The cabinet convened on Thursday following a three-week suspension but the session witnessed arguments among ministers on several controversial issues, infuriating Prime Minister Tammam Salam.
“We couldn't agree during the cabinet session today. In the absence of a president there is no clear mechanism on the authorities of each minister,” Education Minister Elias Bou Saab said following the session.
He is one of two ministers representing the Free Patriotic Movement, which had caused the three-week suspension of sessions over its demand for the article on the appointment of high-ranking security and military officials to top the cabinet agenda.
In the absence of the president, the cabinet had agreed on a decision-making mechanism by consensus among the ministers. But ministers representing different parties began to put sticks in the wheels of the government, leading it to paralysis.
BEIRUT: Health Minister Wael Abu Faour is seeking charges against two physicians accused of forging birth certificates, a ministry statement said Thursday.
The statement said Abu Faour asked the Mount Lebnon judiciary to investigate each case separately.
In one case, a birth certificate belonging to child Thomas Anthony David, approved at a mukhtar's office in Rabieh last year, was faked by changing the identity of his mother from Rachelle R. to Marcelle Sh.
The physician accused of faking the certificate was identified as Fouad A., who claimed he signed the certificate “by mistake,” it added.
The Lebanese army has thwarted a terrorist plot to target areas in North Bekaa with dozens of rockets, An Nahar daily reported on Thursday.
The newspaper said that the army arrested 30 people, three of them holding the U.S. nationality, after it received information about the plot.
Three of the suspects are Koreans and the remaining 24 are Syrians, it said.
Their arrest took place in the town of Talya east of Baalbek after tips that the suspects were plotting to target sensitive residential areas and religious centers by launching simultaneously dozens of rockets from a land in Sahel Talya, An Nahar added.
All of the suspects were transferred to Beirut for questioning.
On Wednesday, An Nahar said that investigations with a Syrian female detainee revealed that she had a scheme to carry out a suicide attack in the southern suburbs of Beirut during the month of Ramadan.
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Monday described extremist groups as intruders, vowing to spread the culture of tolerance along with Muslims.
“We lived with Muslims for 1,400 years in the Orient and all the terrorist organizations that threaten and kill are aliens,” al-Rahi told a delegation of youth from several bishoprics across the world.
He said the organizations are “intruders from outside the Middle East.”
“But we are here to stay and remain committed with our Muslim brethren to our message to spread the culture of moderation,” al-Rahi told the youth who visited him in Bkirki.
He warned that terrorism knows no boundaries and insisted that Maronites in the world who are suffering from crises should stay put.
BEIRUT: An exchange of gunfire around dawn Tuesday between rival drug gangs near the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila in Beirut's southern suburbs left two wounded, security sources told The Daily Star.
The sources said that two Palestinian gangs engaged in clashes in Shatila’s Farhat neighborhood, causing tensions to soar in the camp.
The sources identified the two wounded Palestinian men as Maher Badran and Abdul Kader Mohammad Abu Hajal.
The Higher Palestinian Security Committee, which supervises the status of Palestinian camps in Lebanon, recently deployed joint elite forces in Sidon’s Mieh Mieh and Ain al-Hilweh camps, with the Beirut refugee camps of Burj al-Barajneh and Shatila next in line for increased security measures.
Prime Minister Tammam Salam has said that he called for a cabinet session next Thursday because he could no longer wait for the rival political parties to resolve their disputes.
Salam was quoted as saying by his visitors “I could no longer wait.”
The PM invited the cabinet to convene, saying the agenda would be carried over from the last time the government met on June 4.
The controversial issue of security and military appointments is not on the agenda of the session, Salam, whose remarks were published in al-Mustaqbal newspaper on Tuesday, said.
The premier suspended sessions earlier this month when Free Patriotic Movement ministers warned that they would boycott any session whose agenda is not topped with the appointments of the high-ranking officials.
Al-Akhbar daily quoted the PM as saying that “the interests of people need to be addressed.”
He also revealed that he is “aware FPM ministers could boycott Thursday's session, which could be the last before the (Eid al-Fitr) holidays, but things can no longer be left the way they are.”
An annual survey by the global consulting company Mercer on the cost of living in 207 cities has pushed Beirut up 19 places, from the 63rd-most expensive in the world to the 44th. The Lebanese capital was also the third-priciest among the 16 Arab cities in the survey, losing out only to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, respectively.
Mercer explained that Beirut’s progression up the charts is because of the high cost of what it calls “unfurnished housing” (presumably lettings), along with leisure and sports facilities, transport and utilities – all of which, with the exception of the unfurnished housing, are more expensive than New York.
Even though New Yorkers will privately admit that their beloved city is a bit Third World – the subway hasn’t changed much from the bad old 1970s, the roads can barely survive the winter and a worrying number of taxi drivers can’t speak a word of English – that’s still quite staggering, considering the relatively low buying power of most Lebanese.
So let’s see what all the fuss is about. Mercer says rents are on the rise, and it would be fair to assume that this is down to the number of landlords scrambling to exploit the swelling number of middle-class Syrians seeking refuge from the calamitous situation in their country. [Link]
BEIRUT: The Lebanese American University awarded renowned Lebanese fashion giant Elie Saab an honorary doctorate for a remarkable career during the commencement exercises of the university’s Business School over the weekend. “When I started my career 33 years ago I had a burst of energy and determination to succeed,” Saab said, addressing the Class of 2015. “What I have achieved today is a result of work and effort.” Born in 1964 in Lebanon, Saab is a self-taught fashion talent. His interest in dressmaking started at the young age of 9, when he made clothes for his sisters. The talented adolescent sold his creations to the women in his neighborhood. In 1982, at the age of 18, he launched his couture atelier in Beirut. [Link]
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The currently unknown Indonesian man reportedly caused a panic in the Islamic State base of Shaddadi in Hasaka province in northern Syria after it was learned he suffered from AIDs following medical tests on an Egyptian fighter, his 15-year-old sex slave and two Saudi terrorists who had sex with the slave.
Another reports suggests that a local Islamic State commander may also be infected with the disease.
BEIRUT: Farmers and truck owners blocked a major road in east Lebanon Saturday to protest government inaction concerning an export crisis that resulted from the closure of a key Syria-Jordan border crossing.
The Traffic Management Center announced on Twitter that the owners of refrigerated trucks blocked the road linking the Bekaa Valley to Beirut. Media reports added that farmers and exporters joined the protest.
The industrial and agricultural sectors in Lebanon were dealt a blow this month after ministers failed to discuss a plan to finance the maritime export of locally produced goods during the last Cabinet session.