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International News

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U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman signed an agreement, on August 4, 2005, to purchase a 72,571 square meter site in Baabda, which will be used to build a new Embassy compound. The Ambassador was quoted as saying, “The successful partnership between the Lebanese people and the International Community has advanced Lebanon towards full sovereignty and independence. The United States is committed to working side-by-side with the Lebanese people to achieve the political, economic, and institutional reforms that they demand. This is a long-term commitment aimed at strengthening the important relationships between our two countries, Lebanon and the United States. Signing this agreement to purchase land to house our new Embassy compound is a testament to the sincerity of our promise to work with Lebanese people to achieve the stable, prosperous, democratic and independent Lebanon they deserve and desire.”

Did you know that Lebanon was the world's 45th-largest producer of wine in 2000 ?
The Lebanese wine industry is taking it's own place, with exports,
now in the region of six million bottles a year, almost doubling over the last decade.
The number of wineries has grown to eight.

Cell C is 100% owned by 3C Telecommunications. It, in turn, is
co-owned by Saudi Oger Telecom South Africa, who owns 60%.
Saudi Oger is a privately owned Saudi Arabian based company
owned by the Hariri family. It has generated revenues of more than 25 billion since 1978. It's founder and chairman is Rafik Hariri, the current Prime Minister of Lebanon. Hariri handed over the reins to his son Saad, leaving himself free to focus on his political duties. Source: Sunday Times

During February of this year Lebanese-born Boustany was sponsored on his first visit to Zimbabwe, by the British Council, which is covering the cost of his air travel. Boustany began his musical studies in Beirut and moved to Britain in 1977, where he studied at Chetham 's School of Music and the royal Northern College of Music. He has received many awards, including second prize, woodwind section, in the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 1978 and silver medallist in the Shell/London Symphony Orchestra Competition 1981.
A year later, he won the silver medal in the Madeira International Flute Competition
and the woodwind prize in the Royal Overseas League Competition.
Boustany 's experience of the war in Lebanon greatly influenced his outlook on life
and music. In 1995, he founded "Toward Humanity", a multi-decade international
initiative working in with musicians and charities helping communities suffering
fro the tragedies of war. The project was inaugurated at the Royal Albert Hall, London.
The Lebanese government conferred a knighthood upon him in 1997 and, at the
World Economic Forum in Switzerland, in 1998, he was awarded the Crystal Award
in recognition of his music and peace work.

8 August 2002
Students at Southern Connecticut State University in The USA, now realize that knowing how to speak, read and write Arabic can help them land interesting jobs, from teaching at a foreign school to cracking codes for the CIA.
For the first time this fall, SCSU will offer the course. Twenty-two students quickly signed up, doubtlessly influenced by the events of last Sept. 11.

17 September 2001

Maronite patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir headed a mass dedicated to the souls of the victims of Tuesday's attack against the United States. The Patriarch said that these terrorist attacks require the strictest punishment. The mass was attended by the new US ambassador in Beirut who thanked the Lebanese government and people for their sympathy with the United States.
He said that the family of alleged Lebanese hijacker Ziad Jarrah called the US embassy to present their condolences to the American people.
Source: Al anwar

29August 2001

The United States has renewed its support of Lebanon's sovereignty and independence, calling for the withdrawal of remaining foreign armies on Lebanese territory. The reaffirmation was made by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in a written letter to the director of the American- Lebanese Institute, Daniel Nassif, who has mounted widespread protests against Syria's domination of Lebanon."I repeat the reiteration of the U.S. supportive stance to Lebanon's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity," Powell wrote. "This is a firm, central policy of the U.S. administration that sees the need to accomplish this through the withdrawal of all foreign armies from Lebanon." Lebanese activists in the United States attached particular importance to Powell's assertion because it came on the evening of Vincent Battle's takeover of his post as the new U.S. ambassador to Beirut. The letter was also seen as a reminder to the current governments in Beirut and Damascus that the United States would not relent on its support to Lebanon's free democratic system of government against alleged attempts at 'militarization.'

Source: Al anwar

June 10 2001 at 11:13am
Vatican City - Pope John Paul canonised three men and two women on Sunday, elevating the four Italians and one Lebanese to sainthood for their life-long dedication to Christ. The Lebanese woman was Rafqa Pietra Choboq Ar-Rayes (1832-1914), a Lebanese Maronite Christian and nun. - Source IOL

Emigrants granted permanent or temporary exemptions from military service. The Lebanese Army revealed that Lebanese emigrants may be permanently or temporarily exempted from the military service if they prove to meet certain conditions. The Directorate of Orientation and Guidance at the army issued a statement saying that Lebanese citizens who live abroad and who have official residence permits outside Lebanon could benefit from a one-year renewable postponement of military service. This will be valid if they submit the required documents, which include a valid residence permit from the foreign authorities and local identification papers. The statement added that those who have been living abroad for five or more consecutive years would be permanently exempted from the service. Lebanese emigrants who are interested in benefiting from a postponement of the military service should submit their applications at mobilization centers throughout Lebanon. Those who want to apply for a temporary exemption should submit their applications directly to the mobilization directorate.

10 Members of the Lebanese/Australian Chamber of Commerce recently visited Lebanon with the object of possibly promoting ties and increasing trade between the two countries.
Lebanese-Australian Chamber of Commerce head , Youssef Abdul-Samad said that Australian investors, of Lebanese origin, had expressed interest in investing in Lebanon.

Romano Prodi, The President of the European commission, had talks with Lebanese leaders regarding the possibility of Lebanon joining the Euro-Mediterranean partnership agreement.

as at 15 January 2001

The head of the Higher Shiite Council Sheikh Mohammed Mehdi Shamseddine passed away on Wednesday 10 January 2001, at the Saint George Hospital. He was 66. The Sheikh had been suffering for a lengthly period, with lung cancer.

as at 8 January 2001

Former President of Lebanon, Charles Helou died 7 January 2001 at the Cedars hospital in Beirut, at the age of 87. He was Lebanon's 4 president serving from 1964 to 1970, and was also one of the 5 founders of the Phalange Party. The Lebanese government has announced that there will be a 3 day official mourning period.

as at 4 January 2001

Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri chaired a meeting on 2 January 2001, discussing means of encouraging investments in Lebanon. Emphasis was placed on the tourism , technological, industrial and agricultural sectors. This would lead to the creation of jobs, which would have a positive effect on the economy. The Prime Minister said that he was very optimistic about the future of the economy in Lebanon.

Maronite Patriarch Nassrallah Boutros Sfeir said on 2 January 2001 that he was optimistic about this coming year. He said he hoped it would be a year of peace, and that he would be praying for peace. He has also stressed his hope for a united Lebanese will.

as at 24 December 2000

President Lahhoud had discussions this week with Agriculture Minister Ali Al-Abdullah regarding the issue of boosting the agricultural sector in Lebanon. Other topics under discussion this week were the importance of boosting the country's marine and animal resources. President Lahoud also discussed the issue of finding ways to market agricultural products , from Lebanon, in other countries.

The report for economic development by the United Nations Economic Committee for 2000.
Lebanon : Real GDP ..... 0% , Public Debt ..... $32 billion , Unemployment ..... 20%
Forecasted Growth Rate for 2001 : .2.5%

The German Ambassador to Lebanon G. K. Sikorafurther revealed that the donation to be used by Lebanese judiciary police,in the region of $290,000 has been granted by his country to Lebanon. It will be used to help curbing drug trafficking and international organized crime. It also includes offering state of the art equipment for a full laboratory catering to the special needs of modern DNA-analysis and the preservation of traces in criminal investigations

A delegation from the Lebanese Immigrants Council for Investment, received by Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri, stressed the interest of immigrants' in increasing their investments in their home country , and also revealed plans of developing a website with the aim of addressing immigrant affairs.

Lebanese Minister of Tourism K. Karam and French Ambassador to Lebanon Philippe Lecourtier, had a meeting this week with discussions revolving around relations between the two countries, and ways of increasing the tourism issue.

as at 22 December 2000

Former President Gemayel had discussions on 20 December 2000 with former Beirut deputy Tammam Salam, regarding  the current situation in Lebanon as well as developments in the region.

A French Foreign Ministry spokesman today stressed that an agreement between Palestinians and Israel should not be reached at the expense of Lebanon. He was referring to the settlement of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

President Emil Lahoud has been quoted as saying on 15 December 2000 that the government would be reopening  files on Lebanese citizens who disappeared during the country's civil war (1975-1990) Many Lebanese  have continued to claim that missing family members were still being held in Syria..

as at 20 December 2000

Lebanese Government to prevent any possible plans for the settlement of Palestinian refugees on it's soil. At present there are in the region of 350 000 Palestinians refugees in Lebanon.

Possible Israeli proposal to give up part of East Jerusalem in exchange for Palestinians renouncing refugees right of return, rejected by the Lebanese Government.

President Lahoud stresses importance of National Unity.

President Lahhoud
"Lebanon should be capable of facing all conspiracies."
"Various sects residing in Lebanon have always been and will always be a source of  richness for their country, which has become an example of coexistence."

Lebanon has lodged a complaint before the United Nations on continued overflights by Israeli warplanes in Lebanese airspace.

October 13 2000 at 12:37PM
Oscar-winning set designer dies in Los Angeles - Emile Kuri, a two-time Oscar winner for his work on movie sets and the designer of some of Disneyland's most enduring attractions, has died. He was 93. Kuri died on Tuesday at the Motion Picture Country Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills. He won Oscars for set design for the 1949 movie The Heiress and 1954's 20 000 Leagues Under the Sea. Other Disney films he decorated included Mary Poppins and The Absent-Minded Professor. "The most difficult thing," he once said of his work, "is to make a set not look like a set, but like a home, as if the people just walked out." Born in Cuernavaca, Mexico, of Lebanese parents, Kuri moved with his family to Los Angeles, where he got his first job in a Hollywood furniture store. It was there that he met the wife of director Hal Roach, who was so impressed by his knowledge of furniture that she hired him to decorate her home. Roach later hired him as a set decorator for his 1937 film Topper. He went on to work with many of the top directors of the 1940s and '50s, decorating sets for the Alfred Hitchcock movies Spellbound, Rope and The Trouble With Harry, Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life and George Stevens's Shane and A Place in the Sun. - Sapa-AP


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