Following are summaries of some of the main stories in a selection of Lebanese newspapers Thursday. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
Government divided over salary scale ... result is general strike
March 14 announces mobilization to safeguard civil peace
Despite the many issues facing Lebanon, March 14 has announced the mobilization of its coalition to safeguard Lebanon’s sovereignty and establish open-ended communication channels between the various March 14 and independent forces.
The announcement came following a meeting in Maarab [the headquarters of Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea] where the coalition sounded the alarm, warning against the Syrian regime’s “persistence in [attempting to destroy] Lebanon" while "Iran’s allies in Lebanon insist on rejecting the rule of the state.”
Meanwhile, the Union Coordination Committee [a coalition of public and private school teachers and public sector employees] is preparing for a strike Thursday and gearing up for an open-ended general strike should the government fail to approve a salary increase.
Sleiman, Mikati, Jumblatt warn of “destruction” ... Amal and Hezbollah reject “coup” ... employees go on strike
Crippled government stuck over “salary scale”
The salary scale for public employees shackled the government's hands during its meeting yesterday, and proved once again that the state is much too weak to meet the aspirations of the "unknown soldiers" who serve in public administration and state facilities for many years while being denied justice and equality.
In light of the deep divide over the issue, the Cabinet decided to give itself one more chance and meet today; perhaps today it will be able to reconcile the demands of public sector employees with the Treasury’s limitations.
Opinions were divided among ministers between those who support the approval of the pay scale provided it is paid in installments – this was suggested by Amal and Hezbollah – and those who want to reconsider the salary scale and call for a reduction in the proposed increases for military, administrative and even judicial and educational employees.
Cabinet faces “bitter” options over salary scale
Government split and strike accompany Cabinet’s crucial meeting
While Prime Minister Najib Mikati spoke during Wednesday’s Cabinet session of "two bitter options" regarding the approval of a salary scale, information that emerged from the meeting [about] the government’s inability to find a magic solution to this dilemma led to ... the tough choices which will face the Cabinet today.
Ministerial sources told An-Nahar that the lengthy Cabinet meeting Wednesday discussed pay scale figures.
Sleiman sets ceiling of Arab dealings with Syria and Maarab meet warns of “three dangers”
President Michel Sleiman underlined his commitment to strengthening the principle of neutrality and the disassociation policy regarding the Syria crisis, with the exception of the humanitarian issue.
Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour expressed his belief that a speedy settlement to the Syria crisis is "a national and moral duty and directly [serves] the interests of the Arabs and Lebanese.”
On Sleiman’s position regarding Lebanon’s chairmanship of the Arab League, Baabda sources told Al-Joumhouria that the president “set a high ceiling for Lebanon’s upcoming phase – meaning that efforts would be made to use the disassociation policy to protect Lebanon from the repercussions and vast alliances jostling in the region.”
March 14 has succeeded in establishing open-ended consultative meetings among the various coalition parties and independent forces that support the Cedar Revolution and the principle of sovereignty.
This came during a meeting in Maarab yesterday which warned of three dangers that threaten Lebanon: the Syrian regime’s persistence in [attempting to] destroy Lebanon and the north in particular, the insistence of Iran's allies in rejecting the rule of the state and hijacking decisions of war and peace.