irrespective of their affiliations and religion.

"Let us build a real national fabric that can preserve the country so that all sides and parties can help in rebuilding of the country. This requires a bold initiative from the parties that confiscated the state and tried to replace it."

The MP rebuked Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn who falsely accusing Arsal town of harboring Al-Qaeda members and wondered if the government will continue to apologize for its mistakes.

Tomeh hailed Interior Minister Marwan Charbel and General Ashraf Rifi for assuring that the Internal Security Forces are fully prepared for any unforeseen events during the holidays.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Future chides majority with last year's flops
 

Tue 3/01/2012 21:07

NNA - 3/1/2012 - Future parliamentary bloc met Tuesday to review last year's developments on the local domestic scene, keeping a record on the incumbent majority's responsibility for wide-ranging fiascos on all political, economic, financial, and security levels.

A closing statement issued in the wake of the bloc's periodic meeting, held at the Central House under the chairmanship of MP Fouad Siniora, noted last year's "dicey" changes begotten by the "de facto coup" against the democratic system, resulting in a Hezbollah-administrated monochromic cabinet.

"Last year's developments took place along with a major undermining for the state's authority and sovereignty (...) and a noted regression of confidence in the Lebanese national economy (...) while the government is still wrangling in the wages adjustment issue," the statement read.

The bloc thus highlighted the necessity to hold onto the consensual agreement reached by workers and employees and demanded the government to cease what it termed as "unstructured economic and financial adventures" which would take a toll on the overall national economy.

On the long-awaited administrative and judicial appointments issue, the bloc cautioned against what it called "the vengeful and vexatious pattern."

Today's meeting also featured high on the situation in Arsal locality, whereby the bloc deemed recent statements by National Defense Minister, Fayez Ghosn, as aimed to provide media and political cover for the Syrian regime.

Last Monday, Minister Ghosn said Al-Qaeda members were entering Lebanon under the guise of Syrian opposition activists.

Turning to Syria, the bloc uttered concern over the continuity of killing and sniping operations against peaceful demonstrators, amid the presence of Arab monitors to confirm the Syrian government's compliance with the implementation of the Arab League initiative.

It saw that the violence committed by the Syrian regime indeed aims to gain time and procrastinate on the initiative's execution.

It relayed hope that the wave of uprisings would continue throughout the Arab world.




R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati chairs a meeting devoted to Tripoli developmental projects
 

Tue 3/01/2012 19:59

NNA - 3/1/2012 Prime Minister Najib Mikati chaired on Tuesday afternoon at the Grand Serail a meeting for Tripoli ministers, devoted to discussing developmental projects related to Tripoli and the North.
The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Mohammed Safadi, State Minister Ahmed Karame, Economy and Trade Minister Nicholas Nahhas and Youth and Sports Minister Faisal Karame.
The meeting dwelt on a number of developmental projects designed to enhance the economic cycle of the area, with emphasis on proposed projects for mostly under-privileged areas.
Agreement was made on holding regular meetings to follow up this issue and ensure the implementation of these projects.
On the other hand, Mikati met with Deputy Akram Shuhayyeb where they held a tour d'horizon bearing on an array of standing environmental dossiers.
MP Shuhayyeb heads House Commission for Environment.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi, Bassil meet in Bkerki
 

Tue 3/01/2012 19:41

NNA - 3/1/2012 - Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Gebran Bassil, had been on Tuesday to Bkerki for a meeting with Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Bassil said the Patriarchal Seat remained the all-gathering place.

"We must keep the Patriarch posted about the concerns we, as ministers, live and endure on a daily basis, whether on the level of administration, appointments, or the frame-up impediments laid before beneficent projects," he added.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Shura decision on wage plan draws Aoun's bloc rebuke
 

Tue 3/01/2012 19:18

NNA - 3/12/2012 - A decision by the State Shura Council rejecting Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas's wage adjustment package earned rebuke from the Change and Reform bloc, who announced Tuesday the formation of a follow-up sub-commission in this concern.

The bloc's parliamentarians dug many legal flaws in the Council's rejection but said they needed more time to take an adequate relevant decision.

The State Shura Council today rejected a wage hike plan put forth by Minister Nahhas hereby suggesting to increase the minimum wage to LL868,000 - a sum that includes a LL236,000 transportation allowance. The Council argues that any attempt to add the daily transportation allowance as a fixed part of the monthly salary is against the law.

The bloc convened in its Tuesday periodic meeting in Rabieh, this time with MP Michel Helou speaking to reporters instead of [MP] Michel Aoun.

"It is up to the General [Aoun] to decide when to speak or not (...) He may have chosen that an attorney speaks today since the meeting broached legal items," the Deputy told a news conference following the meeting.

Besides, the bloc set legal and political approaches of the decisions issued by the Auditing Department on the public finance-related infringements.

Helou said the Parliament must take a position vis-a-vis the accountable Minister, in a clear reference to Fouad Siniora, with a view to further legal pursuit.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Singh for parctical procedures between Lebanese Israeli rides
 

Tue 3/01/2012 18:26

NNA - 03/01/2012 - UNIFIL spokesman Neeraj Singh said it was necessary to adopt practical procedures between the Lebanese and Israeli sides so as to reduce tensions.
Singh's remark came at the backdrop of what had been circulated through media that a wall of seperation was to be set up between Lebanese Kafarkela and the Israeli settlement "Kafarkela".
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rifi: ISF spares no effort to ensure citizens' safety
 

Tue 3/01/2012 18:24


NNA - 3/1/2012 Internal Security Forces (ISF) Chief Ashraf Rifi underlined ISF's unremitting efforts in guarding citizens' safety and interests.
General Rifi was speaking during his meeting on Tuesday afternoon with a delegation of Editors Syndicate at his Barrack office who came to well-wish him on the festive season.
The delegation hailed Rifi's constructive role in further developing ISF Institution, lauding ISF's relentless efforts in preserving citizens' safety.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi, Bassil meet
 

Tue 3/01/2012 18:23

NNA - 3/1/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi and Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Gebran Bassil, are currently meeting in Bkerki.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea, Pietton meet
 

Tue 3/01/2012 18:21

NNA - 3/1/2012 - Lebanese Forces Head, Samir Geagea, on Tuesday met with French ambassador, Denis Pietton, over the current general situation in Lebanon, Syria, and the broader Arab region.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel: Information probable to unveil threads about rockets incident in South
 

Tue 3/01/2012 16:27

NNA - 03/01/2012 - Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel assured on Tuesday that certain information available to him would probably get at threads of the truth beyond the rockets launching incident in the South, particularly in the UNIFIL operation zone.

Charbel was handed at his office number of security reports pertaning to the successful security plan made by the military institution for holidays.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (Corrected) Terro tackles services issue with visitors
 

Tue 3/01/2012 16:04

NNA - 03/01/2012 - Displaced Persons Minister Aladdine Terro reviewed on Tuesday at his office spectrum of matters pertaining to the return of displaced people to their hometown as well as services and developmental issues.

Amongst the minister's visitors: Deputy Fouad Saad, head of the High Committee for Relief Ibrahim Bachir, General Nabil Akiki, and others.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi briefed by Rifi over local security
 

Tue 3/01/2012 16:03

NNA - 03/01/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai received on Tuesday at his residence in Bkirki the Internal Security Forces senior, General Ashraf Rifi, who briefed the host over the actual security situation in the country and the successful security plan for New Year night.

Amongst the visitors who had been today to Bkirki to congratulate the Patriarch on the holy New Year occasion: Civil Defense director, General Remon Khattar, Deputy Emile Rahmeh, Bishop Gregarious Melki, Bishop Boulos Sayyah and others.
A.M / R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri meets Iraqi scholars' delegation
 

Tue 3/01/2012 15:48


NNA - 3/1/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri received Tuesday at Ain El-Tineh residence a delegation of Iraqi scholars on the occasion of choosing Najaf as the capital of Islamic culture for 2012. The meeting focused on the ongoing preparations for this event, as well as on latest developments at Arab and Islamic scenes.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Shura Council rejects wage hike plan
 

Tue 3/01/2012 15:45
NNA - 3/1/2011 - The State Shura Council announced on Tuesday its disapproval over Labour Minister Charbel Nahhas's wage increase package.

The Cabinet had endorsed a proposal by Nahhas to increase the minimum wage to LL868,000 - a sum that includes a LL236,000 transportation allowance.

Following drawn out discussions on Nahhas's plan, the Shura Council deemed any attempt at adding the daily transportation allowance, as a fixed part of the monthly salary, against the law, thus declared its disapproval over said plan.

The Lebanese Private sector warned in earlier statements that the Cabinet's decision had violated earlier verdicts by the Shura Council. They said the government had no right to add transportation and education allowances to salaries, fearing this would inflate livelihood expenses.

R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kahwaji meets Lebanese Ambassador to Vatican
 

Tue 3/01/2012 15:26


NNA - 3/1/2012 - Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Kahwaji, received Tuesday at his Yarzi office the Lebanese Ambassador to the Vatican, retired General Georges khoury, with whom he tackled general situation.
D.K./A.B.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati, Qabbani tackle administrative appointments' mechanism
 

Tue 3/01/2012 15:22

NNA - 3/1/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati tackled Tuesday with the Chairman of the Civil Services Board, Khaled Qabbani, the administrative appointments mechanism ratified by the cabinet.

Qabbani said, in the wake of the meeting, "the mechanism of appointments Okayed by the cabinet governs the work of the Civil Services Board."

"This mechanism has earned the respect of all, particularly the Prime Minister and the House Speaker who confirmed their clinging to the appointments' method," he announced.

Separately, PM Mikati received at the Grand Serail a delegation of the Organizing Committee for the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions headed by Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister, Adnan Mansour.

The delegation thanked Mikati for patronizing the conference held in Beirut.

Mikati tackled in this regard several ministerial affairs with Deputy Adnan Mansour.

Social Affairs Minister, Wael Abou Faour, had also been to the Grand Serail, announcing in his chat with journalists that the cabinet was likely to approve, in its session the next day, the gas oil law decree.

As for the administrative appointments issue, Abou Faour said "the ultimate knot resides in the appointment of the president of the Judicial Supreme Council."

Abou Faour's meeting with Mikati dwelled on the execution of the project for supporting poor households. Both sides tackled as well the proprietary lease draft law set by the Housing Institute and the Social Affairs Ministry to be later referred to the cabinet, hoping it would solve the housing crisis in Lebanon.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





























 

Politics - Aoun, Shatila tackle recent developments
 

Tue 3/01/2012 15:02

NNA - 3/1/2012 MP Michel Aoun Tuesday tackled most recent developments with head of the Popular Conference Kamal Shatila.

The latter put emphasis on the importance of holding on to the Resistance-Army-People trinity so as to protect stability.

Besides, Aoun met with vice head of the Islamic Philanthropic Projects Association Sheikh Abdul Rahman Omeish.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt preaches on Hafel's "Power of the Weak"
 

Tue 3/01/2012 14:43

NNA - 3/1/2012 - "The Power of the Weak" is the essence of MP Walid Jumblatt's Tuesday statement, preaching on Arab Spring developments in general, and Syria's unrest in specific.

Quoting late writer, dissident and former President of the Czech Republic, Vaklav Hafel's theory on "the power of the weak", Jumblatt wished if only Russia and Iran would consider this premise in their rapprochement on the prevailing situation in Syria.

"Should there not be a radical change to the Syrian regime, the crisis would not be resolved, even by means of security solutions," Jumblatt said as responding to Russia and Iran's most recent stances backing the rule of Assad.

"The power of the weak sparked all the Arab revolutions seeking freedom, dignity, and pride," Jumblatt said.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Terro tackles services issue with visitors
 

Tue 3/01/2012 14:43

NNA - 03/01/2011 - Displaced Persons Minister Aladdine Terro reviewed on Tuesday at his office spectrum of matters pertaining to the return of displaced people to their hometown as well as services and developmental issues.

Amongst the minister's visitors: Deputy Fouad Saad, head of the High Committee for Relief Ibrahim Bachir, General Nabil Akiki, and others.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Houry: Frangieh's remarks did not persuade anyone
 

Tue 3/01/2012 12:41

NNA - 3/1/2012 - Member of Parliament Ammar Houry blasted MP Sleiman Frangieh who tried to brush off all the verbal attacks against Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn, adding that Frangieh has failed to persuade anyone that Al-Qaeda members have been operating from Lebanon.

Speaking to "Al Sharq" radio, Houry said: "Frangieh's press conference lacked rationality and reason and all his remarks were in the political framework to serve interest beyond the border."

He added that the Defense Minister's recent claims that Al-Qaeda was operating from Lebanon was obviously designed to pay a lip service to the Syrian regime just minutes after the two explosions in Damascus which quickly accused Al-Qaeda of staging this attack.

"The only evidence Damascus presented in its accusation of Al-Qaeda was the accusations leveled by the Lebanese Defense Minister," Houry argued.

The MP pointed to some contradictions in the accusations of Ghosn.

"Ghosn did not pick up the Syrian signals. First he claimed that Al-Qaeda came from Syria to Lebanon then he said that Al-Qaeda came from Lebanon to Syria."

"Frangieh's remarks not only failed to convince anyone but also tried to create a rift between the Lebanese army and the Lebanese people," Houry said.

The MP also rejected all the accusations that the town of Arsal was bastion or a transit point for Al-Qaeda members in Lebanon.

He stressed that some parties in Lebanon are under the false impression that there defense of the Syrian regime would ease the pressure on Damascus.

Houry reminded that the Syrian regime claimed in many occasions that it possess documents that incriminate some MPs and politicians of direct involvement in the events in Syria but so far the regime failed to produce such evidence.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jisr: Ghosn's words sincere yet risky
 

Tue 3/01/2012 12:34


NNA - 3/1/2012 MP Samir Jisr Tuesday said Minister Fayez Ghosn's words were candid, but still deemed to be perilous on both economic and security levels.

"It is of Minister Ghosn's right to be heard and of our right to learn about what he holds of information regarding Al-Qaeda members' presence in Aarsal town," Jisr told LBCI channel.

Hence, the MP announced willingness to invite Minister Fayez Ghosn to attend the Parliamentary Defence Commission's session next Monday, to discuss the Minister's statement.

"Some negate the presence of Al-Qaeda members in Aarsal town based on security apparatuses' reports," Jisr added.
L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - March 14 to question Ghosn at Parliamentary level: Zahra
 

Tue 3/01/2012 12:16

NNA - 3/1/2012 - National Defence Minister Fayez Ghosn is distorting Lebanon's image and striking its credibility, Member of Parliament Antoine Zahra said on Tuesday, disclosing March 14 plan to question his claims at the House of Parliament.

Last Monday, Ghosn dug heels on his statement earlier this month that Al-Qaeda members were entering Lebanon under the cover of Syrian opposition activists, rejecting March 14 criticism that his remarks were meant to serve Syrian President Bashar Assad's government.

"March 14 intends to enquire Ghosn via Parliamentary means starting with questions, moving to interrogation, reaching a confidence re-vote," Zahra told the Voice of Lebanon - Freedom and Dignity - radio station.

However, Zahra reprimanded rumours insinuating that criticism launched against Ghosn indirectly targeted the Lebanese army.

"The National Defence Minister's normal reaction shouldn't have been the mere announcement of falsified information by all military authorities. He should have opted instead for foiling groups with suspected Al-Qaeda ties," Zahra said.

The Lebanese Forces MP also chose to join his voice to those categorizing Ghosn's claims as sheer political tools serving Syria.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rai meets Rifi
 

Tue 3/01/2012 11:07

NNA - 3/1/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai is currently meeting at Bkirki with director of Internal Security Forces major Ashraf Rifi.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Araji fears Syrian security messages in Lebanon
 

Tue 3/01/2012 10:17

NNA - 3/1/2012 - Member of Parliament Issam Araji told Voice of Lebanon that he fear that the Syrian regime could send security messages to Lebanon especially since the accusations against the town of Arsal was aimed at charging Al-Qaeda members of infiltrating Syria from this town.

The MP called on the Lebanese army to deploy along the border amid repeated Syrian breaching of Lebanese territories.

Araji did not rule out the possibility of wide Syrian intrusions inside the Lebanese territories.

"The situation in the town (Arsal) doe not indicates to the presence of Al-Qaeda members. If Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn had evidence against this town he would have showed them," the MP argued.

He reminded of the statements of President of the Republic Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Interior Minister Marwan Charbel who all refuted Ghosn's claims that Al-Qaeda is operating in Lebanon.

The MP warned that these claims would threaten the stability of the country and hurt the national economy.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hariri reiterates via "Twitter" his intention to return soon!
 

Mon 2/01/2012 22:44

NNA - 2/1/2012 - In a chat through "Twitter" communication site, former Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, responded to accusations of his attempt to turn the Syrian people against their leadership and meddle into Syrian affairs. In this context, Hariri considered that the factors actually turning the Syrian people against their regime are the oppressive and atrocious acts of the Syrian regime itself! Hariri also indicated that his venture into the world of politics came in a bid to pursue the heritage of his late father, Martyr Rafic Hariri, and not to snatch any post from here or there!
Responding to other accusations of his betting on the fall of Syrian President, Bashar El-Asad's regime, Hariri categorically denied betting on anything except the Lebanese people. He added that matters related to the Syrian regime are solely decided upon by the Syrian people themselves. However, he reiterated, herein, that killing of innocent civilians in Syria is an unacceptable act to any decent and respectable person in the world! He added that the truth cannot be hidden since the Syrian regime is the one carrying out such killings, which is clearly evident through the news and on the "you-tube" site. Hence, he noted that any Arab citizen watching the scenes of suffering witnessed by the Syrian people and their sacrifices for the sake of freedom and dignity cannot just stand "uninterested!"
Furthemore, Hariri expressed his worry over Lebanon since it is being administered by a government that is pro-Syrian regime.
Commenting on MP Sleiman Franjieh's words during his press conference earlier Monday regarding the attach against Defense Minister, Fayez Ghosn, as being an attack against the military institution to thwart its role, Hariri considered it useless to turn the case into a problem between the people and the Army. He added that the actual problem lies in "wrong statements" denied by cabinet ministers themselves.
On the other hand, Hariri viewed his communication through "Twitter" as being a means to connect with people, having no relation whatsoever with any future or past political target.
Concerning his return to Lebanon at the outset of the New Year, in light of predictions to that effect, Hariri reiterated his previously declared intention to return to Beirut soon, before any such predictions!
R.Sh.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman meets with Dubai Governor
 

Mon 2/01/2012 20:34

NNA - 2/1/2012 - United Arab Emirates Vice Head, Prime Minister, Dubai Governor Sheikh Mohamad ben Rashed Al Maktoum met Monday noon at his Zaabeel Palace with President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman. The meeting was a chance to review bilateral brotherly relations between the U.A.E. and Lebanon. Both men stressed on the continuous significant relations between both States and their citizens.
President Sleiman praised the economic and construction cycle witnessed in the Emirates due to the wise policies of its leadership. He considered that the U.A.E. has succeeded, in light of such policies, in confronting all challenges with confidence and capability, in spite of the world economic crisis' repercussions.
Sleiman also hailed the brotherly ties existing between both people of Lebanon and the Emirates; valuing herein the latter's engulfing of the Lebanese expatriate community within its territories. He noted that Lebanese expatriates are living in a community of diversity and kindness in Emirates, contributing through their qualifications and expertise to its development operation.
At the end of the encounter, President Sleiman addressed an invitation to Sheikh Mohamad to visit Lebanon.
R.Sh.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Habib: Franjieh's words have been insinuated to him by Syria
 

Mon 2/01/2012 20:12

NNA - 2/1/2012 - Lebanese Forces Parliamentary Bloc Member, Deputy Farid Habib, considered that portraying the truth regarding the course of incidents in Syria has become a source of worry for allies of the Syrian regime in Lebanon. "Such worry has rendered them incapable of hearing others' opinions which contradict with their hopes for the Syrian regime to persist in the region, even at the account of the Lebanese State's dignity and sovereignty," said Habib.
Habib also considered that the content of MP Sleiman Franjieh's press conference, in which he honestly revealed the above fear, has all been based upon insinuations by the Syrian regime itself. Furthermore, Habib pointed to Franjieh's words regarding certain people whose history is a shame to the country's reputation (indirectly referring to Dr. Samir Geagea), considering that such words only reveal Franjieh's lack of objectivity in convincing others of his views.
In this context, Habib criticized March 8th leaders' continuous manner of approaching various political dossiers and headlines lacking any objectivity and democracy, and in a manner that is insulting to the other parties.
Habib's words came in a statement Monday following MP Franjieh's press conference earlier.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel calls for understanding over Syrian incidents and the Defense Strategy
 

Mon 2/01/2012 18:37

NNA - 2/1/2012 - Interior and Municipalities Minister, Marwan Charbel, stressed Monday on the need for reaching an understanding between the Lebanese over incidents in Syria, as well as the the defense strategy, through dialogue under the first presidency rooftop. He also called for leaving the issue of Hizbollah's weapons aside for the time being; highlighting the importance of focusing on dealing with the problems that might arise in the wake of events in Syria, whether or not the regime is changed.
Regarding the defense strategy, Charbel stressed on tackling this matter in a strictly confidential manner, and with utmost secrecy, involving only the concerned sides in its implementation.
On the other hand, Charbel called for controlling the borders with Syria so as to prevent any infiltration or attempt to tamper with security and stability in the country through said borders. He stressed on serious efforts in this direction.
Referring to the successful security measures adopted for New Year's Eve, Charbel considered that coordination between the various security apparatuses in the country was behind such success.
Minister Charbel's words came during a TV interview accorded to the "Lebanese Television" Monday.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Fayad: No impending Israeli war on Lebanon, Christian presence pivotal to country
 

Mon 2/01/2012 16:16

NNA - 02/01/2012 All fears of an Israeli-Lebanese war have no basis, according to MP Ali Fayad, who lauded the presence of Christians in Lebanon as an asset to the country, blaming the US of pushing them to migrate to the West.
The Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc parliamentarian addressed an audience of Hezbollah and Amal movement supporters during a political meeting in Qana-South Lebanon.
"Israel will not venture into an uncertain war on Lebanon after its bitter experience with Hezbollah in 2006," claimed the MP, in reference to Israel's retaliation to Hezbollah's abduction of Israeli soldiers in July of 2006, which led to massive destruction in Lebanon and the death of over 1000 Lebanese.
The MP attributed all changes in the Arab world to the "victory of Hezbollah in 2006."
On a domestic level, Fayad insisted on the preservation of Christian presence in Lebanon as a "moral and civil necessity." He also called upon political factions to save the country from Sunni-Shiite strife.
R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Rahi to Hezbollah delegation: separate religion from politics
 

Mon 2/01/2012 14:55

NNA - 02/01/2012 A delegation from Hezbollah visited Bkirky Monday, whereby the Patriarch stressed the need to establish a democratic civil state in Lebanon that respects all values and alienates religion from political work.
The Hezbollah delegation was headed by Sheikh Mohammad Amro. The visit to Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi came in the context of felicitating him for the New Year.
Although the Cleric was in favor of separating State from religion, he maintained that politics should not be separated from God. "The success of Western countries lies in accomplishing this very task."
Rahi saw great potential for Muslims and Christians to cooperate in establishing a civil state that respects its people's multiplicity.
He called upon officials to return to the national dialogue table to resolve pending disagreements and clarify any insecurities.
R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jissr: Ghosn's claims dangerous to Lebanon
 

Mon 2/01/2012 14:29

NNA - 02/01/2012 MP Samir Jissr said to Future News TV Monday that allegations of presence of Al Qaeda militants in Lebanon are hazardous to the economy and stability, adding that there is no defamation campaign against the Defense Minister.
Earlier last month, Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn alerted Syrian regime to the infiltration of terrorists from the northern town of Arsal into Damascus. Although the Minister argued he had definitive proof, both President Michel Sleiman and Premiere Najib Mikati denied his allegations, along with Interior Minister Marwan Charbel and the Higher Defense Council, which after much investigation found no validity to Ghosn's warnings.
"We will invite the Defense Minister to clarify this issue," said the Future Bloc Parliamentarian, "he claimed to have information, and we want to review it."
R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Frangieh: We are allies of the Syrian regime; Ghosn's Qaeda information is valid
 

Mon 2/01/2012 13:39

NNA - 02/01/2012 MP Suleiman Frangieh vehemently defended in a press conference Monday the Syrian regime and statements of Lebanese Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn claiming presence of Al Qaeda militants in Lebanon, and insisted that both President Michel Sleiman and PM Najib Mikati are aware said information is true.

The Arab Spring blossomed in Syria ten months ago, as large numbers took to the streets in various Syrian towns demanding the ousting of Bashar Assad. Earlier last month, Minister Ghosn warned Syrian authorities that members of Al Qaeda were infiltrating Syria through the Lebanese town of Arssal under the pretence of being oppositionists. The President and PM both denied this, so did a host of political figures.

"The army has reports about the presence of Al Qaeda in the eastern border town of Arssal," stated head of Marada Movement, who then went on to accuse Mikati of denying these facts in order to protect the Sunni sect, since the town in question was a Sunni one. He also slammed the President for siding by Mikati in an attempt to save his own reputation.

"The attack on Minister [Ghosn] is an indirect attack on the military institution to hinder its role," he added. On that note, he urged the army to take action in that regard and halt terrorists in their track.

Frangieh openly endorsed the Baath regime, while maintaining that his Movement would not take any measures at the expense of Lebanon.


R.Z

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Al-Rai: The youth can enjoy a new mentality that Lebanon is in need of to ensure its rise
 

Sun 1/01/2012 21:02

NNA - 1/1/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai headed Sunday evening a mass service at the Patriarchal Church in Bkirki, marking the occasion of New Year and World Peace Day.
In his religious sermon, Al-Rai hoped that the New Year would carry all goodness and success, and that a just and permanent peace would be achieved, especially in Lebanon and all nations of the Middle East. He added that the youth in Lebanon can enjoy a new mentality that Lebanon is in need of to ensure its rise.
Al-Rai also touched on the need for justice since in its absence, peace is shaken and tension and violence are yielded; thus, hindering the peaceful living and coexistence amongst the people. He went on to state that the world is in need for reconciliation through the Lord, and through forgiveness and respect to the other and building a fruitful dialogue with each other; thus, implanting peace and kindness in the hearts of all.
Al-Rai also called for being well-aware of Lebanon's civilization message in both the Christian and Muslim worlds and its Arab surroundings. Furthermore, he called for respecting diversity in unity and protecting freedom of opinion and conscience, and always maintaining strong faith in the Lord.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Marouni: We have not seen any presence for "Al-Qaeda" and we refuse all accusations!
 

Sun 1/01/2012 19:25

NNA - 1/1/2012 - MP Elie Marouni paid a visit Sunday to Ersal, heading a delegation from the Lebanese Kataeb Party, in solidarity with its citizens. Marouni described the town of Ersal as the base of heroism and courage, and a haven of men that have always rushed to the defense of Lebanon and its liberty from Israeli occupation. He added that instead of launching accusations aiming at distorting its image, concern ought to be focused on ensuring developmental services to such an underprivileged town as Ersal.
Marouni went on to stress on avoiding interferences in Syria's affairs, adding that it is also not allowed for Syria to meddle into Lebanese affairs nor to violate the Lebanese borders. He also called, herein, for annulling the Lebanese-Syrian Higher Council.
Marouni highlighted the need to ensure developmental services to deprived towns and to preserve national unity. He categorically refused to consider the town of Ersal as being a base or passage way for terrorism! He also expressed surprise at the absence of Lebanese security forces at the borders, which are left unmonitored! He, thus, urged the Defense Minister to visit the region and have a closer look at said borders, which are left without any security presence to protect the people and Lebanon's sovereignty, which is the government's responsibility, he noted.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Yazbek stresses Hizbollah's support to Syria
 

Sun 1/01/2012 18:46

NNA - 1/1/2012 - Hizbollah Party Legislative Council Head, Sheikh Mohamad Yazbek, stressed that Hizbollah stands beside Syria and its Army, leadership and people in the face of all conspiracies that aim at splitting the nation apart. He added that said support comes for the sake of the Arab nation's unity, and for the sake of the Palestinian dignity and honor.
Yazbek's words came Sunday in Baalbek during the week's commemoration of the Martyr Ali Kassem Habash, who died as a result of the wounds he incurred during the Israeli attack of 2006.
R.Sh.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hazim wishes Assad a happy New Year
 

Sun 1/01/2012 16:03

NNA - 01/01/2012 Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim of Antioch and the entire East held Sunday New Year's mass in Damascus at the Church of Mary, whereby he felicitated Syrian President Bashar Assad and Lebanese President Michel Sleiman for said occasion.

Christians of Syria celebrated the New Year with prayers, as the daily violence halted all forms of festivities.

"We hope the New Year will bring peace and unity with the objective of building and defending the country," said the Patriarch.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - B. Hariri hopes for return of Saad Hariri to Lebanon in 2012
 

Sun 1/01/2012 15:34


NNA - 01/01/2012 MP Bahiya Hariri said to a Future Bloc delegation from Sidon and the South Sunday that she hopes Saad Hariri will be able to safely return to Lebanon in the New Year.

Former PM Saad Hariri left the country after receiving numerous threats on his life.

"Even if [Saad] is not here, he is always present through his Bloc and everyone who fights for the constants which his father, martyr Rafik Hariri, died for."

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi kick-starts new year with felicitators
 

Sun 1/01/2012 13:51

NNA - 01/01/2012 Maronite Patriarch, Mar Beshara Bourtos Rahi, received Sunday at Bkirky a host of visitors who flocked the religious site to congratulate him on the New Year.

Among the felicitators were MP Salim Salhab, and former Minister Michel Edde.

Rahi planned to hold New Year's mass this afternoon at church edifice in Bkirky.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea: Fall of Syrian regime to give rise to legitimate Lebanese state
 

Sun 1/01/2012 13:08

NNA - 01/01/2012 Head of Lebanese Forces (LF), Samir Geagea, confirmed Saturday during a Party dinner in Mehrab that 2012 will witness the collapse of the Syrian regime, which would consequently launch the construction of a true Lebanese state, criticizing attempts by certain political figures to soil the integrity of Lebanon by claiming existence of Al Qaeda members in the country, while similar political factions are trying to impose their dogma on their fellow Lebanese.

The on-set of the Arab Spring, ten months ago, in the neighboring Syrian state instigated massive dispute between pro-Hariri March 14 Camp, and pro-Hezbollah March 8 Camp. The former stood by the Syrian people's demand for freedom and ousting of President Bashar Assad, while the latter firmly clasped the hand of their Syrian ally. Last month Lebanese Defense Minister, Fayez Ghosn, announced that Al Qaeda members were infiltrating Syria via Lebanon's northern border, particularly the town of Arssal.

"The fall of the Syrian administration will have significant implications on the Lebanese situation, resulting in a new power-balance," said the veteran politician, adding that 2012 presented an opportunity to harvest the labor of the past 30 years towards building a solid Lebanese state. "We will go through a complex political process before reaching a new and clear political system upon which a relation could be built between Lebanese and Syrian states."

Geagea hoped that once Baath regime crumpled, the fate of Lebanese prisoners in Syrian jails could be revealed.

LF leader alluded to the murder of three Lebanese citizens in the village of Wadi Khaled in Lebanon on the hands of the Syrian army, Maher Abu Zeid, and brothers Ahmad and Kaser Hussein Zeid were killed by gunfire from the Syrian side of the border with north Lebanon.

"This cabinet has nothing to do with Lebanon, because it should have clearly denounced [the murders] and held investigations, and demanded prompt explanation from the Syrian government."

On that note, Geagea criticized statements of certain officials about infiltration of Al Qaeda members from Lebanon to Syria, dubbing these politicians as "irresponsible" and "ignorant" enough to smear the reputation of their own country.

A few days prior to celebration of New Year's Eve a cafe that served alcohol in the southern city of Tyre was the location of a terrorist attack as a bomb exploded on site. "This is one of a series of attacks on a certain type of social life in Tyre," said Geagea, adding that it was a serious incident that directly attacked liberties of citizens, constitution, and common living charter.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt returns from Cairo
 

Sat 31/12/2011 20:12

NNA - 31/12/2011 - National Struggle Front Head, MP Walid Jumblatt, returned to Beirut Saturday evening, following a few-days visit to the Egyptian Capital, Cairo.
On the other hand, Palestinian Ambassador Abdallah Abdallah left Beirut Saturday, upon the end of his term of office in Lebanon.
R.Sh.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Al-Rai: We cannot stand as mere observers to divisions
 

Sat 31/12/2011 18:57

NNA - 31/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai visited Saturday evening "Al-Mokhalles Monastery" in Ghosta, pertaining to the Lebanese Maronite Missionary Association.
In a spiritual talk with members of the Patriarchal Association, Al-Rai thanked them for all their efforts exerted for the sake of their mission inside Lebanon and in countries of Lebanese expatriates' presence. Al-Rai raised prayers to the Lord for forgiveness for all trespasses. He pointed to the need for turning the page constantly and moving on towards the future; living a reconciliation with the Lord, with one's call in life and with one's soul.
Al-Rai continued to stress on the need not to stand there as mere observers to the divisions taking place in Lebanon. He added that religious clerics are callers of partnership and kindness; hence, they ought to always act in that spirit.
Al-Rai hoped that the year 2012 will be rendered a year of kindness in the face of all hatred, and a year of peace and security for Lebanon and the world at large. He hoped that the pain and suffering witnessed in the Arab world would be labor pain of a new life just being born.
During his visit, Al-Rai was briefed on the works and various activities of the Association. He then headed a religious mass at the Monastery's church, where he gave thanks to the Lord for the passing year of 2011.
R.Sh.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Fayad: Preserving security and tranquility are amongst the priorities of this period
 

Sat 31/12/2011 18:21

NNA - 31/12/2011 - Member of the Faithfulness to the Resistance Bloc, MP Ali Fayyad, stressed Saturday that the resistance strategy ought to remain the guarantee for this nation and its unity. He added that preserving security and tranquility in the south, and in Lebanon as a whole, ought to remain amongst the priorities of the current period. He added that the direction of struggle ought to remain towards Israel, with all will and determination united towards confronting the Israeli enemy.
Fayad was speaking during the 22nd commemoration of Resistance Martyr Ammar Hussein Hammoud in Qlay'a-Marj'Ayoun.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Fatfat: Hezbollah is a militia, Mikati betrayed us
 

Sat 31/12/2011 15:44

NNA - 31/12/2011 MP Ahmad Fatfat denounced Hezbollah as a drug smuggling money laundering militia attempting to drag Lebanon into the Syrian dilemma, blaming PM Mikati for attacks on the Premiership brought about by his endorsement of a coup against Saad Hariri's cabinet earlier this year. The MP addressed an audience of Future Bloc supporters in Doniyeh, North Lebanon.

The onset of 2011 saw the fall of a national unity cabinet, which brought together members of rival camps of March 8 and March 14, when pro-Hezbollah ministers resigned from Saad Hariri's cabinet. Shortly afterwards, a new government was formed under the Premiership of Najib Mikati, a former ally of Hariri's.

"This rebellion will remain a stigma of shame upon all those who took part in it, endorsed it, and profited from it," said the Future Bloc parliamentarian.

"We realized that whoever carried out this coup did not just target PM Saad Hariri, but the entire post of the Premiership." Fatfat was then surprised that Mikati was now warning his allies against tampering with his post. "We appreciate [Mikati] on a personal level...but cannot forget the stabs he took at us."

Reports of money laundering and drug smuggling operations linked to Hezbollah raised a red flag that the Resistance was nothing more than a mafia, according to the MP, who refused to add anything else before results of domestic and international investigations were out.

Fatfat went on to say that despite hardships Lebanon faced, from July war of 2006, Grand Serail siege by March 8, and Hezbollah's invasion of Beirut in May 7 of 2008, the economy continued to grow at an 8% yearly rate. "What the cabinet of Mikati did [to the economy] was catastrophic, and the yearly growth did not exceed 1%, in addition to 10% inflation...all proof of the lack of an economic plan." He also alerted that the cabinet lacked the ability to raise wages in a logical way that did not harm the economy.

On a regional level, the Deputy refused all attempts by certain cabinet members to drag Lebanon into the Syrian conundrum. He called upon Mikati to have Lebanese army protect and monitor the northern border and halt all attacks and transgressions by the Syrian regime on Lebanon.

R.Z.
 

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Politics - Daouk hopes for speedy wage hike
 

Sat 31/12/2011 14:44

NNA - 31/12/2011 Information Minister Walid Daouk said to Voice of Lebanon radio Saturday that he hopes cabinet would decree an increase in wages the soonest possible so that workers can keep up with rampant rise in prices.

An increase to salaries was proposed by Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas, and later countered by a suggestion made by PM Najib Mikati. The cabinet approved a wage proposal made by the PM whereby the minimum wage increased by LL100,000 to LL600,000, salaries under LL1 million by 30% up to a LL200,000 increase, and salaries above LL1 million by a 20% increase up to LL275,000. This outraged politicians, citizens and Syndicates alike.

"The priorities of the government, besides the wage hike, are electricity, prospecting for oil and gas, and ensuring stability and security over entire Lebanese regions," said the Minister.

Daouk concluded that differences in points of view were allowed within cabinet; however, disputes were strictly forbidden. "The Cabinet is homogeneous and unified, and works as one team for the good of Lebanon and the Lebanese."

R.Z.

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Politics - March 14 vows to continue fight for sovereignty, hails Syrian people
 

Sat 31/12/2011 14:00

NNA - 31/12/2011 March 14 Camp declared their intention to follow through the path of the Cedar Revolution to realize full autonomy, stability and justice via the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), a statement issued by the Camp said Saturday following a meeting of the General Secretariat, adding that the Syrian uprising is an act of bravery in the face of tyranny.

The 2005 murder of Premier Rafik Hariri was the catalyst for massive rallies by the people demanding the withdrawal of Syrian army troops from Lebanese territories, the uncovering of culprits in political assassinations which brought about a reign of terror upon the country, and the removal of all illegal arms including those of the Islamic Resistance. This movement was termed the Cedar Revolution. Consequently the STL was established, which indicted four Hezbollah members in said assassination.

Conferees vowed to continue their fight for the STL until justice and law were fully achieved.
"There will be no arms other than the weapons of the State on all Lebanese territories," read the statement, in reference to the controversial artillery of Hezbollah.

The statement also called for the unity of the people under the Taef Accord, which established equal sharing of power between Muslims and Christians to preserve Lebanon's independence and common living.
March 14 looked back at the transformations which took over numerous Arab countries under the slogan of the Arab Spring. On that note, they hailed the Syrian people for standing up to Bashar Assad's "death machine" regime. They termed the collapse of Baath rule "inevitable."

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour, Zasypkin: Moscow can play crucial role in helping Syria out of its crisis
 

Sat 31/12/2011 13:07

NNA - 31/12/2011 Foreign Affairs Minister Adnan Mansour said Saturday that Russia can play a critical and important part in aiding Syria out of its predicament in order to protect domestic security, unity and stability, saluting the Russian position towards Damascus during a visit by Ambassador of Russia to the Minister.

The Arab Spring swept over a number of countries, as people demanded freedom and human rights. Syria was one of numerous countries to face this challenge, as people called for the ousting of President Bashar Assad amidst a bloody crackdown on demonstrators. The regime accused terrorists, including members of Al Qaeda, of causing domestic turmoil, while large strata of Syrians accused the ruling party of bloodshed and violence. Numerous countries subjected the Syrian state to sanctions, and the Arab League sent monitors to oversee the situation on field. Russia remained among the major supporters of Assad, a long-time ally.

Ambassador Alexander Zasypkin delivered a letter from Mansour's Russian counterpart, Segei Lavrov. Mansour acknowledged that dialogue remained the most effective way to find an adequate solution to the Syrian crisis.
Zasypkin subsequently indicated that the mission of the Arab League was important, difficult and dangerous. "[This mission] now requires political and moral support," he said, noting that an opportunity has presented itself now to put an end to all forms of hostility.

"The development of the situation shows once again that there is no substitute for internal political compromise, according to the Arab initiative," he added.

The Russian diplomat deemed sanctions and pressure on Syria unnecessary since, in his words, they will not lead to reform or halt the violence.

Separately, Zasypkin praised the Lebanese people of all factions, hoping that the New Year would bring more stability, civil peace, improved economy and a return to dialogue between political parties in Lebanon.

He finally sent best regards to the Palestinian people, reiterating the importance of the right to return and build an independent state with its capital in Jerusalem. "Russia will always support the just Arab cause and call for the realization of permanent peace in the Middle East," he concluded.
 

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Politics - Israel is Lebanon's first enemy: Kobeissi
 

Fri 30/12/2011 18:44

NNA - 30/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Hani Kobeissi slammed on Friday attempts at fabricating new scenarios in Lebanon in a bid to deflect the national public opinion away from Lebanon's real enemy.

Marking the weekly commemoration of late Anis Baalbaki, Amal Movement held today a eulogizing ceremony which witnessed the presence of official and popular figures.

"All those in Lebanon should be well aware that Lebanon's first enemy is Israel. Internal political rifts should not distract us away from our main cause," he said, suggesting that all should stand under the umbrella of national constants and the tripartite army-people-resistance formula.

Kobeissi also stressed the necessity of resorting to the logic of dialogue. "Abolishing the logic of dialogue is not an option," he added.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora receives Tunisian Ambassador


Fri 30/12/2011 18:25

 
NNA - 30/12/2011 - Head of the Future Bloc Fouad Siniora received on Friday at his office the Tunisian Ambassador to Lebanon Muhammad Fawzi Ballout, and discussed with him overall developments at the local and regional scenes, notably the situation in Sudan in the wake of electing a new President and forming a new government.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

Politics - (UPDATED)Ain-el-Tineh highlights
 

Fri 30/12/2011 17:48

NNA - 30/12/2011 - Speaker of the House Nabih Berri on Friday met with Minister of National Defense, Fayez Ghosn, over most recent developments and the current security situation.

Berri later broached latest developments in the Arab region with former Head of Iraqi Authority Council, Scholar Mohammad Bahr el-Ouloum.

Berri also had an audience with Former Minister Albert Mansour. Talks between both men reportedly touched on the Orthodox electoral law and Prime Minister Najib Mikati's Thursday statement on Premiership powers.

Despite acknowledging that he fully understood the reasons behind opting for the Orthodox plan, Mansour made clear why he decisively stood against it.

"My objection against this law proposal is set on fundamental basis. First and foremost it abolished the possibility of patriotism future wise. It simultaneously paves the way for the establishment of a federation union among Lebanese sects," Mansour said.

As for the Premiership competencies that Prime Minister Najib Mikati pinpointed in a statement on Thursday, Mansour warned Mikati from returning back to sectarian and religious hegemony tactics. "The Taef Accord has way surpassed such attempts which always end up bogging down the nation in civil war and disintegration."

R.A.H.-R.H.

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Politics - Ali: Syria getting faster better after crisis
 

Fri 30/12/2011 17:18

NNA - 30/12/2011 - The Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim Ali assured that Syria was getting in a fast course better after the crisis hitting the country since 10 months.

Ali's assuring remark came from Rabieh in the wake of a meeting with the head of the Bloc of Reform and Change General Michel Aoun.

He said those betting on the collapse of Syria would be defeated at the end.

The ambassador deemed the whole matter in Syria as a Zionist US conspiracy set against the country which would win by virtue of its public support.

Amongst Rabieh's visitors: former Deputy Emil Emil Lahoud and a delegation of the Lebanese Resistance that came to congratulate Aoun on Christmas and New Year occasions.

A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Qahwaji, Qaraa meet
 

Fri 30/12/2011 16:23

NNA - 30/12/2011 - Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji, on Friday met with State Security Chief, Brigadier George Qaraa, over the security cooperation between the two institutions.

Qahwaji later met at his office in Yarze with attorney Sassine Sassine over the current general situation.

R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Lebanon can be route for Al-Qaeda, not base: Charbel
 

Fri 30/12/2011 16:09

NNA - 30/12/2011 - Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Marwan Charbel, denied any presence of Al-Qaeda in Lebanon, but said the country can be a route not a base for the organization.

"The statement of Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn was interpreted politically," he told a news conference Friday.

Ghosn had claimed last week that Al-Qaeda members were entering the Bekaa region under the guise of Syrian opposition activists; but both Premier Najib Mikati and Minister Charbel had rejected the allegations.

Turning to Syria, the Minister said Lebanese northern borders must be controlled, revealing that the Red Cross had thus far transferred 130 injured from the Syrian territories to Lebanese hospitals.

Besides, he hailed the achievements of the security apparatuses namely the Information Branch.

On proportionality as basis to the impending legislative elections, Charbel said this item was still on-the-table in the cabinet, but he avowed that he would not sign the Orthodox Gathering's proposal, "even if everybody did."

As to the four Hezbollah members indicted for involvement in the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri, he said pursuit was still underway. "The Ministry executes everything the Special Tribunal for Lebanon requests within 48 hours," he corroborated.



RA.H.

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Politics - Akkar MPs call for holding cabinet answerable for security incidents
 

Fri 30/12/2011 15:23
 - Akkar Deputies called Friday for holding the cabinet answerable for the latest security incident and breaches taking place in some Lebanese regions, particularly Akkar (Wadi Khaled) and West Bekaa (Arsal).

Deputies Khodr Habib, Nidal Tohme, Khaled Daher and Moiin Al-Merehbi uttered sorry for the death cases and injuries resulting from these repetitive aggressions amid the total silence of the Lebanese government.

The statement issued in the wake of the meeting said "we called upon the government, over and over again, to mobilize the Lebanese Army in these zones so as to control these transgressions and put things back on the right track."

"As we touched no concern among those who were supposed to defend national sovereignty and dignity, we found ourselves bound to interrogate the cabinet in order to protect the innocent civilians and put terms to terrorism," the statement added.

The Deputies wondered "what were the preliminary results of the investigations in the crime which led to the martyrdom of three Lebanese citizens inside their villages."
D.K.

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Politics - Ain-el-Tineh highlights
 

Fri 30/12/2011 15:05

NNA - 30/12/2011 - Speaker of the House Nabih Berri on Friday met with Minister of National Defense, Fayez Ghosn, over most recent developments and the current security situation.

Berri later broached latest developments in the Arab region with former Head of Iraqi Authority Council, Scholar Mohammad Bahr el-Ouloum.

R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Sleiman meets Ali, necessitates probing Wadi Khalid incident
 

Fri 30/12/2011 14:40

NNA - 30/12/2011 - President of the Lebanese Republic General Michel Sleiman met Friday with the Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim Ali and stressed to him the necessity of controlling the Lebanese Syrian borders and probing the recent Wadi Khalid incident.

Last Tuesday, three Lebanese persons in Wadi Khalid were fatally shot from the Syrian side as they were sitting inside their car.

Amongst Sleiman's visitors: head of the Civil Service Board, former Minister Khalid Qabbani, and Attorney Ernest Karam.

Separately, Sleiman well-wished Lebanese on Christmas and New Year occasions, hoping that 2012 would be a year for dialogue and understanding among Lebanese as well as security stability for the country.

A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Fatfat: Coordination is essential between security apparatuses
 

Fri 30/12/2011 11:56

NNA - 30/12/2011 - "Future" bloc member Deputy Ahmad Fatfat stressed coordination between security apparatuses.

Fatfat said that ISF should protect farmers and prevent infiltration across borders.

"Northern regions citizens demand army deployment along the borders and ask protection of the army", the MP demanded on Friday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio.

Commenting on Defense minister remarks on the existence of Al-Qaeda members in Arsal, the MP said that coordination is required, adding that "it is unacceptable that Ghosn says something then Prime Minister Najib Mikati, President Michel Sleiman and Interior Minister Marwan Charbel say the opposite".

Fatfat said that signs indicated that some sides wanted to embroil Lebanon into Syria's incidents.

"Every side has its right to have its own political opinion but has no right to manipulate security" the MP stressed.

Concerning Higher Defense Council decisions, the MP said that some of the council's decisions were positive.

"The Council showed that Al-Qaeda members did not exist in Lebanon" Fatfat said.

A.A.M

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Politics - Jisser: Ghosn back tracked his statement on Al-Qaeda
 

Fri 30/12/2011 11:54

NNA - 30/12/2011 - Future Parliamentary bloc member deputy Samir Jisser told Voice of Lebanon "Voice of Freedom and Dignity" on Friday that Defense Minister Fazyez Ghosn has apparently withdrawn his earlier claims that Al-Qaeda is operating in Lebanon.

"If we read between the lines the last statement of Ghosn we will notice that he has rescinded his earlier claims that Al-Qaeda has infiltrated into Lebanon from Syria and this was clearly evident in the last statement of the Higher Defense Council," Jisser said.

He added that the council's statement has substantiated the earlier arguments of the President of the Republic Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati that Lebanon is not harboring Al-Qaeda members.

O.H

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Politics - Salhab calls for transparent and clear budget
 

Fri 30/12/2011 11:24

NNA - 30/12/2011 - Deputy Salim Salhab called on the concerned sides to start clear and transparent budget.

The deputy asked reasons behind failure to execute the ministerial statement since five months till today, asking "to resume clear and transparent budget".

Responding to a question concerning wage increase issue, the MP said that this issue is essential for people's livelihood, adding that Prime Minister Najib Mikati promised to handle it.

"Political pressure should not be exerted on Shoura council concerning wage increase before the issuance of the decision", the MP told "Voice of Lebanon" radio, hinting to the possibility that Mikati might not sign this decree as Minister Nicolas Nahhas has said.

Concerning the security situation, the MP asked political and security officials to reassure the Lebanese that security situation is stable in Lebanon amid security tension in the region.

A.A.M
 

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Politics - Charbel: Security apparatuses on alert
 

Fri 30/12/2011 10:59

NNA - 30/12/2011 - Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel assured the Lebanese that security apparatuses will be on alert on New Year's Eve.

The minister warned the citizens not to drive if they are intoxicated and to avoid speed acceleration.

On the other hand, the minister announced on Friday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio the extension of fines exemption for another two month.

"There is no need to rush to Dekwane or other regions", Charbel said, adding that the exemption of fines includes all cars till year 2011.

Concerning Charbel's press conference today (on Friday noon), he said that he will uncover a security gift which he promised earlier and highlight his ministry's achievements from the day since he assumed his mission till this day.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Marouni against questioning Arsal citizen's patriotism
 

Fri 30/12/2011 10:31

NNA - 30/12/2011 - Deputy Elie Marouni said that it is unacceptable to question Arsal citizen's patriotism, particularly because it is known for its steadfastness and support for Cedars Revolution in defending Lebanon's sovereignty.

The MP stressed that Security forces should protect the Syrian-Lebanese borders, calling on Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn to confirm his information about the existence of Al-Qaeda members because it is unfair to make accusations for political reasons.

"If Al-Qaeda exists in Lebanon, then let the concerned sides fulfill their duties without raising commotions", the MP said.

A.A.M

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Politics - Fadlallah: for a tranquil discourse
 

Thu 29/12/2011 21:04

NNA - 29/12/2011 "Loyalty to the Resistance" Bloc member Hassan Fadlallah called for the adoption of a calm discourse among politicians, casting aside speeches that stir sensitivities and disputes.
Deputy Fadlallah's words came during a ceremony held by Hezbollah in the southern town of Tairi, in honor of local Christian dignitaries.
The MP said that such a holler discourse is futile since it shall fail in altering the general internal policy and Lebanon's formula.
Fadlallah also stressed that the current government spares no effort to ameliorate the current daily living situation of public and private sector employees, hoping that measures to proceed ahead with wages' increase project would crystallize.
--------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Qahwaji receives Arsal delegation
 

Thu 29/12/2011 16:56
NNA - 29/12/2011 - Lebanese Army Chief General Jean Qahwaji received at his office in Yarzeh a delegation of Arsal thanking him for the security measures he took to protect the region and its neighboring villages.

Qahwaji appreciated the delegation's trust in the military institution, affirming that the Army handled matters by totally casting politics aside.

A.M>
 

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Politics - De Freij: Lebanese Syrian borders demarcation spares Akkar incident
 

Thu 29/12/2011 16:43

NNA - 29/12/2011 - Deputy Nabil De Freij said if the Lebanese Syrian borders demarcation were achieved, as agreed during the national dialogue, it would have saved Lebanon from the fatal incident that killed three Lebanese in Wadi Khalid/Akkar two days ago.

The demarcation would have prevented the Syrian Forces from penetrating into the Lebanese territories covering a distance of 50 meters.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Berri calls Jisr congratulating on Litani project
 

Thu 29/12/2011 16:18

NNA - 29/12/2011 - House Speaker Nabih Berri called on Thursday head of the Development and Reconstruction Council Nabil Jisr, congratulating him on signing the Litani Project contract, and deeming the event as big gift for Lebanese.

Separately, Berri received at his residence in Ain Tineh Deputy Wael Abu Faour and reviewed with him recent developments at the local scene.

Among Ain Tineh's visitors: Internal Security Forces senior General Ashraf Rifi; the Lebanese Ambassador to Vatican, Georges Khoury; and others.
A.M>

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Politics - Mikati assures of workshop with 2012 to reduce burdens on Lebanese
 

Thu 29/12/2011 15:37

NNA - 29/12/2011 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati said a dynamic workshop would launch with the emerging 2012 so as to try as much as possible to look into daily life matters of citizens and reduce dire burdens on them.

Mikati's assuring note came on Thursday in the context of his meeting with interlocutors at the Grand Serail.

Mikati said the aim of the workshop was to activate administrative and financial works, execute developmental, economic and social projects and solve numerous problems facing the nation. "We pin our hopes on such projects to reduce dire burdens on the Lebanese."

The Premier said any attempt to decrease the powers of cabinet presidency would be absolutely refused.

Separately, the Premier received at the Grand Serail a delegation of Economic Boards including head of Beirut Merchants Association, Nicholas Chammas, and the Lebanese Ambassador to Vatican, Georges Khoury.
 

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Politics - Abu Faour says ministry personel salary in two days, meets Egyptian Ambassador
 

Thu 29/12/2011 15:02

NNA - 29/12/2011 - Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour confirmed on Thursday that staff working for the Social Affairs Ministry will be getting their monthly pay within the coming two days.

On another level, Abu Faour tackled local and regional developments with the Egyptian Ambassador to Lebanon, Mohammad Tawfik.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Siniora meets Jordan's Senate head
 

Thu 29/12/2011 14:55

NNA - 29/12/2011 - Future Parliamentary bloc leader, Fouad Siniora, on Thursday engaged in local and regional developments with Jordanian Senate Council head, Mr. Ziad Majali.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman, Khoury tackle Syrian Council's role
 

Thu 29/12/2011 14:47

NNA - 29/12/2011 President Michel Sleiman engaged Thursday in talks concerning Syrian- Lebanese Supreme Council's efforts in reinforcing bilateral cooperation via signed agreements, during his meeting with council head, Nasri Khoury.

Both men accentuated the need to adopt adequate procedures to prevent any security breaches.

Sleiman tackled later Jordanian-Lebanese ties, during his meeting with the Jordanian Parliament head Taher Al-Masri.

The President also received the Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon who paid him a farewell visit upon winding up his diplomatic mission in Lebanon.

Lastly, the President met with Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud, with whom he tackled ministerial affairs.


L.W.
 

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Politics - Ghosn, Russian Ambassador tackle means of augmenting military ties
 

Thu 29/12/2011 14:42

NNA - 29/12/2011 - National Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn tackled on Thursday military cooperation ties with the Russian Ambassador to Lebanon, who visited him in the company of the Russian Embassy's military attach�, Major General Rafael Kormatchov.

The meeting reportedly touched on means of bolstering and activating military ties between Lebanon and Russia.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Ashkar from Grand Serail: political stability serves touristic prosperity
 

Thu 29/12/2011 14:22

NNA - 29/12/2011 - Hotels owners' syndicate's new council, headed by Pierre al-Ashkar, tackled Thursday with Prime Minister Najib Mikati the situation of the hotel sector, in light of the circumstances at the local and regional scenes, with all the ensuing difficulties.

Ashkar indicated from the Grand Serail that political stability was a major factor that contributed to touristic prosperity, noting that discord within the government in no way served this stability.

The council presented Mikati with the demands and needs of the hotel sector, with a sole objective in mind, which is boosting tourism in the country.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - N.Gemayel says government overlooking Syrian breaches
 

Thu 29/12/2011 14:19


NNA - 29/12/2011 MP Nadim Gemayel Thursday depicted the government as blind since it cannot pick out what Lebanese people witness of Syrian breaches to the borders.

Gemayel said that such behavior was unjustified, criticizing herein the Defense Minister's actions.
"Ghosn was supposed to defend Lebanese sovereignty and not overlook Syria's blatant aggressions," he said.

The MP also condemned the government's "languid" performance in defending Lebanon and called for adopting immediate measures to protect Lebanese civilians on borders and to file a complaint before the International Security Council, to condemn violations against national sovereignty.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 


 


Politics - Ouseiran pushes for speedy implementation of oil exploration plan
 

Thu 29/12/2011 14:13


NNA - 29/12/2011 - It is absolutely deplorable to keep the country submerged in chaos, at the time that Israel has launched its oil exploration mission, MP Ali Ouseiran said in a statement on Thursday.

Yesterday, Water and Energy Minister, Jibran Bassil, confirmed that the Ministerial Ad-Hoc Committee, tasked to discuss the oil exploration law, has finally reached a unanimous decision over the matter. However, he said that the plan drafted by the Energy Ministry would be discussed further during the January 4, 2012 cabinet session.

"Rushing the endorsement of the oil exploration implementation decree has become a crucial necessity," Ouseiran stressed.

As for inter-cabinet polemic at different levels, the Member of Parliament said that it was an out-right indication signifying mismanagement and dearth of required leadership skills. "Once again, we ask of the cabinet to escort the nation to the safety shore; by caring for its livelihood affairs and imprisoning petty squabbles behind walls."
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hout: Ghosn must be held accountable for threatening Lebanon's reputation
 

Thu 29/12/2011 13:47

NNA - 29/12/2011 - Parliament Member Imad Al-Hout criticized Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn for his allegations regarding Al-Qaeda members' presence in Arsal village, calling for holding the Minister accountable for his words, which Jeopardized Lebanon and threatened its reputation.

"The Minister rushed into hasty declarations, obviously not being able to present his partial information before the cabinet," Hout said.

The MP told Orient radio station that the refraining policy adopted by the government regarding the Syrian situation was not successful, proven that the Syrian regime was still executing one violation after the other at the Syrian-Lebanese northern borders, lately leading to the martyrdom of three Lebanese citizens with the absence of true and effective security measures to control the regressing situation.

"Preserving the country ought to be the state's institutions' responsibility," he said, noting that this lack of concern regarding the borders' security conditions implies that the Syrian regime seeks arming Akkar inhabitants so as its [Syria's] provocations lead to clashes and unrest, hence to further bloodshed.

As for the situation inside the Palestinian camps, Hout saw that controlling arms, as agreed upon at the dialogue table, is of major importance.

At the Syrian level, Hout said the Arab league's observers in Syria were banned to enter several zones, sternly believing that the Arab initiative is doomed to failure.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Abboud stresses Shura Council's role poring over wage plan
 

Thu 29/12/2011 13:09

NNA - 29/12/2011 - Tourism Minister Fadi Aboud on Thursday criticized Prime Minister Najib Mikati's promise not to sign the wage increase plan as long as it doesn't equally satisfy concerned sides.

"The constitution is quite clear about granting the Shura Council the right to scrutinize the legality of the wages law, after being voted for at the Council of Ministers," Abboud said as addressing Prime Minister Najib Mikati via a radio interview aired on "Al-Fajr" radio station.

Last Friday, Abboud said that if the Shura Council approved the bill then all firms and institutions would be forced to enact this law.

The Cabinet adopted a draft law last week to raise the minimum wage to LL868,000 - a sum that includes a LL236,000 transportation allowance that the government added to the basic salary.

Albeit, Abboud made clear that calls by economic bodies to implement the wage plan in agreement with the General Labor Confederation only aimed at facilitating the affairs of its personnel during the holiday season.

However, Abboud denied any existing schism within the Reform and Change bloc."My most recent stance signifies democracy and the existence of diversified opinion within our bloc."

As for the ill-fated killing of three Lebanese citizens by Syrian gunfire, Abboud chose to place this incident within the frame of daily perils facing all governments alike.

"Politically challenging the Lebanese cabinet with such incidents is no longer valid, especially that the current cabinet is dealing with the damage it inherited from the past," Abboud added, describing Mikati's cabinet performance as serious and positive.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel: Security apparatuses' evaluation bears no contradiction
 

Thu 29/12/2011 12:16

NNA - 29/12/2011 - Interior Minister Marwan Charbel Thursday denied the existence of contradictory evaluations from security apparatuses regarding Al-Qaeda members' presence in Aarsal town.

Charbel told Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio that Defense Minister's statements were misread for he did not say Al-Qaeda members were present in Aarsal but he asserted the existence of saboteurs entering Lebanon from Syria and vice versa.

The Minister also noted that the Higher Security Council's upcoming meeting will tackle available data regarding Aarsal issue.
L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Ogassapian: We are satisfied with response to Beirut's disarmament
 

Thu 29/12/2011 10:50

NNA - 29/12/2011 - "Future" bloc member Deputy Jean Ogassapian expressed satisfaction with the response to proposing Beirut arms-free capital.

The MP stressed that Beirut deputies seek to free Beirut from weapons to protect stability and to avoid possibility of strife.

"Beirut deputies demand withdrawal of small and medium weapons and refuse military proliferation", the MP stressed on Thursday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kbeisi: Liberation and Development bloc awaits achieving disarmament plan
 

Thu 29/12/2011 10:48

NNA - 29/12/2011 - "Liberation and Development" bloc member Deputy Hani Kbeisi said that his bloc awaits the achievement of disarmament of Beirut plan in order to discuss it in details.

The MP added that Beirut's deputies suggested to Speaker of the House Nabih Berri a plan to withdraw small and medium weapons from the capital paving the way to implement it over all the Lebanese territories.

"The goal of freeing the capital and Lebanon from arms aims to preserve civil peace and stability", the MP stressed on Thursday to "Voice of Lebanon"- Freedom and Dignity radio.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kanaan: Old age insurance sent to general committee
 

Thu 29/12/2011 10:41

NNA - 29/12/2011 - Head of the Finance and Budget Parliamentary Committee MP Ibrahim Kanaan told "Sawat al Mada" that his committee has approved 57 draft laws in various fields such as salary packages for teachers, employees and judges in civil and public services.

"We (committee) have created new criterion for supervisory apparatus and have managed to control waste and squandering. These achievements promoted the International Monetary Fund, European Union and EU auditing bureau to provide financial and moral support to the parliament to finance the creation of consultative committee. The annual grant is estimated at 500,000 euro," the MP explained.

He described these achievements as a landmark in the history of all parliamentary committees, adding that this was the first time since the independence of the country the committee made such progress in many files.

Kanaan stressed that the most important achievement by the committee was the competition of old age insurance coverage law for senior citizens.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Habib: To stop repeating violations of borders
 

Thu 29/12/2011 10:14

NNA - 29/12/2011 - Deputy Khodr Habib called on President Michel Sleiman to intervene immediately and end repetition of attacks and violations of the borders.

The MP called on Prime Minister Najib Mikati "to control the borders or to resign immediately in case his cabinet is unable to provide stability and protect the citizens".

Habib asked on Thursday in his interview with "Voice of Lebanon" radio to summon Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali to give clarifications over slaying of the three citizens in Wadi Khaled by the Syrian forces.

Commenting on the disarmament of Beirut and Tripoli, the MP said "this demand is right and essential, but it seems some parties do not want to abandon arms in the capital and north".

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Daher: Ghosn embarrassed government before public opinion
 

Thu 29/12/2011 09:47

NNA - 29/12/2011 - Future Parliamentary bloc member deputy Khalid Daher told Radio Free Lebanon that Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn has embarrassed the government in front of the Arab and international public opinions when he falsely claimed that members of Al-Qaeda have infiltrated from Lebanon to Syria.

"What took place at the Cabinet yesterday was suspicious. We did not even hear a word of condolences on the death of the three people in Wadi Khaled as if this region is not part of Lebanon," the MP said.

Commenting on the information provided by Ghosn on the presence of Al-Qaeda members in Arsal, Daher wondered how the Defense Minister did came with his information.

He reminded that President of the Republic Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Interior Minister Marwan Charbel did not adopt Ghosn's accusations.

"If it is true that the army command is still investigating these claims then how did Ghosn make these accusations," the MP asked.

He was also surprised by the government's attitude over the Syrian aggressions in Lebanon, noting that over 40 Syrian breaches of Lebanese sovereignty took place.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman meets Mikati
 

Thu 29/12/2011 09:17

NNA - 29/12/2011 - President Michel Sleiman is currently meeting at Baabda Palace with Prime Minister Najib Mikati before holding Higher Defense Council meeting.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - People with special needs pay holiday visit to Rahi
 

Wed 28/12/2011 22:57

NNA - 28/12/2011 - Marking the festive holiday season, Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi received on Wednesday 550 people with special needs, representing different social institutions that support them.

The meeting which took place in Bkerke, witnessed the attendance of Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, the Apostolic Nuncio in Lebanon Gabriel Caccia, bishops committee members, civil society figures, and families of people with special needs.

Patriarch Rahi welcomed the audience and thanked all those who contributed to the success of this meeting which in his words, "embodies the real meaning of Christmas."
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati tackles diverse issues with itinerants
 

Wed 28/12/2011 22:46

NNA - 28/12/2011 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati held on Wednesday Tourism Ministry-related talks with Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud, at the Grand Serail.

Mikati later had an audience with the newly appointed Hotels Syndicate Head, Mr. Pierre Ashkar, who sought the Prime Minister's support in alleviating political tension and rhetoric. "This badly influences the tourism sector," Ashkar said.

The Prime Minister also discussed Agricultural issues with a visiting delegation representing Tripoli and Bekaa's vegetable traders.

"The Prime Minister promised us to break ground on Tripoli's new vegetable market on January 6," Mr. Hussein Rifai said on behalf of the visiting delegation.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Orthodox electoral law dangerous: Ogassapian
 

Wed 28/12/2011 22:40

NNA - 28/12/2011 - Future Parliamentary bloc member, Jean Ogassapian, saw on Wednesday that the Orthodox electoral law was the most dangerous to adopt because it would determine the actual presence of each community and draw the country into sectarian isolation.

The MP's words came in response to a question on the electoral project law proposed by the Orthodox Gathering. "None of the sides that gathered in Bkerke has adopted this law yet. They all promised to further discuss the matter with their allies."

On another level, Ogassapian deemed the deployment of armed groups in Beirut during any fight as "unacceptable."

In this context, he called for a political agreement over an "arms-free Beirut," noting that there was nothing wrong with discussing this issue with Hezbollah.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hariri deplores Wadi Khaled incident
 

Wed 28/12/2011 22:16

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Former Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, vehemently condemned on Wednesday the murder of three Lebanese citizens in Wadi Khaled-Akkar and called on concerned authorities to take necessary measures, capable of fully ensuring the safety of citizens.

Hariri, who described the killing as a barefaced Syrian violation of Lebanese sovereignty, said the Lebanse government was fully responsible for said acts.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora deprecates Wadi Khaled incident
 

Wed 28/12/2011 21:54

NNA - 28/12/2011 - Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora fervidly censured on Wednesday the killing of three Lebanese citizens, by gunfire from the Syrian side of the border, in the Wadi Khaled region of Akkar city.

The ill-fated killing which took place yesterday evening near the village of Muqaybaleh occurred when Syrian bullets struck the three late men while seated inside a car.

"The assassination of the three martyrs for no valid reason, on Lebanese territories, is a flagrant violation to Lebanese sovereignty," Siniora said in statement issued by his information bureau. "This crime is utterly condemned and rejected."

Furthermore, Siniora slammed the Lebanese official "nonchalant" stances facing Syria's aggression. "What is more surprising is that the Lebanese cabinet convened today and failed to take any measures beyond searching for facts behind the incident."

"Official authorities should provide quick and immediate answers on the reasons behind Syrian trespassing of the Lebanese North borders," the statement added.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Bassil says Ad-Hoc committee undisputed over oil law
 

Wed 28/12/2011 21:17

NNA - 28/12/2011 - Water and Energy Minister, Jibran Bassil, confirmed on Wednesday that the Ministerial Ad-Hoc Committee, tasked to discuss the oil exploration law, has finally reached a unanimous decision over the matter. He said the plan drafted by the Energy Ministry will be discussed further during the January 4, 2012 cabinet session.

Bassil was speaking following the Ad-Hoc Committees' regular meeting which took place at the Grand Serail, chaired by Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and the presence of committee members.

"Maybe there has been some delay, as we were eager to have the cabinet approve this agreement today," Bassil said, pinning great hopes that the law would be ratified during the next session in 2012. "This would signify a new beginning, with a different work approach," he added.

On Tuesday, Speaker of the House Nabih Berri threatened to question the government in Parliament if it failed to approve the decree to implement the oil exploration law. He said Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Energy Minister Jibran Bassil had promised to issue this decree before year's end. "I will call Parliament to exercise its role and hold the government accountable," Berri warned.

Albeit, Bassil also expressed hope that the cabinet would stick to its commitments in granting oil exploration licenses. "The most important thing of all is to launch the oil exploration process in a bid to convert our oil treasure from a black, to a white one," he said.

Moreover, Bassil spoke of promising possibilities during the post-exploration period. "All we have left is the excavation process. It is a huge responsibility, not to mention a translation to the seriousness of the Lebanese cabinet- handling the matter."

At another level, Mikati held Tourism Ministry related talks on Wednesday with Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud.

He later had an audience with the newly appointed Hotels Syndicate Head, Mr. Pierre Ashkar, who sought the Prime Minister's support in alleviating political tension and rhetoric, "for this badly influences the tourism sector."

The Prime Minister also discussed Agricultural issues with a visiting delegation representing Tripoli and Bekaa's vegetable traders.

"The Prime Minister promised us to break ground on Tripoli's new vegetable market on January 6," Mr. Hussein Rifai said on behalf of the visiting delegation.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman for investigations into killing of three in Wadi Khalid
 

Wed 28/12/2011 19:23

NNA - 28/12/2011 - President of the Lebanese Republic General Michel Sleiman regretted on Wednesday the killing of three Lebanese in Wadi Khalid, offering to their families condolences on their death and stressing the necessity for concerned security apparatuses to investigate the incident and adopt the necessary judicial procedures in this concern.

The President's regret came amidst his chairing a cabinet session at Baabda Presidential Palace.

The President felicitated the Lebanese on Christmas and New Year occasions, and expressed relief at the government's earlier approval on a number of social projects on the level of electricity and infrastructure.

It was to note that a one-on-one meeting had been held before the session between Sleiman and Prime Minister Mikati during which overall developments were reviewed between both men.

Concerning the issue pertaining to the infiltration of Al-Qaeda members into Syria from Arsal, Information Minister Walid Daouk, who spoke in the wake of the cabinet session, said the debate in this concern imbued a political aspect and the media enlarged the story more than it deserved.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahraman fears security escalation in north Lebanon
 

Wed 28/12/2011 18:27

NNA - 28/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Khaled Zahraman on Wednesday said he fears a security escalation in north Lebanon, as commenting on what he termed as "the continuous infiltration of Syrian forces into the Lebanese territories and the security and military occupation of the nation's components."

"There is no difference between a friendly and an enemy army," he reckoned.

"The blood of our sons is more precious than all considerations," he stressed.

Future's Deputy also lambasted the Mikati-led government's quiescence over what is happening in the northern prefecture.

R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati: no clear evidences for Al-Qaeda's presence in Arsal
 

Wed 28/12/2011 17:49

NNA - 28/12/2011 - Prime Minister Nakib Mikati said on Wednesday there were no clear evidences for the presence of members of Al-Qaeda organization in Orsal/Baalbeck.

Mikati's word came in the context of an interview with accredited journalists at the Grand Serail. The Premier said it was not required to deal with this sensitive subject in a manner that hurted Lebanon, and so, the security apparatuses which were tasked to look into the subject, would convey the true information in this concern.

On the issue pertaining to rendering Beirut a free armed city, Mikati said this required a military mechanism and political consensus in order to be achieved, as the government could not alone handle the matter.

Mikati voiced support for resuming national dialogue since this could lessen the distance of divergence among political sides and solve pending local problems.

Turning to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon issue, the Premier said the renewal for STL's activities was something spontaneous in charge of the Security Council and his role in this concern was no more than advisory.

Separately, Mikati received at the Grand Serail Internal Security Forces senior General Ashraf Rifi and the Palestinian Ambassador Abdallah Abdallah.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Harb for disarming all citizens, organizations except state
 

Wed 28/12/2011 17:30

NNA - 28/12/2011 - Deputy Boutros Harb voiced the necessity of collecting all kinds of weapons from the Lebanese public as well as parties or organizations and handing them over to the state - the only legitimate institution entitled to hold arms.

Arms in the hands of citizens could weaken local unity and cause a sort of interior warfare, said the Deputy.

Turning to the issue pertaining to the presence of Al-Qaeda members in Orsal/Baalbeck, Harb said the view in this concern was contradictory among concernmed ministers, since the Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn affirmed Al-Qaeda's presence and the Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel denied it.

Such a contradictory view was dangerous, said the Deputy, as it gave way for some politicians to abuse the story to their own interest by accusing their rivals of upholding terrorist members across Lebanon and security unrest in Syria.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Sudanese diplomat extols NNA, says agency is mainstay to media work
 

Wed 28/12/2011 16:36

NNA - 28/12/2011 - Sudan's ambassador to Lebanon, Suleiman Idriss, on Wednesday visited Director of the National News Agency, Laure Sleiman Saab, at her office in the Ministry of Information, with talks featuring high on the means to bolster bilateral cooperation.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, the diplomat hailed the Agency's quality leap towards a better performance and a wider spread and expansion, raking up NNA's keen concern about Arab and international affairs, substantial photos archive, voice news bulletin, and French and English editing departments.

"I believe that the National News Agency indeed enriches Lebanon with an unalleviated flow of news. It is rather the mainstay to the media work not only in Lebanon, but also in many regions worldwide, including Sudan," he said.

"Information had become the first and foremost authority, and news' accuracy and professionalism had become a very important matter," he maintained.

"There are millions of pages and news sources on the internet, but we cannot trust them all; hence, national agencies remain the most credible and highly professional," he explained.

"When we want to take any news item from Lebanon, the National News Agency remains the main trustworthy source," he corroborated.

The ambassador and NNA Director later toured the Agency's various departments.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 




















 

 

Politics - Qahwaji's itinerants today
 

Wed 28/12/2011 15:44

NNA - 28/12/2011 - Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji, on Wednesday broached the current general situation with former Minister Wiam Wahhab and former Deputy Emile Emile Lahoud, who visited him at his office in Yarze.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri meets his Jordanian counterpart
 

Wed 28/12/2011 13:04

NNA - 28/12/2011 - House Speaker Nabih Berri tackled Wednesday latest developments and bilateral ties with his Jordanian counterpart, Taher Al-Masri, accompanied by the Jordanian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ziad Al-Majali.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Safadi: Shura confirmed prior approval between employers and employees
 

Wed 28/12/2011 12:27

NNA - The Cabinet is currently discussing 37 items in its agenda on Wednesday.

The Cabinet, which is meeting under the chairmanship of President of the Republic Michel Sleiman, will also review other pressing matters.

Before the meeting, some ministers talked to reporters about issues they intend to raise in the Cabinet.

Finance Minister Mohammed Safadi said that the Shura Council has previously said that it is important for the employees and employers reach an understanding on the wage increase issue, noting that this council refused the agreement reached between the two sides.

On his part, Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud said the wage decree is awaiting the final answer of the Shura Council.

He also indicated that the executable decrees on oil law were sent to the Prime Minister a long time ago.

Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan said subsidizing red gas oil is not an easy matter amid the presence of mafias, assuring however, that all ministries are doing their best to prevent this from happening.

Sleiman will host a lunch banquet for the ministers after the end of the Cabinet session.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Habib mournful over Lebanese shot dead by Syrian army
 

Wed 28/12/2011 11:58

NNA - 28/12/2011 - MP Khodr Habib Wednesday expressed sorrow for the three Lebanese who fell victims for Syrian army bullets.

Syrian army opened fire Tuesday on a car killing three Lebanese people in the northern Lebanese town of Wadi Khaled.

The MP urged President Michel Sleiman to get the central security to hold an urgent meeting to draw a clear plan for the protection of Akkar and Aarsal habitants.

"Borders ought not to be unfettered the way they are," Habib told Voice of Lebanon -Freedom and Dignity- radio and said the government is answerable for every drop of blood in Akkar.

Pertaining to Minister Fayez Ghosn's statements on Al-Qaeda members' presence in Aarsal town, Habib said this matter is supposed to be tackled with the army command away from media institutions in order to adopt adequate measures if ever collected information turns out to be valid.

L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Saleh: Security instability in Tyre serves Israel's allies
 

Wed 28/12/2011 11:54

NNA - 28/12/2011 - "Development and Liberation" bloc member Abdel Majeed Saleh said that security instability in Tyre serves Israel's allies.

The MP stressed in Wednesday's statement that Tyre refuses all kinds of strife because it is the city of coexistence between all sects and religions.

His remarks came after the explosion which took place on Wednesday dawn at Tyre which targeted a restaurant that sells alcohol

Saleh warned of the danger that is prevailing over Lebanon, calling on "the security apparatuses to uncover and punish perpetrators".

Finally, the MP stressed that the citizens of Tyre refuse such incidents.

A.A.M.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Jarrah calls on Mikati to hold Ghosn accountable for his allegations
 

Wed 28/12/2011 11:52

NNA - 28/12/2011 - Deputy Jamal al-Jarrah solicited Prime Minister Najib Mikati to call to account Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn for the information he declared regarding the presence of El-Qaeda members in Arsal village.

Minister Ghosn had announced to the media last week that Arsal village is the shelter for members of El-Qaeda organization, linking this fact to the terrorist attacks which targeted Syria.

In his interview with "Free Lebanon" radio station, Jarrah denied Ghosn's allegations, saying "they would have dangerous repercussions on the situation in Lebanon."

"If his information were accurate enough, he would've presented them before the public opinion and the cabinet," the MP noted, assuring that naming "Arsal" village precisely is due to its location at the Lebanese-Syrian borders and due to Syrian refugees' presence in that area.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Sleiman chairs Cabinet meeting
 

Wed 28/12/2011 11:50

NNA - 28/12/2011 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman chaired a Cabinet session at noon today at Baabda Presidential Palace in the presence of Prime Minister Najib Mikati and ministers.

The cabinet will discuss 37 items in the agenda in addition to urgent matters in order to take proper action on them.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Asarta returns to Lebanon
 

Wed 28/12/2011 11:27

NNA - 28/12/2011 - "UNIFIL's" Commander Alberto Asarta arrived on Tuesday night to Rafik Hariri International Airport coming from Istanbul.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahraman: Cabinet is not protecting Lebanese
 

Wed 28/12/2011 11:08

NNA - 28/12/2011 - Deputy Khaled Zahraman stressed that the cabinet is not protecting the Lebanese and the borders from the recurring Syrian violations.

Zahraman expressed concerns over future security incidents against the citizens of the borders who provided aid to the Syrian refugees.

The MP condemned on Wednesday to "Fajr" radio the slaying of the three citizens in Wadi Khaled by the Syrian forces, calling on "the Lebanese cabinet and Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn to take an obvious position towards this incident".

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 







 

Politics - Sleiman meets Mikati
 

Wed 28/12/2011 11:07

NNA - 28/12/2011 - President Michel Sleiman is currently meeting at Baabda Palace with Prime Minister Najib Mikati to discuss general situation and latest developments ahead of the cabinet session.

It is worth noting that 37 articles are on the schedule and will be followed by a lunch banquet for all the ministers.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Araji: Ghosn's accusations against Arsal are void
 

Wed 28/12/2011 11:01

NNA - 28/12/2011 - Deputy Assem Araji said that the accusations of Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn concerning the infiltration of al Qaeda members from Arsal village to Syria are void.

He pointed out that the latest remarks of Interior Minister Marwan Charbel are the biggest prove that such members do not exist in Lebanon.

The MP stressed on Wednesday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio that "the infiltration of al Qaeda members from Arsal to Syria are void accusations and do not rely on evidences".

Araji added that the accusations which were fabricated against Arsal were introductions to the explosives that took place in Syria.

The MP called on Ghosn to present evidences in case such clues exist in order to summon the involved side to justice, calling on the army to deploy along the Lebanese borders to protect them and Arsal citizens.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Environment Minister calls for closer security coordination between Lebanon and Syria
 

Wed 28/12/2011 10:49


NNA - 28/12/2011 - Environment Minister Nazem Khoury call for further security coordination between Lebanon and Syria in order to protect the joint borders, expressing sorrow for the killing of three Lebanese in Wadi Khaled.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon, the minister described the constant Syrian army breaches as a mistake which is occurring very frequently.

"The Syrian army has no right to infringe into Lebanese territories and enforce security measures inside these areas without the prior coordination with the Lebanese security forces," Khoury said.

He attributed the discrepancies within the government over the issue of Al-Qaeda to the lack of coordination between the security apparatus.

He added that every minister in the Cabinet acts on his own and tries to pass his project in the government.

Khoury indicated that convening a national dialogue is not ripe yet.

"Dialogue nevertheless is vital at this stage in view of the deteriorating situation in the region," the minister said.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Abou Faour meets Swiss and Canadian Ambassadors
 

Wed 28/12/2011 10:43

NNA - 28/12/2011 - Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour met on Wednesday at his office in the ministry with Swiss Ambassador to Lebanon Ruth Flint and Canadian Ambassador Hilary Adams and discussed developments and bilateral ties.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Nicolas Nahhas: Cabinet will tackle salary issue
 

Wed 28/12/2011 10:08

NNA - 28/12/2012 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas said the Cabinet will try to find a solution to the controversial issue of the wage increase, rejecting the gesture of the private sector to unilaterally implement a wage hike without the prior approval of the government and the Shura Council.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon, the minister said that irrespective of the decision of the Shura Council, the Cabinet will handle the issue of the wage increase based on an understanding between the employers and labor unions, stressing that Prime Minister Najib Mikati will find the suitable solution.

Nahhas assured that he respects Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas but the situation has changed and for this reason "matters should be perceived from wide scope."

He also commented on the Arsal town.

"This issue (Arsal) will be dealt in a manner that will appease the residents of this town," Nahhas said, underlining the importance of protecting Lebanon and Arsal in particular.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved










 

Politics - Mourabi calls for UNIFIL deployment in northern borders
 

Wed 28/12/2011 09:17

NNA - 28/12/2012 - Member of Parliament Mouen al Mourabi called on the UNIFIL forces stationed in the south to expand their deployment to northern borders following the security incidents.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the MP said Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn is deliberately turning a blind eye on the increasing security incidents along the Lebanese-Syrian border and refuses to deploy the army to end the daily security breaches by the Syrian regime.

Mourab expressed his indignation about the failure of the government to take quick actions after three Lebanese citizens who were in car were killed by the Syrian army although this vehicle was inside Lebanese territories.

He also blasted the defense minister for claiming that A-Qaedea members sneaked form Lebanon to Syria.

"The situation has become unbearable. If was ask for the deployment of the Lebanese army in the northern border we will be accused of plotting against the army and if we call on authorities to end the security breaches they (authorities) quickly accuse Al-Qaedea members of standing behind these incidents," the MP explained.

Mourabi stressed that since the President of the republic and prime minister are too preoccupied then "we should take their permission to ask the UNIFIL forces to expand their operation to northern border in Akkar and especially in Wadi Khaled and Arsal."

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman: Land defense, terrorism fighting complement each other
 

Tue 27/12/2011 20:55

NNA - 27/12/2011 - President of the Lebanese Republic, Michel Sleiman, said that both defending the Lebanese lands against Israeli assaults and fighting terrorism across Lebanon were complementary to each other.

Sleiman's words came on Tuesday in the context of his meeting with senior security figures coming to felicitate him on Christmas occasion.

"Terrorism fighting represents priority for the Lebanese Army that highly sacrificed during Nahr Bared battle in 2007," said the President. Also, he added, the Lebanese public that stood on the side of the army during the battle would not allow any terrorist cell to hide at any vicinity, neighborhood or town, since this would much contradict with Lebanon's culture of democracy and coexistence.

The President received respectively Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn and Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel. All agreed on the necessity of intensifying efforts to preserve national peace and brace up local stability.

Amongst the military and security figures that visited the President: Lebanese Army Chief Jean Qahwaji; Internal Security Forces General Ashraf Rifi; General Security senior Abbas Ibrahim; and others.

Separately, Sleiman received a letter from the French President Nicholas Sarkozi who thanked the President for his earlier letter in the wake of the recent assault against the French contingent of UNIFIL in the South.

Sarkozi affirmed France's commitment to respecting Lebanon and its sovereignty, assuring that his country would always partake within UNIFIL's mission in Lebanon.
A.M>

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Well-wishers pour into Bkerke
 

Tue 27/12/2011 20:21

NNA - 27/12/2011 Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi met on Tuesday afternoon at Bkerke with a delegation of Customs officers, who came to well-wish the Patriarch on the festive season.
Earlier, Patriarch Rahi met with a delegation of Saint Charbel Perish in Romania, who extended to him an invitation to inaugurate the new St Charbel Church in Romania.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun expects Lebanon to produce gas soon
 

Tue 27/12/2011 20:04

NNA - 27/12/2011 - Head of the Change and Reform bloc, MP Michel Aoun, on Tuesday expected the country to produce a made-in-Lebanon gas soon, as raking up the big chances of having offshore oil resources.

The bloc convened today in its periodic meeting in Rabieh, and lengthily tackled the impending administrative appointments and the oil law, which Aoun revealed it was finalized and put in the cabinet's drawers.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Aoun also stressed he would question Deputies over the real figures of Lebanese lands' selling to foreigners.

On a different note, he said that Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn was credible as to the infiltration of Al-Qaeda members from Lebanon into Syria.

"The Minister of Defense is the most honest in that respect because he is following up on this affair, and he is in a responsible position, with a long queue of army behind him," he maintained.

"It is the military posts that observe and provide information," he corroborated.

About the stance of Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi on the necessity to collect arms from cities, Aoun said "when it is time, we will support this viewpoint, and Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah will support us."

Turning to Syria, Aoun reckoned that Damascus attacks last week were the result of a cumulative flop to oust the Assad-led regime.

"These acts only lead to sabotage and raise fears, but they do not change the regime. They used peaceful and revolutionary means through demonstrations but they failed. They also failed when they used weapons," he underlined.




R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Defense Minister's statement draws Future's ire
 

Tue 27/12/2011 19:28

NNA - 27/12/2011 - Future parliamentary bloc on Tuesday lashed out at what it termed "the dangerous and fishy" statement by Minister of Defense, Fayez Ghosn, herein disclosing information about the infiltration of Al-Qaeda members into Arsal town towards Syria.

The bloc, which convened today in a periodic meeting at the Center House under the chairmanship of MP Fouad Siniora, cautioned the Mikati-led government and Minister Ghosn against "the unsubstantiated" accusations.

"It is not up to the Minister to make accusations without having in hand confirmed information," a statement by the bloc read.

"These allegations occurred while Arsal inhabitants are still claiming an effective presence of the state in their town and the deployment of the Lebanese Army to protect them," it added.

The bloc thus avowed it would use all the possible democratic parliamentary means to question Minister Ghosn over his statement.

The bloc however hailed the stances of both the Lebanese President and Maronite Patriarch pertaining to the collection of arms from cities.

Turning to Syria, the bloc did not fail to lambast the two blasts in Damascus last week. But it cast doubt over what the Syrian part had declared in that respect, in reference to the primary investigations revealing the involvement of Al-Qaeda in the explosions.

Hence, it called the Arab League to open probe into the attack.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel bound to Paris
 

Tue 27/12/2011 17:39

NNA - 27/12/2011 - Head of Kataeb Party, Amine Gemayel, on Tuesday left Beirut heading to Paris.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (updated) Berri follows up preparations to carry out Litani River project
 

Tue 27/12/2011 17:33

NNA - 27/12/2011 - House Speaker Nabih Berri tackled Tuesday with the Head of Development and Reconstruction Council, Nabil Al-Jisr, preparations underway for putting into action the Litani river project.

Jisr announced that the contract will be signed in the next few days, reassuring the inhabitants of South region that the corner stone for the long-awaited Litani project will be laid soon.

Separately, Berri received the Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon Abdullah Abdullah in presence of former Minister Talal Sahili.

Also, Berri met with Foreign Affairs Minister Adnan Mansour and the committee assigned to organize the convention on cluster munitions with talks featuring high on its performance.

Amongst Ain El-Tineh's visitors was also the Head of banking association, Joseph Torbey, with whom he discussed financial affairs.

Afterward, the House Speaker held a meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati, in presence of Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, with talks touching on general state of affairs.

This afternoon, a delegation of "Beirut Deputies" visited the Speaker at Ein Tineh residence, with talks reportedly touching on issues related to disarming Grand Beirut and arms outside Palestinian camps.
MP Nouhad Mashnouk stressed on emerging the necessity of disarming the city of Beirut from medium and light weapons, in a bid to abolish all factors of internal strife. Masnouk underlined the stringent need for putting a serious plan to hand over all medium and light weapons.
"Our project is not targeted against anyone... but rather preserving civil peace for all the Lebanese", Mashnouk stressed.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel by far upbeat on stable situation
 

Tue 27/12/2011 17:10

NNA - 27/12/2011 - Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Marwan Charbel, on Tuesday reassured citizens that the security situation in the country was majorly stable and that security apparatuses were highly mobilized and keeping tabs on security and stability.

He called for cooperation amid this critical stage so as to shun any bids to destabilize the country.

The Minister chaired today at his office in the Ministry a meeting for the Central Security Council, devoted to evaluate the security plan ratified earlier by the Council on military and security measures adopted nationwide.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt offers condolences on the passing away of Havel
 

Tue 27/12/2011 17:00

NNA - 27/12/2011 Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) Head Walid Jumblatt dispatched his deputy Doreid Yaghi to offer condolences to Check Ambassador to Lebanon on the passing away of former Check President Vaklav Havel.
Jumblatt eulogized the late President as a figure who managed to restore freedom and democracy to the Check people through modern revolution, a statement by PSP said on Tuesday.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi sees foreign solutions as pernicious
 

Tue 27/12/2011 16:56

NNA - 27/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi on Tuesday said any solution made abroad is pernicious and destructive, hoping more unity, solidarity, and harmony would prevail over the Arab world.

Addressing a visiting delegation of Tartus region today, the Patriarch said much-desired reforms would be only sabotaging if coming from outside.

"We are looking forward, just like you, to the constitutional reforms which Syria requires, and I know that the President had instigated these reforms since March," said the Patriarch.

"We cannot look forward to a sound Arab world if we were not all together hand in hand; yes, we do belong to this group, the Arab League, keenly expected to assume its role within the international community. But we regret that violence had become the mere mean. We are against violence, regardless of its source, for violence only begets more misery," he added.

Earlier today, the Patriarch met behind Bkerki's closed doors with Syrian ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul Karim Ali, over the current general situation.

He also met with Minister of National Defense, Fayez Ghosn, over most recent developments on the domestic level.

Besides, delegations of NDU headed by Father Walid Mussa, La Sagesse University headed by Father Camille Mubarak, Deputy Abdullatif Zein, former Minister Edmond Rizk, MP Walid Khoury, former Minister Selim Sayegh, and former Deputy Nohad Soueid had respectively been to Bkerki today.




R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Arsal delegation visits PM, denies presence of fundamentalists in locality
 

Tue 27/12/2011 16:03

NNA - 27/12/2011 - A delegation of Arsal municipality, on Tuesday denied the presence of any fundamentalist group or collaborators in the locality.

The delegation, headed by Ali Hujeiri, today visited Prime Minister Najib Mikati at the Grand Serail, and uttered out-and-out rejection of two items, namely collaboration with Israel and the presence of Al-Qaeda members in the locality, at the backdrop of recent statements by Defense Minister, Fayez Ghosn.

Besides, Hujeiri maintained that instead of accusing Arsal of sheltering members of Al-Qaeda, efforts must be exerted to develop the locality and prevail security herein.

Mikati had earlier met with a delegation of Beirut Deputies comprised of Ammar Houri, Nabil De Freij, and Ghazi Youssef.

Talks mainly shed light on the obligation to stamp out arms from Beirut, in an effort to pave the way for rendering Lebanon a weapons-free country.

Accordingly, the Deputies raised the issues of withdrawing medium and light weapons as per a comprehensive plan, implementing the recommendations of the national dialogue conference on Palestinian weapons inside and outside refugees' camps, and venturing into a dialogue on a long-awaited national defense strategy.

Head of Jordanian Senate, Taher Al-Masri, had also been to the Grand Serail today for a meeting with the Prime Minister over the current situation in Lebanon, Jordan, and the broader Arab region.

Mikati also met with Philippines ambassador over bilateral ties on all political, economic, and cultural levels.

He later received Lebanese ambassador to France, Butros Assaker.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (updated) Berri follows up preparations to carry out Litani River project
 

Tue 27/12/2011 15:41

NNA - 27/12/2011 - House Speaker Nabih Berri tackled Tuesday with the Head of Development and Reconstruction Council, Nabil Al-Jisr, preparations underway for putting into action the Litani river project.

Jisr announced that the contract will be signed in the next few days, reassuring the inhabitants of South region that the corner stone for the long-awaited Litani project will be laid soon.

Separately, Berri received the Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon Abdullah Abdullah in presence of former Minister Talal Sahili.

Also, Berri met with Foreign Affairs Minister Adnan Mansour and the committee assigned to organize the convention on cluster munitions with talks featuring high on its performance.

Amongst Ain El-Tineh's visitors was also the Head of banking association, Joseph Torbey, with whom he discussed financial affairs.

Afterward, the House Speaker held a meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati, in presence of Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, with talks touching on general state of affairs.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri follows up preparations to carry out Litani River project
 

Tue 27/12/2011 15:30

NNA - 27/12/2011 - House Speaker Nabih Berri tackled Tuesday with the Head of Development and Reconstruction Council, Nabil Al-Jisr, preparations underway for putting into action the Litani river project.

Jisr announced that the contract will be signed in the next few days, reassuring the inhabitants of South region that the corner stone for the long-awaited Litani project will be laid soon.

Separately, Berri received the Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon Abdullah Abdullah in presence of former Minister Talal Sahili.

Also, Berri met with Foreign Affairs Minister Adnan Mansour and the committee assigned to organize the convention on cluster munitions with talks featuring high on its performance.

Amongst Ain El-Tineh's visitors was also the Head of banking association, Joseph Torbey, with whom he discussed financial affairs.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk hopes salaries' decree would be annulled
 

Tue 27/12/2011 14:50

NNA - 27/12/2011 Information Minister Walid Daouk hoped Tuesday that the salaries' adjustment project would be annulled.

Daouk expressed hope that the State Advisory Council would annul the decree considering the breaches it bears.

The Minister also told the Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio that rectification herein ought to be concluded fast.

L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea meets Hariri, KSA officials in Riyadh
 

Tue 27/12/2011 14:14

NNA - 27/12/2011 - Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea arrived in Beirut on Tuesday, winding up a visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

During his visit, Geagea met with senior Saudi officials. He also met with Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Riyadh. Both men held a broad meeting over the internal Lebanese situation, as well as the regional situation in light of recent developments.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kabalan: preserving Syria, Iraq is everyone's duty
 

Tue 27/12/2011 14:08

NNA - 27/12/2011 - Deputy Head of the Islamic Shiite Supreme Council, Sheikh Abdel Amir Kabalan, said Tuesday that preserving Syria and Iraq is everyone's responsibility.

"Arab countries are going through crisis, discord and deterioration, therefore we should all reject disintegration and gather efforts to solve the situation," he said.

"We call upon wise people and different communities to diffuse the culture of modernization and openness away from tension," he concluded.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea back in Beirut
 

Tue 27/12/2011 12:57

NNA - 27/12/2011 - Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea arrived in Beirut city on Tuesday via Oman, winding up a visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Ghosn's Qaeda allegations strictly political, says Houri
 

Tue 27/12/2011 12:52

NNA - 27/12/2011 - Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn's allegations, claiming the existence of a Qaeda cell operating in Lebanon, are merely political and serve Syria's interests, Member of Parliament Ammar Houri said on Tuesday.

Interviewed on the Voice of Lebanon radio station, Houri snubbed insinuations of any existing discrepancy in Lebanon's official stance from Ghosn's claims.

"The Lebanese President made a clear stance denying those [Ghosn's] allegations, so did Interior Minister Marwan Charbel," he said, noting that the only existing contradiction was that made by Ghosn's claims.

Last week, Ghosn said Al-Qaeda members had penetrated Lebanon through the Northern Lebanese border village of Arsal, camouflaged as Syrian refugees. On Monday, Ghosn defended his recent claims that Al-Qaida members had infiltrated parts of north Lebanon, saying they were based on tangible information provided to him.

"We consider his [Ghosn's] claims as strictly political. They will be invested to serve Syria," Houri added.

Albeit, Ghosn refused to stand idle before what he described as a flagrant attack against Arsal region."We will follow up the matter in compliance with constitutional norms. We will make sure to interrogate the Defense Minister in a bid to preserve internal civil peace and stability."

Following up efforts at rendering Beirut an arms free city, Houri promised to follow up the matter with Prime Minister Najib Mikati. "If he [Mikati] has the will, he will take up this initiative."
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hashem: national dialogue is ultimate priority
 

Tue 27/12/2011 12:38

NNA - 27/12/2011 - Deputy Qassem Hashem said Tuesday that dialogue has become a priority to preserve higher national interest.

The MP said latest developments require serious discussion at the dialogue table.

"If some political sides have worries over certain issues or wish to convey thoughts and expectations, we should then resort to negotiations," he argued.

"The political atmosphere necessitates wisdom and awareness to spare the country dangers and threats," Hashem noted, calling on politicians to avoid provocative rhetoric.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Riyad Rahhal: Existence of illegal weapons forms danger on Lebanon
 

Tue 27/12/2011 12:20

NNA - 27/12/2011 - Deputy Riyad Rahhal said that the existence of illegal weapons poses danger on Lebanon and the Lebanese.

Rahhal stressed that March 14 wants the state to extend its authority over all the Lebanese territories.

Commenting on Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn's words on the existence of al Qaeda members in Arsal, the MP said to "Future News", "his words are dangerous".

"If we don't hear clear responses from Ghosn concerning the allegations of the existence of terrorists, then we would seek vote of confidence against him", the MP stressed.

Rahhal said that there is an obvious contradiction between President Michel Sleiman and the ministers in the cabinet, through Sleiman's assurance that the Lebanese do not protect terrorists.

Concerning the Syrian file, the MP said "Syria wants to mislead the observers committee and does not want to implement the Arab initiative".

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (UPDATED) Rai discusses situation with Syrian Ambassador and Ghosn
 

Tue 27/12/2011 11:47

NNA - 27/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai received on Tuesday well wishers on the occasion of Christmas and met with Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali and discussed general situation.

Also, Rai met with NDU university delegation chaired by Father Walid Moussa.

Later, Rai met with Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn and discussed the general situation.

Separately, Rai met with Deputy Abdel Latif Zein who said after the meeting "I hope that Lebanon would overcome its crisis in the new year".

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Rai meets Syrian Ambassador
 

Tue 27/12/2011 10:34

NNA - 27/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai met on Tuesday morning at Bkirki with Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali and discussed general situation.

Also, Rai met with NDU university delegation chaired by Father Walid Moussa.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel: Army investigating information on Al-Qaeda in Lebanon
 

Tue 27/12/2011 10:22

NNA - 27/12/2011 - Interior Minister Marwan Charbel told Voice of Lebanon that the Lebanese army command is investigating information on the presence of Al-Qaeda members in Lebanon.

"We should take into account Interior Minister Fayez Ghosn statement that members of Al-Qaeda are operating in Arsal town. We should not ignore this issue and we must put it as a first priority in the next cabinet session," the minister said.

He added that the army will conduct an investigation into the information revealed by the Defense Minister and tomorrow Ghosn will inform the cabinet about his findings.

Charbel ruled out any possible showdown between the army and the residents of Arsal, assuring that there is continuous coordination with the residents of all villages along the Syrian border.

He also confirmed that President of the Republic Michel Sleiman intends to hold more deliberations with all concerned political parties to prepare for a national dialogue.

Charbel suggested that the Interior Ministry may consider extending the fine exemptions for car mechanics for another one month due to the congestions in the inspection center.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 













 

Politics - Dahr: Defense Minister's words trigger tension
 

Tue 27/12/2011 09:56
NNA - 27/12/2011 - Deputy Khaled Dahr said that the remarks made by Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn concerning the existence of al-Qaeda members in Lebanon trigger tension.

He added that the statements of President Michel Sleiman and Interior Minister Marwan Charbel are the best response to Ghosn's allegations that al Qaeda members infiltrated from Lebanon to Syria.

"We know that the supreme commander of all armed forces in Lebanon is President Sleiman", Dahr told "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio on Tuesday.

The MP stressed that violations along the Lebanese-Syrian borders should be solved in a legal manner, pointing out to the silence of the Lebanese cabinet over these breaches, calling on the Lebanese to defend the sovereignty of their territories and prevent the Syrian regime from breaching their land.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


 

 


Politics - Hizbollah condemns the declaration project of "Jerusalem as a Capital of Jews"
 

Mon 26/12/2011 21:05

NNA - 26/12/2011 - In a statement by Hizbollah Monday evening, the Party condemned the project of declaring "Jerusalem as a Permanent Capital of Jews," questioning the silence of international organizations towards an event that threatens the world's security?!

Hizbollah considered such a project as being another huge step towards the complete "Judaism" of the sacred City, and a violation of the rights of other religions; as well as the rights of the Palestinian people to said City.

The statement indicated that such a racist law denotes an attack against, and an act of intimidation towards more than 3 million Muslims and Christians across the world. It added that this proves, once again, the Zionists' belittling of Muslims and Christians' faith and their ongoing aspirations towards Jerusalem as being a meeting place of all heavenly religions, interacting together within a framework of kindness, forgiveness and respect.

Accordingly, Hizbollah placed this new Zionist crime in the hands of international organizations which claim to defend international security and peace, and which seem so silent towards such an event that poses a threat to the world's security, at large, not only the region's, the statement noted!

Hizbollah also questioned, in its statement, the nature of the Arab League's stand vis-a-vis such an Israeli crime and the extent of its readiness to resort to the United Nation's Council, in a bid to secure a decisive stand that prevents this new Zionist aggression? Hizbollah concluded its condemning statement by imploring all world governments and leaders to rise up to their responsibilities in halting such a Zionist aggressive project, so that they do not become collaborating partners in such a crime.
R.Sh.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Fneish: We hope that the suitable ambience for appointments would be available

 

Mon 26/12/2011 19:55

NNA - 26/12/2011 - State Minister for Administrative Developmental Affairs, Mohamad Fneish, hoped Monday that the political atmosphere suitable for tackling the administrative appointments' dossier by the Council of Ministers would be available at this phase.
In an interview to "Al-Nour" Radio Station, Fneish indicated that disputes over the aforementioned dossier are neither related to matters that have any connection to the public administration nor subject to the mechanism of appointments agreed upon by the Cabinet. Hence, Fneish highlighted the need for consensus over these matters, so that there can be comprehensive agreement over adopting a certain mechanism and overcoming all obstacles to that effect.

In the event that such consensus cannot be reached, Fneish then stressed the need for isolating the positions subject to conflict and pursuing other posts that various sides are in agreement over. Furthermore, Fneish noted that this matter is directly linked to political directions and political decisions in the country.
R.Sh.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hizbollah-PSP encounter in Hasbaya

 

Mon 26/12/2011 18:48

NNA - 26/12/2011 - Hizbollah leadership delegation in the South, headed by Eastern Sector Official, Hajj Fayez Alawiya, visited Monday the Progressive Socialist Party branch in Marj'Ayoun-Hasbaya.

In a word of welcome before the delegation, PSP Official Shafik Alwan expressed the Party's keen concern for the resistance, which had its first launching from the home of the late Leader Kamal Jumblatt, and which has lasted up until this day through the leadership of PSP Head, MP Walid Jumblatt, he noted.

Alwan added that the common factors between the Party and Hizbollah are far more than the points of differences. He also stressed, herein, on the need for dialogue and communication amongst various political parties and sides in Lebanon; especially during these trying, difficult times that the region is going through.

Furthemore, he highlighted the factor of dialogue as being the sole means to safeguarding and preserving civil peace and coexistence between various constituents of the Lebanese society.

In turn, Hajj Alawiya viewed the relation between the Resistance and the Progressive Socialist Party as being a strategic one, harboring a long history of communication through united views and same outlook; factors which helped to a great extent to preserving the nation, he noted.

Alawiya hoped that all sides would reach the belief that there can be no solution to the current prevailing problems except through mutual communication and understanding.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Al-Rai: God help us preserve Lebanon
 

Mon 26/12/2011 18:47

NNA - 26/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai continued to receive well-wishers Monday on the occasion of Christmas and the holy season of festivities.

In this context, Al-Rai met with former PM Saad Hariri's Bureau Director, Nader Hariri, accompanied by Hariri's Advisor, Daoud Sayegh. Both men relayed former PM Hariri's sincere greetings and best wishes; stressing on the ongoing relation between Hariri and the Patriarch, based on the mutual national constants that serve the country's general interests.

Al-Rai also received a delegation from the Future Trend General Secretariat, headed by Ahmad Hariri, who came to express their season's greetings as well. Amongst Al-Rai's well-wishers throughout the day were also a number of current and former cabinet ministers & members of parliament, as well as a number of political, social and religious delegations.

In his welcoming words before his well-wishing delegations, Al-Rai stressed on joint aspirations pinned on the future, aiming towards building a Lebanon that is united with all its constituents.

He highlighted the Lebanese people's need for each other; especially that Lebanon's value and essence lies in its diversity and the historical role and contribution of each of its constituents, he noted.

Al-Rai hoped that the upcoming year 2012 would be a year of blessings, peace and goodness to all; praying to the Lord to aid the Lebanese in preserving and safeguarding their nation and restoring its pioneering role in the region. He also prayed that the region would witness a new dawn that would bring goodness to all its population.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri tackles Iraqi initiative towards Syria with Shahabandar
 

Mon 26/12/2011 15:35

NNA -26/12/2011 - House Speaker Nabih Berri discussed with Izzat Shahabandar, heading the Iraqi delegation from the "State Law" (Dawlat el Qanoun) bloc, the Iraqi initiative toward Syria.

Shahabandar, who visited Berri on Monday, spoke with the Speaker about the situation and current developments in Iraq and the region.

Later on, Berri met with former Minister Jean Obeid. Talks reportedly dwelt on the present situation in the country.

Among Ain-Tineh visitors was a delegation of Hounin figures and citizens, who offered Berri congratulatory wishes on Christmas Day and thanked him for his support in various projects and issues.

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Fayyad warns against evil American/Israeli scheme
 

Mon 26/12/2011 15:26

NNA - 26/12/2011 Member of Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc, Ali Fayyad, said Monday that all security deterioration in the region serves the United States and Israel.

Speaking at a funeral ceremony in South Lebanon, the MP denounced car-bombs in Damascus last week, which killed 44 people.

"The explosions in Damascus and Iraq have nothing to do with reform and change, but aim at pushing the region into a tunnel of sectarian tension," he said.

He concluded by affirming that Hezbollah was pressing on, as nothing would turn back the hands of time for the Islamic Resistance.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt condemns Syria bombings, calls for political solution
 

Mon 26/12/2011 15:09

NNA - 26/12/2011 MP Walid Jumblatt stressed to Anba' newspaper Monday the need to use political means to solve situation in Syria, as he highly denounced explosions in Damascus.

Last week a twin-car-bomb rocked the Syrian capital, killing 44 and injuring over 160. The explosions came on the backdrop of a revolt which has been ongoing for the past nine months calling for the toppling of Bashar Assad's regime.

Head of the Progressive Socialist Party found it questionable that the timing of the car bombs coincided with the arrival of a delegation of Arab monitors, who arrived to Syria to have a hands-on check on the situation there. He also wondered at the location of the explosions, in a security zone which housed military apparatuses.

"These incidents should not be an excuse to evade the work of the delegation of Arab monitors [and derail them from] visiting all Syrian regions without exception," Jumblatt said.

He wished wisdom and reason upon official bodies in dealing with sensitive security issues. Jumblatt considered Al Qaeda as an elastic excuse stretched out for use at any time and by anyone.

"These issues cannot be solved through political and media statements, but through security coordination between official Lebanese bodies, particularly Army intelligence and Information Branch."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Safadi's Monday itinerants
 

Mon 26/12/2011 14:47

NNA - 26/12/2011 - Finance Minister, Mohammad Safadi, met over administrative and developmental affairs of Beddawi region with a delegation of Beddawi Municipality headed by Hasan Ghemrawi.

The meeting was held Monday in Safadi's office in Tripoli with talks also focusing on ways to rehabilitate the Beddawi fortress.

Safadi later on discussed with a delegation of follow-up committee means to change the status of the Institute of Technical Education (I.P.N.E.T) graduates from contractual to full-timers assuring his support of said project in Parliament.

Furthermore, delegations and syndical figures have been to Safadi's office and discussed with the Minister affairs of Tripoli and ways to enhance professional and social centers in said region.

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Merhbi: Ghosn's statements stem from Syria
 

Mon 26/12/2011 14:42

NNA - 26/12/2011 Future Bloc Parliamentarian Moueen Merhbi called Sunday upon Cabinet to discard statements by Defense Minister, claiming that the latter's source was the Syrian regime.

Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn stated to the media last week that he alerted Syrian authorities to the infiltration of Al Qaeda militants from the bordering Lebanese town of Arsal into Syria. Shortly afterwards, twin-bombs shook Damascus, killing 44 people and injuring over 160 others.

In an interview with Future News TV, Merhbi accused Bashar Assad's regime of being expert in bombs and explosives. "The Syrian regime put Ghosn in Cabinet," he added.

The MP lauded the speech of President Michel Sleiman and Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi which called for limiting arms to official security forces and army.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Ghosn denies sectarian accusations
 

Mon 26/12/2011 14:19

NNA - 26/11/2011 Terrorism knows no sect or religion according to a statement by Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn Sunday, in which he vehemently denied taking a shot at the Sunni sect or the town of Arsal.

Ghosn stated to the media last week that he alerted Syrian authorities to the infiltration of Al Qaeda militants from the bordering Lebanese town of Arsal into Syria. Shortly afterwards, twin-bombs shook Damascus, killing 44 people and injuring over 160 others. This generated accusations that Ghosn was attempting to drag Lebanon, particularly the Sunni sect, into the Syrian conundrum.

"What I declared was not based on speculations but available intelligence which we thought useful to share with the public opinion," explained the Minister.

Ghosn expressed surprise at giving sectarian proportions to his statements, while his intention was to safeguard the country's security and urge all Lebanese to rally around the Army.

"We all know that Lebanese of all sects and affiliations reject terrorism... and it is impossible for it to find refuge in any Lebanese region or town."

R.Z.

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahra accuses cabinet of being tool for tyrannical regimes
 

Mon 26/12/2011 13:35

NNA - 26/12/2011 MP Antoine Zahra lamented Sunday the Lebanese government which acts as an instrument for other regimes, caring only about its continuity rather than the general good of the Lebanese people.

The Lebanese Forces held a Christmas celebration at its office in Abreen.

"The Arab Spring is neither a coincidence nor a conspiracy," said the veteran politician, "it is natural evolution for people who suffered from oppression and monopoly on their opinions by coercive military regimes operating under flashy nationalistic slogans."

Zahra pitied current Lebanese cabinet which served those oppressive regimes in order to secure its continuity. "This goes against traditional Lebanese values, and against freedom."

However, the speech ended on an optimistic note where the MP promised that all these attempts to turn back the wheel of time would prove futile, "there will be a phase of renewed resurrection of freedom, dignity and stability, and consequently prosperity in our lives and country."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabbani calls Rahi, Sfeir
 

Mon 26/12/2011 12:56

NNA - 26/12/2011 - Lebanese Mufti of the Republic, Mohammad Rachid Qabbani, respectively phone called Monday the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi and Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir to felicitate them on Christmas Day.
P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea heads to Saudi Arabia
 

Mon 26/12/2011 12:54

NNA - 26/12/2011 - Lebanese Forces Head, Samir Geagea, headed Monday to Saudi Arabia on an official visit, where he is going to meet high ranking Saudi officials.
P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Fatfat: Rahi's statements a sign of national consensus to disarm Hezbollah
 

Mon 26/12/2011 12:43

NNA - 26/12/2011 Future Bloc Parliamentarian Ahmad Fatfat told Voice of Lebanon radio Monday that call of Maronite Patriarch to limit arms to the State resonates with the demand of majority of Lebanese to disarm Hezbollah.

During Christmas sermon, Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi, who has friendly ties with the Islamic Resistance, called for the State to be the sole protector of Lebanon's security and stability, demanding that weapons be limited to legal and official forces.

"His words are consistent with those of President Michel Sleiman's," said the MP, adding that Hezbollah, who has long praised Rahi's rhetoric, was now facing a pivotal test. "Was [Hezbollah's] previous speech interlinked with specific political circumstances, or does [the Party] genuinely intend to revise the issue of withdrawing arms and meeting Lebanese half way?"

Fatfat commented that Rahi's speech echoed the demand of Bishops back in 2000, calling for the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Fayad : "Rise of tension in the region denotes a chance for restoring dialogue "

 

Sun 25/12/2011 19:57

NNA - 25/12/- 2011 - Member of the "Faithfulness to the Resistance" Parliamentary Bloc, Deputy Ali Fayyad, considered Sunday that the recent explosions, which have occurred in Syria and Iraq, have no relation to reform and change but are actually intended to place the region on the verge of "security breaches, turmoil and instability!".

He added that confronting such dangers lies not in further escalating tension, making wrong bets and turning tables around; for these ways have been put to practice by the Lebanese themselves before, yielding no positive outcome whatsoever, Fayyad noted.

He went on to indicate that the occurring "security repercussions" ought to provide a chance for revising and re-assessing positions, and abstaining from sectarian polemic, tension escalation and deepening of divisions between various sides in the country.

Fayyad moved on to stress that priority in Lebanon, and the region as a whole, is accorded to protecting stability and cutting the way on any strife attempt, while preserving the nation�s overall constituents, without excluding any party or side.

Fayyad concluded by indicating that escalation of tension in the region denotes a chance for restoring dialogue. Hence, he considered that the Lebanese ought to manage their matters in the best manner possible, within the framework of dialogue and constitutional institutions, so as to bring positions and stands closer together; thus, protecting civil peace and national stability, he noted.

Fayyad was speaking during a memorial ceremony Sunday in the town of Houla in South Lebanon.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman receives well-wishers at his Amchit Residence

 

Sun 25/12/2011 18:44

NNA - 25/12/2011 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, received Sunday at his Amchit Residence various delegations and prominent political, diplomatic, militarily, social and religious dignitaries, who came to express their well-wishes on the occasion of the festive season.

Delegations representing civil associations and municipality councils from the region of Byblos also called on the President Sunday, expressing their warm Christmas greetings.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kaouk: Damascus explosions are "American in nature" and the region is before new equations

 

Sun 25/12/2011 18:41

NNA - 25/12/2011 - Hizbollah Executive Council Vice Head, Sheikh Nabil Kaouk, referred Sunday to the recent Damascus explosions as originating from an "American direction"; adding that the region is currently before new equations.

He went on to note that the Resistance Movement in Lebanon has succeeded in achieving two main accomplishments in the wake of the Israeli "July" attach, namely in increasing its military ability and in unveiling the American espionage network pertaining to the CIA.

"Accordingly, such an achievement denoted a great blow to the American Intelligence, which operates to the benefit of the Israeli Mossad", Kaouk noted.

Kaouk warned of the persisting Israeli-American danger; especially that its hands reach certain official and military state institutions, and is present within the political body in the country. Hence, he highlighted the grave necessity for quick moves by the official and judicial bodies in Lebanon, so as to put a limit to such spy networks.

He added that such networks are to be considered an "attack" against Lebanon�s security, sovereignty and stability!Over the Syrian crisis and the Arab League�s role, Kaouk viewed the League�s attempt to send Bahraini monitors to Syria as being the biggest scandal to said League; at a time when Bahraini people are still calling for liberty and justice in their country, only to be subjected to torture and killing instead!

He considered that the least of the Arab League�s concerns is putting an end to the crisis in Syria, since some Arab states are partners in encouraging strife in Syria, he added.Kaouk�s words came during a memorial ceremony Sunday in the town of "Jmaijmeh" in South Lebanon.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kabbani congratulates Sleiman on the occasion of the festive season

 

Sun 25/12/2011 18:07

NNA - 25/12/2011 - Mufti of the Republic, Sheikh Mohamad Rashid Kabbani, contacted Sunday President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman, expressing his well-wishes on the occasion of Christmas.

He wished him success in serving Lebanon and the Lebanese, and in achieving all aspirations towards unity, security, peace and stability.

Mufti Kabbani held similar calls to Kataeb Party Head, former President Amine Gemayel; Free Patriotic Trend Head, General Michel Aoun; Lebanese Forces Executive Council Head, Samir Geagea; Maradah Trend Head, MP Sleiman Franjieh, and Lebanese Army Commander, General Jean Kahwaji.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - B. Hariri felicitates Sidon Bishops on Christmas
 

Sun 25/12/2011 15:47

NNA - 25/12/2011 MP Bahia Hariri visited various Bishops in Sidon on Sunday, wishing them all a very Merry Christmas.

R.Z
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Amal Movement delegation visits Christian authorities in Sidon
 

Sun 25/12/2011 15:42

NNA - 25/12/2011 An Amal Movement delegation headed by MP Hany Qobeissy, representing House Speaker Nabih Berri, toured in the southern city of Sidon paying visits to Christian religious figures, felicitating them on Christmas.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun hails his Bloc's achievements
 

Sun 25/12/2011 14:50

NNA - 25/12/2011 MP Michel Aoun said in an interview Sunday that his Change and Reform Bloc has successfully managed massive reforms and halted all monetary waste in ministries allocated for the Bloc.

The Bloc Head felicitated Lebanese for Christmas and spoke of great ventures that he and his affiliates were able to accomplish despite obstacles set in his path.

"We have a clearly set approach which requires combating corruption wherever it exists and building a modern State on the basis of legal, moral and social standards," said the former General.

R.Z.

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Politics - Top officials felicitate Geagea on Christmas
 

Sun 25/12/2011 14:37

NNA - 25/12/2011 Head of the Lebanese Forces, Samir Geagea, received Sunday a number of congratulatory phone calls felicitating him on Christmas.

Among the callers were House Speaker Nabih Berri, former PM Saad Hariri, Mufti Mohammad Rashid Qabbany, Economy Minister Nicholas Nahhas, MP Marwan Hmadeh and others.

R.Z.

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Politics - Sleiman from Bkirky: A modern electoral role under Taef Accord
 

Sun 25/12/2011 14:24


NNA - 25/12/2011 President Michel Sleiman told reporters at Bkirky Sunday that the country needs a modern parliamentary electoral law that serves under the Taef accord while accommodating the needs of all Lebanese, and provides equality among all factions.

The President held a private audience with Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi prior to Christmas mass, whereby they discussed the Orthodox gathering proposal. Earlier this December, Rahi held a Maronite summit where an Orthodox proposal suggested that each sect would vote for its own parliamentary candidate on the basis of proportional representation.

"The Maronite meeting at Bkirky set the basis for launching electoral law discussions," Sleiman said.

The President also advocated the re-instigation of national dialogue particularly concerning a defense strategy for Lebanon and the arms of Hezbollah. "We must know how, where and when it should be used." Sleiman acknowledged the rightful demand of disarming Beirut and the country, ridding it of all illegal weapons.

When asked if there was a plot to drag Lebanon into the path of terrorism, the top official said that Lebanon opposed terrorism and all Lebanese refused to harbor terrorists or grant them passage to another country. "Lebanon has paid the ultimate price in its war against terrorism...and all Lebanese cooperate with the government to halt terrorism."

Earlier this week, Lebanese Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn warned Syrian regime of possible infiltration of Al Qaeda militants from the border town of Erssal into the Syrian state. Shortly afterwards twin-bombs went off in Damascus killing 44 people.
The Syrian authorities accused Al Qaeda of being behind the attack.

Sleiman wrapped up his chat with reporters by wishing all Lebanese happy holidays.
 

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Politics - Rahi calls for stripping country of illegal arms
 

Sun 25/12/2011 12:32

NNA - 25/12/2011 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi said during Christmas mass held Sunday at Bkirky that the country's security should be assigned to the State alone, calling for reinforcing trust in the armed forces.

On Monday, Beirut Deputies called for disarming Beirut from all illegal weapons, in order to control and preserve the security of citizens without the fear of sudden eruption of clashes.

"The State is obligated to ensure people's security, gather all arms, and limit security duties to it, which will therefore guarantee an arms-free Beirut and arms-free Lebanon," the Patriarch said to the attending crowd, which included President Michel Sleiman, Kataeb Party leader Amin Gemayel, Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, and other officials.

Rahi also alluded to strengthening judicial authority, while opting for its autonomy away from exterior influences.
"We aspire for justice that can be exacted by valiant and candid judges," he said, adding that no one had the right to obstruct or politicize justice.

Rahi called for granting general pardon to Lebanese citizens who were forced to flee to Israel, saying that the Lebanese should all be reunited.
Prior to the mass, the Patriarch had a private audience with Sleiman.

 

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Politics - Hayek: " We shall not confront tension with more tension "

 

Sat 24/12/2011 20:32

NNA - 24/12/2011 - "AMAL" Movement Political Bureau Head, Jamil Hayek, called Saturday for preserving the solid and cohesive Lebanese body, based on unity and national constants, while spreading the culture of enmity to Israel.

He stressed the need for facing the repercussions occurring in the region with reason; while abstaining from any deviation of the direction of conflict, which ought to alwaysR.Sh. remain towards the Israeli enemy, he noted.

Hayek warned against any attempts to tamper with the country�s security. He also stressed that "AMAL" Movement shall not confront tension with more tension but with reason, tranquility and openness.

Hayek�s words came during a memorial ceremony in the town of Kfarmilki in South Lebanon.
R.Sh.

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Politics - Italian Senate Head checks on his Country's UNIFIL Contingent

 

Sat 24/12/2011 18:34

NNA - 24/11/2011 - The Italian Embassy in Beirut announced in a statement Saturday that Italian Senate Head, Renato Scivanni, paid a visit to his country's contingent operating within UNIFIL in South Lebanon.

The Italian Senate Head checked on the conditions of the Italian soldiers and their work within the UNIFIL. The visit was a chance to express his best wishes to them on the occasion of the festive season.

The statement noted that Italy currently has 1,100 soldiers operating within the Italian-UNIFIL Contingent, which is considered one of the largest units operating within the peace-keeping forces in South Lebanon.
R.Sh.
 

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Politics - Abu Faour: "Government's life span is connected to the actions of its various constituents"

 

Sat 24/12/2011 18:31

NNA - 24/12/2011 - Social Affairs Minister, Wael Abu Faour, hoped that the signed protocol and the arrival of monitors to Syria would be the start of a new period of national understanding, putting an end to all bloodshed.

He hoped that this new phase would denote a first step to implementing the "Arab Inititiative", which provides Syria with an Arab solution away from any foreign interference. He added that the Arab solution is the sole "exit" to the current crisis in Syria and the region, as a whole.

Abu Faour went on to stress that the Lebanese Army has full support of the government and all political forces in Lebanon to confront, and not be lenient, with any terrorist group or organization whatsoever. However, he noted, herein, that there ought not be any mixing-up between Syrian civilians seeking refuge in Lebanon away from the incidents in Syria and such terrorist groups.

Over the government term, Abu Faour considered that it is linked to the actions of its various constituents. He added that the government ought to focus all its efforts on carrying out its duties to the utmost in catering to the people's dire needs in the security, poilitcial, economic or social aspects.

He hoped that this season of festivities would bring the Lebanese a one gift, namely the "nation and the state," so that the Lebanese would no longer harbor any fear or worry towards their destinies and the fates of their children.

Abu Faour's words came during his patronage Saturday of a Christmas ceremony and distribution of gifts to children in the region of Rashaya, organized by the Christian Youth Organization there, in collaboration with the Social Affairs Ministry.
R.Sh

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Politics - Jarrah: Ghosn has his facts all wrong
 

Sat 24/12/2011 16:59

NNA - 24/12/2011 MP Jamal Jarrah commented Saturday that Lebanese Defense Minister got his facts confused when he said that Al Qaeda militants were passing to Syria via Lebanon, asserting that it is the Syrian regime that embraces fundamentalism not Lebanon.

Almost a week ago, Lebanese Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn alarmed Bashar Assad that members of Al Qaeda were crossing the northern border into Syria via Orssal village. Yesterday, two car-bombs rocked Damascus, and the Syrian authorities announced minutes later that it was Al Qaeda's doing. On Saturday, a message on a website alleging to be that of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood claimed responsibility for the attack. The Brotherhood promptly denied its involvement in the bombings, saying the regime had set up a website mimicking their webpage to implicate it in the blasts that left 44 people dead and 166 wounded.

"Some Ministers are trying to involve Lebanon in the Syrian crisis," said the Future Bloc MP to MTV, "Orssal is not a passageway for Qaeda, and we do not have a history of embracing fundamentalists."

Jarrah pointed to a direct correlation between Ghosn's speech and the attacks on Damascus. He stated that the Syrian regime had always fostered Al Qaeda and eased its passage to Iraq, just as they did with Fateh Islam in Al Bared Camp.

R.Z.

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Politics - Hazim: Holiday season for prayers not festivities
 

Sat 24/12/2011 15:40

NNA - 24/12/2011 Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim of Antioch and the entire East said in a statement Saturday that this Christmas and New Year's there will be no celebrations, but only prayers in honor of Syrian fallen martyrs.

R.Z.

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Politics - Qabbany telephones Rahi on Christmas
 

Sat 24/12/2011 15:33


NNA - 24/12/2011 Mufti of the Republic contacted Maronite Patriarch Saturday felicitating him on Christmas holiday.

Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbany wished Patriarch Beshara Rahi and all Lebanese happy holidays and blessed days filled with peace and prosperity.

R.Z.

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Politics - Iraqi delegation visits Jumblatt
 

Sat 24/12/2011 14:34

NNA - 24/12/2011 MP Walid Jumblatt welcomed at his Moukhtara residence Saturday head of Iraqi delegation representing Premier Nouri Maliki, Izzat Shahbandar, whereby they discussed Iraqi initiative towards Syrian situation.

"We have updated leader Walid Jumblatt of the Iraqi proposal for Syria, and got his feedback and view point in this regard," said the Iraqi official.


R.Z.
 

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Politics - Qadery censures cabinet's silence over Syrian accusations
 

Sat 24/12/2011 13:49

NNA - 24/12/2011 MP Ziad Qadery denounced official Lebanese silence over Syrian accusations of Lebanon's implication in Damascus car-bombs, adding to Future News TV Saturday that Syria sent a clear message to monitors surveying the situation in the country.

Arab Spring swept over Syria over nine months ago, as a revolt demanded the ousting of President Bashar Assad. The uprising was met with fierce crackdown, which in turn stirred Arab and International objection, leading to sanctions on the Syrian state. A group of Arab monitors arrived to Syria to have a hands-on check over the situation. Shortly afterwards, two car-bombs exploded in Damascus, killing 44 people and injuring over 160 others.

"A few minutes after the explosion, the Syrian regime linked it to Al Qaeda," said the Future Bloc parliamentarian who was outraged at Lebanese Defense Minister claiming less than a week ago that Al Qaeda militants infiltrated Syria through Lebanese borders.

"The Syrian regime signed the protocol in one hand, while using the other hand to kill, torture and attempt to abort the mission of the monitors."

Qadery warned against dragging Lebanon further into the Syrian situation.


R.Z.

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Politics - Hashem blames Arabs for Syrian situation
 

Sat 24/12/2011 13:26


NNA - 24/12/2011 Amal Parliamentarian Qassem Hashem held Arab countries responsible for allowing attack on Damascus, in a statement he issued Saturday.

Two car-bombs shook the Syrian Capital Friday as the regime blamed Al Qaeda, while Syrian National Council pointed the finger at Bashar Assad's ruling party for the explosions.

"These incidents put everyone face to face with their responsibilities," said the MP, "especially Arabs who allow, with their ambiguous and sometimes conniving stances, the destabilization of security."

Hashem accused Arab countries of opening the doors wide open for those with malicious malevolent intentions to "sabotage internal reality in Syria."

R.Z.

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Politics - Italian, Portuguese officials check on peacekeeping troops
 

Sat 24/12/2011 13:15

NNA - 24/12/2011 President of the Italian Senate, Renato Schifani, and Defense Minister of Portugal Jose Pedro Aguiar Branco arrived to Beirut separately Saturday to check on the UNIFIL contingents of their countries working in South Lebanon.


R.Z.
 

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Politics - Sleiman attends Christmas mass in Bkirky
 

Sat 24/12/2011 12:28

NNA - 24/12/2011 President Michel Sleiman and his First Lady partook Saturday in Christmas mass held at Bkirky by Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi.

Sleiman felicitated all Lebanese, particularly Christians, on this holy occasion. He wished peace and stability upon Lebanese and the entire world.

R.Z.

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Politics - Mansour expresses camaraderie to Moualem
 

Fri 23/12/2011 20:58

NNA - 23/12/2011 Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Adnan Mansour, expressed his complete solidarity with Syria during a call to his Syrian counterpart Walid Moualem.

A double bomb attack took place today in Damascus, killing over 40 people, as Syrian regime pointed blame on Al Qaeda.

"What harms Syria, harms Lebanon, and we consider this criminal attack as an assault on Lebanon as well," said Mansour.

R.Z.

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Politics - Mansour: Syria's explosions atrocious act
 

Fri 23/12/2011 20:03

NNA - 23/12/2011 Foreign and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour sternly condemned the explosions that struck the Syrian capital Damascus, on Friday morning, describing these blasts as barbaric, criminal and atrocious, a statement by Mansour said.
Two explosions hit Damascus on Friday morning in state security buildings, killing at least thirty and leaving scores of injured.
Mansour regarded these blasts as targeting Syria's security and stability in addition to jeopardizing Syrian people's unity.
The Minister also extended condolences to Syria, people and command, on the fallen martyrs, hoping that security and stability would prevail in this Country.
----------------L.Y

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Politics - Geagea takes part in Christmas Novena, meets Rahi
 

Fri 23/12/2011 19:22

NNA - 23/12/2011 - Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea took part on Friday in Bkirki's Christmas Novena.

Geagea and Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi later held talks over local, regional and international developments.
R.H.

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Politics - Siniora: Commitment to Arab initiative salvation for Syria
 

Fri 23/12/2011 19:12

NNA - 23/12/2011 - Deputy Fouad Siniora said on Friday that the only salvation for Syria would be commitment to Arab League protocol.

Accordingly, Siniora called upon the Syrian government to provide security for the Arab monitoring mission as it deemed the best means to solve the Syrian crisis.

Head of the Future Parliamentary Bloc, Fouad Siniora, condemned the two blasts that targeted Damascus early today and led to the death of several innocent civilians. He also deplored the recent explosions in Iraq.
 

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Politics - Sleiman, interlocutors tackle current situation
 

Fri 23/12/2011 18:47

NNA - 23/12/2011 President of the Lebanese Republic Michel Sleiman met respectively at Baabda Palace on Friday afternoon with Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi and Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan, with talks reportedly touching on the current situation and relevant ministerial affairs.
President Sleiman also met with former Minister Adnan Qassar whereby they tackled the current economic situation.
-------------L.Y

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Politics - LF warns of security chaos on Lebanese Syrian borders
 

Fri 23/12/2011 18:19


NNA - 23/12/2011 - The Lebanese Forces warned of any security chaos along the Lebanese Syrian borders due to the Lebanese government's ill-concern about controlling the borders.

The warning came on Friday by LF parliamentary bloc in the context of a meeting held under the chairmanship of LF head Samir Geagea at the latter's residence in Maarab.

The LF expressed fears that the Lebanese government might accuse some Lebanese citizens of terrorism, especially in Orsal, instead of giving directions to the Lebanese Army to safeguard the borders.

The Bloc stressed the necessity of dealing with the Syrians fleeing into Lebanon as refugees and respecting human rights and international pacts in this concern. It regretted the Lebanese government's stances at the level of the Arab League or the international Security Council, saying that these stances had distorted the image of Lebanon before the Arab or international consensus.
A.M>

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Politics - Charbel, Sehnaoui discuss general situation
 

Fri 23/12/2011 17:46

NNA - 23/12/2011 - Interior and Municipalities Minister, Marwan Charbel, met over the general situation with Telecommunications Minister, Nicholas Sehnaoui.

Sahnaoui, who visited Charbel's ministerial office on Friday, also broached Beirut first district affairs and the Mouhafez (governor) competences.
 

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Politics - Kahwaji meets Syrian ambassador, N. Gemayel
 

Fri 23/12/2011 17:44

NNA - 23/12/2011 - Lebanese Army Commander General Jean Kahwaji respectively received Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul Karim Ali, and Deputy Nadim Gemayel.

The meeting was held on Friday at Kahwaji's office in Yarzeh with talks reportedly focusing on the general situation.

Kahwaji, later on, met with the Lebanese University Head, Adnan Sayyed Hussein.
P.BC.

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Politics - Damascus attacks target Arab deal, says Franjieh
 

Fri 23/12/2011 16:28

NNA - 23/12/2011 - A dreadful suicide attack in Damascus Friday earned sharp condemnation from Marada leader, Member of Parliament Sleiman Franjieh.

Two suicide attacks jolted Damascus this morning, as two booby-trapped cars exploded near two state security buildings, killing at least 30 persons.
According to Syrian state-run television, primary investigations reveal that Al-Qaeda is behind the attacks.

Franjieh reckoned that the attacks target the Arab League's deal over Syrian crisis resolution, signed earlier this week in Cairo.



R.A.H.

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Politics - Hezbollah slams Damascus attacks
 

Fri 23/12/2011 16:25

NNA - 23/12/2011 - Hezbollah slammed the attacks which targeted Friday two state security buildings in Damascus, considering this aggression as a crime against humanity.

The statement, issued by Hezbollah, mentioned that "the suicide attacks came a day after the synchronized blasts which targeted Bagdad and other Iraqi cities, insinuating that the powers affected by the United States' major defeat and the withdrawal of its troops from Iraq had begun the process of bloody reprisals against all countries which had once expressed clear-cut stance over the US occupation."

"These explosions which left behind tens of martyrs and wounded, among whom children and women, is of the United States jurisdictions as it [America] is the mother of all terrorists," Hezbollah argued, reminding that the US administration's ultimate goal is to serve the Israeli interest in the region.

Hezbollah eventually offered condolences to the martyrs' families, wishing fast recovery for the wounded.

D.K.

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Politics - Berri censures Damascus fanatic blast
 

Fri 23/12/2011 16:22

NNA - 23/12/2011 - House Speaker Nabih Berri fervidly condemned the terrorist blast which rocked Damascus city on Friday.

Twin suicide car bomb blasts ripped through an upscale Damascus district today, targeting security and intelligence buildings and killing at least 30 people, Syrian authorities said.

In a cable to Syrian President Bashar Assad, Berri expressed his heartfelt condolences to the families of the fallen victims.

The blasts came a day after an advance team of Arab League observers arrived in the country to monitor Syria's promise to end its crackdown on protesters demanding the ouster of President Bashar Assad.

Earlier, the House Speaker sent a similar cable to Iraqi President Nouri Maleki, deploring the terrorist attacks which targeted scores of innocent civilians.

On another level, Berri held talks on Friday with the Director of UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Arab countries, Mr. Abdul Moneim M. Othman, who visited him in the company of UNESCO Representative in Lebanon and Syria, Dr. Mohammad Othman.

Berri also had an audience with a visiting delegation from Shamas family, and the General Director of Zahle's Electricity Company, Mr. Assaad Nakad.
 

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Politics - Sleiman lambasts Damascus attacks
 

Fri 23/12/2011 15:38

NNA - 23/12/2011 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Friday contacted by phone Syrian President Bashar Assad and sternly lambasted the attacks in Damascus today.

Two suicide attacks jolted Damascus this morning, as two booby-trapped cars exploded near two state security buildings, killing at least 25 persons.
According to Syrian state-run television, primary investigations revealed that Al-Qaeda was behind the attacks.

Sleiman saw that the clampdown indeed aims to sap the few-day-old Arab League plan, as it coincides with the arrival of monitors' team in Syria.

Separately, the President met today at Baabda palace with former Deputy Speaker Elie Ferzli over most recent developments and the Orthodox Gathering's draft electoral law.

He later discussed the current general situation and the impending administrative appointments with State Minister Mohammad Fneish.

Head of the Council for Development and Reconstruction, Nabil Jisr, had also been to Baabda today for a meeting with the President over an array of developmental projects executed by the Council.

Sleiman had earlier chaired a meeting for the preparation committee for national dialogue.



R.A.H.

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Politics - Aoun, Qassar meet
 

Fri 23/12/2011 13:06
NNA - 23/12/2011 - Change and Reform bloc head MP Michel Aoun received Friday at his residence in Rabiyeh former Minister Adnan Qassar in presence of Water and Energy Minister Gibran Bassil.

Qassar described the gathering as "excellent".

L.W.

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Politics - Sami Gemayel, Bekaa Deputie say Ghosn statement mask future events
 

Fri 23/12/2011 13:06

NNA - 23/12/2011 - MPs Jamal Jarrah and Sami Gemayel Friday expressed fears that Minister Fayez Ghosn's statement regarding Al-Qaeda will be a prelude to conceal South Lebanon incidents.

Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn said earlier that Al-Qaeda members were present among Syrian refugees fleeing into the Lebanese border town of Arsal.

Based on that, Jarrah said Ghosn's statement aims at covering upcoming security incidents that might occur in South Lebanon and frame them on a certain Lebanese party.

"Government's performance bears negative repercussions on the Lebanese economic and security situation especially when it remained perfectly motionless in handling latest murder and theft crimes," Jarrah said during his visit to Kataeb headquarters in Saifi, along with MPs Ziad Qadiri, Antoine Saad, Amine Wehbe, and Elie Marouni.

The MPs warned of the illegitimate weapons rampantly proliferated in Lebanese streets.

Pertaining to Minister Nahhas's project on salaries' adjustment, Jarrah said it was not well studied and falls in the favor of a sole party.

On the Syrian level, Jarrah and other attending MPs said Syria has signed the protocol to gain time for at a time when 120 Syrian were killed.

"This process aims at gaining time and carrying out further oppression," he said and voiced confidence in the Syrian people's steadfastness and strength to reach freedom.

L.W.

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Politics - Rai meets Younan and Allawi
 

Fri 23/12/2011 12:49


NNA - 23/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai met on Friday at Bkirki with former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi who congratulated him for Christmas occasion, in presence of former Patriarch Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir.

Later, Rai met separately with Catholic Syriac Patriarch Ignace Youssef Younan and former Minister Farid Khazen.

A.A.M

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Politics - Rai meets Younan and Allawi
 

Fri 23/12/2011 12:49

NNA - 23/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai met on Friday at Bkirki with former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi who congratulated him for Christmas occasion, in presence of former Patriarch Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir.

Later, Rai met separately with Catholic Syriac Patriarch Ignace Youssef Younan and former Minister Farid Khazen.

A.A.M

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Politics - Safadi: Transfers in ministry within my prerogatives
 

Fri 23/12/2011 12:41

NNA - 23/12/2011 - Finance Minister Mohammed Safadi expressed in a statement his surprise by the attack of MP Ahmed Fatfat on him just because he made some transfers in the Finance Ministry.

"Fatfat has exceeded all constitutional norms which stipulate the separation between the authorities. Fatfat protested, in his capacity as an MP, the decision of the minister to transfer one of employees to another department and this gives the impression that the MP is meddling in the executive authority of the minister," the statement added.

Safadi reminded the MP that it is the right of any minister to transfer any employee after he or she completed the mission which was entrusted on them.

"It would have been advisable for the MP to verify the issue directly instead of sending messages through the media,' Safadi stressed.

O.H

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Politics - Mansour stresses national principles
 

Fri 23/12/2011 12:16

NNA - 23/12/2011 - Foreign and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour stressed commitment to national principles because it is bases to people's unity and joint living.

Mansour hoped in a reception held on Friday at the ministry on the occasion of Christmas and New Year that the coming year would bring more achievements and prosperity to his ministry and to all the employees working there.

A.A.M

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Politics - Khoreis warns from slipping into confessional polarization
 

Fri 23/12/2011 12:02

NNA - 23/12/2011 - Deputy Ali Khoreis warned Friday from falling into the game of political and confessional polarizations which can only lead to strife.

Khoreis regretted the tense speeches which would never build for a new era, highlighting the importance of unifying ranks amid the current unrest at the Arab scene.

"Those who targeted the UNIFIL harbor ill-will for the country's security and stability," he said, labeling them of criminals who seek tampering with national unity.

"These (attacks) targets not only the UNIFIL but the people, the South and the resistance," he noted, assuring that security incidents basically serve the Israeli enemy.

"Dialogue is the best way out of the crisis," the Deputy said, hoping to reach a consensual formula that gains the approval of all poles.

As for the wage increase ratified by the cabinet, Khoreis hoped this would pave the way for further solutions to the citizens' livelihood conditions.
D.K.

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Politics - Khazen comments on salaries' adjustment issue
 

Fri 23/12/2011 11:56

NNA - 23/12/2011 - MP Farid Khazen said on Friday that the ministers have rectified the previous Cabinet decision which endorsed the wage increase plan of Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

"Last time the ministers bypassed (Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas' wage proposal) but this time the Cabinet endorsed the minister's plan through voting," Khazen told Voice of Lebanon-Freedom and Dignity radio.

"Different standpoints prevail over salaries' adjustment issue, which is normal for a procedure that follows major load up of such a problem," Khazen said.


L.W.

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Politics - Kahwaji meets French chief of staff
 

Fri 23/12/2011 11:33

NNA - 23/12/2011 - Lebanese army commander General Jean Kahwaji discussed on Friday morning at his office in Yarzeh ways to boost military cooperation ties between Lebanese and French armies, in addition to the missions of French UNIFIL forces working in south Lebanon while meeting with French chief of staff Bertrand-Ract Madoux.

A.A.M

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Politics - Chamoun: Lebanon ought to benefit from region's changes
 

Fri 23/12/2011 11:23

NNA - 23/12/2011 - National Liberal Party's Head, MP Dory Chamoun, said Friday that the region is ahead of many changes which Lebanon should capitalize on.

"We won't let this opportunity escape us," he announced.

The Deputy made these remarks during the National Liberal Party's ceremony held at Sodeco on the occasion of re-launching the "students' body" in presence of March 14's general secretariat coordinator, Fares Souaid, and ranking dignitaries.

"Those who pledged to follow the National Liberal Party's principles are bound to assume full responsibility," Chamoun said

"Lebanon is sovereign, free and independent. It is the country of human values and freedom. It is one of the founders of the United Nations charter," he reminded.

Souaid, for his part, assured that the illegitimate arms' issue will be settled soon.
"The Syrian regime is doomed to collapse, affecting the Lebanese internal scene and reshaping the political geography," he pointed out.

D.K.

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Politics - Harb calls on cabinet to resign
 

Fri 23/12/2011 11:17


NNA - 23/12/2011 - Deputy Boutros Harb called on the cabinet to resign if they want to rescue the country from "wind mills".

The MP stressed that the cabinet was incapable of managing people's affairs, considering that its existence became dangerous to Lebanon.

Harb pointed out on Friday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio to the existence of another cabinet outside the perimeters of the actual one which practically takes decisions and imposes them on the actual cabinet.

"Livelihood issue had changed to a political substance used by others to score political goals, ignoring the people's needs and the economic repercussions of hikes decision", the MP added.

A.A.M

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Politics - De Vrej: No unified vision among cabinet's parties
 

Fri 23/12/2011 10:45

NNA - 23/12/2011 - Deputy Nabil De Vrej stressed that the cabinet is facing mounting problems due to the lack of unified vision among its parties to manage the livelihood file.

The MP asked on Friday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio about the achievements of Labor Minister for social security, adding "where is the correction and reform which he called for?"

De Vrej felt sorry because wage increases file was politicized, wondering "how Hizbullah and Amal's ministers voted for Prime Minister Najib Mikati's project last week, while they changed their opinion and voted for Minister Charbel Nahhas project".

The MP stressed that Shoura Council would refuse this project, due to the unreasonable numbers of hikes.

A.A.M

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Politics - Zahra sees wage increase as a bribe to labors
 

Fri 23/12/2011 10:20

NNA - 23/12/2011 - Deputy Antoine Zahra called on the concerned parties to reconsider what he termed as a "bribe" which was offered to labors.

"All economic experts stressed that hikes decision would wreak havoc on the economy and pave the way for massive layoffs", the MP stressed.

The MP wondered about the lies of the cabinet because it does not want to preserve the economic stability and labors.

Zahra made these remarks as he represented head of the Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea in a lunch banquet for senior citizens in Jbeil.

Zahra pointed out that "on the political level the Lebanese are living continuous crisis", calling on the cabinet to serve the Lebanese interests because they deserve to live in peace and stability.

Later, Zahra presented gifts for the elderly.

A.A.M

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Politics - Terro: Lasting peace is long project
 

Fri 23/12/2011 10:11

NNA - 23/12/2011 - Minister of Displaced Alaa Eddine Terro stressed that lasting and comprehensive peace that "we seek is a long term project and we work to achieve them in all possible means."

"Peace is everything in life", Terro added while sponsoring the opening of "Pictures from memory" exhibition in Barja which included pictures of the Lebanese social ties, stages and incidents that happened in Lebanon before the war.

The minister hoped that this project in the region would have taken place in peace and not in war which we all refuse, adding that this requires international efforts.

Later, the minister and the attendees toured the exhibition.

A.A.M

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Politics - Abboud: Companies are obliged to comply with Shura's decisions on wages
 

Fri 23/12/2011 10:02

NNA - 23/12/2011- Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud told Voice of Lebanon that if the Shura Council approved Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas' wage plan then the private companies are obliged to comply with the decision.

The minister ruled out the possibility that the issue of the wage increase would cause negative political ramifications, assuring that there is no division in the cabinet.

"The various views within the Free Patriotic Movement are something we are proud of," the minister said.

Abboud stressed that what took place in the last Cabinet session was not a political message to Prime Minister Najib Mikati, adding the salary proposal was part of the prerogatives of the Labor Minister "who we support politically although I do not share some of his views."

But the minister was very critical of Nahhas wage plan as it would increase the burden on companies and factories.

Citing an example, the minister said Nahhas plan will raise the payments for the National Social Security Fund by 40 percent which could compel a number of institutions to shut down, describing these figures as "horrific".

"The Shura Council must send its response to Nahhas' plan today and in case it approved it then companies are obliged to implement it."

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politicis - Majdalani: Hezbollah practices carrot and stick policy
 

Fri 23/12/2011 09:35

NNA - 23/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Atef Majdalani told Radio Free Lebanon that Hezbollah is practicing the policy of the carrot and the stick in order to preserve the government.

"The decision the government took in respect to wage increase will have catastrophic economic consequences. This demonstrates once again that this Cabinet is a Syrian-Iranian government," the MP said.

He added that on the subject of international tribunal funding, Hezbollah offered the carrot to Prime Minister Najib Mikati but this time the carrot was offered to MP Michel Aoun.

Asked about the positions of some ministers on the issue of wages, Majdalani said he does not understand the psychophrenia of some ministers like Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud, Industry Minister Vrej Sabonjian and Minister of State Marwan Kahyereldine who voiced their objection to the wage increase but then backed down and voted in favor of the proposal.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 











 

Politics - Lahham heads to Cairo
 

Thu 22/12/2011 23:00


NNA - 22/12/2011 Roman Catholic Patrirach of Antioch and all the East Gregorius III Lahham left Beirut on Thursday evening, heading to Cairo, on a pastoral visit.
------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman inspects Army units and UNIFIL in south Lebanon
 

Thu 22/12/2011 20:53

NNA - 22/12/2011 President of the Republic Michel Sleiman summed up three main piers that protected Lebanon for the year 2011, namely a united Army, democracy based on diversity and Lebanon's financial system.
President Sleiman inspected on Thursday Lebanese Army units and UNIFIL peacekeepers deployed in south Lebanon, accompanied by National Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn and Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji.
Sleiman renewed condemnation of the recent terrorist assaults against UNIFIL and rockets launching, considering these assaults as "against the regime and Lebanon's sovereignty" in addition to harming the Country's image and reputation and its security stability.
"These rockets are absolutely rejected and those who fired them should be arrested", Sleiman said.
Sleiman visited the headquarters of French Contingent operating within UNIFIL in Deir Kifa Village, where he was received by its commander, Santi Bonfanti.

The President met next with the five French peacekeepers, who were injured during an attack on their patrol in Tyre earlier this month.
Addressing French peacekeepers, Sleiman lauded their efforts in preserving peace in the area, working jointly with the Lebanese Army to implement UN Resolution 1701.
"The attack on You [French soldiers] ia an attack against the whole UNIFIL.... and against the concept of peace and the UN... in the aim of shaking Lebanon's stability and sovereignty", Sleiman noted.
The President also hoped that the year 2012 would be the year of dialogue over defensive strategy and elimination of arms outside Palestinian camps.
Sleiman visited next Lebanese Army Brigade (8) headquarters in the southern village of Ghandouriyyeh and then Tyre Army Barrack.
Addressing Army officers, the President stressed the necessity of standing up firm against terrorism, foiling all its attempts.
The President also noted that the current government should undergo the requisite reforms primarily with respect to equipping and arming the military, in accordance with a long or medium term plan.
Sleiman also voiced support to an electoral law that comes in harmony with the spirit of the Taef and preserves citizens' participation in elections.
-----------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - PSP: Unacceptable to separate monitors' protocol from Arabs initiative
 

Thu 22/12/2011 19:08

NNA - 22/12/2011 - The Progressive Socialist Party said it was not accepted to separate the protocol of Arabs' monitors in Syria from the Arab League's initiative.

PSP's stance came Thursday after a meeting for the command council members of said party, during which recent political developments were explored at the local and regional scenes.

The party affirmed that the initiative would remain the backbone of the transitory stage in Syria that would turn the country to democracy and put terms to bloodshed against civilians.
A.M>

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Muslim Scholars voice support for Syrian regime
 

Thu 22/12/2011 18:51

NNA - 22/12/2011 - Muslim Scholars Gathering on Thursday couched unswerving support for Assad-led Syria and its coalition with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

"Among all Arab states, only Syria refused to succumb and resign to the Israeli enemy; it stood by the Islamic and national resistance in Lebanon," said Sheikh Ahmed Zein, Head of the Gathering's Trustees Board.

For his part, Sheikh Hassan Abdullah, head of the Gathering's administration board, said the aim was not merely to topple the Syrian regime, but also to thwart the rejectionist resistance axis.

"There are bids to foment sectarian strife in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon," he explained.

"We, the Muslim Scholars Gathering, are ready to work hand in hand with our brotherly scholars in Syria and the Islamic world to face these bids," he concluded.

These remarks came during a lunch banquet which Syrian ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul Karim Ali, held in honor of the Gathering.

"I need to listen to you rather than to speak with you; but what I want to say is that you should be reassured about Syria's strength," the diplomat said.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Jarrah from Geagea's: We don't accept recurrence of Nahr Bared incidents
 

Thu 22/12/2011 18:37

NNA - 22/12/2011 - Deputy Jamal Jarrah, from the Future Bloc, said they would not accept the recurrence of Nahr Bared incidents by sending Qaeda members from Syria to Orsal to lead a sort of local unrest.

Jarrah's expressed his fears in this concern after he heard Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn's words that members of Qaeda were infiltrating into Lebanon.

Jarah said it was necessary for the public, the cabinet and the security apparatus to be informed of that information to rectify the situation.
A.M.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi, Caccia meet
 

Thu 22/12/2011 18:04

NNA - 22/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi on Thursday met in Bkerki with Apostolic Nuncio to Lebanon, Gabriele Caccia.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Rahi: We cannot enjoy Lebanese mission by inflexible opinion
 

Thu 22/12/2011 17:53

NNA - 22/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi said we could not live the Lebanese mission by keeping inflexible opinions and views.

The Patriarch's word came on Thursday in the context of a mass service he chaired for the intention of the Maronite Expatriates Foundation, at Notre Dame Church of Bkerki. The mass was attended by numerous ministers and deputies.

"Lebanon is greater than us. Its mission is greater than every one of us� We hold the weight of our responsibility for Lebanon on our neck," said the Patriarch.
A.M.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 





 

Politics - Sleiman visits FCR, UNIFIL
 

Thu 22/12/2011 17:51

NNA - 22/12/2011 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Thursday inspected Lebanese Army units in South Lebanon, accompanied by Defense Minister, Fayez Ghosn, and Army Chief General Jean Qahwaji.

A statement by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) indicated that Sleiman and the accompanying delegation were received by the commander ad interim of UNIFIL's Force Command Reserve (FCR), Santi Bonfanti, in Deir Kifa village.

It added that the President also met with the five French peacekeepers, who were injured during an attack on their patrol in Tyre earlier this month.

Bonfanti, who thanked Sleiman for this "symbolic visit," said the inspection tour was a support and solidarity message to the UNIFIL.

"The support by the different Lebanese political parties following the attacks on UNIFIL indeed beefed up the force's determination to accomplish its task," the statement quoted Bonfanti as saying.

"Those who attacked the UNIFIL for three times during the past months seek to downplay our mission and shake stability restored by the joint efforts of the Lebanese army and the force," he concluded.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 

















 

Politics - Siniora meets mayors' delegation
 

Thu 22/12/2011 17:27

NNA - 22/12/2011 - Head of Future parliamentary bloc, MP Fouad Siniora, on Thursday met with a delegation of Lebanon's mayoral leagues, over the current general situation.

The meeting, held at Siniora's office in Sadat Tower, also featured high on an array of development-related affairs.

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Berri's national vision gains itinerants appreciation
 

Thu 22/12/2011 17:20


NNA - 22/12/2011 - House Speaker Nabih Berri met Thursday at Ain El-Tineh residence with former Minister Elie Ferezli who uttered appreciation for the Speaker's national vision, particularly regarding the electoral law-draft submitted by the Orthodox Gathering.

The draft consists of adopting the single-member district allowing each community to vote for its Deputies.

"Berri estimated that the Orthodox Gathering suggestion is a result of accumulated fears, past experiences, and confessionalism traces in the country. He called for holding serious dialogue so as to address Lebanon's major issues," Ferezli said in the wake of the meeting.

Separately, Berri tackled latest developments with former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

He finally discussed the needs and demands of mayors with the chairman of the Lebanese Mayors' Cooperative Fund, Bechara Ghoulam.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved










 

Politics - Bkerki honors deprived senior citizens
 

Thu 22/12/2011 16:18


NNA - 22/12/2011 - A panel of personalities gathered on Thursday in the Maronite patriarchate seat in Bkerki in honor of deprived senior citizens, who came from the various Lebanese regions, and whom Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi thanked "for happily enduring the aches of geriatrics."

State Minister Nicolas Fattoush, Minister of Social Affairs, Wael Abu Faour, and Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir partook in today's event, held in Bkerki's backyard.

Prior to the ceremony, Rahi had met with the Ministers over most recent developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.



R.A.H./A.B.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 


 


Politics - Mansour tackles Lebanese-Azerbaijani commercial cooperation
 

Thu 22/12/2011 15:55

NNA - 22/12/2011 - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour tackled Thursday means to reactivate commercial cooperation between Azerbaijan and Lebanon, particularly in the frame of regulating mutual visits between businessmen.

The Minister who met with the Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Lebanon (resident in Damascus), Maher Alief, accompanied by the honorary consul Nazih Ghousousb received an invitation from the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister to visit the country the soonest possible.

The Ambassador informed Mansour that his country has allocated a certain amount of money to build an Embassy in Lebanon during the next year.

Separately, Mansour received the dean of the Honorary Consular Corps Jospeh Habison top of a delegation accompanied by former Deputy Sheikh Michael Daher.

The meeting dwelled on affairs related to the honorary consulates in Lebanon and means to boost the ties of the countries they represent with Lebanon.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (Correction) Mufti Qabbani thanked by Roknabadi for bolstering national unity
 

Thu 22/12/2011 15:25

NNA - 22/12/2011 - Mufti of Lebanon Sheikh Muhammad Rachid Qabbani was appreciated by the Iranian Ambassador for his positive stances that played an important role in boosting Islamic unity.

The ambassador's appreciation came Thursday in the wake of his visit to Dar Fatwa for meeting with the Mufti and exploring with him overall developments at the local and regional scenes.

Roknabadi said he congratulated His Holiness on the Christmas occasion and extended to him an invitation to partake in the Christians and Muslims Conference which would take place in Iran on the 16th and 17th of December. The Mufti was even asked to give a speech in upcoming conference.

Separately, Qabbani had a talk with former Deputy Wajih Baarini and the latter conveyed to the host Akkar people's demand for electing a Mufti for the region.

Afterwards, the Mufti received former Minister Elie Ferzli, who defended the proposed electoral law of the Orthodox Gathering and criticized those favoring the 1960 law. Ferzli said the 1960 law, if accredited, would be deemed as a big crime against numerous Lebanese groups. "We can no longer imagine Lebanon living in the shadows of the 1960 law."
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Safadi's meetings today
 

Thu 22/12/2011 15:24

NNA - 22/12/2011 - Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, on Thursday met with Danish ambassador to Lebanon, Jan Top Christensen, over bilateral ties.

Safadi later met at his ministerial office with a delegation of insurance companies, with talks featuring high on an array of affairs relevant to the sector.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 














 

Politics - Mufti Qabbani thanked by Roknabadi for bolstering national unity
 

Thu 22/12/2011 15:17

NNA - 22/12/2011 - Mufti of Lebanon Sheikh Muhammad Rachid Qabbani was appreciated by the Iranian Ambassador for his positive stances that played an important role in boosting Islamic unity.

The ambassador's appreciation came Thursday in the wake of his to Dar Fatwa for meeting with the Mufti and exploring with him overall developments at the local and regional scenes.

Roknabadi said he congratulated His Holiness on the Christmas occasion and extended to him an invitation to partake in the Christians and Muslims Conference which would take place in Iran on the 16th and 17th of December. The Mufti was even asked to give a speech in upcoming conference.

Separately, Qabbani had a talk with former Deputy Wajih Baarini and the latter conveyed to the host Akkar people's demand for electing a Mufti for the region.

Afterwards, the Mufti received former Minister Elie Ferzli, who defended the proposed electoral law of the Orthodox Gathering and criticized those favoring the 1960 law. Ferzli said the 1960 law, if accredited, would be deemed as a big crime against numerous Lebanese groups. "We can no longer imagine Lebanon living in the shadows of the 1960 law."
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Salameh from Grand Serail: Banking sector resilient
 

Thu 22/12/2011 15:04

NNA - 22/12/2011 Lebanese Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh Thursday visited Premier Mikati and asserted banking sector's commitment to implementing international standards.

Salameh told Mikati about the resilience of the monetary situation in Lebanon. "Cooperation is ongoing between the Central Bank and other Lebanese banks," Salameh said, stressing herein the judicial follow up on the Lebanese Canadian Bank charges.
He later counseled concerned parties to cease uttering prior judgments and wait for the final verdict to be issued.

For his part, Mikati said the banking sector is the country's pillar of stability, calling for disengaging it from political quarrels.

"The Bank's decision to pay Lebanon's portion of STL reveals a high sense of national responsibility," he said.

The Social Affairs Minister also visited Mikati today and voiced support to his endeavors regarding salaries' adjustment settlement.

Abou Faour also met with Prime Minister Najib Mikati and deemed the latter's proposal to be a fair and equitable settlement.

"The proposal highly considers laborers and employees situation and, at the same time, considers the state's financial situation," he said.

Mikati later held talks with Iraqi Premier Iyad Allawi over the most recent regional and domestic up-to-dates. Allawi also uttered support to Lebanon's stability.

The Lebanese Premier also had an audience with Kuwaiti Fund for Economic Development representative in Lebanon, Nawwaf Fares Al Dabbous.
The latter informed Mikati of the fund's activities and projects in Lebanon.

Mikati met lastly with MPs Akram Shehayyeb and Nehme Tohme with whom he tackled major developments.

L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (UPDATED) Aoun talks developments with British, Palestinian Ambassadors
 

Thu 22/12/2011 14:52

NNA - 22/12/2011 - The British Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher said that the region would witness changes and challenges in the coming months.

Fletcher added "I discussed important issues with MP Michel Aoun and I held discussions in the previous days with Lebanese officials", adding that he is optimistic about the Lebanese situation which would witness stability.

The Ambassador emphasized on Friday at Rabieh after his meeting with Aoun the role of the British and the international community in supporting Lebanon and its stability.

Fletcher congratulated the Lebanese on the occasion of Christmas, hoping that stability and peace would prevail over Lebanon.

Winding up his political mission in Lebanon, the Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon Abdullah Abdullah also had his share of talks with MP Aoun.

"We discussed the prevailing situation the Arab region endures, most importantly the situation of Palestinian refugees residing in Lebanon," he said following the meeting.

Abdullah relayed MP Aoun's willingness to take part in endeavors aiming at mitigating Palestinian refugees' daily living burdens.

Both men saw eye to eye over the Palestinians' "sacred" right of return to their homeland.
A.A.M. - R.H.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (updated) Abbadi meets Jumblatt, Kabalan, condemns Iranians' kidnapping
 

Thu 22/12/2011 14:31

NNA -/22/12/2011 - Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi condemned the kidnapping of the 5 Iranians in Homs-Syria.

The Ambassador considered such operation as useless, stressing that efforts are underway to find the kidnapped and release them.

Abbadi said on Friday after meeting with PSP head Deputy Walid Jumblatt at Clemenceau that the visit came in the framework of his talks with the Lebanese leaders on the occasion of Christmas.

"Discussions focused on the regional and international situation, in addition to the Lebanese-Iranian ties", Abbadi pointed out.

The Ambassador said that the entire region is threatened by the Zionist entity, confirming that problems in this region should be solved away from outside interference.

Separately, Roknabadi visited Deputy Head of the Islamic Shiite Supreme Council, Abdel Amir Kabalan inviting him to participate in the Islamic-Christian conference to be held on January 16 and 17.

Kabalan, for his part, called upon Muslims to preserve union and solidarity in face of foreign challenges and conspiracies harbored basically by the Zionistic enemy.
A.A.M - D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Mokbel chairs environment projects session
 

Thu 22/12/2011 13:55

NNA - 22/12/2011- Deputy Prime Minister Samir Mokbel chaired Thursday before noon at his office in Rabieh a meeting for the ministerial committee tasked to study environmental decrees projects.

The meeting was attended by State Minister for Parliament's Affairs Nicholas Fattoush, representative of Energy and Water Minister Ahmed Oweidat and others.

A.M/N.AF
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

b

 


Politics - Abbadi condemns Iranian kidnapping
 

Thu 22/12/2011 13:01

NNA -/22/12/2011 - Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Rokn Abbadi condemned the kidnapping of the 5 Iranians in Homs-Syria.

The Ambassador considered such operation as useless, stressing that efforts are underway to find the kidnapped and release them.

Abbadi said on Friday after meeting with PSP head Deputy Walid Jumblatt at Clemenceau that the visit came in the framework of his talks with the Lebanese leaders on the occasion of Christmas.

"Discussions focused on the regional and international situation, in addition to the Lebanese-Iranian ties", Abbadi pointed out.

The ambassador said that the entire region is threatened by the Zionist entity, confirming that problems in this region should be solved away from outside interference.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Fletcher: Region will witness changes
 

Thu 22/12/2011 12:43

NNA - 22/12/2011 - British Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher said that the region would witness changes and challenges in the coming months.

Fletcher added "I discussed important issues with MP Michel Aoun and I held discussions in the previous days with Lebanese officials", adding that he is optimistic about the Lebanese situation which would witness stability.

The Ambassador emphasized on Friday at Rabyeh after his meeting with Aoun the role of the British and the international community in supporting Lebanon and its stability.

Fletcher congratulated the Lebanese on the occasion of Christmas, hoping that stability and peace would prevail over Lebanon.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Ogassapian: Cabinet provides political cover for arms proliferation
 

Thu 22/12/2011 11:58

NNA - 22/12/2011 - Deputy Jean Ogassapian said that this cabinet is providing political cover for weapons spread in Lebanon.

The MP stressed that the current cabinet is "Hizbullah's cabinet", hence Hizbullah is the party that controls the political, strategic and military decision.

"Proliferation of illegal weapons is a very dangerous issue", the Member of Parliament added on Friday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio.

The MP reiterated the call to arms- free Beirut and Lebanon, considering that the existence of any weapons in Lebanon inflame Lebanon and causes strife, pointing out the need to resort to dialogue table to discuss the defense strategic issue in order to reach a final solution regarding all weapons and put them under the state's control.

Commenting on the infilitration of "Qaeda" members to Arsal, the MP described this issue as a "dangerous incident", and asked about the measures taken by the cabinet.

Finally, Ogassapian asked Ghosn to present a plan to the Lebanese and the cabinet to prevent terrorists from entering into the Lebanese territories.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Marouni: Weapons used to enforce decisions
 

Thu 22/12/2011 11:55

NNA - 22/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Elie Marouni suggested that Hezbollah is using its weapons as a means of pressure to extract concessions from the Lebanese sides and enforces certain resolutions that serve the interest of its allies.

Marouni, who was speaking to "Al Sharq" Radio, also commented on Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn's claims that member of Qaida are using Lebanon as a springboard to smuggle weapons to Syria to help armed elements who are opposed to the regime.

"We have previously asked the defense minister to provide us with evidence that substantiate his accusations. We all know that in the past some MPs have been falsely accused of funding and arming Syrian opposition groups but eventually all these allegations proved to be baseless and unfounded,' Marouni said.

He called on Ghosn to provide the Lebanese with sufficient evidence that proves beyond any shadow of doubt that Qaida members are infiltrating Lebanon from Syria, adding that the defense minister has no right to accuse Arasl residents of protecting the infiltrators.

Marouni doubts that the Syrian regime will comply fully with the Arab League initiative although Damascus signed the protocol to send monitors for Syria.

"It is not enough to sign the protocol while the Syrian tanks artillery keeps killing its people."

Marouni also blasted Hezbollah, adding that this party has the largest arsenal of weapons in Lebanon.

He voiced full support for the disarmament of the Palestinian refugee camps and all of Beirut.

"We want weapons to be removed from all of Lebanon and not only from the capital because these arms breed hatred and spread terror."

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman heads to south
 

Thu 22/12/2011 11:17

NNA - 22/12/2011 - President Michel Sleiman headed on Friday at 11:00 am to the south to inspect Lebanese army units and UNIFIL forces working in south Lebanon and will meet commanders and officers in the region.

Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn and army commander Jean Kahwaji accompanied Sleiman.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt, Wahhab reconfirms stability in mountain
 

Thu 22/12/2011 11:02

NNA - 22/12/2011 - Tawhid Party head Wiam Wahhab Thursday visited head of the Progressive Socialist Party MP Walid Jumblatt and stressed the need to maintain and preserve the stable situation in the mountain by enhancing cooperation between existing forces in this area.
Both men also put emphasis on the need to have security forces to fulfill their role to solve any security clash promptly and decisively.
L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Araji: Ghosn's words are not backed with documents
 

Thu 22/12/2011 10:15

NNA - 22/12/2011 - "Future" bloc member Deputy Asem Araji said that Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn did not support his words with documents on the existence of "Qaeda" members in Arsal and other Bekaa Villages.

The MP demanded Security forces to arrest "Qaeda" members if they existed; pointing out that the disarmament of Beirut is an essential issue.

"Freeing Beirut from arms is an important issue, all weapons should be under the control of the state", the MP stressed on Friday to "Free Lebanon".

Commenting on the Maronite meeting and the Orthodox plan which called on every sect to elect its deputies, the MP said "Maronite meeting did not adopt the Orthodox project".

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hezbollah denies U.S. allegations of involvement in drug funding
 

Thu 22/12/2011 09:28 NNA - 22/12/2011 - Hezbollah denied in a statement issued on Thursday the U.S. allegations that the party was involved in illegal activities and money laundering, stressing that these accusations are aimed at defaming the image of the resistance.

"The U.S. allegations that Hezbollah is funding its activity in an illegal way are nothing more than new attempts to discredit the resistance and tarnish its image after the accomplishments it achieved on the national level," the statement said.

It added that Washington made this false accusation after uncovering the U.S. spying network in Lebanon.

"Hezbollah vehemently denies all the false accusations that it is involved directly or indirectly in money laundering, drug trafficking and ties with banking transactions as reported by New York Times. The U.S. is trying to overshadow the criminal and intelligence activities by its networks that have been recruited by the United States to serve Israel's interest. These accusations are also aimed to cover up for the U.S. defeats in the region," the statement added.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - MP Gemayel meets Rahi over disarmament of Beirut
 

Wed 21/12/2011 21:37

NNA - 21/12/2011 - Means of turning Beirut city into an arms-free zone topped talks on Wednesday between MP Nadim Gemayel and Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rahi.

Gemayel, who visited Rahi in Bkirki today, said he came seeking the Patriarch's guidance amid the dire political situation currently being witnessed in Lebanon and the region.

"I briefed him [Rahi] on the meeting that took place today with President Michel Sleiman on the disarmament of Beirut city," Gemayel said, adding that talks also touched on the general political situation in Lebanon and the region.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (UPDATED) Cabinet endorses Nahhas's wage adjustment package, Ghosn suspends strike
 

Wed 21/12/2011 21:18

NNA - 21/12/2011 - Upon leaving Baabda Presidential Palace, Prime Minister Najib Mikati confirmed on Wednesday that the Council of Ministers has endorsed Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas's wage increase plan.

As a consequence to the cabinet's decision, General Labor Confederation head Ghassan Ghosn left Baabda Palace declaring that the GLC strike which had been planned to take place next Wednesday has been suspended.

The Council of Ministers convened in session at Baabda Palace on Wednesday with the wage adjustment bill topping its 54-item agenda.

Chaired by President of the Republic Michel Sleiman, in presence of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, the session was devoted for the discussion of 54 financial and administrative items and the State Shoura Council's notes on the wage adjustment bill.

The session was preceded by a closed meeting between Prime Minister Najib Mikati and President Michel Sleiman touching on local and regional developments.

Before starting the session, and in response to the press, Foreign Affairs Minister Adnan Mansour said that there was no word as yet on whether Lebanon would be participating in the Arab observer's mission in Syria.

In turn, Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas said that his proposed wage-adjustment draft law would eventually be adopted. "It is non-replaceable," he said.

Moreover, Trade and Economy Minister Charbel Nahhas said that cabinet talks would focus on the wage adjustment bill. "It will most probably wind up being endorsed," he said, pointing to the possibility of approving Foreign Ministry-related appointments.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (UPDATED) Cabinet endorses wage adjustment package
 

Wed 21/12/2011 21:02

NNA - 21/12/2011 - The Council of Ministers endorsed on Wednesday the wage adjustment bill, increasing the minimum wage by 200,000 Lebanese Pounds (LP). Wages above one million LP have been increased by 250,000 LP, and wages above two million LP by 300,000 LP pounds, NNA correspondent said on Wednesday.

As a consequence to the cabinet's decision, General Labor Confederation head Ghassan Ghosn left Baabda Palace declaring that the GLC strike which had been planned to take place next Wednesday has been suspended.

The Council of Ministers convened in session at Baabda Palace on Wednesday with the wage adjustment bill topping its 54-item agenda.

Chaired by President of the Republic Michel Sleiman, in presence of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, the session was devoted for the discussion of 54 financial and administrative items and the State Shoura Council's notes on the wage adjustment bill.

The session was preceded by a closed meeting between Prime Minister Najib Mikati and President Michel Sleiman touching on local and regional developments.

Before starting the session, and in response to the press, Foreign Affairs Minister Adnan Mansour said that there was no word as yet on whether Lebanon would be participating in the Arab observer's mission in Syria.

In turn, Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas said that his proposed wage-adjustment draft law would eventually be adopted. "It is non-replaceable," he said.

Moreover, Trade and Economy Minister Charbel Nahhas said that cabinet talks would focus on the wage adjustment bill. "It will most probably wind up being endorsed," he said, pointing to the possibility of approving Foreign Ministry-related appointments.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hariri from Ankara: We don't see positive steps in Syria
 

Wed 21/12/2011 19:37

NNA - 21/12/2011 - Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri held talks on Wednesday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at the Turkish Prime Minister's office in Ankara. Talks focused on developments in the region, especially the Syrian crisis after the signing of the Arab League initiative.

The Head of the Turkish-Lebanese Friendship Parliamentary Committee, MP Nouhad Machnouk, former MP Bassem Sabeh, Mr Nader Hariri and advisor Mohammed Chatah attended part of the talks.

"First of all, allow me to welcome our dear guest, brother and friend, Saad Hariri, with whom we have always had a long relationship, as a political leader in Lebanon when he was in power, as well as a personal relationship. And he is most welcome in his home in Turkey any time," Minister Davutoglu told reporters following talks.

"Today the region is witnessing very important changes, and that is why we need to consult. I would like to express my gratitude for this opportunity that allowed us to share our views on all subjects, first during our bilateral meeting, and then with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan," he added.

"There are historic changes in the region and we all know that the course of history is moving in the direction of achieving the people's demands. In North Africa and Tunisia, elections were held, and in Libya the process of change continues, as well as in Egypt. Now is the right time for the Syrian people to achieve their goals of democracy and transparency," Davutoglu said.

Responding to a question on how he assesses the situation in Syria after having signed the Protocol, Davutoglu said "Turkey has supported the Arab League initiative and I personally participated in the meetings of the League in Cairo and Morocco during the preparation of this initiative. There has been a mechanism of consultation between Turkey and the Arab League, and we support its initiative. The protocol in itself has several important dimensions, including sending observers and releasing prisoners and we hope that all the initiative will succeed, and Turkey will do its best to help this initiative succeed. In fact, this initiative is also ours, and we will support and defend it and monitor its implementation.

But unfortunately, I would like to point out again that even after the signing of the Protocol, hundreds of Syrians have been killed and this is unacceptable. The signing of the protocol means readiness to cooperate and work with the Arab League. The Arab League's mission is to stop the bloodshed and this is the main and urgent task, but even after the signing, the killing continues, and we will follow this matter closely and continue to consult with the Secretary General of the League Nabil al-Arabi, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem in addition to other members of the Arab League.

Tomorrow, the first group of observers will head to Syria, and Turkey will be at the disposal of the Arab League, to satisfy any request and we will work together, and we hope that these massacres will stop, not as quickly as possible but immediately."

For his part PM Hariri said, "First I would like to thank the Prime Minister and minister Davutoglu for receiving us in Turkey, and for their hospitality. We discussed all the developments taking place in the region, especially in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. We certainly have a clear view regarding what is happening in Lebanon and Syria.

With regards to what is happening in Syria, after the signing of the Arab League Protocol, the killing machine accelerated. And as Minister Davutoglu said, signing the initiative means signing all its clauses, including those related to stopping the killing and releasing all detainees. Only then will there actually be positive steps, but we don't see these steps."

Responding to a question on his position in light of agreement over considering Syria's signing of the protocol a positive step, Hariri said, "The positivity was based on the fact that a credible state signed an Arab initiative. But the problem is that some, including Minister Walid Muallem, said that the signing only involved the clause related to the observers. But what will the observers observe? They will observe the end of the killings and the violence, and the release of the detainees and prisoners. In this sense, I think Syria should stop this killing machine. Also, Prince Saud al-Faisal clearly said during the Gulf Cooperation Summit, that this signing is not confined to the observers but concerns all clauses of the Arab initiative."

Asked about his position from the proposed electoral law, Hariri said, "We will discuss the issue with our allies and we will have a clear stance about it."

Asked about the kind of results one should expect, with the presence of a party in control of power in Lebanon through the force of arms, Hariri said, "My position is clear and explicit regarding the weapons. Some are calling today for "Beirut free of weapons" and I say that all Lebanon should be under the control of the State and the Lebanese Army, in cooperation with all political parties. Everyone should know that this country is for all of us and no party can intimidate or cancel the others. We are all Lebanese and we all have to live together and I hope that this will be achieved."
 

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Politics - Cabinet convenes in session, wage adjustment crowns agenda
 

Wed 21/12/2011 19:08

NNA - 21/12/2011 - The Council of Ministers convened in session at Baabda Palace on Wednesday with the wage adjustment bill topping its 54-item agenda.

Chaired by President of the Republic Michel Sleiman, in presence of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, the session was devoted for the discussion of 54 financial and administrative items and the State Shoura Council's notes on the wage adjustment bill.

The session was preceded by a closed meeting between Prime Minister Najib Mikati and President Michel Sleiman touching on local and regional developments.

Before starting the session, and in response to the press, Foreign Affairs Minister Adnan Mansour said that there was no word as yet on whether Lebanon would be participating in the Arab observer's mission in Syria.

In turn, Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas said that his proposed wage-adjustment draft law would eventually be adopted. "It is non-replaceable," he said.

Moreover, Trade and Economy Minister Charbel Nahhas said that cabinet talks would focus on the wage adjustment bill. "It will most probably wind up being endorsed," he said, pointing to the possibility of approving Foreign Ministry-related appointments.
R.H.

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Politics - Fatfat visits Geagea: Future bloc open to all electoral-law proposals
 

Wed 21/12/2011 18:14

NNA - 21/12/2011 - Future bloc is open to all electoral-law suggestions, MP Ahmad Fatfat said on Wednesday, affirming that the final stance to be made by his bloc on the matter will only be the upshot of dialogue.

The Future bloc MP's words came following a visit to Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea. The meeting between both men reportedly focused on latest security developments, as well as electoral-law related discussions.

Interviewed on the Voice of Lebanon radio station yesterday, Fatfat promised a near official stance by "Future Movement" from the Orthodox draft electoral law.

"Future Movement looks forward to coming out, along with its March 14 allies, with an electoral law that harmoniously fits our basic beliefs in coexistence, Taef Accord, and Lebanese Constitution," Fatfat told the "Voice of Lebanon".

Tackling the heatedly debated arms-free Beirut issue and means of implementing such eventuality, Fatfat said that all exiting weapons in Lebanon should solely be state-owned. "Citizens should only carry weapons under legal conditions, a thing which is not being applied in our country."

Moreover, Fatfat saw that the problem of illegitimate arms in Lebanon was not only individual but rather more a wider problem translated in the existence of illegitimate medium-sized weapons and military organizations, all plaguing the streets and incurring grave damage.

"We should rather hold Prime Minister Najib Mikati responsible. In his capacity as Prime Minister he should first convince his allies with the matter, and then impose an arms-free Beirut decision."

On another level, Geagea met with the British Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher with talks featuring high on local and regional developments.
R.H.

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Politics - Audi invited to Islamic Christian conference in Iran
 

Wed 21/12/2011 17:58

NNA - 21/12/2011 - Beirut Greek Orthodox Archbishop Elias Audi was invited by Iran to partake in the Christian Islamic Conference that would take place in Iran on January 16 and 17.

Iran's invitation came on Wednesday via the Iranian Ambassador Ghazanfar Roknabadi who visited His Holiness, extended to him the invitation and reviewed with him overall developments at the regional scene.

Amongst Audi's visitors: former Minister Mona Ofeich and U.S. Ambassador Maura Connelly.
 

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Politics - Terro's meetings dwell on displacement dossier
 

Wed 21/12/2011 16:28

NNA - 21/12/2011 - Displaced Minister Alaa Al-Din Terro tackled with his visitors Wednesday different affairs related to the return of displaced citizens.

Terro met with Deputy Akram Shehayeb with talks featuring high on the return of displaced to Aalay region, discussing the situation of Metn Mountains with former Parliament member Ayman Shukair.
D.K.

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Politics - Mikati discusses local issues with Audi
 

Wed 21/12/2011 16:22

NNA - 21/12/2011 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati visited on Wednesday Beirut Greek Orthodox Archbishop Elias Audi at his Bishopric in Ashrafieh.

Interviewed after the visit, Mikati said his visit was to congratulate His Holiness on Christmas occasion. Mikati said he reviewed with the host different matters relevant to administrative appointments, security and elections law.

A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Berri calls for dialogue, assures appointments on positive track
 

Wed 21/12/2011 16:21

NNA - 21/12/2011 - House Speaker Nabih Berri again called for conducting national dialogue among politicians, under the chairmanship of President Michel Sleiman, as best means to serve citizens and solve pending local problems.

He received in the course of the day a number of deputies who conveyed the host's word that the administrative appointments issue was on the positive track, as it was following the procedures adopted by the cabinet in this concern.

A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Geagea slams failure to control security incidents
 

Wed 21/12/2011 16:14

NNA - 21/12/2011 - Lebanese Forces party Head, Samir Geagea, hailed Wednesday the security incidents occurring over and over again in Lebanon and the use of personal arms.

Geagea said in his interview with the Free Lebanon radio station that the security forces usually arrive to the clashes scene late hence remain unable to arrest the shooters or the perpetrators.

No crime authors were ever interrogated, and no arms were ever confiscated, he criticized.

Geagea who estimated that judicial authorities and security forces should assume full responsibility regarding these incidents to find fast solutions, reminding that no one has been arrested since the incidents of May 7.

The LF head has also responded to the words of Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn on the infiltration of suspected members of al-Qaeda from Syria to Lebanon, noting that "this matter is the responsibility of the Army and the state", asking the Minister "why these terrorist members were not arrested" and "why the Army had not yet rushed to the borders to ban such infiltrations."

Geagea warned from the attempts to exploit these allegations to hamper the humanitarian aid provided for Syrian refugees especially that Lebanon is not in a position where it could transgress international laws at this level.
D.K.

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Politics - Kahwaji, Manjian, Fadel discuss major developments
 

Wed 21/12/2011 15:42

NNA - 21/12/2011 Lebanese Army commander General Jean Kahwaji tackled Wednesday general developments during his meeting at Yarze with MP Robert Fadel and State Minister Panos Manjian.


L.W.
 

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Politics - Mansour to NNA: Diplomatic appointments date unscheduled yet
 

Wed 21/12/2011 15:37

NNA - 21/12/2011 Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour Wednesday told the National News Agency that he has not set a date for the diplomatic appointments on the Cabinet's agenda.


L.W.

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Politics - Sleiman, Mikati meet
 

Wed 21/12/2011 15:31

NNA - 21/12/2011 The Lebanese President Michel Sleiman is currently meeting with Premier Najib Mikati before the Cabinet session.


 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Abdel Karim Ali from Dar Al-Fatwa: dialogue, reforms ongoing in syria
 

Wed 21/12/2011 14:58

NNA - 21/12/2011 - The Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali assured Wednesday that reforms and internal dialogue are being pursued in Syria so as to reach solid consent.

The Ambassador had paid a visit to the Mufti of the Republic, Sheikh Muhammad Rashid Kabbani, at Dar Al-Fatwa where from he indicated that civil peace and conviviality in Syria are the principal winners of signing the protocol with the Arab league.

The Ambassador reassured the Syrian people and the brother states for Syria that his country will not be weakened by the projects aimed at striking the region.

Separately, Mufti Kabbani met with the Ambassador of South Korea who came on a protocol visit.
D.K.

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Politics - Sleiman follows up recent developments with visitors
 

Wed 21/12/2011 14:38


NNA - 21/12/2011 Lebanese President Michel Sleiman Wednesday engaged in talks concerning the most recent domestic and regional up-to-dates during his meeting with House Speaker Nabih Berri.

Sleiman also convened at Baabda palace with the Deputy Premier Samir Mokbel and discussed with him ministerial committees' works regarding drugs and prisons' situation.

Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas visited the President today and briefed him on the economic dossiers the Ministry is working on.

Sleiman had met earlier with MP Qabbani and the Lebanese Army Directorate Head, brigadier General Abdul Rahman Shehaytli.

A delegation of Beirut Deputies comprised of Tammam Salam, Aatef Majdalani, Siboh Kalbakian, Nadim Gemayel, Michel Pharaon, and Mohammad Qabbani, visited the President today.

The delegation briefed Sleiman on the security and developmental situation in Beirut, as well as on the project of withdrawing illegitimate weapons from Beirut and reinforcing civil peace.


The President is scheduled to chair the Cabinet session today at Baabda.


L.W.

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Politics - Pharaon, Gemayel, Tersarkissian for eliminating security zones
 

Wed 21/12/2011 14:30

NNA - 21/12/2011 - Beirut Deputies Nadim Gemayel, Michel Pharaon and Serge Tersarkissian shed light Wednesday on the importance of eliminating all security zones, as well as of implementing the decisions of the dialogue table and the Arab and international resolutions so as to solve the illegitimate arms' issue.

The three Deputies had issued a communique in the wake of their meeting with a delegation of Lebanon mayors' league.

They added that the deterioration of the security situation in Beirut, Bekaa, South Lebanon and the Lebanese borders reflects a plan aimed at spreading chaos and threatening the region's security, parallel to the regression of the Syrian situation.

The communique mainly focused on the necessity of allowing state security forces to assume their responsibilities in all Lebanese regions by eliminating the security zones.

Separately, the three Deputies deemed necessary to pursue discussions over the electoral law amongst political poles.
D.K.

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Politics - Ghosn, Austrian Minister tackle bilateral ties
 

Wed 21/12/2011 13:45

NNA - 21/12/2011 Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn tackled Wednesday Lebanese-Austrian ties during his meeting with his Austrian counterpart Nobert Darappos.

Both men also engaged in talks concerning UNIFIL works in South Lebanon.

Austrian Minister reiterated his country's support to Lebanon.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Jarrah warns of attempts to pit Army against Arsal citizens
 

Wed 21/12/2011 11:41


NNA - 21/12/2011- "Future" bloc member Deputy Jamal Al-Jarrah, warns that some parties affiliated with Bachar Assad regime are trying to turn the Lebanese Army against citizens of Arsal village.

Commenting on Minister of Defense Fayez Ghosn statement that some members of Al-Qaida sneaked via Arsal village in Al-Bekaa , Jarrah called upon Ghosn to "unveil these facts to the media."

He added, "our facts indicate that the Syrian Army violates the Lebanese territories in Arsal and assault Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees who fled Assad regime suppression," pointing out that the last violation led to the death of a citizen from Arsal.

Jarrah warned of those attempts that would lead to unpredictable results.

L.Y.R/N.AF

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Politics - Hariri arrives to Ankara to meet Turkish officials
 

Wed 21/12/2011 11:32


NNA - 21/12/2011 - Former Prime Minister and MP Saad Hariri arrived last night to Ankara where is scheduled to meet with senior Turkish officials.

At 11:30 A.M., Hariri will meet Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu and in the afternoon will hold talks with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Discussions will focus on latest developments in the region and around the world with special attention on the crisis in Syria as well as bilateral ties between Lebanon and Turkey.

O.H

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Politics - Mikati, Lahham meet
 

Wed 21/12/2011 11:09

NNA - 21/12/2011 - Lebanese Premier Najib Mikati Wednesday arrived at the Roman Catholic Patriarchate in Rabwe.

On his first visit to the headquarters, Mikati held an extended meeting with the Catholic Patriarch Gregorius III Lahham.

Lebanese MPs Michel Moussa and Antoine Abou Khater took part in the gathering along with other ranking religious and political figures.


L.W.

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Politics - Suleiman , Berri meet
 

Wed 21/12/2011 11:01

NNA - 21/12/2011- President of the Republic, Michel Suleiman meets at the moment with Speaker of the House Nabih Berri.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi, Abboud meet
 

Wed 21/12/2011 11:00

NNA - 21/12/2011- Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi met in Bkerki with Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud.

Following the meeting, Abboud said that the visit was to congratulate the Patriarch on the holidays and to brief him on the tourist situation in Lebanon during this season.

He hoped the prosperity that the country is witnessing during this period would continue until skiing season.

Abboud told Al-Rahi about the "necessity to activate Conference Palace in Dbayeh because it is very important and the tourist rest houses on the land borders."

He added that the Patriarch expressed his approval on fully giving tourism sector its right.

The Minister added,"it was also an occasion to discuss domestic political situation."

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour hails Austria's contribution in UNIFIL role
 

Wed 21/12/2011 10:58

NNA - 21/12/2011 - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour Wednesday heaped praise on Austria's participation in the role UNIFIL has played in South Lebanon.

Mansour also tackled Austrian-Lebanese bilateral ties during his meeting with the Austrian Defense minister Norbert Darrapos.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati , Rahi meet
 

Wed 21/12/2011 10:31

NNA - 21/12/2011- Mikati visited Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi at Bkerki.

Upon leaving Bkerki, Mikati said that the aim of his visit was to congratulate the Patriarch on the holidays.

Mikati added," we discussed current issues starting from election law, administrative appointments as well as other issues."

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Nasrallah reviews with Aoun Cabinet's performance
 

Wed 21/12/2011 08:50

NNA - 21/12/2011- Hezbollah's Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah held talks with leader of the Change and Reform bloc MP Michel Aoun in the presence of Energy and Water Minister Gibran Bassil, Hassan Khalil and Wafic Safa.

Talks focused on local and regional development and assessed the performance of the government over the past few months.

A communiqu� issued after the meeting said both sides underscored the importance of close and complete cooperation and to rely on effective steps to ensure this cooperation in the next stage.

The two sides also reiterated the strong ties and alliance which will help fortifying Lebanon in the face of existing and future challenges.

O.H

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Politics - Mikati, Darabos agree on preserving UNIFIL mission
 

Tue 20/12/2011 21:14

NNA - 20/12/2011 Prime Minister Najib Mikati convened Tuesday at the Grand Serail with Norbert Darabos, Head of Austrian Federal Ministry for National Defense and Sport, and agreed on how pivotal the UNIFIL's mission in South Lebanon is.

Austria dispatched 160 peacekeeping troops to aid with the UNIFIL's mission on Lebanon's problematic southern border.

Darabos met Mikati accompanied by a diplomatic, military and media delegation. The two officials agreed on bolstering bilateral ties. The Defense Minister informed Mikati he planned to visit the Austrian contingent in the South soon.


R.Z.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Future Bloc insist on disarming Beirut
 

Tue 20/12/2011 19:17

NNA - 20/12/2011 Future Parliamentary Bloc denounced Tuesday, after its weekly meeting, escalating clashes compromising security of the Capital, deeming such incidents as a harsh reminder of the grave situation which the presence of armed groups imposes upon the country as a whole.
Beirut Deputies demanded Monday the disarmament of the Capital after repeated skirmishes between illegally armed persons.

"Security Forces handled these incidents with a negligent attitude; a sign of the state's diminishing control over the country," the Bloc's statement read, adding praise to Beirut Deputies' call for an arms-free city, which would guarantee the stability of the security situation in Lebanon.

The meeting also addressed the Orthodox proposal concerning parliamentary electoral law, which suggested that each sect elected its own deputy on the basis of proportional representation. Said proposal was made during last week's Maronite summit at Bkirky, which brought together pillars of the Maronite sect along with Patriarch Beshara Rahi. "We are ready to hold a dialogue on the suggestions with a delegation that was formed after last week's Maronite meeting at Bkirky."
The statement stressed that dialogue was an essential way to reach understanding among Lebanese factions in order to preserve common living.

In regional news, Future Bloc welcomed Syria's signing of the Arab initiative to end the country's crisis. However, the Bloc held that it planned to closely monitor Bashar Assad's complete commitment to halting bloodshed and applying national reform.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun for giving Orthodox electoral law opportunity for deliberation
 

Tue 20/12/2011 19:12

NNA - 20/12/2011 - Deputy Michel Aoun said that the parliamentary electoral law proposed by the Orthodox Gathering must be given an opportunity for deliberations among political sides.

General Aoun's words came Tuesday in the wake of the regular weekly meeting of the Bloc of Reform and Change in Rabieh.

Aoun said that his participation in current cabinet was not to be silent on the harsh conditions in Lebanon, especially at the levels of finance, projects and authority.

Turning to the Syrian file and the Arab monitors to be sent to Syria, Aoun said he didn't believe that the Arab countries would deviate from the American European course targeting Syria.

The General found in the American withdrawal from Iraq the termination of certain stage in favor of upcoming new equations.

A.M.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Well-wishers at Bkirki on festive season
 

Tue 20/12/2011 18:06

NNA - 20/12/2011 Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rai met on Tuesday afternoon at Bkirki with Roman Catholic Metropolitan of Zahle Issam Darwish, on top of a delegation of Zahle, who presented well wishes to the Patriarch on the festive season.
The delegation also voiced support to Rai's positions.
Rai also met with Military Government Commissioner Magistrate Sakr Sakr, "NTV" Station delegation, and Ambassador Charbel Wehbe.
--------------L.Y

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Politics - Berri, Abadi tackle Islamic-Christian Dialogue Conference
 

Tue 20/12/2011 17:48

NNA - 20/12/2011 Speaker of the House Nabih Berri met on Tuesday afternoon at Ein Tineh residence with Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon where they tackled the issue of Islamic-Christian Dialogue Conference set to take place soon in Beirut.
The Conference convenes from January 12 till 17, 2012, under the patronage of Speaker Berri, with a number of guests from Arab and Islamic countries attending including Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Iran. Berri will deliver a word on the occasion.
On emerging, Ambassador Ghadanfar Roken Abadi said that they discussed the latest developments on the regional and international scenes, as well as bilateral Lebanese-Iranian relations.
On the other hand, Berri met with a delegation of honorary consul corp where they discussed means of enhancing honorary consuls' work, in a way that realizes Lebanon's interests.
Former Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar also visited Berri, where they tackled the current situation on the local arena.
--------------L.Y

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Politics - Ghosn: for adhering to army and supporting it
 

Tue 20/12/2011 16:15

NNA - 20/12/2011 - National Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn said the crisis occupying the Arab region demanded that Lebanese adhere to the Lebanese Army and support it.

Ghosn's word came after receiving at his office the director of the international organizations of the French Foreign Ministry, Nicholas De Riviere.

Talks focused on the cooperation between the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL as well as the condition of the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701.
A.M>

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Politics - Charbel, Abdullah tackle Palestinian camps' conditions
 

Tue 20/12/2011 15:47

NNA - 20/12/2011 - Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel tackled Tuesday with the Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon, Abdullah Abdullah, the situation in Lebanon and more precisely the security developments in the Palestinian refugees' camp of Ain Al-Hilweh.

Ambassador Abdullah assured in his word after the meeting that the security situation is totally under control, uttering confidence in the security institution responsible for preserving stability in that area.

"Serious investigations are being conducted to make sure no foreign side is messing with the security situation inside the camp," he declared assuring that a Lebanese-Palestinian common approach is required at this level.

Problems facing the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon also featured high on the meeting's talks whereby Charbel uttered understanding and readiness for cooperation so as to lessen the Palestinians' suffering until they could return to their country.

Separately, Minister Charbel received the Danish Ambassador to Lebanon Jan Top Christensen who conveyed to the Minister his country's approval on pursuing their support in all affairs related to the Lebanese land borders issue.

Also, the Interior Minister tackled with Deputies Riad Rahal, Shant Janjanian and former MP Jihad Al-Samad regional and developmental affairs.
D.K.

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Politics - Wahab: proportionality is best election law
 

Tue 20/12/2011 15:19

NNA - 20/12/2011 - Former Minister Wiam Wahab said the law of proportionality would remain the best for parliamentary elections, as it would be a solution suiting all the Lebanese.

Wahab's stance came Tuesday after visiting head of the Islamic Shiite Supreme Council, Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan. Talks during the visit reportedly focused on overall developments at the local and regional scenes.

Wahab criticized the election law project of the Orthodox Gathering as, according to Wahab, it would pave the way for new wars in Lebanon and favor the sense of sectarianism.
A.M>

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Politics - Watkins: UN concerned on South incidents
 

Tue 20/12/2011 14:33

NNA - 20/12/2011 UN Acting Special coordinator Robert Watkins Tuesday uttered concern over latest security incidents in South Lebanon especially the attack against UNIFIL French contingent.

"UN hopes Lebanese authorities would adopt adequate measures to reveal incident's perpetrators and refer them to justice," he said following his meeting with Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Adanan Mansour.

Watkins also called on Lebanon and Israel to exert effort so as to guarantee 1701 implementation.

Both men also tackled different affairs between Lebanon and the UN especially regarding cluster munitions convention.


L.W.

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Politics - Abou Faour tackles developmental affairs
 

Tue 20/12/2011 14:09

NNA - 20/12/2011 - Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour received Tuesday at his ministerial office the Mufti of Mount Lebanon Muhammad Ali Al-Juzu, as well as Deputies Ali Al-Meqdad and Ayoub Hemayed with whom he tackled developmental affairs.
D.K.

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Politics - Daouk from Dar Al-Fatwa: disarming Beirut is claim of all Lebanese
 

Tue 20/12/2011 13:54

NNA - 20/12/2011 - Minister of Information, Walid Daouk, indicated Tuesday that disarming Beirut was claimed by all Lebanese factions.

The Minister said these words during his visit to the Mufti of the Republic, Sheikh Muhammad Rashid Qabbani, which mainly focused on local affairs.

"It is inacceptable to keep individual arms and all sorts of weapons in the hands of citizens as it might escalate personal fights into armed clashes leading to death and injuries," Daouk said.

He called in this regard for disarming all the Lebanese cities with the consent of all the Lebanese poles.

Separately, the Minister deemed "important" the call of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, for union between countries.

D.K.

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Politics - Turning Beirut into arms-free city is ultimate goal: Hout
 

Tue 20/12/2011 13:03

NNA - 20/12/2011 - Deputy Imad Al-Hout told Al-Fajr radio station Tuesday that the ultimate goal at the current stage is to make of Beirut an arms-free city.

The parliament member confirmed that the reoccurrence of security incidents in the country led to the meeting held yesterday by Beirut Deputies. A committee was formed and assigned to meet with the President, the Prime Minister and the House Speaker to call for delving into security incidents and turning Beirut into a city free of weapons, a preliminary step to be later generalized all over the country.

"The plan might seem just a formality, yet it is Beirut Deputies duty to put political leaderships and the government before their responsibilities in preserving the country," he said, noting that disarmament must be executed by the state while the Resistance's arms ought to be negotiated at the dialogue table.

The MP ruled out any link that ties regional greed or developments to this disarmament plan.
D.K.

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Politics - Ogassapian: Weapons logic should be toppled
 

Tue 20/12/2011 12:04

NNA - 20/12/2011 - Deputy Jean Ogassapian stressed the necessity to topple weapons logic which controls authority in Lebanon.

The MP said that recent security incidents that happened in several regions in Beirut and Lebanon proved the cabinet incapability to contain and control the situation. Thus, Beirut MPs held Lebanese cabinet responsible for these incidents and called to discuss means to establish an arms-free capital.

The MP added on Tuesday to "Sharq" radio that "disarming Beirut is not an easy task because the other team (March 8) does not want to discuss this issue".

Ogassapian pointed out that this step requires a brave decision from the cabinet and concerned political parties.

Commenting on linking weapons issue to the regional situation, the MP said that some sides wanted Lebanon to stay an arena for security movements in case pressure remained on the Syrian regime.

"Syria started feeling Arab and International isolation after the sanctions which were imposed by Arab Foreign Ministers and this is a defeat to the regime", the MP pointed out.

A.A.M

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Politics - Charbel Nahas rebuffs proposed wage increase
 

Tue 20/12/2011 11:37

NNA - 20/12/2011- Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas confirmed that Reform and Change bloc Ministers will not agree on proposed wage increase which breaches laws and reinforces wage loss concept.

Talking to "Voice of Lebanon - Voice of Freedom and Dignity", Nahas confirmed that the Bloc Ministers are committed to endorsing the wage increase draft which he had previously presented, pointing out that it was time to end 15 years of practices during which increases came under different titles not included in end of service annuity.

Commenting on this issue, he added "It is time to discuss this issue within the appropriate laws and framework."

Responding to a question, Nahas confirmed "that administrative appointments file is not on the cabinet's agenda for tomorrow (Wednesday) session."

L.Y.R/N.AF

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Politics - Fatfat promises near stance by Future on Orthodox electoral law
 

Tue 20/12/2011 11:12

NNA - 20/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Ahmad Fatfat promised on Tuesday a near official stance by "Future Movement" from the Orthodox draft electoral law.

In a Bkerki meeting, Maronite leaders agreed on Friday to support the Orthodox Gathering's draft electoral law, and designated a committee to discuss the proposed law with Lebanese officials.

"Future Movement looks forward to coming out, along with its March 14 allies, with an electoral law that harmoniously fits our basic beliefs in coexistence, Taef Accord, and Lebanese Constitution," the Future Bloc MP told the "Voice of Lebanon" radio station.

"The most important part of Bkerki's post meeting statement is that it keeps the door wide open before negotiations," Fatfat added, expressing relief at the fact that the law was open to all possibilities and suggestions.

Responding to allegations that Future Movement would snub the Orthodox electoral draft fearing it would end up being the biggest loser, Fatfat reminded of all the times at which similar claims had been voiced and Future Movement ended up reaping the majority of votes.

Moreover, Fatfat chose to blame the Lebanese cabinet for the deteriorating security situation in Lebanon. "As for the situation in Tripoli, Prime Minister Najib Mikati holds multiple responsibilities, for he was the first to propose rendering Tripoli city a weapon free zone."
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel supports agreeing on unified election law
 

Tue 20/12/2011 11:01

NNA - 20/12/2011- Municipalities and Interior Minister Marwan Charbel confirmed the necessity of agreeing over a unified electoral law because the old one does not guarantee Christian rights.

Charbel said it was necessary to discuss his electoral project based on proportionality which was presented to the government upon cabinet and ministerial statement recommendation.

Speaking to "Voice of Lebanon ", he explained that Bkerki gathering studied the Orthodox proposal and constituted a follow up committee to communicate with other Lebanese parties; denying that this step would mean that they agreed on the proposal.

"It is impossible to reach an electoral law that satisfies all parties, but rather one which most of them approve," Charbel said.

He added that if they did not reach any draft, there would be another proposition for another elections law of two sessions, explaining that during the first session only Christians vote for the Christian candidate while as Christians and Muslims vote for the final candidate in the second session of elections.

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (UPDATED) Abadi from Bkirki: Problems should be solved between people and regime
 

Tue 20/12/2011 10:53

NNA - 20/12/2011 - Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Gazanfar Rokn Abadi stressed that any country in the region under these circumstances, particularly in Syria should solve its problems between the people and the regime.

Abadi described Syrai's signature of the protocol as "a positive step", after meeting with Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai on Tuesday morning at Bkirki.

Abadi added "the meeting with Rai tackled latest developments on the regional and international scenes, in addition to the bilateral ties between Lebanon and Iran".

The Ambassador pointed out that the aim of his visit to Bkirki was also to discuss the Islamic-Christian dialogue conference which would be held on the 17th of January, in the participation of delegations from Middle East countries and North Africa.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Houry: Any person who snubs arms- free Beirut calls seeks strife
 

Tue 20/12/2011 10:49

NNA - 20/12/2011 - "Future" bloc member Deputy Ammar Houry stressed on Tuesday that anyone who refuses arms-free Beirut calls is seeking for strife.

The MP added that March 14 proposed the issue of disarming Beirut but found no response, stressing that they [March 14] enjoyed the full right to make such requests.

"Our demand is the disarmament of Beirut, its suburbs and all other regions", the MP stressed.

Houry added in an iterview with the "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio that they [March 14] had informed Hezbollah Leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah that light and medium weapons were strife tools which should be withdrawn. "He welcomed this proposal," Houry said, thanking Nasrallah for following up this issue.

The MP added that heavy weapons should be discussed on the dialogue table.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Nasrallah, Maronite Patriarchate delegation discuss developments
 

Tue 20/12/2011 10:12

NNA - 20/12/2011- Hezbollah Secretary General Al-Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah discussed the domestic and regional situation with a delegation from the Maronite Patriarchate, a statement issued by Hezbollah information Bureau read.

The statement added that the Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi delegated Bishop Boulos Mattar along with two members representing Bkerki Committee for dialogue with Hizbullah , Deputy Patriarch Bishop Samir Mazloum and Prince Hareth Chehab, to visit Hizbullah Secretary General Al-Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. Hizbullah Political Council member Ghaleb Abu Zeinab attended the meeting.

The delegation thanked Nasrallah for sending a delegation to congratulate Al-Rahi after his election. They also thanked him for the concern presented in the popular receptions of his Beatitude in the Lebanese regions, mainly in the South, Baalbek and Hermel.

Nasrallah and the delegation agreed to have constant communication over different issues and developments.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Rai meets Rokn Abadi
 

Tue 20/12/2011 09:34

NNA - 20/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai met on Tuesday morning at Bkirki with Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghadanfar Rokn Abadi.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati, Riviere tackle French battalion's efforts
 

Mon 19/12/2011 22:20

NNA - 19/12/2011 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati held talks on Monday with Lebanese and international officials over most recent domestic and regional developments.

The Prime Minister met at the Grand Serail with the French Foreign Ministry's International Organizations Director, Mr.Nicolas De Riviere, who visited him in the company of the French Ambassador to Lebanon Mr.Denis Pietton.

The French official had earlier arrived in Beirut for talks with officials over the French UNIFIL battalion's work in Lebanon.

Among Mikati's visitors had also been Mr. Rafik Zantout of the Lebanese Economic Forum who discussed with him a number of economic and livelihood issues.

Mikati later held separate talks over the general situation with former Minister Bahij Tabbara.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman sanguine about Syria's protocol signature
 

Mon 19/12/2011 22:07

NNA - 19/12/2011 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman expressed relief on Monday after Syria inked a protocol agreement with the Arab League allowing international observers into the country.

Arab League Chief Nabil al-Arabi said today that an advance team of observers would head to Damascus within 72 hours, after Syria signed a deal to end nine months of unrest.

The President described this protocol agreement a major step dealing with the prevailing crisis in Syria, at all levels. "It's a primary step towards the implementation of a comprehensive democratic system, spreading a state of tranquility and civil peace," he said.

This step keeps the solution to the Syrian crisis restricted to the Arab League, the President noted, saying that this would allow the AL to recoup its patriotic role. "That has always been Lebanon's aim as expressed through its stances at the Arab League and Security Council."
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kataeb upbeat about Bkirki meeting
 

Mon 19/12/2011 21:44

NNA - 19/12/2011 - The outcome of Bkirki meeting is good omen, Kataeb Party agreed in its regular weekly meeting on Monday.

Bkirki, the seat of the Maronite Patriarchate, launched a series of meetings this year aimed at bridging the gap between Lebanese Maronite leaders. One of the objectives of the meetings was to formulate an electoral law for the upcoming 2013 parliamentary elections that would better represent Christians.

"The meeting is an application to the joint Christian efforts that Kataeb Party has always called for," a statement issued following Kataeb's meeting read.

Bkirki's Friday meeting ended with an agreement to begin negotiations with all parties over the Orthodox Gathering's proposal, which the attendees considered a valid formula to achieve fair and effective representation.

Today, Presided by Party Leader Amine Gemayel, Kataeb members agreed that Bkirki meeting came to calm down worries which had been lately swelling with the widening schism between their leaders.

"The Christians want to see their leaders and representatives rally around Bkirki and his beatitude [the Maronite Patriarch] whose stances are highly esteemed by Kataeb," the statement added.

The electoral project law is a doorway towards constructive dialogue with all national partners, Kataeb conferees averred. "Its formula ensures equity by political and constitutional, not numerical means."

Calling on Lebanese authorities to impose strict security measures all over the country, Kateab regretted the escalating crime rate being witnesses on Lebanese territories, especially in Palestinian refugee camps.

Tackling livelihood conditions, Kataeb expressed hope that the Lebanese cabinet would eventually endorse the minimum wage adjustment project.

"The real solution to this problem doesn't only lie in the adjustment of wages but in the establishment of a clear plan which spreads social justice and boosts the citizen's purchasing power."
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea cynical about Syria's protocol signature
 

Mon 19/12/2011 20:51

NNA - 19/12/2011 - Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea did not sound optimistic on Monday when asked about his position from Syria's lengthily awaited signature of an Arab protocol, allowing international observers into the country after enduring nine months of unrest.

Arab League Chief Nabil al-Arabi said today that an advance team of observers would head to Damascus within 72 hours, after Syria inked a deal to end nine months of unrest.

"Developments at the Syrian scene have way surpassed this agreement. The people of Syria wish to see a radical change to the entire regime," Geagea told "Orient" radio station on Monday.

But Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem averred that Syria wouldn't have signed the Arab protocol if it did not preserve Syria's sovereignty.

Commenting on last Friday's Bkirki meeting which gathered Maronite Leaders over a just electoral law, Geagea said that all opinions being given on varying proposed formulas should be taken in to consideration.

"The electoral law involves all the Lebanese alike," he said, praising House Speaker Nabih Berri's "realistic" position from the outcome of Bkirki's meeting.

Bkirki, the seat of the Maronite Patriarchate, launched a series of meetings this year aimed at bridging the gap between Lebanese Maronite leaders. One of the objectives of the meetings was to formulate an electoral law for the upcoming 2013 parliamentary elections that would better represent Christians. Conferees agreed to begin negotiations with all parties over the Orthodox Gathering's proposal, which the attendees considered a valid formula to achieve fair and effective representation.

"Negotiations over the elections law are ongoing with our political allies...Those issues are usually discussed behind closed doors," Geagea said, assuring however, that this didn't stand in the way of open negotiations with allies and other political figures.

Furthermore, Geagea feared that as long as there existed illegitimate armed groups, "the sole solution would be the abolishment of all armed organizations."

Moreover, the LF leader did not rule out an aggravating security situation."It is in the interest of some teams to shake stability, thus, the Lebanese government ought to take a clear decision to actively deploy the Lebanese army on the Lebanese boarders."

With regard to March 14 tactics facing the Mikati-led cabinet, Geagea said that his party was adopting democratic means that were limiting its actions. "But still, we have been able to achieve a lot within the last few months, starting with the electricity project law, reaching the cabinet's decision to finance the Special Tribunal for Lebanon."

Asked about administrative appointments, Geagea saw that said topic will always be a matter of dispute, not matter what sort of cabinet ruled.

"I think that the only solution is that suggested by President Michel Sleiman when Saad Hariri was Prime Minister. If this mechanism is appropriately applied, then the problem will be solved."
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Palestinian diplomat tells Geagea stability within camps red line
 

Mon 19/12/2011 19:28

NNA - 19/12/2011 - Palestinian ambassador Abdullah Abdullah on Monday stressed Palestinian factions unanimously agree over the obligation to preserve the security of citizens and refugees, within and outside camps.

"Their security and stability is a red line," he told reporters in the wake of his meeting with Lebanese Forces head, Samir Geagea.

The diplomat had been to Mehrab today on a farewell visit upon the end of his diplomatic mission in Lebanon.

A statement by the LF press office said talks featured high on an array of Palestinian affairs inside the occupied territories, in Lebanon, and on the international level.

The pair agreed over the necessity to proceed with bilateral cooperation to improve the condition of Palestinian refugees inside the camps.

On the fresh security developments in Ain-el-Helwe camp, Abdullah said all Palestinian political leaderships and factions had ventured into the perspectives of the incidents. But he revealed fears of "external hands" to be tampering with the camps' security.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt to Al-Anbaa: American intervention in Iraq ended an autocratic regime
 

Mon 19/12/2011 19:10

NNA - 19/12/2011 National Struggle Front Head Walid Jumblatt said that American intervention in Iraq has incurred huge losses at the economic and human levels, yet it brought an autocratic regime to an end.
Deputy Jumblatt's words came in his weekly position to Al-Anbaa Newspaper issued by Progressive Socialist Party.
Jumblatt noted that a multiple responsibility is currently shouldered by Iraqi leaderships at these political moments, who have to determine their own fate away from foreign interferences to rebuild a new Iraq.
On the currently proposed electoral law, Jumblatt said that he understands the worries of some sides in Lebanon on this issue, disclosing that he shall make a clear position on the Orthodox proposal at a later time.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kanaan from Berri's: for cooperation between Muslims, Christians in Lebanon
 

Mon 19/12/2011 19:01

NNA - 19/12/2011 - Deputy Ibrahim Kanaan said the Christians in Lebanon were partners in the country as much as Muslims, and both must actively cooperate for the welfare of the nation.

Kanaan's word came Monday after visiting Speaker of the House Nabih Berri at the latter's residence in Ain Tineh.

As to Berri's visitors: Justice Minister Shakib Cortbawi; former Deputy Hussein Yatim; Lebanese University's Faculty of letters and Humanities Dean, Wafa Berri.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kahwaji meets with ambassadors
 

Mon 19/12/2011 18:55

NNA - 19/12/2011 - Lebanese Army Commander, General Jean Kahwaji, received Monday British Ambassador to Lebanon, Thomas Fletcher, with discussions focusing on bilateral relations on the military level.

The meeting was held at Kahwaji's office in Yarzeh in presence of British military attache.

Later on, Kahwaji respectively met with Palestinian Ambassador, Abdallah Abdallah, and Director of Near East Asia Center for Strategic Studies NESA, Ambassador James Larocco. Talks dwelt on the scientific cooperation between the military institution and NESA.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Franjieh: countdown to conspiracy against Syria starts
 

Mon 19/12/2011 18:22

NNA - 19/12/2011 - Deputy Sleiman Franjieh said that the countdown to the conspiracy against Syria has started, explaining that the Syrian regime was strong enough to overcome the entire forms of such conspiracies.

Franjieh's stance came Monday after receiving head of the Lebanese Democratic Party Talal Erslan at his residence in Bnechii.

Franjieh assured that the conspiracy, which aimed at toppling Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime and thwarting the Arab national strategic stance, would be defeated.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Beirut Deputies for Free of Arms' Grand City
 

Mon 19/12/2011 17:59

NNA - 19/12/2011 Beirut Deputies called for a free-of-arms grand city, disclosing that they have decided to form delegations to visit the President, the Speaker and the Premier, so as to lay the foundations for nonstop moves to attain this goal.
Beirut Deputies' stance came in a statement in the wake of their extraordinary meeting at the House of Parliament, to discuss the issue of rendering Beirut a city free of arms.
Beirut deputies met to discuss Friday's security dispute that occurred in the area of Zaydanieh/Beirut.
"This matter [security dispute] necessitates a bold decision by the entire security and political forces to lift the cover on perpetrators", the MPs said, stressing that perpetrators should be handed over to the Lebanese judiciary to receive their punishment and be a model for whoever attempts to tamper with peoples' security and safety.
Attending deputies also held the government responsible for the unremitting security chaos, underlining that civil peace stems from the city of Beirut.
--------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hajj Hassan conveys to french diplomat Resistance's cleaving to stability
 

Mon 19/12/2011 17:05

NNA - 19/12/2011 - Minister of Agriculture, Hussein Hajj Hassan, on Monday told French ambassador, Denis Pietton, that Hezbollah, the Resistance, and the Mikati-led government were adamant to cleave to stability.

The pair met today over a spectrum of political and economic affairs as well as over the means to boost ties between Lebanon and France.

Talks also touched on France's position on the attack on a UNIFIL French contingent in Tyre last week.

Today's meeting was also an occasion for both men to broach the situation in Syria.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 

 


 


Politics - Jaber condemns Ain Helwe clash incident
 

Mon 19/12/2011 16:33

NNA - 19/12/2011 - Deputy Yasin Jaber condemned on Monday the fire exchange among Palestinian groups at Ain Helwe, urging the government to control the situation before being driven to worse.

Jaber said the government must strictly hit every one trying to destabilize the local scene. "It is no more accepted that Lebanon's security be violated as security is a red line," said the Deputy from the Bloc of Liberation and Development.

The Deputy explained that security stability was preliminary to political, social and economic stabilities.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Makari, Greek Ambassador meet
 

Mon 19/12/2011 15:37

NNA - 19/12/2011 - Deputy Speaker of the House, Farid Makari, met Monday over bilateral relations with Greek Ambassador to Lebanon, Catherine Bora.

Bora, who came on a protocol visit to Makari's Rabieh residence, discussed with the Deputy Speaker the relations between Greece and the Orthodox sect in Lebanon.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hezbollah relays to UN official party's keenness on stability
 

Mon 19/12/2011 15:34

NNA - 19/12/2011 - Hezbollah official Ammar Moussawi on Monday told UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon ad interim, Robert Watkins, that the party was keen on internal stability, namely in the South.

The pair met today over an array of most recent developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

Talks mainly shed light on the security incidents which have recently rocked South Lebanon.

Two rockets were fired from southern Lebanon into northern Israel late November, prompting the enemy army to warn Beirut the day after to work to prevent similar attacks in the future. Israel retaliated by firing four rockets on Ayta Shaab village.

In another development, a bomb went off last week near a UNIFIL patrol in Naba'a area located between Housh and Burj al Shamali towns east of Tyre, causing light injuries to five peacekeeping soldiers.

Later that week, a Katyusha rocket fell over a civilian's house in the town of Houla in the South. The rocket was launched from Wadi Al-Qaissieh in the outskirts of the town of Majdal Silm.

Moussawi did not fail to condemn the recent Israeli blatant violation of Lebanese sovereignty earlier this month, when Hezbollah foiled an Israeli spying operation, as it detected a device planted along the telephone line in the valley between Srifa and Deir Kifa localities.

He highlighted the reference of the Lebanese army as to maintaining security and stability in the South, in coordination with the UNIFIL.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati chairs meeting for Drugs Fighting Council
 

Mon 19/12/2011 15:18

NNA - 19/12/2011 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati presided on Monday at the Grand Serail a meeting for the National Council for Fighting Drugs Addiction.

The meeting was partaken by Public Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, Information Minister Walid Daouk, Justice Minister Shakib Cortbawi, Finance Minister Muhammad Safadi, and others.

Khalil said they presented during the meeting the guidelines to launch a workshop against drugs addiction and an executive plan in this concern.

Daouk, for his part, said the drugs addiction issue must be activated because all the Lebanese were concerned about it, noting that parents should be alert to its dangerous aspect and protect their children.

Separately, Mikati headed a meeting specialized for the Compensations after 2006 July War, in presence of a number of ministers.

Amongst Mikati's visitors: Sports and Youth Minister Faysal Karami; and the Belgian and South Korean Ambassadors.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Safadi digs flaws in Orthodox electoral proposal
 

Mon 19/12/2011 14:55

NNA - 19/12/2011 - An Orthodox proposal on the electoral law drew deprecation of Finance Minister, Mohammad Safadi, who uttered concern Monday that the Christian political mind would head towards the isolation of Christians.

The proposal, put forth by the Orthodox Gathering, states that citizens should vote for candidates of their own sects.

Safadi explained that a sectarianism-oriented electoral law would not salve the "legitimate" fears of Christians, yet it would be jeopardy to the much-aspired civil state.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi: Better future for Lebanon if youth grows on justice basis
 

Mon 19/12/2011 14:48

NNA - 19/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi said if youth grew on the basis of justice and peace, we would build a better future for the country.

The Patriarch's word came Monday amidst his meeting at Bkerki Maronite Patriarchate with a delegation of Ain Aar Public School headed by Priest Assaad Jawhar.

Separately, the Patriarch received the Iraqi Ambassador Omar Barzenji, who affirmed the necessity that Iraqi Christian adhere to their land, nation and history.

Among Bkerki's visitors: the Greek Ambassador, Catherine Bora; Future Movement Coordinator in Jbeil and Batroun, George Bkassini; Chief of Attorneys Syndicate, Antoine Iklimos; and others.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sulieman activities on Monday
 

Mon 19/12/2011 14:05

NNA - 19/12/2011- President of the Republic Michael Sulieman met today in Baabda with Finance Minister Mohammed Safadi who informed him about the finance and monetary issue. Safadi also briefed Sulieman on the draft budget which the cabinet is discussing.

The president also met with Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel who briefed him on security issues in Lebanon and the parliamentary elections draft which is still understudy in the cabinet.

In addition, Sulieman met with "Loyalty to Resistance" head, Deputy Mohammad Raad. Discussions reportedly featured high on current political issues on both domestic and regional scenes.
He also discussed with Deputy Nidal Tohme current political issues on domestic scenes.

Moreover, the President highlighted with former minister Salim Warde a number of current issues.

L.Y.R/A.B

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 

 

 

 

 

 


Politics - Lebanese will stronger than difficulties, Pharon
 

Mon 19/12/2011 13:30

NNA - 19/12/2011- Deputy Michel Pharon said that the will of the Lebanese is stronger than the difficulties that surround them, pointing out that this will is clearly shown during the seasons as they celebrate overcoming their sufferings and concerns.

The Deputy was talking during a Christmas celebration at Michel Murr Stadium in Boushrieh, organized by Ashrafieh Live. Deputies Jean Ogasapian, Nadim Gemayyel and Serge TerSarkisian and Beirut Municipality council members were present at the celebration.

Pharon hoped the "human values prevail in Lebanon and Arab world during 2012"

He said, " 'committed with you' was my motto during the last parliamentary elections and I am still committed to the citizens, state and development."

Pharon concluded by wishing 2012 would carry freedom and justice to Lebanon and Arab world.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 

 

 


Politics - Fayyad: Someone is working in dark to target south security
 

Mon 19/12/2011 12:55

NNA - 19/12/2011 - Deputy Ali Fayyad said that someone is working in dark to target the security and stability of the south.

The aim of these attempts is not to target Israel but rather to slander the image of the resistance.

The MP added in a memorial service in Tire Village that "the dangerous and irresponsible positions accusing the resistance of targeting the UNIFIL, aim to cover and encourage the perpetrator of these acts in order to inflame the region".

On the other hand, the MP added that the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq was a historical defeat which reminded us of July 2006 triumph, pointing out that this withdrawal formed a changing point in the Arab and Islamic political situation.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Houry: Proposing Beirut disarmament prelude to disarm all Lebanon
 

Mon 19/12/2011 12:14

NNA - 19/12/2011 - Deputy Ammar Houry said that the proposal of disarming Beirut continues and this suggestion would be a prelude to disarm all Lebanon.

The MP added that matters are still the same and worsening from time to time.

"We see weapons killing, injuring, kidnapping people in the neighborhoods and the state is watching and awaiting results of investigations", the MP stressed on Monday to "Sharq" radio.

Houry said that weapons were in previous stage a consensus title and this consensus does not exist anymore, adding that it is not true that weapons are to protect the Lebanese from Israel but rather is a threat to security.

The MP reminded that they (politicians) agreed in the national dialogue conference to address Palestinian weapons issue and withdraw them from outside and inside the camps, but the state did not make any move.

Commenting on Bkirki and the orthodox vision, the MP stressed "we are with any electoral law which is in line with Taef Accord and against any law that threatens the spirit of Taef and civil peace".

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahra: election law should earn support of all parties
 

Mon 19/12/2011 11:58

NNA - 19/12/2011 - Lebanese Forces parliamentary bloc member MP Antoine Zahra said any election law proposal must first earn the approval of all sides in the country.

The MP made these remarks during a Christmas party at the Lebanese Forces branch office in Batroun where presents were handed out to children.

"We are holding contacts with all sides in the country to discuss the best parliamentary election law that earns the approval of all Lebanese. The importance of this draft law is that it will produce a constitutional authority which will be responsible for the future of the country and Lebanon's relations with its surrounding and the world," Zahra explained.

He stressed that the Lebanese Forces' goal is to come up with election is to preserve the Taif accord.

"The ceiling of any political project in the foreseeable future is to preserve partnership with all Lebanese groups."

But the MP admitted that no election law can appease all Lebanese sides but stressed the importance of a law that meets the aspiration of most Lebanese.

"What we want for ourselves we want for others," Zahra said.

He assured that the endorsement of the Orthodox proposal is not final.

"We will not proceed with the proposed law if our allies and most notably March 14 have some reservations on it."

He blamed all the economic, political and security problems in Lebanon on the government and March 8 forces because they have a regional agenda.

The MP regretted the abusive and degrading speeches and languages used by some politicians in recent days.

O.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Cabinet to endorse wage increase before New Year, N. Nahhas
 

Mon 19/12/2011 11:29

NNA - 19/12/2011- Economy Minister Nicolas Nahas confirmed to "Voice of Lebanon" radio station that the cabinet will do its best to endorse wage increase decree before the New Year.

Separately, the minister expressed his sorrow over the latest incidents in Ain El-Heloueh camp, stressing that the security issue is a top priority on the cabinet's agenda and that decisive actions should be taken to deal with this situation.

Commenting on the administrative appointments issue and the meeting between President of the Republic Michel Suleiman and General Aoun in Baabda, Nahas said, " we welcome every meeting that bring us a step closer to the solution."

He wished that this issue would be solved through implementing the set administrative appointments mechanism.

Nahas expressed his optimism regarding that, hoping that this file would be accomplished before the end of the year.

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Abboud: Any dialogue between Sleiman and Aoun good to Lebanese
 

Mon 19/12/2011 11:17

NNA - 19/12/2011 - Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud stressed that any dialogue between President Michel Sleiman and Change and Reform bloc head Deputy Michel Aoun is good to the Lebanese.

The minister pointed out that all sides are waiting for comprehensive appointments.

"We seek real understanding and firm equation that reflects the situation in appointments issue", the Minister said on Monday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio.

Concerning the electoral law, Abboud said that Lebanon should adopt proportionality law, considering that any change in the electoral law might lead to reducing the shares of large parliamentary blocs.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - De Freij supports disarming all the Lebanese
 

Mon 19/12/2011 10:40

NNA - 19/12/2011- "Future" bloc member, Deputy Nabil De Freij called for disarming all the Lebanese, stressing that serious actions should be taken regarding latest security incidents.

Speaking to "Voice of Lebanon- Voice of Freedom and Dignity" radio station, De Freij said that "Future" deputies in Beirut decided that latest security incidents in Zeidaniyeh, Aicha Bakkar region in Beirut as well as those in the South and Camps, necessitates taking decisive stand.

It is to note that clashes and fire shooting took place in Zeidaniyeh and Aicha Bakkar regions on Friday (16/12/2011) evening, injuring two people.

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Jisser: Future to review with ally election law
 

Mon 19/12/2011 10:28

NNA - 19/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Samir el Jisser told Voice of Lebanon that Future movement intends to discuss with its allies in March 14 the election law for 2013 parliamentary elections.

"We basically are not in favor of the Orthodox proposed election because we tend to support the principles set by the Taif accord. It is wise not to depart from these principles," Jisser argued.

Commenting on Bkirki meeting between the Maronite leaders, the MP said the statement issued by these leaders choose selectively some clauses in the Taif accord and stress that the seats in the parliament should be divided equally between Christians and Muslims.

"If we go ahead with the Orthodox election proposal then we will surely be heading for a federal state. If this happens then this will lead to more radicalism among all religious sects in the parliament," Jisser warned.

The MP also feared that the recent clashes in Ain al Helloueh refugee camp in the south maybe an attempt to use Lebanon as an arena to send messages to different parties.

He suggested that the Syrian regime maybe behind the clashes in the refugee camps to ease the pressure on Damascus.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour, Iranian Ambassador meet
 

Mon 19/12/2011 10:06

NNA - 19/12/2011- Expatriates and Foreign Affairs Minister Adnan Mansour met today (Monday) at his office in the Ministry with Iranian Ambassador in Lebanon Ghadanfar Rokn Abadi.

L.Y.R/N.AF
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Ghosn: Security is our goal
 

Mon 19/12/2011 08:28

NNA - 19/12/2011 - Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn stressed that security and stability in the country are our goals and we seek to provide them.

Ghosn confirmed that "security apparatuses are fulfilling their duties so that citizens would feel secure".

Ghosn, also tackled the Lebanese situation in general, in addition to economy and security situation in Badawi north Lebanon, during a meeting at his residence in Kosba-Kora with Badawi's municipality delegation.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Al-Rai: Our crises cannot wipe away our true essence as Lebanese!
 

Sun 18/12/2011 23:44

NNA - 18/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai gave blessings Sunday to the inauguration of the largest "Christmas Cave" in Lebanon and the World, located in Al-Ghineh - Ftouh Kesserwan. Al-Rai was received at the entrance of the town by crowds of welcoming citizens and prominent dignitaries, who gathered to hail his presence amongst them, celebrating the spirit of Christmas with him. The crowd then accompanied the Patriarch to the "Cave" located on 1500 meter square of land, whereby he patronized its opening to the public. Al-Rai then moved to the church where he led the evening prayers and gave a word inspired by the holy occasion of festivities.
Patriarch Al-Rai considered that the Lebanese, in spite of their living through grave economic, political and security crises, yet such trying circumstances can never rob them of their true essence as Lebanese: namely their partnership with all people! He reminded all believers that this is the core essence of Lebanon's message and its significant role as a meeting point for all cultures and civilizations.

R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - "Lebanon's Civil Gathering" denounces proposal by Bkirki's meeting
 

Sun 18/12/2011 23:23

NNA - 18/12/2011 - "Lebanon's Civil Gathering" declared in a statement Sunday that it held an emergency meeting in order to discuss Bkirki's Maronite meeting's call for an electoral project law that categorizes the Lebanese into people divided according to their confessional sects. In the wake of such a call, the Gathering expressed its extreme worry towards the language prevailing during Bkirki's encounter. The Gathering also expressed surprise at how the case of a certain deputy receiving votes of citizens from another sect would actually undermine his proper representation? The Gathering considered that such an understanding clearly contradicts the stipulations of the Lebanese Constitution, which dictates that the Lebanese member of parliament actually represents the Lebanese people, as a whole!
The Gathering went on to note that Bkirki's adoption of such a project law denotes a clear deviation from its commitments to Christian-Muslim partnership; in addition to being an insult to the constituents of coexistence and a lucid contradiction of the Taef Accord. It added that such a project overlooks the Lebanese people's aspirations towards building a future on the basis of the civil state, and deep-rooting of citizenship values and human rights.
In the same context, the "Union of Lebanese Democratic Youth" also issued a statement Sunday evening, declaring utter rejection of the electoral proposal by the Orthodox meeting in all its content, in light of its call for every confessional sect to elect its deputies. Furthermore, the statement criticized the Bkirki meeting's quick adoption of the same principle, which contradicts all values of nationalism for the sake of boosting confessional thinking; thus, drawing a wedge between citizens of one nation and pushing them further towards divisions!

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Abu Faour condemns the attack on Rashaya's Greek Orthodox Archdiocese
 

Sun 18/12/2011 20:09

Faour, condemned in a statement Sunday the recent attack on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in Rashaya. He called on the security apparatuses to unveil the perpetrators and bring them to justice. He stressed, herein, that it is high time the identity of those committing such sabotage acts in the country be known, so that they can be stopped. However, he noted that such incidents shall not have any effect on the pure relations uniting citizens of the same region together.
In the same context, Abu Faour contacted Sunday Bishop Elias Kfoury expressing his condemnation towards such an incident. He assured Bishop Kfoury that such acts can never tamper with the constituents of coexistence in a region that has always been a role model for mutual living and understanding between its fellow citizens.
Abu Faour also contacted the Army Intelligence authorities and the Internal Security Forces in the area of Rashaya for the same reason, urging them to work on tracking down the perpetrators so as to put a limit to such regretful acts.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Harb at Variance with March 14!
 

Sun 18/12/2011 16:44

NNA - 18/12/2011 - Leading March 14 figure Boutros Harb, regarded so-called Orthodox Gathering proposed electoral law project conducive to a re-launched national dialogue.

Harb and, in an interview on Hariri's Paris-based ash-Sharq (Orient) radio station, stressed the existence of a thin thread still connecting the opposition to Mikati-led government. He added that as yet, there is no total rupture with the government.

With reference to Hezbollah weapons he indicated that any arms outside state control would be absolutely unjustifiable and that holding onto them means practical slaughtering of national unity.

Harb rejected the Christian Maronite committee on account of excluding independent representation. He concluded that Hezbollah finds itself in a delicate spot with its Syrian backers pretty much nearing their end and, criticized Aoun's attitude towards the appointment of judges saying he effectively undermined the juridical system by turning magistrates into pawns in an ongoing struggle.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt, Arslan seek calm in Druze Mountain
 

Sun 18/12/2011 14:29

NNA - 18/12/2011 MPs Walid Jumblatt and Talal Arslan held a meeting Sunday in Choueifat confirming the necessity to keep the peace in Druze Mountain and their solidarity with Syria.

Head of the Lebanese Democratic Party, Arslan, called for the conference on the backdrop of the Ali Sheet controversial death. Sheet died of his wounds Monday after he was shot by a guard in the Beirut suburb of Choueifat while attempting to rob a girl.

Head of National Struggle Front, Jumblatt, focused on keeping a calm atmosphere in light of turbulent events sweeping the region. "We must reinforce the role of the army and security forces."

"We are in this broad coalition with the government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, which includes Prince Talal, Hezbollah, Amal Movement, President Michel Sleiman and the Free Patriotic Movement, and we intend to stay." Jumblatt added that it was only natural for such a broad coalition to have differences and disagreements.

Among these disagreements was the one concerning the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, probing 2005 assassination of PM Rafik Hariri, to which a solution was found courtesy of House Speaker Nabih Berri.

"There may also be disagreement about Syrian regime...but what concerns me, Prince Talal, and Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah...is for Syria to stay united...and democratic...because our security is linked with that of Syria, and vice-versa."

Jumblatt concluded that the arms of Hezbollah must remain until all Lebanese territories were free, as stated by Taef Accord.

Arslan on the other hand declared that he was not ashamed of his close friendship with the Assad family.
R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Asarta off to Turkey
 

Sun 18/12/2011 13:57 NNA - 18/12/2011 UNIFIL Force Commander Major General Alberto Asarta left Beirut Sunday heading to Istanbul.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Abou Faour wants Hezbollah, UNIFIL and national unity
 

Sun 18/12/2011 13:47

NNA - 18/12/2011 Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour insisted Sunday on three main principles to salvage national unity, the Resistance, UNIFIL, and national dialogue.

The Minister addressed an audience at a celebration honoring retired teachers from the villages of Rashaya held in Mohaydethe.

"The only option we have is to return to the national dialogue table," he said, adding that Lebanon should not interfere in matters that did not concern it. On that note, he wished stability upon Syria and asked for a halt to the ongoing blood bath. He advised the government to aid Syrian refugees, as it was a humanitarian matter and not a political one.

"To protect Lebanon, we must protect its strong points...and the arms of the Resistance in the South serve as strength for the country regardless of our disputes over it, and we must hold on to it." Abou Faour held to the necessity of keeping UNIFIL in the south as their mission was also to protect Lebanon.

Finally, the Minister called for national dialogue that would include all factions of society so that no one felt left out.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sunni Mufti wraps up Qatar visit
 

Sun 18/12/2011 13:36

NNA - 18/12/2011 - Grand Sunni Mufti wrapped up an official visit to Qatar following the inaugurating of Mohammad Abdul-Wahhab Mosque in Doha, in presence of Qatari Prince, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani and deliberated with a number of political figures and religious leaders.
Qabbani have met with Qatari Minister of Islamic Endowment Properties, Gayth Kouwari where he endorsed the importance of boosting joint cooperation between Dar Al-Fatwa and the Endowment Properties.

Following his return to Beirut, Mufti Qabbani stated that he is not worried about the future in Lebanon and he called on all the Lebanese to remain vigilant as per divisive rumors. He added that security, stability and solidarity were the mainstay for overcoming difficulties and challenges ahead.

He warned against the recurrent Israeli trespasses against holy sites in Palestine and pleaded with the U.N. to intervene and do something to stop Israeli aggression.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Rai for Confessional Participation
 

Sun 18/12/2011 13:03

NNA - 18/12/2011 - Maronite patriarch Bshara Rai, predicated confessional pluralism on an effective participatory effort by all sects concerned.

Rai's utterance came during the inauguration of the newly-restored Bkirki Basilica in presence of religious leaders MPs and politicians today. Patriarch Rai underscored the participatory imperative of all sectarian representatives in both government and administration in an equitable-balanced manner. He however resigned himself at accepting the present religious-sectarian status quo saying confessionalism and state neglect were responsible for reducing the Lebanese individual into a citizen confined to his respective sect. The senior cleric concluded that Basilica restoration signified the embodiment of the ecclesiastical meaning and sanctity of both partaking-sharing in the spiritual/national message of the Church.

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Abboud condemns airport mafias, warns against scamming tourists
 

Sun 18/12/2011 11:33

NNA - 18/12/2011 Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud told Voice of Lebanon radio Sunday that the airport is run by mafias, adding that his Ministry is fully prepared to deal with holiday season, warning violators of dire repercussions in case of serving alcohol to minors or taking advantage of tourists.

The Minister revealed that hotel reservations exceeded 105% this holiday season. He confirmed that tourism police would be present with all its capacities and forces on field and was ready to deal with any situation.

"He described the situation at Rafik Hariri International Airport as "corrupt" with no prospect of a remedy, since the authorities turned a blind eye to the mafias controlling it. "Mafias control the airport, from taxi drivers to customs services, including porters."

However, Abboud confirmed that due to his personal efforts, the Tourism Ministry was corruption-free and in full alert in coordination with other involved parties to control any violation. On that note, the Minister warned restaurants and nightclubs not to serve alcohol to minors or manipulate prices during New Year festivities.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabbany fearful of Orthodox proposal
 

Sun 18/12/2011 11:13

NNA - 18/12/2011 MP Mohammad Qabbany said in a statement Sunday that the suggestion of having each sect elect its deputy reinforces federal confessionalism, dubbing it as mass suicide.

Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi brought pillars of the Maronite community together in a summit Friday which adopted an Orthodox suggestion proposing that each sect would elect its own candidate based on proportional representation during parliamentary elections.
"This project could only be discussed when Taef Accord is fully implemented by founding two councils: non-confessional parliament and a senate elected on a sectarian basis," said the MP.

Qabbany finally concluded that he did not plan on attending any Sunni meeting to discuss the electoral law.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hariri calls for withdrawing illegal weapons
 

Sat 17/12/2011 23:56

NNA - 17/12/2011 - Former Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, considered Saturday during a chat on twitter that all Muslims and Christians in Lebanon are Lebanese. He added that despite differing in opinion with Hizbollah, yet that has nothing to do with its being "Shiite"! He noted that the Lebanese ought to listen and communicate more, since the nation is for all.
Over the recent security incidents in Beirut, Hariri stressed on the need to withdraw all illegal weapons.
On the other hand, Hariri touched on the incidents in Syria, stating that Israelis are killing Palestinians and the Syrian regime is killing its people; hence, he stressed that he is against both!
Hariri hailed the Arab League's stand in its demand that the Security Council adopts the Arab initiative, describing the matter as "wonderful." He added that the Syrians are approaching liberty.
Hariri also hailed Turkey's policy in Syria, noting herein that Turkey is aiding Syrian refugees.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Al-Rai begins a parish visit to Al-Bouar
 

Sat 17/12/2011 23:28

NNA - 17/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai began Saturday afternoon a parish visit to the town of Al-Bouar in Byblos. He was received by a crowd of towns' men and women and municipality council members who gathered to welcome him. In a word before them, Al-Rai referred to the season of festivities as being a one of beauty and kindness. He hailed the motto raised by the citizens of Al-Bouar in ensuring that their unity is above all.
During his visit, Al-Rai stopped by Saint John Church, Al-Bouar Government Hospital and the town's municipality building.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


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