Following are summaries of some of the main stories in a selection of Lebanese newspapers Friday. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
Sept. 14: the pope is here
More than 5,000 military and security personnel to protect the pope during his visit
Fifteen years after the visit of his predecessor Pope John Paul II to Lebanon in May 1997, carrying the Apostolic Exhortation "A New Hope for Lebanon,” Pope Benedict XVI arrives at Rafik Hariri International Airport at 1:45 p.m.
At 6 p.m., the pope will announce from Our Lady of Lebanon Basilica in Harissa the Apostolic Exhortation for the Middle East, "The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness.”
The breeze of the pope’s visit to Lebanon was felt everywhere. Areas through which the pope’s motorcade will drive were the most adorned with Lebanese and Vatican flags as well as banners welcoming him to Lebanon. Triumphal arches were also raised on the streets where the pope’s convoy will pass during his three-day visit.
Beirut looked “united,” all the way from the airport road through the suburbs, into the heart of the capital and up to the Metn, Kesrouan and Baabda.
Lebanon welcomes pope as while expressing concerns and fears over Syria
It is an honor for Lebanon, country and people, and for the capital Beirut to receive today Pope Benedict XVI, the third visit by a pontiff in half a century.
In the first visit by a pope to Lebanon, which was in December 1964, there were no issues that concerned Lebanon or the region that warranted concerns over the future or deserved the Vatican’s attention, except the tragedy of the Palestinian people following the Israeli enemy’s occupation after oppressing and displacing almost half the Palestinian population.
The second visit was dedicated to Lebanon first and foremost. Pope John II arrived on May 11, 1997, carrying the Apostolic Exhortation "Lebanon a message," which was the fruit of the Synod for Lebanon.
And here is Pope Benedict XVI today with the Apostolic Exhortation on Lebanon and the Middle East, which was the fruit of the synod held in 2010, even though preparations had begun following the devastating U.S. war on Iraq which had tragic consequences for the oldest people in the world, targeting in particular the Christians in order to displace them to various parts of the West.
The people of Lebanon hope that the pope’s visit will be a factor in strengthening the unity of Lebanon and helping to protect the unity of Syria, as the collapse of the Syrian government would be a disaster for the whole Middle East.
The collapse of the Syrian regime would only benefit the enemies of this country, Israel most of all.
Nasrallah’s assets confiscated in U.S.!
Fewer than 24 hours after former Prime Minister Saad Hariri accused Hezbollah during a visit to Paris of supporting the Syria regime militarily, Washington imposed sanctions on Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah and other party leaders under the pretext that the party supports the regime of Bashar Assad.
On the hostages’ issue, two significant developments took place Thursday evening – the release of the second kidnapped Turk and the arrest of Maher Meqdad in the kidnapping case.
On the eve of the pope’s visit: Second Turkish hostage released, Maher Meqdad arrested and wide condemnation of “suspicious film”
In an extraordinary event – both in terms of content and timing – and in the midst of the Arab Spring as well as the wave of protests in the Arab and Islamic worlds over the film "Innocence of Muslims" that led to violence and the siege of a number of U.S. embassies, Pope Benedict XVI will arrive Friday on a three-day historic visit to Lebanon.
The visit, which is welcomed overwhelmingly by the Muslims and Christians of Lebanon, takes place amid strict security measures.
And as Lebanon was busy putting the final touches on the pope’s visit, the U.S. announced sanctions on Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah and other party leaders such as Mustafa Badreddine, one of the most prominent suspects in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and Talal Hamiyah [head of Hezbollah’s external security organization].