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Lebanonwire, February 26, 2003

The Daily Star

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Lebanon News in Brief

Lahoud sends best wishes to Kuwaiti emir
President Emile Lahoud conveyed congratulations to Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, Tuesday on the 42nd anniversary of the Gulf state’s independence.
In a telegram, Lahoud wished prosperity, development, peace and security for Kuwait.
“I seize the opportunity to reiterate to Your Highness Lebanon’s gratitude and appreciation for Kuwait’s support to Lebanon on all levels and for Your Highness’ measures to promote solidarity and help Lebanon overcome its ordeals, especially on the economic level,” the president said.
He added that Kuwait’s initiative during the “Paris II” donor conference last November and other previous contributions highlighted the fraternal relations between the two countries.
“I see in these relations an example of Arab solidarity, which Your Highness called for and strived to achieve,” Lahoud said.
Beirut angered Kuwait during a Arab ministerial meeting in Cairo last week, with Kuwait MPs calling for a freeze in aid to Lebanon and a recall of its ambassador from Beirut.

Hizbullah supporter held for contempt after insulting judge
A man affiliated with Hizbullah was arrested in Beirut on Tuesday for contempt of court.
Judge Maher Shiito was examining a case against the man, Yasser Fares, on charges of attacking a plaintiff at Beirut’s Penal Court when Fares launched a verbal tirade against the court.
“If it had not been for the martyrs’ blood, a Jew would be presiding over the court session instead of you,” Fares said.
Fares’ comments prompted Shiito to order his arrest and he was detained at the jail in Beirut’s Justice Palace.
The judge accused Fares of the slandering the judiciary, which carries a sentence of two years in prison. The suspect was referred to Beirut Public Prosecutor Majed Mezeem for investigation.

Hadath gets new center for disabled youth
An EU-funded center for young disabled people was opened in Hadath Tuesday in cooperation with the Kafaat Foundation and the League for the Adaptation of the Physically Disabled at Work.
The ceremony was attended by several officials, including the EU Ambassador Patrick Renauld.
According to statement from the EU delegation in Lebanon, Renauld said the center would improve the foundation’s ability to  provide care and services for disabled people, “allowing them to live with dignity and offering them the chance to find their place in society.”

Tokyo donates equipment to Aley healthcare facility
Japan has donated some $48,000 to help equip a healthcare center in Aley run by the Motherhood Committee, the embassy announced Tuesday.
According to a statement, Japanese Ambassador Naoto Amaki signed the money over to the head of the committee, Zeina Talal Arslan, the wife of Minister of State Talal Arslan, during a ceremony at the embassy on Tuesday.
The donation is part of the Japanese government’s Grassroots Grant Program, which has extended some $3 million in aid across Lebanon since 1996.
The program targets development projects at the grassroots level by providing local nonprofit groups with needed funds.

Hariri to host delegation of Lebanese from Abu Dhabi
A delegation from the Council of Lebanese Action in Abu Dhabi will be visiting Beirut to prepare for the Lebanese Exhibition and Gathering to be held in the Gulf emirate from April 15-19 under the patronage of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
The delegation, which will include the head of the council, Albert Matta, and eight members of its board, will be received by Hariri Thursday. The delegation will also visit several ministers and leading businessmen to prepare for the exhibition.
A statement quoted Matta as saying the event, organized by the council in cooperation with the Industrial Marketing Company, would promote Lebanese exports and investment in Lebanon. It will also contribute to strengthening and developing bilateral economic ties, the statement said.

Lebanese-born director runs afoul of Egyptian censors
CAIRO: French film-maker Jocelyne Saab, who was born in Lebanon, has had a fresh taste of the taboo surrounding female sexuality in the Arab world when Egyptian authorities refused her permission to shoot a movie addressing the issue.
The director recently lodged an appeal against Egypt’s censorship committee over its decision to reject the script of her Egyptian-French financed movie entitled Dunia, a girl’s name that also means “life” in Arabic.
“It touches on taboo issues such as love and sexual relationships, female pleasure and excision,” Saab said during a trip to Cairo.
The censorship committee decided the movie would “harm Egypt and Islam and incite depravation,” she said.
The director of artistic censorship, Madkour Thabet, said that the “censors who read the script unanimously rejected it, because it harms traditions and seeks to show that there is no hope for reform in Egypt.” ­ AFP

Red Cross official takes tour of Ain al-Hilweh
The head of the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) in Lebanon, Antoine Belair, inspected the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp Tuesday and met with local officials.
He was accompanied on a tour of the Sidon-area camp by the ICRC delegate to the South, Riad Dbouq. They met with Palestinian officials Abed Maqdah, Adnan Rifai, Jihad Maarouf and Ghazi Assadi to discuss the latest developments in the camp.
Belair was informed of the camp’s deteriorating living conditions “in light of lower services provided by the UNRWA and donor states,” camp sources said.
Belair deplored the “lack of interest shown by the international community in the refugees.”

Sidon MP rips Salameh for not visiting damaged citadel
Sidon MP Osama Saad accused Culture Minister Ghassan Salameh on Tuesday of neglecting his duties by failing to visit the city’s seaside citadel to inquire into the collapse of one of its facades during recent storms.
“The Culture Ministry should assume its responsibilities fully and if it lacks the means to do so,
it should call for the international community’s help, as the citadel is considered part of the world’s heritage,” Saad said.
He added that it was the duty of international organizations to help preserve the Crusader area citadel.
Saad criticized Salameh for not looking into the issue, “a negligence that has become the characteristic of this government.”
A section of the wall on the northeastern edge of the citadel collapsed last Tuesday. The damage was attributed to the collapse of cement pillars fixed on rocks in the sea and upset by heavy storms.Work to rehabilitate the damaged wall has been slowed by continued storms.

Prosecutor hears testimony from MCI-Ogero chief
Assistant Public Prosecutor for Financial Fraud Roukoz Rizk heard testimony from Nizar Dalloul over charges that his company, MCI-Ogero, had failed to pay the state its dues.
Some two months ago, Telecommunication Minister Jean-Louis Qordahi blamed Dalloul, the son of Zahle MP Mohsen Dalloul, for the telephone company’s failure to pay its operating fees.
Dalloul heads the company’s board of directors.

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