Lebanon News

Lebanon's Arabic press digest - March 19, 2012

Following are summaries of some of the main stories in a selection of Lebanese newspapers Monday. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.


Meeting at Parliament office ... another to discuss electricity-generating ships

Rotten food includes fish and cheese

Each time pressing issues come to the forefront, enthusiasm to deal with the problems dwindles and disputes erupt, even though the pressing issues concern all the Lebanese be it government overspending, power rationing or appointments to senior public positions – judiciary as well as academic and diplomatic posts.

Nevertheless, all these issues will be discussed during separate meetings Monday at the Grand Serail, Nijmeh Square, Baabda Palace and even the Education Ministry.


Mikati to As-Safir: Issues should be dealt with quietly

Maritime oil opens a diplomatic battle

Raad to As-Safir: We will not let Israel take away our rights

Political consultations to launch inclusive government operations have stepped up, most notably a meeting between Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Mikati late Saturday.

The meeting came after Berri warned [Friday] that he would hold the government accountable unless a decree to manage the oil sector and begin drawing tenders was issued before the end of March.

In response to a question about the ongoing political bickering, Mikati told As-Safir: “There isn’t much that is new regarding political statements. There is no use in escalating [the situation]. We can deal with and solve issues quietly.”


13,000 Syrian refugees and no relief aid after March 23

Cohen in Beirut Tuesday to further tighten noose on Syria

The government is in need of a strong dose of support in order to approve several administrative and diplomatic appointments during a Cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday, something that so far seems far-fetched.

Meanwhile, the spoiled food scandal continued to grow, the latest development being the discovery Sunday of 1.5 tons of rotten fish in a garbage dump in the southern town of Ansarieh.

However, the rotten food issue, as well as extra-budgetary spending, does not embarrass the government in terms of international ties as much as financial dealings [with Syria].

The issue of financial dealings will be addressed during talks with U.S. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen who is scheduled to arrive in Beirut Tuesday.


Hezbollah, Amal Movement launch campaign to defend Lebanese Army

Last week witnessed the discovery by Lebanese Army servicemen of a Salafist network with connections to several soldiers. This achievement has had a political impact on both March 14 and March 8 forces.

Several Future bloc lawmakers have said the announcement was not well-timed, adding that the revelation had to do with developments in Syria.

This attack by some of the opposition forces prompted MPs from Hezbollah and the Amal Movement to launch a campaign to defend the Lebanese Army.


Third tender for leasing electricity-generated ships to be discussed today

The issue of leasing electricity-generating ships is expected to be referred Monday by the Grand Serail to Cabinet for approval after several tenders have been offered.

The ministerial committee in charge of this issue will meet at the Grand Serail under Prime Minister Najib Mikati Tuesday following a hiatus lasting several weeks.


Baabda Palace wants to turn Lady Day [marking the Feast of the Annunciation] into a national occasion

Stances on Syria deepen government rift

Baabda Palace wants to turn Lady Day into a national occasion Sunday in which Arab and European politicians and religious figures would take part.

Lebanon will be busy this week with committee meetings and other sessions as Parliament will continue to hold legislative sessions in which issues such as transportation allowance and education grants will be discussed.

If statements by the majority camp have openly hinted at a “solution” to the overspending issue, positions vis-a-vis Syria by the same forces have reflected a deepening rift between them which threatens to shake the Cabinet.

In this regard, member of the Development and Liberation bloc MP Michel Musa said in an interview with Future television that what happened in Mukhtara in the presence of Nahas [his attendance of a ceremony in support of the Syrian uprising] "should be dealt with inside the government as there are different points of view.”

“The government has adopted a disassociation policy, and Nahas should have pulled out [of the ceremony]. This issue should be studied and discussed in Cabinet,” Musa said.





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