BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Lebanon's Arabic press digest – July 31, 2014

Lebanon's Arabic press digest.

The following are a selection of stories from Lebanese newspapers that may be of interest to Daily Star readers. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.

An-Nahar

Salary scale headed toward being passed in a legislative session soon

Parliamentary extension expected by the end of next August for one year or 18 months.

An-Nahar said that a similar meeting to the one last week that joined former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil, Health Minister Wael Abu Faour and MPs Ghazi Youssef and George Adwan would be held soon to continue the discussion on the ranks and salaries scale.

According to the sources ... it is expected that the positivity of the first meeting will continue with an agreement on a unified ranks and salaries scale draft, by unifying the numbers of revenues and expenditures, reducing the hike by 10 and 15 percent ... and deciding on the VAT increase supported by the Future Movement or replacing it with other revenues that MP Jumblatt is marketing with an care not to reveal them before an agreement is reached.

Other sources said the ongoing communications, which are apparently related to the legislative session on the ranks and salaries scale, had opened an implicit discussion about coordinating between different stances on the parliamentary extension, especially after more than one party, most notably the Progressive Socialist Party and the Future Movement, had stressed that there would be not parliamentary elections before conducting the presidential election. The [expected agreement] is to extend Parliament’s term for one or one and a half years ... by the end of August.

Al-Akhbar

European information on a terrorist operation between the north and Roumieh

In the north, an aggressive intelligence war is being waged between the Lebanese state and the takfiris. As a result, the security forces seem to have scored very important achievements. However, whenever [the security forces] get close to cutting off the terrorist heads, they are faced by the instigation of sectarian pretexts and strife by some groups, that threaten the civil peace and the whole northern situation.

Reliable politicians with very wide responsibilities revealed that about 10 days ago, a major European state communicated intelligence data to the Lebanese security forces, saying that a takfiri armed group was carrying out field training in the Wadi Jhannam area of north Lebanon. The [report added] that the group included around 100 militants and that it was preparing to attack a northern village, kidnap a large group of civilians and then transport them to a safe base for the takfiris, to start negotiating with the Lebanese government for the sake of releasing the kidnappers’ friends from Roumieh prison, by threatening to gradually eliminate the hostages [as a tool for negotiation.]

Al-Liwa

White smoke after Siniora and Khalil meeting

Al-Liwa sources said that a meeting would be held Thursday with Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil and the members of the Parliamentary committee responsible to discuss the wage hike. [The meeting] will also be attended by Health Minister Wael Abu Faour and MP George Adwan and will discuss a draft law including the numbers and revenues, to be presented to the parliamentary coordination committee and the relevant actors in order to hold a parliamentary session before Aug. 14.

According to the sources, what is being discussed among relevant parties are: reducing the overall value of the wage hike by 10 percent, dismissing the idea of imposing a 15 percent VAT on secondary purchases and rather move increase the VAT tax by 1 percentage point, reconsidering the electricity prices to lift some of the burden off the treasury, and the installment of the hike. Sources close to the Union Coordination Committee mentioned a serious disagreement between the public administration employees (represented by Mahmoud Haidar), the private schools teachers union (represented by Nehme Mahfoud) and Hanna Gharib, the head of the secondary teaching league. The sources said that Mahfoud was threatening to leave the struggle if the committee did not show some flexibility to overcome the current crisis.

As-Safir

Jumblatt: ISIS on our borders

Jumblatt told As-Safir that a discussion in which all sides were participating was ongoing to reach agreement on the ranks and salaries scale, stressing that the most important point for him was that the revenues are adequate to the expenditures. He called on considering the wage hike’s effects on the economy and turbulent political situation in the country.

Jumblatt warned that ISIS was about to reach Lebanese borders, as it have become clear to the followers of [the group’s] expansion map, which requires high levels of alertness.

 

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Summary

An-Nahar said that a similar meeting to the one last week that joined former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil, Health Minister Wael Abu Faour and MPs Ghazi Youssef and George Adwan would be held soon to continue the discussion on the ranks and salaries scale.

According to the sources ... it is expected that the positivity of the first meeting will continue with an agreement on a unified ranks and salaries scale draft, by unifying the numbers of revenues and expenditures, reducing the hike by 10 and 15 percent ... and deciding on the VAT increase supported by the Future Movement or replacing it with other revenues that MP Jumblatt is marketing with an care not to reveal them before an agreement is reached.

Other sources said the ongoing communications, which are apparently related to the legislative session on the ranks and salaries scale, had opened an implicit discussion about coordinating between different stances on the parliamentary extension, especially after more than one party, most notably the Progressive Socialist Party and the Future Movement, had stressed that there would be not parliamentary elections before conducting the presidential election.


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