Politics - Mikati follows up power-generating ships offers
 

Mon 6/02/2012 22:08

NNA - 06/02/2012 - Offers proposed by power-generating ships owners featured high Monday on talks between Prime Minister Najib Mikati and the ministerial committee authorized to study leasing offers.

The meeting, which is the second on this matter, witnessed the attendence of Prime Minister Mikati and the ministerial committee comprising of the Ministers of Finance, Environment, Water and Energy, and a number of experts.

"The companies have set Friday a deadline to get some answers," said Minister Jibran Bassil, adding that the ministerial committee will meet Tuesday to decide on the most suitable offer.
 

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Politics - Kataeb sees no escape from cabinet resignation, reshuffling cards
 

Mon 6/02/2012 21:18

NNA - 06/02/2012 - In light of the political status quo at the Lebanese scene, Kataeb Party agreed on Monday that there would be no escape from an eventual cabinet resignation and an act of reshuffling cabinet cards leading to the formation of a new one, capable of handling its responsibilities at this critical stage Lebanon and the region endured.

During Kataeb Political Bureau's Monday meeting under the chairmanship of Party Leader Amine Gemeyal, conferees said the nation could no longer tolerate the sudden cabinet "coma fits".

"No one is aware how long this is going to drag, at the expense of the Lebanese state and its role. Most of the institutions are blocked, so are people's interests," a statement issued following the meeting read.

Lamenting the economic situation the nation undergoes, conferees also reminded of Lebanon's deteriorating image at the external scene.

Moreover, the meeting touched on the non-deterrent security threats targeting Lebanese politicians.

"The nation's security situation has become exposed," they agreed, warning that any prolongation in said acts was doomed to paralyze the Lebanese democratic and political life.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Feltman pays condolences to Lahoud's family
 

Mon 6/02/2012 20:42

NNA - 6/2/2012 US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jaffrey Feltman visited Monday the residence of late deputy and minister Nassib Lahoud in Baabdat, where he presented condolences to his family members, in presence of "Democratic Renewal Movement" Party senior officials.
Feltman was accompanied by US Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelli.
Feltman conveyed a message of condolences from US Vice President Joe Biden to the late deputy's wife Mrs. Abla, expressing US government's sorrow for the "great loss in the passing away of Lahoud."
Biden's message also underlined US continued support to the dream of the late deputy in seeing a robust and independent Lebanon.
Feltman registered a word in the book of condolences, eulogizing the late deputy as the best emblem of decency and professionalism.
"We hope your memory [Lahoud's] would remain a source of inspiration to all of us," Feltman noted down.
On the other hand, Feltman arrived Monday in Beirut via London, in the framework of a visit to present condolences on the late deputy.
Feltman winds up his visit to Beirut at dawn.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Feltman pays condolences to Lahoud's family
 

Mon 6/02/2012 20:23

NNA - 6/2/2012 US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jaffrey Feltman visited Monday the residence of late deputy and minister Nassib Lahoud in Baabdat, where he presented condolences to his family members, in presence of "Democratic Renewal Movement" Party senior officials.
Feltman was accompanied by US Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelli.
Feltman conveyed a message of condolences from US Vice President Joe Biden to the late deputy's wife Mrs. Abla, expressing US government's sorrow for the "great loss in the passing away of Lahoud."
Biden's message also underlined US continued support to the dream of the late deputy in seeing a robust and independent Lebanon.
Feltman registered a word in the book of condolences, eulogizing the late deputy as the best emblem of decency and professionalism.
"We hope your memory [Lahoud's] would remain a source of inspiration to all of us," Feltman noted down.
On the other hand, Feltman arrived Monday in Beirut via London, in the framework of a visit to present condolences on the late deputy.
Feltman winds up his visit to Beirut at dawn.
---------------L.Y

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Politics - Spanish envoy meets with Walid Jumblat
 

Mon 6/02/2012 19:47

NNA - 06/02/2012 - The Spanish Embassy in Lebanon issued Monday the following statement "the Spanish Ambassador to Lebanon, Juan Carlos Gafo, visited Clemenceau on February 6th 2012, in order to meet with former Minister and current MP and President of the Socialist Progressive Party, Walid Jumblat. Both parties discussed the general political situation in Lebanon and the region, and exchanged views on possible solutions to the crisis."
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Politics - Roknabadi: Iran supports Syria since majority backs current regime
 

Mon 6/02/2012 19:37

NNA - 6/2/2012 Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi underscored Iran's support for Syria since the majority of the Syrian people back the current regime. However, Roknabadi denied that Iran had provided arms or fighters to the Syrian regime.
Ambassador Roknabadi's words came during a meeting with media representatives of 50 media institutions in Lebanon, held at the Iranian Embassy headquarters in Ber Hassan-Beirut, marking 33 anniversary of the victory of Iranian Islamic Revolution and Prophet Mohammed Birthday.
Roknabadi categorically denied Iran's interference in the affairs of any country witnessing movements in the region.
"Popular movements and revolutions in the region are inspired by Iran's Islamic Revolution... since Iran in principle backs peoples' right to determine their fate and the regime they want," Roknabadi said.

--------------L.Y

 

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Politics - Abu Zainab from Aoun's: we want a partnership cabinet void of dominance
 

Mon 6/02/2012 19:05

NNA - 06/02/2012 - Hizbullah's Ghaleb Abu Zainab stressed that the current government should be that of partnership, void of any sort of dominance among its political sides.

Abu Zainab, member of Hizbullah's political bureau, visited with a delegation of said party Head of the Bloc of Reform and Change Michel Aoun at the latter's residence in Rabieh. The visit was to congratulate the host on the 6th anniversary of the Free Patriotic Movement-Hizbullah joint understanding memorandum.

Hizbullah and FPM inked a memorandum of joint understanding on February 6, 2006, in Mar Mkhayel Church. Both parties herein anchored agreement over ten items on dialogue, consensual democracy, electoral law, building the state, those who went missing during the war, Lebanese citizens in Israel, security issue, Lebanese-Syrian relations, Lebanese-Palestinian relations, and protecting Lebanon and preserving its independence and sovereignty.

Abu Zainab described Aoun as a typical man of honor who served his country with his clear national stances.

He also spoke high of the memorandum as creating a sort of local national balance to safeguard the interior stability from foreign assaults or conspiracies.

"The memorandum became an unfragmented portion of the essential Lebanese structure... Those who have their hopes to destroy it, their hopes will never come to be true," said Abu Zainab.

Asked by journalists whether Hizbullah would support Aoun's demand for taking into the street for livelihood purpose, Abu Zainab made clear that Hizbullah would support Aoun in everything that would serve people's interests.

A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Spanish envoy meets with Walid Jumblat.
 

Mon 6/02/2012 18:44

NNA - 06/02/2012 - The Spanish Embassy in Lebanon issued Monday the following statement "the Spanish Ambassador to Lebanon, Juan Carlos Gafo, visited Clemenceau on February 6th 2012, in order to meet with former Minister and current MP and President of the Socialist Progressive Party, Walid Jumblat. Both parties discussed the general political situation in Lebanon and the region, and exchanged views on possible solutions to the crisis."
 

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Politics - Roknabadi asks government to check presence of abducted Iranians in Lebanon
 

Mon 6/02/2012 18:33

NNA - 06/02/2012 - The Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, said that his country had already asked the Lebanese government to check the credibility of the published news saying that the Iranian engineers, recently abducted in Syria by the Free Syrian Army, were sent to Lebanon.

The ambassador's words came on Monday in the context of his visit to Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel at the latter's office, in presence of Internal Security Forces Director General Ashraf Rifi.

"We heard about that published news and we asked the Lebanese government to follow up the matter and take the necessary procedures in order to release the abducted people if the news happened to be true," said Roknabadi.

The ambassador's visit also was an opportunity to explore bilateral ties.

A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Kahwaji receives UNIFIL Commander, others
 

Mon 6/02/2012 18:11

NNA - 06/02/2012 - Lebanese Army Commander General Jean Kahwaji met with UNIFIL Commander, Paulo Serra, over the situation along southern borders as well as ways of cooperation and coordination between both sides in implementation of UN Resolution 1701.

The meeting was held on Monday at Kahwaji's office in Yarzeh.

Furthermore, Kahwaji respectively received Head Court of Audit, Judge Aouni Ramadan, former MP Mostafa Hashem, and Hadil magazine editor-in-chief, Basem Afifi, accompanied by Abdul Naser Sharara.
 

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Politics - Feltman arrives in Beirut
 

Mon 6/02/2012 17:23

NNA - 6/2/2012 US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jaffrey Feltman arrived Monday in Beirut via London, in the framework of a visit to present condolences on the late deputy Nassib Lahoud, National News Agency (NNA) Correspondent reported.
Feltman will leave Beirut at dawn, NNA Correspondent said.
Greeting Feltman at the Airport has been US Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelli.
---------------L.Y

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Politics - UNIFIL: Serra meets with Lebanese officials
 

Mon 6/02/2012 17:05

NNA - 6/2/2012 In a press release isuued by UNIFIL, it said "UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Paolo Serra visited on Monday President of the Republic Michel Sleiman, House Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Mikati."
Statement added "These were Major-General Serra's first formal meetings with top Lebanese officials after assuming Command of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on 28 January 2012.
Issues related to the implementation of UNIFIL's mandate under UN Security Council resolution 1701 were discussed, with particular focus on cooperation between UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF)."
Following the meetings Major-General
Serra said "I was very encouraged by the warm reception from the leaders and the strong support they expressed for our mission. I assured them of continuity in UNIFIL's operations and my own personal commitment to Lebanon and to our mandate under resolution 1701."
Serra added "UNIFIL is here at the invitation of the Government of Lebanon and all our efforts and activities are carried out in coordination with our hosts. Our work together with the Lebanese Armed Forces has brought substantial improvement in the security environment in the south and I am intent on taking this strategic partnership forward."
Serra concluded "I count on the continued support of the State leadership whose involvement is essential for the success of our mission. Equally important for me is to maintain and build strong relations with the people of south Lebanon who have welcomed us in their midst and whose safety is at the heart of our operations."

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Politics - Jumblatt sees Russian-Chinese veto blow to Syrians
 

Mon 6/02/2012 16:38

NNA - 6/2/2012 - A Russian-Chinese veto on an Arab-Western draft resolution against Syria at the Security Council Saturday earned sharp rebuke from PSP leader, MP Walid Jumblatt, who saw such step as flouting fundamental and natural human rights.

"This veto on one hand dealt a blow to the Syrian people claiming legitimate rights to freedom and democracy, and, on the other, demeaned the Syrian revolution seeking to exit dictatorship," the Chouf MP said in his weekly editorial in Al-Anbaa newspaper Monday.

Jumblatt, also Head of the National Struggle Front, saw that this double veto would give the Syrian regime the green light to proceed with violence and perpetrating massacres.

He raised fears that this veto would also be tantamount to a go-ahead for the regime to commit butchery in Homs similar to that committed in Hama 30 years ago.

Back in February 1982, the Syrian army conducted, under the orders of the country's President Hafez Assad, a scorched earth operation against the town of Hama to quell an anti-regime revolt by the Muslim Brotherhood. The massacre effectively ended the campaign, dated 1976, against Assad's regime.

Jumblatt did not fail to say that it was time for the Lebanese authorities to [officially] acknowledge the presence of Syrians who fled to Lebanon following unrest in their country.



R.A.H.

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Politics - Hashem: to deal wisely with regional crisis
 

Mon 6/02/2012 15:26

NNA - 06/02/2012 - Deputy Qassem Hashem said it was necessary for local politicians to wisely deal with the crisis running on the regional level, in order to side Lebanon safe from any threats resulting from crisis.

Hashem's stance came Monday upon a tour he made in Orkoub villages.

"The tensed political climate in the region casts shadow over Lebanon, because this nation is part of the region and can easily be affected by the regional crisis," said Hashem, who accordingly called for a local sagacious treatment of regional incidents.

Hashem explained that the national interest recommended an expansion of efforts to widen the space of consensus among politicians and conduct a national dialogue, away from any other consideration.
A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Sleiman calls on political poles to foresee future, hold on to dialogue
 

Mon 6/02/2012 15:22

NNA - 6/2/2012 - President Michel Sleiman called on political rivals to gain insight into the current stage's reality, foresee the future, and resort to peaceful dialogue so as to maintain civil peace and keep the country immunized against regional developments' repercussions.

He said "this can only be achieved through dialogue and understanding and by launching the wheel of state institutions, what helps putting things back on track, as well as restoring public order, calm and stability, strongly required at this stage."

Sleiman hoped, before his Baabda visitors that "the Palestinian reconciliation would be a glimpse of hope for reinforcing union between Palestinian ranks in face of all challenges, what helps Palestinians recover their rights, liberate their lands and establish an independent state."

Separately, President Sleiman met with the Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel with whom he tackled the security situation and the Interior Ministry's efforts to preserve internal stability.

Foreign Affairs Minister Adnan Mansour had also been to Baabda presidential palace, discussing with Sleiman latest local developments and Arab atmosphere.

Discussions also touched on the ongoing preparations for holding the next Arab summit in Bagdad.

Furthermore, the President skimmed through latest political dossiers and most heated issues with parliament member Youssef Khalil.

Amongst Baabda's visitors were also former Ministers Raymond Audi and Salim Wardeh who stressed on the importance of preserving political, security and economic stability.

The UNIFIL commander, General Paolo Serra, eventually met with Sleiman who wished him success in his mission in South Lebanon, in cooperation with the Lebanese Army, with special emphasis on the importance of implementing 1701 resolution.
D.K.

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Politics - Berri unconvinced of mediating in government crisis
 

Mon 6/02/2012 15:06

NNA - 6/2/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, and Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, on Monday skimmed through the fresh government crisis and most recent political developments on the local scene.

National News Agency correspondent to Ain-el-Tineh reported that the Speaker, a key player in Lebanon's political life, is still not convinced of interfering to solve the current government predicament.

The Prime Minister last week suspended cabinet sessions until further notice, at the backdrop of a stern objection by Change and Reform Ministers to President Michel Sleiman proposing names for vacant civil service posts.

But Mikati, for his part, told journalists following the one-hour meeting, that there would be a cabinet session, if productivity was guaranteed.

Separately, Berri met with newly appointed UNIFIL commander, General Paolo Serra, over the security situation in the South and the work of peacekeepers.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Terro tackles bilateral ties with Tunisian Ambassador
 

Mon 6/02/2012 14:25

NNA - 6/2/2012 - Displaced Minister, Alaa Al-Din Terro received on Monday at his ministerial office the Tunisian Ambassador to Lebanon Muhammad Fawzi Ballout with whom he tackled local and regional affairs as well as means to boost bilateral ties.

Also, Minister Terro had met with Kobeih municipality head Akram Al-Aawar with whom he discussed the dossier of displaced citizens' return.
D.K.

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Politics - Daouk: Mikati clings to his prerogatives
 

Mon 6/02/2012 14:17

NNA - 6/2/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk confirmed on Monday that Prime Minister Najib Mikati holds on to his constitutional prerogatives.

Daouk told the "Voice of Lebanon - Voice of Freedom and Dignity" station that a new mechanism ought to be found so as to reset the government's works' methodology.

"There should be a mechanism for administrative appointments," he said, hoping for finding a way out of the current governmental crisis the soonest possible.
D.K.

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Politics - Merehbi: potential military operation at Lebanese-Syrian borders
 

Mon 6/02/2012 14:08

NNA - 6/2/2012 - Future bloc member, Mouiin Merehbi, announced Monday that he had information from the Syrian side on a potential military operation to take place soon at the Lebanese-Syrian borders.

In his interview with the Future News channel, the Deputy wondered whether this operation would remain restricted to the Syrian side, or whether it will expand to reach Lebanon.

Merehbi accused the Lebanese Army of "neglect", saying the Army leadership did not care about the safety of the citizens at Lebanon's borderline, particularly Wadi Khaled.

"We called for Army mobilization at the borders, and not between the village's houses," he said, indicating that this mobilization did not take place until after the visit of the Syrian Ambassador, Ali Abdel Karim Ali, and the head of the Lebanese-Syrian higher council, Nasri Khoury, to the President, the Prime Minister and the Army Chief.

D.K.

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Politics - Hout: suggesting expulsion of Syrian Ambassador is not ruled out
 

Mon 6/02/2012 13:44

NNA - 6/2/2012 - The Jamaa Islamiya Deputy Imad Al-Hout on Monday did not rule out the possibility of suggesting the expulsion of the Syrian Ambassador from Beirut.

He noted however that taking such measure would be difficult due to the division prevailing over the country.

He said the Syrian regime's collapse can only be a result of mere popular will.

The Deputy warned from toppling the government through street protests, calling on the opposition to hold the cabinet accountable for its actions through the constitutional institutions.
D.K.

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Politics - Houry: Syrian developments sheer slaughters
 

Mon 6/02/2012 12:28

NNA - 6/2/2012 - Deputy Ammar Houry on Monday said what's taking place in Syria is sheer slaughter.

He told the Orient radio station that the Russian-Chinese veto over the Security Council's decision is such a disappointment for the world and for those we seek freedom and democracy.

He said Russia would pay the price by the regress of its strategic interests in various regions, as it stood in face of the popular will.

"We had hoped the international community represented by the Security Council would've contributed, one way or another, in putting an end to this massacre," Houry noted.

He assured as well that the Arab-Russian ties will certainly be affected by this stance.

As for the impact of the Syrian developments on the Lebanese government, he said the latter was formed as per a Syrian decision and executed by Hezbollah, with no coherency between its components.



D.K.

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Politics - Mikati discusses ways to boost ties with Romanian Ambassador
 

Mon 6/02/2012 12:19

NNA - 6/2/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati discussed on Monday at the Grand Serail ways to boost political and economy ties with Romanian Ambassador to Lebanon Daniel Tanas.

"Discussions focused on bilateral ties between both countries and ways to boost them", the Ambassador added.

Also discussions tackled the situation in the region.

Separately, Mikati met with the new "UNIFIL" commander working in south Lebanon Paolo Serra in a protocol visit after assuming his new mission.

Later, Mikati met with Lebanon's Scout Union chaired by Nabil Beydoun in a protocol visit.

A.A.M

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Politics - Daouk: Mikati insists on his constitutional powers
 

Mon 6/02/2012 11:04

NNA - 6/2/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk told Voice of Lebanon "Voice of Freedom and Dignity" on Monday that Prime Minister Najib Mikati insist on his constitutional powers, calling on all sides to benefit from the misapprehension that took place to help create a proper mechanism for government work.

Daouk also hoped that the government crisis will solved fast and under better circumstances.

He underlined the need for a proper mechanism for administrative appointments because this measure is long overdue.

O.H

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Politics - Layyoun criticizes Cabinet session suspension
 

Mon 6/02/2012 10:49

NNA - 6/2/2012 - Culture Minister Gabi Layyoun Monday criticized Cabinet session suspension, deeming this way of handling governmental dossiers as a violation to the constitution.

Layyoun also told Voice of Lebanon radio that what "they have requested was a postponement of the session for further consultations, for appointments' issue is very important and needs to have all parties agree on."

The Minister reiterated Change and Reform bloc's call to take part in nominating Christian postions in government offices.
L.W.

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Politics - Fatfat: Political and sectarian reasons behind disruption
 

Mon 6/02/2012 10:27

NNA - 6/2/2012 - Deputy Ahamad Fatfat stressed that political and sectarian reasons were behind the disruption of government work.

The MP added that some are trying to benefit publically, particularly "Change and Reform" head in the Christian street and the Prime Minister in the Sunni street, the MP told "Voice of Lebanon" radio on Monday "in addition to other reasons related to tribunal and its renewal, hence the exit would be through the disruption of the sessions".

"Tribunal protocol renewal is in March in absence of the cabinet sessions", the MP stressed.

Commenting on the situation in the north, Fatfat called on the Lebanese army to deploy directly along the borders and not only inside Lebanese territories, pointing out that there are no more places to receive Syrian refugees.

A.A.M

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Politics - Bazi calls for resumption of dialogue
 

Mon 6/02/2012 10:20

NNA - 6/2/2012 - Amal Member of Parliament Ali Bazi urged all Lebanese rival parties to turn a new chapter in their relationship and resume national dialogue.

Bazi, who made these remarks during a political rally in Deir Kanon in the south, hailed all the martyrs and freedom fighters that fell while confronting the Israeli occupation of the south.

The MP stressed that missing Imam Mousa al Sader taught the Lebanese to fight the Israeli forces with all available means.

Bazi noticed with regret that the so called Arab Spring which swept many countries in the region did not raise or uphold the Palestinian cause during the demonstrations they staged across the Arab capitals.

He suggested that the west and some Arab countries are conspiring against Syrian President Bashar Assad for defending the Palestinian cause.

"They (west) want to oust (Assad) just because he sided with Palestine and to all the martyrs," Bazi said.

The MP blasted some Lebanese factions for trying to use Lebanon as a spearhead for the Western-Israeli schemes against Syria.

"They (West) are appalled by the Russian and Chinese veto and they forget that they have adopted a double standard policy and have vetoed any attempt to denounce Israeli aggression."

Bazi commented on the local developments.

The MP noted that the Lebanese citizens are fed up with inter-Lebanese differences and internal wrangling, calling on all sides to heed the advice of President of the republic Michel Sleiman and Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri to resume national dialogue.

O.H

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Politics - Al-Rai winding-up his visit to Mansourieh: We pray for being heroes of kindness
 

Sun 5/02/2012 23:26

NNA - 5/2/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai ended the second day of his Metn parish tour by heading a church mass at 'Saint Theresa-Jesus the Child's Church" in the town of Mansourieh Sunday evening.
In his religious sermon, Al-Rai raised prayers to the Lord to render the Lebanese heroes of kindness and for accepting one another. He called for living the life of kindness and joy in the hearts of all Lebanese, and following in the path of Christ in accepting the other with love and fondness.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Abu Faour calls for agreement amongst political forces to set aside citizens' daily living issues
 

Sun 5/02/2012 23:04

NNA - 5/2/2012 - Social Affairs Minister, Wael Abu Faour, called for a "State" for all citizens, and for balanced development and services to be the means and measure for dealing with all Lebanese. He implored, herein, all political forces in the country to agree on setting aside the people's needs and daily-living matters from all polemic and political disputes; especially that they are entrusted with the people's general welfare and benefit, Abu Faour noted.
Abu Faour considered that the people still harbor the ability of judging the performance of their politicians, and of holding them accountable for their acts and failure to meet their national responsibilities.
Abu Faour's words came during his inauguration of newly established centers by the Social Affairs Ministry in a number of areas in the Casa of Aley, namely in Aramoun, Baisour and Shemlan. Abu Faour vowed that his Ministry shall be biased towards nothing but the poor and under-priviledged villages and towns in Lebanon.
During Minister Abu Faour's inauguration of the Social Services Center in Baisour, a welcoming ceremony was held at the Municipality Hall, attended by Public Works and Transport Minister, Ghazi Aridi, Deputies Akram Shehayeb and Fadi Habre, and Deputy Talal Erslan's representative Nassib Jawhari.
Minister Aridi gave a word on the occasion, in which he considered that the state cannot be built on spite and cruelty, nor can consensus be solidified through malice. Aridi implored all to unify efforts for the sake of protecting state institutions and activating them, so as to increase the state's productivity and efficiency.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Fatfat: Whoever is in possession of weapons is behind arms trafficking across the borders!
 

Sun 5/02/2012 22:24

NNA - 5/2/2012 - Member of the "Future Trend" Parliamentary Bloc, Deputy Ahmad Fatfat, referred to smuggling of arms across the Lebanese-Syrian borders, considering that whoever is in possession of weapons in the country is behind such trafficking. "On the other hand, circulated news about the 'Future Trend's' support to the Syrian opposition lacks factual grounds," noted Fatfat, "since the Trend possesses no weapons. Furthermore, at the financial level, the Trend has been through a huge crisis which is known to all," Fatfat added.
Fatfat voiced support to the self-abstention policy since standing in the face of Arab unanimous decisions is considered as an act of backing the Syrian regime. He referred, herein, to the recent talk about "Al-Qaeda" presence in Lebanon, considering this as a means to justify the explosions in Syria, which is far from being compatible with the policy of forbearance.
Fatfat's words came in an interview to "MTV" Station Sunday.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Fadlallah: We shall initiate contacts between government members to reactive its work
 

Sun 5/02/2012 21:45

NNA - 5/2/2012 - Member of the "Faithfulness to the Resistance" Parliamentary Bloc, Deputy Hasan Fadlallah, stated that efforts shall be exerted to reactivate the government's work, "in light of keen concern for the country's stability and security and nothing else," noted Fadlallah. He added that contacts shall be initiated within the coming few days with government members, based on the need for understanding between various government constituents; as well as the need for government members to rise to their responsibilities in ensuring its ongoing work and productivity.
Fadlallah stressed that the government is not a "mail box for receiving messages from here and there, but rather is a government that caters to the welfare and needs of all Lebanese, both the pro-government and opposing sides." He added that the government cannot turn its back on the people's burdens and problems nor can it remain in a "stalled state" awaiting developments in the surrounding region, namely in Syria. "Hence, all sides ought to shoulder the responsibility of the state and meeting the people's needs, and not vice-versa," noted Fadlallah.
Fadlallah also considered that the government ought to solve its conflicts and disputes through dialogue and deliberations within and outside the council of ministers, as is the case in all cabinets.
Fadlallah's words came during a memorial ceremony in the town of Ainata in South Lebanon Sunday.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Al-Rai regrets the "coma" in which the Lebanese are living!
 

Sun 5/02/2012 21:16

NNA- 5/2/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai expressed dismay at the "state of coma" in which the Lebanese are living, and the political practices that lead to poverty and desolation! "Political authorities are entrusted with public funds," said Al-Rai; adding that pushing the people to abandon their lands shall in no way be accepted whatsoever. Al-Rai called, herein, for "spiritual awareness."
Al-Rai's words came during his religious sermon as he headed the church mass at 'Our Lady of Wardieh" Monastery in Beit Mery Sunday.
It is to note that the Patriarch will also be heading a mass service ceremony Sunday evening at "Saint Therese Church" in Mansourieh.
 

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Politics - Zahraman: Bassil's insistence on funding through treasury is a huge scandal!
 

Sun 5/02/2012 20:52

NNA - 5/2/2012 - In a dialogue session over the electricity crisis organized by the "Future Trend - Akkar Branch," Deputy Khaled Zahraman outlined the whole electricity problem in Lebanon.
In this context, Zahraman touched on Water and Energy Minister, Gebran Bassil's policy in approaching the electricity problem, and to the "Change and Reform" Parliamentary Bloc's programmed plan to hit the aforementioned sector. Zahraman considered that the current government is ignorant to, and absented from, catering to the needs and burdens of the people; however, it is a "strong defender of the Syrian regime," Zahraman noted!
Zahraman recalled the late Martyr Rafic Hariri's vision regarding various development projects in the country, whereby he considered that said vision relied on systematizing each sector through establishing special organizing bodies for all fields, including the electricity, telecommunications and aviation sectors. He added that the establishment of an organizing body for the electricity sector has been stalled since the year 2002, so that hands can continue to tamper with this sector and every 'Energy Minister" that comes along can do whatever he pleases! Zahraman referred, herein, to the "Change and Reform" Bloc and Minister Bassil's submitted request for a billion USD for venturing into implementing the electricity plan approved by the government of national unity in the year 2010; an amount to be paid in total with no questioning! Zahraman stated that as a political group, they voiced their objection to such a plan if the necessary amendments to its various contents are not added. This includes establishing an organizing body 3 months after the electricity plan is put into effect, so as not to allow the "Energy Minister" in charge to act according to his personal whims and wishes! Zahraman continued to indicate that Minister Bassil's insistence on providing funding for the electricity project through the treasury instead of looking for other sources, at a time when the state's circumstances are far from being capable of catering to such huge funding, reveals that certain deals might be lurking in the corners of this dossier! "Hence, this shows that certain sides who assume the role of reform and change in the country actually care less about the state and the people's benefit," said Zahraman!
Zahraman went on to indicate that Lebanon is currently in need of 2500 mega-watts of electricity power whilst what is made available at the this phase is a mere 1400 mega-watts, due to the outdated electricity stations and lack of proper planning, amidst the ongoing political disputes over the electricity dossier. He added that the electricity needs are increasing in the country, citing herein the World Bank's anticipation that Lebanon's electricity needs shall reach 4,000 mega-watts within the coming 10 years.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ali Khalil for reorganized Cabinet Work!
 

Sun 5/02/2012 17:51

NNA - 05/02/2012 - Public Health minister Ali-Hassan Khalil, favored what he termed as "reorganized cabinet performance to ensure increased productivity."

Marking the first week of the passing away of Kfar-kila municipal head Moussa Sheet, during a special ceremony at the village town-hall. Khalil envisaged new methods and approaches for dealing with arising differences in opinion between government protagonists.

Also taking the word, Hezbollah deputy of the House Ali Fayyad, seized the opportunity to lash out at the prime minister saying despite his proclaimed mediating role in running the cabinet he'd rather chosen to paralyze it by staying away instead. He however quickly retracted his comment when he noted that there were no other alternatives to this Mikati-led cabinet and that it was destined to remain in place. Fayyad set party and allied primary task as keeping it afloat.

The deputy defended Assad's regime in the face of what he described as conspiracies concocted by Western-led Arabs. He concluded that the regime was under attack for aiding his party in its struggle against Americans and Israelis.

G.G./R.K

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi's Beirut parish tour
 

Sun 5/02/2012 17:04

NNA - 05/02/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bchara Rahi toured Beirut parish accompanied by leading Church prelates Boulos Matar and Tanios khoury.

For the second day running, Patriarch Rahi met with clergmen and laity in Sin el Fil, Jdeideh Metn and Sed Bouchrieh (Water Reservoir).

His inspection tour carried him as far as Dahr Souwwan, Roumieh, Beit Merry, Ain Saadeh and Mansourieh.

He reportedly officiated over mass services in a number of chapels there.
The Patriarch intends to carry more of the same inspections in different parishes up till upcoming Thursday, February 09, 2012 in order to celebrate St. Maroon's birthday.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi's Beirut parish tour
 

Sun 5/02/2012 17:04

NNA - 05/02/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bchara Rahi toured Beirut parish accompanied by leading Church prelates Boulos Matar and Tanios khoury.

For the second day running, Patriarch Rahi met with clergmen and laity in Sin el Fil, Jdeideh Metn and Sed Bouchrieh (Water Reservoir).

His inspection tour carried him as far as Dahr Souwwan, Roumieh, Beit Merry, Ain Saadeh and Mansourieh.

He reportedly officiated over mass services in a number of chapels there.

The Patriarch intends to carry more of the same inspections in different parishes up till upcoming Thursday, February 09, 2012 in order to celebrate St. Maroon's birthday.

G.G/R.K

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Laurent Fabius Winds up Visit at Renewed Commitments
 

Sun 5/02/2012 16:28

NNA - 05/02/2012 - Former French Prime minister and parliament Speaker Laurent Fabius, wrapped up an official visit to Beirut during which he solicited French expatriate support for Socialist party candidate Francois Holland.

Fabius conferred in Beirut with Socialist party candidate Rita Ma'louf who's running on a Paris 10th District ticket during the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections. The French official who harshly criticized Sarkozy's bad performance, expressed confidence in F.S.P's gaining the upper electoral hand.

Upon departure to Doha, Fabius reiterated F.S.P's support for the Arab Spring including holding free elections in more than an Arab country. He condemned massacres perpetrated by Assad against his people and renewed French peace-keeping commitment in the South in the event of Holland's coming to power.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Islamist-Liberationists on Rashayya Highway!
 

Sun 5/02/2012 15:15

N.N.A. Feb. 5, 2012 A group of Tahreer-Islamist activists blocked entrance to Rashayya/South Lebanon with burning tires in protest against massacres against civilians in Syria.

They hoisted slogans in support of the Syrians of Hama and Homs in their anti-regime struggle.
Demonstrators were addressed by like-minded religious clerics who prodded them to express moral and material support for the people of Syria.
G.G/R.K.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Chatah meets with high-ranking officials in Washington
 

Sun 5/02/2012 15:11

NNA - 05/02/2012 Foreign policy advisor to former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Dr Mohammed Chatah, met seperately in Washington with assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman, as well as Steve Simon, senior director for the Middle East at the National Security Council, and discussed with them the situation in Lebanon and the region.

Chatah laid out during his meeting with Ambassador Feltman the views of Premier Hariri on the latest developments in Lebanon and offered his reading of the current transformation in the Arab World. The meeting was attended by Ambassador Jake Welles, deputy assistant secretary of State.

The meeting at the NSC was attended by the Director for Lebanese affairs, Hagar Hajjar, and Jonathan Finer senior advisor for the Middle East in Vice President Joesph Biden's office.

Chatah also discussed these and related issues with Mr. Fred Hoff and with the regional directors of the Middle East at the State Department.
In Congress, Ambassador Chatah discussed Lebanese American relations and regional issues with the Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East in the Foreign relations Committee Mr. Steve Chabot.

Also, the Lebanese American Caucus in Congress invited Ambassador Chatah for a meeting to discuss Lebanese American relations and latest developments and prospects in the region. The meeting was attended by Congressman Nick Rahal, Co-Chair of the Caucus, and Congressmen: Larry Ackerman, Jim Moran, Richard Hanah, Nancy Captur, and John Dingle. Ambassador Chatah stressed in this meeting, as well as in all his other meetings, his message that the democratic transformations that are taking place in the Arab World require that two important issues be addressed:
- A new economic paradigm with the participation of all stake holders in the region and outside it in order to enable this historic democratic change to achieve the economic goals and aspirations of the peoples of the region and meet the high expectations that the Arab societies have in this regard.
- He said that it would be a historic mistake to assume that the current focus on removing dictatorial regimes and establishing democratic rules implies that the Arab peoples consider the Palestinian cause and the Arab Israeli conflict as unimportant.

Failure on both these issues, he added, is likely to be exploited by those who want to obstruct the march towards democracy and prevent Arab countries from stepping out of decades of economic failure and ineffective governance. While protecting Lebanon from any negative repercussions of developments in Syria and other countries in the region is an immediate and important policy objective, a more democratic and more economically prosperous region will be of great benefit to Lebanon's great ambitions of stability and economic progress.

Ambassador Chatah called on the US to play the kind of constructive role that is needed in cooperation with the rest of the international community and the countries of the region.
This message was reiterated on Capitol Hill where he met with the staffers of the foreign relations committees in both the House and Senate.

The status of the bilateral Lebanese American relations and the concerns of the Lebanese American community were discussed by Dr Chatah in a meeting with the members of the board of the American Task Force for Lebanon.
Carnegie Endowment
Ambassador Chatah concluded his visit to Washington with a talk at Carnegie Endowment attended by Washington policy makers and Middle East experts under the title: Seven years after the Cedar revolution: Lebanon on the Margins of the Arab Spring"".
The panel was moderated by the Vice President of Carnegie, former Foreign Minister Of Jordan Ambassador Marwan Mouasher.

Ambassador Chatah opened by arguing that it is hard to think of Lebanon on the margin of anything in the Middle East or the Arab World. It is usually either center stage or in the eye of the storm.
He discussed the Arab Spring and the transformations that are taking place in the region saying what is happening is a quest to be "normal", with normal governments doing normal things like most other countries in the world. He said we want in Lebanon to build the state to be whole and thus normal.

Ambassador Chatah described the circumstances that deprived most Muslim societies of basic freedoms. He said: "It is not surprising that these societies which were chocked ended up kicking and screaming often in violent and extremist manner". He expressed the belief that Arab Muslim societies will go, like others, the same democracy-induced path toward normalcy and moderation.

He also spoke about the need for serious political reform in Lebanon to strengthen governance and the effectiveness of the state and asked "can one approach such a sensitive and consensual issue with one major party in the country possessing an independent armed force and de facto authority over many aspects of national policy and on the ground?" He said "many, if not most, Lebanese find this illogical and unacceptable. We believe a separate, heavily armed organization, independent of the Lebanese state, and in a declared military and strategic alliance with other regional powers, presents a threat to Lebanon's fragile democracy and to its' national security and unity, regardless of the courage it demonstrated by standing up to Israel in the battle field.
Ambassador Chatah said we "want Hezbollah to come to the fold and be under the umbrella of the Lebanese government".

On the issue of political reform he expressed the view that consideration should be given to the establishment of a confessionally representative Senate with a clear mandate that provides various religious communities with an effective constitutional protection from any infringement or hegemony of others regardless of demographic changes. Once that is demonstrated in practice the road towards a one man one vote normal representation of the Lebanese people as equal citizens will be facilitated.

Ambassador Chatah spoke about two major threats to the Arab Spring that need to be recognized and addressed:
- First, the inevitably high economic expectations, especially of the youth, where he talked about the need for a new strategic framework for economic development and for a regional economic paradigm that includes the GCC countries as well as Turkey in order to leverage the economic performance in the new democracies and provide their populations with a credible economic vision and an achievable targets of better job prospects and living standards. He cited the historical example of the US and Europe after World War II.
- Second, the Palestinian issue and the need to address it. He said it would be a dangerous mistake to assume that Arab Societies which are currently focused on throwing out dictators and regaining their freedom and dignity will ignore the occupation and indignity that the Palestinians continue to suffer.
It would also be a mistake to assume that a democratic Syria would be more likely to accept less than full return of the Golan. The issue of Palestine and the Arab Israeli conflict should not be shrugged away or put off because it is and election season in the US. This is more urgent than ever if we want the hearts and minds of a more democratic Arab World not to be again hijacked or blurred by extremists on both sides who have fed on this open wound for decades.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ogassapian: No to the Syro-Lebanese Supreme Council!
 

Sun 5/02/2012 13:57

NNA - 05/02/2012 - Pro-Hariri M.P. from the Future parliamentarian Bloc Jean Ogassapian, reiterated his big "NO" to the Syro-Lebanese Supreme Council when he called for its summary dismissal today.

Ogassapian and in his live interview on Voice of Lebanon radio station, persisted in his call for dissolving the Council since it represented the worst bilateral treaty ever signed by Beirut and Damascus. He referred to the treaty's fourth clause which allows for Syrian Army redeployment in Lebanon.

The deputy brought to attention the plight of over than 620 Lebanese nationals unaccounted for in Syrian jails with the regime refusing to acknowledge them. He added that the Syrians were procrastinating over northern border delineation in order to block the deployment of Lebanese security forces.

Ogassapian reiterated full confidence in the S.T.L. and deplored the Russian veto at the U.N. Security Council since in his words; it might lead to further Syrian suffering, bloodshed and probable civil war.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Daher: Assad government cannot govern Lebanon
 

Sun 5/02/2012 13:56

NNA - 05/02/2012 - The current government in Lebanon, despite the coup that brought it into power, has failed to rule the country according to Future Bloc MP Khaled Daher who addressed Sunday a group of Future supporters in Donniyeh, North Lebanon.

"The government of Bashar Assad cannot run Lebanon because the will of the Lebanese is stronger than their unjust and treacherous weapons," he stated.

Daher marveled at the strength of the Lebanese people which launched the Arab Spring by demanding freedom from the Syrian rule, shortly after the assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri in 2005. "We succeeded in expelling the regime of tutelage in Lebanon, but illegal arms are still turned against us," he added.

He went on to describe Hezbollah as a false and imaginary majority, while the rest of the Lebanese were the genuine majority and their word would eventually be heard.

"Soon you will witness the fall of the head of the criminal regime in Syria," he concluded.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Rival Pro/Anti-Russian Demonstrations in Beirut!
 

Sun 5/02/2012 13:18

NNA - 05/02/2012 - Rival pro and Anti-Russian demonstrations swept Corniche-Mazra'a in the direction of the Russian embassy compound early today. Demonstrators comprising Syrian immigrant workers and Lebanese supporters have been kept apart by heavy security effectives including armoured cars and busses.

The pro-Russian demonstration was allowed to reach up to the embassy gate while the rival was kept at a distance by police vehicles. Protesters brandished anti-Assad slogans and pictures of fallen victims during the ongoing unrest while pro-Russian demonstrators thanked Moscow for its veto at the U.N. Security Council yesterday.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Wahhab to Druze Sheiks: Assad's Happy with You!
 

Sun 5/02/2012 12:58

NNA - 05/02/2012 - Druze politician of the Tawheed (Unification) party Wi'am Wahhab, conveyed Bashar Assad's expressed satisfaction with supportive stance of leading Druze religious dignitaries here in Lebanon.

Having met with 5 leading Druze clerics early today following his encounter in Damascus with Bashar Assad, Wahhab reportedly informed them that Assad's regime would remain in power and in good shape as long as they keep-up their moral-political support.

Assad reportedly acknowledged before Wahhab the existence of certain problems confronting his regime albeit; his army would continue to show resilience in combating "armed elements" as he called them. He reassuringly informed the Druze politician that the regime will take care of and safeguard its Druze. Wahhab however did not rule out Assad's eventual resolve to crush the rebellion if this proves to be his only option out of the present unrest.

According to Wahhab, all 5 clerics reassured him about their unflinching backing for Assad's regime and that they would heartily pray for him to prevail over his enemies.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qobeissy devoted to domestic dialogue
 

Sun 5/02/2012 11:40

NNA - 05/02/2012 - Member of Liberation and Development parliamentary bloc, Hani Qobeissy, said Sunday that his party would work to establish dialogue between different factions of Lebanon and reject chaos and discord.

During a funeral ceremony in Nabatiyeh, south Lebanon, the MP adopted Speaker Nabih Berri's call for national dialogue and said that communication should prevail in the Arab world, with Lebanon at its center.

"We work to consecrate dialogue on the Lebanese scene and then spread it across the Arab world in order to combat the project aiming to divide the region, from Sudan to the last Arab country," he said denouncing the stances of some Arab leaders, who "pay huge sums in order to sow discord and chaos."

"Syria and Lebanon will emerge victorious in the face of conspiracies that aim to extend the hegemony of Israel," he added.

Qobeissy also alluded to interests of citizens, such as electricity, education and employment, stating they should be a priority for the government.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Al-Rai pursues his Metn visit
 

Sat 4/02/2012 21:23

NNA - 4/2/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai pursued Saturday his visit to the Metn region, whereby he stopped at "Saint Takla Church" in Bauchrieh, where he was warmly received by Parish Priest Youssef Soueid and a crowd of believers.
In a short prayer before his welcoming crowd, Al-Rai hailed the contributions of the "Baushrieh Parish" throughout the past 25 years.
Al-Rai's next stop was at "Saint Joseph Church" in Raoudah, where he was welcomed by Parish Priest Bshara Abu Malhab and believers. In his word before them, Al-Rai stressed on the important role of families and their sacred commitment to building a nation away from corruption, and filled with kindness and holiness.
Another stop-over during Al-Rai's Metn tour was at "Our Lady of Messengers Church" in Rouadah, and later in the evening at "Our Lady of Messengers" School where he headed a mass service, which was attended by Papal Nuncio Gabriel Katchia.
Al-Rai expressed his congratulations to "Our Lady of Messengers" Monastery marking its 80th jubilee since its establishment in Lebanon.
"Our message in this region is one of kindness and holiness, and it is a message that reflects the meaning of our existence in this part of the world," said Al-Rai in his word on the occasion. "The Church in the Middle East is deeply-rooted in this region's land," added Al-Rai; imploring all Christians not to consider themselves "minorities" since their message is that of Christ, which is the essence of their existence and gives them impetus to persist in this East, he noted.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman visits Beirut's Greek Catholic Archdiocese
 

Sat 4/02/2012 20:56

NNA - 4/2/2012 - President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman, visited Saturday Beirut Greek Catholic Melkite Parish headquarters on the occasion of the "Archdiocese Day" and attended the mass ceremony marking this day at "Saint John the Golden Tongue's" Cathedral.
Metropolitan Parish Head, Bishop Kerilious Bustros, welcomed the President upon his arrival at the Cathedral Saturday evening. Also attending the mass ceremony were former President Amine Gemayel, Papal Nuncio Gabriel Katchia and a number of other prominent dignitaries.
In his religious sermon on the occasion, Bustros thanked the President for his presence at the Archdiocese marking its annual celebration. He added that Lebanon, the small country in size but huge in its message to the world, is in need of all its citizens who are the only ones to rescue it through their utter faithfulness and sense of belonging. He recited herein the national anthem of "All for the Nation;" a nation that is healthy, free, sovereign, independent and stable, he noted. He added that the "State" is the only guarantee for unity, whereby there can be no life or survival for any group or team outside the framework of the state and its institutions.
Following the religious mass service, President Sleiman and Metropolitan Bishop Bustros moved to the Archdiocese Hall where they received congratulating visitors on the occasion.
In his written word in the "Parish Golden Guest Book of Honor," President Sleiman implored all Parish priests and brothers to maintain solidarity and pursue their message and mission of kindness, giving and openness to all members of the nation.
At the end of the visit, Bustros presented Sleiman with a historical icon as a token of appreciation for his visit and participation in the Archdiocese Day celebration. Sleiman, in turn, presented him with the "Presidential Shield" as a token of respect to the Archdiocese for its humanitarian and national role.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (Update) Lebanon, Metn and Baabdat bid farewell the late Nassib Lahoud
 

Sat 4/02/2012 19:32

NNA - 4/2/2012 - Lebanon, Metn and Baabdat bid farewell Saturday Head of the Democratic Renewal Movement, former Cabinet Minister and Parliamentarian, the late Nassib Lahoud, in an official funeral at Saint George Maronite Cathedral in Beirut Central District. Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai headed the funeral mass, aided by Cardinal Nasrallah Butros Sfeir, Bishops Boulos Matar, Tanios Khoury and Roland Abu Jaoudeh, and Papal Nuncio Gabriel Katchia.
Prime Minister, Najib Meqati, attended the funeral service representing President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman, while MP Abdel-Latif El-Zein represented House Speaker Nabih Berry. Also attending were: former President Amine Gemayel; former House Speaker Hussein Husseini; former Prime Minister Fuad Siniora; Nader Hariri representing former PM Saad Hariri; Deputy House Speaker Farid Mkary; Deputy Prime Minister Samir Mokbel; as well as various cabinet ministers, members of parliament and other prominent figures.
In his sermon, Al-Rai raised prayers to the Lord to rest the soul of the late Nassib Lahoud whose passing away has been a great loss for Lebanon and the Lebanese. Al-Rai referred to the late Nassib Lahoud as a man of service, honesty and integrity; a man who spent his lifetime catering to the needs of his people, harboring respect to moral and national ethics and humanitarian values.
Al-Rai outlined the late Lahoud's accomplishments at the higher education level, in his professional life and his contribution to the industrial engineering domain through his pioneering company in the Middle East and Gulf region. He also referred to the late Lahoud's respect to family life and marriage values and his great support to coexistence within a country of rich cultural and religious diversity; in addition to being a strong advocate of liberties, human rights and modernization.
Furthermore, Al-Rai hailed the late Nassib Lahoud's role within the Lebanese Parliament; his continuous defense of justice and rights; his diplomatic ways, knowledge depth, anti-corruption efforts and support for democracy, moral values, social justice and public service.
Following Al-Rai's sermon, PM Meqati placed a "National Cedar Citation of an Officer's Rank" on the late Nassib Lahoud's coffin, in the name of President Michel Sleiman. Meqati gave a word of farewell to a dear friend, who was a "role model for his national values and high morals throughout his lifetime."
Following the funeral church mass, dignitaries and friends of the late Nassib Lahoud gave words of praise in his memory, describing the favorable characteristics he always demonstrated throughout his lifetime; namely his integrity, clear conscience, transparency, honesty, strong ethical and moral values, high sense of national belonging and social service, valuable contribution to Lebanese political and parliamentary life, strong defense of human rights, democracy, freedom, courage in combating corruption and fighting for the sake of human dignity and decent living.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi's Metn inspection tour
 

Sat 4/02/2012 17:32

NNA - 04/02/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi urged Lebanese Christians not to relinquish any plot of land regardless of its size and area. He added that Christians must stick to their land and remain rooted in it.

The Patriarch's utterances came during an inspection tour of northern Metn villages and parishes where he stopped at local chapels to have a chat with clergymen and laity alike.

He added that the resilience of Christians reflects on their wellbeing in expatriate countries as well. Therefore, they must prove resilience at home. His advice to them is that they should stick to their landed properties no matter how big or small they were.

The Patriarch among others visited the Parish of Sin el Fil where he was met by the local district commissioner and other dignitaries. He also stopped over in Jdeideh where he met with local parish priest.

In Jdeideh, he inspected two Churches where he conveyed to his congregation salutations from outgoing Patriarch Nasrallah's Sfeir.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi's Metn inspection tour
 

Sat 4/02/2012 17:32

NNA - 04/02/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi urged Lebanese Christians not to relinquish any plot of land regardless of its size and area. He added that Christians must stick to their land and remain rooted in it.

The Patriarch's utterances came during an inspection tour of northern Metn villages and parishes where he stopped at local chapels to have a chat with clergymen and laity alike.

He added that the resilience of Christians reflects on their wellbeing in expatriate countries as well. Therefore, they must prove resilience at home. His advice to them is that they should stick to their landed properties no matter how big or small they were.

The Patriarch among others visited the Parish of Sin el Fil where he was met by the local district commissioner and other dignitaries. He also stopped over in Jdeideh where he met with local parish priest.

In Jdeideh, he inspected two Churches where he conveyed to his congregation salutations from outgoing Patriarch Nasrallah's Sfeir.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ain Tineh itinerant visitors and activities today
 

Sat 4/02/2012 15:24

NNA - 04/02/2012 - Itinerant Ain Tineh visitors included Beirut politician Kamal Chatila who came for a general situation review with Speaker Berri and senior Amal aides.

Summing up meeting's outcome with the Speaker, Chatila called for the immunization of Lebanon through what he termed as genuine popular representation. Such representation, he concluded, is prone to minimize narrow tribal solidarities and fanaticisms.

Tripoli politician, Wagih Baarini, who saw the Speaker next called upon politicians to give political support to the Lebanese military in a bid to stop what he termed as cross-border gunrunning into Syria.

He expressed support for contractual teachers' demands for a better pay and favored an even economic financial development of outlying districts of Lebanon such as Akkar.

The outcome of the meeting between House Speaker Berri and his Iraqi visitor Izzat Shahbandar has not been disclosed.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (Updated) Mikati at Lahoud's funeral
 

Sat 4/02/2012 14:50

NNA - 04/02/2012 - Acting at the behest of Lebanese president Sleiman, PM Najib Mikati, attended the funeral of the late parliamentarian Nassib Lahoud at St. George's Cathedral/Downtown Beirut.

Deputy of the House Abdul-Lateef az-Zein, represented Speaker Berri at the funeral with Maronite patriarch Bshara Rahi officiating over the service in presence of senior political figures and top army and security brass.

In his eulogy of the deceased, patriarch Rahi listed Lahoud's achievements as a leading businessman and staunch liberal-democrat. He described as an ardent patriot who would be missed very much by like-minded genuine patriots.

Also eulogizing the passed away deputy, politician and diplomat, has been former cabinet Minister Ghassan Salameh who spoke of Lahoud's high qualities as a close associate and astute politician.

The funerary cortege proceeded to Baabdat cemetery where the former Deputy of the House was laid to rest.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi extends his hand to Christians and Muslims alike
 

Sat 4/02/2012 14:00

NNA - 04/02/2012 Maronite Patriarch announced Saturday during his second visit to Maronite Diocese of Beirut that his message was one of love and partnership with other churches and with Muslims.

The tour began this morning with a visit to Archbishop Boulos Matar, and a morning prayer in Saint Joseph Church - La Sagesse, after which the Patriarch went to the lecture hall at the Diocese and held a spiritual guidance meeting with the priests.

"My visit here today is to extend a hand of partnership to build and protect [the country] together, and to destroy walls that divide us," said Rahi.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Situation not reassuring, says Khreiss
 

Sat 4/02/2012 13:31

NNA - 04/02/2012 - MP Ali Khreiss voiced alarm about the intricate phase the country is passing through, as he stressed that national unity is the only way to keep Lebanon immune to trouble, during an Amal celebration in South Lebanon Saturday.

"The current situation in Lebanon is not reassuring and sacrifices are required in all directions," he said.

Member of Liberation and Development Bloc also urged the government to take seriously the social and humanitarian issues to assist people and meet their aspirations.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Tripoli demonstrates in support of Homs!
 

Sat 4/02/2012 13:24

NNA - 04/02/2012 - Tripoli demonstrated in support of Homs under heavy security presence, NNA field reporters said today. Demonstrators also told NNA reporters that they shouted anti-Asad slogans amid growing signs of solidarity with scores of Syrians massacred at the hands of the regime yesterday.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati at Lahoud's Funeral
 

Sat 4/02/2012 12:43

NNA - 4/2/2012 - Acting at the behest of Lebanese president Sleiman, P.M. Najeeb Mikati, attended the funeral of the late parliamentarian Naseeb Lahoud at St. George's Cathedral/Downtown Beirut.
Deputy of the House Abdul-Lateef az-Zein, represented Speaker Berri at the funeral with Maronite patriarch Bshara Ra'hi officiating over the service in presence of senior political figures and top army and security brass.
In his eulogy of the deceased, patriarch Ra'hi listed Lahoud's achievements as a leading businessman and staunch liberal-democrat. He described as an ardent patriot who would be missed very much by like-minded genuine patriots.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Majdalani: A governmental sham, not a governmental crisis
 

Sat 4/02/2012 11:53

NNA - 04/02/2012 Future Bloc Parliamentarian Atef Majdalani ridiculed the sad state of affairs which cabinet of Najib Mikati has stooped to, saying to Voice of Lebanon radio Saturday that cabinet dynamics were similar to a farce.

Each minister seemed to behave independently of the cabinet as a whole, according to the MP.

Majdalani particularly questioned the motives of Telecommunication Minister for refusing to release data that could help stop assassination attempts of Lebanese officials. "This data was key in uncovering numerous Israeli spy networks; and when the Minister abstains from giving it to security apparatuses, then a big question mark engulfs this issue," said Majdalani who then wondered if the Minister were protecting assassins.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Amine Gemayel to Charbel: You want mute and blind security forces
 

Sat 4/02/2012 11:35

NNA - 04/02/2012 Kataeb party leader Amine Gemayel deplored the Interior Minister's denial that an assassination attempt against Gemayel's son had been frustrated, accusing the Minister, during a radio interview Saturday, of encouraging security forces to act dumb and blind.

MP Sami Gemayel, son of Amine Gemayel, was alerted by Internal Security Forces (ISF) Intelligence Branch Chief, Colonel Wissam Hassan, not to go to a dinner he was scheduled to attend, due to an assassination plot against the MP. Interior Minister Marwan Charbel played down the alleged assassination attempt, telling reporters Friday evening that Sami Gemayel was simply warned that something may or may not happen.

"I was shocked when I heard the Interior Minister's remarks," commented Gemayel, "he almost rendered official intelligence, made available by his Ministry's security forces, ridiculous."

Despite Gemayel's disappointment in Charbel's downplay of major news, the Kataeb leader thanked security forces for carrying out their duties responsibly and to the fullest, and for seeking to "limit bloodshed and save the country from a disaster with indefinite consequences."

The veteran politician conjured back the sad memory of his eldest son's assassination as he was shot to death in broad day light while driving his car in New Jdeideh only six years ago, "It seems that the Interior Minister forgot that I lost...Pierre in similar circumstances," he said. "Would [Charbel] have preferred for security agencies to remain blind and mute?"


R.Z.
 

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Politics - Fabios: France adheres to friendly ties with Lebanon
 

Fri 3/02/2012 21:41

NNA - 03/02/2012 - Former French Prime Minister Laurant Fabios said that France adhered well enough to its friendly ties with Lebanon, assuring that the good condition of the bilateral relations would remain regardless of the form of Lebanon's government.

Fabios's words came on Friday in the context of a press conference he held at Le Gabriel hotel in Beirut.

Fabios said that France was keen on Lebanon's accomplishing the borders demarcation issue, adding to say that France hailed Lebanon's commitment to the the UN-Backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon, probing the assassination of Martyr Rafic Hariri in 2005 and related murders.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Fabios from Grand Serail: if Holland wins elections he will adhere to France's participation in UNIFIL
 

Fri 3/02/2012 19:59

NNA - 03/02/2012 - French Former Prime Minister Laurent Fabios said on Friday that Francois Holland would more adhere to France's participation within UNIFIL in the context of serving the peacekeeping mission in South of Lebanon if Holland was elected France's President.

Fabios's words came on Friday upon his meeting at the Grand Serail with Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

Fabios hailed the good course of the Lebanese French bilateral relation, underscoring the high degree of friendship between both countries and hoping that such relation would expand with Holland's accession to presidency.

Separately, Fabios received Telecoms Minister Nicholas Sahnawi and discussed with him ministerial affairs.

Amongst Grand Serail's visitors has been a delegation of Lebanese University Contractual Teachers.

A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Abu Zainab: divergences in cabinet apprehended with good intention
 

Fri 3/02/2012 19:04

NNA - 03/02/2012 - A delegation of Hizbullah visited on Friday Tashnag Party at its headquarters in Bourj Hammoud and met with the Secretary General of said Party Hovic Makhitarian.

Ghaleb Abu Zainab, a member of Hizbullah political council spoke after the meeting, disclosing that there was a sort of divergence among the political sides in the present government.

However, Abu Zainab assured, this divergence was to be surpassed and apprehended with good intention.

He also assured that all the government members would return to the cabinet table to carry on what they had already agreed upon on the national level.

A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - High ranking officials pay respect to Lahhoud
 

Fri 3/02/2012 18:56

NNA - 03/02/2012 Family of former MP Nassib Lahhoud continued Friday receiving condolences on his passing.

President Michel Sleiman, Vice House Speaker Farid Makary, Saudi and British ambassadors went to Lahhoud family residence in Achrafiyeh-Beirut in a show of respect to one of the pillars of Lebanese politics.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel: Sami Gemayel's assassination attempt a misunderstanding
 

Fri 3/02/2012 18:38

NNA - 03/02/2012 Interior Minister, Marwan Charbel, stated Friday that information leaked by media about failed assassination attempt on MP Sami Gemayel was a misunderstanding that should not be blown out of proportion.
The Minister spoke to the press on the backdrop of his meeting with Internal Security Forces Director General Asharf Rifi.

"It was a warning against a possible incident more than an attempted murder," Charbel said. He added that it was the duty of security forces to alert politicians to be careful in light of analysis and information they receive.
Concerning collapsed building in Achrafiyeh, the Minister announced that the committee planned to publish its final report on the 15 of February.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Safadi, Omleel tackle bilateral relations
 

Fri 3/02/2012 18:28

NNA - 3/2/2012 Finance Minister Mohammed Safadi met on Friday with Moroccan Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Omleel, where they boarded means of bolstering bilateral economic relations.
Omleel was accompanied by General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises Head Mohamed Hourani and Moroccan-Lebanese Cooperation and Friendship Association Executive President Samir al-Shammah.
The delegation extended to Minister Safadi an invitation to visit Morocco on top of a trade delegation.
---------------L.Y

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Politics - Daouk visits Qabbany
 

Fri 3/02/2012 18:05

NNA - 03/02/2012 After a successful back surgery, Mufti of the Republic left hospital Friday and began receiving well-wishers at his residence, most notably Information Minister who represented the President and Prime Minister.

During his hospital stay, a host of officials contacted Mufti Mohammad Rashid Qabbany, including House Speaker Nabih Berri, and Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji.

Information Minister Walid Daouk relayed President Michel Sleiman's and PM Najib Mikati's best wishes for a speedy recovery.

On that occasion, Qabbany hoped that upcoming Prophet Mohammad's Birthday will be a happy occasion that brings peace upon all Lebanese factions.

R.Z.

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Politics - Nadim Gemayel heads to London
 

Fri 3/02/2012 17:46

NNA - 3/2/2012 Deputy Nadim Gemayel left Beirut on Friday afternoon, heading to London.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ghassan Salameh returns from Paris
 

Fri 3/02/2012 17:41

NNA - 3/2/2012 Former Minister Ghassan Salameh returned to Beirut on Friday afternoon, coming from the French capital, Paris.
 

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Politics - Aoun, Shams Eddine tackle electoral law
 

Fri 3/02/2012 17:38

NNA - 3/2/2012 "Change and Reform" Bloc Head Michel Aoun met on Friday noon at his residence in Rabieh with former Minister Ibrahim Shams Eddine, with talks reportedly touching on the general situation and parliamentary electoral law.
On emerging, Shams Eddine said he boarded with General Aoun an array of domestic and foreign affairs, conveying his vision for developing Lebanon's system formula, including parliamentary electoral law.
 

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Politics - Makary returns to Beirut
 

Fri 3/02/2012 17:15

NNA - 03/02/2012 Vice House Speaker, Farid Makary, returned Friday afternoon to Lebanon after a visit to Paris, France.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt, Fabius meet
 

Fri 3/02/2012 16:35

NNA - 3/2/2012 - Progressive Socialist Party Head, MP Walid Jumblatt, met Friday with the former French Premier, Laurent Fabius, over latest political developments in presence of Deputy Marwan Hamadeh and ranking dignitaries.
D.K.

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Politics - Audi, Majdalani tackle developments
 

Fri 3/02/2012 15:37

NNA - 3/2/2012 - the Metropolitan for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Beirut, Bishop Elias Audi, met Friday with parliament member Atef Majdalani with whom he tackled general juncture.

The livelihood, security, developmental and economic relapse topped talks between conferees.

Also, Audi received the former Minister Naji Boustani.
D.K.

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Politics - Fabius, Berri convene
 

Fri 3/02/2012 15:18

NNA - 03/02/2012 Former French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius and House Speaker Nabih Berri confirmed strong ties between France and Lebanon, during the French official's visit to Ain Teeneh Friday.

The meeting reportedly focused on developments in the region, particularly Syria.

"I am here representing presidential candidate Francois Hollande," said Fabius, "and I have conveyed to Lebanese officials a message of friendship and a confirmation of Lebanon's independence and sovereignty."

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Fabius, Berri convene
 

Fri 3/02/2012 15:18

NNA - 03/02/2012 Former French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius and House Speaker Nabih Berri confirmed strong ties between France and Lebanon, during the French official's visit to Ain Teeneh Friday.

The meeting reportedly focused on developments in the region, particularly Syria.

"I am here representing presidential candidate Francois Hollande," said Fabius, "and I have conveyed to Lebanese officials a message of friendship and a confirmation of Lebanon's independence and sovereignty."

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kahwaji's itinerants today
 

Fri 3/02/2012 15:08

NNA - 03/02/2012 Lebanese Army Commander General Jean Kahwaji respectively met with MP Hagop Pakradonian and Syrian Ambassador Ali Abdul Karim Ali. Talks reportedly focused on the general situation.

The meeting was held on Friday at Kahwaji's office in Yarzeh.

Moreover, the General received Military Investigative Judge Maroun Zakhour.

 

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Politics - Sleiman grateful for France's constant support to Lebanon
 

Fri 3/02/2012 14:52

NNA - 3/2/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, praised on Friday the deep-rooted institutional ties which link Lebanon to France. He uttered high appreciation to the constant aid offered to Lebanon by France, at various levels, on top of which the sacrifices offered by the French contingent operating within the UNIFIL in South Lebanon.

The President made these remarks during his meeting with the former French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius, in presence of the French Ambassador to Lebanon, Denis Pietton.

Fabius, for his part, conveyed the salutations of Socialist Party candidate for the French presidential elections, Francois Hollande, noting that France's concern over Lebanese affairs will remain unchanged for the benefit of both countries.

On a different note, Sleiman received from the Apostolic Nuncio to Lebanon, Gabriele Caccia, a letter from the pope Benedict XVI in which he prayed for Lebanon and its people.

Separately, the Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdel Karim, met with Sleiman over bilateral relations and latest developments.

The Lebanese Army Commander, General Jean Kahwaji, who had also been to Baabda presidential palace, informed the President of the security situation, as well as of the security measures adopted at the Lebanese borders.

The military institutions' needs also topped talks between both men.

Eventually, Sleiman met with a delegation of land transportation syndicates' union with talks featuring high on means to develop the land transportation sector.

D.K.

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Politics - Geagea: Syrian regime's collapse certain
 

Fri 3/02/2012 14:08

NNA - 3/2/2012 - Lebanese Forces party Head, Samir Geagea, on Friday confirmed that the Syrian regime's collapse is certain as the Syrian army will fail to conclude the situation militarily.

Geagea expected a new scenario in Syria, different from the other Arab revolutions, never ruling out the regress in the Syrian situation in witness of how the regime is dealing with the popular riots.

"After the collapse of President Bashar Al-Assad's regime, a different political panel will be formed, whereby the March 14 forces presence will expand and the Hezbollah camp's volume will shrink," he noted.

As for the February 14 commemoration ceremony, Geagea said it will be held in the absence of former Premier Saad Hariri, for obvious medical reasons.

"The opposition is now capable of going to the streets and toppling the government, but this is not the plan for the current stage," the LF leader said, reiterating his call for forming a government of technocrats to address the people's issues.
D.K.

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Politics - Layoun: we refuse to bypass us on appointments
 

Fri 3/02/2012 13:21

NNA - 3/2/2012 - Culture Minister Gaby Layoun on Friday said the FPM refuses that the administrative appointments issue be solved through a tacit amendment of the constitution.

In his talk show with the Free Lebanon radio station, Layoun said "we are the largest Christian bloc within the government, and we reject the fact that the appointments file be circumvented."

"We reject to be told that the Premier's suggestions are non-negotiable," Layoun argued.
D.K.

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Politics - Gemayel in Bkerki
 

Fri 3/02/2012 13:12

NNA - 3/2/2012 - Katateb head Amine Gemayel Friday visited Bkerki and met with Maronite Patriarch Mar Beshara Al-Rahi.

Gemayel presented Rahi with the pact the Democratic Centralist Parties have issued.


L.W.

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Politics - Rahal: Arms smuggling accusation aims to violate Lebanon's sovereignty
 

Fri 3/02/2012 12:54

NNA - 3/2/2012 - Future Parliamentary bloc member deputy Riad Rahal said that the Syrian regime is fabricating stories about alleged arms smuggling from Lebanon to Syria to give Damascus an excuse to enter Lebanon and violate its sovereignty

Speaking to TV station, the MP said the Syrian regime, which is coming under increasing international pressure, has no choice but to use the Lebanese card through the weapons of Hezbollah and its armed allies.

Rahal feared that Syrian regime and its allies in Lebanon may resort to assassination of Lebanese politicians to divert attention from events taking place in Syria.

"We expect these things to happen especially since the Syrian regime has no choice but to trigger problems in Lebanon as means to apply pressure on the Arab Gulf countries," the MP said.

He called on the Lebanese government to deploy immediately the Lebanese army along the border with Syria and called on Damascus to do the same.

Rahal argued that if the Syrian regime has put an end to the killing machine, the Syrian citizens would have not fled Syria to Lebanon to seek refuge.

"The Syrian regime should end the killing of its citizens in accordance with the Arab League's decision, withdraw the army from the streets and allow peaceful demonstrations to take place."

O.H

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Politics - Kanaan: Applying constitution solves governmental crisis
 

Fri 3/02/2012 11:59

NNA - 3/2/212 - MP Ibrahim Kanaan Friday said governmental crisis needs no mediations but an implementation of the constitution.

Change and Reform bloc member said that Prime Minister Najib Mikati's "constitutional innovation" detracts from the constitution, depicting such practice as unacceptable.

The MP also told Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio that the stance of Mikati to suspend Cabinet's sessions is not sound and ought to be taken back.

Responding to PSP head MP Walid Jumblatt's accusations, Kanaan said "let Jumblatt give us back our authorities in the Mountain and let the displaced people return to their homes."

"Why insisting on dealing with Christians as if they were non existent?" he asked.

L.W.

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Politics - Abboud says political cover pervails over appointments
 

Fri 3/02/2012 10:41

NNA - 3/2/212 - Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud said the government has reached an administrative mechanism in appointments issue, however, this is not being really practiced.

Minister Abboud Friday criticized Premier Mikati's demeanor in handling appointments' dossier and said that concerned Ministers are not being consulted

He added that the ministers have the right to give their opinion about any name proposed for a key post in public departments.

"Presidential positions ought not to impose appointments on the Minister," he remarked.

L.W.
 

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Politics - Maalouf calls for technocrat government to deal with pending issues
 

Fri 3/02/2012 10:17

NNA - 3/2/2012 - Member of Parliament Joseph Maalouf told Radio Free Lebanon on Friday that a government composed of technocrat should be formed now to address all the pending issues which the current government failed to tackle.

He added that the recent showdown between the ministers proved beyond any shadow of doubt that this government will self explode from within.

"We hope to see a government that caters to the need of the people and rise above the narrow interests which the current government is doing."

He added that the excuses made (by ministers) are not sufficient to disrupt the files.

The MP also commented on Energy and Water Minister Jibran Bassil's drive to name all the key Christian administrative posts in public departments.

"The Christian sect does not belong to anyone. The president of the republic represents part of this Christian community and March 14 also represents the majority of the Christians and not to the team which belongs to Bassil."

O.H

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Politics - Lahham, Mansour tackle current issues
 

Thu 2/02/2012 22:11

NNA - 2/2/2012 Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, the East, Alexandria and Jerusalem Gregorius III Lahham met on Thursday at his Rabwe office with Foreign and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour, where they tackled current regional issues.
Patriarch Lahham underlined that the sons of the sect in Lebanon, Arab countries and in the emigrant world aspire for the building of a genuine peace since it is the prelude to peace in the world, as he said.
Minister Mansour, for his part, lauded the Patriarch's positions regarding current regional affairs, saying such stances constitute at these circumstances a minaret of dialogue for the meeting of religions and civilizations in addition to the building of the culture of peace.
----------------L.Y

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Politics - Sami Gemayel: Security chief informed me about possibility of targeting me
 

Thu 2/02/2012 21:46

NNA - 2/2/2012 Elaborating on circulated information about aborting an assassination attempt against Deputy Sami Gemayel, the latter told "Voice of Lebanon" Radio Station that he has received a phone call from a Lebanese security apparatus Chief informing him about a possibility of targeting him in a specific place and time.
"He [security Chief] asked me to avoid going to the place where I was planning to go," Gemayel told the radio station, thanking the Chief for notifying him. He also hoped that all work remains professional in this regards till all information are disclosed.
The MP stressed that these matters shall not prevent him from saying the truth and continuing work with all decent men for the sake of peace, liberty and civilized life regardless of all threats and circumstances.
---------------L.Y

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Politics - Mikati: Lebanon shall miss a strong advocate of freedom values in the absence of Lahoud
 

Thu 2/02/2012 20:49

NNA - 2/2/2012 Prime Minister Najib Mikati eulogized the late deputy and minister Nassib Lahoud, saying he was a statesman par excellence whose march constituted a model of political and patriotic work.
Premier Mikati said that Lebanon shall miss in the absence of Lahoud a strong advocate of freedom, justice and independence values.
"Nassib Lahoud... your memory shall always remain an illuminated spot in the Lebanese mind," Mikati said in a statement on Thursday.
--------------L.Y

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Politics - Siniora, Connelli tackle current situation
 

Thu 2/02/2012 20:25

NNA - 2/2/2012 "Future" Bloc Head Fouad Siniora met on Thursday afternoon at his "Sadet Tower" office with US Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelli, with talks reportedly touching on the current situation on the Lebanese and regional scenes.
On the other hand, Siniora eulogized the late minister and deputy Nassib Lahoud, saying he was a model of a patriotic statesman who knew well how to distinguish between the public and the private.
"Lebanon lost a great man... a statesman who believed in Lebanon, its independence, sovereignty, Arabism, openness and respect of human rights and values," Siniora told "Future News" TV Channel on Thursday.
---------------L.Y

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Politics - Daouk: public majority fortified against anti-unity projects
 

Thu 2/02/2012 19:52

NNA - 02/02/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk said he felt quite assured that the Lebanese public majority was fortified enough against any foreign project aiming at Lebanon's unity and the principle of coexistence.

Daouk's stance came on Thursday in the context of an interview he had with Al-Hiwar newspaper.

Daouk assured that the present cabinet would remain as long as it gained the confidence of the House of Parliament.

Daouk pointed out that they would still adhere to the freedom of expression, adding that they were looking forward to establishing a media city in the country.
Separately, Daouk had an interview on Tele Liban. In this interview, he focused on the administrative appointments issue, saying the main complexity of this issue was the question of Higher Judicial Council presidency.

"Delays in accomplishing appointments negatively affect the government, as a whole, and paralyze administrations and institutions - something that harms the national interest," said Daouk.

A.M.

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Politics - Adwan: Security threats all Cedars Revolution leaders under security threat
 

Thu 2/02/2012 19:51

NNA - 02/02/2012 - Deputy Georges Adwan said all the leaders of the Cedars Revolution were subjected to the threats of security operations against them.

Adwan's words came on Thursday in the context of an interview he had on "Usbou' Aradi" magazine.

Adwan said the strategic dimension of Hizbullah would become weak after the collapse of the current Syria regime. By then, he went on, it would be an opportunity for March 14 to meet with Hezbollah on the local dimension level.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - No resignation from serving nation, Mikati avows
 

Thu 2/02/2012 19:45

NNA - 2/2/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati asserted Thursday he will not step down from his premiership seniority, one day after an abrupt decision to suspend cabinet sessions until a further notice following heated spar over the appointments item yesterday.

A frenzied debate broke out during yesterday's cabinet session at Baabda palace, after Change and Reform bloc ministers demurred on President Michel Sleiman proposing candidates for the post of Head of the Higher Disciplinary Committee and the government representative at this committee, two posts duly affiliated to the prime minister's office.

Mikati, who reportedly botched Michel Aoun's irate Ministers' attempt to break the quorum, swiftly requested the President to suspend the session.

"Some are seeking to deter the work of the cabinet, something that we flatly refuse in the name of the Lebanese realizing that there is absolutely no time to waste," Mikati said during his patronage today of the closure ceremony of Tripoli seaport enlargement and development project.

"It is not a matter of resignation as some may think; we will not resign from serving the nation, but it time for the cabinet to be productive and coherent," he corroborated.

Mikati, who reminded that the stability of the country must solely be in crosshairs, avowed that he was still open for calm and constructive discussions on the level of national affairs and public policy.
"Nonetheless, I cannot stand cross-handed and lax about all matters related to the Constitution, constitutional powers, and pressing social and economic reforms," he said.

Mikati maintained that the governmental work lies within interaction and collaboration among ministers, who shall work as one and united team, in favor of the nation's best interest and welfare.
"My vision of [governmental] work resides in its productivity (...) in a way which fulfills citizens' aspirations," he added, shining light on his constitutional obligation to manage and rectify the work of the government if need be.

Mikati, who did not fail to rake up what he termed as bids of slander and calumny for the past period, affirmed that he was still reckoning on all parties' will to fully assume their national responsibilities.

"The country can no more bear wrangling and bickering, the state can no more be a ground to share fortunes, but I shall only be the armor to protect Lebanon's Constitution, institutions, and sons," he said.

Turning to today's event, the Prime Minister said Tripoli seaport enlargement project would add a special value to economy in the North.

He did not fail to heap praise on the unremitting efforts of Public Works and Transportation Minister, Ghazi Aridi, who attended the event along with a panel of Ministers, Deputies, and high-ranking personalities.

Seperately, Mikati chaired today at the Grand Serail a meeting for the minsiterial committee tasked with studying proposed offers on renting ships generating electricty.

The Prime Minister later met with US ambassador to Lebanon, Maura Connelly.


 

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Politics - Hajjar: Bassil fabricates against donor funds to surpass law
 

Thu 2/02/2012 19:40

NNA - 02/02/2012 - Deputy Muhammad Hajjar said that Energy and Water Minister was inventing false information on donor funds in order not to abide by laws, as concerning the power issue.

Hajjar's words came on Thursday in the context of a press conference he held at the House of Parliament.

The law number 181 issued by the parliamentarian council stipulated that the USD 1B 200 Million sum required to produce power of 700 megawatts capacity should be provided by the donors fund - something that Bassil did not abide by, said Hajjar.

Instead, Hajjar went on, Bassil resorted to the public treasury to supply the power project without control, at the expense of people.

A.M>
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qahwaji visits St Roukoz Monastery-Dekwaneh
 

Thu 2/02/2012 19:36

NNA - 2/2/2012 Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji visited on Thursday St Roukoz Monastery, general presidency headquarters of Maronite Antonine Monastic Order in Dekwaneh.
General Qahwaji was greeted by Order Head Father Daoud Raidi and senior bishops.
The General was accompanied by Army Intelligence Chief Edmond Fadel and Major General Rishar Helo.
Raidi, Qahwaji and senior bishops tackled the current situation on the domestic and regional scenes. Qahwaji hailed the message and efforts undertaken by the Monastic Order in the various spheres inside and outside Lebanon.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi, Bassil meet at Bkirki
 

Thu 2/02/2012 19:10

NNA - 2/2/2012 Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi is currently meeting at Bkirki with Water and Energy Minister Jibran Bassil, in presence of Gabi Jibrayel.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Watkins heads to Amman
 

Thu 2/02/2012 19:06

NNA - 2/2/2012 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's representative in Lebanon Robert Watkins left Beirut on Thursday, heading to Amman.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Shaar heads to Paris
 

Thu 2/02/2012 19:02

NNA - 2/2/2o12 Tripoli and North Lebanon Mufti Sheikh Malek Shaar left Beirut on Thursday, heading to the French capital Paris.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kheireddine expects cabinet sessions suspension for weeks
 

Thu 2/02/2012 17:23

NNA - 2/2/2012 - State Minister Marwan Kheireddine on Thursday expected cabinet sessions to be suspended for many weeks, stressing that PM Najib Mikati is not intending to resign.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon radio station, the Minister said contacts were underway in an effort to salve the fresh government crisis, which erupted as Change and Reforms ministers demanded to withdraw an item on appointments from the session.

Separately, the Minister pointed out agreement with PSP leader, MP Walid Jumblatt, over the Lebanese domestic situation, but said they disagreed over the situation in Syria.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hariri mourns Nassib Lahoud: A noble man and a pillar of the Cedar revolution
 

Thu 2/02/2012 17:15

NNA - 02/02/2012 - Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri issued the following statement:
Lebanon lost today Nassib Lahoud, a great patriot, who played an influential role in political life and marked it with his attachment to its democratic path and his defense of its public freedoms.
The great deceased was a pillar of the Cedar revolution and the Independence movement. Every Lebanese who met Nassib Lahoud found in him all noble qualities: integrity, kindness, honesty, boldness, and sincere nationalism.
We lost today a man of noble values and principles, expressed through his experience in Parliament and the action of his party. These values and principles were also clear in March 14th squares, where he was at the forefront, fighting to eliminate decades of domination, subordination and political despotism.
Nassib Lahoud was a sincere ally and a noble rival. He was an honest politician who refused blackmail at the expense of the principles in which he believed.
As I express my profound sadness at the passing of this great brother and friend, I offer, in my name and in the name of my family and of the Future Movement, my heartfelt condolences to his wife, children and family and to the members of the "Democratic Renewal Movement".
I ask God Almighty to have mercy on him and to inspire us to continue his democratic path so that Lebanon remains a nation of national dignity and coexistence.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (UPDATED) Berri underscores Lebanon's disassociation policy towards Syria
 

Thu 2/02/2012 16:58

NNA - 02/02/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri underscored on Thursday the policy of disassociation practiced by Lebanon towards its neighboring country Syria, saying that Lebanon's neutral position in this concern was positive but must not be applied to Israel.

Berri's stance came on Thursday in the context of his meeting with the preparatory committee of the National Municipal Conference headed by the chairperson of Amal's Executive Committee Muhammad Nasrallah.

Berri stressed on the necessity of abiding by law in the issue of data gathering.

Separately, Berri received at his residence in Ain Tineh Tourism Minister Fady Abboud.

Interviewed after the visit, Lahoud said he briefed the host over the local tourism condition. Abboud said he agreed with the Speaker on the necessity for the current cabinet to turn productive.

Afterwards, Berri received a delegation of cultivated persons. The delegation was headed by the Chairperson of the Lebanese University, former Minister Adnan Sayyid Hussein.
A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - March 14: Nassib Lahoud led political school serving nation
 

Thu 2/02/2012 16:32

NNA - 02/02//2012 - March 14 camp eulogized on Thursday late former Lebanese Deputy, Minister and Ambassador Nassib Lahoud, as a leader of a political school serving the nation.

March 14 called for a participation in the mass service to be held for Lahoud's soul on coming Saturday (12:00 p.m.) at Saint Georges Cathedral of Beirut DownTown.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - French Embassy expresses grief over Nassib Lahoud's death
 

Thu 2/02/2012 16:09

NNA - 02/02/2012 - The French Embassy expressed grief over the death of former Lebanese minister, deputy and ambassador Nassib Lahoud.

The embassy depicted the man as typically national and faithful to the welfare of his country and public. It added, "Lahoud was a dearly loved friend to France."

The embassy offered condolences to whole Lebanon on the death of Lahoud.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sami Gemayel: not to draw Lebanon into Syrian unrest
 

Thu 2/02/2012 15:52

NNA - 2/2/2012 - Parliament member Sami Gemayel confirmed Thursday that the Syrian unrest must not be inflicted upon the Lebanese inside.

"We as March 14 forces are at the same wavelength," he said, uttering support to the Arab riots and people's protests aimed at liberating their countries and reaching democracy.

"We support people's right to decide their fate (...), a primary concept of which we feel not at all ashamed," the Kataeb central committee coordinator said, assuring that Lebanon must not be dragged howsoever into the Syrian problems.

Gemayel accordingly called on Lebanese to have a clear stance which condemns the Syrian oppression vis-a-vis its people.

"The Syrian people are free to decide their course, their destiny and whether to negotiate or not, topple their regime or not. This is the Kataeb stance," he declared, assuring that his camp is following the same course as its allies within the March 14, with the same positions regarding Hezbollah's arms, the special tribunal for Lebanon and means to preserve the democratic system.

Separately, Gemayel tackled the relation between Kataeb head Amin Gemayel and House Speaker Nabih Berri, saying the latter was believed to be capable of playing a major medium role in facilitating dialogue between the country's factions.

As for Hezbollah, Gemayel said Kataeb was the only party which dares meeting head-on with it, confirming that his party seeks dialogue and openness not war and isolation.

He said the treason accusations policy adopted by Hezbollah puts sticks in the wheels of resuming efficient dialogue.

On another note, Gemayel affirmed that the country can only be built through dialogue between different parties among which the Progressive Socialist, the Marada, the Free Patriotic Movement, the Tashnag, the Lebanese Forces...

The MP explained that FPM and Kataeb are willing to agree on some controversial issues currently under study so as to reach a joint formula.

"Our vision of Lebanon's sovereignty is different from the FPM's," he reminded, suggesting some basic hindrances in the way of our rapprochement.

The Deputy commented as well on the Orthodox gathering's electoral suggestion, saying it draws attention to the fact that a certain community was not being represented appropriately in the parliament, an issue that needs to be fixed as soon as possible.

Eventually, Gemayel tackled the security situation, estimating that the danger of assassinations and security chaos' return was never ruled out, as long as security zones persisted.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 


 

Politics - Daouk: public majority fortified against anti-unity projects
 

Thu 2/02/2012 15:41

NNA - 02/02/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk said he felt quite assured that the Lebanese public majority was fortified enough against any foreign project aiming at Lebanon's unity and the principle of coexistence.

Daouk's stance came on Thursday in the context of an interview he had with Al-Hiwar newspaper.

Daouk assured that the present cabinet would remain as long as it gained the confidence of the House of Parliament.

Daouk pointed out that they would still adhere to the freedom of expression, adding that they were looking forward to establishing a media city in the country.
A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun meets Romanian diplomat, prisoners' amnesty committee
 

Thu 2/02/2012 15:32

NNA - 2/2/2012 - Head of Change and Reform bloc, MP Michel Aoun, on Thursday met with Romanian ambassador to Lebanon, Daniel Tanese, over most recent developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

The meeting, held in Rabieh, was also attended by Head of the Diplomatic Relations in the Free Patriotic Movement, Michel De Shadarvian.

Earlier today, Aoun had met with prisoners and missing persons' amnesty committee, headed by Mohammad Hazimi.

L.Y.R/A.B.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Array of affairs on Sleiman's agenda today
 

Thu 2/02/2012 15:23

NNA - 2/2/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Thursday took up a wide-ranging array of affairs with his itinerant visitors at Baabda presidential palace.

He first met with Minister of Telecommunications, Nicolas Sehanoui, and a delegation of the International Telecommunications Union.

Talks reportedly focused on the preparations for the impending Arab Communication Summit, to be held in Qatar next month.

The meeting also touched on the role of information technology, and Israel's piracy and violation of the Lebanese telecoms network.

Member of Parliament Michel Pharaon had also been to Baabda palace today for a meeting with the President over the current general situation.

Sleiman later broached most recent political developments and dossiers with former Minister Khalil Herawi.

On the economic level, President Sleiman skimmed through the financial and monetary situation with Lebanese Central Bank governor, Riad Salame.

He later followed up on the current situation of the Middle East Airlines (MEA), with the company's chairman Mohammad Hout.

Sleiman lastly received at Baabda palace a delegation of Lebanese Marist congregation, headed by Father Boutros Torbey.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri underscores Lebanon's disassociation policy towards Syria
 

Thu 2/02/2012 15:09

NNA - 02/02/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri underscored on Thursday the policy of disassociation practiced by Lebanon towards its neighboring country Syria, saying that Lebanon's neutral position in this concern was positive but must not be applied to Israel.

Berri's stance came on Thursday in the context of his meeting with the preparatory committee of the National Municipal Conference headed by the chairperson of Amal's Executive Committee Muhammad Nasrallah.

Berri stressed on the necessity of abiding by law in the issue of data gathering.
A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel visits Armenian Catholic Patriarch
 

Thu 2/02/2012 15:03

NNA - 2/2/2012 - Head of Kataeb Party, former President Amine Gemayel, on Thursday visited Armenian Catholic Patriarch Narcis Pedros XIX at the patriarchate seat in Rmeil.

The meeting, also attended by MP Serge Tersarkissian, reportedly touched on an array of current issues on the local scene as well as on the situation of Christians in the Arab region.

Talks also featured high on the pact launched by Gemayel during last week's international centrist democrat conference.


L.Y.R/A.B.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea: Lebanon is undergoing worst conditions in six years
 

Thu 2/02/2012 14:40

NNA - 2/2/2012 - Lebanese Forces Party Head, Samir Geagea, on Thursday said Lebanon is going through the worst stage in six years.

Geagea reminded of the other camp's criticism each time the former government spent money from outside the budget, while the parliament was, at that time, closed.

"Now, however, they allow themselves to spend from outside the budget despite the fact that the parliament's doors are open," he lashed back at government parties.

The LF leader said the government components had not agreed on any topic since the government formation.

"The only thing they agreed upon is toppling the cabinet of former PM Hariri," he noted, criticizing their talks about change and reform plans.

Geagea said those who respected themselves should resign from this government, calling for forming a technocrat council of ministers able to address the people's livelihood affairs.

Accordingly Geagea declared that this government is staining the bright image of Lebanon in the Middle East.

Eventually, the LF party head said the death of former State Minister Nassib Lahoud is a great loss for Lebanon, as he had put the country's interest above all mediocre calculations.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati: We will not resign nor refrain from serving our country
 

Thu 2/02/2012 14:19

NNA - 2/2/2012 Lebanese Premier Najib Mikati Thursday asserted that he, or the government, shall not resign nor refrain from serving the country as he said time has come for Cabinet to be productive.

Speaking at the inauguration of Tripoli port extension works' conclusion, Mikati said yesterday's session was postponed until agreement be eminent on how to activate the government's productivity.

"Neither quarrels nor personal accounts work in favor of the government performance," he remarked.

The Lebanese Premier also uttered rejection to having some parties hinder the Cabinet.
"I was, and still am, open to calm dialogue but matters related to reforms as to the constitution ought not to be handled with leniency," he said.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Tomeh says Mikati's resignation to put things back on track
 

Thu 2/02/2012 14:06

NNA - 2/2/2012 MP Nidal Toomeh Thursday hoped Premier Mikati's resignation would put things back on their right track and expressed sorrow over government's incapability to handle country's affairs.

MP Tomeh criticized Telecommunications Minister who was refusing to remit data related to telecommunications to security forces in charge of maintaining stability.

Lastly the MP hailed the decision of the STL that has announced the beginning of the trial in absentia for the assassination of Rafic Hariri in 2005.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi tackles developments with visitors
 

Thu 2/02/2012 13:55

NNA - 2/2/2012 - Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Boutros Rahi, received Thursday parliament member Michel Pharaon with whom he tackled latest developments at both local and regional levels.

The meeting was also an occasion to tackled developmental issues related to Achrafieh region.

Later on, Rahi met with a delegation of Hamadeh family, from Hermel. The delegation thanked the Patriarch for his visit to Bekaa- Hermel region and for his national stances keen to preserving Islamic-Christian good ties.

Former Deputy Faysal Al-Daoud, who had also been to Bkirki Patriarchate, said "Rahi represents a symbol of national unity in Lebanon", praising his initiatives and endeavors to fill the gaps between the Lebanese communities, for a brighter future to Lebanon.

Amongst Bkirki's visitors were also, former Minister Farid Haykal Al-Khazen, Dr. Nizar Dalloul, and Judge Youssef Saadallah Al-Khoury.

At noon time, Rahi tackled local and regional developments with the Public Health Minister, Ali Hassan Khalil.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ouseiran: Lebanon in need of men and leaders
 

Thu 2/02/2012 13:48

NNA - 2/2/2012 - The nation is in dire need of leaders and men capable of performing miracles and making shrewd decisions when needed, Member of Parliament Ali Ouseiran said in a statement on Thursday.

"We endure exceptional circumstances. All are requested to contain the situation by sacrificing for the nation's sake," he said, asking from both sides of the Lebanese divide to grow depth in political stances, to serve the nation best.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ogassapian: Government's decisions in Hezbollah's hands
 

Thu 2/02/2012 13:20

NNA - 2/2/2012 - Deputy Jean Ogassapian said what happened in Wednesday's cabinet session was expected as the government had been, since day one, incoherent and paralyzed.

The Deputy made these remarks in his talk show with the Orient radio station, saying the so-called government had drawn the country into tensions and crises, as it failed to fulfill the region's requirements.

Also, Ogassapian noted that PM Mikati's decision to resign or suspend his activities as Premier is in the hands of Hezbollah, as he [Mikati] is not a master of himself.

He said "it is Syria's government inside Lebanon," estimating that Mikati will suspend the cabinet sessions until Hezbollah decides to topple the government.

"One of this government's major problems emanate from the mentality of Aoun's group," Ogassapian explained, accusing that camp of corruption and greed, based on the rumors spread amongst ministers.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabalan: Dialogue solves Syrian crisis
 

Thu 2/02/2012 13:01

NNA - 2/2/2012 - Deputy head of the Shiite Supreme Council Thursday asserted that solution in Syria comes through dialogue and not foreign interferences.

Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan said Syrian people ought to turn to dialogue table and discuss things so as to merge into political reform process.

During his meeting with the Tashnag party Secretary General Hovig Mokhtarian, Qabalan said what happens in Syria affects Lebanon.

The Shiite Sheikh called on the Lebanese leaders to close ranks and confront chaos and sedition elements and thus, "Lebanon would be a stable country."


L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jeanjanian conveys gratitude letter to Pietton
 

Thu 2/02/2012 11:52

NNA - 2/2/2012 - MP Chante Jeanjanian Thursday conveyed a gratitude letter to the French Ambassador Denis Pieton in which he voiced gratitude for the French Senate's support to the Armenian cause.

During their meeting, both men also engaged in talks concerning the Syrian refugees issue in Lebanon whereby Pieton promised offering refugees the help they need.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Salhab: Mikati's suspension decision is sheer political
 

Thu 2/02/2012 11:20

NNA - 2/2/2012 - Deputy Salim Salhab described Prime Minister Najib Mikati's decision to suspend cabinet sessions as sheer political stance, timed shortly before his trip to Paris.

The Deputy asked, in his talk show with the Voice of Lebanon - Voice of Dignity and Freedom station, "Under which title will Mikati go to France."

"The Change and Reform bloc must play its role totally within the government, and participate in its decisions," he said, assuring that the ministers had the right to agree or disagree over the names suggested by Premier Mikati for the administrative nominations.

"According to the constitution, it's in the cabinet and not in the premier's power to make such decisions," the deputy concluded.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rai: Nassib Lahoud's absence big loss to Lebanon
 

Thu 2/02/2012 11:19

NNA - 2/2/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai expressed his sorrow over the demise of former Deputy and Minister Nassib Lahoud, adding that his absence is a big loss to Lebanon.

Rai described Lahoud as "Statesman", considering his loss "a big loss to Lebanon and the Lebanese", pointing out that all the Lebanese are sad over his death.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahra: Cabinet's military service is over
 

Thu 2/02/2012 11:17

NNA - 2/2/2012 - Member of Parliament Antoine Zahra told "Radio Free Lebanon" that the Cabinet of Prime Minister Najib Mikati has literally "ended its military service" because it no longer can reach a consensus on any matter.

He added the Lebanese are paying the price for the government's inefficiency and unproductively, arguing that the only purpose for this cabinet is to serve the Syrian regime.

"The Free Patriotic Movement saw an opportunity to seize all the Christian posts in the state through administrative appointments and this (bloc) claims that it is the only party which represents the Christians."

He stressed that governments in Lebanon are temporary but the administrative posts in the state are permanent and for this reason filling these posts amid the absence of March 14 forces is unacceptable.

Zahra argued that the minister of MP Michel Aoun's bloc have failed to carry out their duties in all the ministerial posts they held such as electricity, cellular, water and wages of labors.

But the MP dismissed the possibility that the government would step down at the moment because it still serve the purpose of the Syrian regime.

"This government is not capable of producing and not capable of resigning. The only one who is paying the price is the Lebanese themselves."

Zahra claimed that Speaker of the House Nabih Berri is on the hit list of the assassins due to his continuous call for preserving Lebanon's unity and return to the institutions.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Nahhas urges respect of Mikati's prerogatives
 

Thu 2/02/2012 10:52

NNA - 2/2/2012 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas urged respect of Prime Minister Najib Mikati's prerogatives.

"Mikati is responsible for the decisions of the cabinet and its policy, for this reason all should respect his work, role and prerogatives", the Minister stressed.

The minister pointed out on Thursday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio that Mikati would continue exercising his powers as a PM.

But Nahhas said that Mikait will suspend Cabinet sessions until matters are resolved.

"We are before a cabinet crisis", Nahhas said, adding that PM Mikati was clear in the necessity to respect the constitutional mechanisms for appointments.

He pointed out that the Disciplinary Council head position was not mentioned in yesterday's agenda and nevertheless Mikati proposed three names in respect of transparency.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved










 

Politics - Houry: FPM ministers responsible for government sabotage
 

Thu 2/02/2012 10:26

NNA - 2/2/2012 - MP Ammar Houry blamed the FPM for sabotaging governmental works through holding a battle endowed with sectarianism at one time and with change and reform at other times.

Future bloc member Thursday told Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- that things cannot be straightened up within ongoing breaches inside Cabinet the Free Patriotic Movement Ministers are conducting.

"Hezbollah as well as a Syrian side seek to a certain extent to take the government down the caretaking path before the end of the month, and that is before the STL renewal date," he concluded.


L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Sehnaoui downplays differences in cabinet
 

Thu 2/02/2012 10:09

NNA - 2/2/2012 - Telecommunication Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui rejected the accusations of Prime Minister Najib Mikati that the ministers of the Change and Reform bloc are derailing reforms in the country.

Speaking to "Sawt al Mada", the minister stressed that these accusations are reversed.

But Sehnaoui downplayed the magnitude of these differences.

"What took place yesterday at the Cabinet is not very serious as some people claim. The differences were only confined to the administrative appointments."

Sehnaoui believes that some cabinet ministers are trying to deny the Change and Reform bloc from naming people for key government posts and this is unacceptable.

He reminded that the Change and Reform bloc has the third of the cabinet and for this reason the remaining ministers must allow this bloc to voice its opinion on any matter.

But Sehnaoui tried to keep a window of hope in the cabinet open, calling on all sides to discuss all matters openly in order to take the right decisions.

He also remarked on the ongoing debate on the telecom data which has split the cabinet.

"Giving the information data is now up to the judicial authorities which will decide if the data should be handed over to the security apparatus. But requesting all the data over the past year and for all Lebanese citizens is a violation of their rights and freedom," the minister said.

The minister added that for this reason, he has refused to pass this data in coordination with interior minister.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




















 

Politics - # Nassib Lahoud dies
 

Thu 2/02/2012 08:11

NNA - 2/2/2012 - President of the Democratic Renewal Movement and former Deputy and Minister Nassib Lahoud passed away on Thursday at the age of 68 due to a disease, according to NNA correspondent.

Lahoud died at Hotel Dieu Hospital.

The family of NNA offered condolences to the family of the deceased.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Politics - (UPDATED) Cabinet postpones appointments till future sessions
 

Wed 1/02/2012 22:37

NNA - 1/02/2012 - The Council of Ministers winded up today's session on an agreement to postpone administrative appointments, to be discussed in future sessions. The Cabinet also formed a ministerial committee for the amendment of law item 140 and authorized it to look into the competencies of judicial authorities concerning telecommunications data.

The committee tasked to look into Law 140, which protects the privacy of individuals in using the official telecommunications network, is headed by Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and comprises of Ministers, Marwan Charbel, Nicolas Sehnawi, Shakib Qortbawi, and Fayez Ghosn.

The Cabinet convened at Baabda Palace, under the chairmanship of President of the Republic Michel Sleiman, in presence of Prime Minister Najib Mikati and ministers.

The Cabinet looks into 52 items on its agenda, notably Telecommunication "data", a number of administrative appointments and stringent matters in need of decisions.

Prior to Cabinet session, President Sleiman and Premier Mikati met behind closed doors, where they tackled the general situation and most recent developments.

Speaking to reporters before cabinet session, Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud disclosed that Change and Reform Bloc ministers shall not approve on appointments on Cabinet agenda since, as he said, deliberations have not been undertaken in this regards with the Bloc in its capacity as the biggest parliamentary group.

Asked about data issue prior to cabinet session, Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour said that "National Struggle" Front ministers support everything that guarantees security.
L.Y.-R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Malaysian Foreign Minister stops in Beirut, visits Hariri's tomb
 

Wed 1/02/2012 21:25

NNA - 1/02/2012 - On his way to London, coming from Dubai, Malaysian Foreign Minister, Anifa Bin Aman, had a stop in Beirut city where he visited his country's Embassy and later visited the tomb of late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Bin Aman later left Beirut, heading to London, aboard a private jet.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 


Politics - In absentia proceedings: STL Press Release
 

Wed 1/02/2012 21:18

NNA - 1/02/2012 - The Trial Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon has decided to try the four men accused of the 14 Feb 2005 attack in their absence.

The Trial Chamber examined numerous documents from the Tribunal's Prosecutor and the Lebanese Prosecutor-General, which detail the steps taken by the Lebanese authorities to apprehend the accused and inform them about the proceedings.

These efforts included multiple attempts by the Lebanese authorities to find the accused at their last known residences, places of employment, family homes and other locations. The Trial Chamber also took into consideration the fact that the indictment and the identities of the accused received massive publicity in Lebanon.

The Trial Chamber concluded that all reasonable steps have been taken to secure the appearance of the accused and to notify them of the charges against them.

While the STL is the only international Tribunal that can prosecute accused in their absence, it is a measure of last resort to ensure that the pursuit of justice is not paralyzed by those who choose to abscond.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Future, Liberal Party hold electoral law talks
 

Wed 1/02/2012 21:13

NNA - 1/02/2012 - MP Ahmad Fatfat on Wednesday pledged a final stance on the parliamentary elections law, by the Future Parliamentary bloc, once negotiations with allies were concluded.

A Future bloc delegation comprising of MPs Ahmad Fatfat, Hadi Hbeish, and Ziad Kaderi, who are also members of the electoral law follow-up committee, visited the National Liberal Party's Sodeco headquarters today, for electoral law-related talks.

Liberal Party Head, MP Dory Shmoun, briefed the visiting delegation on the content of the electoral law drafted by his party. It suggests the establishment of 88 individual districts, of which MPs are elected on non-sectarian basis, in line with the establishment of a Senate House, to guarantee the Lebanese sectarian formula.

"This is such an advanced law proposal which ought to be taken into consideration," said Fatfat in admiration of the Liberal Party's law draft.

"It is such an advanced project, not to mention an important message for living in coexistence."

In turn, Shamoun lauded efforts at reaching a just electoral law which ensures in turn Lebanon's best interest.

"All the Lebanese, whether local residents or expatriates, should be allowed to exercise their right to choose whoever they want to represent them at Parliament," Shamoun added.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved














 

Politics - (UPDATED) Cabinet convenes, forms committee for amendment of law 140
 

Wed 1/02/2012 20:21

NNA - 1/2/2012 - The Council of Ministers on Wednesday formed a ministerial committee for the ammendment of law item 140 and authorized it to look into the competencies of judicial authorities concerning telecommunications data.

The committee tasked to look into Law 140, which protects the privacy of individuals in using the official telecommunications network, is headed by Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and comprises of Ministers, Marwan Charbel, Nicolas Sehnawi, Shakib Qortbawi, and Fayez Ghosn.

The Cabinet is currently convening at Baabda Palace, under the chairmanship of President of the Republic Michel Sleiman, in presence of Prime Minister Najib Mikati and ministers.
The Cabinet looks into 52 items on its agenda, notably Telecommunication "data", a number of administrative appointments and stringent matters in need of decisions.
Prior to Cabinet session, President Sleiman and Premier Mikati met behind closed doors, where they tackled the general situation and most recent developments.
Speaking to reporters before cabinet session, Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud disclosed that Change and Reform Bloc ministers shall not approve on appointments on Cabinet agenda since, as he said, deliberations have not been undertaken in this regards with the Bloc in its capacity as the biggest parliamentary group.
Asked about data issue prior to cabinet session, Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour said that "National Struggle" Front ministers support everything that guarantees security.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved












 

Politics - Rifi, interlocutors tackle security situation
 

Wed 1/02/2012 19:35


NNA - 1/2/2012 Internal Security Forces (ISF) Chief Ashraf Rifi met on Wednesday at his Barrack office with deputies Ammar Houri and Nouhad Mashnouk where they tackled the current security situation in the country.
Both MPs expressed appreciation of ISF institution's role, lauding its various accomplishments at the security level, notably the unveiling of spying networks collaborating with the Israeli enemy.
--------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Layyoun for not mentioning "Cedars Revolution" in new history book
 

Wed 1/02/2012 19:03

NNA - 01/02/2012 - Culture Minister Gaby Layyoun called on Wednesday for not using the term "Cedars Revolution" in the new history book, since this term has been found by foreign media as a preliminary stage to "Fil" failing campaign practiced against former President Emile Lahoud.

Layyoun's stance came on Wednesday by his press office. Layyoun countered those criticizing him for his objection against the use of "Cedars Revolution" expression in the history book.

The Minister brought to attention in his statement that the Free Patriotic Movement was the backbone of March 14, 2005, that led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. The heroic accounts of March 14 camp appeared only after the withdrawal of the last Syrian soldier from the country, said Layyoun, who hoped that the upcoming history book would clearly indicate this concern.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Safadi, Cortbawi, Salameh discuss money laundering law draft
 

Wed 1/02/2012 18:51

NNA - 01/02/2012 - A joint meeting was held on Wednesday between Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi and Justice Minister Shakib Cortbawi and Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh to discuss the proposed amendment of the law draft pertaining to fighting money laundering.

Separately, Safadi received a delegation of notaries public that related to the host the pending problem concerning Value Added Taxes on the works of notaries public.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora meets Berger, Omlil
 

Wed 1/02/2012 18:42

NNA - 01/02/2012 - Head of the Future Parliamentary Bloc, Deputy Fouad Siniora, met over the general situation and latest developments on the Lebanese and regional scenes with Christian Berger, Director for Middle East at the European External Action Service.

The meeting was held on Wednesday at Siniora's office in Sadat Tower in presence of European Union Ambassador to Lebanon, Angelina Eichhorst.

Earlier, Siniora received Moroccan Ambassador Ali Oumlil, with talks reportedly touching on the general situation in Lebanon and the region.
P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (Updated) March 14 responds to SNC's open message to Lebanon by support
 

Wed 1/02/2012 18:42

NNA - 01/02/2012 - March 14 Movement responded to the open message issued by the Syrian National Council on January 25, 2012 to the Lebanese Public, by supporting its [SNC's] democratic struggle against the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad.

March 14's fresh stance came on Wednesday in the context of its regular weekly meeting at its headquarters in Ashrafieh.

March 14 welcomed SNC's open-minded and liberal policy towards Lebanon, saying that said movement was, quite the same, looking for a distinguished relation between Lebanon and Syria based on mutual respect for each country's sovereignty and independence.

March 14 wanted to remind of what it named as "Beirut's Spring" that led seven years ago to put terms to the suppressive mechanism practiced by the current Syrian regime against Lebanon.

Former Education and Higher Learning Minister Hassan Mneimneh gave a word in the wake of March 14 meeting. Mneimneh spoke about the significance of a unified history book, prepared by the specialized educational committee he formed during his former ministerial period, aiming to reduce confessional tension in the country.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi, Mavrommatis meet
 

Wed 1/02/2012 18:40

NNA - 01/02/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi and Cypriot Ambassador Homer Mavrommatis tackled preparations for the Patriarch's visit to Cyprus on the 10th of February.

The meeting was held in Bkerki on Wednesday in presence of Cyprus Maronite Parish Priest, Bishop Youssof Youssof.
P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Cabinet convenes at Baabda Palace
 

Wed 1/02/2012 18:05

NNA - 31/1/2012 The Cabinet is currently convening at Baabda Palace, under the chairmanship of President of the Republic Michel Sleiman, in presence of Prime Minister Najib Mikati and ministers.
The Cabinet looks into 52 items on its agenda, notably Telecommunication "data", a number of administrative appointments and stringent matters in need of decisions.
Prior to Cabinet session, President Sleiman and Premier Mikati met behind closed doors, where they tackled the general situation and most recent developments.
Speaking to reporters before cabinet session, Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud disclosed that Change and Reform Bloc ministers shall not approve on appointments on Cabinet agenda since, as he said, deliberations have not been undertaken in this regards with the Bloc in its capacity as the biggest parliamentary group.
Asked about data issue prior to cabinet session, Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour said that "National Struggle" Front ministers support everything that guarantees security.

-----------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel heaps praise on mayors' role
 

Wed 1/02/2012 16:32

NNA - 1/2/2012 - Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Marwan Charbel, on Wednesday said mayors have assumed, throughout history, a paramount role in villages and localities as they were entrusted with citizens' affairs.

He depicted them as the representatives of the central state in different sectors and on all levels, especially at a time when there were no municipalities.

The Minister, representing Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, House Speaker Nabih Berri, and Prime Minister Najib Mikati, made these remarks during the inauguration of Mayors' Mutual Fund's headquarters in Lebanon, rehabilitated by Al-Walid Ben Talal Human Foundation.

Charbel maintained that the law had granted mayors a large scope of powers and endowed them with the role of assistants in affairs relevant to public administrations, general security, personal status, and others.

"Mayors are the facet of authority on the local level," he corroborated.

"It is unacceptable that the state relinquish its local representatives," he said, pointing out decree number 10626/2003, hereby forming a public institution titled "Mayors Mutual Fund in Lebanon."

He explained that this institution enjoys moral personality as well as financial and administrative autonomy.

"This public institution bears the responsibility to provide scholarships and social aid for subscribers," he continued, noting that the Fund does not cost the state any charge whatsoever.

He thus explained that resources are provided by mayors' stamps revenues and donations requiring a cabinet approval.

A panel of personalities had been to today's event, among whom MPs Michel Pharaon, Nadim Gemayel, Serge Tersarkissian, Nabil De Freij, and Ahmed Fatfat, as well as Beirut Governor Nassid Qaloush, members of Beirut municipal council, representatives of security commands, and mayors of Ashrafieh, Mdawar, Saifi, and Rmeil.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman, Mikati meet prior to cabinet session
 

Wed 1/02/2012 16:17

NNA - 01/02/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman is currently meeting with the Prime Minister Najib Mikati, prior to the cabinet session scheduled to convene today Thursday. Talks are focusing on recent developments.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kahwaji receives Russian military attache, others
 

Wed 1/02/2012 15:54

NNA - 01/02/2012 - Lebanese Army Commander, General Jean Kahwaji, discussed with Russian Military Attache to Lebanon, Raphael Cormatchov, heading a delegation, the military cooperation between both armies.

The meeting was held on Wednesday at Kahwaji's office in Yarzeh.

Furthermore, the General received First Military Investigation Judge, Riad Bou Ghida, with talks focusing on judicial affairs.

Kahwaji also respectively met with former MP Wajih Baarini, and a delegation of Beirut Greek-Melkite Catholic Bishopric.
P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aridi meets UAE diplomat, others
 

Wed 1/02/2012 15:41

NNA - 1/2/2012 - Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Ghazi Aridi, on Wednesday met with Emirati ambassador to Lebanon, Youssof Ali Osseimi, who handed him an invitation from the Economy Minister of UAE to partake in the world summit for seaports and trade, to be held in Abu Dhabi on forthcoming April 2 and 4.

The pair also skimmed through Lebanese-Emirati bilateral ties on different levels.

Earlier today, Aridi received at his ministerial office Head of the Arab Academy for Technology and Maritime Transportation, Ismail Abdul Ghaffar, with talks featuring high on the means to bolster cooperation between the Ministry and the Academy in the fields of maritime training, transnational transportation, and logistics.

Abdul Ghaffar did not fail to mention that he chose Lebanon as the first Arab country to visit, and showed particular interest to open a branch for the Academy in the country.

Aridi later met with Head of the Political Bureau of UN Secretary General's Representative.

The Minister had also an encounter with Vice Head of Kunhadi Association, Lina Gebran.

An array of developmental affairs was also on the Minister's agenda today.

Accordingly, Aridi met with heads of municipal councils of Dekwaneh, Kfardebian, Ehmej, Kfartoun, Gabon, and Yarin.

The representative of the Chinese company tasked with Tripoli seaport enlargement and rehabilitation, Elie Bekhaazi, also visited Aridi today.

The meeting reportedly touched on the measures relevant to the second phase of the enlargement project.



R.A.H./A.B.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - March 14 responds to SNC's open message to Lebanon by support
 

Wed 1/02/2012 15:40

NNA - 01/02/2012 - March 14 Movement responded to the open message issued by the Syrian National Council on January 25, 2012 to the Lebanese Public, by supporting its [SNC's] democratic struggle against the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad.

March 14's fresh stance came on Wednesday in the context of its regular weekly meeting at its headquarters in Ashrafieh.

March 14 welcomed SNC's open-minded and liberal policy towards Lebanon, saying that said movement was, quite the same, looking for a distinguished relation between Lebanon and Syria based on mutual respect for each country's sovereignty and independence.

March 14 wanted to remind of what it named as "Beirut's Spring" that led seven years ago to put terms to the suppressive mechanism practiced by the current Syrian regime against Lebanon.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri seeks turning Lebanon into dialogue center
 

Wed 1/02/2012 15:30

NNA - 1/2/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri confirmed that ideas were under study to put forth his vision of Lebanon the center of dialogue for the region's countries, as well as amongst its various local components.

The Speaker underscored the importance of abiding by the laws to address, appropriately, the calls' data issue, and put terms to the current controversy.

Berri who chaired the Wednesday Deputies meeting said he had tackled with Prime Minister Najib Mikati means to render the arresting of Georges Abdullah the necessary concern, particularly during his forthcoming visit to France.

Later on, Speaker Berri received the Social Affairs Minister, Wael Abou Faour, in presence of Public Health Minister, Ali Hassan Khalil.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour from Hoss's: on the verge of finishing with diplomatic appointments
 

Wed 1/02/2012 15:20

NNA - 01/02/2012 - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour assured that they were on the verge of accomplishing the diplomatic appointments issue, indicating that the third category of appointments had already been finished.

Mansour's words came on Wednesday upon his meeting with former Prime Minister Salim Hoss at the latter's residence in Aisha Bakkar/Beirut. The meeting was an opportunity to explore current developments on the local level.

Turning to the Syrian crisis file, Mansour said Lebanon's stance was quite clear in this concern, as it was against any sort of unrest or instability in Syria.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Alain Aoun: those supporting Sleiman in appointments aim to curb FPM
 

Wed 1/02/2012 15:05

NNA - 01/02/2012 - Deputy Alain Aoun said anyone showing solidarity with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman as concerning the administrative appointments issue were aiming to curb the Free Patriotic Movement in one way or another.

Aoun's stance came Wednesday in the context of an interview on Al-Jadeed TV.
"The powers of appointments in the Ministry rely on the minister himself," said Aoun.

"As concerning the first category appointments, it is the cabinet responsibility for accepting or not the name presented by the concerned minister."

Aoun said there were political sides in the present government that were trying to curb the national works of the Free Patriotic Movement, adding that they were not satisfied about Mikati-led cabinet's performance in dealing with pending files.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Assad, Wahhab take up Lebanese, Arab situation
 

Wed 1/02/2012 14:59

NNA - 1/2/2012 - Syrian President, Bashar Assad, and Head of Arab Tawhid Party, Wiam Wahhab, on Wednesday held a three-hour meeting over the current situation in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

Shortly after returning to Lebanon, the former Minister conveyed Assad's keenness on maintaining stability in Lebanon.

"President Assad also highlighted the obligation to protect the Druze community in the Arab Levant," he said.

Wahhab also quoted Assad as hailing the national role assumed by the Druze throughout history.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman on International Women's Day: for more effective female participation in political life
 

Wed 1/02/2012 14:17

NNA - 1/2/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, hoped the day Arab women get to enjoy their full political and national rights would come soon, in a word delivered on the occasion of the International Women's Day, Wednesday.

"It is of major importance for women to participate effectively, side by side with men, in countries and people's progress, in a way that fulfills their message and role in society," Sleiman said, noting that "Lebanon was a pioneer in granting women their rights, on top of which their right to vote, yet now, it fell behind most of the Arab countries at that level."

The President called accordingly for allowing a better participation of women in the Lebanese administration, encouraging them as well to delve into politics and run as candidates for the municipal and parliamentary elections.

Separately, President Sleiman received the French MP, Guy Makki, who represents the French people living abroad, within the Arabian Peninsula. Makki is a candidate for the Tenth circumscription which includes Lebanon, Gulf and Africa.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rifi tackles security situation with Kuwaiti Ambassador
 

Wed 1/02/2012 14:16

NNA - 1/2/2012 - Internal Security Forces Director General, Ashraf Rifi, received Wednesday the Kuwaiti Ambassador to Lebanon, Abdel Aal Al-Kinaii, with talks touching on local security situation.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati, Egyptian Ambassador tackle recent developments
 

Wed 1/02/2012 14:16

NNA - 1/2/2012 Prime Minister Najib Mikati Wednesday tackled recent developments during his meeting with the Egyptian Ambassador Mohammad Moustafa Toufic.

The Lebanese Premier also met with a delegation of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport headed by Dr. Ismail Abdel Ghafar Ismail Faraj.

The latter praised, after their meeting, on Mikati's decision to open a branch for the academy in Lebanon.

Also, Mikati convened at the Grand Serail today with Chairperson of the Court of Audit is Judge Aouni Ramadan and head of the Central Inspection Committee Judge Georges Awwad.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk, Hajjar discuss foremost developments
 

Wed 1/02/2012 13:16

NNA - 1/2/2012 Information Minister Walid Daouk Wednesday tackled most recent media sector up-to-dates during his meeting with MP Mohammad Hajjar.

Both men also went over main ongoing domestic developments.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Maronite Bishops fear over rapid regional developments
 

Wed 1/02/2012 13:01

NNA - 1/2/2012 - Maronite Bishops Wednesday voiced fears over fast moving regional developments' repercussions on Lebanon.

During their monthly gathering chaired by Maronite Patriarch Marbeshara Rahi, bishops urged Lebanese to tighten national unity ties, reinforce state's sovereignty, and adopt the positive neutrality policy.

"Lebanon would thus be the country of religious and cultural dialogue," they remarked.

Bishops also appreciated political power's endeavors to handle vital causes.

Also, conferees hailed UN Secretary General's visit to Lebanon for it "asserts that Lebanon, with its cultural and religious diversity, is a model to the region for coexistence."
L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel, Bora tackle bilateral ties
 

Wed 1/02/2012 12:48

NNA - 1/2/2012 - Kataeb party's Head, former President Amin Gemayel, received Wednesday the Greek Ambassador to Lebanon, Catherine Bora, with talks touching on the importance of boosting bilateral ties, particularly at the official level.

Both sides shed light on the historical economic and cultural relations between the two countries.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Houry: FPM should reconsider its position
 

Wed 1/02/2012 11:00

NNA - 1/2/2012 - Deputy Ammar Houry called on FPM to reconsider its positions because its loss is decisive either on short or long term.

"Let the nation wins so that we all win", the MP said.

The MP added on Wednesday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio that "we are in the same boat and what happens to Lebanon affects us all".

"It is not true that who claims Change and Reform represents it but is representing destruction and corruption", the MP stressed.

Concerning telecommunications, the MP said "we proposed previously in media Committee that two issues should be taken into consideration, freedom and security and there is no contradiction between them", adding that the real restrain is the law.

"We demand the respect of law, the only guarantee for people and nation's security, the MP demanded."

A.A.M

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Politics - Gharious: Protest is not against cabinet
 

Wed 1/02/2012 10:40

NNA - 1/2/2012 - "Change and Reform" bloc member Deputy Naji Gharious stressed that the protest towards the Grand Serail was not against the cabinet but a public expression.

It is worth noting that Deputy Michel Aoun called on the people to demonstrate against electricity shortage a week ago.

The MP called on the cabinet on Wednesday to Voice of Lebanon-Freedom and Dignity radio to discuss national issues imminently because it affects both the people and officials.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Sehnaoui: Citizens should be ready to demonstrate any minute
 

Wed 1/02/2012 10:35

NNA - 1/2/2012 - Telecommunication Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui told "Al Mada" radio that the Lebanese citizens should be prepared to demonstrate any minute to press authorities to implement the long awaited electricity plan.

He added that yesterday's Cabinet session was calm contrary to the media reports which claimed otherwise.

"Some steps were adopted by the Cabinet concerning the electricity project such as leasing power generating boats. But these intentions should be translated into actions," the minister said.

Sehnaoui also commented on the renewing contracts with cellular operators.

"We have changed the concept of contracts. The operator must meet the strategic goals in order to achieve profits. Among these step the operator must fulfill is to improve the service and increase the number of stations."

He voiced his opposition to the idea of annual contract because the operator will strive to make a quick profit and this is against the government's interest.

The minister promised to provide a comprehensive study in three months detailing the best way to improve the telecom sector in Lebanon.

O.H

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Politics - Zahraman calls on army to deploy along borders
 

Wed 1/02/2012 10:15
NNA - 1/2/2012 - Deputy Khaled Zahraman supported the step of army deployment along the borders to prevent the repetition of Syrian attacks.

The MP held Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui responsibility in case any assassination operation takes place.

"Sehnaoui is responsible for any security incident or assassination operation that might occur", the MP stressed to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio.

Zahraman hoped that the cabinet would solve the issue of data within legal rules, stressing that the concerned minister does not have the right to refuse to hand over data.

A.A.M

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Politics - Aswad: "Change and Reform" bloc won't withdraw from cabinet
 

Wed 1/02/2012 10:05

NNA - 1/2/2012 - Deputy Ziad Aswad stressed that his bloc won't withdraw from the cabinet as long as it represents a biggest part of the people.

Commenting on the telecommunications data, the MP said "the campaign against FPM (Free Patriotic Movement) and its ministers was unjustified unless it was for exploitation purposes".

"Interior and Telecommunications Ministers showed response to this matter", Aswad told "Voice of Lebanon" radio on Wednesday.

The MP wondered how the information on the assassinations was revealed to the media before the investigations were over.

"The data on the Lebanese people should not be handed over to the security apparatuses unless there was incriminating evidence which necessitates this move", Aswad stressed.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Rai presides over Maronite Bishops meeting
 

Wed 1/02/2012 10:04

NNA - 1/2/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai is currently chairing at Bkirki the monthly meeting of Maronite Bishops to discuss church and national affairs.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun: Lebanon is robbed and I have documents in this concern
 

Tue 31/01/2012 22:22

NNA - 31/12/2012 - Deputy Michel Aoun said on Tuesday Lebanon was robbed, indicating that he had documents that could well prove this.
Aoun�s words came in the context of his heading the regular weekly meeting for the Bloc of Reform and Change at his residence in Rabieh.
Aoun criticized the way the bloc has been attacked by his political rivals, indicating that he would not respond to such mode of bad rhetoric.
Aoun defied his rivals to go to the judicial authority to see who was right.
A.M>

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Patriarch opens Internet Service Center for Marriage
 

Tue 31/01/2012 21:59

NNA - 31/01/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi opened on Tuesday at Bkerki Patriarchate the Internet service department pertaining to the marriage issue. The service center has already been set up by Priest Tony Khoury at Jbeil Maronite Parish.
Separately, the Patriarch received at his residence in Bkerki a delegation of the Tashnag Party headed by Hovic Makhitarian. The delegation included Deputy Agop Pakradonian who stressed upon the necessity of approving on an electoral law that would secure the coexistence principle.
Afterwards, the Patriarch received a delegation of the Lebanese Democratic Party headed by Muhammad Muhtar, who invited Rahi to patronize the formula of coexistence in the Jabal region of Chouf.
Amongst Bkerki�s visitors: head of National Liberal Party Doris Chamoun, who called for national unity amidst the current circumstances; a delegation Metn Municipalities Union; and others.
A.M>

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Politics - Future: FPM statements aim at covering Aoun's ministers' failure in daily affairs
 

Tue 31/01/2012 19:52

NNA - 31//2012 "Future" Bloc considered that recent Free Patriotic Movement's (FPM) unusual political discourse aimed at covering the failure of Aoun's ministers in addressing daily life affairs.
Future Bloc's stance came in the wake of its regular weekly meeting on Tuesday afternoon at "Central House", under the chairmanship of Bloc Head Fouad Siniora. The Bloc tackled the current situation in Lebanon and the region.
"Issuing insults against the Lebanese reflects the unprecedented high tension hitting the Aounists' command,", the Bloc said in a statement, calling on senior Lebanese officials to deal with this situation tampering with the Lebanese state's status and authority.
On the data issue, the Bloc considered that Telecommunication Minister Nicholas Sehanoui's refusal to provide phone calls "data" to security apparatuses might subject the safety of the nation, citizens and some officials to enormous dangers. The Bloc held the government in general and Telecommunication Minister in specific responsible if any citizen or official was subjected to danger, notably that placing "data" at the disposal of security apparatuses has become a crucial security necessity for unveiling security targets.
Turning to the statement issued by Syrian National Council on the future of Lebanese-Syrian relations, the Bloc said the content conforms to the stance and aspirations of the Lebanese people for having normal Lebanese-Syrian relations based on equality, mutual respect and sincere cooperation in the interest of both peoples.
On the current Syrian situation, the Bloc expressed worry regarding the continued adoption of the Syrian regime of what it terms as military solution policy, that plainly led to the halting of Arab monitors' mission, the towering death toll and inflicted damage.
"Future" also hoped that the Arab League, in cooperation with the international community, would reach a draft decision at the Security Council, opening the way to end the serious crisis witnessed in Syria.
"Syrian people's aspirations for change and freedom, enlarging political participation and implementation of democratic system are legal aspirations that should be realized for democratic Syria to progress towards development, growth, liberation and restoration of rights", Bloc said in a statement.
-------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Saudi Telecoms Minister in Beirut
 

Tue 31/01/2012 19:34

NNA - 31/1/2012 - Minister of Telecommunications and Informatics Technology of KSA, Mohammad Jamil Malla, arrived Tuesday in Beirut.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Bahiya Hariri returns to Lebanon
 

Tue 31/01/2012 19:33

NNA - 31/1/2012 - Member of Parliament Bahiya Hariri on Tuesday returned to Lebanon, coming from the French capital, Paris.


 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel: Telecoms data gathering does not prevent assassinations
 

Tue 31/01/2012 19:31

NNA - 31/01/2012 - Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel said that the telecoms data gathering, even if happened on a daily basis, would not prevent the outbreak of assassination operations.
Charbel's words came on Tuesday in the context of a visit done by the Information and Telecoms Committee at the Intelligence Control Center in Badaro, behind the Ministry of Justice.
The committee included its chairperson Deputy Hassan Fadlallah, Telecoms Minister Nicholas Sahnawi, Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel, Deputies Ziad Aswad and Ammar Houry as well as other officials.
The committee inspected the center, praising its works and efforts in dealing with national affairs.
Minister Sahnawi, for his part, gave a word saying that the ministry was trying as much as possible to find an easy means of coordination between citizens' freedom and security necessities.
Deputy Fadlallah also urged that the control center must carry out its work within the strict lawful restraints.
It is to note that the control center was established in accordance with law number 140 issued on November 26, 1999.
A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Cabinet approves to renew cell phones companies contract
 

Tue 31/01/2012 19:15

NNA - 31/1/2012 - The cabinet reportedly agreed Tuesday to extend of one year the contracts of the two companies operating the cell phones sector in Lebanon.

The cabinet is currently convening in Baabda presidential palace to resume talks over the 2012 state budget, the electricity issue, and other matters requiring adequate decisions.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Human rights organizations' officials visit Qortbawi, Berri representative
 

Tue 31/01/2012 18:26

NNA - 31/1/2012 - A delegation of representatives of human rights' international organizations on Tuesday resumed visits to Lebanese officials.

Within this framework, the delegation met today with MP Michel Moussa on behalf of House Speaker, Nabih Berri.

Talks featured high on human rights' issue and the cooperation between Lebanon and related organizations.

The delegation later visited Minister of Justice, Shakib Qortbawi.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Human rights organizations' officials visit Qortbawi, Berri representative
 

Tue 31/01/2012 18:26

NNA - 31/1/2012 - A delegation of representatives of human rights' international organizations on Tuesday resumed visits to Lebanese officials.

Within this framework, the delegation met today with MP Michel Moussa on behalf of House Speaker, Nabih Berri.

Talks featured high on human rights' issue and the cooperation between Lebanon and related organizations.

The delegation later visited Minister of Justice, Shakib Qortbawi.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Cabinet convenes at Baabda Palace
 

Tue 31/01/2012 17:57

NNA - 31/1/2012 The Cabinet is currently convening at Baabda Palace, under the chairmanship of President of the Republic Michel Sleiman, in presence of Prime Minister Najib Mikati and ministers.
The Cabinet continues discussion of public budget project for the year 2012 project law, the electricity issue and other matters in need of adequate decisions.
Prior to Cabinet session, President Sleiman and Premier Mikati met behind closed doors, where they tackled the general situation and most recent developments.
On the other hand, speaking to media representatives before Cabinet session, Telecommunication Minister Nicholas Sehnaoui said that it is not accepted that all the Lebanese be exposed in their privacies to security apparatuses, which is a general principle guaranteed by the Constitution.
"Even Law #140 does not allow Telecom Ministry or Ministerial Council to provide data", Sehnaoui said, underlining that public liberties are guaranteed.
Sehanoui also considered that fortifying security in the Country lies in unifying security apparatuses, saying that Lebanon is exposed security wise due to the existing divisions amongst security apparatuses.
----------------L.Y

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Politics - Iran reiterates Zionist interests forestall Palestinians' rights
 

Tue 31/01/2012 17:30

NNA - 31/1/2012 - Iranian ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, on Tuesday stressed that the interests of the Zionist entity were the main hinder to the Palestinians' recuperation of their rights.

The diplomat received today at the embassy a panel of high-ranking officials of international organizations working in the field of human rights, with whom he boarded Iran's foreign policy.

He highlighted his country's unwavering siding with the majority of the Syrian people, claiming reforms within Bashar Assad-led regime.

For his part, Head of the International Human Rights Commission, Mohammad Shahed Amine of Pakistan, heaped praise on Iran's efforts on the level of consecrating human rights.

He lambasted western policies based on duality in favor of the Zionist entity's interests.

Turning to Syria, Amine said the considerable use of weapons by the Syrian opposition indeed proves this opposition's illegitimacy.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri warns of sowing strife in Middle East
 

Tue 31/01/2012 17:02

NNA - 31/1/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Tuesday cautioned against attempts to sow seeds of strife not only in Syria, but also in the entire Mideast region.

The Speaker held an extended meeting with the command of Ar-Rissala Scouts in Ain-el-Tineh today, to whom he avowed that the case of the vanished Imam Moussa Sadr was of a great importance "as it is the case of the nation."

"We will resume what we have already started in light of the outcomes of the last visit by the follow-up committee to Libya," he said.

On a different note, the Speaker reckoned that water was the battle of the 21st century.

"Be the guardians of Litani River and project (...) as you were always the guardians of the nation; be ready to defend Lebanon's oil and gas," he addressed the scouts delegation.

Separately, the Speaker met with Philippines Labor Minister, Rosalinda Baldos, in presence of Amal's official former Minister Talal Sahili and media advisor Ali Hamdan.

Former Minister Elie Ferzli had also been to Ain-el-Tineh today for a meeting with Speaker Berri over latest developments in Syria and their repercussions on the Lebanese domestic scene.

Talks also touched on the long-awaited electoral law, which Ferzli said it must certainly take into account real parity and the correctness of political representation and which he called as well to be finalized in the nearest time possible.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - MP Chamoun in Bkerki
 

Tue 31/01/2012 16:24

NNA - 31/1/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi on Tuesday met in Bkerki with MP Dori Chamoun over the current general situation.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Orthodox Patriarchate deplores violence in Syria
 

Tue 31/01/2012 16:21

NNA - 31/1/2012 - The Orthodox Church of Antioch deplored, in a statement on Tuesday, the widespread of violence prevailing over love and fraternity in neighboring Syria.

The Patriarchate condemned herein attacks staged against innocent civilians and continuous bloodshed, pointing out the assassination of Father Bassilios Nassar in Hama last week.

It also lashed out at the acts of profanation of sacred sites and bids to tamper with religious and spiritual symbols.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman, Mikati meet in Baabda
 

Tue 31/01/2012 16:13

NNA - 31/1/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, and Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, are currently meeting behind closed doors in Baabda palace, prior to a cabinet session later this afternoon.

Both men are reportedly tackling the general situation and most recent developments.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouq calls for objective, transparent media
 

Tue 31/01/2012 16:11

NNA - 31/1/2012 - Minister of Information, Walid Daouq, on Tuesday rekindled calls for an objective and transparent media, away from incitement and provocation.

The Minister visited today Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani, with whom he broached an array of media-related affairs and the concerns of spiritual references at the backdrop of what is being diffused in some media outlets.

Talks also featured high on a spectrum of affairs relevant to the Lebanese in general and Muslims in particular.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, the Minister reckoned that political quandaries always take a toll on the [domestic] situation.

He hence called for an objective media "for incitement only begets counter-incitement and violence only leads to counter-violence."

"This has a negative impact on stability," he corroborated.

Daouq, who maintained that the government was working as one team, also underlined the existing stability in the country on all levels, mainly owing to the government's disassociation policy.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved













 

 


Politics - Charbel follows up situation at Lebanese-Syrian borders
 

Tue 31/01/2012 15:40

NNA - 31/1/2012 - Interior and Municipalities Minister, Marwan Charbel, headed Tuesday a meeting for the technical committee assigned to control the Lebanese-Syrian borders, with talks featuring high on ways to evaluate the performance of said committee.

Discussions also touched on the security incidents taking place at along the borders' cross points.

Charbel chaired as well a meeting for the committee tasked to set up a book of conditions regarding the biometric passports issue, in presence of representatives from the Interior, Finance and Foreign Affairs Ministries.

Deputy Assem Araji had also met with Minister Charbel whereby they tackled regions' developmental affairs.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Nadim Gemayel avows Kataeb to have ties with Syrian opposition
 

Tue 31/01/2012 15:40

NNA - 31/1/2012 - Indeed, we have relations with the Syrian opposition, Member of Parliament Nadim Gemayel said Tuesday during his meeting with a French municipal delegation.

"We must certainly salute the Syrian National Council for the document it issued recently on the Lebanese-Syrian bilateral ties," he corroborated, raising doubts of a likely civil war to flare up if bloodshed and repression continued in Syria.

Kataeb Deputy saw that Christians of the East must advocate the principles of freedom, justice, and democracy, hoping Christians in Syria would make a historic choice in fighting repression and injustice.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri receives letter from Larijani
 

Tue 31/01/2012 15:09

NNA - 31/1/2012 - Head of Iran's Shoura Council, Ali Larijani, on Tuesday sternly denounced the Knesset project to declare Quds as capital of the Zionist entity, in a letter he cabled Tuesday to House Speaker, Nabih Berri.

Larijani called herein the world's parliaments and the international community to take necessary measures to thwart the aforementioned project.

"The Palestinian history proves that the Zionist entity, with its hostile tendency, always seeks to seize every chance to realize its enlargement and inhuman policies against the aggrieved Palestinian people," the letter read.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - First Lady Sleiman speaks on Arab women's day
 

Tue 31/01/2012 15:06

NNA - 31/1/2012 - Following is the statement of First Lady Wafaa Sleiman on the occasion of the Arab Women's day:

"The Arab Women's Day comes about this year amidst unprecedented changes sweeping over the whole region. Women are assuming active and efficient roles in the unfolding events, out of a conviction that they cannot merely assume the role of bystanders and that they must have a say in the course of the events which are shaking their societies. Moreover, women are hopeful that the changes will lead to underpinning the humanism of their societies, to achieving a greater balance between their components, and to promoting those values which respect the entity, specificities, and individuality of human beings, notwithstanding their gender, religion, or social class.

As a result of all these changes, some fears and anxieties are springing up. Women fear that, in the end, some hurdles might crop up, hindering the course of the struggle they have been leading for the last century. They are afraid the changes might pave the way for thoughts and currents aiming at putting restrictions again on their potentials, their freedom, and their legitimate aspirations to equality, all of which were granted by the Creator, and definitely not a human gift nor a donation.

Thence, today's struggle requires an increased level of awareness, as well as steadfastness in pressing on for changes and cooperation among all women's rights activists, notwithstanding their position or the civil society group they work for, for the purpose of upholding and protecting the accomplishments achieved during the last decades. Consequently, we must endeavor to give a boost to the accomplishments so that they reach the legal and human levels of other civilizations and countries, in conformity with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant charters and conventions.

It is no longer permissible to leave women behind, mired in their dread and dealing with the marginalization attempts in the midst of the prevailing current tide of changes. For any transgression of their rights, any dent in the cornerstones of the legal and social edifice they have erected during their long march shall definitely have repercussions and reverberations throughout the whole Arab World. Our discourse must be made uniform and uttered loud and clear; moreover, it should be clear in its wording and in its objectives. During the previous few months, Arab women have specifically proven that they were capable of sacrificing their lives on the altar of their creed and of struggling for it according to the criteria of right and humanity.

In Lebanon, we are to keep on struggling in order to wipe out any injustice facing women and to remove any social and legal flaws and imperfections. The latter constitute an insufferable ignominy in a society which has experienced openness and enlightenment. Furthermore, Lebanon's land was the cradle of divine religions, all of which gave precedence to the value of the human being and did not distinguish between people based on gender, race, or social status.

Progress and modernism, a ray of light for each Lebanese citizen who seeks to promote his motherland's deeply-rooted and authentic civilization, intuitively and spontaneously call for the advancement of the level of human beings and of their dignity on the echelon of human values. Progress and modernism do not only entail advancement at the levels of technology, building, or external radiant influence and reputation.

From its human dimension, modernism revolves around achieving equality and justice among people. So how are we to tackle these values and aspirations if some of us can't find a problem with the violence perpetrated under the shelter of a household's roof?

Besides, how are we to achieve the equality as prescribed by the law and by all human and social principles if women married to a foreigner don't boast the right to pass their nationality to their children?

These are but a few questions and enquiries strewn on the long road of the struggle for rendering reality conform to values, words conform to actions, and yesterday's civilization conform to the future's modernism, thus without turning a blind eye to principles.

It indeed takes a lot of courage to let go of the negative view of women, with what it includes of chauvinism, discrimination and belittlement. It takes courage to voyage into the realm of a humanism protected by modern legislations and governed by a social thought which supersedes some outdated, obsolescent customs and traditions, alas, still deeply-entrenched in the minds of numerous persons as if they were the inexorable, revealed truth!

These are my aspirations, my request, and my resolve on the occasion of the Arab Women's Day. I partake the hope, along with many civil society actors who reflect the unwavering and faithful people in Lebanon and in all other countries of the Arab World that they are not but a fleeting dream and a transient wish. They are, nonetheless, the ultimate road to a bright new dawn for Arab women and for all humanity."


 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (updated) Fletcher hands Mikati support letter from Cameron
 

Tue 31/01/2012 14:48

NNA - 31/1/2012 - British Ambassador Tom Fletcher on Tuesday handed Prime Minister Najib Mikati a letter from his British counterpart, David Cameron, opening a new phase in British backing for stability, growth and reform.

Responding to Prime Minister Mikati's visit to London, and Lebanon's clear indication that it would continue to honor international obligations, Prime Minister Cameron set out a 'package to provide substantial support to Lebanon's future as a sovereign, independent and dynamic partner'.

He confirmed that Britain would more than double training programs to the Lebanese armed forces, and expressed support for the Code of Conduct announced by the Internal Security Forces. Prime Minister Cameron also suggested plans to provide expertise in supporting Lebanese economic growth, and set a target for an increase of 20% in bilateral trade.

The new package also included initiatives in the health and education sectors, including links between UK and Lebanese schools, and enhanced access to English language resources. It looked forward to sporting cooperation, including at the London 2012 Olympics.

Prime Minister Cameron's proposals will be the platform for an exciting year for the bilateral relationship, including plans for a British week in June and celebrations of HM Queen's 60th Jubilee.

Fletcher also updated Prime Minister Mikati on the embassy's Leb2020 initiative.

Separately, PM Mikati held a meeting with Ministers Muhammad Al-Safadi, Ahmed Karameh, Nicolas Nahas and Faysal Karameh with talks featuring high on projects concerning Tripoli and North Lebanon.

The Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud had also met Premier Mikati with whom he discussed touristic affairs, shedding light on the Lebanese touristic conditions.

The Minister who uttered worry over the regress in the local touristic activity, said tourism had lately witnessed a loss of more than 300 thousand tourists who used to enter Lebanon through its land borders.

"Touristic promotion campaigns have become a necessity at this stage," he said.

Amongst Mikati's visitors were also former MP Jihad Al-Samad and Lebanese Army Intelligence Chief, Brigadier General Edmond Fadel.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Bkirki follow-up committee meets Raad
 

Tue 31/01/2012 13:36

NNA - 31/1/2012 - The Bkirki follow-up committee comprised of Deputies Georges Odwan, Boutros Harb, Alain Aoun, Sami Gemayel as well as former Ministers Youssef Saadeh and Ziad Baroud held a meeting Tuesday with the head of Loyalty to the Resistance bloc, MP Muhammad Raad.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk participates in Information committee's meeting
 

Tue 31/01/2012 13:29

NNA - 31/1/2012 - The Information committee held Tuesday a meeting at the Parliament, headed by MP Hassan Fadlallah, in presence of Information Minister Walid Daouk, and Deputies Ammar Houry, Emile Rahme, Ghassan Mukhayber, Kamel Al-Rifaii, Ghazi Youssef, Ziad Al-Kadiri, Hani Kobeisi, Ziad Aswad and Ali Ammar.
The meeting was also attended by the Information Ministry's Director General, Hassan Falha, and the head of the National Media Council, Abdel Hadi Mahfouz.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt follows up developmental affairs with Aley municipalities' heads
 

Tue 31/01/2012 13:13

NNA - 31/1/2012 - Progressive Socialist Party's Head Walid Jumblatt received Tuesday at his residence in Clemenceau a delegation of Aley municipalities' heads, with talks featuring high on developmental and economic affairs.

The delegation thanked Jumblatt for his national stances which, in their words, seek national unity and civil peace in Mount region.

Jumblatt, for his part, uttered readiness to support the municipal activities in Aley. He stressed on the importance of putting at the municipalities' disposal, all tools to develop that region at the economic, social and cultural levels.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman meets Sehnaoui and Ghanem
 

Tue 31/01/2012 13:10

NNA - 31/1/2012 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman will head the cabinet's meeting on Tuesday at Baabda Presidential Palace to discuss the electricity plan submitted by Energy and Water Minister Gebran Bassil and 2012 draft budget.



Sleiman met with Telecom Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui and reviewed steps taken by the Telecom Ministry to improve and upgrade the telecom sector.



The president also met with MP Robert Ghanem and skimmed through issues pertaining to law and justice.



O.H

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Politics - Rahi: we must break ice among country's factions
 

Tue 31/01/2012 13:01

NNA - 31/1/2012 - Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Boutros Rahi, on Tuesday said the main goal is to fill the gap between the country's factions and break the ice among all.

The Patriarch confirmed that Bkirki's dialogue with Hezbollah dwells on three major topics: a Lebanese entity as state, a national pact and Lebanon's message to the Arab world.

Rahi made these remarks in his meeting with students of the Lebanese Democratic Party, whereby he reminded that Lebanon had always been known for its democratic system.

"Nowadays, we are in urgent need for a democratic life in Lebanon, in light of the Arab developments," he declared, assuring that rejecting unilateralism, clinging to conviviality, and highlighting the youths' role are a must for the country's persistence.

The Patriarch, who called for rejecting hostile rhetoric, reiterated his call for holding a new national meeting based on the 1943 national pact.

He finally said "Lebanon's beauty emanates from its diversity," describing it as the region's "mosaic".
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun meets Kamal Kheir
 

Tue 31/01/2012 12:37

NNA - 31/1/2012 - "Change and Reform" bloc head Deputy Michel Aoun met on Tuesday at his Rabyeh residence with National Center head in the north Kamal Kheir who asked the cabinet not to impede citizens' projects.

Kheir criticized the disruption of electricity under the pretext of Arab funds, calling on the cabinet to approve the electricity project imminently.

On the other hand, he stressed the necessity to support the Lebanese army who is the safety valve, protects the Lebanese Syrian borders and prevents weapons smuggling.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kanaan discusses developments in Brussels
 

Tue 31/01/2012 12:07

NNA - 31/1/2012 - "Change and Reform bloc member Deputy Ibrahim Kanaan reviewed the political situation in Lebanon and the latest developments on the internal and external scene.

Kanaan's remarks came at the annual General conference for "Free Patriotic Movement" in Brussels, Belgium.

A dinner banquet was held for MP Kanaan and the accompanying delegation.

Kanaan visited before the Lebanese Embassy headquarters in Brussels and held a meeting with Lebanese Charge d'affair and the Lebanese Consul.

Discussions tackled the latest developments and the situation of the Lebanese community.

The following day Kanaan held a discussion meeting with the Lebanese community and the bloc's cadres, where they tackled the pressing factors on the Lebanese situation and the policy of the bloc to confront them to prevent any security explosion in Lebanon.

"To prevent any security tampering we called for political understanding, not aiming at power but to protect Lebanon", the MP stressed.

Kanaan said that the goal of his bloc is to strengthen and develop the Lebanese immunity through reform.

"The state is our goal and limiting corruption and wasting too are our main goals", the MP stressed.

A.A.M

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Politics - Zahra: Aoun's bloc wants to seize government administrations
 

Tue 31/01/2012 12:05

NNA - 31/1/2012 - Member of Parliament Antoine Zahra said that the Change and Reform bloc entered the government in a bid to control all of the government administrative posts and take actions with complete impunity.

Speaking to "Al Sharq Radio", Zahra argued that the 10 minister of MP Michel Aoun's bloc joined the government for the sole purpose of controlling the key government posts and achieve personal gains without any direct supervision.

"This pattern of behavior is very evident in the electricity, red gasoil, telecommunication and wages issues that are being handled by the ministers of the bloc. This group is acting above the law."

The MP added that Aoun's bloc is trying to deceive people with empty slogans.
"You can lie to people most of the time but you can't lie to people all of the time," the MP said.

Zahra claimed that based on recent statistics, the support for the Free Patriotic Movement has fell by more than 50 percent since the 2005 parliamentary elections and until this day.

He added that Aoun and his supporters are involved in suspicious deals and business transactions, stressing that this proves that these people are not serious in combating corruption in the country.

The MP also commented on the unfolding events in Syria.

Zahra indicated that the Syrian regime is trying to give the impression that it has many cards in its hand which it can use in case the pressure on the regime mounted.

He rejected the accusations of the Syrian regime that March 14 is arming and financing the Syrian opposition which are trying to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Fletcher hands Mikati support letter from Cameron
 

Tue 31/01/2012 11:15

NNA - 31/1/2012 - British Ambassador Tom Fletcher on Tuesday handed Prime Minister Najib Mikati a letter from his British counterpart, David Cameron, opening a new phase in British backing for stability, growth and reform.

Responding to Prime Minister Mikati's visit to London, and Lebanon's clear indication that it would continue to honor international obligations, Prime Minister Cameron set out a 'package to provide substantial support to Lebanon's future as a sovereign, independent and dynamic partner'.

He confirmed that Britain would more than double training programs to the Lebanese armed forces, and expressed support for the Code of Conduct announced by the Internal Security Forces. Prime Minister Cameron also suggested plans to provide expertise in supporting Lebanese economic growth, and set a target for an increase of 20% in bilateral trade. The new package also included initiatives in the health and education sectors, including links between UK and Lebanese schools, and enhanced access to English language resources. It looked forward to sporting cooperation, including at the London 2012 Olympics.

Prime Minister Cameron's proposals will be the platform for an exciting year for the bilateral relationship, including plans for a British week in June and celebrations of HM Queen's 60th Jubilee.

Fletcher also updated Prime Minister Mikati on the embassy's Leb2020 initiative (more details at www.ukinlebanon.gov.uk).
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aswad: our political group victim of decadence
 

Tue 31/01/2012 11:08

NNA - 31/1/2012 - "Change and Reform" bloc member Deputy Ziad Aswad stressed that his bloc is the victim of political decadence.

Aswad described the concept of the other team as ridiculous and superficial to a degree that the insults are affecting the constitution, laws and the freedom and privacy of the people.

"The aim of this group is to reach to data information of all the Lebanese under the pretext that there is an assassination operation" the MP told Sawt el Mada" radio on Tuesday.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Jisser says data crucial to prevent assassinations
 

Tue 31/01/2012 10:30

NNA - 31/1/2011 - Member of Parliament Samir Jisser said it is crucial to take the information about assassination plots against politicians and security figures into consideration.

"Assassination could reach everybody and may not be confined to March 14 leaders and security personnel in order to create chaos," Jisser told Voice of Lebanon.

He added that some political quarters may not hesitate to transfer the crisis from his country to Lebanon.

Jisser feared that assassinations are aimed at creating tension in the country.

Responding to a question, Jisser said that data communication monitors only the movement of contacts and numbers and will not reveal the contents of these calls.

The MP stressed that it is the duty of the telecom minister to provide all the data to security officials.

Jisser appreciated the stands adopted by MP Walid Jumblatt on Syria, assuring that contacts with the leader have never stopped.

O.H

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Politics - Merehbi: All citizens criticize Bassil's performance
 

Tue 31/01/2012 10:13

NNA - 31/1/2012 - "Future" bloc member Deputy Mouhin Merehbi stressed that all the Lebanese criticized Energy Minister Gebran Bassil and his bloc for their performance in electricity issue and others.

The MP said that people's interests are not dealt correctly from Bassil and his bloc.

"Mobile companies are not providing good service for the citizens", the MP stressed.

"We don't criticize just to criticize, but we say there are better ways to achieve issues", the MP added, pointing out that Arab funds can provide better results in transparency and execution concerning electricity sector.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Jumblatt tackles developments with Makhitarian, Pakradonian
 

Mon 30/01/2012 20:08
NNA - 30/01/2012 - Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) Leader, Walid Jumblatt, dwelt on most recent political developments with Tashnag Party Secretary General, Hovik Makhitarian, and MP Hagop Pakradonian, who visited his Clemenceau residence this evening, a statement by PSP media bureau said on Monday.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt to Al-Anbaa: All have to return to dialogue
 

Mon 30/01/2012 19:40

NNA - 30/1/2012 "National Struggle" front Head Walid Jumblatt stressed that all political sides in Lebanon should demonstrate humbleness and return to national dialogue, which constitutes the sole means to protect Lebanon at this critical stage.
Deputy Jumblatt was speaking in his weekly position to Al-Anbaa newspaper, issued by Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) every Monday.
On the other hand, Jumblatt underlined that it is not acceptable to expose Lebanon security wise or to put it in danger due to political disputes. He stressed the necessity that all official security apparatuses (and probably non-official) to cooperate amongst each other in the case they receive any information related to suspicious security plots, in a bid to protect citizens and resistance and preventing any tampering with internal stability.
Turning to the Syrian affair, Jumblatt called on the Lebanese- whether those considering what is currently taking place in Syria a conspiracy or a revolution- to minimally agree on protecting Lebanon's stability, civil peace and national coexistence.
PSP Head also urged all the Lebanese not to forget the permanent Israeli threat in the South and the significance of the resistance's arms in defending Lebanon.
--------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - LF bloc meets in Meerab, ups calls for rigid stance from borderline violations
 

Mon 30/01/2012 19:39

NNA - 30/01/2012 - The Lebanese Forces (LF) on Monday stepped up calls for firmer stances by the Lebanese government from incessant violations of Lebanese sovereignty and flagrant assaults targeting innocent Lebanese nationals, in different borderline regions.
The Lebanese Forces met in Meerab today over latest local and regional developments, under the chairmanship of LF Leader Samir Geagea, in presence of LF MPs and former LF Ministers.
"Adequate measure ought to be adopted so as to prevent such incidents from reoccurring," a statement issued by LF read.
Conferees also requested investigations leading to the whereabouts of Lebanese citizens who had gone missing within the last few days in Syria, not to mention the destiny of the scores of Lebanese citizens held in Syrian prisons.
"The National Syrian Council�s statement embodies all what the Lebanese have been thriving for in Lebanese-Syrian relations," The LF statement added, expressing herein the party�s high evaluation of the SNC�s look of things. "They look forward to translate their words into action soon," the LF statement hoped.
Responding to sides refusing to mention the Cedar Revolution in the new official history book being prepared for elementary and intermediate school levels, the LF confirmed that a decision as such would be applied against the majority of the Lebanese will, but considered it rather more an attempt to marginalize a huge segment of the Lebanese society.
"This bears destructive inclinations, which if continued, might forge Lebanon�s reality and history," the statement added.
Touching on the domestic souring economic and social conditions, the LF agreed that the electricity situation has become unbearable, deeming all the excuses provided thus far by the Water and Energy Minister, to cover up for this crisis, as insufficient.
Moreover, conferees also requested speedy investigations by concerned judicial authorities following up the red diesel scandal, asking for the results to be published and those involved to be tried.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati meets Abu Faour, Beirut delegation
 

Mon 30/01/2012 19:23

NNA - 30/1/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Monday met with Social Affairs Minister, Wael Abu Faour, over an array of affairs relevant to the Social Affairs Ministry.

A delegation of Beirut Families Gathering had also been to the Grand Serail today for a meeting with Mikati over a spectrum of demands concerning administrative and military appointments as well as developmental projects.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Arslan receives delegation of Human Rights International Commission
 

Mon 30/01/2012 19:22

NNA - 30/01/2012 - Head of the Lebanese Democratic Party, Deputy Talal Arslan, received on Monday at his office a delegation of the Human Rights International Commission headed by Muhammad Khan.

Talks reportedly featured high on means of preserving security and stability in Lebanon.

Khan presented the host with an honorary shield in appreciation of his efforts in serving human rights on the local and regional levels.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kahwaji receives Rifi, Lombardo
 

Mon 30/01/2012 18:43

NNA - 30/01/2012 - Lebanese Army Commander, General Jean Kahwaji, met over the security situation with Internal Security Forces Major General, Ashraf Rifi.

Rifi, who visited Kahwaji's office in Yarzeh on Monday, tackled with the General ways of boosting cooperation and coordination between both sides in order to establish security and stability in the country.

Moreover, Kahwaji received UNRWA Director in Lebanon, Salvatore Lombardo, with talks focusing on the agency's activities, Palestinian refugees' affairs as well as the cooperation with the army in this framework.

P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kataeb tackles latest developments
 

Mon 30/01/2012 18:34

NNA - 30/1/2012 Kataeb polit bureau met on Monday in its weekly regular session, under the chairmanship of Party Head Amine Gemayel.
Talks reportedly touched on the latest developments on the Lebanese and international arena, a brief statement by the Party said.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - LF bloc meets in Meerab
 

Mon 30/01/2012 18:24

NNA - 30/1/2012 - Lebanese Forces bloc is currently meeting in Meerab, under the chairmanship of LF leader Samir Geagea, in presence of MPs Tony Abu Khater, Joseph Maalouf, George Adwan, Strida Geagea, Antoine Zahra, Farid Habib, and Elie Keyrouz, as well as former Ministers Ibrahim Najjar, Selim Warde, and Toni Karam, and Eddy Abi Lamaa representing March 14 secretariat.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Abu Faour: Political exploitation of Syrian issue rejected
 

Mon 30/01/2012 18:21

NNA - 30/1/2012 Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour considered that the issue of Syrians escaping their country's crisis is a humanitarian matter rather than political, stressing the importance of casting this issue away from political exploitation.
Minister Abu Faour was speaking during the conclusion session of "Social Affairs Ministry- Developmental Services Center" project workshop, held at "Holiday Inn-Dune" Hotel-Verdun, organized by the Ministry in cooperation with UNRWA and Danish Refugees Council.
"Any political exploitation of this matter [Syrians in Lebanon] is rejected at the local and international levels," Abu Faour said, noting that this matter is being addressed within the existing capabilities of the Lebanese state and internal agreement.
The Minister also disclosed that the number of Syrians coming into Lebanon is likely to increase, thus calling for a future planning in this regards based on internal agreement and removing any political factor from this issue.
-----------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour: we take decisions serving Lebanon's interest in Syrian crisis
 

Mon 30/01/2012 16:56
NNA - 30/01/2012 - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Adnan MAnsour said the Lebanese Syrian relation had its own particularities and was always distinguished, explaining that it was for this reason that Lebanon would adopt decisions, at the Arab League, best serving Lebanon's interests, regarding the Syrian crisis.

Mansour's words came Monday upon his meeting with a delegation of the Editors Syndicate Council headed by Saeed Nassereddine.

"Lebanon's particular tie with Syria makes us take decisions that well serve Lebanon's interests on the one hand and the particularity of the Lebanese Syrian relation on the other, due to the geographic, historic, familial, commercial and economic connection between both countries."

Turning to the diplomatic appointments issue, Mansour assured that 95% of the appointments procedure has been accomplished without any objection by politicians.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Mansour: we take decisions serving Lebanon's interest in Syrian crisis
 

Mon 30/01/2012 16:56

NNA - 30/01/2012 - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Adnan MAnsour said the Lebanese Syrian relation had its own particularities and was always distinguished, explaining that it was for this reason that Lebanon would adopt decisions, at the Arab League, best serving Lebanon's interests, regarding the Syrian crisis.

Mansour's words came Monday upon his meeting with a delegation of the Editors Syndicate Council headed by Saeed Nassereddine.

"Lebanon's particular tie with Syria makes us take decisions that well serve Lebanon's interests on the one hand and the particularity of the Lebanese Syrian relation on the other, due to the geographic, historic, familial, commercial and economic connection between both countries."

Turning to the diplomatic appointments issue, Mansour assured that 95% of the appointments procedure has been accomplished without any objection by politicians.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 









 

Politics - Sleiman follows up on security, electricity dossiers
 

Mon 30/01/2012 16:55

NNA - 30/1/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Monday followed up on a spectrum of security, military, political, service, and environmental items with his itinerant visitors at Baabda presidential palace.

He first met with PSP Leader, MP Walid Jumblatt, over most recent political developments on both local and regional scenes.

He later met with Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Marwan Charbel, over the current security situation in the country.

Talks also touched on the electoral project law and administrative decentralization.

Sleiman later broached the electricity power issue with Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Gebran Bassil.

Member of Parliament Farid Khazen had also been to Baabda palace today to discuss with the President latest political up-to-dates in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

Besides, Sleiman tackled the security situation on the local domestic arena with Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji.

The security situation along northern borders later topped talks between the President and ISF Director General, Major General Ashraf Rifi.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Mufti Qabbani receives Sudanese Ambassador, others
 

Mon 30/01/2012 16:50

NNA - 30/01/2012 - Mufti of Lebanon Sheikh Mohammad Rachid Qabbani received on Monday at Dar Fatwa the Sudanese Ambassador Idriss Sleiman Mustafa, who thanked the host for his condolences on the death of Sudanese people at the collapsed building of Ashrafieh two weeks ago. The visit was an opportunity to discuss the local situation in Sudan and the Arab region.

Afterwards, the Mufti received a delegation of "Takafol" Association for Children Care headed by Issam Barghout, who related to the host the association's activities on the charitable, social, humane and religious levels.

The author Feryal Khoury Moussa also visited the Mufti and presented him with a copy of the eighth volume of her book "Lebanese Faces." The Mufti wished the author every success.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Daouq, Harb, Christensen, Kotcharian at Grand Serail today
 

Mon 30/01/2012 16:33

NNA - 30/1/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Monday met at the Grand Serail with Danish Ambassador to Lebanon, Jan Top Christensen, accompanied with a delegation of Vestas Wind Systems Company, with talks featuring high on the adoption of aeolian energy to produce electricity power.

The meeting accordingly broached the available economic means in an effort to adopt this newly suggested energy so as to find a suitable solution to the long-simmering power crisis in Lebanon.

Mikati later met with Armenian ambassador Ashot Kotcharian over the Lebanese-Armenian bilateral ties, namely on the economic and trade levels.

The pair reportedly shone light on the two-pronged political relations and the importance to activate the work of the joint governmental commission.

Minister of Information, Walid Daouq, had also been to the Grand Serail today for a meeting with Mikati over an array of related ministerial affairs.

On the other hand, Premier Mikati today tackled most recent developments in Lebanon and the likely repercussions of neighboring unrest with Member of Parliament Boutros Harb, who lashed out at what he termed "the inadmissible political blackmailing, threatening to foment a wider political crisis."

The Deputy also expressed fears over news about some networks preparing attacks on a number of political and security officials.

Batroun governmental hospital featured high today on talks between Mikati and Hrab, whereby the latter reminded that he had submitted the related dossier to his successor, namely Minister Charbel Nahhas. "This major dossier is still not put forth before the cabinet," he deplored.

Among Grand Serail itinerants today, had also been former Yemenite President Ali Salim Al-Bayd, Beirut and Tripoli Engineers Orders, ISF Chief Major General Ashraf Rifi, and Head of Al-Maqassed philanthropic association, Amine Daouq.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

























 

Politics - Mufti Qabbani receives Sudanese Ambassador, others
 

Mon 30/01/2012 16:32

NNA - 30/01/2012 - Mufti of Lebanon Sheikh Mohammad Rachid Qabbani received on Monday at Dar Fatwa the Sudanese Ambassador Idriss Sleiman Mustafa, who thanked the host for his condolences on the death of Sudanese people at the collapsed building of Ashrafieh two weeks ago. The visit was an opportunity to discuss the local situation in Sudan and the Arab region.

Afterwards, the Mufti received a delegation of "Takafol" Association for Children Care headed by Issam Barghout, who related to the host the association's activities on the charitable, social, humane and religious levels.

The author Feryal Khoury Moussa also visited the Mufti and presented him with a copy of the eight volume of her book "Lebanese Faces." The Mufti wished the author every success.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Pope very likely to visit Lebanon - Caccia
 

Mon 30/01/2012 15:51

NNA - 30/1/2012 - There is a serious chance that Pope Benedict XVI visits Lebanon in the mid-year of 2012 to hand the Apostolic Directive special to the Middle East, Apostolic Nuncio Gabriele Caccia said on Monday.

Caccia met today at his residence in Harissa with a delegation of Lebanon's Latin Union.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel, Watkins tackle 1701, electoral law
 

Mon 30/01/2012 15:39

NNA - 30/01/2012 - Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel met Monday with the UNDP resident representative in Lebanon, Robert Watkins, with talks featuring high on the implementation of the 1701 resolution and the electoral law.

In the wake of the meeting, Watkins delivered the following statement:
"I just met with Minister of Interior, Marwan Charbel. Our discussions focused on several aspects of the situation in Lebanon.

I briefed Minister Charbel on the preparations for the next report on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701, which is due to the Security Council at the end of February. While appreciating Lebanon's expressions of commitment to 1701, I relayed the UN's expectations that Lebanon would continue to meet its international obligations under all relevant Security Council resolutions."

"Our meeting was also an opportunity to discuss the security situation in Lebanon. I expressed the hope that the necessary measures would be taken to safeguard Lebanon's security and stability, particularly in light of the developments in the surrounding Arab region. The Minister reassured me that the security situation was under control and that the security agencies were doing their utmost to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the Lebanese citizens," He added.

"Minister Charbel and I also discussed the preparations that are underway for the electoral framework for the 2013 parliamentary elections. The United Nations has previously lent its assistance to the Ministry of the Interior, and we stand ready to continue to provide that support. We also would like to see continued progress on important electoral reforms, an issue that we also spoke about.

Finally, I asked Minister Charbel about the situation in Lebanon's central prison of Roumieh, which he visited last week. This is also a human rights issue that the United Nations s following."

He finally confirmed that UN believed every country should use prison facilities as means to rehabilitate outlaws and to help them find their way back to a normal life in society.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Climate change tops Khoury-Christensen's talks
 

Mon 30/01/2012 15:27

NNA - 30/1/2012 - Environment Minister Nazem Al-Khoury met Monday with the Danish Ambassador to Lebanon Jan Top Christensen with whom he tackled the climate change issue as well as bilateral cooperation at the environmental level.

Separately, Khoury received the head of industrialists association, Nehmat Efram with whom he tackled industrial and environmental affairs.

Efram confirmed that the Environment Ministry supports the Lebanese industry.

"The Lebanese industrialist is eco-friendly yet he suffers from the lack of infrastructure," he noted.

Also, the meeting was an occasion to tackle the wage increase issue, whereby Efram confirmed that industrialists will commit to the new minimum wage formula and to the wage hike as per the brackets starting next month, maintaining the transportation allowance until the issuance of the new decree.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



 






 


Politics - Ain-el-Tineh highlights today
 

Mon 30/01/2012 15:21
NNA - 30/1/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Monday met with Minister of Education and Higher Learning, Hassan Diab, over an array of affairs relevant to the Education Ministry.

Chairman of Middle East Airlines (MEA), Mohammad Hout, had also been to Ain-el-Tineh today for a meeting with the Speaker, who was reportedly keen to couch support for the company's prosperity and continuity.

Berri later received Ambassador Fouad Turk and Director General of the Civil Aviation, Elias Tawil.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jarrah chides Aoun with political, security tensions
 

Mon 30/01/2012 15:17

NNA - 30/1/2012 - Future Deputy Jamal Jarrah on Monday said General [Michel] Aoun and his ministers were the stepping stone to the current political, security, and financial tensions.

He mainly lambasted MP Aoun, Head of the Change and Reform Bloc, for calling to protest against the government and keeping the telecoms data concealed.

Jarrah hence warned Aoun and his "team" of proceeding with their blatant attempt to sow strife and conspire against civil peace and political and security stability.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Politics - Abu Faour receives Tanase, others
 

Mon 30/01/2012 15:03

NNA - 30/01/2012 - Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour received on Monday at his office the Romanian Ambassador Daniel Tanase and discussed with him bilateral ties.

Separately, he received Deputy Hady Hobeish and reviewed with him domestic affairs relevant to the fishing sector and Abdeh seaport.

Amongst Abu Faour's visitors has been former Minister Ibrahim Shamseddine, who discussed with the host the general situation.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Politics - Qabbani responds to Aoun, Bassil: their words are groundless insulting allegations
 

Mon 30/01/2012 14:58

NNA - 30/1/2012 - Deputy Mohammed Kabbani, responded Monday to the attacks launched in all directions by "Gebran" (the Energy Minister Gebran Bassil) and his stepfather the "General" (Michel Aoun, leader of the Change and Reform bloc) last Friday, describing their words as groundless allegations far from truth and decency.

General Michel Aoun had lashed out Friday, in a meeting with officials of the Free Patriotic Movement, on all the country's political leaders, starting with the President of the Republic, the House Speaker and the Prime Minister, and reaching the "living martyrs" as well as several Ministers and MPs, among whom Kabbani himself.

"The head of gas stations owners' union in Lebanon, Sami Brax, had said Friday that Minister Bassil had tried to exert pressure on these owners to encourage them to demonstrate against me and the public works committee," Qabbani noted, criticizing the disdain of General Aoun vis-a-vis the living martyrs; a disdain reflected in his suggestion that a cuckolded husband could have been behind the attempted assassination of one of them.

While asking whether "the Lebanese accept such insults," the MP said the electricity and fuel oil scandals were behind these attacks, since "the pranks of the General and his followers were unveiled."

Kabbani announced in this regard that a lawsuit ought to be filed against the head of the Free Patriotic Movement for defamation.

D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved












 

Politics - Sleiman: ministers are responsible for administrative appointments
 

Mon 30/01/2012 14:54

NNA - 30/01/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman said that ministers were responsible for carrying out the administrative appointment process, criticizing any concept of package deal in regards to the appointment issue.

Sleiman's words came Monday via an interview on Lebanon Files media station.

Sleiman indicated that the ministers, who were responsible for appointment, have thus far not proposed or discussed any name for the issue. Accordingly, he urged ministers to assume their responsibility in this concern.

Sleiman saw that the government could only persist by returning to the constitution and laws and taking into consideration the high national interest and the logic of institutions. He clarified that he was not satisfied about the government's productivity, notably on the administrative or financial budget level.

Sleiman pointed out that he would make amendments on the constitution with the end of his presidential period, so that he wouldn't be blamed later on for acquiring benefits from these amendments.

Turning to the Syria crisis file, Sleiman said he had a good relation with the Syrian President Bashar Assad and the Syrian leadership as a whole. Sleiman reiterated his stance, he already gave at the Lebanese University, that he voiced support for democracy and power rotation in Syria.

He thereby called upon the Syrian leadership to set dialogue with the various factions of Syrian opposition, hoping that the solution to the crisis would remain in the context of the Arab League.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Merehbi: March 8 is responsible for any security disturbance
 

Mon 30/01/2012 14:20

NNA - 30/1/2012 - Deputy Moiin Merehbi on Monday held March 8 forces responsible for any security perturbation in the country, hoping these forces had nothing to do with the assassination attack which would have targeted the ISF Director General Ashraf Rifi and the Head of ISF's Information Branch, Colonel Wissam al-Hassan.

The MP shed light, in this regard, on the solid connection between the March 8 forces, Iran and Syria at different levels, suggesting that these forces made no action without the approval of said countries.

Merehbi criticized the fact that Telecommunication Minister Nicolas Sehnawi refused to hand the calls' data to the concerned authorities, saying they were in the hands of Hezbollah.
D.K.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Gemayel: we communicate with Syrian leaderships to uncover fate of Lebanese missing in Syria
 

Mon 30/01/2012 13:46

NNA - 30/1/2012 - The Kataeb party Head, Amin Gemayel, confirmed Monday that communication channels are open with Syrian leaders, particularly Burhan Ghalioun, to learn on the fate of the Lebanese missing in Syria.

Gemayel, who held a press conference at the party's central house, Saifi, said the joint conference by Kataeb party and the International Union of Centrist Democratic Parties, entitled Arab world changes: democracy and plurality, was parallel to the Arab world's activity.

"The recommendations of the conference are a first step towards launching a series of initiatives in Lebanon and the world to develop the ideas agreed upon, in cooperation with the parties which adopt our vision of democracy and pluralism," he said.

Gemayel reported that the democratic parties Union agreed to establish a regional office in Beirut, which regroups Middle Eastern countries, to be chaired by the Kataeb Head himself.

"We respect the will of the people and we must not judge their orientations," he noted, finally, refusing to go backward in terms of democracy in Lebanon.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved











 

Politics - Kobeisi calls for reinforcing unity, resuming dialogue
 

Mon 30/01/2012 12:48

NNA - 30/1/2012 - Liberation and Development bloc member, Deputy Hani Kobeisi, on Monday called for reinforcing unity and resuming dialogue between national factions to boost people's trust in their country and regain stability.

The MP called, in a ceremony held in Nabatiyeh, for addressing livelihood affairs with total seriousness, particularly the electricity and water issues.

"The way power outage is being addressed currently is unfair vis-a-vis the citizens," he said, assuring that people should not remain caught between politicians' mutual accusations.

Separately, Kobeissi indicated that his party is working for elaborating a modern non-confessional electoral law which reinforces unity and spares Lebanon further division.

At the regional level, the MP questioned the stances of the Arab countries which "seem to disregard the Israeli steps aimed at Al-Quds Judaization, while they [Israelis] keep holding meetings to plot against Syria and the resistance."
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Khreis: Entire cabinet is responsible for electricity crisis
 

Mon 30/01/2012 12:43

NNA - 30/1/2012 - Deputy Ali Khreis pointed out that the entire cabinet is responsible for the electricity crisis and not one minister.

"The cabinet is responsible for the electricity crisis and not only one minister", the MP stressed, pointing out that livelihood issue which effecting the country should be solved by the cabinet.

Khreis stressed in a ceremony in Hanawiyat Village that the army, resistance and people will continue to protect Lebanon.

The MP called on the concerned sides to approve the appointment issue.

Concerning the issue of the missing Imam Moussa Sadr, the MP said "Libyan cooperation is good", hoping to reach quick results and return of Imam and his colleagues.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour meets discusses Syrian developments
 

Mon 30/01/2012 12:27

NNA - 30/1/2012 - Foreign and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour discussed on Monday at his ministry Syrian crisis and diplomatic nomination with a delegation from editors syndicate.

Separately, Mansour received the credential papers of Kazakhstan new charge d'affair paving the way to present them to President Michel Sleiman.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Abboud: Lebanese refuse to put calls' data at everybody's disposal
 

Mon 30/01/2012 11:10

NNA - 30/1/2012 - Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud on Monday said the majority of the Lebanese people refuse to put the calls' data at the disposal of any security apparatus.

Abboud told the Voice of Lebanon - Voice of Freedom and Dignity that whenever the calls' data issue was raised, the talks on assassinations' attempts showed up again.

"It is about time for the Lebanese to live in a democratic country where freedoms are sacred," he said.

As for the fear of the assassinations' return, the Tourism Minister confirmed that he had no tangible information at this level.

"I don't blame any politician for taking preventive measures, but we should not let this phantom prevail over our daily life," Abboud added.

Tackling the power outage issue, he noted that the electricity plan was being hindered at different levels, calling therefore for implementing the laws.

On a different note, the Minister complained that the cabinet's agendas were omitting important items touching on exhibitions and conferences, suggesting a real marginalization to the Tourism Ministry.

"This method of derailing everything that has to do with the Change and Reform process has become crystal clear," he commented.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved













 

Politics - Ogassapian: Current cabinet will collapse
 

Mon 30/01/2012 10:30

NNA - 30/1/2012 - Deputy Jean Ogassapian stressed that the current cabinet would eventually collapse and the timing is at the disposal of Hizbullah.

The political crisis is influencing livelihood and educational files, pointing out that this crisis made the cabinet restrained.

"I am not expecting solutions from this cabinet on the appointments and electricity issues", the MP pointed out on Monday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio.

Commenting on the Syrian crisis repercussions on Lebanon, the MP called on the Lebanese cabinet to control and monitor the borders with Syria imminently.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Nicolas Nahhas: No obstacle in electricity plan execution
 

Mon 30/01/2012 10:10

NNA - 30/1/2012 - Economy Minister Nicolas Nahhas stressed that there is no obstacle in executing electricity plan which was placed on the railroad of execution.

He added "we are now in the stages of execution although this process is not going fast enough".

Nahhas ruled out on Monday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio that the political disputes would influence the cabinet's performance, stressing "this cabinet is active since it takes a number of decisions in 2 or 3 sessions every week".

Concerning the telecommunications data issue, he said that "I was not briefed on this issue", leaving the decision for the cabinet in this issue.

The Minister stressed that it is time to determine appointments issue by implementing a mechanism then by voting, pointing out to consensus among the President, Prime Minister and Speaker of the House.

On the other hand, the minister pledged to follow up the hand over operation of red gasoil to determine responsibilities.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jisser: Role of Telecommunication Committee to monitor minister's work
 

Mon 30/01/2012 09:38

NNA - 30/1/2011 - Future Parliamentary bloc member Samir Jisser said it's the duty of the telecommunication Parliamentary committee to monitor the performance of the telecommunication minister and not to legislate.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon "Voice of Freedom and Dignity", the MP expressed surprise by Telecommunication Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui's claims that the committee recommended not to send the call data to the security apparatus.

"The legislation is the duty of the parliament and not the parliamentary committee," Jisser argued.

He added that legal procedures should be followed to the letter so that the security forces obtain the telecommunication data.

"Phone tapping is different from the data. The data reveals the numbers only and has nothing to do with phone tapping. Phone tapping requires a legal permission."

Jisser declined to make a direct comment about reports that Lebanese citizens were killed inside Syria but feared that the Syrian regime could carry out some security operations inside Lebanon to cover up for its internal problems.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jisser: Role of Telecommunication Committee to monitor minister's work
 

Mon 30/01/2012 09:36

NNA - 30/1/2011 - Future Parliamentary bloc member Samir Jisser said it's the duty of the telecommunication Parliamentary committee to monitor the performance of the telecommunication minister and not to legislate.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon "Voice of Freedom and Dignity", the MP expressed surprise by Telecommunication Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui's claims that the committee recommended not to send the call data to the security apparatus.

"The legislation is the duty of the parliament and not the parliamentary committee," Jisser argued.

He added that legal procedures should be followed to the letter so that the security forces obtain the telecommunication data.

"Phone tapping is different from the data. The data reveals the numbers only and has not nothing to do with phone tapping. Phone tapping requires a legal permission."

Jisser declined to make a direct comment about reports that Lebanese citizens were killed inside Syria but feared that the Syrian regime could carry out some security operations inside Lebanon to cover up for its internal problems.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Agreement between Fath and Islamic Forces over fortifying Ain Helweh Camp's security
 

Sun 29/01/2012 19:57

NNA - 29/1/2012 - Fath Movement and the Islamic Forces have agreed on boosting cooperation and coordination between them for the sake of fortifying security and stability inside Ain El-Helweh Camp. Both sides agreed to cut the road on any strife or conflict attempt of any kind; stressing that any bet on dispute arising between them is like betting on a mirage.
This came following a meeting by Palestinian National Security Forces Commander in Lebanon, Brigadier Soubhi Abu Arab, and a senior delegation of the Islamic Forces who visited him at Ain Helweh Sunday.
Abu Arab stressed on the importance of communication between both sides to the benefit of the Camp. He also highly valued the role played by the Islamic Forces in the recent security incidents witnessed inside the Ain Helweh Refugee Camp, adding that they shall work hand-in-hand for the sake of warding-off any strife attempt and ensuring the Camp's security, as well as that of its surrounding Lebanese neighborhood.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - S. Gemayel blaming Aounists for electricity penury
 

Sun 29/01/2012 17:47

NNA - 29/01/2012 - Kataeb party coordinator, Sami Gemayel, blamed Aounist minister Bassil and his colleagues for the present electricity penury saying their problem lies in power under-production, uneven distribution of power supply in the country and bad mismanagement.

Speaking at the Kataeb Party annual dinner function in Jbeil in presence of local Party officials and municipal heads, Gemayel prescribed the present root-cause of the problem in Aounist officials themselves. He challenged them to leave the cabinet all together if they felt unhappy and dissatisfied with Mikati's performance.

The senior Kataeb official also announced full support for the people of Mansourieh in their rejection of installing high voltage pylons deemed harmful to their health. He envisaged in the Mansourieh case a further indication of deteriorating power supply in the country.

Gemayel spoke about the mismanagement of collecting bills reaching at the utmost 35% only. He also criticized the scholastic history text book saying it lacked uniformity in educating new generation of pupils about Kataeb Party sacrifices for Lebanon and that this was utterly unacceptable.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Fayyad's apprehension over northern border
 

Sun 29/01/2012 16:45

NNA - 29/01/2012 - Leading Hizbullah Parliamentarian, Ali Fayyad, expressed deep apprehension at the present state on the Lebanese northern border fearing negative repercussions on the Lebanese interior.

Speaking at the inauguration of Kfarkila municipal council in the south, he expressed serious fears over a potential abuse of north Lebanon against Syria with the objective of cross-border gunrunning.

Fayyad thinks that outside meddling into Syrian domestic affairs has reached a dangerous level. He warned against likely-internationalization of the Syrian crisis as part of a major conspiracy. He perceived determination on part of the conspirators to aggravate the situation further in Syria.

He spoke about certain groups taking full license of the northern border and that certain Lebanese leaders covered them politically. He criticized the government for what he termed inaction vis-a-vis the chaotic Lebanese situation.

Fayyad defended the Syrian regime saying its positive initiatives at domestic reforms were all dashed.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman visits Ghazeer
 

Sun 29/01/2012 15:28

NNA - 29/01/2012 President Michel Sleiman visited Sunday Monastery of Saint Anthony of Padua - Khishbaw Ghazeer, headquarters of the General Presidency of the Lebanese Maronite monastery, where he attended the celebratory mass.

Before departing Ghazeer, Sleiman presented the monastery with a coat of arms in appreciation of its national and humanitarian role.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Assad supporters gather before Russian embassy -Beirut
 

Sun 29/01/2012 15:00

NNA - 29/01/2012 Syrian work-force immigrants gathered Sunday in front of Russian embassy in Beirut in recognition of Russia's supportive stance of President Bashar Assad.

The gatherers also saluted China's stand, while condemning France and the US for supporting the uprising rather than the regime.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - PSP, Hezbollah assert good relations
 

Sun 29/01/2012 14:21

NNA - 29/01/2012 Progressive Socialist Party and Hezbollah denied all rumors of a chasm between them, despite diverging viewpoints concerning Syria, during opening of a center for the deaf and mute in Baalbek Sunday.

Minister of Social Affairs Wael Abou Faour and Minister of Agriculture Hussein Hajj Hassan portrayed a unified front to the press today, in spite of rift between PSP leader Walid Jumblatt and Hezbollah's Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah stirred by Syrian uprising, demanding ousting of President Bashar Assad. Hezbollah clearly sided with Assad against all odds, while PSP focused on an immediate halt to violence against civilians regardless of outcome of uprising.

"It was a deliberation visit," said Abou Faour describing Jumblatt's recent visit to Russia. "We have always had a good rapport with Russia...and today it has a great impact on mending things in Syria." He reiterated that what the PSP wished for from Russia and all powers that be was to lobby for a political solution rather than a military one, particularly if it involved foreign intervention. He reassured Lebanese that regardless of outcome of Syrian situation, Lebanon would not be affected as long as domestic factions sustained communication.

Hajj Hassan corroborated Abou Faour's description of solid relations between both parties, based on perpetual communication.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Faysal Karameh in defense of Mikati-led government performance
 

Sun 29/01/2012 13:16

NNA - 29/01/2012 - Youth and Sports Minister Faysal Karameh defended Mikati-led government performance at a Tripoli luncheon given by Abdul Rahim Mrad's Unionist Party. He described the Mikati cabinet as a government of stability. The ability of the government to bring about peace, security and stability to the country, counterbalances any deficiencies or short comings, the Minister added.

With respect to the Islamists behind bars, he favored a quick trial prone to either condemn them or release them outright. He added that the lingering issue of Islamists risks exploding Tripoli from within as he said.

Following Mikati's decision to distance his government from ongoing Syrian unrest, Minister Karameh indicated that any rational Lebanese wishes Syria all the best in recovering its security and stability. He defended his colleague Bassil against his critics saying that the electricity file suffers from politicization at the hands of opportunistic politicians.

He concluded that the best way out of the present impasse would be for politicians to work together far from any sense of vindictiveness.



G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi for a major state role!
 

Sun 29/01/2012 12:54

NNA - 29/01/2012 - Maronite patriarch Bechara Rahi predicated major nation- building on the ability of the state to make justice, further the rule of law and competence in running its affairs.

Expressing deep disappointment at the present state of affairs during Sunday sermon in Bkirki today, the Patriarch stated that it would be rather impossible for the present momentum of subservience to potentates to continue unabated. He added that a strengthened state presupposes the elimination of clientelism and negative tampering with domestic affairs.

The Maronite Church head was assisted by a couple of bishops and a priest, urged state authorities to heavily invest financially in various production sectors.

Attending Bkirki's mass service were former cabinet ministers, charity, information magnates, a number of municipal heads, senior LF social worker and a relatively large congregation.



G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea discusses Syria with European People's Party delegation
 

Sun 29/01/2012 12:00

NNA - 29/01/2012 The urgent need to halt all hostilities against civilians in Syria topped talks between Lebanese Forces Leader, Samir Geagea, and European People's Party delegation Sunday.

The European People's Party (EPP) is a pro-European centre-right political party. It is the most influential of the European parties, and the largest party in the current European Commission.

The delegation addressed at length the deteriorating situation in Syria, as the regime continued its crackdown on daily rallies demanding ousting of President Bashar Assad. "An initiative by all democratic and EU countries has become a must to deal with this human crisis, which has morphed into an assault on the basic rights of any individual," said Wilfried Martens, head of EPP delegation after meeting Geagea.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Events in Syria probable cause of Hassan's assassination plot - Fatfat
 

Sun 29/01/2012 11:38

NNA - 29/01/2012 - Tripoli was the site of an intense meeting Sunday, shedding light on ominous intelligence that revealed an assassination scheme targeting Internal Security Forces (ISF) Head of Information Branch, Brigadier Wissam Hassan, has Syrian roots with domestic muscle.

Future Bloc Parliamentarians convened at residence of MP Mohammad Kabbara, along with other political and religious figures. Security forces received alarming information that an assassination plot was being hatched against Hassan.

MP Ahmad Fatfat, who spoke on behalf of those gathered, said the purpose of the meeting was, "To support security forces and denounce terrorism," drawing parallels between said attempt and events in Syria, which have spiraled out of control in the past few months.

The MP revealed that the execution would have been domestic, although the plan most probably stemmed out of Syria.

R.Z.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Abi Ramia: Attempts to distort Trend's image shall fail!
 

Sat 28/01/2012 19:37

NNA - 28/1/2012 - Member of the Change and Reform Parliamentary Bloc, Deputy Simon Abi Ramia, considered Saturday that all attempts to distort the 'Free Patriotic Trend's" image shall fail. He added that all those behind such attempts are actually seeking to restore the "previous mafia" to the rule!
Over the electricity issue, Abi Ramia stated that after Hariri's team was out of government, it began to place obstacles in the face of executing the electricity plan which had been previously agreed upon in July 2010. Hence, this caused a lot of wasted time, he noted; indicating that every minute wasted in this matter costs Lebanon 12,000 USD! He went on to explain that this is what General Michel Aoun was referring to yesterday, when he stated that the "Free Patriotic Trend" shall never be a mirror to the mafia of the previous rule!
Over the relation between General Aoun and President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman, Abi Ramia considered that the President is the sole person who has taken oath to protect the Constitution. Accordingly, he is urged not to be dragged into the tight political alleys, but to maintain keen concern for ensuring homogeneity between all Lebanese laws and the Constitution.
Regarding the appointments' dossier, Abi Ramia called for keeping this issue away from political divisions. He added that the "Free Patriotic Trend" is seeking to appoint people who are advocates of a reform strategy that combats corruption and are known for their integrity and honesty. He disclosed herein that when the appointments' dossier is proposed for discussion by the cabinet, the Trend shall call for a reform workshop that fills-in the holes evident in the Constitution in this respect.
Over the Special International Tribunal for Lebanon, Abi Ramia referred to a chance for the Tribunal to correct its legal path in the upcoming months with its renewed protocol, in a manner that would ensure respect to Lebanese judicial sovereignty. Moreover, Abi Ramia called, once again, for opening the false witnesses' dossier; adding that as members of the "Free Patriotic Trend," they wish to know the truth behind the assassination of late Prime Minister, Rafic Hariri, and all the other martyrs. Furthermore, he indicated that as a Trend, they shall also seek to know the truth behind the wasted public funds! He stated, herein, that the Trend shall not accept to live together with a political team that has led the people to poverty and sank the country and its future generation in huge debts!
MP Abi Ramia's words came during an interview to "OTV" Station during the "Today's Dialogue" program Saturday morning.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - UNIFIL Transfer of authority/ Naqoura
 

Sat 28/01/2012 16:25

NNA - 28/01/2012 - UNIFIL transfer of authority between outgoing Spanish Commanding officer, General Alberto Asarta, and incumbent Italian officer, Paolo Serra, was held during a special ceremony at Naqoura HQ today.

Here is a full text of General Asarta's farewell address compiled and issued by UNIFIL HQ:

"Honoured religious leaders,
Your excellencies, ministers, ambassadors, members of parliament,
Dear friends from the Lebanese Armed Forces and other security officials,
Respected Lebanese authorities,
Fellow United Nations representatives,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

A warm welcome to all of you on today's ceremony which marks the Transfer of Command of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) from myself to Major General Paolo Serra. I am greatly honoured to share this moment with you, as I bid farewell to colleagues, friends and our Lebanese partners after two years of service under the blue flag in southern Lebanon. The presence of so many distinguished guests is testimony to the important role UNIFIL has and will continue to play in bringing peace to this troubled region.

I recall that the first time I left Lebanon, after my four-month tenure as UNIFIL Sector East commander, someone told me that I would be back again. And indeed, not even a year later, I returned.

I do not know whether my tenure with UNIFIL has been for the better. That is for my Lebanese colleagues to judge. What I can say, having served as UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander for two years to maintain stability in our Area of Operations so as to foster confidence between the parties, and help achieve a permanent ceasefire, the ultimate goal of security council resolution 1701 (2006). For that, I have followed the path of my predecessors. In some areas, which are key for the success of our mission, we progressed significantly. Let me briefly elaborate on these key advances before sharing with you some of my thoughts on the way ahead.

As you all know, in the wake of the 2006 war, the Security Council, in its resolution 1701 (2006), decided to significantly enhance UNIFIL's mandate and strength. This was followed by the deployment of the Lebanese Armed Forces to southern Lebanon, for the first time in decades. Over the following months, UNIFIL and the Lebanese army developed an effective partnership, which, as the security council has often highlighted, is the cornerstone for successful implementation of resolution 1701 (2006).

In addition, our presence here has been characterized by the enduring bond we share with the people of south Lebanon. Over the past two years, our relationship acquired ever new forms of interaction and we made every effort to gain the understanding and support of the local population, so vital for the fulfillment of our tasks.

Furthermore, we have witnessed a significant increase in confidence-building between the two parties. This has been largely due to the comprehensive liaison and coordination arrangements put in place, particularly the tripartite forum, which have proved effective in, first, containing incidents or violations, and then engaging the parties in taking practical steps towards conflict prevention and confidence building.

One such positive outcome of these efforts has been the progress made in the visible marking of the blue line. In accordance with its mandated task to ensure that the blue line is respected by the parties in its entirety, UNIFIL began the marking process in 2007. In 2010, a "Blue Line Task Force" was established, so that -- while by the end of 2009 the construction of 38 blue barrels had been achieved -- during 2010 and 2011, 36 and 47 blue barrels were placed respectively. Today, a total of 126 blue barrels have been constructed -- or about 50 per cent of markable points. But, what is most relevant, access to 190 points has already been cleared of mines and 61 more are in the demining phase.

As concerns the issue of northern Ghajar, the deadlock was broken after, in November 2010, Israel accepted, in principle, to withdraw its forces from the area and UNIFIL submitted proposed security arrangements in 2011. I am hopeful that, with the continued determination of all parties, an Israeli withdrawal from all Lebanese territory can be effectively accomplished in the period ahead.

As concerns the overall situation in the area of operations, it has remained generally stable during the last two years. However, three terrorist attacks against UNIFIL in 2011 as well as the latest rocket launches sadly point to the presence of weapons and hostile armed elements ready to use them against our forces. I count on the continued commitment of the Lebanese authorities to ensure the safety and security of UNIFIL personnel.

Finally I have always placed high priority on improving the existing infrastructure to enhance staff morale and performance. The expansion of UNIFIL HQ to camp Green Hill and the improvement of living and working conditions for UNIFIL personnel in Naqoura and elsewhere in our AO are the most vivid examples of these efforts.

More than five years after adoption of the resolution, conditions on the ground have significantly improved, the cessation of hostilities and respect for the Blue Line have been generally upheld by the parties. UNIFIL has played, and in the period ahead, will continue to play, an important role in preventing a resumption of major hostilities and mitigating any incidents from escalating.

UNIFIL, with the continued backing of the international community and the vital support of troop-contributing countries, will remain committed to maintaining its ongoing operational activities in southern Lebanon; to advancing its current liaison and coordination arrangements with both parties; and to seeking ever closer cooperation with the Lebanese army. Together, we shall continue to do our utmost to pursue our mandated tasks.

However, the full implementation of the resolution is faced with a number of strategic challenges, many of which are outside UNIFIL's remit. The most important of them is to make progress towards a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution to the conflict.

Indeed, UNIFIL's current deployment, assets and resources cannot be sustained indefinitely. It is the responsibility of the parties to take advantage of the window of opportunity that UNIFIL's presence has offered and transcend the current status quo to achieve a permanent ceasefire. The successful and full implementation of resolution 1701, and ultimately, the achievement of a lasting peace in the region, will depend on the steadfast commitment and joint efforts of the parties and the international community in the period ahead.

Connected to that, the Lebanese army's capacity, on land and at sea, needs to be further enhanced before it can effectively assume resolution 1701-related activities and responsibilities over the mission's area of operations. Ultimately, UNIFIL's exit strategy is linked to the Lebanese army's ability to ensure security and stability in southern Lebanon and over Lebanese territorial waters. For this, it is essential that the Lebanese government does its utmost and the international community continues to support the Lebanese army.

Indeed, all our activities at the service of peace and security in southern Lebanon could not be implemented without the cooperation of the Lebanese army. Working in close partnership with UNIFIL, it demonstrated, time and again, and despite constraints faced, its professionalism and outstanding commitment to fulfill resolution 1701. In fact, our partnership with the Lebanese army has broken new grounds through our ongoing strategic dialogue. Today, I therefore wish to particularly thank Lebanese Armed Forces commander General Kahwaji and his soldiers in recognition of their role as a key partner in performing our duties.

At the same time, I would also like to express my gratitude to the government under the able leadership of Prime Minister Mikati, the religious and civilian authorities and the people of Lebanon for the tremendous support, cooperation and good-will which they have extended to UNIFIL, and to me as Head of Mission and Force Commander. The success of our mission would not be possible without their continued support. Let me make a special mention of the local population in the area of operations: UNIFIL's success is their success; at the same time, they are the main beneficiaries of peace. Any progress is both to their credit and to their benefit. I, from the bottom of my heart, entreat them to continue supporting UNIFIL.

Lastly, let me turn to the military and civilian personnel who have been serving tirelessly in UNIFIL during my tenure your professionalism and dedication to service have been vital to the implementation of UNIFIL's mandate. I also wish to mention the excellent support I have received from the mission leadership. The commitment of each and every one of you to make a difference is what has enabled us to move ahead!

Last but not least, the achievements made to date would not have been possible without the strong commitment of the many troop-contributing countries, with their significant deployment of troops, maritime assets and financial resources to UNIFIL.

On this important occasion, I also wish to pay a special tribute to all those who lost their lives in the service of peace. Over the years, 293 UNIFIL military and civilian personnel have given their lives while serving in southern Lebanon. Their sacrifice has not been in vain, but shall encourage us, more than ever, to continue upholding the highest principles of the organization to which they dedicated their lives. Their courage will continue to inspire us!

As I bid farewell to you all, I warmly welcome Major General Paolo Serra. As many of you know, General Serra has had an outstanding career. After having served as Chief of Staff of the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Italy; as Chief of the Forth Logistic Division, Italian army General Staff, and the Land Transformation Department in Rome, I am confident that, with the support of all parties, General Serra will continue to advance the implementation of UNIFIL's mission, and to strive towards achieving sustainable peace and stability for the people of southern Lebanon.

During the past two years spent between the hills and sea of southern Lebanon as UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander, and my previous four months as Sector East Commander, I have grown very fond of Lebanon and the warmth and tremendous hospitality of the people of southern Lebanon. As I bid farewell to my friends here, please rest assured that the country and its beautiful people will always stay very close to my heart.

Once again, my most sincere appreciation to all of you for your unwavering collaboration and warm friendship that I so much treasured throughout my tenure!"

In his welcoming address, newly-appointed Italian Commanding officer, Paulo Serra, stated that the yardstick for future UNIFIL success lies in the commitment of various protagonists to stop all acts of belligerency by honoring UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

Serra announced UNIFIL's commitment to work hand-in-hand with the Lebanese military describing the relationship between international peacekeepers and the Lebanese army as a strategic partnership.

He added that both would be working for the same objective of reaching peace and stability in the South. Serra stressed that UNIFIL's mandate under his command would not witness any change.

He pledged that Blue-Line demarcation be improved in order to bolster the commitment to peace and stability by all parties concerned.

 

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Politics - Ain-Tineh itinerant activities and visitors today
 

Sat 28/01/2012 15:26

NNA - 28/01/2012 - Former Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, and accompanying delegation paid House Speaker Nabih Berri a courtesy visit bearing essentially on consolidating bilateral Thai-Lebanese relations.
Shinawatra extended a special invitation to House Speaker Nabih Berri to visit and address the Thai Parliament which he duly accepted. Both sides also agreed on cooperation in the field of oil and energy exchange.

Abdul Karim Doughmi, the Jordanian Parliament Speaker, reviewed ways of furthering bilateral relations between the Jordanian and Lebanese Parliaments with Speaker Berri and senior aides.
Doughmi agreed with Berri to work together within the framework of Arab Parliamentarians and extended an invitation to visit Amman which he accepted.

Among itinerant Ain Tineh visitors has been Italian Speaker of Parliament, Pierre Ferdinando Cassini with whom he discussed bilateral relations. Cassini reportedly agreed with Berri to work together within the framework of the Union of International Parliamentarians.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Berri honors Asarta with coat-of-arms
 

Sat 28/01/2012 15:10

NNA - 28/01/2012 House Speaker Berri held an honorary celebration in South Lebanon Friday for Force Commander of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) who has concluded his two-year mission, and granted him the Parliament's coat-of-arms in appreciation of a job well done.

High ranking officials attended the Nabatiyeh banquet, including PM Najib Mikati, EU ambassador to Lebanon Angelina Eichhorst, Lebanese and Spanish army commanders, personal representative of UN Secretary General Robert Watkins, and the newly appointed Head of UNIFIL Mission, Italy's Paolo Serra.

Major-General Asarta thanked Speaker Nabih Berri for his support for UNIFIL in the implementation of its mandated tasks under UN Security Council resolution 1701 in cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces, which called for a full cessation of hostilities between Lebanon and Israel following the 2006 war.

"The progress made in implementation of UNIFIL's mandate has been possible thanks to the unequivocal support from the political leadership and the close cooperation and coordination with the Lebanese Armed Forces. We owe the stability in the south today to the commitment of the parties and all the combined efforts," said the outgoing Major General.

"The UNIFIL's exit strategy is tightly linked to the Lebanese Army's ability to secure stability and security in South Lebanon...to that end, it is vital that the Lebanese government exerts all efforts, and for the international community to continue its support for the Lebanese army."

In his turn, Speaker Berri thanked Asarta for all he has done for the country, "You are always welcome among your family and brethren in Lebanon."

R.Z.

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Politics - (Corrected) Daouk honoring Baalbeki at UNESCO
 

Sat 28/01/2012 14:57

NNA - 28/01/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk honored at a special ceremony organized by Our Culture (Hadaratouna) and Morning Dew (Nada as-Sabah) magazines for Press Syndicate dean Mohammad Baalbeki in presence of leading news magnates and Internal Security top brass.

Taking the word, Information Minister Daouk spoke highly about the veteran journalist who manifested high professionalism and renewable energy. The Minister dubbed him as a major reference and historical resource for the profession of journalism. He dedicated himself to utter a word of truth without having to whitewash or praise the unworthy.

Speaking about the present political juncture, the Minister drew a red line when he added that it would rather be impermissible for Lebanese media to engage in verbal agitation and incitement. Therefore, verbal shooting from both sides of the political divine is not allowed.

In response, Baalbeki refused to regard the event as a personnel matter preferring to say that it rather honored Lebanese media at large.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Minister Khalil in Dar Fatwa
 

Sat 28/01/2012 14:11

NNA - 28/01/2012 - Minister of Public Health, Ali Hasan Khalil, conferred with Sunni Mufti of the Republic at Dar Fatwa (High Islamic Court) today. Summing up meeting's outcome, Minister Khalil told newsmen that meeting focused on need for consolidating national unity and that dialogue must be launched between protagonists soon enough to deal with divisions separating the Lebanese.

According to the Minister, both sides agreed on the necessity for openness, communication and dialogue to address contested issues at hand. Khalil and Mufti saw eye-to-eye over the need for distancing themselves from political polemics which could in no way be of service to anyone.

They also acknowledged the existence of white spread disgruntlement in the street. The Minister favored that General Aoun's complaints be addressed inside rather outside regular cabinet sessions.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Frattini, Rahi maintain dialogue across religions
 

Sat 28/01/2012 14:05

NNA - 28/01/2012 - Former Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Franco Frattini, went Saturday to the Patriarchal See of Bkirky where he met with the head of the Maronite Church, Patriarch Bechara Rahi, and agreed on importance of interreligious and intercultural dialogue.

"I conveyed my appreciation to the Patriarch for his efforts and commitment to support the interfaith and intercultural dialogue between Arab countries," reported the Italian official after the meeting.

He also revealed a review of Rahi with the determination of the latter to continue coordination with the Islamic clerics including Sheikh of al-Azhar in Cairo.

Former Italian Minister has informed the Patriarch of his current presidency of the association Alcide de Gasperi, which bears the name of his godfather, the founder of the Christian Democratic Party in Italy.

The two men agreed to maintain communication and coordination initiatives.

Frattini and the Patriarch mainly discussed the issue of minorities in the region, converging on the need to give due importance to these units, especially Christians.

Later, the Maronite Patriarch met with the Lebanese ambassador to Syria, Michel Khoury, and discussed recent regional developments at length.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Baabda Palace receives visitors
 

Sat 28/01/2012 13:50

NNA - 28/01/2012 President of the Republic convened Saturday at Baabda Presidential Palace with the Prime Minister, Culture Minister, and Gathering of Business Men.

Michel Sleiman and PM Najib Mikati surveyed current affairs to be discussed by cabinet during its upcoming session.

Culture Minister Gaby Layyoun revealed to Sleiman new ways to bolster culture and the arts in the country.

A delegation from the Gathering of Business Men spoke to the President about their plans to incite all types of investments in Lebanon.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk honoring Baalbeki at UNESCO
 

Sat 28/01/2012 13:35

NNA - 28/01/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk honored at a special ceremony organized by Our Culture (Hadaratouna) and Morning Dew (Nada as-Sabah) magazines for Press Syndicate dean Mohammad Baalbeki in presence of leading news magnets and Internal Security top brass.

Taking the word, Information Minister Daouk spoke highly about the veteran journalist who manifested high professionalism and renewable energy. The Minister dubbed him as a major reference and historical resource for the profession of journalism. He dedicated himself to utter a word of truth without having to whitewash or praise the unworthy.

Speaking about the present political juncture, the Minister drew a red line when he added that it would rather be impermissible for Lebanese media to engage in verbal agitation and incitement. Therefore, verbal shooting from both sides of the political divine is not allowed.

In response, Baalbeki refused to regard the event as a personnel matter preferring to say that it rather honored Lebanese media at large.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - LF the most oppressed in history of Lebanon and Christians -Geagea
 

Sat 28/01/2012 13:22

NNA - 28/01/2012 Head of the Lebanese Forces (LF), Samir Geagea, said in a speech Friday during a dinner organized by the Ftouh Kesrouan branch that his party has been persecuted the most in the history of Lebanon and Christianity.

The veteran politician did not deny "errors" that occurred during the war, justifying that they were not committed by the LF. "We have not made any mistakes, we were a resistance," he pressed on.

He has separately reported that the situation of Christians in the region "is not the image that some are trying to portray."

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aridi back in office following KSA visit
 

Sat 28/01/2012 13:11

NNA - 28/01/2012 - Minister of Public Works and Transportation Ghazi Aridi wrapped up a visit to Saudi Arabia where he met with senior Saudi officials over domestic and regional developments.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Bellemare wraps up Beirut visit
 

Sat 28/01/2012 13:06

NNA - 28/01/2012 - Prosecutor General at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon Judge Daniel Bellemare wrapped up a farewell visit to Beirut today after meeting with a number of senior officials.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora and Italian top brass meet over 1701!
 

Sat 28/01/2012 12:50

NNA - 28/01/2012 Head of the Hariri-Future parliamentarian Bloc Fouad Siniora, met at his Sadat Tower office today with visiting Italian Defense minister Giampaolo Di Paola and Minister of Foreign Affairs Stefan Di Mistoura who came on head of a ranking military delegation.

The 1 hour-long meeting reportedly focused on the present political juncture and unfolding developments. Both sides reviewed the present situation in south Lebanon and reportedly explored venues for the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Khouri: Hands off Judicial System!
 

Sat 28/01/2012 12:33

NNA - 28/1/2012 - Minister of the Environment Nazem Khouri, urged Lebanese politicians to lay hands off the judicial system.
The minister wondered during an interview on Voice of Lebanon radio station today, as to how a certain group (which he failed to name,) dares to field its candidate as head of the Supreme Judicial Council! Khouri retorted that such an attitude would be tantamount to blatant "politicization."
He denied working on "secret agendas" and blamed general Aoun (without naming him) of what he termed as his unfair lashing out at the P.M. and the president who constitutionally-speaking, preserves full right to dissolve the parliament. He urged Christians to detach from Sunni-Shia polarizations in line with the National Charter and that Hezbollah remains adamant over holding onto its arms.
The minister praised recently-held Kataeb-sponsored conference of European Right-to Center parties at its H.Q. as a means for conveying the true "Lebanese message inspired by the Papal injunction.

G.G.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Iran offers solution to Lebanon's electricity conundrum
 

Sat 28/01/2012 11:56

NNA - 28/01/2012 Iran proposed to supply Lebanon's need for 1000 Megawatts (MW) of electricity feed, an amount which ambassador of the Persian state described as "modest" during his visit Saturday to Foreign Minister (FM) Adnan Mansour, whereby he delivered a hand written letter addressed from Iranian FM, Ali Akbar Salihy.

Lebanon has constantly suffered from shortage of electricity feed, whereby the capital gets the most supply with 21 hours of electricity out of the 24, when all is going well. The rest of the country continued to endure continuous blackouts, a thing which led many to take to the streets in frustration.

"We found that the road is paved for Iran to carry out its offer," explained ambassador Ghazanfar Ruken Abadi, "a part will be based on supplying electricity from Iran via Syria to Lebanon, and the other part would involve building power plants [in Lebanon]."

"We currently export 25 thousand MW, and have an access of six thousand MW of electricity production; thus, we can solve this issue with ease and the soonest possible."

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi receives Kanaan, Martinez, others
 

Fri 27/01/2012 21:58

NNA - 27/01/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi received on Friday at his Bkerki residence Deputy Ibrahim Kanaan, from the Bloc of Reform and Change, who discussed with the host a number of pending files concerned about livelihood.

Separately, the Patriarch received Head of the European Popular Party Wilfred Martinez, who highlighted the necessity that Christians in Lebanon would continue to find bridges of communication with the other religions.

Amongst Bkerki's visitors: Priest Salim Daccache; Priest Jean Abboud; former Deputy Ghassan Ashkar; and others.

On the other hand, Rahi received an invitation from Notre Dame University Rector Suhail Matar to attend an honorary ceremony for Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir on March 2, 2012 at the Maronite Patriarchate in Bkerki.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Bassil calls for full probe into diesel file
 

Fri 27/01/2012 20:41

NNA - 27/01/2012 - Energy and Water Minister Gibran Bassil called for ongoing investigations till unveiling the whole truth as regarding the diesel file, so that the guilty would be punished and the innocent performing well would be rewarded.

Bassil's words came Friday amidst his meeting with the Chief of Gas Stations Owners Syndicate, in presence of the director general of Oil Facilities.

Bassil pointed out that he had already referred a report two days ago to the cabinet mentioning the remaining money of the loan given to oil facilities.

The minister voiced refusal to any halt to investigations.

Separately, Bassil received at his office the Norwegian Ambassador and reviewed with him bilateral ties.

A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Moussawi, Watkins thrash-out resolution 1701
 

Fri 27/01/2012 19:38

NNA - 27/01/2012 - The implementation of International Security Council resolution 1701 topped talks Friday between Hezbollah's International Relations Official, Ammar Moussawi, and Interim U.N. Special Coordinator Robert Watkins.

Resolution 1701, which calls for a halt of hostilities between Lebanon and Israel, was passed in August 2006, helping to end a month-long aggression between the two countries.

"I have briefed Moussawi on resolution 1701 implementation report which will be handed to the International Security Council by the end of February," Watkins said following the meeting, sounding upbeat about what he depicted as a relative state of calm at the Lebanese southern borders.

"What we aim for is moving forward with resolution 1701 from a cessation of aggression to a cease fire stage," he added.

In the wake of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's recent visit to Lebanon, Watkins relayed Ban's anticipations to see all international resolutions fully implemented.

In turn, Moussawi expressed concerns over what he described as imbalanced decision making by United Nations institutions.

"This is what a lot of people perceive, not only in Lebanon, but all over the world," he said. "An international hegemony rules those institutions in service of their policies and interests. This explains Hezbollah's unwelcoming stances regarding Ban's visit, pending required balance [in UN decision making]."
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Raad accuses Syrian opposition of treason
 

Fri 27/01/2012 19:32

NNA - 27/01/2012 Head of Loyalty to Resistance Bloc, MP Mohammad Raad, condemned Friday Syrian opposition of dealing with Israel and the USA to topple the otherwise popular rule of Bashar Assad.

The MP addressed a crowd of Hezbollah affiliates and representatives from the Iranian embassy at a graduation ceremony in Rassoul Aazam Technical Institute in Beirut.

"The agenda and path of the Syrian opposition is made clear from their severing of any relations with the resistant forces in the world," said Raad.

"Super power countries are re-drawing the map of the region, and inciting sectarianism." The MP asserted that the Syrian people fully supported their President and his regime. He went on to say that rallies were only taking place in chaotic regions of the country.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt back from Russia
 

Fri 27/01/2012 19:06

NNA - 27/01/2012 Head of Progressive Socialist Party, MP Walid Jumblatt, returned Friday evening to Beirut from Moscow.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati convenes with Di Paola, Serra
 

Fri 27/01/2012 19:03

NNA - 27/01/2012 A meeting between Italy's Defense Minister and Lebanese Prime Minister followed by a meeting with commander of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) reconfirmed close ties between said countries on Friday.

Italy's Defense Minister Giampaolo Di Paola, currently on an official visit to Lebanon, met President Michel Sleiman and House Speaker Nabih Berri earlier in the day.

"We wish to contribute to the stability of the region," said Di Paola who cautioned against undermining the key role Lebanon played in this context.

"We are committed to the mission of UNIFIL's peacekeeping forces...and we want to say to the Lebanese people that we will stand by you today and tomorrow."

Mikati also met with General Paolo Serra who planned to assume his post as commander general of the peacekeeping forces beginning next month. The PM lauded the noble work the Italian troops were doing in Lebanon, particularly in aiding Lebanese armed forces in preserving peace and stability in south of the country.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved











 

Politics - Zahle politicians bury the hatchet
 

Fri 27/01/2012 18:41

NNA - 27/1/2012 - Zahle politicians gathered on Friday in a wide-ranging reconciliatory meeting, at the behest of Ferzol and Bekaa Greek Melkite Catholic Archbishop Issam Youhanna Darwich, at Notre Dame Archbishopric.

The meeting brought together State Minister Nicolas Fattoush, and Culture Minister Gaby Layyoun, MPs Toni Abu Khater, Joseph Maalouf, Shant Ganganian, former Ministers Elie Ferzli, Elias Skaff, Khalil Herawi, Selim Warde, former Deputies George Qassarji, Camille Maalouf, and Selim Aoun.

The meeting wrapped up on the following recommendations:

-Zahle holds onto Lebanon's unity, freedom, independence, and sovereignty;

-Zahle sticks to its full right to take crucial decisions compliantly with its history;

-Zahle decisions stem from the decisions of its own inhabitants, sons, families, and political and spiritual leaderships, in harmony with the nation's best interest;

-The real challenge is to anchor development to beget the region's prosperity on all economic, political, and social levels;

-Zahle confirms the importance of defending public and private rights to consecrate the State of Law;

-Conferees hail the efforts and sacrifices exerted by security, media, and military forces in favor of Zahle and Bekaa.




R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Spain opens new Schengen Visa Application Center
 

Fri 27/01/2012 18:41

NNA - 27/01/2012 Spanish Ambassador to Lebanon, Juan Carlos Gafo, attended Friday the opening of a new Spanish Schengen Visa Application Center, in the presence of the Spanish Consul, Mariana Figueroa, Spanish Chancellor, Rufino Almendros, and representatives of the company "VFS Global," at the office of the company, in Verdun, Beirut.

The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation signed, in 2011, a contract with the company VFS Global, as an external service provider for the receipt of Schengen visas applications for Spain. This service will apply to 67 diplomatic missions and consular offices of Spain in the world.

Applicants for SCHENGEN VISA to Spain have the possibility to apply for their visa directly through the Spanish Embassy or to submit their applications to VFS Center with an additional cost, in addition to the visa fee. The coordinates of this center are the following: Tel. 04410673, Website: www.vfsglobal.com/Spain/Lebanon, Email: info.spainlebanon@vfshelpline.com, working hours: from 9:00 to 16h00.
Applicants for RESIDENCE VISA to Spain should contact the Embassy directly through the following email addresses: emb.beirut.vis@maec.es / emb.beirut @maec.es.

In any case, it should be noted that VFS Center is ONLY for submitting visa applications. As for the rest of the procedures, such as requests for additional documentation and review of the candidate's file, they are the sole responsibility and jurisdiction of the Embassy of Spain.

In his speech, the Ambassador of Spain stated that "each year, more than 8.000 Lebanese nationals apply for a Schengen visa to travel to Spain for tourism or business purposes. Similarly, a growing number of graduates visit Spain to pursue their higher education".
He added: "I want to encourage all Lebanese to visit Spain and discover the great opportunities that this country offers in terms of tourism, business and studies".
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 

















 

 

 

Politics - (UPDATED) Gemayel, Siniora's speeches at CDI Conference
 

Fri 27/01/2012 18:28

NNA - 27/01/2012 - Kataeb Leader, Amin Gemayel, reiterated on Friday his Party's full commitment to human causes in the Arab world rather than to authority-controlled games.

Gemayel's words came in his opening speech at the Centrist Democrat International CDI conference, organized by Kataeb Party, titled the "Arab World: Democracy and Pluralism" at Le Royal Hotel - Dbayeh.

"We are fully committed to religious values, not to religious regimes," he told a crowd of local and foreign participants, who are on a visit to Lebanon to attend this one-day conference.

Moreover, Gemayel proposed a legacy to be intellectually referred to in the case of newly established constitutions, which could also serve as a road map preventing the Arab world from being bogged down in chaos.

Gemayel also highlighted each people's right to resistance, without resorting to acts of terrorism.

"But that doesn't give any political group the right to represent the state and take over its war decision making, under the cover of a resistance," he added.

On the other hand, Gemayel said official authorities should rule their people by resorting to the law, and not by pressurizing them.

"It is the duty of all regimes to anchor a state of law and justice," he said, refuting all sorts of legitimacy in the modern world, at the absence demonstrated respect for human rights.

In turn, Future Parliamentary Bloc head, Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, said that the Arab revolutionary movement has transformed the Arab world, putting Arabs on a path that many other populations throughout the world have been through; thus ending what used to be named the Arab exception that has always assumed that Arabs, unlike other people, are incapable of seeking, developing, or practicing democracy.

"This transformation was brought by the collapse of the barriers of fear and silence, and by many brave young Arabs crossing the indifference point and saying no to injustice even at the expense of their own lives."

However, Siniora added that in a world where never before, so many people, especially amongst the young, feel empowered yet marginalized, Arabs came out of their big jail, and by doing so they inspired many around the world.

The Arab Spring has been about many things: it has been a fight for political freedom, for dignity, for liberty, for justice, for jobs, and for better opportunities. But its unifying theme has remained the fight against repression and marginalization in all its forms: political, economic or social; the marginalization of so many young people who were now, significantly empowered by the fast advance of technology and the quantum explosion of communication techniques, MP Siniora said.

"And because it is, at its essence, a movement against repression and marginalization, the Arab Spring struck a bell at a global level, inspiring, at times of deep economic crisis and rising unemployment, movements that reached the streets of London, where Saint Paul Square in the City was turned into Tahrir Square, and the streets of New York, where a slogan that read "we are the 99%" was raised," he explained.

Sinora went on to say that even in countries that have a much longer tradition of democracy, like Western Europe, we will almost always see that in times of crisis and tensions, people seek the comfort of the more conservative, closed or even radical parties, because these parties tend to always have ready-made answers, that seem to provide the anchor of certainty that is so much needed in times of uncertainty.

"What I am trying to say here, is that the performance of the Islamist parties in recent free elections in Tunisia, Egypt, and their expected performance in other Arab Spring countries, is the consequence of years of repression and marginalization. It is the result of years of pressure, and we need to give some time for this pent-up pressure to be released. We will also see that as the pressure is released, the Islamist parties will breathe under more normal conditions, gearing towards inclusion and evolving in a manner that seeks to adapt to the new environment and to focus more on the challenges of tomorrow.
Moreover, the Muslim people in general will also be more at ease and hence more inclined to reflect the true values of Islam, those of openness and moderation."

Siniora said he was proud to be among the first to throw his full support behind the Arab Spring when it was still in its cradle, trusting in the power and the legitimacy of change, and strongly believing that Arabs cannot remain hostage of the past, and that they deserve to take ownership of their future.

"Today, some believe that the Spring has been hijacked, and that it is at a risk of turning into a cold and dark winter. They fear that the autocratic military regimes will be replaced by autocratic Islamic parties. They fear for the values that were at the center of these revolutions, the values of dignity and personal and political freedom, the respect of human rights as well as the values of openness and inclusion to all constituents of our Arab society regardless of religion, ethnicity or race," he said.

Touching on elections, Siniora said "we may not like some or all elections results, but that is part of the process. That is part of getting used to elections that don't end with 99.7% going in one direction. It is also part of the process of growing up and maturing," wondering "After all, which revolution has ever been smooth, clear cut, and managed to immediately put in charge the most fit to face the challenges of tomorrow?"
In fact what is much more important than the result of the elections is the process itself. The greatest virtue of democracy as compared to any other form of government is that it has the ability to self-correct, the MP said.

"In Lebanon, we have always provided a model of democracy, but the dysfunction of our State has compromised the process, transforming diversity from being an asset into being a burden. We need to claim back our role as a model of diversity, and as a message of unity in this region. The most important lesson of the Arab Spring and of our experience in Lebanon is to claim back the role of the democratic, capable, and strong State, which is ultimately the most optimal guarantor of diversity, stability and prosperity," he said.

Moving to the economic angle economic angle Siniora said, "The democratic transformation will ultimately lead to economic development, growth, and higher standards of living. Overwhelming evidence shows that Democracy leads to accountability, and accountability leads to better use and allocation of resources. But we should also make sure that this transformation promotes better social safety nets for those in our society that are most vulnerable to change, promotes better education so that we can prepare today for the challenges of tomorrow, and promotes better employment opportunities in order to face the biggest challenge facing the Arab world, which is the need to create over 50 million jobs over the coming decade in order to absorb the new entrants of young men and woman into the labor market."

He affirmed that the people, who had taken to the streets yesterday demanding the end of marginalization, would take to the street tomorrow if participation, in its comprehensive sense, is not achieved.

"And as long as the process is respected, democracy is protected, and free elections are regularly held, we have nothing to fear. This nation with this Spring, has shown a great ability to self-correct."

R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Al-Attiyah, Barzani and Moussa call Hariri to check on his health
 

Fri 27/01/2012 18:03

NNA - 27/01/2012 Several personalities called former Prime Minister Saad Hariri Friday to check on his health, following his ski accident and leg surgery he underwent at the American Hospital in Paris, a statement by Hariri's media office read.

Among the callers were Qatari Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Bin Hamad al-Attiyah, President of the Iraqi Kurdistan region Massoud Barzani, Governor of Tabuk region Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, Former Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Moussa, ministers Mohammad Safadi and Wael Abu Faour, Mrs Mona Hraoui, former MP Mosbah Ahdab, Najad Issam Fares, Qatari businessman Badr Darwish and President of the Federation of Beirut Families Association Mohammed Sinno.

The former PM also received cables wishing him prompt recovery, from MP Nehme Tohme, President of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists Nehmat Efrem, Iraqi ambassador to Lebanon Omar Barzanji and Head of Maronite League Joseph Torbey.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel at Centrist Democrat Conference: We cleave to human causes
 

Fri 27/01/2012 18:00

NNA - 27/01/2012 - Kataeb Leader, Amin Gemayel, reiterated on Friday his Party's full commitment to human causes in the Arab world rather than to authority-controlled games.

Gemayel's words came in his opening speech at the Centrist Democrat International (CDI) conference, organized by Kataeb Party, titled the "Arab World: Democracy and Pluralism", at Le Royal Hotel - Dbayeh.

"We are fully committed to religious values, not to religious regimes," he told a crowd of local and foreign participants, who are on a visit to Lebanon to attend this one-day conference.

Moreover, Gemayel proposed a legacy to be intellectually referred to in the case of newly established constitutions, which could also serve as a road map preventing the Arab world from being bogged down in chaos.

Gemayel also highlighted each people's right to resistance, without resorting to acts of terrorism.

"But that doesn't give any political group the right to represent the state and take over its war decision making, under the cover of a resistance," he added.

On the other hand, Gemayel said official authorities should rule their people by resorting to the law, and not by pressurizing them.

"It is the duty of all regimes to anchor a state of law and justice," he said, refuting all sorts of legitimacy in the modern world, at the absence demonstrated respect for human rights.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Asarta and UNIFIL new commander visit Yarzeh
 

Fri 27/01/2012 17:50

NNA - 27/1/2012 Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji met at his Yarzeh office on Friday morning with outgoing UNIFIL commander General Alberto Asarta who came on a farewell visit at the end of his term of mission in Lebanon. Asarta introduced to General Qahwaji new UNIFIL commander General Paolo Serra.
Qahwaji lauded Asarta's remarkable cooperation with the Lebanese Army during his work in Lebanon and his relentless efforts in consecrating stability in the South and relation with southerners. Qahwaji also wished success to General Serra in his new mission and responsibilities.
On the other hand, Qahwaji met respectively with "Independence" Movement Head Michel Rene, Displaced Central Fund former Head Shadi Masaad and Judge Nabil Sari.
--------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Paola after meeting Berri: Italy committed to Lebanon's democracy
 

Fri 27/01/2012 17:49

NNA - 27/1/2012 Italian Defense Minister Jiampaolo Di Paola expressed Italy's unswerving commitment to friendship with Lebanon and its people, saying Italy is committed to Lebanon's peace, democracy and freedom.
Di Paola, currently on a visit to Lebanon, was speaking in the wake of his meeting with Speaker of the House Nabih Berri at Ein Tineh residence on Friday afternoon, in presence of Italian Vice Foreign Minister Stevan Di Mistura and Italian Ambassador to Lebanon Giusepe Morabito.
Berri and Di Paola tackled the current developments in the region, bilateral relations and the situation in the South. Talks also dwelt on the work of UNIFIL notably that the new commander of these forces is of an Italian nationality General Paolo Serra.
"We are committed to UNIFIL and stability in Lebanon", Di Paola said, indicating that Lebanon constitutes a model of stability and democracy in the region.
On the other hand, Speaker Berri met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban where they boarded the latest developments and bilateral relations.
Among Speaker Berri's itinerant visitors for today has been Central Inspection Head Judge George Awwad.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman keen on democracy, reforms, liberties
 

Fri 27/01/2012 17:48

NNA - 27/1/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Friday saw that what matters for Lebanon nowadays is the emergence and presence of regimes respecting democracy away from sectarian fanaticism and believing in reforms and human liberties and rights.

Sleiman made these remarks during his meeting at Baabda palace today with former President Amin Gemayel and a delegation of representatives of international democratic parties, scheduled to open their conference at Le Royal Hotel, Dbayeh, later this afternoon.

"The Lebanese model might convince others, where there is pluralism yet tensions," he said, capitalizing the importance to encourage consensual movements throughout Arab countries.

"The efforts of these [centrist democratic] parties aimed to bolstering democracy, human rights, and openness to modernity are similar to principles I have called for since the beginning of the Arab Spring," he maintained.

He said that it was important to preserve dialogue and consensual democracy in Lebanon as well as to improve democratic performance particularly via a sound electoral law and administrative decentralization.

The President also met today with Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, over bilateral ties and the means to activate and widen the scope of the two-pronged trade agreements.

Sleiman later broached Italy's paramount participation in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with visiting Defense Minister of Italy, Giampaolo Di Paola.

The Secretary General of the World Council of Churches, Reverend Olav Fyksi Tveit, had also been to Baabda palace today for a meeting with the President over the Council's work on the level of enhancing peaceful coexistence, especially in the Mideast region and Lebanon.

Earlier this morning, Sleiman met with outgoing UNIFIL Commander, Major General Alberto Asarta, who introduced to the President newly appointed Commander General Paolo Serra of Italy.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 


Politics - Bellemare pays Rifi farewell visit
 

Fri 27/01/2012 16:40


NNA - 27/01/2012 - The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) Prosecutor, Daniel Bellemare, paid a farewell visit on Friday to Internal Security Forces Major General, Ashraf Rifi.

Bellemare, who visited Rifi in the company of Judge Jocelyn Tabet, thanked the Major General for his unremitting support to the STL and the International Investigations Committee alike.

Now that Bellemare has submitted his resignation and gone into retirement, Rifi highly appreciated his dauntless efforts having headed the Investigations Committee and having later been appointed as the General Prosecutor of the STL.

Rifi later handed Bellemare a memorial shield as a token of thankfulness and in appreciation of his efforts.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Ibrahim meets Bellemare, Nahhas
 

Fri 27/01/2012 16:25

NNA - 27/1/2012 - General Security Chief, Brigadier Abbas Ibrahim, on Friday met with former prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Daniel Bellemare, who came on a farewell visit.

Ibrahim had earlier met with Minister of Labor, Charbel Nahhas, over the regulation of the work of foreign labor force in Lebanon.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Watkins meets family of abducted former Syrian VP
 

Fri 27/01/2012 16:10

NNA - 27/1/2012 A delegation from family of former Syrian Vice President Shibly Ousseimy relayed its surmounting worries about his health and wellbeing, eight months after his abduction, to personal representative of UN Secretary General, who confirmed to them Friday that this file is being closely followed by Human Rights Commission.

The family, visiting Robert Watkins at his UN residence in Louaize, retold the shocking kidnapping events of 88 year old Ousseimy in front of his residence in Alaye on May 24, 2011, five days after his arrival from a visit to Washington. The veteran politician was one of the founders of the Baath party in Syria, and became Vice President of then Syrian president Hafez Assad. Lebanese Internal Security Forces Director General Ashraf Rifi reported that the abductors were secret service operating under the cover of the Syrian embassy in Lebanon.

"The Human Rights Commission...will pressure Syrian regime to unveil [Ousseiry's] fate and release him as soon as possible," said Watkins.


R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kabalan: government, opposition must solve electricity crisis jointly
 

Fri 27/01/2012 15:45

NNA - 27/1/2012 - Vice head of the Islamic Shiite Supreme Council, Sheikh Abdel Amir Kabalan, tackled in his Friday sermon the power outage crisis drowning the country into darkness, calling on the government and the opposition to assume full responsibility at this level and address this crisis appropriately.

"Lebanese should be aware that dialogue and communication are a must for solving issues," he noted.

At the regional level, Kabalan denounced the terrorist attacks in Iraq and the aggressions vis-a-vis the innocent citizens of Bahrain.

He also touched on the situation in Syria, describing the developments as a "complot".

"The Syrian people has no choice but to resort to dialogue, refute violence and cling to national unity in face of foreign interferences," he concluded.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Siniora receives Turkish official
 

Fri 27/01/2012 15:43

NNA - 27/1/2012 - Head of Future Parliamentary Bloc, Fouad Siniora, met over the general situation and current developments in Lebanon and the region with Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister, Khaled Geveg.

The meeting was held on Friday at Siniora's office in Sadat Tower in presence of Turkish Ambassador Inan Ozyildise.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Ghosn receives new UNIFIL commander
 

Fri 27/01/2012 15:41

NNA - 27/1/2012 - Minister of National Defense, Fayez Ghosn, on Friday met with newly appointed UNIFIL commander, General Paolo Serra of Italy, and outgoing General Alberto Asarta of Spain.

Ghosn reportedly commended the role assumed by Asarta during his seniority as UNIFIL Chief in office, and the efforts he exerted to bolster cooperation with the Lebanese Army to maintain peace in borderline regions.

Asarta, in turn, hailed the support the UNIFIL had received in Lebanon and the cordiality of the Lebanese people.

He highlighted the ongoing cooperation between the UNIFIL and the Lebanese Army as well as the well entrenched relations between southerners and peacekeepers.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Northern borders control tops Mikati's agenda today
 

Fri 27/01/2012 15:21

NNA - 27/1/2012 - Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, on Friday broached Lebanese-Syrian cooperation mainly over Northern borders control with the Secretary General of the Syrian-Lebanese Higher Council, Nasri Khoury.

The pair also reviewed the Council's efforts to address last week's incident in the northern town of Arida, where three Lebanese fishermen were kidnapped by Syrian security forces after a Syrian naval vessel crossed three kilometers into Lebanon's territorial waters and opened fired on the three men.

Khoury told reporters following the meeting that the Syrian party had conducted full investigation into the incident.

Mikati had met earlier today with Deputy Prime Minister, Samir Moqbel, over the current general situation.

He also discussed affairs relevant to the Ministry of Economy and Trade with Minister Nicolas Nahhas.

Iraqi ambassador to Lebanon, Omar Barzanji, had also been to the Grand Serail today for a meeting with Premier Mikati over bilateral ties.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved













 

Politics - Bkirki, Kanaan tackle developments
 

Fri 27/01/2012 15:01

NNA - 27/1/2012 - Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Boutros Rahi, tackled Friday with Deputy Ibrahim Kanaan and former MP Ghassan Ashkar current local juncture.

Amongst Bkirki's visitors was also a delegation of Notre Dame du Liban hospital's board of directors, chaired by Fawzi Odeimi.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Italian Defense Minister in Beirut
 

Fri 27/01/2012 14:41

NNA - 27/01/2012 - Italian Defense Minister, Giampaolo di Paola, on Friday arrived to Beirut International Airport on an official visit, accompanied with a delegation of the Italian Defense Ministry.

The Italian Minister is to visit the three heads of State, his Lebanese counterpart, and the Maronite Patriarch. Later on, Di Paola will hold a press conference at Phoenicia hotel.

Upon his arrival, Di Paola was received by the Representative of the Lebanese Defense Minister and the Lebanese Army Commander, a delegation of military officials from the Defense Ministry, the Italian Ambassador to lebanon, and other Italian higher officials.
P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Saudi jet in BIA boarding Yemen's Saleh
 

Fri 27/01/2012 14:32

NNA - 27/1/2012 - A Saudi private jet will land this afternoon in Beirut International Airport boarding Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh to Casablanca then to the US, National News Agency correspondent reported Friday.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Merehbi regrets absence of official condemnation to Arida incident
 

Fri 27/01/2012 14:18

NNA - 27/1/2012 - Future bloc member, MP Mouiin Merehbi, uttered regret for the non publication of a Lebanese official report condemning Syria's kidnapping to Lebanese fishermen inside the Lebanese waters, at Arida village.

The Deputy called on the government to assume full responsibility in protecting the citizens and mobilizing army and security forces at the Lebanese-Syrian borders.

Accordingly, Merehbi accused the Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour of receiving commands from the Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Watkins, Moussawi tackle 1701 Resolution
 

Fri 27/01/2012 13:53

NNA - 27/01/2012 - In light of the meeting held Friday between UNDP Representative in Lebanon, Robert Watkins, and Loyalty to Resistance Bloc member, Ammar Houry, Watkins media bureau issued on the following statement:

"I just met with Mr. Ammar Moussawi. We had a very good discussion about the situation in Lebanon, particularly related to the implementation of resolution 1701."

The statement added: "I informed Mr. Moussawi that the preparations for the next report on the implementation of resolution 1701 are underway and that the report would be submitted to the Security Council at the end of February. We discussed the areas where 1701 has worked very well so far, including the relative stability that has prevailed in south Lebanon, but also the requirements of 1701 that still have to be met in order to be able to move from the current cessation of hostilities to a permanent ceasefire."

"I also briefed Mr. Moussawi about the recent visit of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Lebanon and his discussions with his Lebanese interlocutors. I told Mr. Moussawi that the Secretary-General expressed his expectation in all his meetings that Lebanon would continue to meet all its international obligations under all relevant Security Council resolutions."

"We also discussed the general situation in Lebanon and the region. I reiterated the UN's hope that Lebanon would continue to seek to safeguard its stability and security, particularly in light of the developments taking place in the surrounding Arab world."
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Beirut Deputies follow up Capital's disarmament process
 

Fri 27/01/2012 13:48

NNA - 27/1/2012 - Beirut Deputies held a meeting Friday to touch on livelihood affairs for Beirut region as well as on efforts exerted to make of Beirut an arms-free capital.

Deputy jean Ogassapian spoke in the name of the conferees, shedding light on Beirut disarmament issue and all the steps thus far adopted to put forth this project.

The MP reiterated the importance of such measures so as to spare the country further armed confrontations. He said the current situation required political consent and deep dialogue between factions.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Charbel, Bellemare meet
 

Fri 27/01/2012 13:07

NNA - 27/1/2012 - Former STL General Prosecutor, Daniel Bellemare, paid a farewell visit Friday to the Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel with whom he discussed the special tribunal's work as well as the Ministry's readiness to cooperate with the STL as per adequate laws and protocols.

Bellamare thanked the Minister for his cooperation with the special tribunal and presented him with a medal of appreciation.

Separately, Charbel tackled with the Cypriot Ambassador to Lebanon, Homer Mavrommattis, the agreements signed between Cyprus and Lebanon on prisoners' extradition.

Deputy Elie Keiruz had also discussed with Minister Charbel developmental affairs.

D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Abi Ramya tackles corruption inside institutions
 

Fri 27/01/2012 12:55

NNA - 27/1/2012 - Deputy Simon Abi Ramaya stressed necessity to abolish corruption and to generate revenues which provide social justice.

His remarks came in Friday's statement after meeting with a French Commission Delegation.

Discussions also focused on the Syrian crisis, where he called on the Lebanese not to intervene in Syria's affairs, but stressing that cooperation between Lebanon and Syria should be based on mutual respect.

"Resistance existence is legal as long as Israel occupies our territory", the statement stressed, calling on the international community to exert pressure on Israel to end its daily violations of the Lebanese territories and to stop its aggression against the Lebanese people.

On the other hand, the conferees highlighted the issue of the Palestinians in Lebanon, where the MP stressed that his bloc refuses the settlements for two reasons: the Lebanese social composition and the Lebanese demography and the last reason is the Palestinians right to return to their home.

"It is essential to treat the Palestinian livelihood issue inside the camps", the MP stressed.

Finally, the conferees discussed ways to enhance municipalities' cooperation between Lebanon and France.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved















 

Politics - Marouni refuses to take part in reconciliation meeting in Zahleh
 

Fri 27/01/2012 12:33

NNA - 27/1/2012 - Member of Parliament Elie Marouni and the remaining MPs from Zahleh announced in a news conference that they will not take part in a reconciliation meeting sponsored by Patriarch Issam Darwish today.

Flanked by a number of MPs and dignitaries, Marouni argued that he is not ready to meet former MP Elie Skaff until the judicial authorities releases its findings on the killing of his brother and his friends four years ago in Zahleh.

Patriarch Darwish called for this meeting in an attempt to narrow differences between feuding political parties in Zahleh and turn a new chapter in this relationship.

Nasri Marouni, the MPs brother, and Salim Assi were gunned down four years ago in Housh al Omra by alleged supporters of Skaff.

One of the suspects in the incident fled to an unknown destination.

MP Marouni stressed that he and the rest of Zahleh MPs support the reconciliation efforts of Patriarch Darwish but they are not ready to meet Skaff until the judicial authorities clarifies the case of the slaying of two Kataeb party members.

He added that the reconciliation meeting will not change the political positions of all those who will attend the meeting.

"March 8 members will remain in their position and the same thing applies for March 14. For this reason I don't see a reason to hold this meeting," Marouni explained.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


















 

Politics - Zahraman criticizes Lebanese apathy towards Arida incident
 

Fri 27/01/2012 11:34

NNA - 27/1/2012 - "Future" bloc member Deputy Khaled Zahraman expressed sorrow because the Lebanese side did not show any reaction following Arida incident.

He added it was normal that the Syrian regime accuses the Lebanese fishermen of entering the Syrian waters to open fire on them which resulted in the death of a teenager and the injury of two others few days ago.

"Lebanese in those regions feel that they are alone", the MP told "Voice of Lebanon" radio on Friday, pointing out that the chaotic situation on the borders paves the way for the repetition of such incidents.

Commenting on the borders demarcation, the MP said "we know who is impeding this issue between Lebanon and Syria", adding that they (March 14) support the demarcation and with the execution of such step.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved










 

Politics - Khreis: Israel real threat on Lebanon and region
 

Fri 27/01/2012 11:25

NNA - 27/1/2012 - Member of Parliament Ali Khreis said the real threat against Lebanon and the region is Israel.

The MP, who was speaking in Adloun town in the south, wondered why the animosity towards Israel shifted to Syria and Iran, noting that some quarters are intentionally focusing on inter-Arab struggle, Persian-Sunni struggle and Shiite-Sunni struggle.

He also asked why some Arab countries ignore or even forget the occupation of Palestine, Golan Heights and some parts of Lebanon.

"This (campaign) is obviously orchestrated and planned by the United States, the West and Israel so that no country in the region which harbors ill will towards Israel or supports the resistance exist. They (West) are targeting Syria because it supports the resistance, Palestine and Lebanon."

He called on all parties in Lebanon to cement national unity and coexistence in order to weather the negative effects of the events in the region.

The MP hailed Speaker of the House Nabih Berri for signing the ambitious Litani project.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Youssef calls on Bassil to resign
 

Fri 27/01/2012 10:43

NNA - 27/1/2012 - Deputy Ghazi Youssef called on Energy Minister Gibran Bassil to resign because he made suspicious transactions.

The MP said Bassil blamed March 14 forces of disrupting the execution of electricity plan although he realized that his bloc assumed energy ministry five years ago.

Youssef stressed on Friday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio that Bassil claimed that he drafted a plan to increase electricity production while he took this plan from martyr Rafik Hariri.

"Bassil was committed to a small part of this plan in order to produce 700 MW and to spend from public fund $1.2 billion without any control", the MP stressed.

The MP criticized the head of government Court of Accounts for stating God knows where the red gasoil was sold, adding "he should know since he is responsible for auditing".

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 

 

 

 


Politics - Bahiya Hariri heads to Paris
 

Fri 27/01/2012 10:06

NNA - 27/1/2012 - Deputy Bahiya Hariri headed on Friday morning to Paris accompanied by her son Ahmad Hariri.

Also, "Future" bloc member Deputy Basem el Shab headed to Paris.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hezbollah deplores Ban's shortened briefings on his regional visit
 

Thu 26/01/2012 22:09

NNA - 26/1/2012 Hezbollah categorically deplored UN Chief Ban Ki-moon's curtailing of the outcome of his visit to the region by giving shortened briefings on the situation in the Middle East at the Security Council monthly session. Hezbollah considered such a shortening attempt a new proof of the UN's bias towards the interests of super colonial countries and their schemes.
Hezbollah's words came in a statement it issued on Thursday, whereby the Party indicated that Ban's curtailed briefings in his report to the Security Council monthly session on the situation in the Middle East, came void of highly dangerous matters on world peace and security, such as Zionists criminal practices against the Palestinian people and measures to judaize the holy Jerusalem and Israeli settlements.
Hezbollah considered that Ban's overlooking of the development of situation in the occupied Palestine during the Security Council session, a proof that this Council has been rendered a plain platform for super international powers' policies and the Zionist's entity to settle accounts and implement conspiracy plots against the region.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Murr meets with Bellemare in Rabieh
 

Thu 26/01/2012 20:20

NNA - 26/1/2012 Former Vice Prime Minister Elias Murr met on Thursday evening for more than two hours at his Rabieh residence with outgoing Prosecutor of Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) Daniel Bellemare, who came on a farewell visit.
STL is a UN-backed court probing the assassination of late Statesman Rafic Hariri and other related crimes.
Bellemare briefed Murr on the latest regarding the investigation file of the latter's assassination attempt in the year 2005 in Antelias.
Murr escaped an assassination attempt on July 12, 2005, in Antelias in a booby trap car.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman follows up diesel issue
 

Thu 26/01/2012 19:59

NNA - 26/1/2012 President of the Republic General Michel Sleiman followed up on Thursday what has been evoked on the diesel issue, whereby he met to this purpose with Trade and Economy Minister Nicholas Nahhas who briefed him on the available information in this regards.
President Sleiman also got briefings from Central Inspection Head George Awwad and Court of Audit Head Awni Ramadan on the adopted steps to probe the diesel issue and determine responsibilities.
On the other hand, Sleiman met with former Belgian Prime Minister Welfred Martenz, currently in Lebanon to partake in the World Conference for Parties convening at "Le Royal" Hotel in Beirut.
Martenz heads European Right Party.
The President and Martenz tackled the current regional and international situation in addition to bilateral Lebanese-Belgian relations.
----------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati, Orban tackle bilateral ties
 

Thu 26/01/2012 19:31

NNA - 26/1/2012 - Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, and his Hungarian counterpart, Viktor Orban, on Thursday engaged in bilateral ties and an array of most recent developments in the Mideast region.

The meeting, held at the Grand Serail, was also attended by Minister of Information, Walid Daouq, and Hungarian ambassador to Lebanon.

Orban also presented Mikati with an invitation to visit Hungary in forthcoming May.

Mikati later met with former Belgian Prime Minister, Wilfried Martens.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Launching campaign to solve power crisis in Sidon
 

Thu 26/01/2012 19:28

NNA - 26/01/2012 - A comprehensive meeting, comprising of dignitaries and members of national institutions from Sidon, was held at the municipal hall of Sidon to solve the local power crisis. Deputies Bahiya Hariri and Fouad Siniora participated in the meeting.

Siniora gave a word during the meeting, saying he was in need of not less than 1500 megawatts power so that Sidon would be able to face after three years the power demand capacity. There should no more be any waste of time in finding a new procedure for producing power, said Siniora.
A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (UPDATED) Hungarian PM arrives in Beirut
 

Thu 26/01/2012 18:42

NNA - 26/1/2012 - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Thursday arrived to Lebanon coming from Cyprus, to partake in the conference of the national democratic parties' international union, to be held tomorrow (Friday) at Le Royal Hotel, Dbayeh, at the behest of Lebanese Kataeb party.

Orban is also scheduled to meet with Lebanese President, Michel Sleiman, House Speaker, Nabih Berri, and Prime Minister, Najib Mikati.

Speaking from Beirut airport, where he was received by Information Minister Walid Daouq representing Premier Mikati, the visiting official relayed hope that economic cooperation between Lebanon and Hungary would be boosted.

He highlighted his country's support for all political forces endeavoring to find a solution to finalize peace process in the region.

He said the future of peace in the Middle East was a paramount item on the political level for Arabs as well as for the Europeans. "Without peace in the region, there would be too many complications in Europe's foreign policies," he explained. "Therefore, we support all political forces endeavoring to find a solution to finalize peace process and restore peace and social and economic security in the [Mideast] region," he corroborated.

"I am very optimistic in this regard, but I understand that this is a difficult matter for the peoples of the region," he added.

He maintained that Europe was keenly looking forward to helping the Middle East enjoy peace.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - National Media Council convenes to discuss media sector
 

Thu 26/01/2012 17:42

NNA - 6/01/012 - The National Media Council convened on Thursday at its headquarters in Beirut to explore the media sector.

The meeting was attended by said council's head Abdul Hady Mahfouz, Information Minister Walid Daouk, Information Ministry's director Hassan Falha and members of the council.

Mahfouz said the council would look into some remarks put by political and religious figures as well as dignitaries from civil institutions on TV programs. Accordingly, he promised to correct the performance of media in this concern.

Separately, Daouk gave a word, stressing the importance of working together as one team for serving the national welfare and media interests.
A.M./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Hungarian PM arrives in Beirut
 

Thu 26/01/2012 17:32

NNA - 26/1/2012 - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Thursday arrived to Lebanon coming from Cyprus, to partake in the conference of the national democratic parties' international union, to be held tomorrow (Friday) at Le Royal Hotel, Dbayeh, at the behest of Lebanese Kataeb party.

Orban is also scheduled to meet with Lebanese President, Michel Sleiman, and Prime Minister, Najib Mikati.

Speaking from Beirut airport, where he was received by Information Minister Walid Daouq representing Premier Mikati, the visiting official relayed hope that economic cooperation between Lebanon and Hungary would be boosted.

He highlighted his country's support for all political forces endeavoring to find a solution to finalize peace process in the region.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Nadim Gemayel visits Sudanese embassy
 

Thu 26/01/2012 16:46


NNA - 26/1/2012 - Member of Parliament Nadim Gemayel on Thursday visited the Sudanese embassy in Beirut to offer condolences for the six Sudanese victims, who fell as a building collapsed in Fassouh-Ashrafieh.

Gemayel told reporters that the meeting with Sudanese ambassador, Idriss Suleiman, featured high on the compensations to be paid to the victims' families.

"Talks also touched on Sudanese workforce in Lebanon and the way the Lebanese state is dealing with them especially as to the expensive fees on working licenses," he said.

He vowed to follow up on the compensation issue with the Higher Relief Committee.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Qahwaji's itinerant visitors today
 

Thu 26/01/2012 16:29

NNA - 26/1/2012 - Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji, on Thursday met with National Defense Minister, Fayez Ghosn, over the needs of the military institution.

He later received, at his office in Yarze, Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, and former Deputies Jihad Samad and Nader Sukkar.

Talks reportedly featured high on the current general situation on the local domestic scene.

Qahwaji also met today with a delegation of gold and jewels merchants' syndicate, headed by Naeem Rizk.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Electricity item on cabinet Tuesday's agenda, says Layyoun
 

Thu 26/01/2012 16:01

NNA - 26/1/2012 - Minister of Culture, Gaby Layyoun, on Thursday assured that the much-heated electricity issue would be included on the cabinet agenda next Tuesday.

He saw that addressing the current "disastrous" situation on the electricity level indeed requires bringing already set plans into effect, hinting bids to forestall the related plan put forth by Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Gebran Bassil.

The Minister did not fail to highlight the necessity of harmony and solidarity within the government.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Nicolas: Demonstrators are the ones refraining from paying their bills
 

Thu 26/01/2012 15:43

NNA - 26/1/2012 MP Nabil Nicolas Thursday said those not paying their electricity bills were the ones demonstrating and the ones hampering the electricity plan.

Nicolas said to prove such a fact, Minister Gibran Bassil, who is trying to preserve civil peace, should conduct a survey and present it to the public.

Speaking to the LBCI television channel, Nicolas said "when supporting funds seek to allocate funds for electricity project they shall be imposing their proper conditions and thus, we shall have to wait for another year for the project to be accomplished."

"How did they ever find necessary funds to finance STL and did not find funds to solve electricity problem?" he remarked.

Nicolas also spoke of the real-estate problem in Lebanon and said the Lebanese couldn't afford to buy an apartment, when people of the Gulf were buying lands to sell them years later for much higher prices.

"How can we be wrong when we expose government's accounts and call for transparency and have the World Bank reports validate our sayings?" Nicolas concluded.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved











 

Politics - Geagea welcomes Syrian National Council's statement
 

Thu 26/01/2012 15:36

NNA - 26/1/2012 - Lebanese Forces Leader, Samir Geagea, welcomed the statement issued yesterday, Wednesday, by the Syrian National Council.

Geagea's welcoming remark came on Thursday in the context of a news conference at his residence in Meerab.

"The council placed its finger on the wound in this concern," said Geagea.

The council's statement, issued yesterday, called for borderline demarcation between Lebanon and Syria, canceling off the supreme council for defense, activating Lebanese Syrian diplomatic relations and forming a committee to follow up the file of the Lebanese disappearing in Syria. Geagea, accordingly, hoped the council's statement would be put into action.

Geagea, however, denounced what is known by the Mikati-led government as a "disassociation policy" towards the Syrian crisis, calling on both, President Michel Sleiman and Premier Najib Mikati, to review the concept of said policy at cabinet

"The disassociation policy would be fine if practiced by the present cabinet in the full meaning of the word," said Geagea who explained that the policy was just adopted in a way serving the Syrian regime.

Turning to the power file, the LF leader called upon Energy and Water Minister Gibran Bassil to cut off electricity from citizens not paying the power bill fees, instead of demanding from citizens paying the bills to protest across the streets. He thereupon wondered how the political side, responsible for this file, demanded protests against the way the file had been treated.

A.B/A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
















 

Politics - Jordanian King, other officials wish Hariri a prompt recovery
 

Thu 26/01/2012 15:15

NNA - 26/01/2012 - Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who is still at the American Hospital in Paris, received new phone calls from Lebanese, Arab and Foreign officials, inquiring about his health after the leg surgery he underwent following his ski accident.

Among the most prominent callers are: Jordanian King Abdullah II, former Pakistani Prime Minister Shawkat Aziz, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai, Governor of Riyadh region Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, Chief of the Crown Prince's Diwan Prince Saud bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz, MPs Mohammed Kabbara and Nicolas Ghosn, former ministers Mohammed Youssef Beydoun and Albert Manour, Mufti of Sidon and the South Sheikh Salim Susan, Archbishop Daniel Kourieh, Secretary General of the Turkish National Security Council Serdar Kilic, Central Bank's Governor's third deputy Mohammad Baassiri, former MP Raji Abi Haidar and former Beirut Mayor Abdel-Monem Aris.

PM Hariri also received cables wishing him a prompt recovery, from Druze Sheikh Akl Naiim Hassan, Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin, Algerian Ambassador to Lebanon Ibrahim Hassi, Head of Lebanese Press Federation Mohammad Baalbaki, and Sidon Mayor Mohammed al-Saudi.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Shouhayib visits Khoury, says no return to March 14
 

Thu 26/01/2012 15:06

NNA - 26/1/2012 - National Struggle Front member MP Akram Shouhayib on Thursday said his political team bears no intention to rejoin ranks with March 14.

During his meeting with Environment Minister Nazem Khoury, Shouhayib said, "it is our duty to participate in the commemoration of Rafic Hariri's assassination, not as a front or political party, but as Lebanese citizens," adding, "Rafic Hariri's blood lead the Syrian army out of Lebanon."

Both men went over the country's environmental situation, whereby they stressed the need to have the environment commission begin serious work.

At another level, Minister Khoury received MP Riyad Rahhal, Parliament's Secretary General Adnan Daher, and the National Scientific Research Council head Mouin Hamza.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Array of political, religious affairs on Mufti's agenda
 

Thu 26/01/2012 14:49

NNA - 26/1/2012 - Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani, on Thursday took up a spectrum of most recent political and religious affairs with his itinerant visitors at Dar-al-Fatwa.

He first met with former Deputy House Speaker, Elie Ferzli, over latest developments on all Lebanese, regional, and Islamic levels.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Ferzli conveyed the Mufti's concerns over the ongoing state of disintegration throughout the Mideast region.

"Inter-Arab-Muslim preoccupation only serves Israel which is taking advantage to pass its schemes in the [Arab] nation," he quoted the Mufti as saying.

Mufti Qabbani later met with Mufti of the North and Tripoli, Sheikh Malek Chaar, over the means to bolster religious education in schools.

He later received former Deputy Talal Merhebi, with talks featuring high on the current general situation in Lebanon and the broader Arab region. The pair shone particular light on an array of affairs relevant to Akkar region.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Harb attacks Change and Reform Ministers, Syrian regime
 

Thu 26/01/2012 13:58

NNA - 26/1/2012 MP Boutros Harb Thursday denounced Minister Bassil's demeanor in electricity dossier refusing to have the latter blackmail others.

MP Harb also criticized General Michel Aoun's behavior and did not fail to depict Minister Charbel Nahhas's refraining from signing transportation fees' decree as "rebellious" and represents a coup d'etat on the constitution.

"Nahhas has to either sign or resign," he remarked.

"What is the difference between some government members' ideology and that of Bashar Assad, that of Gaddafi, and that of other dictators?" he wondered.

Speaking to the Voice of Lebanon-Freedom and Dignity- radio, Harb said communications over Bkerki meeting follow up were underway, adding that he shall be meeting with Hezbollah and Amal movement next week.

The MP also said that Syrian events embody a conflict between the people and the state, predicting herein the collapse of Syrian regime.

In that respect, Harb urged Syrian President Bashar Assad to find himself an honorable exit and walk out.
L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati holds domestic economy talks, tackles developments with interlocutors
 

Thu 26/01/2012 13:56

NNA - 26/01/2012 - The general economic situation at the domestic scene, as well as means to promote growth, featured high Thursday on talks between Prime Minister Najib Mikati and ministers.

The Prime Minister chaired for this purpose a meeting at the Grand Serail, in presence of Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi, Trade and Economy Minister Nicholas Nahhas, and Lebanese Central Bank Governor, Riad Salameh.

"We also discussed budget-related and livelihood issues," Safadi said upon emerging.

At another level, the Prime Minister broached the demands of a visiting delegation from the Excellence Licensing Association headed by Charles Orbid, in presence of Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan, Trade and Economy Minister Nicholas Nahhas, Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi, and Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud.

"The Association raised a number of demands believed to be essential for the development of their sector. Their problem with the Ministry of Agriculture is being treated," Hajj Hassan said.

In turn, Arbid said that the delegation had briefed Mikati on the launch of a project titled "Branding Lebanon", as well as the re-launch of the Shopping Festival Month.

A delegation from Dar Al-Fatwa also had its share of talks with the Prime Minister over latest Dar Al- Fatwa accomplishments.
The delegation also extended an invitation to Mikati to attend an official Ceremony to be held at Dar Al- Fatwa, marking the anniversary of Prophet Mohammad.
R.H.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi explains Hezbollah, Bkirki dialogue fundamentals
 

Thu 26/01/2012 13:20

NNA - 26/1/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Beshara Rahi said on Thursday that three major points represent the core of dialogue with Hezbollah.

The entity of Lebanon as a state, the National Pact, Lebanon's detachment, as well as Lebanon's message, are what the Patriarch referred to as the dialogue's framework.

Speaking before the Editors' Syndicate in Bkerki today, Rahi said this dialogue does not replace the dialogue table, as it not of a political aspect.

Pertaining to the extended Christian Gathering that was held earlier at Bkerki to tackle the electoral law, Rahi said the main focus was on the quality of representation, as on finding the best way to preserve parity.

"Dialogue doors were opened as a result to electoral law discussions for it is dishonorable that we go backwards to the 1960 law," he remarked.

Lastly, the Patriarch hailed the written press, calling on the government to support it so that media institutions won't be compelled to close down.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hajjar stirs up red diesel scandal at Court of Audit
 

Thu 26/01/2012 13:09

NNA - 26/01/2012 - Member of Parliament Mohammad Hajjar declared on Thursday having filed a law suit at the Court of Audit's General Prosecution so as to investigate the red diesel scandal further.

The scandal blew up last week when reports said that the oil refinery in northern Lebanon delivered to oil and distribution companies 8 million liters of diesel oil, hours before the end of a one-month government subvention of LL3,000, that was initially aimed at helping poor families in cold areas to use the diesel for heating.

"I have told the Court of Audit Head Aouni Ramadan that I accomplished my duties as a Member of Parliament by filing this law suit at the General Prosecution," Hajjar told the Voice of Lebanon radio, promising to follow up investigations every step of the way.

Moreover, Hajjar made clear that his intentions were far from merely leveling accusations at people, but aimed at launching investigations in a bid to reach a clear outcome.

"We would like to know the circumstances of the companies that purchased diesel oil within the last few days. We would also like to know who the owners really are," he said, adding that according to sources, those companies have fake owners.

On the other hand, the Future bloc MP responded to MP General Michel Aoun's calls on the Lebanese people to protest against power blackouts.

"Such rhetoric ought to be avoided. Enough laying and blasphemy," he added.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ghosn tackles ties with Belgian counterpart
 

Thu 26/01/2012 12:18

NNA - 26/1/2012 - Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn discussed ties between Belgium and Lebanon with Belgian Defense Minister Pieter de Crem on Thursday morning at his office in the ministry.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Defense, the meeting tackled ongoing cooperation between the Lebanese Army and "UNIFIL" in south Lebanon, where both sides stressed necessity to enhance and boost this cooperation, in order to restore calm and stability in the south.

The statement added that the Belgian Minister stressed his country's prudence concerning Lebanon's stability, highlighting Belgium's support to protect security and develop demining programs.

Ghosn praised the Belgian contingent's role working within "UNIFIL" south Lebanon and underscored cooperation between the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL, as well as commitment to resolution 1701, pointing to the daily Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty.

Ghosn stressed "necessity to exert more pressure on Israel to stop its violations," urging it to implement resolution 1701.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qadiri: SNC stances lay hand on gash in Syrian-Lebanese ties
 

Thu 26/01/2012 12:11

NNA - 26/1/2012 MP Ziad Qadiri Thursday said Syrian National Council (SNC) latest stances have touched the wound in Syrian-Lebanese ties.

The MP said such stances came within the frame of Syrian fears over losing the Lebanese card that Syria was still using for its own interest before international, regional, and Arab forums, despite Lebanese efforts to swathe existing wound.

"The Syrian council stresses the necessity to solve pending dossiers between the countries" Future bloc member said.

MP said that his movement's support to Syrian people's mobilization was derived from the national, Arab, and patriotic belief that Syrian stability is a major title for the Lebanese one.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour, Libyan Judges follow up on Sadr's case
 

Thu 26/01/2012 12:02

NNA - 26/01/2012 - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour followed up Thursday investigations into the disappearance of Imam Moussa Sadr with a visiting delegation of Libyan judges.

Libyan judges Mahmoud Al Yassir and Abdul Latif Kaddoura briefed Mansour on the latest investigations results.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun tackles developments with interlocutors
 

Thu 26/01/2012 11:54

NNA - 26/01/2012 - Reform and Change bloc Leader, Deputy General Michel Aoun, tackled on Thursday general developments with his Rabieh visitors.

Among Aoun's interlocutors had been Minister of Industry Vrej Sabounjian, Tashnak Party Leader, Hovik Mikhtarian, and MP Hagop Pakradonian.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Lebanese won't allow disruption of country: Merabi
 

Thu 26/01/2012 11:46

NNA - 26/1/2012 - Deputy Mouin Merabi on Thursday said that the Lebanese won't allow any bloc to continue disrupting the country and take over political, security and military institutions.

The MP said that Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas have chosen during Wednesday's cabinet session the most honest person, attacked him, and criticized his achievements to cover up for his bloc's failure in the cabinet, Merabi stressed in a statement.

"Major General Ashraf Rifi developed the ISF institution and uncovered Israeli networks, collaborators and protected the state institutions from conspiracies" the statement stressed.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - U.S. Embassy Holds Voter Registration Drive
 

Thu 26/01/2012 11:42

NNA - 26/1/2012 - The U.S. Embassy in Beirut kicked off the 2012 election season with its inaugural Voter Registration Drive at the American Community School yesterday evening. U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly spoke to the attendees, reminding them that in a year of hotly contested presidential and congressional elections, it is more important than ever that American citizens exercise their right to vote.

Over 150 Americans gathered at this kick-off campaign to register to vote. Absentee voting rules have changed this year, and now, U.S. citizens voting overseas should register every year in order to receive absentee ballots to vote in elections. In order to ensure that ballots are counted, U.S. citizens are encouraged to register as early as possible!

The U.S. Embassy's American Citizen Services section organizes voter registration drives bi-annually and this voter registration is the first in a series of voter registration events the U.S. Embassy plans to hold in 2012. U.S. citizens living in Lebanon who wish to register to vote can visit the American Citizens Services web-site (http://lebanon.usembassy.gov/information_for_travelers/voting-assistance.html), register in person at the Embassy, or at numerous future voter registration events. Many questions regarding absentee/overseas voting have been answered on our list of Frequently Asked Questions.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Araji pushes Aoun Ministers to walkout
 

Thu 26/01/2012 10:43

NNA - 26/1/2012 MP Assem Araji Thursday said Change and Reform bloc members ought to resign from government and thus carry out a trouble-free deed as a result of their immense failure.

Commenting on March 14 members' comeback to attend the Finance Commission session without having MP Ibrahim Kanaan apologize, Araji told Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio that Speaker Berri was loud and clear when he said Kanaan shall personally apologize.

"A monthly gathering was scheduled for heads and rapporteurs of commissions to prevent any probable quarrel," he remarked.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Majdalani: Bassil will make all Lebanon without electricity
 

Thu 26/01/2012 09:58

NNA - 26/1/2012 - "Future" bloc member Deputy Atef Majdalani stressed that Energy Minister Jebran Bassil would make the entire Lebanon without electricity.

The MP added that Bassil can no longer hide the policy of commissions and transactions which he was exercising on the account of the citizen and the state.

"Since Bassil has assumed energy ministry the electricity is worsening and maybe all Lebanon will become without electricity", the MP stressed on Thursday to "Free Lebanon radio".

Commenting on the red gas oil issue, the MP said that the auditing department would investigate in this issue.

Concerning the high-tension electricity project in Mansourieh, the MP reminded that Bassil and his colleagues in his bloc were against this project 5 years ago and mobilized the people against it, adding that "they stressed that these lines should be underground because they form danger".

The MP stressed that the current cabinet was formed by the Syrian regime, but when this regime collapses it would resign.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Cabinet convenes, Mikati pushes for cabinet solidarity
 

Wed 25/01/2012 20:28

NNA - 25/1/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati opened Wednesday's cabinet session underlining the importance of inter-cabinet solidarity, NNA correspondent reported.

The Cabinet is currently convening in a regular session at the Grand Serail, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, with 59 items on its agenda.

"We should work as a unified team. Cabinet sessions are the best place for holding discussions where opposing points of view are acceptable," the Prime Minister said.

"But there shouldn't come up any sort of disagreement," Mikati stressed.

Moreover, and responding to accusations saying that the cabinet was blocking different projects, Mikati asserted that any delay implementing them was the outcome of further studies.

"There are no veiled intentions by the cabinet to block or postpone projects," Mikati clarified.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea, interlocutors tackle current situation
 

Wed 25/01/2012 20:11

NNA - 25/1/2012 Lebanese Forces Head Samir Geagea met on Wednesday at his Maarab residence with European Popular Party Foreign Relations Official Nichola Preiek, where they tackled European-Lebanese relations and the situation in Syria and means of resolving the crisis.
On the other hand, Geagea met with Iraqi Islamic Call Party leading figure Izzat Shahbandar where they tackled latest regional developments and bilateral Iraqi-Lebanese relations.
Shabandar is also a Deputy at the Coalition of the State of Law, chaired by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Malaki.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Statements attributed to Suleimani a U.S. misleading campaign: Hezbollah
 

Wed 25/01/2012 20:00

NNA - 25/01/2012 - Fallacious statements attributed to Iran's Kassem Suleimani are nothing but a misleading campaign engineered by U.S. allies in the region, Hezbollah said in a statement responding to the harsh criticism the Iranian Commander's words drew.

Speaking at a conference in Tehran last week, Suleimani told a group of youth, "In reality, in South Lebanon and Iraq, the people are under the effect of the Islamic Republic's way of practice and thinking."

The remarks that were later attributed to Suleimani said that South Lebanon fell under Iran's control, with the possibility of setting up an Islamic government there.

"Those affiliated with the U.S. administration continue their fabricated misleading campaigns," the statement read, accusing Al-Arabiya News channel of being the first to disseminate such "untrue and altered" statements by Suleimani.

Albeit, Hezbollah couldn't help but wonder how despite the Iranian Republic's official denial of said statements, some still chose to cleave to this misleading campaign, in service of their goals.
R.H.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea, Kheir tackle current situation
 

Wed 25/01/2012 19:47

NNA - 25/1/2012 Lebanese Forces Head Samir Geagea met on Wednesday at his residence in Maarab with Deputy Kazem Kheir where they tackled the current situation in Lebanon and the region.
"Future" Bloc member Kheir said his visit to Maarab falls in the framework of deliberations and coordination amidst the dangerous situation that the region and Lebanon are currently passing through, a statement by Geagea media bureau quoted him as saying.
Kheir also regarded the call by some ministers for demonstration as comical, thus requesting them to submit their resignations in a bid to relief citizens, as he said.
The visit was also a chance to discuss preparations underway for March 14 commemoration upcoming February, statement concluded.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Loyalty to the Resistance slams Israeli fresh arrests of Palestinians
 

Wed 25/01/2012 19:25

NNA - 25/01/2012 - The Loyalty to the Resistance Parliamentary bloc vehemently condemned on Wednesday the non-stop arbitrary arrests of Palestinian people, at the hands of the Israeli enemy.

The bloc's deprecation came at the backdrop of a recent Israeli military court order to hold Hamas MP Aziz Dweik, speaker of the Palestinian parliament, for six months without trail. Dweik was detained on Thursday near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

"This is a renewed act of aggression which clearly proves the impossibility of coexisting with Zionists," a statement by the bloc read.

The statement also deplored other acts of violence perpetrated by Israel, deeming super power states, namely the U.S., as backers to such atrocities.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jordanian King cables Hariri to check his well-being
 

Wed 25/01/2012 19:25

NNA - 25/01/2012 - Jordanian King Abdullah II cabled on Tuesday evening Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, checking on his well-being after the ski accident in Alpes Mountains, the press office of Hariri said.

Hariri also received another call from former Pakistani Prime Minister Shawkat Aziz for the same purpose.
A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rifi receives Watkins, Jordanian delegation
 

Wed 25/01/2012 18:11

NNA - 25/01/2012 - Director General of the Internal Security Forces, Major General Ashraf Rifi, met over the security situation in the country with UNDP Representative in Lebanon, Robert Watkins.

The meeting was held on Wednesday at Rifi's office in the caserne headquarter.

Furthermore, Rifi received a delegation of the Jordanian General Security presided by colonel Moen Abed Mesmar, with talks focusing on the Lebanese wide experience on the security level.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Politics - Jumblatt heads to Moscow
 

Wed 25/01/2012 18:11

NNA - 25/01/2012 - Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) head, MP Walid Jumblatt, headed on Wednesday to Moscow aboard a private jet.
P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - New UNIFIL Commander in Beirut
 

Wed 25/01/2012 18:08

NNA - 25/01/2012 - Newly-appointed UNIFIL Commander, General Paolo Serra, arrived Wednesday to Beirut Airport coming from Milano to assume his mission.
P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Cabinet convenes at Grand Serail
 

Wed 25/01/2012 18:04

NNA - 25/1/2012 The Cabinet is currently convening in a regular session at the Grand Serail, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
The Cabinet looks into 59 items on its agenda.
The Cabinet convenes in presence of all ministers except for Ghazi Aridi and Alaeddine Terro.
--------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Lahham concludes pastoral visit in Cairo
 

Wed 25/01/2012 17:58

NNA - 25/1/2012 - Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarch, Gregory Lahham III, on Wednesday concluded his annual pastoral visit in Cairo where he met with a number of spiritual and political personalities.

Speaking to reporters upon his arrival in Rafik Hariri International Airport, Lahham said that during his visit, he hoped there would be an Arab spiritual Christian-Muslim summit to result in the formation of an institution, just like the Arab League, in an effort to restore a certain political, spiritual, and social balance.

He noted that both the Secretary General of the Arab League, Nabil Elarabi, and Al-Azhar Sheikh cordially welcomed the idea of holding a spiritual summit.

Lahham considered that reaching power is one thing and practicing it is another.

"Arab states must listen to the voices of Tahrir Square and other squares in every Arab country. This is an obligation for the Arab League which shall not wait for the problem to occur to solve it," he said, calling not to wait for any solution from the US or Europe "because this is a sign of weakness in the Arab world."

As to the demands by some Arab states to internationalize crisis in Syria, Lahham hoped Arabs would listen to each other instead of abiding by foreign dictations.

On the withdrawal of some Arab states from the observer mission in Syria, he said "there are a lot of [other] Arabs."

Turning to the Lebanese domestic scene, Lahham hoped that appointments would be finalized in the nearest time possible and that more attention would be given to social affairs.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qanso from Dar Fatwa stresses on security, stability
 

Wed 25/01/2012 17:10

NNA - 25/01/2012 - State Minister Ali Qanso stressed upon the necessity of bolstering the course of local security and stability, without which Lebanon would lose everything.

Qanso's words came in the wake of his meeting with Mufti of Lebanon Sheikh Muhammad Rachid Qabbani at Dar Fatwa.

Qanso, accordingly, highlighted the necessity of setting dialogues between political rivals so as to solve pending problems and support security.

The Mufti, for his part, congratulated the Egyptian public on the first anniversary of its revolution against the former regime of Husni Moubarak.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Kahwaji receives Bellemare
 

Wed 25/01/2012 16:32

NNA - 25/01/2012 - Lebanese Army Commander, General Jean Kahwaji, received STL former Prosecutor, Judge Daniel Bellemare, who came on a farewell visit on Wednesday to Kahwaji's office in Yarzeh.

Kahwaji also met with Al-Hadil magazine Editor-in-Chief, Bassam Akiki, heading a delegation.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Chirac visits Hariri at the hospital
 

Wed 25/01/2012 16:31

NNA - 25/1/2012 - Former French President Jacques Chirac visited today Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the American hospital in Paris, to check on his health after the leg surgery he underwent following his ski accident, a press release by Hariri's media office said on Wednesday.
It mentioned that Hariri also received today several phone calls from personalities who contacted him to wish him a prompt recovery. Among them are: former Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Sabah, Saudi Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja, Minister of Economy of Cura�ao Nasser Al-Hakim, Mrs. Aida Rashid Solh on behalf of her husband, former Ministers Adnan Kassar and Salim Warde, as well as many MPs, former deputies and officials.
Hariri had received yesterday numerous phone calls, from: Saudi Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Emir of Mecca Region Prince Khalid Al Faisal, head of Saudi intelligence Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz, former Deputy Prime Minister Elias Murr, former minister Mona Afeich, Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Assiri, vice chairman of the higher Islamic Shiite Council Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan, Patriarch of the Armenian Orthodox Church Aram I Kishishian, Sayyed Muhammad Hassan Al-Amin, Sayyed Ali Al-Amin , as well as several MPs, former deputies and personalities.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Karami, Roknabadi tackle bilateral ties
 

Wed 25/01/2012 16:26

NNA - 25/1/2012 - Iranian ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, on Wednesday visited Minister of Youth and Sports, Faysal Karami, for a meeting over the means to bolster bilateral relations between both countries.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, the diplomat said that talks featured high on the necessity to activate the two-pronged memorandum of understanding inked between Iran and Lebanon on the level of sports and youth.

"During the meeting, I handed to the Minister a written letter from his Iranian counterpart hereby inviting him to visit the Islamic Republic of Iran," he added.

"This invitation is presented to the Minister on top of a Lebanese youth delegation to participate in the youth and culture week in Tehran in March," he said.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Bellemare visits Defense Minister
 

Wed 25/01/2012 16:10

NNA - 25/1/2012 - Minister of National Defense, Fayez Ghosn, on Wednesday met with former prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Daniel Bellemare, over an array of most recent developments and the current general situation.

The Minister later received at his ministerial office former Minister Abdullah Farhat from Harissa Gathering.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Farhat capitalized the necessity that everyone upholds the Lebanese Army amid the current critical juncture sweeping the Mideast region.

Former Minister Talal Merhebi also visited Ghosn today.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri chairs Finance Commission meeting
 

Wed 25/01/2012 16:04

NNA - 25/1/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Wednesday chaired a meeting at the Parliament for the Budget and Finance commission, in presence of March 14 Deputies who boycotted ten consecutive sessions thus far.
"The meeting was positive and there was emphasis on the obligation to abide by the Parliament's bylaws," Head of the commission, MP Ibrahim Kanaan told reporters following the meeting.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel meets honorary consular corps members
 

Wed 25/01/2012 15:40

NNA - 25/1/2012 - Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel met Wednesday at his ministerial office a delegation of the honorary consular corps members, with talks featuring high on potential means of cooperation between said corps and the Interior Ministry at different levels.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (updated) Berri heads parliamentary committees' meeting
 

Wed 25/01/2012 15:25

NNA - 25/1/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri chaired Wednesday the parliamentary committees' heads and rapporteurs meeting.

The meeting was an occasion to touch on local affairs, especially the laws related to the most heated issues which directly concern the citizens, such as the rental law.

Speaker Berri decided to hold such meetings more frequently so as to discuss parliamentary committees' work.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Khoreis: to put national interest above all considerations
 

Wed 25/01/2012 15:09

NNA - 25/1/2012 - Liberation and Development bloc member, MP Ali Khoreis, called Wednesday for putting the national interest above all narrow personal greed.

"Addressing people's suffering and solving their livelihood problems is mostly required, instead of competing over suspicious projects," he said.

Khoreis warned of dragging Lebanon into foreign conflicts aimed at dividing the region and taking over its resources.

The Deputy regretted the dire situation reached by the Arabs who have lost the compass and became unable to differentiate between enemy and brother.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Daouq, WAFA delegation meet
 

Wed 25/01/2012 15:01

NNA - 25/1/2012 - Minister of Information, Walid Daouq, on Wednesday keenly followed up on the problems Palestinian medias are encountering, during his meeting with a delegation of Palestine's state-run news agency, WAFA.

The delegation, headed by Director of WAFA Beirut bureau Abed Maarouf and journalists Hassan Bekir and Rima Daoud, broached with the Minister the means to bolster Palestinian media work.

The meeting, also attended by Head of the Foreign Correspondents Press Room at the Ministry, Marwan Shukri, featured high on the current situation and most recent developments in Palestine.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - March 14: Government's "Disassociation Policy" supports Syrian regime
 

Wed 25/01/2012 14:56

NNA - 25/01/2012 - March 14 Movement condemned the present government's adoption of what was known as "Disassociation Policy" towards the developments in Syria, as such a policy was interpreted in action by the government as favoring and supporting the Syrian regime.

The movement's fresh stance came in the context of its regular weekly meeting, in presence of a number of deputies, at the headquarters of the movement in Ashrafieh.

March 14 said the disassociation policy must support Lebanon and bolster its local security instead of serving the regime. It must control the Lebanese borders and safeguard them from any Syrian penetration like that happened in Arida/Akkar last Saturday.

Accordingly, the movement voiced readiness to face the regime's plans against Lebanon's sovereignty, security and stability.

Separately, March 14 denounced the declarations, made out by Iranian official Qassem Suleimani, that Iran was holding control over the region of South Lebanon. Thereupon, March 14 deplored the government's silence at Suleimani's words and warned at the same time the Iranian regime of exporting its troubles and crisis to Lebanon.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman discusses general situation with Berri
 

Wed 25/01/2012 14:45

NNA - 25/01/2012 - President of the Lebanese Republic General Michel Sleiman received on Wednesday at Baabda Presidential Palace House Speaker Nabih Berri, with talks featuring high on the general situation as well as the works of the parliamentary committees tasked with accomplishing the approval on a number of law drafts.

Afterwards, Sleiman received Prime Minister Deputy Samir Mokbel. Both tackled a number of files that the cabinet had already tasked committees under the chairmanship of Mokbel to explore them.

Amongst Baabda visitors, former General Prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Daniel Bellemare, and Deputy Serj Tersarkissian.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabalan, Ballout discuss Lebanese-Tunisian ties
 

Wed 25/01/2012 14:20

NNA - 25/1/2012 Vice Head of the Islamic Shiite Supreme Council Sheikh Abdel Amir Qabalan Wednesday discussed the Tunisian-Lebanese ties during his meeting with the Tunisian Ambassador to Lebanon Mohammad Fawzi Ballout.

Qabalan extolled Tunisian people's accomplishments and political reforms that, in his words, expressed the people's expectations to progress and development.

Shiite Sheikh also met with a delegation of the Palestine Democratic Liberation Front headed by Ali Faysal.

Qabalan stressed the need to reinforce Palestinian unity through cooperation and dialogue between factions toward a comprehensive reconciliation.

As for his part, Faysal stressed the need to compel Israel to implement international legitimacy resolutions.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi, Assiri tackle major developments
 

Wed 25/01/2012 14:03

NNA - 25/1/2012 Maronite Patriarch Marbeshara Rahi Wednesday tackled most recent up-to-dates as well as bilateral ties during his meeting at Bkerki with the Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad al-Asiri.

Following the meeting Asiri asserted the importance of communications between religions especially between Christians and Muslims.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri heads parliamentary committees' meeting
 

Wed 25/01/2012 13:56

NNA - 25/1/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri chaired Wednesday the parliamentary committees' heads and rapporteurs meeting.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabbani, Flint tackle bilateral ties
 

Wed 25/01/2012 13:53

NNA - 25/1/2012 Mufti of the Lebanese Republic Mohammad Rashid Qabbani Wednesday met with Swiss Ambassador Ruth Flint.

Talks touched on bilateral cooperation whereby Qabbani conveyed appreciation for the Swiss government's support to Lebanese projects.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Marouni calls on Bassil to resign
 

Wed 25/01/2012 13:49

NNA - 25/1/2012 - Deputy Elie Marouni called Wednesday on the Energy and Water Minister Gebran Bassil to resign, as he was not fulfilling his duties as required.

Maroni made these remarks in his talk show with the Orient radio station and as a response to the call of the Change and Reforms bloc on citizens to protest over electricity cut off by resorting to the street.

"This bloc is the one responsible for the energy portfolio since Alain Tabourian and until Gebran Bassil," he said, criticizing the latter's talk on hindrances derailing his plans to generate electricity and improve its productivity.

Maroni noted that electricity supply had never been this bad, not even during war days.

"Why don't they protest for people's dignity and right to electricity, instead of going to the street," he asked, criticizing the fact that the Minister responsible for providing electricity to the citizens was actually promising them further power outage.

The Deputy tackled also the diesel oil issue and called for following it up seriously so as to uncover those responsible for the diesel waste, in billions.

As for the two-year prison sentence against General Fayez Karam, Marouni said "we expected such politicized verdicts."

Separately, the MP touched on the Syrian violation to the Lebanese borders, comparing it to any other Israeli breach, and wondering why it raised no condemnations from Lebanese officials, and particularly from the Foreign Ministry which thus far filed no complaint in this regard to the Security Council.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 


 

Politics - Abou Faour meets with HRC Secretary General, Merehbi
 

Wed 25/01/2012 13:49

NNA - 25/1/2012 Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour convened Wednesday with the Higher Relief Committee Secretary General Ibrahim Bashir.

Abou Faour also met with Future bloc member MP Mouin Merehbi and discussed with him major developments.

L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (updated)Mansour discusses situation with Syrian ambassador
 

Wed 25/01/2012 13:26

NNA - 25/1/2012 - Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour received on Wednesday Syrian ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul karim Ali and reviewed the developments in Lebanon and the region.

After the meeting, the Syrian ambassador told reporters that both sides discussed the Arab initiative and the position of Beirut and Damascus on this issue.

"The report filed by the Arab League monitors and distributed to the foreign ministers clearly shows that Syria has fully executed all the main clauses of the protocol signed between Damascus and the Arab League and for this reason Mansour called on the ministers to reinstate Syria to the league," Ali explained.

He stressed that Mansour was surprised by the initiative of the Arab League presidency which blamed Damascus for the incidents in Syria.

The Arab League has called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down and empower his vice president to hold talks with the Syrian opposition in order to form a coalition government.

"We also have touched on the situation along the joint Lebanese-Syrian border and underlined the need to better control these borders. The monitors have confirmed that arms are being smuggled from Lebanon to Syria and this must come to an end."

The ambassador reiterated that the Syrian government vehemently refuses any attempt by the Arab League to internationalize the Syrian crisis or to allow U.N. to slap sanctions on his country.

He insisted that the Syrian leadership will pursue reforms and at the same time face terrorism.

Ali brushed off media reports that the situation is getting out of control in Syria, adding that the army and most of the Syrian people fully back President Assad.

The ambassador called on the Lebanese authorities to tighten control of the borders and prevent all attempts to smuggle arms to Syria.

Ali also ruled out the possibility that Russia would abandon Damascus, noting that Moscow is totally against external intervention in Syria's affairs.

Mansour also received former STL General Prosecutor Judge Daniel Bellemare.
The latter left without giving any statements.

O.H-L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Khoury, Watkins meet
 

Wed 25/01/2012 13:12

NNA - 25/1/2012 Environment Minister Nazem Khoury Wednesday tackled the upshot of the UN Secretary General's visit to Lebanon during his meeting with the UNDP representative in Lebanon Robert Watkins.

Both men highlighted the importance of preserving Lebanese stability and implementing international resolutions.

Also, attendees went over the cooperation between the program and the Ministry as well as over the experts the program is providing Lebanon to execute projects.

The Minister also received head of the "Green Party" Nada Zaarour and MP Joseph Maalouf.


L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kabbani discusses cooperation with Swiss Ambassador
 

Wed 25/01/2012 12:53

NNA - 25/1/2012 - Deputy Mohamad Kabbani discussed on Wednesday at his office the ongoing cooperation between Lebanon and Switzerland with Swiss Ambassador to Lebanon Ruth Flint.

Kabbani thanked the Swiss cabinet for supporting Lebanon.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel: We should not ignore our problems due to Syria's crisis
 

Wed 25/01/2012 12:49

NNA - 25/1/2012 - Deputy Sami Gemayel stressed the necessity to forget the Syrian crisis a little and solve our Lebanese files.

"Although Kataeb party supported the Syrian people from the first day of the Syrian uprising, but we should not, nevertheless, forget the Lebanese files and livelihood issues", the MP stressed.

"Livelihood issues are our priority" the MP stressed on Wednesday to "Future" news.

Gemayel criticized the way Energy Minister Jebran Bassil is treating the electricity issue, describing it as "shameful", asking "against who they want to protest"?

Gemayel pointed out to the kidnapping of the Lebanese fishermen in Arida few days ago, saying "this issue is a Lebanese affair", calling on the Lebanese army to open fire on anyone who violates the Lebanese sovereignty.

Gemayel said that the basic problem in Lebanon is Hizbullah and the problem with Change and Reform bloc is that it is covering Hizbullah.

Commenting on Hizbullah's weapons, he said "the appropriate time for Hizbullah to hand over its weapons is coming", for this he said they (March 14) should keep on demanding the disarmament of Hizbullah.

"Dialogue is the only solution for the disarmament of Hizbullah", the MP stressed, adding that the existence of Hizbullah's weapons under its disposal does not guarantee the independence of Lebanon.

"The army and UN are solving the borders issue not Hizbullah", Gemayel confirmed.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour discuss situation with Syrian ambassador
 

Wed 25/01/2012 12:46

NNA - 25/1/2012 - Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour received on Wednesday Syrian ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul karim Ali and reviewed the developments in Lebanon and the region.

After the meeting, the Syrian ambassador told reporters that both sides discussed the Arab initiative and the position of Beirut and Damascus on this issue.

"The report filed by the Arab League monitors and distributed to the foreign ministers clearly shows that Syria has fully executed all the main clauses of the protocol signed between Damascus and the Arab League and for this reason Mansour called on the ministers to reinstate Syria to the league," Ali explained.

He stressed that Mansour was surprised by the initiative of the Arab League presidency which blamed Damascus for the incidents in Syria.

The Arab League has called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down and empower his vice president to hold talks with the Syrian opposition in order to form a coalition government.

"We also have touched on the situation along the joint Lebanese-Syrian border and underlined the need to better control these borders. The monitors have confirmed that arms are being smuggled from Lebanon to Syria and this must come to an end."

The ambassador reiterated that the Syrian government vehemently refuses any attempt by the Arab League to internationalize the Syrian crisis or to allow U.N. to slap sanctions on his country.

He insisted that the Syrian leadership will pursue reforms and at the same time face terrorism.

Ali brushed off media reports that the situation is getting out of control in Syria, adding that the army and most of the Syrian people fully back President Assad.

The ambassador called on the Lebanese authorities to tighten control of the borders and prevent all attempts to smuggle arms to Syria.

Ali also ruled out the possibility that Russia would abandon Damascus, noting that Moscow is totally against external intervention in Syria's affairs.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Youssef: March 14 MPs are still expecting Kanaan's apology
 

Wed 25/01/2012 12:18

NNA - 25/1/2012 - Deputy Ghazi Aridi said March 14 MPs are still expecting the apology of parliament member Ibrahim Najjar for the baseless insults he had launched against former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.
The Deputy told the Voice of Lebanon radio station that "in politics, there is always some room for reconciliations," when asked about Speaker Nabih Berri's attempts to do so.
Youssef noted, in this regard, that Berri had called for holding a meeting for the finance and budget committee this afternoon upon the call of March 14 forces to rectify the course of this committee.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Abboud: Energy ministry not responsible for electricity crisis
 

Wed 25/01/2012 12:10

NNA - 25/1/2012 - Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud said that holding energy ministry responsible for the electricity crisis was unfair.

"It is unreasonable and unfair to hold energy minister responsibility for the electricity crisis", the minister stressed.

Abboud said on Wednesday to "Fager" radio that the solution to exit this crisis is to stop spending without budget, accusing the cabinet of "disrupting the projects".

The minister pointed out that all Lebanon benefited from "Change and Reform" bloc ministers projects.

Abboud described the campaign against Energy Minister in gas oil scandal as "pre-emptive" and shed ashes in the eyes to cover up for the untraced $11 billion and the violations which took place in previous years.

The minister wondered how the final report of the World Bank concerning finance ministry was neglected.

A.A.M

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Politics - Khoury denies Cabinet blocking electricity plan
 

Wed 25/01/2012 11:36

NNA - 25/1/2012 - Environment Minister Nazem Khoury denied in an interview with Voice of Lebanon Energy and Water Minister Jibran Bassil's claims that the government is blocking the execution of the electricity plan.

"I don't see attempts to block the plan in the Cabinet and the President of the Republic Michel Sleiman in doing his utmost to facilitate the implementation of the project."

Khoury was also surprised by MP Michel Aoun's call for a demonstration to protest the condition of the electricity sector.

As for the administrative appointments, the minister stressed that the president is not striving for a bigger clout than the one he already has because he was elected unanimously by the Lebanese parliament.

He also denied that the president is asking for a share in the new administrative appointments, adding that Sleiman is only keen to see the right man in the right position, irrespective of their political affiliation.

"MP Aoun has the largest Christian bloc in the parliament but the president has a responsibility to uphold the constitution and give the citizens their full rights."

O.H

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Politics - Sleiman discusses developments with Berri
 

Wed 25/01/2012 11:20

NNA - 25/1/2012 - President Michel Sleiman is currently meeting at Baabda Palace with Speaker of the House Nabih Berri and discussing the general situation and latest Lebanese and regional developments.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hamadeh slams Mansour's position
 

Wed 25/01/2012 10:50

NNA - 25/1/2012 - Member of Parliament Marwan Hamadeh lashed out at the position of Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour who rejected Arab League's initiative on Syria.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon "Voice of Freedom and Dignity", Hamadeh argued that Lebanon can't distance itself from the unfolding events in Syria especially when blood is shed in the neighboring country.

He reminded that Lebanon's borders have been repeatedly encroached by the forces loyal to the Syrian regime which slew a number of Lebanese citizens in the past few weeks.

Hamadeh stressed that Manour has no right to demand the lifting of sanctions on the Syrian regime and to restore Damascus seat in the Arab League.

"Who empowered Mansour to adopt these positions that contradicts the stances of the president of the republic, speaker of the parliament and prime minister?"

The MP stipulated that the only way relations between former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and MP Walid Jumblatt can return to normal is when the latter withdraws his ministers from the government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

But Hamadeh suggested that Jumblatt may be reluctant to pullout from the cabinet to preserve civil peace and stability in the country, in clear reference to the ties between Jumblat and Hezbollah.

He believes that there is lot of common points between Hariri and Jumblatt and most notably on the issue of the Syrian crisis.

Responding to a question, Hamadeh said that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon's general prosecutor Danielle Bellemare may meet some officials as well as families of victims during his visit to Lebanon.

O.H

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Politics - Jaber seeks to restore rights of Ethiopian families' victims
 

Wed 25/01/2012 10:17

NNA - 25/1/2012 - Deputy Yassine Jaber called on the Lebanese cabinet through Justice Ministry to stand by and support the families of the Ethiopian plane crash victims to obtain their rights.

Jaber offered in Wednesday's statement another time condolences for the families of the victims who were killed in the Ethiopian plane crash last year.

On the other, Jaber headed on Wednesday morning to Brussels to take part in meetings of EU General Assembly to discuss partnership issue, elections and constitutional operations in the Mediterranean countries.

Later, Jaber will move to London to join the Lebanese parliament Finance committee delegation which is visiting the British parliament.

A.A.M
 

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Politics - Opening the International Islamic Christian Dialogue Conference
 

Tue 24/01/2012 21:51

NNA - 24/01-2012 - The International Islamic Christian Dialogue Conference was opened on Tuesday at the Armenian Orthodox Church of Antelias.

Catholicos Aram I gave a word during the event, highlighting the significance of dialogue, especially during the current stage witnessing turmoil in the East Mediterranean region.

Aram I called for national unity so as to face the challenges and avoid violence.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - J. Hobeika in commemoration mass: for enhancing public, resistance, Army solidarity in face of challenges
 

Tue 24/01/2012 21:24

NNA - 24/01/2012 - Joe Hobeika stressed the necessity of thoroughly adhering to the tripartite equation of solidarity among the Lebanese public, army and resistance so as to face foreign challenges threatening the country.

Joe Hobeika is the son of Elie Hobeika, the Lebanese Phalangist and Lebanese Forces Commander during the civil war and former minister, who was killed on January 24, 2002, in a huge car bomb attack near his house in the Beirut suburb of Hazmieh.

Joe Hobeika's words came on Tuesday in the context of a mass sevice held by the National Secular Democratic Party (Waad) in commemoration of late Minister Elie Hobeika. The mass was headed by Beirut Maronite Archbishop Boulos Matar.

Hobeika urged politicians to cast off their reliance upon any foreign power since that was something that never served the welfare of the nation.

Turning to the Syrian crisis, Hobeika hoped that the situation would take a turn for the better by overcoming all strife conspiracies concocted against the country. He said that Lebanon must adopt positive stances that would contribute to bring a halt to the crisis.

Hobeika voiced support for the parliamentary electoral law based on proportionality.

Beirut Maronite Archbishop Boulos Matar, for his part, gave a word highlighting the significance of coexistence and the blood of martyrs in immunizing Lebanon against the turmoil revolving around the east mediterranean region.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun for peaceful demonstration in favor of power
 

Tue 24/01/2012 21:13

NNA - 24/01/2012 - Reform and Change Bloc head Michel Aoun called for a peaceful demonstration, in favor of citizens paying the electricity bill fees, on a date to be fixed later.

General Aoun's fresh stance came Tuesday in the wake of his bloc's regular weekly meeting at Rabieh residence.

Aoun reviewed the course line of the power law draft which his team already came up with, deducing that the Finance Ministry has not yet allocated the necessary funds to implement the plan. Accordingly, Aoun called for such demonstration so that the government would seriously deal with the matter..

Aoun said his bloc was repairing and reforming what had been desystemized since 1990 in ministries, indicating that "these desysytamizers themselves are hampering the course of the electricity plan put earlier by Energy and Water Minister Gibran Bassil."

Turning to the administrative appointments issue, Aoun blamed the officials for their intention to evacuate the state. And this was clear, said the General, when they tried four times to dismantle the state by "Fil" campaign against former Presidfent Emil Lahoud to throw him off presidency and Baabda Palace, by July War 2006 staged by the U.S.A. and Israel against Hizbullah, by Nahr Bared war against the Lebanese Army and by the concerted campaign against Hizbullah's communication network in 2008.

In connection with this issue, Aoun criticized the Lebanese President who, according to the General, wanted to take shares supposed to be for the Free Patriotic Movement in the appointments procedure. He, accordingly, wondered how this president behaved in such a way at the time he has been elected on the basis of adopting a neutral side in politics. It was the minister who was supposed to appoint members to fill administrative posts, not the president who was to play a neutral role, Aoun clarified.
A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qahwaji honors outgoing UNIFIL Commander
 

Tue 24/01/2012 20:45

NNA - 24/1/2012 Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji honored on Tuesday outgoing Head of Mission and Force Commander for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon Major General Alberto Asarta, marking the end of his term of mission in Lebanon.
The honorary ceremony took place at Central Military Club, attended by General Qahwaji, Spanish Ambassador to Lebanon Khuan Carlos Gavo and senior Army and UNIFIL officers.
In his delivered word, Qahwaji lauded Asarta's march in leading UNIFIL force and his courageous and wise stances in dealing with the various incidents and developments. The General also hailed Asarta's relentless efforts in consecrating best relations of cooperation with the Lebanese Army and cementing ties of trust with the southerners.
General Qahwaji also considered UNIFIL's experience in Lebanon as successful by all standards, specially if compared with other similar experiences in world countries.
The General also underlined activating cooperation with UNIFIL in the coming stage, specially with regards to Army/UNIFIL joint commitment to the implementation of UN Resolution 1701 in all its clauses.
Asarta, for his part, thanked Army Command for its distinguished cooperation with UNIFIL during the past periods, expressing admiration of the Lebanese people's belief in the culture of openness and dialogue and their remarkable civilization and humanitarian values.
----------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Syrian authorities release fishing boat
 

Tue 24/01/2012 19:15

NNA - 24/1/2012 - Syrian authorities today released the fishing boat Syrian navy had detained two days ago after a shooting incident which led to the killing of fisherman Maher Hamad, National News Agency correspondent in Akkar, Michel Hallaq, reported on Tuesday.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Government should extricate out of custodianship: Future
 

Tue 24/01/2012 18:41

NNA - 24/1/2012 "Future" Bloc called on the government to free itself from the captives of custodianship, taking action towards the Arab League to solicit support for halting the recurrent Syrian assaults against the Lebanese sovereignty.
Future Bloc categorically expressed condemnation and concerns over the unabated Syrian forces' assaults against the Lebanese sovereignty, most recent of which is the Arida incident, which left one killed.
The Bloc's words came in the wake of its regular meeting on Tuesday afternoon at "Central House", under the chairmanship of its Head Fouad Siniora. The Bloc tackled the latest developments on the local and regional arenas.
"This assault reflects the attitude of belittling the Lebanese state and its independence... and an insult to the dignity of the Lebanese people," the Bloc said in a statement, stressing that the recurrence of these assaults have become intolerable.
On the other hand, the Bloc expressed astonishment at the conduct of the Lebanese Foreign Minister at the Arab League, saying he has become the official spokesman of the Syrian regime.
In another development, the Bloc considered the utterances by Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Jerusalem Brigade Commander Qassem Sulaymani regarding Lebanon and Iraq as categorically deplored and rejected, and constitute an insult to the Lebanese and the Arabs alike.
The Bloc considered that all denial attempts of Sulaymani's words have unveiled the true Iranian stance towards Lebanon and Iraq, whereby Iran considers both countries as "podiums" utilized for intimidating others.
"All denial attempts categorically prove that Iran uses 'Hezbollah' as means of blackmailing and exercising pressure on the other, regardless of the Lebanese and Arabs' interests," the Bloc said.
In other news, the Bloc regretted the negative stance by the Syrian regime towards Arab League's initiative to resolve the crisis in Syria.
"The continuance of the negative stance and security solution by the regime [Syrian] shall only contribute in increasing the cost of blood and destruction on Syria," the Bloc noted, saying that this shall not alter the Syrian people's determination for achieving democracy, freedom, liberties and peaceful rotation of authority.
----------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati chairs electricity-related meeting
 

Tue 24/01/2012 17:39

NNA - 24/1/2012 - Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, on Tuesday chaired a meeting at the Grand Serail for the ministerial committee tasked to look into the amendments of law number 462 on the regulation of the electricity sector.

Ministers of Public Health (Ali Hassan Khalil), Finance (Mohammad Safadi), State (Mohammad Fneish), Energy and Water Resources (Gebran Bassil), Labor (Charbel Nahhas), Justice (Shakib Qortbawi), and Economy (Nicolas Nahhas) attended the meeting.

Fneish told reporters following the meeting that the ministers' notes and remarks would be written in a letter to be presented to Minister Bassil with a view to further response.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ahmed Hariri, Chinese diplomat meet
 

Tue 24/01/2012 17:07

NNA - 24/1/2012 - Secretary General of Future Movement, Ahmed Hariri, on Tuesday received Chinese ambassador to Lebanon, with talks featuring high on an array of most recent political developments in the Mideast region.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Watkins sees Lebanon's stability necessary to 1701 implementation
 

Tue 24/01/2012 17:05

NNA - 24/1/2012 - UN Secretary General's Assistant Representative in Lebanon, Robert Watkins, on Tuesday said stability in Lebanon was deemed very important as to the implementation of Resolution 1701.

Watkins had been today to Ain-el-Tineh for a meeting with House Speaker, Nabih Berri, over the current general situation in Lebanon and the implementation of Resolution 1701.

Berri also met today with Iraqi ambassador to Lebanon, Omar Barzanji, with talks featuring high on most recent developments on the Arab scene.

Talks also touched on the Lebanese-Iraqi bilateral ties.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel chairs meeting for Fassouh Building committee
 

Tue 24/01/2012 16:55

NNA - 24/1/2012 - Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Marwan Charbel, on Tuesday chaired a meeting for the committee tasked by the cabinet to study the reasons behind the collapse of a building in Fassouh-Ashrafieh last week.

As announcing that a comprehensive survey for fractured and menaced buildings had kicked off, the Minister vowed that a final report would be submitted before the cabinet within 15 days.

On a different note, the Minister said Lebanese jails were more of a major and inadmissible catastrophe on all levels.

He reminded that the cabinet had adopted a decision on building four prisons in the North, South, Baalbeck, and Bekaa, in addition to the restoration of Roumieh Jail.

He revealed that he would be inspecting Roumieh premises next week, accompanied with Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi, State Prosecutor, and Investigation Judges.

Separately, Charbel today met with Telecommunications Minister Nicolas Sehnawi over the issue of buildings menaced with collapse and an array of affairs relevant to Ashrafieh locality.

He also met with former Minister Selim Warde over the current general situation.

He later tackled the independent municipal fund's revenues with Deputies Jamal Jarrah, Amine Wehbe, and Antoine Saad as well as with a delegation of West Bekaa municipalities' union.

MPs Qassem Abdul Aziz and Mohammad Hajjar and former Deputies Hassan Yaacoub and Talal Merhebi also visited the Minister today for a meeting over a spectrum of developmental affairs.

Besides, Charbel received today the representative in Lebanon of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, Ninette Kelley.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Arslan avows consistency, cohesion among Syrian Druze
 

Tue 24/01/2012 16:25

NNA - 24/1/2012 - Member of Parliament, Talal Arslan, on Tuesday affirmed that the national Druze fabric in Syria was highly coherent and well immune and that the national position of the Syrian Druze was not sectarian.

Arslan, also Head of the Lebanese Democratic Party and a Druze Leader, today visited former President Emile Lahoud for a meeting over the current general situation in Lebanon and most recent developments in Syria.

The Deputy said that Syrian Druze were the mainstay to the Syrian people's unity.

Arslan made these remarks in response to fresh statements by PSP leader, MP Walid Jumblatt, who said yesterday it was time for the Syrian Druze soldiers to reject orders by the military "to kill their Syrian brothers in Homs, Hama, Idlib and other Syrian districts."



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Matar meets Audi: we refuse polarizations over administrative appointments
 

Tue 24/01/2012 16:15

NNA - 24/1/2012 - Greek Orthodox Archbishop Elias Audi received Tuesday the Beirut Maronite Bishop Boulos Matar who uttered total refusal to the polarizations between Christian leaderships over the administrative appointments issue.

Matar said Bkirki was doing its best in this regard, "but politicians ought to solve this problem among each other."

As for the building collapse in Fassouh, Achrafieh, Matar urged for adopting precautionary measures to avoid such incidents.

"The state is entitled to address the endangered buildings issue and prevent the fall of further victims," he noted.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Morabito meets Mikati, expresses Italy's concern over Lebanon
 

Tue 24/01/2012 15:50

NNA - 24/01/2012 - Italy doesn't want Lebanon to be bogged down in the regional crisis, the Italian Ambassador to Lebanon Giuseppe Morabito said on Tuesday.

The Italian Ambassador had been on a visit to Prime Minister Najib Mikati for talks over the Italian Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs anticipated visit to Lebanon. Both Ministers are due to arrive in Lebanon next Friday to reiterate Italy's commitment to Lebanon's safety, stability and sovereignty.

"We are fully confident that Prime Minister Najib Mikati will make sure Lebanese political officials will spare Lebanon the negative ramifications of this crisis," Morabito said on emerging.
Surrounded by regional turmoil, the Italian Ambassador said also relayed Italy's wish to see Lebanon secured from its ramifications.

MP Robert Ghanem, Head of the Administration and Justice Committee, also had his share of talks with Prime Minister Najib Mikati over Bekaa region related issues.

A delegation of Iqlim Kharoub Municipality heads, led by Deputy Aladdin Terro, also visited Mikati and briefed him on Iqlim-related demands at the environment, electricity, development, and water supply levels.

Separately, Akkar Municipalities Union had also been to Mikati to raise their region's pressing demands.
R.H.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Two-pronged cooperation tops talks between Fneish, Watkins
 

Tue 24/01/2012 15:49

NNA - 24/1/2012 - State Minister, Mohammad Fneish, and UNDP representative in Lebanon, Robert Watkins, on Tuesday met over the means to boost cooperation between the Lebanese government and the Program.

Talks also featured high on the technical assistance UNDP is providing for a number of ministries and public administrations.

The pair reportedly agreed to review the cooperation mechanism with a view to develop it in compliance with the suggestions put forth by the ministerial committee tasked with studying cooperation programs between the government and UNDP.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ban Ki-moon appoints Serra as UNIFIL Commander
 

Tue 24/01/2012 15:40

NNA - 24/1/2012 - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of Major General Paolo Serra of Italy as Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. Major General Serra will succeed Major General Alberto Asarta Cuevas of Spain, who will relinquish his post on 28 January, and to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his excellent service and leadership over the past three years.

Having had an extensive and distinguished military career, Major General Serra is currently Chief of Logistics and Land Transformation of the Italian Army. Prior to that assignment, he held important command appointments up to the level of Commander of Italy's "Julia" Alpine Brigade, as well as Commander of the Regional Command West of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) deployed in Afghanistan. In 2009, he was appointed Chief of Staff of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Rapid Deployable Corps-Italy. From 2004 to 2007, he served as Army Attach� at the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C.

Major General Serra also has extensive experience in multinational peace operations. As Commander of ISAF's Regional Command West, he worked closely with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). He previously served as Commander of the Ninth Alpine Regiment deployed in Kosovo under NATO's Kosovo Force (KFOR) in 1999, and under the United Nations Operation in Mozambique in 1994.

Born in 1956, Major General Serra has attended Italy's Military Academy and the University of Turin. He subsequently earned a master's degree in strategic studies from the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahraman: Our main goal is to topple government yet never at citizens' security expense
 

Tue 24/01/2012 15:27

NNA - 24/1/2012 - Deputy Khaled Zahraman on Tuesday said his camp's main goal is to topple the government, yet never at the expense of the citizens' security.

The Deputy, who deemed the current government as "Syrian" par excellence, pointed accusing finger at its failure to answer the needs of Akkar region and control the security situation at the Lebanese northern borders.

"Our people are feeling neglected at the developmental and security levels," he told Al-Jadeed TV channel, assuring that Akkar Deputies were working day and night to keep the situation in that area under control, as much as possible.

Zahraman later tackled Syria's kidnapping of the three Lebanese fishermen who were "accused" of weapons smuggling by Syrian media resources.

He said in this regard that the Syrian regime had a history in fabricating allegations against all those who object to its policy, assuring as well that the three men were still inside the Lebanese waters frontiers, when the Syrian forces abducted them.

Therefore, the MP called for security forces mobilization at the Lebanese-Syrian borders, holding those in charge of protecting the citizens responsible for any security chaos.

Zahraman stated herein that cross-border arms smuggling operations are being executed by dealers affiliated to different political parties, among of which Hezbollah.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman felicitates Lebanese athletes, tackles developments with interlocutors
 

Tue 24/01/2012 14:54

NNA - 24/01/2012 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman felicitated on Tuesday a group of athletes who reaped medals during Qatar's Arab championship, during a visit to Baabda Palace, in the company Sports and Youth Minister Faisal Karami.

Karami delivered a word in which he thanked the Lebanese President for his unremitting support to Lebanese sports and youth.

"Perseverance is requested for amplified victories," the President said, calling on his visitors to raise Lebanon's name high within the sports field.

The President also bestowed the champion athletes with a golden medal, wishing them more success.

Among the President's other interlocutors for today, had been Environment Minister, Nazem Khouri, who briefed him on steps adopted by the ministry to preserve the environment, in light of the cabinet's approval on a number of related projects.

The President also held talks with Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour, over Cairo's Arab Foreign Minister's conference. Talks touched as well on means of activating the Foreign Ministry at the diplomatic level.

General Security Major General Abbas Ibrahim also had his share of talks with the President over means of augmenting the work of the General Security.

R.H.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (updated) Aoun discusses livelihood affairs with Makhzoumi
 

Tue 24/01/2012 14:31

NNA - 24/1/2012 - Deputy Michel Aoun received Tuesday the head of Dialogue Party, Fouad Makhzoumi, who said Lebanon's social, economic and livelihood issues require an immediate action from Premier Najib Mikati's government.

Makhzoumi said the cabinet was held responsible vis-a-vis the citizens, assuring that the popular protests regarding the electricity outage crisis and the power rationing in different regions were reasonable.
"Governmental solidarity and serious endeavors are of major importance in light of the current circumstances," he noted, highlighting the importance of finalizing the 2012 budget and the administrative appointments issues.

Separately, Aoun met with the Bishop of Bayonne, Marc Aillet, who came to Lebanon upon the invitation of the Lebanese Patriarch.

Aillet said France was studying means to assist Lebanon's Christians.

He confirmed in this regard that Lebanon had always been a message for the whole world, owing to its history in conviviality between religions.

Eventually, Aoun went over local and regional developments with former Minister Wadih Khazen.

"The main concern of General Aoun is to help the citizens improve their lives, their security and their stability and look forward to the future, all through the Ministers representing his bloc within the government," Khazen argued, affirming that fortifying the internal scene aims at facing the regional developments' repercussions.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun discusses livelihood affairs with Makhzoumi
 

Tue 24/01/2012 13:53

NNA - 24/1/2012 - Deputy Michel Aoun received Tuesday the head of Dialogue Party, Fouad Makhzoumi, who said Lebanon's social, economic and livelihood issues require an immediate action from Premier Najib Mikati's government.

Makhzoumi said the cabinet was held responsible vis-a-vis the citizens, assuring that the popular protests regarding the electricity outage crisis and the power rationing in different regions were reasonable.
"Governmental solidarity and serious endeavors are of major importance in light of the current circumstances," he noted, highlighting the importance of finalizing the 2012 budget and the administrative appointments issues.

Separately, Aoun met with the Bishop of Bayonne, Marc Aillet, who came to Lebanon upon the invitation of the Lebanese Patriarch.

Aillet said France was studying means to assist Lebanon's Christians.

He confirmed in this regard that Lebanon had always been a message for the whole world, owing to its history in conviviality between religions.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Syrian regime allows itself to intervene in Lebanese affairs, says Shouhayib
 

Tue 24/01/2012 13:50

NNA - 24/01/2012 - Member of Parliament Akram Shouhayib expressed wonder on Tuesday how the Syrian regime allows itself to tamper with iter-Lebanese affairs and has its Syrian Ambassador preach Lebanese officials on the concepts of justice and balance, under the pretext of "special Lebanese-Syrian relations."

In a statement issued today, the National Struggle Front member couldn't help but wonder how Syria would turn down an initiative designed to halt its overflowing blood bath, under the pretext sovereignty conservation.

"The Syrian regime allows itself to kill people in the [Lebanese] cities of Arsal and Wadi Khaled. It has gone as far as drawing its victim by sea!" he said as referring to Arida's Saturday incident.

Three fishermen were kidnapped by Syrian security forces on Saturday after a Syrian naval vessel crossed 3 kilometers into Lebanon's territorial waters, leaving one of three men dead.

However, Shouhayib addressed the Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon wondering what gave him and his country the right to preach about justice and equality, in light of its acts in Syria and Lebanon.

R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora tackles developments with Brazilian Ambassador
 

Tue 24/01/2012 13:48

NNA - 24/1/2012 - Future bloc's Head, Fouad Siniora, received Tuesday at Sadat Tower the Brazilian Ambassador to Lebanon Paulo Roberto de Ventura with whom he discussed current juncture.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi, Karam tackle means to end Lebanese nightmare
 

Tue 24/01/2012 13:10

NNA - 24/1/2012 - Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Boutros Rahi, received Tuesday State Minister Salim Karam with whom he discussed means to put terms to the nightmare from which the Lebanese had been suffering since 1975.

Minister Karam praised Rahi's role as a father of all Lebanese, not only of Lebanon's Christians.

Both sides tackled current juncture and latest affairs on top of which the parliamentary elections' law.

The Christian presence within the state's administrations was also a topic of discussion between Rahi and karam who emphasized the necessity of Christians restoring their posts in the state.
Later on, Rahi met with parliament member Nabil De freij who affirmed that no politician had the right to criticize the Patriarch's stances.

The meeting was also an occasion to discuss current developments at both local and regional scenes.

Amongst Bkirki's visitors were also delegations from Auxilia and Caritas associations, with talks featuring high on projects and activities with humanitarian purposes.

D.K.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Syrian events top Gemayel talks
 

Tue 24/01/2012 13:05

NNA - 24/1/2012 Kataeb party leader Amine Gemayel wondered how the Syrian President could face his people again, after the fall of 5000 victims.

Syrian developments topped Gemayel's talks in an interview he held yesterday (Monday) with MTV channel.

The Kataeb leader said the Arab League sought internationalization from the moment it had placed its hands on the Syrian dossier.

"Everything was predictable," he remarked and noted that internationalizing the crisis bears its own wariness regarding China and Russia's commitment herein.

Expressing sorrow for the constant fall of victims, Gemayel deemed the Syrian situation as delicate and with more troubles to come, despite the regime's steadfastness.
"Countdown for the regime's collapse has begun," he noted.

On the topic of Lebanon's stance disassociating itself from Syrian events, Gemayel uttered support in that respect and said "our country has enough problems to deal with."

He then called on the government to ensure its citizens with fundamental needs such as electricity, wages and salaries, especially amid such a tough period the citizens are undergoing.

Moreover, the Katateb leader denounced government's demeanor and failure to control security events in Lebanese regions.
"Such events do not confer credibility upon a government that is supposed to be protecting its country," he remarked.

"True stability does not prevail except when institutions are in control," Gemayel said, criticizing Hezbollah's possession of money and weapons, thus, power.

On the electoral law, Gemayel said proportionality is a good proposal in form but it bears numerous details and intricate matters.

"We opt for dialogue with an intention to arrive at a particular result and a certain settlement. But when the other party debates with a pre-established ideology, dialogue becomes meaningless, especially concerning the defensive strategy," Gemayel said.



L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hout responds to Bassil, says Beirut ranks first in bills collection
 

Tue 24/01/2012 12:17

NNA - 24/01/2012 - Beirut ranks first when it comes to electricity bills collection, MP Imad Hout said on Tuesday in response to Water and Energy Minister's Jibran Bassil's press conference yesterday.

On Monday, and discussing the reasons behind increasing power blackouts in different Lebanese regions, Minister Jibran Bassil suggested that one of the solutions to power rationing would be providing Beirut city with the same power supply provided to other Lebanese regions. He said that supplying Beirut city with 21 hours of electricity was unacceptable.

"It seems that this team has now proven to master failure and means of making excuses to cover it up," Hout told Orient radio.

He said the cabinet has failed thus far in thrashing out the wage increase dossier as well as resolving tele-communications, electricity and diesel related issues.

Moreover, Hout responded to allegations claiming that a decision to provide Beirut city with more electricity hours was solely made by a former Prime Minister.

"This decision was unanimously made by cabinet members who agreed that Beirut should be spared power rationing for reasons deemed necessary for the growth of Beirut city," he said, affirming that any decision to decrease Beirut power supply was in need of a new cabinet decree.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour responds to Jumblatt: we don't need lessons from anyone
 

Tue 24/01/2012 12:14

NNA - 24/1/2012 - Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour responded to the MP Walid Jumblatt's remarks which were published in Al-Anbaa newspaper.

"If the golden rule is to keep quite then all of us should abide by this rule. But if democracy means that everybody should express their views freely then we have the right to speak our mind just like the rest. We don't need lessons from anyone," the minister said.

Jumblatt criticized the position of Mansour who slammed the Arab League's position on Syria and advised him to keep quite.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Houry attacks Bassil's performance
 

Tue 24/01/2012 11:52

NNA - 24/1/2012 - MP Ammar Houry Tuesday denounced Minister Gibran Bassil's performance, depicting the works of the Energy Ministry as a failure.

Houry told Voice of Lebanon-Freedom and Dignity- radio that excluding Beirut City from power rationing was a Cabinet-approved decision on the ground that "Beirut is the country's economic and institutional capital."

Also, speaking to Al-Fajer radio, Future bloc member said the current crisis is one of credibility and not of electricity.

The MP concluded his word with a stern criticism of Bassil's call to equate Beirut city with other regions based on power distribution.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun: Electricity outage is not FPM's responsibility
 

Tue 24/01/2012 11:30

NNA - 24/1/2012 - Deputy Alain Aoun on Tuesday saw that the popular protests over the electricity outage issue come in the frame of the systemized campaign launched against the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM).

The MP told the Voice of Lebanon - Voice of Dignity and Freedom radio station that the side responsible for the electricity crisis in Lebanon was not at all the Change and Reform bloc, but in fact the former policies which sought the privatization of this sector.

Aoun denied all rumors about the tensed relations between the FPM and its allies, stressing on the importance of giving Minister Gebran Bassil's electricity reform plans more time, for more efficient execution.

"Resorting to the street is one of FPM's options to respond to these campaigns," he affirmed.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jarrah: Cabinet failed in all aspects
 

Tue 24/01/2012 10:49

NNA - 24/1/2012 - Future Parliamentary bloc member deputy Jamal Jarrah told Voice of Lebanon that this government is a failure on all fields starting from the rent law, electricity and all the way to the telecom.

"We have boycotted the parliamentary finance and budget committee after MP Ibrahim Kanaan abused his powers in the committee and turned it into a platform to attack his opponents without producing real and authentic documents nor produce true motives behind this attack," the MP said.

Jarrah stressed that his bloc boycotted the meetings of the committee until the situation return to normal and all MPs abide by the internal rules and regulations of the committee.

"The internal regulations do not allow the head of the committee to forge the minutes of the meetings or to summon anyone for questioning."

The MP also blasted Finance Minister Mohammed Safadi.

"In the real sense of the word, we don't have a finance minister because Prime Minister Najib Mikati is doing his job," the MP said.

The MP accused Energy and Water Minister Jibran Bassil of squandering public funds under a political protection from well known powers in the country.

He also wondered about the fate of 8 million liters of red gasoil which disappeared from the market.

"As an opposition, we will open all files so we can topple this government because it's presence has become a burden on the country."

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kheir: Bassil's behavior will take country to abyss
 

Tue 24/01/2012 09:47

NNA - 24/1/2012 - Future Parliamentary bloc member deputy Kazem al Kheir told "Radio Free Lebanon" that the attitude of Energy and Water Minister Jibran Bassil will take the country to abyss and obliteration.

"Most of the Reform and Change ministers, including Bassil, are steering the country to destruction," the MP said, accusing these ministers of corruption.

He added that Bassil is trying to skirt responsibility on the issue of electricity crisis and throw the ball to the court of other people although he is responsible for his ministry.

"Bassil is acting as if he is from the opposition but I tell him that you are responsible for the electricity situation since you are the minister of energy."

Commenting on the events in Syria, the MP feared of attempts to transfer the civil strife to Lebanon, criticizing the silence of the government over the repeated security incidents along the joint border.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Cabinet convenes, Sleiman deplores Arida incident
 

Mon 23/01/2012 23:17

NNA - 23/01/2012 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman vehemently condemned on Monday the abominable Arida incident which left one Lebanese man dead.

Speaking to Ministers as presiding this evening's cabinet session at Baabda Presidential Palace, the President affirmed having made necessary contacts in a bid to retrieve the corpse of the dead man, the return of the other injured man, and the release of the third arrested by Syrian authorities.

"The Lebanese security apparatuses are following up investigations into the matter to unveil the truth behind this incident," the President said.

Touching on Iran's Suleimani's statements, in which he indicated that South Lebanon was under Iranian hegemony, the President said that he has sent the Iranian Ambassador, along with the Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon, a message reiterating Lebanon's concern for holding bilateral relations with fraternal countries, based on mutual respect.

On emerging, Information Minister Walid Daouk, said that the cabinet has approved a decision to organize the Finance Ministry's Public Debt Directory.

Daouk said that the cabinet has also tasked the Construction and Development Council with the mission of dismantling Jal Al-Dib Bridge and building another.

The Information Minister also relayed the cabinet's decision to delay budget discussions till January 31, 2012.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kataeb slams Suleimani's stance, says his words oppose sovereignty rudiments
 

Mon 23/01/2012 20:58

NNA - 23/01/2012 - The words of Iranian General Kassem Suleimani raise suspicions and counter national sovereignty prerequisites, Kataeb Party Political Bureau said on Monday in a statement released after its regular meeting under the chairmanship of party leader, Amine Gemayel.

The Iranian agency ISNA reported last Thursday that the head of Al-Quds brigade of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, General Kassem Suleimani, said his country was now present in South Lebanon and Iraq, and that both countries were somehow subject to Iran's hegemony.

The party expressed wonder at what it described as the Lebanese state's nonchalant position from Suleimani's words, wondering when the Lebanese state would shun the "Ostrich politics" approach, especially now that Lebanese politics have rendered a mere political point of view.

Moreover, Kataeb conferees shone light on the increasing calls for neutrality, particularly that the Kataeb party leader has been making this call for years now.

The most recent flagrant aggression against civil liberties and art, including the campaign unleashed by some Lebanese parties to ban international singer Lara Fabian from visiting Lebanon to present a concert, also topped talks between Kataeb conferees.

"The absence of reaction allowed informal skilled groups to confiscate their [state] decisions, making Lebanon an isolated country that fears its own environment instead of being a place of culture and diversity."

Moreover, attendees touched on preparations underway for a joint conference by Kataeb party and the International Union of Centrist Democratic Parties, set to take place at Le Royal Hotel in Dbayeh, on Friday, 27.1.2012.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi, North Mufti meet in Bkekri
 

Mon 23/01/2012 20:20

NNA - 23/1/2012 - Mufti of the North and Tripoli, Sheikh Malek Chaar, had been to Bkekri on Monday for a meeting with the Maronite Patriarch over the latter's impending visit to the North region.

Following the meeting, also attended by Tripoli Maronite Diocese Archbishop George Bou Jaoudeh, Mufti Chaar said the visit was also an occasion to underscore the continuous coordination between Bkerki and Dar-al-Fatwa.

As deeming the Maronite Seat as a paramount national pillar, the Mufti also hailed the Patriarch's special role in maintaining best relations with all citizens and sects.

Rahi later met with Paillon (France) Diocese Archbishop Marc Aillet, currently on a first-time visit to Lebanon.

Aillet is scheduled to hold talks with the Lebanese officials over the general situation, and affairs related to Christians in the Mideast region.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Lebanon not battle liquidation scene, says Jumblatt
 

Mon 23/01/2012 19:53

NNA - 23/01/2012 - Member of Parliament Walid Jumblatt utterly refused on Monday attempts at rendering Lebanon a battle scene for liquidating regional and international disputes and accounts.
In his weekly statement accorded to Al-Anbaa weekly, the Member of Parliament vehemently condemned the abominable attack which targeted three Lebanese fishermen, one of whom lost his life.

"This requires a high state of alertness and responsibility to shirk a rise in the number of such heartrending incidents," Jumblatt said, looking forward to have the Lebanese Army aptly monitor Lebanese land and sea borders. He also seized the occasion to shine light on the necessity of implementing borderline demarcation which had been agreed upon at the National Dialogue table.

The National Struggle Front leader also touched in his statement on most recent developments at the Syrian scene. He said the Arab League efforts to monitor the security situation in Syria were subject to humongous pressure.

"It seems that comprehensive regional and international visions regarding the situation in Syria have fell short," added Jumblatt, saying the Arab League initiative was a cul-de-sac.

Moreover, Jumblatt lauded a statement which had been lately delivered by intellectual Alawites, in which they chided attempts at describing Syria's democratic uprise as one with religious and sectarian purposes.

Despite Iran's denial of statements by Kassem Suleimani and the Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon, Jumblatt said that statements as such should be avoided in the first place.

"This underlines the necessity of going back to the national table of dialogue to agree over a Lebanese defense strategy, which takes into consideration means of making use of the resistance arms facing Israel, simultaneously allowing the Lebanese state to make defense decisions," he said, deeming this the best means to avoid regional and international polarizations.
R.H.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Harb refuses Iranian company's "penetration" into Tannourine
 

Mon 23/01/2012 19:40

NNA - 23/01/2012 - Deputy Boutros Harb refused that an Iranian contracting company was going to assume the execution of a water dam project in Balaa region of Tannourine.

Harb's refusal stance came on Monday in the context of an interview on Future News TV. The Deputy explained that the Energy and Water Ministry had already granted a Lebanese Company by legal means to carry out the execution course.

He voiced perturbation that the Iranian Company might not be able perform the project in a good quality effect, thus threatening the public with huge water dam explosion.

Harb added that the presence of an Iranian Company in Tannourine might also provoke a sort of perturbation among the public.

On the other hand, Harb condemned the fatal Akkar incident that occurred two days ago, calling upon the Lebanese government to impose strict measures on the Lebanese Syrian borders to put terms to such incidents.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt recieves a phone call from Hariri
 

Mon 23/01/2012 19:37

NNA - 23/1/2012 Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) Head Walid Jumblatt received on Monday evening a phone call from "Future" Bloc Head Saad Hariri, PSP Media Commission said in a statement.
On the other hand, Deputy Jumblatt met at his Clemenceau residence with Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zaspakin, where they tackled the current developments in Lebanon and the region.
Australian Ambassador to Lebanon Leix Partlem also visited Jumblatt today, with talks reportedly touching on the latest political developments.

--------------L.Y
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - North Mufti in Bkerki
 

Mon 23/01/2012 19:20


NNA - 23/1/2012 - Maronite Patriarch, Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi, and Mufti of the North and Tripoli, Sheikh Malek Chaar, are currently meeting in Bkerki.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ahmed Hariri, Pietton meet
 

Mon 23/01/2012 19:18

NNA - 23/1/2012 - French ambassador to Lebanon, Denis Pietton, on Monday visited Secretary General of Future Movement, Ahmed Hariri, for a meeting over most recent political developments and the current general situation on the regional scene.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel, Khalil and Moussa inspect Roumieh jail
 

Mon 23/01/2012 19:07

NNA - 23/1/2012 Interior Minister Marwan Charbel, Public Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, Human Rights House Commission Head Michel Moussa and Internal Security Forces Chief Aschraf Rifi, inspected on Monday Romieh jail, having a closer look at its stringent needs and prisoners' demands specially at the health level.
Speaking during a joint press conference held at Roumieh Central Jails' Bureau in the wake of the tour, Minister Charbel hoped that the visit sets a prelude to ameliorating the present conditions at all cells.
"The present situation of prisoners has become unbearable", Charbel said, pointing out the responsibility of the government, Parliament and the Lebanese judiciary in improving jails' conditions.
Charbel also underlined the necessity of placing a budget for the building of jails in accordance with humanitarian standards. He also disclosed that intensive security measures have been adopted to prevent the fleeing of prisoners.
Minister Khalil, for his part, disclosed that Health Ministry shall undergo in cooperation with Internal Security Forces Medicine Department a medical survey of all prisoners suffering chronic diseases, in a bid to ensure them requisite drugs on regular basis and direct medical check ups.
Khalil also pointed out the need for reconsidering the structure of all jails in Lebanon, revealing that a committee has been set up to build new prisons in Lebanon in accordance with international criteria.
Deputy Moussa said that amnesty on certain crimes is an issue under discussion by parliamentary blocs, urging the ministerial council to accord powers to the Interior Ministry to help it surpass the regular administrative routine that it is currently facing in addressing jails' problems.
------------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati for oil fund serving public debt only
 

Mon 23/01/2012 17:58

NNA - 23/01/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati stressed on Monday the necessity of finding a sovereign fund, specialized for the revenues of the gas and oil exploration, whose only purpose would be to serve the public debt's dues.

Mikati's words came in the context of his response to an invitation from the Lebanese Banks Association to attend a dialogue meeting, which tackled overall developments at the political, economic, financial and security levels, in presence of Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas, Central Bank governor Riad Salameh and others.

Mikati called for achieving a necessary reform workshop on the levels of social security, power, education, health and other productive and developmental sectors.

"All of us must cooperate in this concern, because the matter does not only concern the government but also all sectors and all Lebanese," said the Premier.

Head of the Lebanese Banks Association Joseph Torbey gave a word during the event, praising the present government as its political, security performance relieved the country.

Separately, Mikati received consular corps head Joseph Habis. Mikati underscored the significance of the consular corps in enhancing Lebanon's foreign ties.

Mikati also received Deputy Nadim Gemayel who related to him the outcome of Gemayel's meetings with Interior Minister Marwan Charbel with regard to the issue of Fassouh's building collapse.

A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Kahwaji's Monday itinerant visitors
 

Mon 23/01/2012 17:49

NNA - 23/01/2012 - Lebanese Army Commander, General Jean Kahwaji, reportedly discussed the general situation with interlocutors who visited him on Monday at his Yarzeh office.

The visitors included: Future Movement Secretary General, Ahmad Hariri, journalist George Arab, as well as Nawafel Shedrawi and Nassim Khoury.

Kahwaji later received Baazaran municipality head, Salah Chazbek, accompanied with the municipality council members.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Future MPs follow up on electoral law
 

Mon 23/01/2012 17:43

NNA - 23/1/2012 - A delegation of Future bloc Deputies on Monday met at the residence of MP Marwan Hamade over a spectrum of proposals on the electoral law.

MPs Ahmed Fatfat, Hadi Hbeish, Ziad Qaderi, Fouad Saad, Antoine Saad, and Henri Helo partook in the meeting.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Future MPs follow up on electoral law
 

Mon 23/01/2012 17:43

NNA - 23/1/2012 - A delegation of Future bloc Deputies on Monday met at the residence of MP Marwan Hamade over a spectrum of proposals on the electoral law.

MPs Ahmed Fatfat, Hadi Hbeish, Ziad Qaderi, Fouad Saad, Antoine Saad, and Henri Helo partook in the meeting.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 

Politics - Siniora, Dabbous meet
 

Mon 23/01/2012 17:40

NNA - 23/1/2012 - Head of Future parliamentary bloc, MP Fouad Siniora, on Monday met with the representative of the Kuwaiti Fund in Lebanon, Nawwaf Dabbous, over an array of projects financed and executed by the Fund.

The meeting took place at Siniora's office in Sadat Tower Building.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Mufti Qabbani receives Hizbullah delegation
 

Mon 23/01/2012 17:27

NNA - 23/01/2012 - Mufti of Lebanon Sheikh Mohammad Rachid Qabbani received on Monday at Dar Fatwa a delegation of Hizbullah headed by Sheikh Abdul Majid Ammar.

Interviewed after the visit, Ammar said they discussed with the host overall developments at the local and regional scenes. Ammar stressed the necessity of bolstering local unity in face of foreign challenges.

Separately, the Mufti received the Greek Ambassador Catherine Bora and discussed with her the regional situation.

Amongst Dar Fatwa's visitors has been former Minister Talal Morabi. Both engaged in talks relevant to national and religious affairs.

A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Cabinet convenes in Baabda
 

Mon 23/01/2012 17:11

NNA - 23/1/2012 - The cabinet convened Monday in Baabda mainly to resume talks over the 2012 state budget draft law.

President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, who chaired the cabinet's ordinary session, had sat earlier behind closed doors at the presidential palace with Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

The pair reportedly shone light on the current general situation and most recent developments.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Lebanon disassociates itself from AL decision on Syria
 

Mon 23/01/2012 17:06

NNA - 23/1/2012 - An Arab League plan mainly urging Syrian President Bashar Assad to delegate power to his deputy prompted Lebanon to disassociate itself from a related decision, during a meeting for Arab foreign ministers in Cairo yesterday Sunday.

Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour partook in this meeting, devoted to venture into the most recent situation in Syria and the work of an Arab observer mission tasked to confirm compliance with a Syrian government ceasefire.

"The conference was devoted to follow up on the statement to be issued by the Arab monitors' mission headed by Al-Dabi. We reviewed the report which was positive and objective. But it [report] raised doubts of some parties (...) Afterwards, a decision on the situation in Syria was laid before the league's council. [But] Syria did not accept this decision considering provisions touching on the Syrian internal affairs and sovereignty," Mansour told journalists upon his arrival in Beirut International Airport today.

"Our position was to disassociate Lebanon from this decision," he corroborated.

The Arab league decided to extend the monitors' mandate, a step that was rebuked by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which withdrew its observers from the mission, as announced by Saud Al-Faisal, Saudi Foreign Minister.

Mansour made clear that yesterday's meeting was scheduled to merely tackle the mission's report on a one-month-long monitoring task and that the decision came unexpectedly.

As couching concerns over the headway of current developments within the league, the Minister maintained that only an all-inclusive national dialogue would be a loophole for the ten-month-old jamming crisis.

Turning to the Lebanese internal scene, the Minister said the long-awaited diplomatic appointments at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would be finalized very soon.



R.A.H.

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Politics - Berri pursues electoral law with Bkirki follow-up committee
 

Mon 23/01/2012 16:29


NNA - 23/1/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri met Monday with a delegation of Bkirki's follow-up committee, with talks touching on the suggestions and ideas put forward regarding the electoral law.

The delegation was comprised of Deputies Boutros Harb, Alain Aoun and Georges Odwan as well as former Ministers Youssef Saadeh and Ziad Baroud.

On the other hand, Berri had met with the former Yemeni President, Ali Salim Al-Beidh, with talks featuring high on Arab region's developments.

Berri received as well a delegation of Tashnag party with whom he discussed general situation.

The former Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar had also been today to Ain El-Tineh.
D.K.

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Politics - Sleiman, Mikati meet in Baabda
 

Mon 23/01/2012 16:00

NNA - 23/1/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, and Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, are currently meeting behind closed doors at Baabda presidential palace, prior to an ordinary cabinet session later this afternoon.

Both men are reportedly taking up the general situation and an array of most recent developments.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Abou Faour: unacceptable to outlaw Lebanese's blood on borders with Syria
 

Mon 23/01/2012 15:59

NNA - 23/01/2012 - Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour said Monday it was unacceptable to outlaw the bloodshed of Lebanese on the Syrian Lebanese borders.

Abou Faour's word came at the backdrop of the security incident occurring two days ago in Akkar when a hunter in Akkar was killed near the borders.

Lebanon's decided to keep itself disassociated from the turmoil in Syria in the hope that the Arab League's initiative to solve the Syria crisis would take effect, said Abou Faour.

The Syrian side must request the Lebanese authority to adopt the necessary required procedures of safety on the borders if it wanted to control the situation thereon.

Separately, Abou Faour received on Monday at his office a delegation of the Organs Donation Association, Young Persons Association for Blind People, President Amin Gemayel's advisor Sassine Sassine, Deputy Khalid Zahraman and others.

A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Terro follows up on return dossier
 

Mon 23/01/2012 15:33

NNA - 23/1/2012 - Minister for the Displaced, Alaaeddine Terro, on Monday broached the displaced return dossier with Member of Parliament, Dori Chamoun.

The Minister later raised the same issue with Head of the Central Fund Committee, Fadi Aramouni, the Ministry's Director General, Ahmed Mahmoud, and Hussein Hashem from Hezbollah.

Head of Abey and Baawarta municipalities, respectively Nazih Hamza and Ahmed Ayyash, had also been to Terro's office today for a meeting of affairs related to these localities.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabbani: for security control on Lebanese Syrian borders
 

Mon 23/01/2012 14:34

NNA - 23/01/2012 - Mufti of Lebanon Sheikh Muhammad Rachid Qabbani called upon the government to preserve or control security on the Lebanese Syrian borders so as to provide safety to citizens and prevent any sort of bad or fatal incidents.

The Mufti warned the state of falling in the trap of security unrest on the borders, especially that the local security apparatus remained absent therein.

Mufti Qabbani condemned the security incident that occurred two days ago and led to the death of a hunter in Akkar.
A.M./P.BC.
 

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Politics - Hariri salutes memory of Wissam Eid
 

Mon 23/01/2012 14:27

NNA - 23/1/2012 - On the fourth commemoration of the martyrdom of Major Wissam Eid and his companions, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri said:

"On this sad occasion, we remember with great pride the huge efforts, and the distinguished role played by Major Eid to uncover details of the assassination of martyr Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, an investigation for which he sacrificed his life."

He added: "We promise all Lebanese as well as the family of the heroic martyr Wissam Eid, to continue the path aiming at revealing the truth and prosecuting the perpetrators of this heinous crime and all the other terrorist crimes that targeted the symbols of the march for freedom and independence, regardless of the difficulties and obstacles. And the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is paving the way to prosecute these criminals and punish them.

On this painful occasion, we salute his memory and we ask God Almighty to bestow His mercy on martyr Eid and to protect Lebanon from all evils".

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Safadi meets Honorary Consular Corps delegation
 

Mon 23/01/2012 14:25

NNA - 23/1/2012 - Finance Minister Muhammad Safadi tackled Monday with a delegation of the Lebanese Honorary Consular Corps means to enhance coordination with the Finance Ministry.

The delegation thanked Safadi for all the efforts exerted at this level.
D.K.

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Politics - Mokbel, Eichhorst take up recent developments
 

Mon 23/01/2012 14:18

NNA - 23/1/2012 Deputy House Speaker Samir Mokbel Monday went over recent political, economic, and developmental up-to-dates during his meeting with the EU Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst at Rabiyeh.


 

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Politics - Sleiman conveys keenness on Iranian-Lebanese ties
 

Mon 23/01/2012 14:10

NNA - 23/1/2012 Lebanese President Michel Sleiman Monday brought up the IRGC Chief statements, Qassem Suleimani, about Lebanon during his meeting with the Iranian Ambassador Ghazanfar Roknabadi.

Sleiman urged the Ambassador to convey to the President Lebanon's keenness on Iranian-Lebanese ties based on mutual respect and non-interference in other countries internal affairs.

Brigadier General Qassem Suleimani, chief of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), announced earlier that Iran was present and in control of South Lebanon.

Quds Force is a division of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), conducts special operations outside Iran.

The President also received at Baabda Ministers of Interior and Municipalities and Economy and Trade, Marwan Charbel and Nicolas Nahhas.
Talks touched on most important ministerial procedures.

A delegation of the Tashnag party visited Sleiman today and discussed with him recent political up-to-dates.

Also, French Ambassador visited the President and held talks with him about the countries bilateral ties.


L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ghosn, Roknabadi tackle developments
 

Mon 23/01/2012 14:07

NNA - 23/1/2012 - National Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn received Monday at his ministerial office the Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, with whom he discussed current developments at the local and regional scenes.

Discussions also focused on means to boost and develop bilateral relations.
D.K.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel calls on Mikati to put building collapse dossier on cabinet's agenda
 

Mon 23/01/2012 14:03

NNA - 23/1/2012 - Deputy Nadim Gemayel paid a visit Monday to Premier Najib Mikati with talks featuring high on the building in danger of collapse in Fassouh, Achrafieh.

The MP called on Mikati to put this dossier on the cabinet's agenda so as to start the restoration works and allow the citizens to return to their houses as soon as possible.

Gemayel praised, in this regard, the efforts exerted by Prime Minister Mikati following the dreadful collapse of the building in Achrafieh.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk meets Egyptian ambassador
 

Mon 23/01/2012 13:54

NNA - 23/1/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk received Monday at his ministerial office the Egyptian Ambassador to Lebanon, Muhammad Mustafa Toufic, with whom he tackled bilateral ties and general developments.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel meets Hungarian Ambassador
 

Mon 23/01/2012 13:14

NNA - 23/1/2012 - Kataeb party's Head, former President Amin Gemayel received Monday the Hungarian Ambassador to Lebanon, Leslo faraday, who informed him of the participation of Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the conference to be held by Kataeb on Friday 27.

The Hungarian Premier's visit is also aimed at tackling bilateral ties with his Lebanese counterpart.

D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kabara slams government for failure to defend Lebanon's sovereignty
 

Mon 23/01/2012 12:55

NNA - 23/1/2012 - Member of Parliament Mohammed Kabara lashed out at the government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati for failure to defend the northern borders with Syrian following the killing of a Lebanese fishermen and the injury of two others.

"The Lebanese government is collaborating with Syrian-Persian axis which has breached all boundaries and became a clear threat to the existence of the country," the MP said in a statement.

Branding Assad regime as a liar, Kabara accused Damascus' navy of attacking three Lebanese fishermen off the coast of Akkar, killing a 16 year old man and injuring the remaining two.

He rejected the claims of Assad regime that the three fishermen were smuggling weapons to Syria.

"If these allegations are true then why did the regime return the corpse of the fishermen and release the two other detainees?" the MP asked.

He also wondered why the regime did not try the two fishermen if they actually smuggled weapons to the Syrian opposition.

The MP expressed his outrage at the government's inability to protect the Lebanese fishermen and control the joint Lebanese-Syrian border.

Kabara also criticized the statements made by a senior Iranian military official who boasted that South Lebanon was part of the military operations of Tehran.

O.H

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Politics - Rahi tackles developments with visitors
 

Mon 23/01/2012 12:48

NNA - 23/1/2012 - Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Boutros Rahi, received Monday the former Minister Jean Obeid with whom he discussed local and regional developments.

Afterwards, Rahi received former Minister Roger Deeb who shed light on the importance of addressing economic and social deteriorating affairs.

Deeb confirmed that the Patriarch is highly concerned with people's conditions and is doing the best he can so as to lessen the burden laid over their shoulders.

Separately, the General Labor Confederation (GLC) Head Ghassan Ghosn thanked Patriarch Rahi for his support to the agreement signed between employers and employers.

Ghosn underscored the importance of dialogue, deeming it as the corner stone for preserving the country.

Tt noon time, Rahi held a meeting with the French Ambassador to Lebanon Denis Pietton with talks touching on current situation and bilateral ties.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Farid el Khazen urges preemptive measures to contain incidents
 

Mon 23/01/2012 11:51

NNA - Deputy Farid el Khazen urged the cabinet to take preemptive measures in case similar incident occurred on the Lebanese Syrian borders.

The MP's call came following the attack against the three fishermen on the Lebanese Syrian borders which resulted in the death of Maher Hamad and the injury of two others.

El Khazen pointed out on Monday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio that "the crisis in Syria continues and the situation is heading towards escalation".

Commenting on the electricity crisis, the MP said "this crisis did not start with the current cabinet and not with energy minister", adding that minister Gebran Bassil set for the first time a comprehensive plan which required time to be executed, stressing the necessity to implement it on stages.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Farid el Khazen urges preemptive measures to contain incidents
 

Mon 23/01/2012 11:51

NNA - Deputy Farid el Khazen urged the cabinet to take preemptive measures in case similar incident occurred on the Lebanese Syrian borders.

The MP's call came following the attack against the three fishermen on the Lebanese Syrian borders which resulted in the death of Maher Hamad and the injury of two others.

El Khazen pointed out on Monday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio that "the crisis in Syria continues and the situation is heading towards escalation".

Commenting on the electricity crisis, the MP said "this crisis did not start with the current cabinet and not with energy minister", adding that minister Gebran Bassil set for the first time a comprehensive plan which required time to be executed, stressing the necessity to implement it on stages.

A.A.M

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Politics - Houry says government distance itself from people's needs
 

Mon 23/01/2012 11:29

NNA - 23/1/2012 - MP Ammar Houry Monday said the government has decided to distance itself from citizens' causes.

Houry criticized government's silence over Iranian stance in which Qassem Suleimani attacked Lebanese sovereignty.

Brigadier General Qassem Suleimani, chief of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), announced that Iran was present and in control of South Lebanon.

Quds Force is a division of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), conducts special operations outside Iran.

The MP told Al-Sharek radio that Lebanon ought to respond to such statements as it should to respond to Syrian aggressions.

Future bloc member also commented on Minister Nahhas's stand, saying that the latter breached constitution by not signing a decree through a decision adopted by Cabinet.
 

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Politics - Fatfat urges measures against Syrian incursions
 

Mon 23/01/2012 10:55

NNA - 23/1/2012 - Deputy Ahmad Fatfat stressed necessity to take measures to compensate for the citizens who were affected by the Syrian violations.

The MP called on authority to protect Lebanese fishermen and to control the borders.

"There is a big negligence concerning the protection of the Lebanese", Fatfat told "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and dignity radio on Monday, holding the cabinet responsible for what happened.

Fatfat added that there is a trend to encroach the Lebanese will amid the absence of reaction from the Lebanese side, asking "why northern citizens are not protected like the southern citizens"?

Concerning the return of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the MP said "the return is not set yet".

A.A.M

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Politics - Khoury: Electricity situation in critical stage
 

Mon 23/01/2012 10:31

NNA - 23/1/2012 - Change and Reform Parliamentary bloc member Walid Khoury told Voice of Lebanon that the situation of electricity sector in Lebanon has reached a critical stage, reiterating demands to implement Energy and Water Minister Jibran Bassil's plan to overhaul the power plants and build new ones.

He added that for the first time in 20 year a minister comes up with a plan to revamp the electricity sector.

"I hope the government and parliament feel the critical situation of the electricity which has reached a critical stage."

Asked about the bloc's relations with Hezbollah and Amal movement, the MP admitted some differences over certain issues but assured that these parties have a common view on strategic matters.

Khoury said he is not concerned about the fate of the government.

O.H

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Politics - Mansour: To end suspension of Syria�s membership at the Arab League and lift all economic sanctions
 

Sun 22/01/2012 23:10

NNA - 22/1/2012 - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister, Adnan Mansour, called Sunday for a decision to end the suspension of Syria�s membership in the Arab League and lift all economic sanctions enforced on it; and if need be, to resort to voting in this respect. Mansour�s words came in his word at the Arab Foreign Affairs Ministers� meeting held at the Arab League headquarters in the Egyptian Capital, Cairo.

Mansour declared support to the recommendations by Head of the Arab Monitors� Mission to Syria, Mohamad Al-Dabi, with regards to prolonging monitors� work, speeding-up the political operation and launching national dialogue in Syria, alongside the Mission�s duties. Mansour pointed, herein, to Syria�s positive cooperation with the Arab League�s initiative and its welcoming approach to the Arab solution thus far.

R.Sh
 

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Politics - Geagea partakes in Fassouh Building supportive campaign
 

Sun 22/01/2012 22:24

NNA - 22/1/2012 - In a statement by Lebanese Forces Party Head, Samir Geagea�s media bureau Sunday, it indicated that Geagea took part in the campaign organized in support of the Fassouh Building, which collapsed last week in Ashrafieh. The campaign is organized by the "Bashir Gemayel Association" in support of the families who suffered as a result of the collapse incident.

In a phone call via "MTV" Station, Geagea urged all "Lebanese Forces" supporters in the area of Ashrafieh to aid their fellow citizens and families who have suffered as a result of the sad incident in any and all means possible.

Geagea also instructed the Party's officials within the area to visit the families who have lost their homes as a result of the building�s collapse, in a bid to have a closer look at their needs and demands, to be relayed to the government on their behalf. Geagea praised, herein, the efforts exerted by MP Nadim Gemayel in this respect.

Furthermore, Geagea implored all Party followers, both in Lebanon and abroad, to take part in the "text messaging" supportive campaign, and to donate whatever sum they wish to the accounts established for this purpose at all "Audi Bank" branches.

R.Sh.
 

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Politics - Kanaan: Doubting the Army is prohibited!
 

Sun 22/01/2012 21:58

NNA - 22/1/2012 - Head of the Money and Budget Parliamentary Committee, MP Ibrahim Kanaan, stated Sunday that apologizing to "Future Parliamentary Bloc" Head, former PM Fuad Siniora, is now behind them, since the issue between them is not a personal matter. He added that he awaits the meeting by the Money and Budget Committee upcoming Wednesday, called for by House Speaker, Nabih Berry, which could signal the return of "March 14th" to the Committee, he noted.

Kanaan went on to indicate that he operates under the rooftop of the law and in accordance with the parliament�s internal order. Accordingly, he reminded herein that any parliament member who absents himself from three meetings with no excuse is considered to have resigned from a particular parliamentary committee. He also noted that there are no "party committees" in the sense that all parliamentary committees belong to all Lebanese. "Everyone ought to be under the rooftop of the law and institutional work, and succumb to the democratic game as is," said Kanaan.

Over the annual budget plan for the year 2012, Kanaan expressed dismay towards the published outlines of said plan, after it was announced by the Finance Minister in his recent press conference. He reminded herein of the recommendations issued by the Money and Budget Parliamentary Committee over its monitoring work during its study of the annual budget of 2010. Moreover, Kanaan referred to the Prime Minister and Finance Minister�s wish to take said recommendations and reform steps into consideration during the cabinet�s discussion in the upcoming days.

Kanaan pointed to certain campaigns waged against the "Change and Reform Parliamentary Bloc" and the "Free Patriotic Trend" in any reform steps they wish to introduce, whether in the electricity or tele-communications or finance or security issues, whereby obstacles are thrown in their path. He referred to certain constituents within the government who fail to respond positively to reform projects, despite their benefit to all the Lebanese, Kanaan noted.

Over the Arida incident, Kanaan stressed on the need to deal with it away form any political speculations, so as to determine responsibilities according to a quick and serious investigation. He also pointed to the necessity of protecting the Lebanese borders and controlling any infiltration or smuggling acts through said borders. Kanaan refused any attempt to doubt the Lebanese Military Institution in any way or by any one whatsoever in any matter pertaining to security and national affairs.

Kanaan�s words came in an interview to "MTV" Station Sunday.

R.Sh.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Nahhas: Economy needs tranquility / Prime Minister to launch economic program soon
 

Sun 22/01/2012 20:51

NNA - 22/1/2012 - Economy and Trade Minister, Ncoula Nahhas, considered that the political conflict in the country ought to quiet down a little since the economy is in need of a tranquil ambience. He added that instability and political tension have a direct effect on economic growth and advancement.

Nahhas disclosed that Prime Minister, Najib Meqati, will be launching his economic program soon, to be discussed within the cabinet. As for the annual budget project law, he indicated that it shall be tackled during the upcoming sessions by the Council of Ministers. He called, herein, for endorsing the annual budget the soonest possible, for it provides the guidelines showing Lebanon�s capability of ensuring its growth.

Nahhas also pointed to the protection of consumers� rights, whereby he indicated that all prices are monitored. He added that there is an increase in imported goods and products, ruling out any tampering with market prices.

Nahhas was speaking during an interview to the "Lebanese Television" Sunday.

R.Sh.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Bassil responds to campaigns waged against him
 

Sun 22/01/2012 20:14

NNA - 22/1/2012 - Water and Energy Minister, Gebran Bassil, responded Sunday to the various campaigns waged against him over the electricity, diesel and appointments issues during his meeting with a delegation from the "oil establishments" in Tripoli and Zahrani, who visited him at his Batroun residence. Bassil referred to accusations directed against him regarding his appointments in the aforementioned oil establishments, considering them as false allegations that contradict with efforts to improve and ameliorate such establishments.

Bassil went on to indicate that the diesel issue is another matter also held against him for false claims. He welcomed, herein, the interference of the "Central Inspection Body," so as to reveal the groundless accusations in this respect. Furthermore, he disclosed that he has submitted a report to the Council of Ministers in which he provided the correct statistics of the diesel barrels sold and the margin of saved amounts which reached 3 billion Lebanese pounds.

Bassil reiterated the warnings he sent out from day one regarding the diesel issue, whereby he considered that the government's temporary support over diesel prices would only lead to increasing profit of traders at the citizens� account. He added that amidst the open war with the "political and oil mafias" in the country, the principle of the state, and the rights of the poor, ought to be the one to win.

R.Sh.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Statement by American Hospital in Paris over Hariri's health condition
 

Sun 22/01/2012 19:24

NNA � 22/1/2012 � In a statement issued by the American Hospital Administration in the French Capital, Paris, Sunday afternoon, it indicated that �Future Trend� Head, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri�s health condition is stable and normal following the bone restructuring surgery he underwent due to his leg injury. The statement disclosed that Hariri is expected to be discharged from hospital within 6 to 7 days.
Hariri was admitted to hospital on the 20th of January, 2012, after being subjected to an accident on the same day, the statement added.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Dead Arida fishermen laid to rest
 

Sun 22/01/2012 13:40

NNA - 22/01/2012 - The 16-year-old fisherman from Arida slain at the hands of the Syrian navy was laid to rest at Arida cemetery today.

Hundreds reportedly took part in the funerary cortege amid anti-Syrian chanting at the Sheikh Ziad cemetery.

Protesters in Arida claimed that the Syrian authorities still kept one more fisherman under custody and said the international highway linking Lebanon to Syria would remain close to traffic until his safe return.

The family of the victim demanded compensation from the Lebanese government for the loss of their 16-year-old boy saying he was the breadwinner of the family.

G.G./P.BC.

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Politics - Aridi in defense of Qoleiat airstrip
 

Sun 22/01/2012 13:28

NNA - 22/01/2012 - Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Ghazi Aridi, disclosed intention to visit Rene Mouawad airstrip in Qoleiat tomorrow Monday to make a point against airstrip serving as a US-Israeli base.

Aridi and, in an official statement to the National News Agency, rejected any allegations about Rene Mouawad airstrip as mere political bidding tantamount to populist utterance. Aridi said these were mere lies and fabrications.

The Minister intends to accompany a group of specialists on his tour in order to find out for themselves existing realities on the ground. He brought to attention that the last cabinet statement contained a clause on Qoleiat and that he would be carrying out government orders.

He defended the opening of the airstrip as providing fresh job-opportunities for thousands of northern Lebanese and that all utterances about US-Israeli presence were empty talk.

G.G./P.BC.

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Politics - Rahi and the importance of Muslim-Christian unity
 

Sun 22/01/2012 13:02

NNA - 22/01/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi spoke about the necessity for Muslim-Christian unity saying the Almighty One created Lebanon just to serve appropriately as a model for plurality and coexistence.

Rahi's words came during his Sunday sermon at Bkerki in presence of a number of ranking religious and political dignitaries. He focused Lebanese Christian attention on the need of winning over egoism and cheap narrow-interests.

Rahi, and in his sermon, favored unity to division and opted for conflict-resolution in an honorable way devoid of violence. He added that Lebanon would be qualified to play a major role in spreading a culture of tolerance and moderation and that dialogue and the rejection of all sorts of terrorism must become our distinctive guideline.

He renewed the Maronite Patriarchate's commitment to maintain Lebanon as a pluralistic open society while maintaining an equidistant neutrality in a conflict-ridden region of the world. Lebanon must also remain committed to causes of justice and peace, Rahi said.

The Patriarch concluded that while Lebanon must remain an integral part of the Eastern-Mediterranean region, he urged Lebanese Muslims and Christians to get out of counterproductive political polarizations. He noted that political activism must be confined to relevant socio-economic development files.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Fayyad: Northern border platform for gunrunning
 

Sun 22/01/2012 12:39

NNA - 22/01/2012 - Leading Hizbullah parliamentarian, Ali Fayyad, described the northern border with Syria as a staging ground for gunrunning into Syria.

Commenting on the Arida incident in which one fishermen boy died and two others were arrested by the Syrian navy, the deputy told Houla municipal council and Hizbullah's Jihad Construction Foundation that the border effectively became a staging ground for gunrunning as a prelude for mounting acts of sabotage in the Syrian interior.

Fayyad also paid tribute to reforestation efforts undertaken by Houla municipality in conjunction with Hizbullah Jihad Construction Foundation. He also favored the Mikati government distancing itself from the ongoing Syrian crisis such that Lebanon does not become a staging ground for anti-Asad regime.

Fayyad wanted the Lebanese government to demonstrate resolve in controlling its northern border with Syria in order to stop any gunrunning activity.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour at Cairo conference
 

Sun 22/01/2012 12:14

NNA - 22/01/2012 - Lebanese Foreign Minister, Adnan Mansour, arrived in the Egyptian capital Cairo to partake in the Arab foreign ministers' conference. Highlighting the Cairo conference agenda would be the role of Arab observers sent to Syria to observe the unfolding of the present crisis in the conflict-ridden country.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Two Arida fishermen released at dawn
 

Sun 22/01/2012 12:08

NNA - 22/01/2012 - Two Arida fishermen were released by the Syrian authorities at dawn along with a third boy who met his death earlier when Syrian gunboats opened fire on a Lebanese boat of fishermen offshore Arida.

The body of the 16-year-old boy was handed over to his family after midnight at Abboudiyeh border crossing. The body was transferred to a local hospital while others demonstrated in solidarity with the bereaved family.
G.G./P.BC.

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Politics - 3 Lebanese fishermen to be released in Syria tonight!
 

Sat 21/01/2012 21:38

NNA - 21/1/2012 - National News Agency delegate at the Presidential Palace, Daoud Rammal, reported that the 3 Lebanese fishermen who were held in Syria are to be released Saturday night. This decision came as a result of the intensified calls at the highest Lebanese and Syrian official levels throughout Saturday.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hariri receives numerous calls checking on his health
 

Sat 21/01/2012 21:21

NNA - 21/1/2012 - Former Prime Minister, Saad Hariri's Media Bureau disclosed Saturday that Hariri received numerous phone calls throughout the day, checking on his health and well-being following his accident. Amongst the prominent figures who called Hariri were: President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman; House Speaker, Nabih Berry; Prime Minister, Najib Meqati; Qatari Prime Minister, Hamad ben Jassim; former President Amine Gemayel; former House Speaker Hussein Husseini; former Prime Ministers Omar Karameh and Fuad Sinora; former Deputy PM Michel Murr; MP Walid Jumblatt; MP Butros Harb; Army Commander, General Jean Kahwaji; Internal Security Forces Director General, Ashraf Reefy; General Security Director General, Abbas Ibrahim.
A number of other Lebanese, Arab and foreign figures also contacted Hariri for the same purpose.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour: Lebanese expatriates in Nigeria are safe
 

Sat 21/01/2012 19:50

NNA - 21/1/2012 - Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Adnan Mansour, assured the Lebanese Saturday that their fellow citizens residing in Nigeria are safe and sound. He indicated that members of the Lebanese expatriate community have incurred no injuries in the wake of the recent security incidents occurring there.
In this context, Mansour disclosed that he has contacted Lebanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Iman Younes, who reassured him that all Lebanese expatriates there are safe. Mansour gave instructions to Younes to maintain continuous contact with them, so as to make sure they are alright and report any arising emergency situation.
 

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Politics - Jumblatt contacts Hariri
 

Sat 21/01/2012 19:29

NNA - 21/1/2012 - National Struggle Front Head, MP Walid Jumblatt, contacted Saturday evening Future Trend Head, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, checking on his health following his accident and wishing him fast recovery.
R.Sh.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati condemns attack on fishermen
 

Sat 21/01/2012 19:09

NNA - 21/1/2012 - Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, followed-up Saturday on the attack incident against 3 Lebanese fishermen by a Syrian gun boat earlier during the day. In this context, Mikati contacted Army Commander, General Jean Kahwaji, and various concerned apparatuses.
Mikati stressed the need for the Lebanese-Syrian Coordination Committee to solve said incident and hand-over the 3 fisherman. Mikati condemned the attack, highlighting the necessity of adopting all suitable measures to prevent its re-occurrence.
R.Sh.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Abu Faour: We hope same "labor pain" would not be re-lived with Tribunal's renewal
 

Sat 21/01/2012 19:00

NNA - 21/1/2012 - Social Affairs Minister, Wael Abu Faour, expressed hope that the same "labor pain" witnessed during the International Tribunal's funding phase would not be re-lived, once again, with the issue of its mandate renewal. He noted that such "labor pain" consumed a lot of time, effort and capabilities, which could have been invested in catering to the people's pressing needs instead. Hence, he called for refraining from rendering the renewal issue a subject of conflict amongst the various political forces in Lebanon.
As for the salary reform step adopted by the government, Abu Faour considered it a positive move and called for building further upon such an accomplishment.
Over the continuous cut-off in electric power supply, Abu Faour stated that the Electricity Company administration is old and oblivious to the people's basic needs, especially in the region of Rashaya and West Beqaa.
Regarding the situation in Syria, Abu Faour hoped the conditions would settle the soonest possible. However, he pointed to the need for fortifying the internal Lebanese scene, so that any negative repercussions resulting from the situation in Syria would not affect Lebanon. He considered that inspite of political difference existing between various forces in Lebanon, yet that ought not come in the way of ensuring the minimum level of protection for Lebanon in the face of any repercussions resulting from conditions in Syria.
Abu Faour's words came during his meetings Saturday with heads of municipalities in Rashaya.
 

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Politics - El-Khazen contacts Hariri
 

Sat 21/01/2012 18:34

NNA - 21/1/2012 - Maronite General Council Head, former Minister Wadih El-Khazen, contacted Saturday former Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, in order to check on his health, wishing him fast recovery. Hariri underwent surgery in the French Capital, Paris, recently.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Shouf/Iqleem Sit-ins
 

Sat 21/01/2012 17:53

N.N.A. Jan. 21, 2012 Shouf and Iqleem al-Kharroub villagers staged noisy sit-ins to protest frequent power-cuts afflicting their district. They were joined by local P.S.P., Jama'a Islamiyya officials and pro-Hariri MP Muhammad Hajjar.
Taking the word, Muhammad Habanjar a local municipal official urged quick solutions to an endemic problem while MP Hajjar accused Energy minister Baseel of "passing on government-supported diesel oil to his cronies
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Arida issue high on Sleiman/Mikati agenda
 

Sat 21/01/2012 17:19

NNA - 21/01/2012 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman, has been following up closely the Arida development with Prime Minister Najib Mikati. The Arida incident today claimed the life of a 16-year-old fisherman early today.

The President deplored the Arida incident and underscored necessity for respecting the integrity of the Syro-Lebanese territorial waters.

Sleiman called for a joint inquiry into the Arida incident in order to avoid similar future recurrences. He demanded that all the authorities concerned do their best for this end.


 

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Politics - Safadi: Employee and Labor rights are non-negotiable
 

Sat 21/01/2012 16:30

NNA - 21/01/2012 - Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, reassured employees and labor representatives coming to see him at the ministry early Saturday that their basic rights were inalienable and non- negotiable.

Safadi on the other hand, informed Contractual Teachers at Government-run Elementary schools that state responsibility lies in providing job-opportunities for all. Therefore, solutions were found for daily salaried workers at the EDL and other institutions in order to make way for addressing and resolving contractual teachers' problems and possibly meeting their claims in full.

Minister Safadi also met with municipal heads of Mina and Bihnin villages and also conferred with Tripoli and Northern dignitaries.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Itinerant Mikati Activities Today
 

Sat 21/01/2012 16:12

NNA - 21/01/2012 - Under the auspices of P.M. Najib Mikati, the Middle East Airlines received its fifteenth Airbus 320 jetliner. This was Airbus number 5000 to come out of the factory's production line. As a token of gratitude and appreciation, the P.M. paid tribute to company president Muhammad Hout and listed M.E.A.'s successes and achievements along the years. He also conferred on Airbus Chief-Executive Thomas Anders the National Cedar Citation as a token of gratitude during a special ceremony at the Beirut Phoenicia Hotel.

Among the P.M.'S itinerant visitors for today, were Foreign minister Adnan Mansour and Telecommunications' minister Nicolas Sihnawi, who separately briefed him over regular work at their respective ministries when they met with him at the Grand Serail early today.

Beirut Maronite Metropolitan bishop Boulos Matar, reportedly presented P.M. Mikati with a special invitation to partake in St. Maroun's Day upcoming February.

Premier Mikati for his part informed itinerant visitors calling on him at the Grand Serail, that all government and state organs must be revitalized as a prelude for launching an all-out national campaign of reform. He urged all politicians concerned to facilitate government reform bid to the benefit of all Lebanese aspiring for a competent public administration.


G.G./R.K.

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Politics - Berri reviews major developments with itinerants
 

Sat 21/01/2012 16:03

NNA - 21/01/2012 - Speaker of the House Nabih Berri discussed Saturday respectively with MPs Nawar Sahily, Simon Abi Ramiya and Imad Hout major developments at domestic and regional scenes. Among itinerant visitors was Head of the Al-Zahraa' Hospital Board, Mohammad Ch'ito.

On the other hand, the Speaker has been in contact with Saad Hariri whom he well-wished a speedy recovery from his skiing injury incurred in the French Alps early today.

G.G/R.K

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri reviews major developments with itinerants
 

Sat 21/01/2012 16:03

NNA - 21/01/2012 - Speaker of the House Nabih Berri discussed Saturday respectively with MPs Nawar Sahily, Simon Abi Ramiya and Imad Hout major developments at domestic and regional scenes. Among itinerant visitors was Head of the Al-Zahraa' Hospital Board, Mohammad Ch'ito.

On the other hand, the Speaker has been in contact with Saad Hariri whom he well-wished a speedy recovery from his skiing injury incurred in the French Alps early today.

G.G/R.K

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ranking Christians at the Mufti's
 

Sat 21/01/2012 15:38

NNA - 21/01/2012 - Maronite Metropolitan Bishop of Beirut Boulos Matar, and head of the Islam-Christian Dialogue Committee Hareth Shehab, have been at Dar al-Fatwa (High Islamic Court) on what bishop Matar described as a courtesy visit to Mufti Qabbani and leading Sunni clerics.

The bishop who dubbed religious leaders of all sects and denominations as "the safety valve of Lebanon" conveyed a special message of love and sympathy from Maronite patriarch Ra'i concluded that religious leaders are mere reflections of divine-heavenly passion.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Makary for resolute cabinet stance against Syrian violations
 

Sat 21/01/2012 15:33

NNA - 21/01/2012 Vice House Speaker Farid Makary sternly condemned in a statement Saturday continuous Syrian violations of Lebanese dominion, calling upon cabinet to break its silence, assert its presence and Lebanon's sovereignty and inviolability of its lands and territorial waters.

Syrian army has escalated its violations of Lebanon's air, land and sea ever since the onset of rallies in Syria demanding the ousting of President Bashar Assad. Most recent attacks on Lebanon took place earlier this morning as three Lebanese fishermen were abducted by Syrians from Lebanon's regional waters, in North of the country.

"The cabinet's silence...has morphed into a type of willing surrender of Lebanon's autonomy," said Makary who warned that the Syrian regime found it easy to repeatedly breach Lebanon's sovereignty with the absence of any type of formal complaint or questioning. He advised cabinet to call upon Syrian ambassador in Beirut to explain his country's actions and be held accountable.

"The policy of dissociating one's self does not apply to Syrian violations of Lebanese territories, what we need to apply is a state of self-defense." Makary suggested the deployment of an efficient military force to the border and for the government to submit a complaint to the Security Council against Syria's actions in the country.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved










 

Politics - Hezbollah plans Islamic Republic in Lebanon - Ogassapian
 

Sat 21/01/2012 15:12

NNA - 21/01/2012 MP Jean Ogassapian said to New TV Saturday that under the rule of current "nightmare cabinet" Hezbollah is slowly mapping its Islamic republic, with Iran as its blueprint.

Hezbollah and allies of March 8 Camp staged a coup against national unity cabinet of PM Saad Hariri early 2011; hence, monopolizing power of the government. They also refused to discuss their arms at the national dialogue table, maintaining that it was part of the country's defense strategy.

The Future Bloc Parliamentarian revealed that Hezbollah controlled the pawns in a cabinet which was more Syrian than Lebanese. He described visit of UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, as an assertion that Lebanon did not belong to Syria but rather to a democratic international community.

"Hezbollah is the only political faction that works strategically...and [it] is afraid that its project will fall with the collapse of the rejection front." Ogassapian warned that one form of fanaticism would breed extremism from the other side, sending the country into the abyss of a civil war.

The MP also alerted that a lot of money was being spent for the sake of building an Islamic republic in the country fashioned in the Iranian way. He cited the systematic buying of lands across Lebanon by the Islamic resistance as a warning sign that their plan was in full throttle.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved












 

Politics - S.Hariri breaks leg, Mikati calls to check in
 

Sat 21/01/2012 14:33

NNA - 21/01/2012 Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri was rushed Saturday to American Hospital of Paris after suffering from a ski injury while vacationing in the French Alps, and received a call from PM Najib Mikati checking on his health.

Hariri broke his left leg while skiing, a statement by his press office reported.

"He underwent a successful three-hour-long surgery at the American Hospital of Paris...and will remain in hospital for several days for recuperation."

Mikati later telephoned Hariri's family to wish him a speedy recovery.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Charbel on Building Safety- Responsibility
 

Sat 21/01/2012 14:27

NNA - 21/01/2012 - Minister of the Interior and Municipal Affairs Marwan Charbel, sounded indignant at the present state of near-absent safety regulations in Lebanese building construction saying architects were primarily responsible.
Commenting on Fassouh/Ashrafiyeh collapsed building disaster which claimed the lives of 27 killed and 12 injured, he told al-Mada radio station that local municipal authorities and building owners could also account for any similar future mishaps.
The minister also warned against construction defects marring new buildings as well and held architects fully responsible for any future disaster. He disclosed that his ministry undertook a case-by-case study in order to compensate for losses incurred during recent accidents.
Charbel went out of his way to underscore the importance of an electoral law based on proportionality and concluded that such a law ensured a fair representation for all. Accordingly, it also reflected high national interest.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Berri reviews major developments with itinerants
 

Sat 21/01/2012 14:26

NNA - 21/01/2012 - Speaker of the House Nabih Berri discussed Saturday respectively with MPs Nawar Sahily, Simon Abi Ramiya and Imad Hout major developments at domestic and regional scenes. Among itinerant visitors was Head of the Al-Zahraa' Hospital Board, Mohammad Ch'ito.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jissr: Iranian declarations dangerous for Lebanon
 

Sat 21/01/2012 14:00

NNA - 21/01/2012 Future Bloc Parliamentarian Samir Jissr denounced in a statement Saturday Iranian claims, describing them as a direct breach of Lebanon's sovereignty.

Commander of Quds Force, Major General Qassem Suleimani, announced that Iran was present and in control of South Lebanon. Quds Force, a division of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), conducts special operations outside Iran.

"This statement makes Lebanon a hostage for Iranian interests, and jeopardizes the people of the South," said the MP. He added that this type of rhetoric stripped Hezbollah of its arguments that it acted as a resistance for Lebanon and rendered it a faction in Iran's Quds Force.

"We demand that Hezbollah clarifies the statements made by General Suleimani."

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Diab Favorable to Ki-moon's Visit and Syrian Leaders
 

Sat 21/01/2012 13:33

NNA - 21/01/2012 - Education and Higher Learning minister Hassan Diab, perceived in U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's visit to Beirut, a positive indication as to the country's prevailing security and stability.
Minister Diab and, in an interview on Hariri-owned ash-Sharq (Orient) radio station, added that Ki-moon's visit testified to the prevailing security in the South with U.N. Security Council resolution 1701 being fully implemented by the Lebanese side. There remains to see how the Israelis do their part Diab retorted.
While expressing simultaneous government support for Syrian people and leaders, the minister argued that the present state of affairs stipulates a certain commitment to distance ourselves from the ongoing Syrian unrest in order to avoid un-foretold negative repercussions on the domestic scene. He duly rejected any international intervention in Syria and renewed tacit government support for the S.T.L.
On Hizbullah weapons, he added that their future could only be resolved through national dialogue. Diab noted that the cabinet would take up the transport fee soon and that teachers will be definitely among the beneficiaries.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Media against violence: Backward forces tarnish Lebanon's cultural reputation
 

Sat 21/01/2012 11:56

NNA - 21/01/2012 Association of Media Against Violence strongly condemned Saturday Lebanese government for allowing certain forces, attempting to turn Lebanon into a mini-Iran, to cancel two concerts for Belgian-Italian singer Lara Fabian previously scheduled for next month.

A campaign by Hezbollah and associates has been raging against all artists who have performed in Israel, banning them from holding concerts in Lebanon. Most recently, Fabian was the latest one to be black listed by said groups.

"This campaign, organized by neurotic activists, does not affect Israel, but reflects on the image and standing of Lebanon, especially that one of the goals of its organizers is to isolate Lebanon from the world and shape it in the image of what Commander of the 'Qods Force' in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran) Brigadier General Qassem Soleimani wants...a Fakih State in Lebanon," read the statement.

The Association added that Fabian was the latest victim of moral terrorism, and held faltering Lebanese government responsible for tarnishing the reputation of the country.

"[The government] should have taken sufficient security measures during both shows; however, it failed in the face of backward forces which have nothing to do with Lebanon, its culture and role."

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Raad: U.S., Israel attack Syria's resistant role
 

Sat 21/01/2012 11:36

NNA - 21/01/2012 Hezbollah announced Saturday its full readiness to go to war with Israel, although that is not the Party's desire, in order to defend the regime of Bashar Assad, dubbed as axis of resistance.

Head of Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc, MP Mohammad Raad, spoke for the Islamic resistance during a funeral ceremony in the southern town of Sarafund, commenting on the progress of the Arab Spring in Syria whereby multitudes of Syrians have been demanding the ousting of President Bashar Assad for the past ten months.

"The goal is to bring Syria down due to its role in defying American-Israeli project in the region," the MP commented, adding that the ultimate goal was to bring down Hezbollah.

R.Z.

Politics - Hamyed reprimands duality in International Security standards
 

Fri 20/01/2012 19:52

NNA - 20/01/2012 - Member of Parliament, Ayoub Hmayed, on Friday censured what he depicted as duality in international resolutions' principles, wondering how the International Security Council pretends to be oblivious to resolution 194 at the time that it inexorably eyes resolution 1559.

Speaking at a commemoration ceremony in Qana village, the MP said resolution 1559 was tantamount to a "baton created to rid us of our legitimate right for self-defense."

"How could they disregard those countries that have no respect for human rights," he said, wondering how the world stood idle before Syria's unrest.
Moreover, Hamyed did not approve with the fact of having Arab observers monitor the situation in Syria.

"We see them locking horns to send corruption-fomenting observers to Syria," he said, adding that Lebanon should neither be used as a tool to target Syria, nor as a base to tamper with its security.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Bkerki Gathering keen on parity-based electoral law
 

Fri 20/01/2012 19:35

NNA - 20/1/2012 - Bkerki Gathering's Committee on Friday reiterated clinging to an electoral law based upon parity between Christians and Muslims, as stipulated by Taef Accord.

The Committee today visited President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, as part of a series of meetings the Gathering is scheduled to hold.

A closing statement issued in the wake of the meeting echoed the committee's keenness on a "proper national partnership and pluralism."


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - MPs convene with Sleiman over electoral draft law.
 

Fri 20/01/2012 19:02

NNA - 20/01/2012 President Michel Sleiman convened Friday with electoral law follow up committee at Baabda presidential palace, with talks reportedly focusing on said project law.

The committee was comprised of MPs Boutros Harb, George Adwan, Sami Gemayel, and Alain Aoun, in addition to Former Ministers Ziad Baroud and Youssef Saadeh.

The President also had an audience with former Minister Eliass Skaff.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sarkisian blasts government from Meerab
 

Fri 20/01/2012 18:26

NNA - 20/01/2011 - MP Tor Sarkisian on Thursday slammed the Lebanese government's performance, saying time has only proven it to be a failure.

Following a visit to Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea in Meerab, the Future bloc MP wondered what the government's steady political and economic visions were.

"We have been witnessing permanent iter-cabinet bickering since the early days of its launch, especially among the Aounist Movement Ministers over the wage increase," he said.

Amid the dire financial situation infesting the country, the MP called for toppling the cabinet "replacing it by another, with a patriotic vision."

Talks between Geagea and Sarkisian also featured high on the animatedly debated electoral law.

"The Interior Minister's proposal includes six suggestions which all stick to the currently adopted division of Beirut district. This alone is doomed to abolish its existing social fabric," he said when touching on Beirut district administrative division, supposedly adopted by the new electoral law.

However, the Minister affirmed that his bloc did not mind discussing the proportionality law at the House of Parliament.
R.H.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - US delegation visits Qoleiat base
 

Fri 20/01/2012 18:04

NNA - 20/1/2012 - A US embassy delegation visited today Qoleiat air base in Akkar locality, National News Agency correspondent reported on Friday.

He added that another delegation from the embassy had also been to An-Nour official school, before visiting Kobayat official school.
R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Pietton, Fletcher visit with Rifi
 

Fri 20/01/2012 17:56

NNA - 20/01/2012 - Director General of the Internal Security Forces (ISF), Major General Ashraf Rifi, met over the security situation in the country with French Ambassador to Lebanon, Denis Pietton.

The French envoy visited Rifi's caserne headquarter on Friday also for talks over coordination and cooperation on the security level.

Later, Rifi received British Ambassador to Lebanon, Tom Fletcher, with an accompanying delegation and the Strategic Plan Team in the ISF, with talks featuring high on the Team's work.
P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - N. Gemayel, Sehnawi, Charbel meet over unsafe Fassouh building
 

Fri 20/01/2012 17:38

NNA - 20/01/2012 - Deliberations over the restoration of a building adjacent to that of the collapsed Fassouh building topped talks on Friday between Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel, Tele-Communications Minister Nicolas Sehnawi, and MP Nadim Gemayel.

In the course of the meeting, Charbel shone light on the importance of handling humanitarian causes away from political polarizations.

"This meeting embodies the Lebanese yearning for unity among the different Lebanese components in times of difficulty," he said.

In light of Fassouh building disaster, Charbel underscored the inevitability of resolving such matters relying on legal basis. He called herein on the Lebanese authorities be up to their responsibilities.

In turn, MP Gemayel said the meeting aimed at reaching a unanimous decision over steps to be taken with regard to the restoration of the unsafe building, adjacent to the collapsed one in Fassouh - Ashrafieh.

"The Interior Minister has proposed in agreement with the Works Minister to raise this issue at the Council of Ministers, so that a decision will be made to restore the building."

For his part, Minister Sehnawi chose to join his voice to Gemayel's pertaining to this issue.

"Agreements have been set on keeping politics away from this topic," he said.
R.H.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kahwaji's Friday itinerant visitors
 

Fri 20/01/2012 17:34

NNA - 20/01/2012 - Lebanese Army Commander, General Jean Kahwaji, respectively met with former MP Talal Merehbi and "Waaed" Party Head, Joe Hobeika. Discussions reportedly focused on the general situation.

The meeting was held on Friday at Kahwaji's office in Yarzeh.

Among Kahwaji's visitors had also been: Secretary General of Cultural Beirut Gathering in Lebanon, George Tarabay, and Solidere assistant General Director, George Noor.
P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Politics - Berri for Lebanon's disassociation from Middle East turmoil
 

Fri 20/01/2012 17:28

NNA - 20/01/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri stressed upon the necessity of disassociating Lebanon from the turmoil running throughout the East Mediterranean.

Berri was speaking before a delegation of the Editors Syndicate Council that visited him at his residence in Ain Tineh.

"The disassociation policy is wise with respect to Lebanon because it is a country that reacts but does not act," said Berri.

Separately, Berri received Samih Solh who presented him with a copy of his book "Opinions and Studies."

Afterwards, Berri received a delegation of the Lebanese Diaspora in Angola, headed by Fares Sbeiti who related to the host the condition of the diaspora.

Berri also received General Security senior Abbas Ibrahim.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 

 

 


 


Politics - Abi Ramia: Nahhas's wage plan comprehensive
 

Fri 20/01/2012 16:56

NNA - 20/01/2011 - The Free Patriotic Movement is fully convinced that Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas's wage hike plan carried the most comprehensive solution to the Lebanese workforce problems, Member of Parliament Elie Ramia said on Friday.

Depicting the Reform and Change bloc as a reflection of the Lebanese labor force, Abi Ramia disclosed in an interview aired on Al-Jadeed TV an iter-FPM discrepancy in stances, pertaining to the wage increase package.

"We freely and democratically ran discussions over the matter within our bloc," he said as countering allegations claiming otherwise.

Moreover, Abi Ramia denied rumors saying that Nahhas has refrained from his responsibilities as Labor Minister.

"Nahhas is a necessity to the Lebanese political life. He's a work bulldozer!" he said.

Touching on the heatedly debated discussions over many fractured and unsafe buildings, Abi Ramia stressed that this issue ought not to be politically abused.

"This matter should be tackled from a humanitarian angle," he said, hailing efforts by FPM engineers to provide shattered families with homes.

As for Jal al- Dib Bridge which is scheduled to be dismantled as of tomorrow, Saturday, Abi Ramia threw the ball in the government's court saying it should carry out preventive measures to avoid catastrophes similar to that of Fassouh building.

"The least we needed is the loss of 27 people to realize that. We only heard of plans to dismantle the bridge right after the building collapse," he said.

Responding to those holding Water and Energy Minister Jibran Bassil responsible for the nation's electricity chaos, now that three months have elapsed since his wage plan had been endorsed. "We can't hold him responsible for 30 years of accumulated responsibility."
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Khodr Habib lashes out on campaigns against reopening Qlaiaat airport
 

Fri 20/01/2012 16:30

NNA - 20/1/2012 - Future bloc member, MP Khodr Habib, lashed out Friday on those attempting to derail the reopening of Qlaiaat airport.

He noted that Akkar region deserved to be rendered better care and concern from the state, describing the reactions which flared up lately as "racist".

"Discussing the rehabilitation of Qlaiaat airport is not new, as it had been under study since the government of PM Saad Hariri," he noted, assuring that the guidelines were set earlier so as to provide for the citizens of North such a vital resource.

He therefore criticized those who considered this region as "peripheral" to Lebanon's sovereignty, hence deserved no heed like other districts.

The Deputy said turning northern affairs into a scene for political outbids and accusations, was inacceptable.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - #Minister of Labor signs wage adjustment decree
 

Fri 20/01/2012 16:28

NNA - 20/1/2012 - Minister of Labor, Charbel Nahhas, signed Friday the wage adjustment decree.

But he refused to sign any decree on transportation allowance for illegality.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Sleiman signs decree related to nationality reaquirement
 

Fri 20/01/2012 15:21

NNA - 20/01/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman signed on Friday decree number 7413 pertaining to referring a law draft related to identify the conditions of reacquiring the Lebanese nationality to the House of Parliament.

Separately, Sleiman received at Baabda Presidential Palace Deputy Boutros Harb and reviewed with him recent political developments at the local scene.

Harb also tackled with the host Balaa water dam project in Tannourine, voicing refusal to grant said project to an Iranian contracting company for execution. "Balaa's project has a political background totally refused by Tannourine's people," said Harb, who explained that the presence of an Iranian company in Tannourine could provoke a sort of perturbation among the people.

Amongst Baabda's visitors: former Minister Farid Haykal Khazen accompanied by a delegation of economic bodies; and a delegation of the temporal committee for Lebanon's coops headed by Muhiddine Doughan.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aridi takes up array of affairs with US envoy, itinerants
 

Fri 20/01/2012 15:09

NNA - 20/1/2012 - Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Ghazi Aridi, and US ambassador to Lebanon, Maura Connelly, on Friday reviewed a spectrum of most recent developments.

The Minister later met at his ministerial office with Member of Parliament Ziad Aswad over the projects to be executed by the Ministry in Jezzine region, which the Change and Reform Bloc Deputy assured to have witnessed unprecedented development for the last years.

A delegation of Lebanese Pilots Association (LPA) had also been to Aridi's office today to update him over parleys with the Middle East Airlines Company (MEA).

The Minister also received Head of the Former Deputies League, Michel Maalouli.

Talks reportedly featured high on the League's activities aiming to resume the implementation of Taef Accord, namely the items related to the extended administrative decentralization, the formation of a national body to abolish political confessionalism, the independence of judiciary, and balanced development.

Aridi later met with the Director of Speaker Nabih Berri's Msayleh office, General Mohammad Srour, over developmental needs of the South area.



R.A.H./A.B.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour, Morabito discuss Italian Ministers' visit to Lebanon
 

Fri 20/01/2012 15:07

NNA - 20/1/2012 - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister, Adnan Mansour, tackled Friday with the Italian Ambassador to Lebanon, Giuseppe Morabito, ongoing preparations for the forthcoming visit of the Italian Foreign Affairs and Defense Ministers to Lebanon on January 27 and 28.

Morabito confirmed that the Italian ministerial visit to Lebanon was aimed at reactivating Italy's role and presence in Lebanon.

He noted that the Italian Major General Paolo Serra will take over from Maj. Gen. Alberto Asarta to become then the UNIFIL commander, in a ceremony which will be held on January 28, in presence of the two Italian Ministers.

Morabito praised, in this regard, the role played by the Spanish general within the UNIFIL so as to preserve Lebanon's stability.
He explained that the Italian Foreign Affairs and Defense Ministers will be meeting with the three Heads of state as well as with their Lebanese counterparts.

D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel, Connelly tackle Syrian crisis' repercussions over Lebanon
 

Fri 20/01/2012 14:36

NNA - 20/1/2012 - The US Ambassador to Lebanon, Maura Connelly, had been Friday to Saifi Kataeb central house to meet with former President Amin Gemayel with talks touching on general situation and the repercussions of the Syrian crisis over Lebanon.

Both sides agreed on the importance of immunizing the Lebanese scene against all attempts to tamper with its stability and security.

Also, both sides tackled the conference on democracy and plurality to be held on January 27th.

The conference was deemed as important for it sheds light on a subject which needs to be further discussed so as to help new regimes pave the way towards democracy and partnership. It also helps Lebanon spread its democratic experience to the Middle East.

Furthermore, Gemayel and his guest went over the dialogue between religions and the expected meetings to be held between religious and political leaderships for the reinforcement of this important dialogue, especially in light of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki moon's visit to Lebanon.

The visit of the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, was also of utmost importance as it enhances dialogue and stability.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabbani briefed by Cortbawi over local security condition
 

Fri 20/01/2012 14:21


NNA - 20/1/2012- Mufti of Lebanon Mohammad Rachid Qabbani was briefed on Friday by Justice Minister Shakib Cortbawi over the actual security situation in the country.

Qabbani received Cortbawi at Dar Fatwa. He stressed on the necessity of growing alert to any possibility of strife in the country so as to nip it in the bud.

The Mufti also called for enhancing the judicial body by filling vacancies at judicial departments.

A.M/N.AF

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - "Liberal" party: Ban's visit is successful
 

Fri 20/01/2012 12:21

NNA - 20/1/2012 - Deputy Dori Chamoun stressed that the latest visit of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to Beirut was important and successful, adding that he stressed commitment to the international resolutions.

Chamoun remarks came in Friday's statement following the weekly meeting of "Liberal" Party where they called on concerned sides to implement all the International resolutions concerning Lebanon.

"Resolution 1680 which requires Lebanese-Syrian demarcation should be implemented as well as all other resolutions," the statement stressed.

The party also tackled the issue of the collapsed building on Sunday in Ashrafieh Fassouh and offered condolences for the families of the victims.

The statement urged concerned parties to provide quick shelters for the survivors, and to take measures in all buildings that do not meet the required standard in order to avoid similar catastrophes.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kortbawi:Appointments complex is not in Higher Judiciary Council only
 

Fri 20/01/2012 11:13

NNA - 20/1/2012 - Justice Minister Shakib Kortbawi stressed that it is not true that the only complex in appointments is confined only to Higher judiciary council presidency.

He added that there were lots of vacancies in other posts which were not solved for the existence of disputes over it.

"Appointments mechanism which agreed on in former Prime Minister Saad Hariri's cabinet does not include ambassadors, judiciary and security courts", adding that it was by consensus and not a law.

On the other hand, "transportation and education allowances decree which was approved in the cabinet is illegal", Kortbawi told "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qadri: Hezbollah is perplexed over Syria's file
 

Fri 20/01/2012 11:01

NNA - 20/1/2012 - Future Parliamentary bloc member Ziad Qadri told "Radio Free Lebanon" that Hezbollah is clearly baffled over the events taking place in Syria and don't know how to deal with it.

"Iran is helping the Syrian regime against its people as much as it can but no one is willing to sacrifice himself for others," the MP argued.

He reminded that Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah did not mention in his last speech a conspiracy against Syria but called on the opposition to open a dialogue with the government.

The MP added that Hezbollah has put itself in position against the uprisings mushrooming in the Arab countries, suggesting that the party hails the pro regime demonstrations while criticizing those that are against the regime.

"The party should not discriminate between people based on ethics and values."

He brushed off the confessions of arms smuggling that are aired by the Syrian government TV as nothing more than theatrical and has no value.

"All the events occurring along the Lebanese-Syrian border are the responsibility of the Syrian regime which refused in the past to demarcate these borders."

He also denied any differences between the Lebanese Forces and Future movement over the election law.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Marouni: Kataeb party stresses dialogue
 

Fri 20/01/2012 10:39

NNA - 20/1/2012 - Deputy Elie Marouni stressed that Kataeb party has always been attached to dialogue.

The MP added that the previous experience has proved that dialogue table was useless and turned into formal event and photo opportunity since Hizbullah considered its arsenal sacred and refused debate over it.

"Kataeb party has always been attached to dialogue as a link between the Lebanese", the MP said on Friday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio.

He expressed fears over allocations in appointments so that the administration would be turned into a militia and private party instead of being to all the Lebanese.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk discusses developments with Fletcher
 

Fri 20/01/2012 10:38

NNA - 20/1/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk discussed situation and developments in Lebanon and the region on Friday before noon at his ministry with British Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Abboud: No winner no loser in wages file
 

Fri 20/01/2012 10:15

NNA - 20/1/2012 - Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud stressed that there is no winner no loser in wage increases file.

He added that what happened was legalizing mutual agreements between both teams, hoping that this process would have lasted till the end and included education and transportation allowances in the same decree.

"No winner no loser in wage file, but what happened was legalizing mutual agreement between both sides", the minister confirmed on Friday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio.

Abboud hoped that Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas would continue his journey because it is for the nation's interest.

Concerning appointments complex, Abboud said "administrative mechanism has been achieved for the file awaiting the political one", pointing out that any minister has the right to propose names in the cabinet except in judiciary and military circles, "but this is not clear yet", for this, he added "there should be a political mechanism for appointments to avoid clashes inside the cabinet".

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


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