LCCC ENGLISH DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 7,1-13.
Now when the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. (For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles (and beds).) So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, "Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?"He responded, "Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.' You disregard God's commandment but cling to human tradition." He went on to say, "How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition! For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and 'Whoever curses father or mother shall die.' Yet you say, 'If a person says to father or mother, "Any support you might have had from me is qorban"' (meaning, dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things."
One Year After the 'Understanding.By: Hazem Saghieh Al-Hayat 07.02.07
Latest News Reports From miscellaneous sources For 7/02/07
US criticizes Syria as negative force in Middle East-International Herald Tribune
Hizbullah's Visible Return to the Border With Israel-Naharnet
UNIFIL Plants New Border Marks Between Lebanon and Israel-Naharnet
Lahoud Asks Ban to Disregard Saniora's Letters-Naharnet
Arab diplomats struggle to break Lebanon deadlock-Gulf Times
Gun sales triple in Lebanon-Ynetnews
Lebanon's Women Protest Against War-Naharnet
March 14 Christians Back Patriarch's 'Code of Honor'
Fears of Lebanon civil war increase as gun sales tripled-Ya Libnan
UN Chief Urges Lebanon to Ratify International Tribunal-Naharnet
Lebanon: International Support, Domestic Strife-Naharnet
Israelis Find Bombs On Lebanese Border
U.N.: Lebanon Should OK Hariri Tribunal
Memri: Blood Libel on Lebanese TV
U.S. Embassy Staff Clean Up Lebanese Historic Site
Israel finds newly-installed explosives along border with Lebanon
Statement U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey D.Feltman After Meeting with Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri. February 2, 2007
Egypt and Lebanon have not reneged on oil agreements-Financial Mirror
Merkel Criticizes Iran, Syria During Middle East Tour-Deutsche Welle
Latest News Reports From the Daily Star For 6/02/07
USAID says its top priority is to create more jobs
Israel says Hizbullah violated 1701
Arab League ambassador arrives to lay groundwork for expected Moussa visit
Husseini meets with Palestinian delegation
Japan to provide $153,000 in academic aid
Jumblatt warns opposition not to trust Syria
Iranian envoy urges 'consensus' as way forward
New March 11 bloc restricts political message to 'enough is enough'
Hundreds of women say 'no to civil war'
March 14 Christians welcome Sfeir's 'code of honor'
Accidental blast kills three in Antelias
Magistrates charge 4 in clashes
EDL blames weather for power cuts
Chouf villagers protest state of roads
Universities reopen with tight security
Shoddy records delay set-up of online environmental profile
Chouf hotel's doors remain closed in wake of Al-Madina Bank scandal
The Golan's Druze wonder what is best -By Seth Wikas
One Year After the 'Understanding'
Hazem Saghieh Al-Hayat - 06/02/07//
What has been achieved one year after the signing of the 'paper of common understanding' between Hezbollah and Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement?
First of all, this 'understanding' came as the result of two frustrations; and what is generated by two frustrations cannot survive.
More than that, they are each the opposite of the other. First, their opposite and mutually hostile natures are unprecedented in the history of alliances. Second, Hezbollah's frustration is due to Resolution 1559 and the Syrian withdrawal and, consequently, Michel Aoun's return to Lebanon . On the other hand, one of the causes of Aoun's well-known unease was the creation of the 'four-party (electoral) coalition' that put Hezbollah together with the Amal Movement, the Future Movement and the Socialist Progressist Party.
Therefore, the smell of absolute opportunism dominates this bilateral relation. It is like an false marriage, such as that of migrants who marry girls from specific countries just to obtain a second citizenship.
Anyway, based on what Aoun's followers say about the 'understanding', it may be said that their main pretexts are, in reality, against them. If it is true, and it is, that the four-party coalition showed its desire to marginalize the Free Patriotic Movement and, therefore, the Christians, and to maintain the equations that were in place under the Syrian guardianship (although Syrians are no longer in Lebanon), then the elections were a chance for Aoun to put the alliance with the March 14 Forces back on track. It has become possible, because of the elections, to control Jumblatt and Hariri's orientation to represent the Lebanese Christians. Also, Aoun can impose other balances that would allow him more influence and that would be more in line with the requirements of the post-second independence stage.
Anyway, this is a political battle that Aoun was free to enter against his allies in the March 14 Forces in order to improve the terms for renewing the coalition. Nothing could have prevented him from taking part in this battle except his great selfishness, which brought him to respond worse than he had been treated: In the March 8 Forces camp, he is the only Maronite, while in the March 14 Forces camp, he is one of five or so of possible candidates to become the Head of State. In this way, he reinforced his original tendency to deny any role for other people except him, the consequences of the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and the huge transformation to which the Sunnis were exposed to included. However, he also became the one who most explicitly denied the legitimacy of Fouad Siniora's government, though he still considers his military cabinet in the late 80s, which were boycotted by all Islamic sects, a legitimate government.
Hence, it became possible for Hezbollah, under Aoun's cover, to portray his resistance to the construction of the State as a national trans-sectarian activity. If Hezbollah has indeed won a war, then it is this 'war' that one specifically has to refer to, since Aoun has assured this party vital support for letting political disputes keep hampering the path toward a stable political life.
By resorting to the 'understanding' with Hezbollah, it has been possible to reach some goals. However, these achievements are questionable in terms of how much they suit the sensitivity of the public represented by Aoun and the interests of the overwhelming majority of the Lebanese people.
The formation of an effective government has been thwarted, while Syria has been allowed to keep exerting its multi-faceted sway, especially with Aoun's alliance and its supporters in Beirut. Additionally, Lebanon has been linked more and more closely with a regional and radical project that clashes with most of this country's Arab relations and quasi all its international ones. Moreover, a war has been fought (which Aoun was not told about), and was given a patriotic justification, while the rest of Shiites outside Hezbollah and Amal have been even more isolated and marginalized. In this way, the General, by expanding and gaining more momentum, has completed what the 'four-party coalition' had started before backing off. As far as Christians are concerned, the efforts that could have ended up in a battle for the second independence have been excessively frustrated, while Christians themselves have been kept away from their sensitivities and have seen their endeavor to achieve a country and a State thwarted.
In conclusion, Aoun has been the one who has dealt the mortal blow to the project of moving Lebanon from one condition to another.
Statement U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey D. Feltman After Meeting with Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri
February 2, 2007
I appreciate the opportunity to meet with Speaker Berri this morning to exchange views on the current situation in Lebanon. I reiterated the support of the United States for the Lebanese people and for a democratic Lebanon, in which the Lebanese people can resolve their differences peacefully and democratically. My meeting with the Speaker is one of a number of calls I am making on Lebanese from across the political spectrum.
The United States is a steadfast friend of Lebanon and the Lebanese people. Like other members of the international community, we hope the Lebanese people will choose dialogue over violence to move forward. And while the United States stands ready to assist the Lebanese people in achieving their vision of a stable, prosperous and democratic Lebanon, it has no intention of usurping the right of the Lebanese people to determine their own future for themselves. The United States strongly supports Arab and international initiatives to encourage peaceful resolution of Lebanon's political problems, but we also believe that the foundation for solutions must begin with wise choices of the Lebanese people make for themselves. For example, we believe that the Lebanese have a responsibility to talk and listen to each other directly, not simply through the media.
In this respect, I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with Speaker Berri today. Lebanon’s democratically elected Parliament—a “Made in Lebanon” legislature—offers all of Lebanon’s communities and political parties a voice in shaping their country’s future. And it is Lebanon's democratically elected Parliament alone that retains the constitutional right to offer and reject a vote of confidence in Lebanon's government.
I reminded Speaker Berri of the significance of his leadership in bringing together, last year, representatives to the table for a national dialogue. In parallel with debate in the Parliament and discussions in the cabinet, this dialogue produced consensus on a number of issues critical to the establishment of a stable and sovereign Lebanon. In my meeting this morning, I encouraged the Speaker to use his influence and leadership, once again, to persuade the Lebanese people to return to dialogue and discussion.
I assured Speaker Berri that the United States, like other friends of Lebanon, is ready to do whatever it can to support a process by which the Lebanese themselves are freely able, without intimidation or outside interference, to exercise their own responsibility for Lebanon's future. As tangible proof, I cited the pledges by the United States of more than a billion U.S. dollars to assist Lebanon announced at the Stockholm and Paris III conferences. The role of the Speaker and the Parliament is essential in ensuring that all Lebanese benefit from this international support.
I am proud of the assistance the United States is offering Lebanon. The American people feel strongly that the United States must support a democratic Lebanon in which the Lebanese can achieve their dreams for a better tomorrow – a stable and secure future with economic prosperity and educational opportunity, and with the prospect of a better life.
Hizbullah's Visible Return to the Border With Israel
Six months after the end of the war with Israel, Hizbullah fighters have defiantly returned to Lebanon's border with the Jewish state, riding around on motorbikes waving the Shiite party's flag and pictures of their leader Hassan Nasrallah. "During the war, enemy chiefs said they would not allow Hizbullah to raise its banners along the border," the party spokesman Haidar Daqmaq said. "We have returned to put up our banners and even bigger posters of martyrs. We have added the martyrs who fell in the July-August war," he told Agence France Presse. A beefed-up U.N. peacekeeping force is patrolling the volatile border area along with Lebanese soldiers under the terms of a U.N.-brokered ceasefire that ended the 34-day war and was meant to keep Hizbullah away from the frontier. But in the last few days, apparently unarmed black-clad and bearded guerrillas have been riding motorbikes along the border area that had been under Hizbullah control for years. Militants have raised Hizbullah flags along the border fence, as well as banners and pictures of "martyrs" killed in combat, an AFP correspondent said.
Hizbullah continues to have a strong presence in the area, but no arms or military equipment are visible. French General Alain Pellegrini, who headed the U.N. force until last Friday, said peacekeepers had no evidence that Hizbullah still had an armed presence in the area but said security remained "fragile." On Monday, the Israeli army said it had discovered and disabled four roadside bombs along its border, accusing Hizbullah of planting them in the last few days. The guerrillas used small tractors to raise about 300 flags -- a yellow banner showing a hand clutching a Kalashnikov rifle -- from the coastal town of Naqura toward the mountainous area of Shebaa inland.
They also erected cement blocks with large posters of "martyrs" showing the place and date of their death. "This martyr fell while defending his land," said one. "Hero of the battle of the tanks," read another in reference to the Israeli tanks destroyed during their incursion into south Lebanon in the summer war. Daqmaq said Hizbullah had hoisted large banners "so that enemy soldiers and residents of the border settlements can see them clearly."
Hizbullah claims it achieved a "divine victory" in the war, which was launched after Shiite guerrillas captured two Israeli soldiers in a raid in mid-July, triggering blistering Israeli reprisals. The war left more than 1,200 dead in Lebanon, and 160 fatalities in Israel.
Near the port city of Tyre, Hizbullah has also put up pictures of Israeli tanks destroyed by guerrillas near the border village of Khiam, once notorious for a prison run by an Israel-allied militia in Lebanon. In Aita Shaab, which suffered near-total destruction by Israeli bombardment, Hizbullah guerrillas erected a poster of the two soldiers captured by the group in a raid near the village.(AFP) Beirut, 06 Feb 07, 16:23
Hizbullah's Visible Return to the Border With Israel
Six months after the end of the war with Israel, Hizbullah fighters have defiantly returned to Lebanon's border with the Jewish state, riding around on motorbikes waving the Shiite party's flag and pictures of their leader Hassan Nasrallah.
"During the war, enemy chiefs said they would not allow Hizbullah to raise its banners along the border," the party spokesman Haidar Daqmaq said.
"We have returned to put up our banners and even bigger posters of martyrs. We have added the martyrs who fell in the July-August war," he told Agence France Presse. A beefed-up U.N. peacekeeping force is patrolling the volatile border area along with Lebanese soldiers under the terms of a U.N.-brokered ceasefire that ended the 34-day war and was meant to keep Hizbullah away from the frontier.
But in the last few days, apparently unarmed black-clad and bearded guerrillas have been riding motorbikes along the border area that had been under Hizbullah control for years. Militants have raised Hizbullah flags along the border fence, as well as banners and pictures of "martyrs" killed in combat, an AFP correspondent said. Hizbullah continues to have a strong presence in the area, but no arms or military equipment are visible.
French General Alain Pellegrini, who headed the U.N. force until last Friday, said peacekeepers had no evidence that Hizbullah still had an armed presence in the area but said security remained "fragile." On Monday, the Israeli army said it had discovered and disabled four roadside bombs along its border, accusing Hizbullah of planting them in the last few days.
The guerrillas used small tractors to raise about 300 flags -- a yellow banner showing a hand clutching a Kalashnikov rifle -- from the coastal town of Naqura toward the mountainous area of Shebaa inland. They also erected cement blocks with large posters of "martyrs" showing the place and date of their death. "This martyr fell while defending his land," said one. "Hero of the battle of the tanks," read another in reference to the Israeli tanks destroyed during their incursion into south Lebanon in the summer war. Daqmaq said Hizbullah had hoisted large banners "so that enemy soldiers and residents of the border settlements can see them clearly." Hizbullah claims it achieved a "divine victory" in the war, which was launched after Shiite guerrillas captured two Israeli soldiers in a raid in mid-July, triggering blistering Israeli reprisals. The war left more than 1,200 dead in Lebanon, and 160 fatalities in Israel. Near the port city of Tyre, Hizbullah has also put up pictures of Israeli tanks destroyed by guerrillas near the border village of Khiam, once notorious for a prison run by an Israel-allied militia in Lebanon. In Aita Shaab, which suffered near-total destruction by Israeli bombardment, Hizbullah guerrillas erected a poster of the two soldiers captured by the group in a raid near the village.(AFP) Beirut, 06 Feb 07, 16:23
Lahoud Asks Ban to Disregard Saniora's Letters
President Emile Lahoud on Tuesday sent a message to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asking him to "disregard" letters allegedly sent to him earlier by Premier Fouad Saniora on the creation of the international tribunal that would try suspects in the 2005 assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri and related crimes. Lahoud said Saniora's letters, allegedly sent to Ban on Jan. 8 and Jan. 30, were issued by a side that does not have "representation authority and were based on erroneous constitutional" concepts. Saniora was reported to have sent the two messages to Ban asking him that the U.N. Security Council adopt a resolution setting up the international tribunal under chapter seven of the organization's charter.
Saniora, according to the reports, told Ban that ratifying the tribunal's treaty by parliament has not been achieved due to opposition by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Lahoud to the new body. Berri, who also heads the Amal movement, is allied with the Hizbullah-led opposition that has been trying for more than two months to topple the Saniora majority government. Lahoud told Ban that Saniora's letters were issued by "the head of a failed government." The March 14 majority alliance, which backs the Saniora government, maintains that Lahoud's six-year term expired in 2004, but the Syrian-dominated Parliament at that time amended the nation's constitution to give him three more years in office to defend the Damascus regime's interest after U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 demanded the withdrawal of Syria's army from Lebanon. Beirut, 06 Feb 07, 14:53
UNIFIL Plants New Border Marks Between Lebanon and Israel
Chinese Surveying experts of the U.N. peacekeeping Force on Tuesday started demarcating the Blue Line separating south Lebanon from northern Israel after the border marks were destroyed during last summer's 34-day war between Hizbullah and the Jewish state.
The state-run National News Agency said the demarcation would follow the old Blue Line set by the U.N. in the year 2000 after Israel withdrew from south Lebanon. The effort, according to the report, would cover the Blue Line track from the southern coastal town of Naqoura to the inland village of Adaiysseh. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) would hold a meeting with the Liaison office of the Lebanese army on Friday to assess the demarcation effort. Border marks were destroyed when Israeli vehicles moved into Lebanon after Hizbullah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers on July 12.(AFP file photo shows Chinese UNIFIL peacekeepers searching for cluster in a field in the southern Lebanese village of Qlaileh)
Beirut, 06 Feb 07, 15:14
UN. Chief Urges Lebanon to Ratify International Tribunal
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged the Lebanese to undertake constitutional procedures to ratify the Special International Tribunal for Lebanon. Ban told reporters in New York Monday: "We are now taking necessary steps. We hope that once the United Nations will sign this document, the Lebanese government should take necessary measures to ratify this in accordance with their constitutional procedures."
U.N. deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe said that Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Saniora sent a signed copy of the agreement to the United Nations last week. The agreement must now be signed by the United Nations and returned to Lebanon for ratification. However, the Middle East News Agency, MENA, said Ban's comments were a reaction to a letter sent by Saniora in which he informed the U.N. chief that Speaker Nabih Berri has refused to convene an extraordinary parliament session to endorse the tribunal that would try the suspected assassins of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri and related crimes. Berri on Saturday said that the government had recently sent a letter to the U.N. Security Council that paves the way for requesting the establishment of the tribunal under Chapter 7. Chapter 7 spares the government the need to approve the international tribunal in parliament.
Asked if he backs the tribunal plan that has led to the resignation of pro-Syrian ministers from the Saniora cabinet, Ban said that he is aware that there is "some kind of political process" and reiterated the need for the tribunal's approval. The ministers resigned their posts in mid-November after Saniora called for a cabinet meeting to endorse the tribunal, claiming that the prime minister had called for the extraordinary session without consulting them.
Beirut, 06 Feb 07, 11:10
March 14 Christians Back Patriarch's 'Code of Honor'
Twenty-two Christian politicians of the March 14 coalition have agreed by consensus to adhere to the 'code of honor' proposed by Maronite Partriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir to avoid violence and inter-Christian discord. Among those who attended the meeting at Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea's house in Bzemmar on Monday were Social Affairs Minister Nayla Moawad, Tourism Minster Joe Sarkis, as well as legislators Boutros Harb, Solange Gemayel, Antoine Zahra and Strida Geagea. A statement read by Zahra following the meeting stressed that "the only way out of the current stalemate gripping the country is to resort to constitutional institutions."In a clear reference to Hizbullah, the statement said that "some Lebanese groups should follow the example of Christian parties which yielded their arms 17 years ago for the wellbeing of Lebanon and the Lebanese."
Hizbullah still maintains its arms, saying they are necessary to defend Lebanon against any a possible Israeli army offensive.
The meeting came one week after Maronites General Michel Aoun of the Free Patriotic Movement and Marada leader Suleiman Franjieh signed the 'code of honor.'The council of Maronite Bishops, in a declaration of the church's principles last December, urged leaders of the community and other Lebanese spiritual groups to agree on a 'code of honor' to settle differences through dialogue, reject violence and armed confrontations and refrain from agitation. Beirut, 06 Feb 07, 10:51
Lebanon's Women Protest Against War
About 300 Lebanese women held a sit-in protest in Beirut on Monday to warn that sectarian strife could plunge the country back into civil war.
"Enough confessional incitement, no to civil war," read banners raised by women associations in the demonstration at Beirut Museum, once the main crossing point on the "Green Line" during the 1975-1990 civil war. "More than 100,000 killed, more than 100,000 handicapped, more than 17,000 people missing is the price of the past civil war," read a banner. The organizers issued a statement calling on political leaders to stop confessional incitement and trading of accusations. "We refuse internal fighting as a means to achieve political goals, and call on all political leaders to return to dialogue in order to reach a national, non-confessional solution" to Lebanon's crisis, they said.
Seven people were killed and 300 wounded in street clashes between opposition followers and government supporters at the end of last month.
Followers of Christian factions fought each other north of Beirut, while Sunni government supporters clashed with Shiite opposition activists in the capital. The confrontation spread fears that Lebanon could revert to scenes of anarchy and violence last witnessed during the devastating civil war.(AFP) Beirut, 05 Feb 07, 20:09
Iran Wants Lebanon to Find Own Solution to Crisis
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has said that the Lebanese should find their own settlement to the ongoing political crisis without external meddling. Mottaki said Monday after talks with his Moroccan counterpart Mohammed Bin Issa in Rabat that "two weeks ago Saudi Arabia opened a dialogue channel to find a way out of the current Lebanon crisis … the Lebanese should find a solution and the region's countries could help in bridging differences without interference in Lebanon's domestic affairs."Hizbullah, which is backed by Iran, is spearheading a campaign to topple Premier Fouad Saniora's government that has wide support from the Arab world and western countries. Beirut, 06 Feb 07, 12:05
Classes Resume at Lebanese, Arab Universities Amid Heavy Security
Classes resumed at the state-run and Beirut Arab Universities Monday under heavy security following a ten-day closure that followed violent clashes between pro and anti-government protestors which left four people killed. Scores of Lebanese army troops and internal security forces manned the roads leading to BAU in Beirut's Tarik Jdideh neighborhood as students were searched before entering campus. Four people were killed and 169 injured in street clashes triggered by a row at the BAU cafeteria between legislator Saad Hariri's supporters and Hizbullah and Amal backers on Jan. 25. LU and BAU, which were due to reopen last Wednesday, remained shut until Monday to "consolidate a positive atmosphere" in relations between students, according to an LU statement. Education Minister Khaled Qabbani has said that students should not be dragged into Lebanon's political crisis which has been ongoing since the Hizbullah-led opposition launched an open-ended sit-in in downtown Beirut aimed at toppling Premier Fouad Saniora's government.(AFP photo shows Lebanese soldiers arresting a protestor during the Jan. 25 clashes that erupted at BAU) Beirut, 05 Feb 07, 13:36