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Economic Committees Laud Salary Boost, Say Bickering with Nahhas is Behind Them

The Economic Committees hoped on Thursday that Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas would turn the page of the bickering between him and the different production parties after the cabinet’s approval of a long awaited wage hike.

The head of the Chamber of Commerce, Mohammed Shuqair, who is part of the Committees, told An Nahar daily that the wage hike file “is now behind us.”

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GLC Welcomes Wage Hike but Demands Retroactive Pay

The head of the General Labor Confederation, Ghassan Ghosn, welcomed on Thursday the cabinet’s approval of a wage hike but stressed that the payment of salaries should be retroactive to October.

Ghosn told Voice of Lebanon radio station (100.5) that the wage boost made by the government on Wednesday will be effective as soon as the decree is signed.

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Report: Sarkozy Inclined to Visit Lebanon, Bellemare in Beirut Next Week

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has expressed his desire to visit Lebanon for talks with top officials, while Special Tribunal for Lebanon Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare is likely to visit Beirut next week, the privately-owned Central News Agency reported Wednesday.

The agency quoted well-informed Western sources as saying that Sarkozy had informed Lebanese officials via diplomatic channels about his wish to visit Lebanon soon.

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Cabinet Rejects Nahhas Wage Plan, Adopts 'Legalized' GLC-Committees Deal

The cabinet on Wednesday voted against the wage hike plan proposed by Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas, adopted instead a “legalized” version of the agreement reached at the Baabda Palace between the General Labor Confederation and the Economic Committees under Premier Najib Miqati’s sponsorship.

According to the approved plan, the minimum wage would become LL675,000 -- a sum that excludes transportation benefits -- while 100% increase would be added on the first bracket of salaries (LL400,000) and 9% on the second bracket.

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Hariri Says GCC Must Adopt Qatar Proposal on Syria Troops

Former premier Saad Hariri on Wednesday said the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council must endorse a Qatari proposal to dispatch Arab troops to revolt-hit Syria, where the regime's crackdown on protests has cost more than 5,400 lives since March, according to U.N. estimates.

Answering a question on the social networking website Twitter, Hariri also said his opposition March 14 camp was being “attacked” because it is at the “core” of the Arab Spring sweeping across the region.

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STL: Our Mandate Will Be Renewed because Our Work is Not Done yet

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon announced via Twitter on Wednesday that United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon will decide on how long its mandate will be extended after consulting with the Lebanese government and Security Council.

It said: “The agreement between the U.N. and Lebanon states that our mandate will be renewed if our work is not finished. Our work is not finished yet.”

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Berri: It is in Lebanon’s Best Interest to Distance Itself from External Affairs

Speaker Nabih Berri noted on Wednesday that Lebanon may act as a center for dialogue in the region.

He stressed before a consular delegation: “It is in the country’s best interest to keep a distance from external affairs.”

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Britain Says Hizbullah Offering Support to 'Tyrant' Assad

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday accused Hizbullah and its main regional ally Iran of supporting the Syrian regime's violent crackdown on the country's uprising.

Cameron told lawmakers in the House of Commons that both were offering backing to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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Hizbullah Denies Firing Rockets into Syria: Accusation Aimed at Inciting Public against Party

Hizbullah denied on Wednesday accusations that it had shelled the Syrian area of al-Zabadani with Katyusha rockets, deeming such claims as “silly and laughable.”

It said in a statement: “These accusations are part of a campaign to incite the public against the party.”

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March 14: Govt. Must Hold those Responsible for Ashrafiyeh Bldg. Collapse Accountable

The March 14 General-Secretariat condoled on Wednesday the families of the victims of the Ashrafiyeh building collapse, urging the government to provide them with proper compensation.

It voiced in a statement after its weekly meeting its support for the Beirut MPs’ demand that the government “hold those responsible for the accident accountable for it.”

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