The following are a selection of stories from Lebanese newspapers that may be of interest to The Daily Star readers. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
Aoun-Gegea: Calculations of [presidential] candidates and calculations of allies
The March 8 forces are set to launch discussions over the upcoming presidential election and to coordinate the stances of the parties within the alliance.
Hezbollah is preparing for a meeting between the party’s head, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Amal Movement leader Speaker Nabih Berri and Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Michel Aoun.
The meeting aims at synchronizing the three leaders’ stances over the presidential election and agreeing on a single candidate.
The paper said that Aoun has no serious competitors within the March 8 coalition but said that the FPM chief’s dispute with Berri could affect his candidacy.
Rai calls for President from outside the March 8 and March 14 camps
Three international priorities for the presidency
The ambassadors of the major countries concerned with the Middle East and Lebanese affairs have identified three priorities for the upcoming presidential election.
The first priority is holding the presidential election on time, the second is not to amend the constitution and the third is the rejection of a vacuum in the presidential post.
The paper said the envoys of these countries in Lebanon are soon to launch a series of talks with possible candidates to get to know their proposals and their chances of winning the election.
Meanwhile, Cardinal Beshara Rai told the daily that he would like to see president who is independent of the March 8 and March 14 rival camps because the next president should be a consensus figure.
Syria Opposition advances in Aleppo and Homs outskirts, fierce battles in Lattakiah
Washington considers increasing military support to [Syria’s] opposition
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry declared Thursday that it is considering the possibility of increasing support to the Syrian opposition in the war against Bashar Al-Assad, the paper reported.
Kerry was criticized by members of congress over U.S. policy on Syria, especially by Senator John McCain who said the U.S. failed politically in dealing with Syria and Iran.
Meanwhile in Syria, rebels advanced in Aleppo and the outskirts of Homs, seizing a large arms warehouse in Quneitra, but they are coming under fierce attack from Assad's troops.
State dares to approach banks?
Sources well informed of the discussions of the joint parliamentary committees said “bold corrective decisions” were taken to subject banks to taxes that were hard to endorse before.
The new taxes, set to be used to finance the new salary scale for public sector employees, also affect real estate companies and companies listed on the stock exchange.
The sources said that if the committees’ meetings continue in such a direction, resources to finance the salary scale could be found without harming the economy.