Lebanon collects donations for army supplies

Lebanon’s Defense Minister Elias Murr says the government has opened a special bank account to receive donations to buy weapons for its poorly-equipped army. The minister said that he and his father, former defence Minister Michel Murr, had deposited 670,000 dollars to start the fund. Lebanon had to take this unusual step after US legislators blocked 100 million dollars of military aid over concerns it might be used against Israel. Four people were killed in a clash on the Israel-Lebanon border on August 3. Announcing the new account, Mr. Murr said he hoped that both Lebanese at home and abroad would donate.

South Korea’s leader to impose North Korea reunification tax

President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea has suggested imposing a tax that will help compensate for the enormous expenditures on the inevitable, in his opinion, reunification of the two Koreas. In his speech on occasion of the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Korean peninsula from Japanese colonial rule, Lee Myung-bak said that, in spite of an increased tension in relations between the North and the South, the unification will occur sooner or later. In his opinion, it is time to plan concrete measures in this direction. South Korea’s president also put forward a plan of the two Koreas’ reunification in three stages. Under this plan, the North and the South are first to establish peace on the peninsula by renouncing nuclear weapons. The second stage calls for economic integration, and the third one for the creation of a society of national unity. Reuniting with an economically underdeveloped North Korea may cost an estimated trillion dollars. Pyongyang has not reacted to Lee Myung-bak’s statements.

Former Kryvorizhstal meets investment commitments

The State Property Fund (SPF) has confirmed that the Dnipropetrovsk-based Arcelor Mittal Kryvy Rih mining and steel mill has fulfilled its investment obligations, the company says. The company was examined for the fulfillment of its obligations on August 3 to 5. It is noted that, in accordance with the examination report, the company has fulfilled its obligations against all the items of the purchase-and-sale agreement except for the ones to be fulfilled later due to force majeure circumstances (financial and economic crisis). For example, the SPF confirmed in the course of the review that the mill is fulfilling the following obligations: maintaining and increasing output, taking measures to create safe and non-hazardous conditions of work and to protect the environment, allocating money as part of the concept of post-privatization development, as well as obligations in the economic the social spheres. It is announced that the SPF is planning the next inspection in early 2011.