In the Lebanon, efforts are continuing to consolidate the still fragile peace imposed by Arab League forces in mid-November.
LV AND SV Troops and armoured cars and anti aircraft guns in rubble strewn streets of Beirut (3 shots)
LV AND SV Troop and official waiting outside the Mansour Palace (2 shots)
SV Members arriving with troop guards and entering building (4 shots)
CU INTERIOR Members seated
LV AND SV Prime Minister Hoss addressing parliament (2 shots)
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Background: In the Lebanon, efforts are continuing to consolidate the still fragile peace imposed by Arab League forces in mid-November. The Lebanese Parliament, meeting on Thursday (23 December) for the first time since May, has given the government powers to rule by decree in order to overcome the legacy of 19 months of civil war.
SYNOPSIS: The war, between right-wing Christians and a leftist-Palestinian alliance, claimed 40,000 lives and reduced the centre of Beirut to ruins. Members of the 30,000-strong mainly-Syrian peacekeeping force provided strict security for Thursday's meeting at the Mansour Palace, an ornate Beirut villa which has housed the legislature since shells wrecked its own building.
When the parliament last assembled in May and elected president Elias Sarkis, the war was at its height and mortar bombs exploded around the new but still temporary accommodation. Seventy two members of the 99-seat assembly arrived for Thursday's meeting. A prominent politician who did not attend was Leftist leader Kamal Jumblatt, but sources quoted by Reuters said his followers would vote for the government. The bill submitted by Prime Minister Selim Al-Hoss, requested cabinet authority to decree abolition or amendment of existing laws and to make new provisions,base for a six month period. The Hoss cabinet took office just two weeks ago.
Areas covered by the bill included public order, the information media and the war-ravaged economy. Dr. Hoss, a 46 year old economics professor, told parliament that his government was in dire need of "exceptional powers". He linked his request with a vote of confidence in the government.