January 16/2007

Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 2,18-22. The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast. People came to him and objected, "Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?"Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins."

Latest News Reports from Miscellaneous Sources For 16/01/07
Kuwait Promises Saniora to Continue Supporting Lebanon-Naharnet
Labor Union Organizes its Third Sit-in-Naharnet
Israel Proposes 'Exchange of Territory' with Syria, Lebanon and Jordan-Naharnet
Interrogating Suspects In Bashir Gemayel's Assassination Set for February-Naharnet

Hariri Willing to Meet Nasrallah 'Any time, Any Moment'-Naharnet
Lebanese and Italian Hostages in Nigeria 'Safe'-Naharnet
Jordan-UAE discuss Lebanon-Naharnet

Nasrallah: No Objections to International Tribunal, Paris III-Naharnet

Syria jails 11 alleged extremists-Gulf Daily News
Nasrallah: US preventing Israel-Syria talks-Jerusalem Post
Syria's leader vows to help ease tensions in Iraq-Houston Chronicle
Bush Authorized Secret CIA Action in Lebanon-Truthdig - Los Angeles
US Helps Lebanon Complete Oil-Spill Cleanup-Washington File
Lebanon PM calls visit to Oman successful-Ya Libnan
Barak Defends Withdrawal from Lebanon-Arutz Sheva
Army chief: IDF not readying for war with Syria-Ha'aretz
Speaker says Lebanon standoff a ticking time bomb-Reuters
350 S. Korean Troops to Keep Peace in Lebanon-Korea Times
Saddam half brother, ex-official hanged-AP
Bush refuses to waver on Iraq troop plan-AP

Speaker Berri calls Lebanon a ticking time bomb-Ya Libnan
Arab fund extends two loans to Lebanon worth total of US$208 million-International Herald Tribune
World helps Lebanon clean up devastating oil spill-Ya Libnan
Malaysia Delays Deployment of More Troops in Lebanon

Hariri Willing to Meet Nasrallah 'Any time, Any Moment'
Parliament's majority leader Saad Hariri said he was willing to meet Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah "any time, any moment."
"Our hand is stretched for dialogue to (achieve) a political settlement in Lebanon," Hariri said after meeting French President Jacques Chirac in Paris on Sunday. Responding to a question on whether there is a possibility of getting together with the Hizbullah chief to defuse tensions, Hariri said: "I have no problem meeting Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. I have said it before and now I say it again that I'm willing to meet him any time, any moment."
Hariri discussed with Chirac the economic reform plan adopted by Prime Minister Fouad Saniora's government ahead of the Paris III international aid conference on Lebanon to be held in Paris January 25. Hariri emphasized that the donors' conference was "for all the Lebanese."
He said Paris III "was not for March 8 or March 14 Forces. It is for all the Lebanese; for every Lebanese citizen who seeks to boost up Lebanon's economy." Beirut, 15 Jan 07, 08:46

Nasrallah: No Objections to International Tribunal, Paris III
Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said he has no problem with an international tribunal to try suspects in the 2005 assassination of ex-premier Rafik Hariri as long as it is not politicized. Nasrallah also said he does not oppose an international aid conference on Lebanon, although he believed a recovery plan adopted by the government earlier this month will "plunge Lebanon into further debts." "We do not oppose Paris III," Nasrallah said in an interview with the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Anbaa published Monday. "We have asked to discuss the recovery plan which we see that it will plunge Lebanon into further debt." "I am sure that some (cabinet) ministers approved it (plan) without reading it," Nasrallah added.
The government has approved a six-point, socio-economic recovery and reform plan ahead of an international donors' conference to be held in Paris January 25.The plan aims to lift war-devastated Lebanon out of its 41-billion-dollar public debt. Nasrallah reiterated that he has no objection to the formation of the international tribunal as long as "it is impartial and not politicized."
The Hizbullah chief said it was scandalous that the U.S. and France opposed letting the chief investigator into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri identify countries deemed to be retarding the probe. Nasrallah said the U.N. Security Council debate over naming the 10 countries hindering the probe was further proof that the international investigation into Hariri's killing was being politicized. "It is a big scandal for the United States and France to reject naming these countries in the Security Council. The big question is why?" Nasrallah said. In his fourth report to the council on Dec. 16, chief U.N. investigator Serge Brammertz said Syria, which was previously faulted for non-cooperation, was now assisting his team in a "timely and efficient" manner, but he said 10 other countries had failed to respond to 22 commission requests. "If this cooperation will not improve in the future, I will mention those countries to the Secretary-General," Brammertz told reporters last month, adding he didn't intend to make the names public so far.
Russia ran into opposition from France, the U.S. and other Security Council members this week when it sought to ask Brammertz for the names of countries that failed to cooperate with his commission. Nasrallah described this as a "cover-up" that "raises a lot of suspicions."
"This is a scandal that confirms that the investigation is being politicized," he told Al Anbaa. He warned against the tribunal becoming "a political weapon in the hands of a Lebanese political side or in the hands of the United States or any other country."
Nasrallah also said he was not surprised by a report published in Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper this week that said the CIA has been authorized to take covert action against Hizbullah as part of a secret plan by the U.S. president to help the Lebanese government prevent the spread of Iranian influence.
Nasrallah said he had no details other than what was published in the newspaper but said the U.S. would not spare any "immoral and unconventional methods on the political and security levels" to achieve its goal of destroying Hizbullah. "We consider that the report in the newspaper is natural, logical and expected from the U.S. administration," he said. Nasrallah also charged that the U.S. was blocking efforts to form a government of national unity in Lebanon."The United States is preventing the formation of a national unity government in Lebanon. This is the core of the crisis," Nasrallah told Al Anbaa.
"The aim (of the U.S.) is to strengthen the government of (Prime Minister) Fouad Saniora because in reality it is their government. It is the government of the U.S. ambassador in Beirut," Nasrallah said. The Hizbullah-led opposition has been campaigning to topple Saniora's government which has rejected its demands for a national unity cabinet so as to have a veto-wielding power.(Naharnet-AP-AFP) Beirut, 15 Jan 07, 11:07

U.N. Gives S. Korea Green Light to Send Peacekeepers to Lebanon
The United Nations has approved South Korea's plan to send up to 350 peacekeeping troops to Lebanon to help the Lebanese army implement a ceasefire between Israel and Hizbullah, officials in Seoul said Monday. The U.N. secretariat sent a letter on January 10 allowing a South Korean contingent to take part in peacekeeping operations in southern Lebanon, officials at the defense ministry said.South Korean troops have been asked to "guard a military supply base, strategic points and supply routes" near the southern port city of Tyre, the ministry said in a statement. The South Korean parliament last month approved the government's motion to dispatch up to 350 troops, mostly combatants, to war-ravaged Lebanon.
U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, that brought an end to the Israel-Hizbullah war in August last year, authorized the deployment of 15,000 U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon. Seoul is still in talks to determine the exact size of the South Korean contingent and the date of its deployment. The Yonhap news agency reported the troops could be dispatched as early as March. "We are considering (sending our troops) the first half of this year, preferably March or April," Yonhap quoted a government source as saying. The defense ministry said the schedule had yet to be finalized.
South Korea has military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan as well.(AFP-Naharnet) Beirut, 15 Jan 07, 11:27

Malaysia Delays Deployment of More Troops in Lebanon
Malaysia has delayed the scheduled deployment of hundreds of troops to join the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon because of logistics issues, defense officials in Kuala Lumpur said Monday. Earlier this month, Malaysia sent 100 troops to join the five already deployed at UNIFIL headquarters in the coastal town of Naqoura. Kuala Lumpur was due Monday to send an additional 260 soldiers, before the announced delay.
"They were supposed to leave today, but their departure has been postponed to January 22 due to some logistics coordination," a military official told Agence France Presse.The U.N. approved the deployment of Malaysian peacekeepers in south Lebanon in October 2006.(AFP-Naharnet)