March 28/2007

Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 8,21-30. He said to them again, "I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come."So the Jews said, "He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, 'Where I am going you cannot come'?"He said to them, "You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins."So they said to him, "Who are you?" Jesus said to them, "What I told you from the beginning. I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true, and what I heard from him I tell the world." They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father. So Jesus said (to them), "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me. The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him." Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.

Free Opinion
Don't count on Arab rulers to save themselves, let alone their peoples. March 28/07  
Arabs worry about Iran, but their focus is on Israel. By Emily B. Landau. March 28/07

Latest News Reports From The Daily Star for March 28/07
Lebanon's twin delegations get low-key welcomes
March 14 MPs gather at Parliament again to demand session
Tueni discusses electoral law with patriarch
PLO resumes cash transfers to offices in Lebanon after nine-month hiatus
Opposition parties back right of return
Palestinian envoys visit Sfeir to mark Land Day
Rizk stumps for electoral law, international tribunal
Jumblatt's party praises Saudi Arabia for 'support'
Pedersen holds separate talks with Hariri, Berri
The EU at 50: echoes of Lebanon's future
Italian delegation set to find 'needs that we can address'
Chirac backs plan to set up tribunal under Chapter 7
New government Web site teaches teenagers how to have safe sex
Bir Hassan students say they phoned in bomb threat to escape physics exam
Amputees bear permanent reminders of war
Student inventors of reading device for visually impaired to compete at Intel fair
Some positive moves from Riyadh summit for Israel, not for Lebanon-

Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources for March 28/07
Assad Embraced by Saudi Monarch, Lahoud Welcomed by Deputy Provincial Emir
Jumblat, Hizbullah at Loggerheads-Naharnet
Some positive moves from Riyadh summit for Israel, not for
Lebanon's estranged president attempts to discredit government-Ya Libnan
Watch out for possible Hezbollah/Iran attacks in South America-Counterterrorism Blog
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon pessimistic-Gulf Times
Lahoud Demands Arab Summit End Saniora Support-Naharnet
World's third richest man has roots in South Lebanon-Daily Star
Syria, Jordan urging UN to hold Iraqi refugees in camps: UNHCR-International Herald Tribune
Iraq: Syria's Role in Smuggling -- and Insecurity-Stratfor
Two Beirut Students Arrested Over Physics Exam Scare-Naharnet

Latest News Reports From the Daily Star for March 28/07
Security Council extends Hariri inquest for another year
Lahoud releases 'official' Arab summit roster
Sfeir hopes Maronite League will 'live up to standards' set by polls  
Historical roots are pillars to our societies
MP says conflict with Israel crippled state's ability to protect environment
Murr discusses UN chief's visit with Pedersen
US Embassy honors 140 scholarship recipients
Maronite bishop hosts luncheon for Emie
Lawyer promises to explain facts of Sayyed case
Lebanon's flower industry struggles to recover from war wounds
Ancient idea helps secure environmental future
Judge sentences Syrian to death for killing wife, son
Study on improving water system recommends better metering at both ends
Doctors' group calls for more legal privileges

Assad Embraced by Saudi Monarch, Lahoud Welcomed by Deputy Provincial Emir
Syrian President Bashar Assad on Tuesday flew into Riyadh to a traditional embrace from Saudi King Abdullah, while his Lebanese counterpart-ally Emile Lahoud was welcomed by deputy prince of the Saudi capital. The welcome was the first contact between Assad and Abdullah since relations chilled after last year's Lebanon war. Lahoud, an ally of Assad's, was welcomed by Prince Sattam Bin Abdul Aziz, deputy head of the Riyadh province, the same official who welcomed Prime Minister Fouad Saniora, Lahoud's main rival. The two Lebanese officials flew separately to Saudi Arabia, reflecting differences that have gripped the nation for more than six months. Assad, Lahoud and Saniora were in Riyadh along with other Arab leaders for the two-day summit which opens on Wednesday. In a speech last August, Assad said the Israel-Hizbullah war had "exposed the Arab situation entirely... because it has downed the people of half positions, or the half men, and brought down all the tardy positions."
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal had implicitly blamed Hizbullah, backed by Damascus and Tehran, for the devastation wrought by the war which broke out in Lebanon after the group kidnapped two Israeli soldiers on July 12. Regional newspapers said Assad was criticizing the leaders of moderate Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, but Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said his president was not referring to any Arab leader. The summit is expected to formally re-launch the long dormant Arab plan for Middle East peace and actively seek negotiations with Israel.
The annual meeting of heads of state convenes after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appealed to Arab governments to "begin reaching out to Israel" by building on the peace blueprint first adopted at a summit in Beirut in 2002.
Arab foreign ministers agreed to revive the plan in preparatory talks on Monday. The blueprint offers Israel full normalization of relations if it withdraws from all lands it occupied in 1967, and permits the creation of a Palestinian state and the return of Palestinian refugees.
Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally and author of the blueprint, lobbied fellow Arab states to endorse the plan's revival, leaning particularly on the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas which now leads a government of national unity with the Fatah party of president Mahmoud Abbas.
Unlike the Lebanese delegation, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya and Abbas flew into Riyadh aboard the same plane in a show of unity.
Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal also reportedly assured Saudi Arabia that the group, which does not recognize Israel, will back whatever consensus the Arab summit reaches on the peace plan. Palestinian foreign minister Ziad Abu Amr, an independent in the new unity cabinet who is seen as an acceptable interlocutor by the West, told AFP that the international community should "isolate Israel" if it spurns the Arab peace offer.
Israel rejected the peace blueprint when it was first adopted five years ago, but Israeli leaders have recently spoken of the plan as a starting point for talks.
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni identified the plan's insistence on the right of return of Palestinian refugees from the 1948 Middle East war as a particular stumbling block. Arab ministers said their offer of talks with all parties including Israel was intended to address such problems.
The Arab League was "sending a clear message to the world about their determination to strive for peace," one minister told AFP. Ministers were "declaring their readiness to open negotiations with the Jewish state about the modalities of their initiative, namely the thorny question of Palestinian refugees," he said. The minister said the contacts would be undertaken by working teams whose membership would reflect the varying "relations with the rest of the world" of different Arab states. Egypt and Jordan, the only two Arab countries to have peace treaties with Israel, will handle the contacts with the Jewish state, he added. (AFP-Naharnet) Beirut, 27 Mar 07, 19:17

Jumblat, Hizbullah at Loggerheads
Druze leader Walid Jumblat on Tuesday lashed out at Hizbullah saying the core of the power struggle was the group's "de facto" government.
"We will continue to gather at parliament so forces that disbelieve in Lebanon will not control us," Jumblat addressed fellow legislators rallying inside the parliament to urge House Speaker Nabih Berri to convene a session. Last Tuesday a similar rally took place in Nijmeh Square to persuade Berri to hold a meeting as part of one of two ordinary sessions – the first to start mid-March until the end of May and the second from the middle of October through the end of December. "The conflict is the de facto government, the government of Hizbullah which does not recognize Lebanon," Jumblat said.Hizbullah lawmaker Ali Ammar swiftly snapped back at Jumblat, saying "the de facto government is your government."Ammar also vowed Hizbullah will remain armed. Deputy Parliament Speaker Farid Makari stressed that the legislative body is "crippled" and that there were "hundreds of bills" that needed to be examined by parliament before approval. He urged Berri to hold an assembly meeting "immediately." Lebanese Forces MP George Adwan called on "our Shiite brethren" to join hands in building Lebanon and urged "mutual recognition" between both sides of the political divide. Beirut, 27 Mar 07, 13:28

Lahoud Demands Arab Summit End Saniora Support
President Emile Lahoud has criticized a draft document presented to the Arab League summit and demanded that the Riyadh conference call off its backing to Prime Minister Fouad Saniora's government.
Lahoud on Monday sent a list of amendments to Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa following a telephone conversation between the two leaders, local media said. A key modification demanded by Lahoud, who stressed that he was not officially informed about the document, was that the phrase "government of Lebanon" be replaced by "state of Lebanon." Lahoud also requested elimination of the clause about "Arab solidarity with Lebanon and providing political and economic support to the Lebanese government," saying this was an attempt by the Saniora cabinet to "gain Arab legitimacy" to a government the president considers unconstitutional. Among other changes, Lahoud insisted that the Arab League summit back the implementation of U.N. Resolution 1701 which brought an and to the 2006 Israel-Hizbullah summer war, rather than the passage that calls for supporting the seven-point, cease-fire plan adopted by the Saniora government.
With regard to the U.N.-backed international tribunal to try suspects in the 2005 assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri and related crimes, Lahoud asked Moussa to avoid the phrase "…upon the Lebanese government request," since the "mechanism" for the formation of the court is now the key controversial issue "and not the establishment itself."  The daily An Nahar said Tuesday that while Saniora refrained from reacting to the changes, cabinet sources said Lahoud had examined the "Document of Solidarity with Lebanon" that was prepared by the prime ministry and the foreign ministry and followed up by resigned opposition cabinet minister Fawzi Sallaoukh before approval on March 3. The sources said that Opposition mass media had published news that said the document had been "adopted" by all Lebanese. Saudi Arabia, which is hosting the Arab League summit on March 28-29, will receive at different times two separate delegations from Lebanon – one headed by Lahoud and another by Saniora. Lahoud and Saniora have headed separate delegations to major conferences in the past, including last years' Arab summit in Sudan and a U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York. Beirut, 27 Mar 07, 06:56

Two Beirut Students Arrested Over Physics Exam Scare
A physics exam has led to the arrest of two students after admitting that they made a hoax telephone call to police claiming to have found a bomb near their school in Beirut, An Nahar newspaper reported Tuesday.
An Nahar quoted security sources as saying that the 10th graders confessed they made the call from a payphone near Gebran College in Beirut's Bir Hassan neighborhood on Thursday. When asked about the reason why they made up such a lie, the students said they "wanted to get rid of the physics exam."The phony call came hours before police sappers dismantled a bomb at the American University of Beirut. Beirut, 27 Mar 07, 10:42