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.
Hollande to meet Hariri ... Hezbollah defends obstructing [Parliament] session
A source from the Progressive Socialist Party said that the phone call between PSP leader MP Walid Jumblatt and French President François Hollande focused on the need to help the presidential election to go ahead on time.
They agreed the presidential election should be a prelude to more understanding between the Lebanese and further stability in the country.
France also encouraged efforts to avoid a presidential vacuum with Hollande’s call to Jumblatt a precursor to a meeting with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and later Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai.
New May 7 date for presidential elections
Committee finalizes salary scale and VAT to become 12%
Sources said that the committee studying the salary bill has made progress over the funding of the new wage scale.
The committee completed discussions on articles linked to its funding, agreeing that the cost of the scale will reach LL 1,740 billion, just over the government's initial proposal which estimated the cost of funding the bill at around LL 1,665 billion.
The new cost is less than the one submitted in the joint parliamentary committee’s report to Parliament on April 15, which said that the total cost of funding the wage hike would be LL 2,440 billion.
The new committee suggested raising the Value Added Tax (VAT) from 10 to 12 percent, excluding oil, electricity, water and other basic services.
Parliamentary sources also said that new taxes would be imposed on the maritime properties and banks.
Countdown for May 25 begins and political activity to break the presidential stalemate
There is nothing to do but wait and see what the days will hold prior next to the presidential election session set on May 7.
President Michel Sleiman informed Prime Minister Tammam Salam during a Wednesday meeting that he is planning on sending the invitations for the dialogue session, which will take place at 11:00am on Monday.
The invitations will be sent on Thursday and Friday to all political leaders, regardless of whether they had taken part in past sessions or boycotted them.
Hollande casts his vote and Riyadh supports presidential consensus
While some argue that former Prime Minister Saad Hariri is refraining from backing a presidential candidate such as MP Michel Aoun until he receives a tip from Saudi, diplomatic sources said that the Saudi leadership insists on holding the presidential election on time.
Riyadh encourages any consensual step and advises the adoption of a consensual presidential choice that can be accepted by the majority of the Lebanese and will not provoke anyone.
The sources said that Saudi Arabia does not favor adopting controversial options for the presidency that would complicate the situation in Lebanon.