Following are summaries of some of the main stories in a selection of Lebanese newspapers Saturday. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
Samaha’s case back to the forefront
Major files at the political level have returned simultaneously to the forefront, starting with the death of the Hezbollah commander known as “Abu Abbas” in Syria’s clashes, which has raised question marks about the Cabinet’s disassociation policy.
The case of former Minister Michel Samaha is also back to the forefront of the political scene, with information circulating about an additional report that was submitted by the Information Branch to the Military Prosecution which includes more evidence about the involvement of President Bashar Assad’s advisor Buthaina Shaaban in the case.
According to information seen by Al-Joumhouria, the audio recording [in Samaha’s car] reveals that he was in direct contact with Shaaban, which proves she had prior knowledge of the preparations between Samaha and Maj. Gen. Ali Mamlouk, the chief of Syrian National Security Bureau, to use explosives that were transferred from Damascus to Beirut.
Sleiman: We will strip sides using arms inside Lebanon
Mikati holds on to alliance with Safadi
The week could be summed up with the postponement of the electoral draft law file, with all its contradictions, to next week, which will likely witness a clash between the government and unions over the wage scale.
While the Union Coordination Committee called for a general strike for Wednesday, in an attempt to pressure the Cabinet, sources close to Prime Minister Najib Mikati said there was no need for such escalation, “especially that the government did what it had to do in this regard, and the wage scale [issue] will be referred to Parliament along with the resources that would cover its costs.”
President Michel Sleiman spoke to As-Safir upon his arrival to Uruguay and said [sides using arms at the domestic level] would be stripped of their weapons.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Najib Mikati paid a visit to his northern hometown, where he met with visitors and voiced relief over the security situation in Tripoli.
Mikati also said he would hold on to his alliance with Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi, describing ties between them as “steady and solid.”
The prime minister revealed that he and Safadi would hold a meeting in the near future in which he would ask him about his announcement not to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Mikati said Safadi’s statements probably came in response to some “provocative questions.”
List of appointments completed and ready
The hot issue of appointments has gained further steam and is likely to be completed but will most probably be postponed once again, while opposition to the electoral proposal for 50 districts continued. Hezbollah, meanwhile, described the March 14 alliance’s suggestion as a form of “bullying.”
Sources close to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and other sources close to Rabieh said the Cabinet would likely finalize a completed list of appointments in two weeks time.
Meanwhile, the joint parliamentary committees will meet Thursday to form the sub-committee tasked with addressing the electoral law.