LCCC ENGLISH DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
November 12/07

Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 20,27-38. Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to him, saying, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us, 'If someone's brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother.' Now there were seven brothers; the first married a woman but died childless. Then the second and the third married her, and likewise all the seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be? For all seven had been married to her." Jesus said to them, "The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise. That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called 'Lord' the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive."

Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources for November 11/07
Presidential Election Scheduled for Nov. 21, Sfeir Urged to Propose Candidates-Naharnet
Bkirki's Potential Nominees Await Backing as France Tests Assad's Pledge to Facilitate Presidential Election-Naharnet
Bush, Merkel Reiterate Their Support to Saniora's Government
-Naharnet
Government Warns Against Stirring Up Tensions in Refugee Camps-Naharnet
Lebanon Again Delays Presidential Vote.The Associated Press
Lebanese bishops warn failure to reach consensus will mean chaos.Catholic News Service
Syria Displays New Iraq Border Security.The Associated Press

Pope calls for Lebanon unity over new president
Sun Nov 11, 2007 10:08pm IST Email | Print | Share| Single Page[-] Text [+]
1 of 1Full SizeVATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict urged Lebanon's rival leaders to unite behind a common presidential candidate who can represent all people in the divided country. On Saturday, Lebanon's parliament postponed a presidential election from Nov. 12 to Nov. 21 in a bid to break a deadlock over a consensus candidate and end a political crisis that is threatening the stability of the country. The Pope said at his weekly Angelus blessing that he shared concerns expressed by Maronite Christian Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir and "his vow that all Lebanese will feel represented by the new president".
He called on all parties to set aside personal interests and work for the common good. Lebanon's political crisis pits the Western-backed government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora against the opposition led by Syrian-backed Hezbollah. The new president should be a Maronite in line with Lebanon's sectarian power-sharing system but Maronite leaders are fiercely divided over the election. Reuters2007All rights reserved

Hezbollah turns up the pressure in Lebanon crisis
Sun Nov 11, 2007
By Nadim Ladki
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon's Hezbollah on Sunday called on incumbent President Emile Lahoud to take action if rival political leaders are unable to agree on a consensus president in next week's election. Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah did not say what he wanted the president to do and his call seemed likely to further complicate efforts to elect a president. But the powerful leader appeared to be backing a suggestion that pro-Syrian Lahoud could form a parallel government if there was no agreement on the presidential election.
Lebanon's presidential election has been postponed from Nov. 12 to Nov. 21 to give the anti-Syrian majority coalition and the Hezbollah-led opposition more time to break a deadlock over a compromise candidate. Lahoud's term expires on Nov. 23. But there has been little progress towards an agreement and the majority, backed by the United States, has said it would elect a president on its own if there was no deal. Nasrallah said Hezbollah would consider any such president as an "usurper of power" and labelled the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora "a bunch of thieves and murderers" backed by the United States and Israel.
"From here, we appeal to his excellency President Emile Lahoud to do what his conscience and national responsibility stipulates... and take a step or a national salvation initiative to stop the country from (sliding into) a vacuum," Nasrallah said in a live televised address to a crowded Hezbollah rally.
The majority says Lahoud does not have the constitutional right to take any measures without the approval of the government Lahoud's six-year term was extended in 2004 by another three years at the behest of Syria, a step that enraged the international community. Lahoud has largely been shunned since then and Syria ended its three-decade-long military presence in Lebanon in 2005 in the wake of widespread outcry after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.
Damascus has denied any links to Hariri's killing. The parliamentary session to elect a president had already been postponed twice. The impasse has pushed Lebanon into its worst political crisis since the 1975-90 civil war and many Lebanese fear a failure to reach a deal could lead to more bloodshed amid reports that all factions are arming themselves. Hezbollah, which fought a 34-day war with Israel last year, is by far the strongest military force.
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, a Hezbollah ally, announced the delay in the presidential vote on Saturday. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner is expected in Beirut later this week. France is leading international efforts to ensure a smooth election, seen as vital to resolving the year-old political dispute that has paralysed the country. (Additional reporting by Laila Bassam)

Iranian Hezbollah Ready for Confrontation with US

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Secretary General of Iran's Hezbollah underlined the group's full preparedness to confront the US, saying that Hezbollah is ready to fight back against the US fearlessly. "We neither welcome nor fear war with the Untied States, but we are fully ready for confrontation with the US," Mohammad Baqer Kharrazi told a meeting of Hezbollah in the northeastern city of Mashad on Sunday. "In case of US invasion, Hezbollah's commandos will strike at the United States' worldwide interests no matter where they are or what form or position they might have," he reiterated.

Hezbollah chief defends manoeuvres
The leader of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia political group, says Israel's recent military exercises near the border were preparations for a new war on the Arab country.
Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah told a party rally in Beirut on Sunday that Hezbollah had recently held military manoeuvres in southern Lebanon as a response to the Israeli drills.The rally was attended by several thousand Hezbollah supporters waving the group's yellow banners and the Lebanese flag.
It was organised by the group to mark Lebanon's Martyr's Day. Nasrallah, whose whereabouts are unknown, did not personally attend the rally.
His speech was broadcast live by Hezbollah's Al-Manar television on a giant screen in the Hezbollah stronghold of southern Beirut.
'Clear message'
Nasrallah said they were intended to send "a clear message" to Israel that his fighters were ready to defend Lebanon.
"I hope the Lebanese will be united and will not make Lebanon, their homeland, another battleground"
He said 50,000 Israeli officers and soldiers participated in the drill. "These manoeuvres are to prepare for an attack on Lebanon" he said.
A senior Hezbollah official confirmed that thousands of unarmed fighters of the group took part in the organisation's own manoeuvres after reports were published in the pro-Hezbollah newspaper Al-Akhbar. No other details were given.
Fouad Siniora, the Lebanese prime minister, played down the reports, saying the exercises took place on paper only. "What happened is nothing but an internal simulation exercise that was never translated on the ground," he said.
Personal supervision
Al-Akhbar said Nasrallah personally supervised the exercise, which were carried out without weapons or uniforms during the last three days.
"I tell the [Israeli] enemy that these manoeuvres were real, serious and big. I am not going to give details," Nasrallah said as part of Sunday's speech.
"There is a great deal of readiness [by Hezbollah] which the enemy must understand."He received cheers from the crowd after saying that "the resistance in Lebanon possesses determination, men and the necessary and sufficient weapons to defend Lebanon".

No power can disarm Hezbollah: Nasrallah
BEIRUT (AFP) Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said on Sunday no power could disarm his pro-Syrian Shiite militant group and that it was ready for a new conflict with Israel after last year's war. "No one in the world can disarm Hezbollah," Nasrallah said in a speech broadcast on Hezbollah's Al-Manar television.
"The entire world is not capable of implementing the clause concerning the disarmament of the resistance in (UN Security Council) Resolution 1559," he said.
The 2004 resolution called for the dismantling and disarmament of all foreign or local militias operating in Lebanon, including Hezbollah which says it is a legitimate resistance group against Israel. "The resistance in Lebanon has determination, will, manpower and sufficient weapons" to face Israel in a new conflict, Nasrallah said.
"The resistance is ready, day and night, to defend south Lebanon (a bastion of Hezbollah) as well as all of Lebanon... to achieve a historic victory that will change the face of the region."
Israel's war with Hezbollah, which followed Hezbollah's capture of two Israeli soldiers, resulted in the deaths of more than 1,200 civilians in Lebanon, a third of them children, as well as 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers. It also caused massive destruction across the south of Lebanon before ending with a UN-brokered ceasefire on August 14. Nasrallah warned of a political vacuum in Lebanon, amid a deadlock to find a successor to pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud whose mandate expires on November 24. "I urge Lahoud to... adopt an initiative to prevent the country from falling into a vacuum if there is no agreement" on a new president, he said.
Lebanon's pro-opposition parliament speaker Nabih Berri on Saturday postponed, for a third time, a special session to elect a successor to Lahoud amid the failure of political rivals to agree on a consensus candidate.
The anti-Syrian parliamentary majority, with 68 MPs in the 127-seat house, has threatened to go ahead on its own with a presidential vote if no consensus candidate is found. Nasrallah warned that the opposition would not recognise a president unless he is elected by two-thirds of MPs. "Any president elected by a simple majority... will not be recognised by te opposition, which would consider him to be an impostor," said the Hezbollah leader. Fears are running high that the dispute could lead to two rival governments being appointed and a return to the final years of Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war when two competing administrations battled for control.

U.N. Chief Concerned Over Lebanon Crisis
November 11, 2007
Joseph S. Mayton - AHN Middle East Correspondent
Cairo, Egypt (AHN) - United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has shown extreme concern over the continuing political crisis in Lebanon. He said the current crisis has "seriously hindered progress" in implementing some aspects of a U.N. resolution. "I am deeply concerned that Lebanon's domestic political crisis, including that related to the presidential question, has continued unabated in spite of domestic and international efforts to resolve it," Ban said in his latest report to the U.N. Security Council on the implementation of resolution 1701. Lebanon has been in an almost constant political stalemate since last December. That's when the Hezbollah-led opposition took to the streets in a nonviolent protest calling for a larger role in the government. Bomb attacks against politicians in the country have also led to an increasing worry that the country could return to sectarian violence.

Bush, Merkel Reiterate Their Support to Saniora's Government
U.S. President George Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated their support to Premier Fouad Saniora's Government and exchanged views on the current political crisis in Lebanon. Merkel, during the joint press conference following her meetings with Bush, said that "Germany having a contingent there, serving with the UNIFIL mission, obviously has a very great interest in seeing the situation there stabilizing and progress being made in that country".
"We assured the government of Mr. Saniora of our continued support. We would like to -- for his government to be a strong one, and we think it is in our interests, in both of our interests that this situation remains stable
Bush and Merkel agreed following their talks to pursue a diplomatic end to the Iran nuclear standoff as they worked on a common strategy towards a defiant Tehran.
"The top of my agenda is Iran," Bush said as he and Merkel met on his Texas ranch. "We will continue to work together to solve this problem diplomatically, which means they will continue to be isolated." After months of increasingly sharp U.S. rhetoric and a new set of U.S. sanctions on the Islamic republic, the chancellor declared: "I'm deeply convinced that the diplomatic possibilities have not yet been exhausted."
Merkel, speaking through an interpreter, said that Iran's refusal to freeze sensitive nuclear work that can lead to having an atomic bomb might require a third round of U.N. sanctions, calling that the "clearest message" to Tehran. She noted ongoing diplomacy by European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and a push by the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Enercy Agency (IAEA), to curb the Islamic republic's atomic activities.
If those efforts fail, "then we need to think about further possible sanctions, and we do not only need to think about them but we also have to then talk and agree on further possible sanctions," she said. Moreover, in the event of such a stalemate, "Germany needs to look somewhat closer at the existing business ties with Iran," she said. "We need to look, as the situation unfolds, whether we need to have a closer look again at that and possibly need to work together with our German business community, I will talk with them again on further possible reductions of those commercial ties," said Merkel.
But "if the United Nations Security Council were then to announce sanctions, that those would be the clearest message that you can get, can sound, the clearest message that you can convey to Iran," she said.
Merkel was also conciliatory on Afghanistan, saying the United States and its allies "need to do more" to stabilize the strife-torn country but making no mention of a rift with Washington, which has criticized some allies like Germany for restrictions on the deployments of their forces there.
Asked about the political upheaval in Pakistan, Bush said he had no reason not to trust President Pervez Musharraf's promises to lift a state of emergency and return to constitutional rule "as quickly as possible."
"I take a person for his word, until otherwise. I think that's what you have to do. When somebody says this is what they're going to do, then you give them a chance to do it," the president said. Bush also said that Pakistan would remain a strong ally in the global war on terrorism he declared after the September 11 because both Musharraf and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, a political rival, see al-Qaida as a threat.
"He fully understands the dangers of al-Qaeda. Benazir Bhutto fully understands the dangers of al-Qaida. By far the vast majority of people in Pakistan want to live in a free and peaceful society, and they understand," he said. "We will continue to have good collaboration with the leadership in Pakistan. My concern is for the Pakistani democracy, for the sake of the Pakistani people, proceeds back on track as quickly as possible," said Bush. There were also signs of the warm personal relationship between the U.S. president and his guest, who referred to him as "dear George" and praised the ranch as "a very beautiful spot." "I'm now going to go feed the chancellor a hamburger, right here in Crawford, Texas," Bush said to end the press conference.(Naharnet-AFP) Beirut, 10 Nov 07, 22:27

Government Warns Against Stirring Up Tensions in Refugee Camps
The Lebanese cabinet called for vigilance on Saturday in the face of reports of new attempts by Islamist militants to infiltrate the country's dozen Palestinian refugee camps. "The cabinet took note of the reports of infiltration into some of the camps aimed at stirring up tensions between Lebanese and Palestinians and warned against it," Information Minister Ghazi al-Aridi told reporters. "We will deal with this phenomenon wherever it occurs as we did in Nahr al-Bared," he said, referring to the northern refugee camp which saw a deadly uprising by Islamist militants this summer. The cabinet "calls on all the relevant security and political authorities to be vigilant," Aridi added. By longstanding convention, the Lebanese army does not enter the Palestinian refugee camps, leaving security to mainstream militant groups. The Nahr al-Bared siege largely focused on an area beyond the camp's conventional boundaries. Nahr el-Bared's 31,000 refugees were forced from their homes by the fighting, many into makeshift accommodation in the nearby Baddawi refugee camp. During a visit to that camp on Saturday, Iranian embassy official Assadullah Kaffachi announced that Iran was giving 40,000 dollars for school children displaced from Nahr el-Bared, which he said represented 200 dollars per pupil.
"This donation is from Iranian school children to Palestinian school children," he said, adding that Iran would provide further financial assistance until the displaced refugees were able to return to their homes.(AFP-Naharnet) Beirut, 10 Nov 07, 22:43

Presidential Election Scheduled for Nov. 21, Sfeir Urged to Propose Candidates
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri re-scheduled a house session to elect a new president for Nov. 21 and issued a joint statement with majority leader Saad Hariri asking Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir to sponsor a meeting of Maronite leaders and propose a list of candidates."Parliament speaker Nabih Berri has decided to postpone the session scheduled for next Monday to Wednesday November 21 at 10:30 am," a house statement said. Berri and Hariri, in a separate joint statement issued after their meeting, pleaded with Sfeir to sponsor a meeting of "major Maronite leaders with the aim of proposing a list of candidates for the presidential office on a consensus base.""We strongly support this initiative so we can all choose a consensus president (from the listed candidates)," the statement added without further elaboration
The developments followed reports that Sfeir is putting together an initiative to facilitate the election of a new head of state by proposing a list of three-to-five presidential candidates so that MPs can elect one of them. The daily newspaper an-Nahar attributed the information to officials who held talks Friday with visiting French presidential envoy Claude Gueant.
"The Bkirki initiative, for which foreign and domestic support is being marshaled, goes along the lines of putting together a list of three-to-five presidential candidates," the report stated. Such a list, the report added, would be referred either to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri for consideration with Parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri, or to Parliament for the nation's legislators to elect one of them.
Gueant's mission, according to an-Nahar, focused on "testing" Syrian President Bashar Assad's response to the Bkirki initiative and awaits a "guarantee" from Berri that a Parliamentary session would be held to elect a new president succeeding Syrian-backed Emile Lahoud whose extended term in office expires on Nov. 24.
Berri was quoted by an-Nahar as telling the French envoy that it is "only normal to accept presidential candidates proposed by Bkirki on a consensus base and unanimously backed by Christians."In answering a question as to whether he and Hariri would support a candidate proposed by Bkirki, Berri said: "yes, but the important issue is to achieve Christian agreement on the consensus candidate, whom I will accept unconditionally."
An-Nahar reported that efforts are underway to arrange a Berri-Hariri meeting to "find a political exit for postponing" a parliamentary session set for Monday to elect a president. Gueant held a series of meetings during his one-day mission in Beirut Friday, stressing that Paris "strongly supports consensus" among the rival Lebanese factions on a presidential candidate.
Gueant, the French president's chief of staff, urged the Lebanese to elect a new president on time and according to the constitution, "in such a way to preserve Lebanon's sovereignty and independence."He held separate meetings with Sfeir, Prime Minister Fouad Saniora and Berri, who is aligned with the Hizbullah-led opposition and who expressed optimism France could break the deadlock.
"No doubt, we're counting on France's efforts, especially after the talks between Presidents Bush and Sarkozy," Berri said. The visit came a few days after Gueant and Jean-David Levitte, Sarkozy's chief international adviser, held talks in Damascus with Assad whose country has been accused by the United States and Lebanon's anti-Syrian parliamentary majority of blocking the presidential election.
Gueant said French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who visited Lebanon with the Italian and Spanish foreign ministers last month, will be in Beirut early next week to continue French efforts on the presidential election.
"France has distinctive relations with Lebanon and President Nicolas Sarkozy has strong relations with the Lebanese people. Therefore, he cannot watch seeing Lebanon plagued by crises," Gueant said upon arrival at Beirut airport. "Hence, he attaches great importance to the presidential election in Lebanon being held on time and according to constitutional rules and respect of Lebanon's sovereignty and independence far from any foreign interference," he added.
Beirut, 10 Nov 07, 14:35

Bkirki's Potential Nominees Await Backing as France Tests Assad's Pledge to Facilitate Presidential Election
Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir is putting together an initiative to facilitate the election of a new head of state by proposing a list of three-to-five presidential candidates so that MPs can elect one of them. The daily newspaper an-Nahar attributed the information to officials who held talks Friday with visiting French presidential envoy Claude Gueant. "The Bkirki initiative, for which foreign and domestic support is being marshaled, goes along the lines of putting together a list of three-to-five presidential candidates," the report stated.
Such a list, the report added, would be referred either to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri for consideration with Parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri, or to Parliament for the nation's legislators to elect one of them. Gueant's mission, according to an-Nahar, focused on "testing" Syrian President Bashar Assad's response to the Bkirki initiative and awaits a "guarantee" from Berri that a Parliamentary session would be held to elect a new president succeeding Syrian-backed Emile Lahoud whose extended term in office expires on Nov. 24. Berri was quoted by an-Nahar as telling the French envoy that it is "only normal to accept presidential candidates proposed by Bkirki on a consensus base and unanimously backed by Christians."
In answering a question as to whether he and Hariri would support a candidate proposed by Bkirki, Berri said: "yes, but the important issue is to achieve Christian agreement on the consensus candidate, whom I will accept unconditionally." An-Nahar reported that efforts are underway to arrange a Berri-Hariri meeting to "find a political exit for postponing" a parliamentary session set for Monday to elect a president. Gueant held a series of meetings during his one-day mission in Beirut Friday, stressing that Paris "strongly supports consensus" among the rival Lebanese factions on a presidential candidate. Gueant, the French president's chief of staff, urged the Lebanese to elect a new president on time and according to the constitution, "in such a way to preserve Lebanon's sovereignty and independence."
He held separate meetings with Sfeir, Prime Minister Fouad Saniora and Berri, who is aligned with the Hizbullah-led opposition and who expressed optimism France could break the deadlock. "No doubt, we're counting on France's efforts, especially after the talks between Presidents Bush and Sarkozy," Berri said.
The visit came a few days after Gueant and Jean-David Levitte, Sarkozy's chief international adviser, held talks in Damascus with Assad whose country has been accused by the United States and Lebanon's anti-Syrian parliamentary majority of blocking the presidential election.
Gueant said French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who visited Lebanon with the Italian and Spanish foreign ministers last month, will be in Beirut early next week to continue French efforts on the presidential election. "France has distinctive relations with Lebanon and President Nicolas Sarkozy has strong relations with the Lebanese people. Therefore, he cannot watch seeing Lebanon plagued by crises," Gueant said upon arrival at Beirut airport.
"Hence, he attaches great importance to the presidential election in Lebanon being held on time and according to constitutional rules and respect of Lebanon's sovereignty and independence far from any foreign interference," he added. Beirut, 10 Nov 07, 09:09