LCCC ENGLISH DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
May 13/2007

Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 15,18-21. If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, 'No slave is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.
 

Free Opinions
US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad's Interview with Al-Hayat.Raghida Dergham. May 13/07  
Assad can best serve his country by ending the witch-hunt. Daily Star. 13 May/07
Will a UN Tribunal in Lebanon Start the Next Conflict?.By Andrew Lee Butters. May 13/07

Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources for May 13/07
Frantic Efforts Not to Leave Presidential Post Vacant.Naharnet
Hariri: There Will be New Status Quo After Adoption of the Tribunal
Hand Grenade Blast in Refugee Camp Barbershop
New Political Crisis Looms in Lebanon.San Francisco Chronicle

Inside Hezbollah's Secret Tunnel Network.CBS News
Germany: IDF involved in three 'incidents' off Lebanon coast.Ha'aretz
Analysis: Shaky basis for Iran-Hamas ties.United Press International
Olmert testimony on Israel-Hezbollah conflict released.CCTV
Hezbollah Training For Attacks On US Telemundo.Mediafax
Hezbollah: Iran Calls Our Shots. theTrumpet.com

US Condemns Vietnam, Syria for Detaining Political Activists.Bloomberg
Rubaie: Syria Harboring Insurgents.IraqSlogger

Latest News Reports From The Daily Star for May 12/07
Olive oil for everything, everywhere, always and forever
MP warns government to consult on presidency
Sfeir visits Lahoud to spell out expectation of timely election
UNIFIL chief downplays stone-throwing at patrols
Siniora fires back at MPs who accused government of delaying war payments
Rights groups focus on torture claims
Give the Arab Peace Initiative a chance.By Fouad Siniora
'Respect for cultural diversity is a prerequisite for dialogue'
LAU opens new high-tech library
NDU thanks supporters on 20th anniversary
Abandoned infant doing well at Southern hospital
Christians flay 'unethical' magazine
Waterbury helps open high-profile medical conference


Frantic Efforts Not to Leave Presidential Post Vacant
An Nahar newspaper reported Saturday that a papal envoy will visit Lebanon amid attempts to head off a possible crisis over presidential elections.
The daily also said that on Friday Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir did not rule out the possibility of inviting a papal envoy to Lebanon after visiting President Emile Lahoud. An Nahar quoted informed sources as saying that Sfeir's visit to Baabda Palace came in the aftermath of talks the Patriarch held at the Vatican earlier this month. The sources said that Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI, stressed on the necessity of not leaving the presidential post empty "no matter what" and to work on preventing the creation of two competing governments. It is parliament's role to choose a new president before Lahoud's term runs out Nov. 23. But the deadlock and bitterness between the pro- and anti-government camps makes it doubtful a compromise candidate can be found.
The pro-government camp is seeking to elect one of its own to the post and the Hizbullah-led opposition has vowed to reject any candidate it doesn't approve of.
Already, the opposition is trying to oust the government of Prime Minister Fouad Saniora, which Lahoud does not recognize.
If there is no president, the constitution calls on the prime minister and his cabinet to assume his duties.
Speaking to reporters after meeting Lahoud, Sfeir said he hoped the presidential election will be held "on time and that there will be the person who can take charge." He refused to suggest a candidate but said the choice should be "an experienced person, be of the same distance from all people" and serve the national interest. "My message to the people is to remain calm ... I hope things will occur on time, in accordance with the constitution," Sfeir said after the meeting with Lahoud. Other religious leaders also hoped to avert a further meltdown. The spiritual leader of Sunnis, Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Kabbani said Friday he will work with the "wise leaders ... to prevent falling into the trap of a second government." He reminded the Lebanese of "the dark stage of conflicts and destruction of Lebanon when there were two governments."(Naharnet-AP) Beirut, 12 May 07, 07:34

Hand Grenade Blast in Refugee Camp Barbershop
A hand grenade exploded inside a barbershop in Burj al-Shamali Palestinian refugee camp near the southern port city of Tyre, wounding the shop owner's son, the National News Agency reported Saturday. It said Firas Khodr Suleiman sustained several injuries to his body as a result of the blast.
The NNA also said that a dynamite explosion targeted a fishing boat in north Lebanon's Nahr al-Bared refugee camp Friday night. Beirut, 12 May 07, 11:43

Hariri: There Will be New Status Quo After Adoption of the Tribunal
Legislator Saad Hariri has said that the March 14 coalition will launch an initiative to enter into dialogue with the opposition after the adoption of the court that would try ex-Premier Rafik Hariri's suspected assassins. Hariri, in an interview with Al Arabiya TV network late Friday, said "after the adoption of the international tribunal, the March 14 forces will launch an initiative with an outlook on a political solution under which (the coalition) will enter into dialogue with Hizbullah, the Amal movement and others to salvage the country." The adoption of the court "will change a lot of things and will create a new status quo," he said.
"All attempts that we are seeing today are not attempts to participate in the governing process. They are attempts to obstruct the tribunal," he added.
He also said that he was with the creation of the tribunal under Chapter Seven of the U.N. charter if the Lebanese parliament failed to ratify it.
Speaker Nabih Berri, who is head of the Amal movement and part of the Hizbullah-led opposition, is refusing to call for a parliament session to ratify the court.
On the presidential elections, Hariri said that the next head of sate should be from the pro-government camp. The new president should be "from the March 14 forces and get the blessing of (Maronite) Patriarch (Nasrallah) Sfeir," he said. "We didn't have a veto on Gen. (Michel) Aoun but the sternness of his positions and statements and his challenge to the March 14 forces have put us in this position," he added. He wondered "why should we elect someone who takes positions similar to those of (Syrian President) Bashar Assad or Hizbullah or Iran?" Beirut, 12 May 07, 09:04

Will a UN Tribunal in Lebanon Start the Next Conflict?
Saturday, 12 May, 2007
By Andrew Lee Butters
Since arriving in Israel, I've started feeling a lot more optimistic about the chances of avoiding another war this summer. For one thing, the Winograd Commission's scathing report on Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert's handling of last summer's war in Lebanon decreases the chance that Israel will take another shot at Hizballah anytime soon. The fact that the US is once again talking to Syria is another good sign. And I just got finished Skypeing a friend in Teheran -- normal phone calls between Israel and Iran are verboten --who explainined that the recent crackdown in the Islamic Republic may actually be a sign that hard-liners are consolidating power in order begin a limited conversation with the US. That may sound a little counter-intuitive, but -- fingers crossed -- I've gone ahead and made my vacation plans. Not that the region is in the clear. Among the many sources of instability that could push the Middle East towards more conflict, one that I'm paying attention to is the status of a United Nations tribunal for Lebanon. This might seem like minor league material compared to the millions of refugees streaming out of Iraq, but the push to set up an international court to try suspects in the 2005 assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister, Rafik Hariri, is putting the United States and Syria on a confrontation course that in a worst case scenario could break Lebanon apart. And the last thing the Middle East needs right now is another black hole where a country used to be.
The Lebanese government, led by prime minister Fouad Siniora, accuses Syria of killing Hariri and a string of other anti-Syrian politicians in Lebanon. Although demonstrations after Hariri's death -- the so-called Cedar Revolution -- forced Syria out of Lebanon after 15 years of occupation, Siniora and his allies see the tribunal as a way of making sure that Syria never comes back. As far as the US is concerned, the tribunal is a handy tool for isolating Damascus -- which Washington accuses of a number of sins including supporting Hizballah, Hamas, and insurgents killing Americans in Iraq. And supposedly Lebanon occupies a special place in the White House imagination -- the Cedar Revolution was one of the few successes of the President's "Freedom Agenda" in the Middle East. (Though that didn't stop George Bush from encouraging Israel to bomb the bejesus out of Lebanon last summer.)
But Hizballah and its allies in Lebanon's Syrian-supported opposition have effectively prevented the country's parliament from passing legislation for the tribunal. Hizballah gets its guns from Syria and has no interest in seeing its patron on trial. For Hizballah, the tribunal is just one more effort by America and its collaborators in Lebanon to weaken the anti-Zionist Resistance and pave the way for American dominance in the Middle East.
The problem now is that the US is threatening to get the UN Security Council to set up the tribunal by force if the Syrian-backed opposition doesn't stop blocking it. This is almost certainly a bad idea.
Syria has already said it won't cooperate with the tribunal, though this is unsurprising. The regime of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad would never allow its senior members to be dragged into court. So what could they do? Well, Syrian intelligence might try to start a small-scale civil war in Lebanon to de-rail the tribunal. A bombing here, a sectarian riot there. Pretty soon, Syria could be back in Lebanon to "protect" the country from itself.
Hizballah officials have long said they don't want another civil war in Lebanon, and when aggressive opposition protests spiraled into street violence earlier this year, they immediately stopped escalating their tactics. But if the UN imposes a tribunal, Hizballah could take off its gloves. The Shia militia is already feeling trapped by the 15,000 UN soldiers in southern Lebanon that are monitoring the cease-fire with Israel. The more Hizballah is cornered, the more dangerous it becomes. Remember, besides the ineffectual Lebanese army, they are the only group in Lebanon with serious weapons. And if they could face down the Israeli army, just think of what they'll do to the UN. The history of foreign armies in Lebanon is not a happy one.
Could America prevent Syria and Hizballah from wreaking such havoc? Probably not. The US is thousands of miles away from Lebanon, but Syria is right next door. Meanwhile, we don't even have enough soldiers to protect Iraqis, let alone Lebanese. That's why the idea of a UN tribunal is so appealing -- it's regime change on the cheap. But by setting one up by fiat without the will or resources to back it up, the US would be endangering the very thing that it is supposedly trying to save -- Lebanon's independence and stability. Source: Time Middle East Blog

Olive oil for everything, everywhere, always and forever
New book sings praises of what Homer may - or may not - have called 'liquid gold'
By Kaelen Wilson-Goldie
Daily Star staff-Saturday, May 12, 2007
Review
BEIRUT: Drizzle it over your hummus and moutabel, pour it into your tabbouleh with an equal measure of lemon juice, douse your loubiyeh bi zeit, your foul mdammas, your labneh and your balila with a healthy portion of it. Use it as a moisturizer, a cuticle softener, a hair conditioner and a makeup remover. Mix it with crushed figs for a homemade colonic, with herbal tea to heal blisters, with water to soothe a sunburn. Prolong the life of cut flowers by soaking their stems in it. Use it to shine furniture and floors, to polish pearls, to grease snowboard bindings, to loosen a stuck zipper or ease a squeaky door hinge. "Green Gold: The Story of Lebanese Olive Oil" details the many modern and traditional uses of olive oil to a degree so dizzying it borders on obsessive.
Written by Sabina Mahfoud with recipes by Mary Elizabeth Sabieh and photographs by Roger Moukarzel and Kamal Mouzawak, "Green Gold" is a vivacious, colorful coffee-table tome and many books folded into one.
It is a swift introduction to Lebanon geared toward a readership of outsiders and a counterweight to the country's international media profile as a war-torn basket-case. It is a story about farmers and rural food producers. It's a journalistic account of sustainable development and a personal narrative of discovery and deep affection. It is a cookbook, a beauty guide and a how-to reference on the process of harvesting olives from start to finish. It is a source book for those interesting in organic products, replete with maps and lists of olive oil producers, distributors and the non-governmental organizations that serve their interests in Lebanon. It is a quick flip or a long slog, depending on your own interests.
Mahfoud, who was born in the UK, raised in Austria and lives in Lebanon with her husband and children, has written a kind of love letter to her adoptive country through the story of its most tenacious trees and the essential ingredients they yield. Her text is littered with historical references (the first Olympic torch was a burning olive branch) and literary allusions (Homer allegedly called olive oil "liquid gold," though Mahfoud admits the reference doesn't exist is her battered translation of "The Iliad").
To structure her narrative, Mahfoud sets out to visit Lebanon's olive harvesting regions and meet the farmers who have been pruning, picking and pressing olives for generations. In Zgharta, she speaks to Sheikh Suleiman al-Dagher, president of the olive oil producers' syndicate. In Akkar, she seeks out Youssef Fares, an agricultural engineer who uses a modern press to extract his own brand of olive oil called Zejd. She ventures to Sidon to catch up with Zahia Abboud, a third-generation olive farmer who uses a stone press that dates back to 1932.
With such subjects as Jamil Bou Farah in Kfar Aqaa, farmer-musician Marwan Khodor in Baakline and Suhaila Bannout Sinai, Mahfoud's purpose is that of recording oral histories for the sake of posterity. She asks the farmers how they tend to their olive groves and whether they irrigate their trees or depend on rainfall. She questions their methods for determining when the harvest season should begin. She tests out theories and proverbs and bits of mysticism she has picked up over the course of her research. At times, she seems eager to romanticize or exoticize her material - she asks Bannout if the lunar calendar guides her to her ripest olives and if she picks them under the cover of moonlight. "No, I just squeeze the olives on the tree," Bannout replies bluntly, "and when they are juicy enough I know it's time." No-nonsense farmer 1, high-minded city folk 0.
If olive oil is Lebanon's green gold, as Kerala's peppercorns were once the South Indian state's black gold (thus attracting numerous waves of colonial exploitation), then this book is also an appeal for the country's rural villages to turn the tables and package their goods as a potentially lucrative gourmet export. "Green Gold" gives olive oil the wine treatment - full of fast facts, tasting guidelines and edifying lists that delineate the differences among olive tree varieties and percentages of oleic acid content in the final product.
The Hasbaya region produces olive oil with a hint of bitterness, Mahfoud tells her readers. Zgharta's olive oil has a faint taste of apple. South Lebanon produces olive oil with a flavor of green banana or artichoke. North Lebanon makes olive oil evoking grassiness. Both the North and the South produce olive oil reminiscent of green almonds.
There are times when "Green Gold" irks with its missionary zeal. With lines like "Divinity seems to flow through the branches of the olive oil tree," the text is cloying at times. But the book's faults are minor and are amply counterbalanced by striking photographs and a veritable glut of useful information.
If nothing else, "Greed Gold" will save you loads of cash once you realize that you can trash all those expensive mass-produced beauty products and content yourself with a few jugs of all-purpose home-grown olive oil instead.
****"Green Gold: The Story of Lebanese Olive Oil" is published by Turning Point

New Political Crisis Looms in Lebanon
By SAM F. GHATTAS, Associated Press Writer
Friday, May 11, 2007
(05-11) 18:54 PDT BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) --
The head of Lebanon's influential Maronite Catholic Church stepped in on Friday to try to head off what could be the next crisis to strike this conflict-torn country the increasing likelihood that divided lawmakers will be unable to elect a president.
Lebanon's parliament has not met for three months because of the divisions between supporters of the Western-backed government and the opposition, led by Syria and Iran ally Hezbollah. It is parliament's role to choose a new president before the term of Syrian ally Emile Lahoud runs out Nov. 23. But the deadlock and bitterness between the two camps makes it doubtful a compromise candidate can be found.
Failure to pick a head of state could leave the post empty and could even lead to the creation of two competing governments. In 1988, when Lebanon was in similar straits, the army and administration split in a dispute that ended in one of the last battles of the 1975-1990 civil war.
The current political crisis has taken a sectarian tone and erupted into street battles earlier this year which killed 11 people.
Alarmed by the possibility of a presidential crisis, Maronite Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir ended a boycott of Lahoud, and the two discussed choosing a successor.
It was the first encounter in over a year between the spiritual leader of the church and the president. The church has a special interest in the presidency, a post traditionally held by a Maronite under Lebanon's sectarian-based division of political power making Lebanon the only state in the overwhelmingly Muslim Arab world with a Christian head of state.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Sfeir said he hoped the presidential election will be held "on time and that there will be the person who can take charge."
He refused to suggest a candidate but said the choice should be "an experienced person, be of the same distance from all people" and serve the national interest.
The anti-Syrian coalition swept into power in 2005 has been trying to oust Lahoud, seen as one of the anchors of Syria's continuing influence in the country.
The anti-Syrian bloc, Sfeir and Western countries have refused to meet Lahoud, whose term was extended under Syrian pressure in 2004, months before the Syrian army was forced to withdraw from Lebanon after the assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri.
Now with Lahoud unable to run for another term, the anti-Syrians who hold a slim majority in parliament see their chance to elect one of their own to the post. But the Hezbollah-led opposition has vowed to reject any candidate they don't approve of. The anti-Syrian bloc has threatened to use its simple majority to pass a candidate, but the opposition insists a two-thirds quorum as has been the practice in previous presidential elections, even during civil war is necessary and threatens to boycott any vote.
Already, the opposition is trying to oust the government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, which Lahoud does not recognize. Saniora has resisted, but has been unable to govern effectively because the speaker of parliament an ally of Syria and Lahoud has refused to convene the legislature. The dispute has split Lebanon along sectarian lines, with Sunni Muslims backing Saniora, who is Sunni, and Shiites backing the opposition. Christians are divided.
If there is no president, the constitution calls on the prime minister and his Cabinet to assume his duties. But some in the opposition are calling on Lahoud if it appears no successor is agreed on by the time he leaves office to appoint a Christian to head a new government to ensure that the presidential powers remain in Christian hands. With Saniora refusing to quit, that would precipitate two administrations. A similar crisis erupted in 1988, when two governments were formed. Fighting erupted between the divided factions of the army, and eventually a Syrian assault removed one of the governments.
"My message to the people is to remain calm ... I hope things will occur on time, in accordance with the constitution," Sfeir said after the 90-minute meeting with Lahoud. Other religious leaders also hoped to avert a further meltdown. The spiritual leader of Lebanon's Sunni Muslims, Grand Mufti Sheik Mohammed Rashid Kabbani said Friday he will work with the "wise leaders ... to prevent falling into the trap of a second government." He reminded the Lebanese of "the dark stage of conflicts and destruction of Lebanon when there were two governments."

Germany: IDF involved in three 'incidents' off Lebanon coast
By Reuters -12/05/2007
The Israel Defense Forces have been involved in three "incidents" with UN naval peacekeepers under German command off the coast of Lebanon, a spokesman for Germany's armed forces said Friday. The spokesman confirmed a report from the Rheinische Post daily, due to appear in the paper's Saturday edition, which stated several Israel Air Force fighter jets made an approach towards the German frigate Niedersachsen off the Lebanese coast on Wednesday. The paper added that on April 30 the Niedersachsen had signaled it was "ready for combat" on board when an Israeli speedboat approached the vessel traveling at around 30 knots without initially identifying itself. One day earlier, IDF forces approached a Swedish speedboat that was also part of the UN group, the report added.
The German spokesman gave no further details. A series of incidents in October between German UN peacekeepers and the IDF in the region prompted Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to apologize for what he described as the "misunderstandings" that had occurred.