Lebanon news updates for August 20


FPM leaders. Michel Aoun (L) , Gebran Bassil ( Aoun's son-in-law (C)  Alain Aoun, Michel Aoun's nephew
FPM leaders. Michel Aoun (L) , Gebran Bassil ( Aoun’s son-in-law (C) Alain Aoun, Michel Aoun’s nephew
Here are the latest updates on current issues in Lebanon.

FPM leadership

MTV reported that Free patriotic Movement chief MP Michel Aoun is expected to announce at 4:00 pm today that an agreement has been reached for his son-in-law Gibran Bassil to be the new head of FPM.
Bassil has been busy this morning.
He met U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag and discussed latest developments, the Syrian refugees crisis, and next month’s U.N. General Assembly.
Bassil also met with U.S. Ambassador David Hale

A deal was brokered by MP Ibrahim Kanaan which paved the way for Bassil to be the only candidate in Lebanon  for FPM leadership.

MP Alain Aoun, a nephew of Michel Aoun agreed to withdraw  his candidacy in favor of Bassil, according to the brokered deal

The issue got complicated  when France-based FPM member Fares Louis announced his candidacy, forcing the party to hold a vote on the scheduled official date on September 20. The door for new candidacies will remain open until August 27.

Fares Louis is a founding member of FPM , according to Lebanese French daily L’Orient-Le Jour.
L’Orient-Le Jour contacted Louis and asked hi to comment on the deal reached between Aaon Aoun and Bassil , he said “I refuse the principle of the designation as such. I can not bring myself to accept it, if only in the name of those whose blood was shed to defend the ideals of the party. ”
Alain Aoun was reportedly forced by Uncle Michel to withdraw in favor of Bassil.
Antoine Nasrallah , an FPM official was quoted as saying by  L’Orient-Le Jour in response to question about Michel Aoun’s future role :
“The general will act as a guide and will remain the head of the parliamentary bloc of the Change and Reform and will be present to resolve any complaints within FPM. ”

LBCI reported that Firefighters contained the blaze that erupted in an electric power generator on the roof of Le Patio Hotel in downtown Beirut. Since blackouts are a daily affair in lebanon all businesses are equipped with standby power generator sets
No cabinet meeting today
Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas told VOL (93.3) radio station: ‘Not calling for a cabinet session was intentional on PM Tammam Salam’s part because he is waiting for some positive signals from the obstructing parties.’
State of emergency
Phalange Party leader MP Sami Gemayel said following his meeting with Speaker nabih Berri at Ain el Tinah
“It is time to announce a state of emergency”
Gemayel said he hoped Berri would make an initiative to salvage the country.
In a related development Minister of Labour, Sejaan Azzi who represents the Phalange party in the cabinet quoted on Thursday the ministers of Phalange party as saying to Prime Minister, Tammam Salam, that they bore enough with the trash crisis but their resignation would serve no purpose, even the premier himself had been fed up, NNA reported

“Starting today till maximum Tuesday, we should conclude the garbage bids and the winning company should start its work,” said Minister Azzi, adding that the problem is the lack of the will to take a political decision as well as the political interests.
Longest Lebanese flag
Telecom Minister Boutros Harb signed on Thursday the longest Lebanese flag, proclaiming his faith in the unique country Lebanon and his willingness to sacrifice for the sake of safeguarding the Lebanese flag and its lofty cedar, NNA reported
Harb received at his office Georgette Gebara and Wissam Saad of the “Stars for the Sake of Better Lebanon” Commission, who launched the longest Lebanese flag ever

The 600 meter long flag is bound to enter the Guinness Book of World Records . It is scheduled to tour some of the major Lebanese cities, and will roam as of August 23 around 25 Lebanese embassies across the globe.
longest lebanese flagIn 2010 a 325 meter Lebanese flag also entered the Guinness Book of World Records.