Refugees, salary scale, appointments to the forefront
Amid a climate that brought extremely cold weather to Akkar and the north Saturday and rain in some other areas, hot socioeconomic issues return this week and are expected to overshadow the electoral issue that is preoccupying the political arena.
In terms of the public sector salary scale issue, which Prime Minister Najib Mikati believes there is no need to demonstrate for, the Union Coordination Committee will take escalatory steps next Wednesday in front of the Education Ministry and march toward the Grand Serail. This move will coincide with a meeting by the General Labor Confederation to discuss the situation stemming from the issue of the salary scale and reject taxes that are planned to cover the expenses of the scale.
Lebanon has also begun facing major complications as thousands of Syrian refugees arrive to the country. Numbers have now reached over 70,000 and are expected to increase. In order to face this growing problem, Mikati along with other ministers and concerned officials will meet Monday at the Serail to discuss this issue.
Samaha's computer a “precious treasure,” Shaaban is not the last straw
Two months after the Military Tribunal's commissioner, Judge Samir Sader, released an accusation against Michel Samaha and Ali Mamlouk, a new development surfaced in the case of this terror cell when Military Prosecutor Judge Sakr Sakr transferred to Investigative Judge Riyad Abu Ghida what he received from the Information Branch: an analysis of a phone call between President Bashar Assad's adviser Bouthaina Shaaban and Samaha.
Security sources told Al-Mustaqbal that Shaaban's involvement was revealed because Samaha, who owned three cellphones, recorded all his phone calls for three years. The Information Branch has asked the judiciary to allow them to release the phone call data from Samaha’s computer.
The sources said that releasing data takes time, adding that Jamil Sayyed's file was referred to Sakr once it was ready and so is the case with Shaaban's involvement.
The recordings revealed that she knew of Samaha's mission which was to transfer the explosives.
The sources also described Samaha's computer, where the recordings are, as a "precious treasure," and said they also expected to unveil more people involved in this case but that the release of the data was going to take time.
Information Branch places Bouthaina Shaaban's name in Samaha's case.
The Information Branch placed the name of Bouthaina Shaaban in the case of Michel Samaha, accused of transporting explosives from Syria to Lebanon and the aim is now clear: the branch headed by Brig. Wisam al-Hasan seeks to distort President Assad's image by distorting the image of Michel Samaha who was Assad's adviser, as well as that of Bouthaina Shaaban, who is now a minister in the Syrian government and Assad's adviser.
It seems that the branch, which obtained the recordings via a secret room where it eavesdrops on phone calls, located 1,000 meters underground at the branch's headquarters, tapped the conversation between Shaaban and Samahaa and then analyzed it under their own anti-Syrian mentality. The analysis was also motivated by Hasan’s desire to showcase that he and the branch are credible.
He listened to the recordings and gave an analysis to the judiciary that says Shaaban had something to do with the transport of explosives.
The Information Branch reported three sentences Shaaban used in her phone conversation with Samaha and they are: "What about the stuff?," "When will you be traveling?," and "The chocolate box is ready."