DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 13,35-43. to fulfill what had been said through the prophet: "I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation (of the world)."Then, dismissing the crowds, he went into the house. His disciples approached him and said, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field."He said in reply, "He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. Just as weeds are collected and burned (up) with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.
Before talking, see if there is anything to talk about-By Tony Badran. August 1/07
Lebanese leaders are great -at blaming everyone but themselves-Daily Star. August 1/07
Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources
for August 1/07
Rice: U.S. Making Military Deals to Counter Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, al-Qaida-Naharnet
Jumblat Slams Nasrallah over Latest Remarks-Naharnet
Kouchner can't solve Lebanon's Problems with symbolic meetings-Daily Star
Lebanon: UN force sharpens skills with live fire training exercise-UN News Centre
One year after war Lebanon still cleaning oil spill-The News - International
'Press Iran, Syria for Lebanese peace'-Jerusalem Post
Army goes back on offensive against Fatah al-Islam-Daily Star
D'Alema puts optimistic spin on impasse in Beirut-Daily Star
Ahmadinejad: Iran does not interfere-Daily Star
US official expects Hariri court judges to be named 'very soon-Daily Star'
Australia training ISF's Cyber Crime Unit-Daily Star
Different takes on fighting in camps-Daily Star
Rizk suggests judges to probe Ain Alaq, Murr cases-Daily Star
Germany announces aid for Palestinian refugees-Daily Star
Amnesty urges all sides to protect civilians-Daily Star
Why the world has changed in the UN's favor-Daily Star
Palestinian force set to reimpose stability at Ain al-Hilweh camp-Daily Star
Sukleen to help environmental group sort trash-Daily Star
Sad al-Bouchrieh takes its turn recovering from bomb-Daily Star
Three to receive honorary doctorates from AUB-Daily Star
AFKAR II renews joint push to shore up political, civil rights-Daily Star
Jumblat Slams Nasrallah over Latest Remarks
MP Walid Jumblat slammed Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's latest speech, saying the manner of the Hizbullah chief's political stand about striking Israel looks as though he is getting ready for a new war. "The manner and means of his political stance, especially with the tendency to release rockets and refuse to abide by (UN Resolution 1701) ... all appear as though he is preparing for a new war," Jumblat told Al-Jazeera television network.
His remarks were published by several Lebanese newspapers on Tuesday. "Is it a 'detail' to close down hundreds of businesses in downtown (Beirut)?" due to the Hizbullah-led sit-in, Jumblat said. Nasrallah had recently branded as "detail" the eight-month-old campaign aimed at bringing down Prime Minister Fouad Saniora's government. "Is it a 'detail' to say that dialogue and discussing the international tribunal are a waste of time?" Jumblat said. Jumblat also accused Nasrallah of seeking to achieve greater government representation in order to obstruct independent decisions, charging that the Hizbullah chief works under the guidance of Iran and Syria. "Iran uses Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah to improve terms for negotiation with the U.S. and Israel. This is a hitch," Jumblat said. Saniora, however, said Nasrallah's Saturday speech in Bint Jbeil "contained positive ideas upon which we can build and move forward." Beirut, 31 Jul 07, 09:07
Rice: U.S. Making Military Deals to Counter Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, al-Qaida
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States is forging new military aid deals with Middle East allies to counter "negative" influences by al-Qaida and Hizbullah, as well as Syria and Iran. Prime Minister Fouad Saniora criticized the U.S. military deals as a move which will block peace and further fuel extremism in the Arab and Muslim worlds. A statement issued by Saniora's office said he expressed "displeasure, surprise and astonishment" when he learned of U.S. plans to increase military aid to Israel by 25 percent, from US$2.4 billion to US$3 billion per year, guaranteed for 10 years.
"Continuing to back Israel in such a manner will escalate crises and increase feelings among the Arabs and Muslims that their just causes are ignored while Israel's interests are protected," it said. "This will raise the feeling of frustration among the Arabs and Muslims, and will therefore boost extremist movements which were born and are feeding on the feeling of (U.S.) bias toward Israel." "We were hoping that the American efforts would rather help promote peace," Saniora said in the statement. "If these funds were allocated to consolidate peace (in the Middle East) and bridge the gap between the peoples of the region, or spent on peaceful projects then the American message would have been different," he said. "This is a very negative message to the Lebanese and Arabs.
"It will boost Israel's aggressiveness and arrogance ...it will allow the Israelis to continue to think that they can avoid the requirements of a just and comprehensive peace by keeping a military superiority," Saniora added. Ahead of her trip to the Middle East with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Rice confirmed that efforts were under way to conclude new military assistance deals with Israel providing a total of 30 billion dollars and with Egypt worth 13 billion dollars.
"In advance of my trip to the Middle East with Secretary Gates, I am pleased to announce a renewed commitment to the security of our key strategic partners in the region," Rice said in a statement before her trip beginning Monday. To support continued U.S. diplomatic engagement in the region, she said Washington was "forging new assistance agreements with the Gulf States, Israel, and Egypt. "This effort will help bolster forces of moderation and support a broader strategy to counter the negative influences of al-Qaida, Hizbullah, Syria, and Iran," she said. Washington was beginning discussions with Cairo on a new 10-year, 13-billion-dollar military assistance agreement "which will strengthen Egypt's ability to address shared strategic goals," she said.
She confirmed Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's announcement at the weekend of a new 30 billion dollar U.S. defence package to preserve Israel's regional military superiority. "We will move soon to conclude a new 10-year military assistance agreement with Israel. This agreement will provide a total of 30 billion dollars to ensure Israel's ability to defend itself," she said. Rice also said the United States planned to "initiate discussions" with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states on a proposed package of military technologies "that will help support their ability to secure peace and stability in the Gulf region."
She did not provide any figures for the package but reports have cited arms deals worth at least 20 billion dollars with Saudi Arabia and the five other Gulf states -- the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. President George Bush had asked U.S. Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns to travel to Israel and the region in mid-August to finalize these agreements, Rice said.
"Further modernizing the Egyptian and Saudi Armed Forces and increasing interoperability will bolster our partners' resolve in confronting the threat of radicalism and cement their respective roles as regional leaders in the quest for Middle East peace and in ensuring Lebanon's freedom and independence," she explained.
The Bush administration plans to consult closely with Congress and its allies on the specifics of these agreements, she said. Rice and Gates will make rare joint visits to Egypt and Saudi Arabia before separate trips to other parts of the region. In Egypt, they are scheduled to meet ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries as well as Jordan and Egypt in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh. Amid growing calls at home to withdraw U.S. forces in Iraq, the duo are also expected to reaffirm U.S. commitment to regional security against possible threats from Iran and its nuclear program.
In addition, Washington is expected to underline concerns that some Sunni Arab nations are offering financial aid to foreign fighters fuelling the insurgency against the fragile Shiite-led, U.S.-backed government in Baghdad.
Washington is particularly concerned that its most powerful Sunni Arab ally, Saudi Arabia, is bankrolling Sunni militants and serving as a conduit for them to stoke the insurgency in Iraq. Aside from Saudi Arabia, foreign fighters flowing into Iraq via U.S. arch-enemy Syria come from Qatar and Yemen, among other Middle East allies, U.S. officials said. But in a bid to soothe concerns of the pro-Western Sunni nations worried about Shiite Iran, Washington is expected to discuss the military aid packages and arms sales with them. Rice will travel separately to Jerusalem and Ramallah for meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials.
Last week, the Egyptian and Jordanian foreign ministers visited Israel to tout a peace plan first mooted by Saudi Arabia in 2002, and said they were encouraged by the Israeli response. The trip will also allow Rice to prepare for international Middle East peace talks, which Bush announced would be held later this year.
Washington is especially keen on having Saudi Arabia attend the meeting, which seeks to bring together Israel, the Palestinians and their neighbors with Rice.(AP-AFP-Naharnet) Beirut, 31 Jul 07, 07:53
UNIFIL Conducts Military Exercise In South Lebanon
U.N. peacekeepers have conducted a major fire exercise with live ammunition in southern Lebanon.
A statement by the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon said the Field Artillery Group, part of the mission's Quick Reaction Force, carried out the exercise near its headquarters in the coastal town of Naqoura on Monday. The exercise's goal was to "hone the skills and expertise of the battle group," the statement said, and Lebanese troops participated as observers.The 13,000-strong UNIFIL is drawn from 30 countries. It was deployed on Lebanon's southern border with Israel along with 15,000 Lebanese troops after last year's war between Israel and Hizbullah.
The mission enforces a U.N. Security Council resolution that ended the 34-day war, which killed more than 1,200 people in Lebanon.
UNIFIL said the artillery exercise fell within the peacekeepers' regular training schedule. "Every professional soldier needs to regularly hone his skills," said Maj. Bertrand Taddei, an officer involved in the exercise. "Training is of the utmost importance to guarantee the accuracy needed to avoid any collateral damage in the case of combat action," he said in the statement. UNIFIL said that to limit potential disturbance for local populations, the artillery's targets were located at sea to reduce noise. The six-hour exercise came after several attacks recently targeted the U.N. force. Six Spanish peacekeepers were killed in June when a bomb struck their armored personnel carrier in southern Lebanon. No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing, the first such attack against UNIFIL. Earlier this month, a roadside bomb also struck a U.N. jeep near the southern port city of Tyre, causing no casualties.(AP-Naharnet) Beirut, 31 Jul 07, 12:38
Lebanon Attacks U.S. Arms Deal to Israel
Lebanon on Monday condemned a new 30 billion-dollar U.S. defense package for Israel as a move which will block peace and further fuel extremism in the Arab and Muslim worlds. "Prime Minister Fouad Saniora has learned with great dismay, surprise and astonishment" about the U.S. defense package to the Jewish state, a statement released by his office said. "Continuing to back Israel in such a manner will escalate crises and increase feelings among the Arabs and Muslims that their just causes are ignored while Israel's interests are protected," it said. "This will raise the feeling of frustration among the Arabs and Muslims, and will therefore boost extremist movements which were born and are feeding on the feeling of (U.S.) bias in favor of Israel."Saniora's U.S.-backed government has been facing a deep political crisis since the November resignation of six cabinet members from a Hizbullah-led opposition strongly backed by U.S. foes Syria and Iran.
"We were hoping that the American efforts would rather help promote peace," Saniora said in the statement.
"If these funds were allocated to consolidate peace (in the Middle East) and bridge the gap between the peoples of the region, or spent on peaceful projects then the American message would have been different," he said. "This is a very negative message to the Lebanese and Arabs.
"It will boost Israel's aggressiveness and arrogance ...it will allow the Israelis to continue to think that they can avoid the requirements of a just and comprehensive peace by maintaining military superiority," he said. Lebanon continues to suffer from the massive devastation inflicted by Israel's war against the Shiite militant Hizbullah last year.(AFP) Beirut, 30 Jul 07, 18:59