25 January 2008

(#4) Explosion near Chevrolet - Hazmieh

Around 10am this morning, an explosion occurred near Hazmieh, Chevrolet highway. A big fire erupted. At 10:15am it has been put down.

Update 10:35am : At least one casualty, and many wounded. Last news is that the car that was targeted belongs to the security forces.

Update 11:17am : 10 casualties so far (AFP), the person who was targeted was Captain Wissam Eid. News confirm that he is dead and so is his bodyguard, and a by-passer.
NTV says that the Car#61118 and Wissam Eid was with his bodyguard or companion soldier.
He was on his way back from a meeting about the Hariri investigation (as reported on Zentv/Ftv) where top secret files were discussed. TV reports said that he knew the top secret results from these investigations. Wissam also escaped assansination attempt on 11 February 2006.

Later reported that the death toll climbed from 3 to 11...



This disaster comes in coincidence with the Arab League initiative:
Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said after a four-hour meeting between the warring political camps that the Arab plan was clear such as it does not give the majority half-plus-one government seats nor does it give the opposition veto power.

Moussa told reporters on Thursday after the meeting with opposition representative Gen. Michel Aoun, majority negotiator ex-President Amin Gemayel and al-Mustaqbal Movement leader Saad Hariri, that he has scheduled another round of consultations to be held after his return from Syria.

The daily An Nahar said the quartet meeting was likely to take place on Sunday when Moussa arrives back from Damascus.

The Arab League chief was expected to visit the Syrian capital on Friday.

After the meeting at the parliament building in downtown Beirut, Moussa told reporters they discussed topics related to the Arab initiative aimed at electing a new president and forming a national unity government.

He refused to go into details of the discussion, saying the meeting dealt mainly with implementing the Arab initiative.

In answering a question about differences in interpreting the initiative, Moussa said: "there is a clear interpretation of the initiative's second clause …the majority does not get half plus one (government seats) and the opposition does not take one third plus one."

He did not say whether such an interpretation was accepted during the talks, the first between the opposition and the majority in three months.

"There were some agreements on some topics and this makes me optimistic," Moussa said.

Hariri and Aoun held several meetings last year, including one in Paris in October. The Hizbullah-led opposition has named Aoun as its representative in any meeting with the majority -- a move that was rejected by the pro-government March 14 alliance.

"The horizons are opening up," Moussa said after a Thursday meeting with Prime Minister Fouad Saniora. "We are doing all we can to reach a solution."-(lebanontoday)

Talk about horizons!!!

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Lebanon Time-Line

Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you’re in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow. If you’re standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it’s a city of bitter memories and a dark past. If you’re with Beirut’s Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if you’re with its handful of Jews, it’s about hiding your true identity. Here you’ll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal. If you’re in one of Beirut’s southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations and south Beirut is home to infamous Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. For some, it’s a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.