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苏州半永久纹绣培训学校 Posts

Attorney-General considers appeal against scuba sentence

Queensland’s attorney-general is considering appealing the sentence given to an American man over the scuba-diving death of his wife on the Great Barrier Reef in 2003.


David Gabriel Watson, 32, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years’ jail on Friday after pleading guilty in the Queensland Supreme Court in Brisbane to the manslaughter of Christina (Tina) while on their honeymoon in north Queensland. He had been charged with murder, to which he pleaded not guilty, but crown persecutors accepted the plea to the lesser charge. Watson will serve 12 months behind bars before he is released on a suspended sentence. Attorney-General Cameron Dick has asked for the sentencing remarks, and will consider lodging an appeal. Shadow Attorney-General Lawrence Springborg has told the ABC the government should examine the Watson case. “Obviously, the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) had decided they would enter into a plea agreement, and a lot of people will be shaming their heads, particularly the family of the victim,” he said. US authorities express outrage US authorities have expressed their outrage over the leniency of the sentence. Alabama’s Attorney-General Troy King told Fairfax newspapers on Saturday he will lead a mission to Queensland to lobby for an appeal. If that isn’t successful, he will push “America’s legal boundaries to the limit” and attempt to charge Watson with murder, for the second time, when he is deported back to the US upon his release. Americans in Watson’s home state of Alabama have reacted with fury and disgust at the jail sentence. “It makes me sick, he should get 40 years for sure! Loser!” a reader vented on Alabama’s Birmingham News website on Friday. Another wrote: “One year. That is pathetic. I hope that when he does get out and returns home everyone gives him hell”. Tina’s friends and relatives also used the Birmingham News website to show their anger. “I am one of Tina’s cousins and we are completely and totally outraged by this sentence… what a complete slap in the face to Tina’s family,” the cousin wrote.

Economics and ethics debate in Iran

Karroubi himself accused Ahmadinejad of dishonesty after the incumbent president painted a picture of the economy the cleric said was unreal.


Hardliner Ahmadinejad, 52, seeking a second four-year term, said Iran’s economy had actually grown under his administration, a claim contrary to reports by economists who have blamed him for an economic crisis. In a rare series of debates aired on state television ahead of the June 12 poll, he paraded a series of colourful charts claiming Iran’s gross domestic product had risen to an annual average of “around 6.25 percent from 5.61 percent in the previous government.” He said inflation had “come down and was less than 15 percent now,” adding that pensions had jumped by “nearly 256 percent”. According to central bank figures, Iran is currently reeling under inflation of around 25 percent, which several economists attribute to Ahmadinejad’s expansionst policies. The unemployment rate is around 12.5 percent. “The salaries of people from the lowest strata of society rose under the present government,” said Ahmadinejad. He said even as unemployment rose across the world in countries such as Britain and Canada, “availability of jobs rose in Iran.” ‘Government must be honest’: Karroubi Karroubi, 72, is dubbed the “sheikh of reforms” in Iran. He tried to counter Ahmadinejad in the occasionally fiery debate, saying the “government must be honest to the people” and said “lying is the worst sin in Islam.” Dismissing the figures given by Ahmadinejad, the cleric said: “I have been working in the parliament for 16 years … all the figures that you have given are contradictory to the ones we have seen over the years.” Karroubi also ran for president in 2005, but was defeated in the first round. He claimed that was due to “bizarre irregularities” in the voting process. Karroubi was scathing about Ahmadinejad’s foreign policy. He pointed out that Latin American president Hugo Chavez, whose ties with Iran have grown under Ahmadinejad, had hugged Saddam Hussein with whom the Islamic republic fought a eight-year war in the 80s. And in an apparent attempt to whip up nationalist sentiment, he angrily attacked Ahmadinejad for having attended a Gulf Cooperation Council summit and sat under a sign which allegedly said Arab Gulf countries. “We should hit ourselves hard on the head over this,” the cleric said expressing a feeling of great shame usually uttered in Persian. A composed Ahmadinejad, who often chuckled at Karroubi’s remarks, defended himself by saying that the term Arab refers to the countries and not the Gulf itself. Accusations of corruption As the debate heated up, each man accused the other of corruption. Ahmadinejad made a mantra of questioning Karroubi over the 300,000 dollars paid to him when he was in parliament by Shahram Jazayeri, Iran’s high profile financial crime convict who is serving a jail term. The cleric, who initially refused to answer, grudgingly explained that as a “cleric I have had certain authorisations from Imam (Ruhollah Khomeini) that nobody does. “Jazayeri gave me the money but did not ask for anything in return ever,” he said, explaining that he could spend the funds as he saw fit. And in another dig at his rival, Karroubi added: “I don’t have oil money and municipality money to spend.” Karroubi also accused Ahmadinejad of wanting to lend $700 million to an unnamed foreign “president”, a proposal he said had been blocked by the country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Ahmadinejad brushed aside the allegation. He also questioned how Karroubi’s house had grown “bigger over the years”, as he sought to portray himself as a modest man living on a teacher’s salary. “If anyone has anything against me or my family, don’t hesitate to publish it,” he told Karroubi.

Australian living standards unlikely to fall

Economists predict the living standards of Britain and the United States will fall by as much as 20 per cent, because of the economic downturn, according to a report in Saturday’s Australian Financial Review.


Mr Hockey said Australia was not in the same boat. “Australia is more closely linked with the Asian economies than it is with Europe and the United States,” he told the Nine Network. “(And) we are blessed … with very sound financial institutions.” Internet job ads fall Meanwhile, job advertisements on the internet fell in May but the fall was less severe than in previous months, according to the Olivier Job Index. The index fell 4.32 per cent in May, bringing the fall in Australian job ads to 51.90 per cent over the last 12 months. Olivier Group director Robert Olivier said that as in the broader economy, there were mixed messages, with some psychological comfort from “green shoots”. “The decline is less than previous months, and that fits with the other positive economic messages we’ve been hearing,” Mr Olivier said. According to the index, there were 16,850 additional job advertisements from the first to the final week of May. The only sector not to fall was advertising and media, which rose 11.86 per cent in May. Mr Olivier said that could indicate that businesses were trying to promote their way out of the slump before the end of the financial year. Worst hit sectors The worst hit sectors in May were engineering, which fell 8.46 per cent; human resources, with a fall of 6.76 per cent; administration, which dropped 6.5 per cent; and trades and services, which slumped 5.54 per cent. Full-time jobs fell 4.4 per cent, part-time jobs rose 5.3 per cent and temporary and contract positions were up 5.9 per cent. “Employers may be coming back into the market, wanting people, but not yet confident enough to add to their head count,” Mr Olivier said. He said that in June, employers traditionally set budgets and put in place recruitment plans, which may lead to a resurgence this month. The recent positive gross domestic products (GDP) figures, and optimistic retail trade data had added to confidence, which Mr Olivier said was the vital ingredient in the jobs market.

More bodies found from Air France crash

17 bodies have now been recovered from the debris of an Air France jet that plunged into the Atlantic nearly a week ago, as investigators probe whether a defective speedometer caused the tragedy.


Four bodies were snatched from the waves 1,000km off Brazil’s northeastern coast on Sunday, when search teams battled “unfavourable” weather conditions to recover bodies spotted floating among seats and other plane debris, Brazilian military officials said.

The latest finds followed the recoveries on Saturday and Sunday of bodies from Air France flight AF 447, which came down early on June 1 with 228 people on board. The plane left from Rio de Janeiro heading for Paris on May 31.

A navy frigate was to take the bodies and items recovered on Saturday, including an Air France seat, a briefcase with an Air France ticket and a backpack, to the nearest port of Fernando de Noronha, a Brazilian archipelago 400km offshore.

Three more police experts arrived on the island for preliminary identification work to collect basic information, such as the state of the bodies and any clothing, according to air force spokesman Jorge Amaral. Five other police experts arrived on Saturday.

The ship is expected to dock on Monday. From there, the remains are to be flown to the mainland city of Recife, where search operations are being coordinated and a morgue has been set up to identify the bodies through DNA tests.

Munhoz said “some 100 objects” have been spotted in the crash zone, including other seats emblazoned with the Air France logo and oxygen masks. But the priority is the recovery of the bodies.

Black boxes missing

The black boxes from the plane have not yet been found.A French navy frigate on Sunday joined the search effort. Two French military aircraft were already flying with the 12 Brazilian air force planes at work in the area.

Two French submarines, including one that explored the wreck of the Titanic and another, nuclear powered warship, are also on their way to hunt for the devices, which will stop transmitting their location in three weeks.

With clues still being pieced together over the crash, speculation is focusing on its airspeed monitors.

The doomed jet broadcast a series of 24 automatic error messages as its systems shut down one after the other in its final minutes, and French accident investigators say the cockpit was receiving conflicting speed data.

Following the crash, planemaker Airbus warned pilots to review their procedure to cope with this problem.

Air France said on Saturday it has accelerated plans begun on April 27 to replace the monitoring units in its jets after noticing problems with airspeed information on its Airbus A330s and A340s since May last year.

It insisted in a statement that this should not be taken as prejudging the result of the crash investigation.

Speed monitors may have been cause

The device in question is the pitot probe, usually on the leading edge of a wing, which measures the force of the air through which an aircraft passes and thus calculates the speed of the plane.

France’s transport minister Dominique Bussereau said it’s too early for investigators to say what was the most likely cause of the crash, but confirmed that Airbus jets have experienced problems with speed monitors.

“There have been situations on Airbus planes, and perhaps on others, where these probes ice up in a very wet area, a deep depression, an area of storms, and no longer give the correct speed reading,” Bussereau told France’s RTL radio.

“It’s obvious that if the pilots in the cockpit no longer have the correct speed … that can lead to two bad consequences for the survival of the plane,” he explained.

“Too low a speed, which can cause it to stall, or too high a speed, which can lead to the plane ripping up as it approached the speed of sound, as the outer skin is not designed to resist such speed.”

Worst of financial crisis may be over

Hopes that the worst of the financial crisis is over sparked a rally in the markets in the second quarter of this year, the world’s top central bank body Bank for International Settlements said Sunday.


However, the rebound failed to reach levels posted before the bankruptcy of US investment bank Lehman Brothers in September and concern is growing about governments’ abilities to pay back debt, BIS said in its quarterly review.

The dramatic collapse of Lehman Brothers led to a freezing up of bank lending as well as sharp falls in stock markets worldwide.

To unblock choked lending, central banks pumped liquidity into the markets. Meanwhile, governments also unveiled massive stimulus packages in a bid to lift the global economy out of a recession.

These moves “contributed importantly to the improvement in investor sentiment,” the BIS said.

“Glimmers of hope that the worst of the financial crisis and economic downturn had passed sparked a rebound in risk appetite among investors in the period between end-February and end-May,” it noted. Equity markets and credit markets all rallied.

However, they “remained some way off” pre-Lehman levels. In addition, investors are increasingly concerned about sovereign debt.

The BIS noted that sub-investment grade and sovereign credit-default swap (CDS) spreads were “still significantly high.”


CDS is a sort of insurance protection in case of defaults, and its spread is the premium paid by the insurance buyer to the seller.

High sovereign CDS spreads means that buyers of such insurance are made to pay more for the protection, suggesting that there is a higher chance that governments would default on their debt. Likewise, governments are now having to pay higher interests to attract investors to lend them money.

“Moreover, sharply rising deficits have led to concerns about the sustainability of public finances and the ability of some governments to fulfil their enlarged obligations,” said BIS.

“The resulting increases in real or perceived sovereign credit risk may in some cases have induced investors to require higher compensation to hold government debt, thereby pushing bond yields higher,” it added.

BIS cited Britain and the US as examples of countries whose sovereign bonds are fetching higher yields.

Emerging markets’ sovereign credit spreads appeared however to be going the other way. They are narrowing to levels just prior to the failure of Lehman Brothers.

“Investors .. regained their appetite for emerging market assets…Emerging market credit also tended to outperform mature markets,” noted the BIS.

Schools close as swine flu cases increase

In Western Australia about 200 students at an exclusive boys school have been told to stay home, as 10 new cases of swine flu were confirmed on Sunday, dramatically increasing the state’s previous number of confirmed cases from four.


The WA Health Department says an 11-year-old boy from the exclusive Scotch College and a 23-year-old woman who had visited Melbourne tested positive on Saturday and were in home quarantine.

Communicable disease control acting director Paul Effler said of the 14 cases nine are children, all aged about 11, attending three Perth schools including six at Scotch College, two at Christ Church Grammar School and one at East Claremont primary school, all in

Perth’s affluent western suburbs.

Mr Effler said they are now working with schools to discuss the best course forward.

“We’re recommending partial closure, or in the case of a small school closure for a limited time,” he said.

Queensland cases

Meanwhile in Queensland, a school in far north Queensland has extended its closure following the latest confirmed swine flu cases on Sunday.

Education Queensland says Cairns State High School, which was due to reopen on Tuesday, will stay closed until Thursday, after confirmation that a second student has contracted the disease.

The student attended school last Wednesday – a day before it closed following confirmation of the first case.

Another eight cases of swine flu were confirmed in Queensland on Sunday, with 45 people now having been diagnosed as having the virus, but only around half that number remaining in isolation with the disease.

Victoria concerns

But in Victoria, which has the highest number of confirmed cases of swine flu with almost 900, the government last week said schools would no longer automatically close if there were confirmed cases across several classes, with students with flu-like illness spending three days in home quarantine.

Last week an interstate stoush broke out over NSW’s decision to impose a seven-day quarantine period on children returning from Melbourne following Wednesday’s State of Origin rugby league game.

Victoria had moved its flu alert level that day from contain to modified sustain, meaning resources would now be placed in high-risk areas rather than focused on closing schools and quarantining people.

NSW has recorded four more cases of swine flu, taking the state’s tally to 82.

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said on Sunday there were still no confirmed cases of local transmission of human swine influenza within the state.

A 26-year-old woman was confirmed on Saturday as South Australia’s 12th case of swine flu, but thousands of South Australian football fans travelled to Melbourne at the weekend to watch the Adelaide Crows take on Essendon in the AFL.

More than 1,000 Australians have tested positive for swine flu. Eight people in Tasmania have now been confirmed as having the virus after two more positive results.

Public Health Physician Kelly Shaw said the new cases included a woman who had recently travelled to Victoria – the first confirmed case swine flu in the state’s north.

The Northern Territory has two confirmed cases while the ACT has seven.

Federer storms to French Open glory

Roger Federer has gloriously completed a career Grand Slam, winning his first French Open title, and a record-equalling 14th major, with a 6-1 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 win over Robin Soderling.


The 27-year-old world number two finally won a Roland Garros crown at the 11th attempt and in his fourth successive final having come up heartbreakingly short in the last three showdowns against Spanish nemesis Rafael Nadal.

His victory, ironically over the Swedish 23rd seed who shocked four-time Nadal in the last 16, took him level with great friend Pete Sampras as the holder of 14 Grand Slam titles.

Company of greats

He also moved into a select group made up only of Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson and Andre Agassi as men who have won all four of the Grand Slam events.

“It was probably my greatest victory, I was under big pressure. I did it and it’s phenomenal,” said Federer who broke down in tears after being presented with the trophy by Agassi, the 1999 champion, and while the Swiss national anthem was played.

“It was great to be on the podium as a winner for a change. Andre said it was my destiny to win this and that I deserved it.

Federer, who sent down 16 aces in the final, added: “Until the end of my career, I can play peacefully knowing that I will never again hear it said that I never won Roland Garros.”

‘Deserving winner’

Soderling, who has now lost 10 times in 10 meetings with Federer, admitted the Swiss was a deserving winner.

“Roger was too good for me today, he played much better. He is a worthy winner and for me he is the best player in history,” said Soderling.

“He gave me a lesson in how to play tennis.”

Any doubts over Federer’s ability to overcome his Paris jinx were quickly dashed as the Swiss star, playing in a record-equalling 19th Grand Slam final and riding a tidal wave of support, dominated Soderling.

He broke the first game on a Soderling double fault and was soon a second break to the good to lead 4-0 when a sweetly-timed drop shot left the Swede stranded behind the baseline.

Soderling, the first Swede in the Roland Garros final since his coach Magnus Norman finished runner-up to Gustavo Kuerten in 2000, stopped the rot with a hold to trail 4-1, but Federer quickly nipped further ahead to 5-1.

Soderling’s uncompromising forehand, which was a dagger to the heart of Nadal, was looking more like a blunt instrument in the damp and chilly conditions.

His service game crumbled again in the seventh game as Federer claimed the opening set.

It had taken just 23 minutes with the Swiss losing just two points on serve.

The final was then delayed by a worrying security breach during the fourth game of the second set with Federer ahead 2-1.

A spectator, dressed in red, waved a flag of the Barcelona football club in the world number two’s face before he was wrestled off Court Philippe Chatrier by security guards.

But the Swiss star wasn’t disrupted from his elegant stride, either by the intruder or the rain which started to steadily fall.

Although Soderling slowly rediscovered his service power, it was Federer who was comfortably dictating the points and he fired down four aces in the tie-break to open up a two-sets lead.

He was a break ahead in the third set to lead 1-0 before Soderling carved out, and squandered, his first break point of the match in the fourth game.

Federer then sent down his 16th ace of the tie to stretch to 4-2.

He came out to serve for a place in history but faltered to 30-40 with a wild, running forehand.

With pregnant wife Mirka looking anxiously on, he averted the crisis and went to match point with a confident volley and claimed victory when Soderling netted a service return after 1hr 55min on court.

A tearful Federer slumped to the Paris clay in celebration as he secured his place as arguably the greatest player of all time.

SBS chairman Zampatti honoured

Passion and fashion have driven Carla Zampatti through decades of business success, but she says accolades for her work are really a tribute to the achievements of all women.


Italian-born Ms Zampatti came to Australia in 1950 as a nine-year-old.

Armed with “youthful optimism”, she broke into the world of fashion in 1965 with a small collection.

Fast forward to June 2009 and Zampatti’s empire has grown to 30 boutiques around Australia.

“It is amazing what you can do with an incredible amount of youthful optimism and very little money,” Ms Zampatti told AAP of her early days in business.

Having passion for her profession made business success easier, she said.

“Creating beautiful products and having women enjoy wearing it – that’s the ultimate,” Ms Zampatti said.

“I do get fan mail from my customers saying `I wore you for my wedding’ and other special occasions.”

Her business success is part of the reason she has been appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

“It was totally unexpected, totally outside any dream that I had for myself,” Ms Zampatti said.

“It is not only an honour for me, but wonderful recognition of what women are achieving.”

As a third generation of women wears her designs, Ms Zampatti has found another way to enter the lives of Australians – through broadcasting.

For 10 years Ms Zampatti has been the chairman of SBS Corporation.

“The government asked me if I would consider being a chairman and I hesitated because I thought it was such a big role. I was concerned about my lack of experience,” she said.

“But I thought I understand and know how to run a business … (and) also I had a special sympathy for newcomers to this country.

“I know how difficult it is and how important it is to have a broadcast in your language to learn about the country, the laws, the requirements and understand the country better – that’s what SBS does.”

Her business leadership and management roles, along with her contribution to multicultural broadcasting, were nominated as reasons behind Ms Zampatti’s honour.

She was as surprised by the appointment as she was when appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day 1987 Honours list.

Cancer crusader on honours list

Professor O’Brien died on Thursday, three days before he was due to be appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).


The cancer surgeon whose ambition and vision was responsible for the Sydney Cancer Centre at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred hospital, died in the hospital after a two-and-a-half year battle with brain cancer.

In other awards businessman Malcolm Kinnaird, Justice Peter Underwood and fashion leader and broadcaster Carla Zampatti have all been appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).

Dr Marguerette Hill has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her humanitarian work in China.

Sister Joan Doyle and Sister Patricia McDermott have also been awarded an OAM for their charity benefiting disadvantaged women and their families in Peru.

Also celebrating an OAM is Joe Hasham, who played the first gay character in an ongoing Australian TV role in raunchy 1970s soap Number 96, and John Michael Howson has been recognised for his service to the entertainment industry as a writer and performer.

Military honours

Several Australian soldiers are recognised in the Queens Birthday Honours.

One Australian soldier has been awarded the Medal for Gallantry for outstanding leadership under fire while attached to Britain’s elite Grenadier Guards in Afghanistan.

Corporal Justin Wayne Huggett, a member of Townsville-based 2RAR, was recognised for acts of gallantry in action in hazardous circumstances with the 1st Battalion The Grenadier Guards Battle Group, in fighting in 2007.

The Medal for Gallantry ranks behind the Victoria Cross and Star of Gallantry.

Corporal Huggett’s citation says he displayed the highest standards of gallantry and personal courage.

Major General Mike Hindmarsh received the Distinguished Service Cross as commander of Australian forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Also awarded the Distinguished Service Cross is Lieutenant Colonel Chris Websdane, the final commander of Australian combat troops in southern Iraq, for distinguished service in his command that led them to achieve exceptional results against the enemy in a complex and challenging environment.

Hezbollah ally admits defeat

Hezbollah’s main Christian ally in an Iranian-backed coalition has acknowledged it’s been defeated by pro-Western factions in Lebanon’s parliamentary election.


“The vote shows a victory for the March 14 coalition and also shows a defeat for the Lebanese who had hoped for change in this country,” said Michel de Chadarevian, a member of the political bureau of the Free Patriotic Movement led by former general Michel Aoun.

Celebration in Beirut

Meanwhile celebratory gunfire rattled through Beirut early this morning and fireworks exploded into the sky after the Western-backed coalition declared victory in Lebanon’s crucial national election.

Lebanese waving the national flag and the blue banners of coalition leader Saad Hariri’s party paraded through the streets of the capital as results emerged from Sunday’s closely-fought election

“Congratulations to you, congratulations to freedom, congratulations to democracy,” a triumphant Hariri told cheering supporters as he claimed victory for his anti-Syrian coalition over a Hezbollah-led alliance.

“This is a big day in the history of democratic Lebanon.

“There is no winner and loser in these elections, the only winner is democracy and Lebanon,” he added, calling on his supporters to refrain from provoking the rival camp.

“Let us celebrate our victory in a civilised manner,” he said. “Let us not engage in provocation or violations that will affect this great day for democracy.”

Police and soldiers were out in force in sensitive areas for fear of fighting between rival factions in a war-scarred country that remains deeply divided along sectarian lines.

In May last year, Beirut was rocked by deadly street battles that saw Hezbollah and its supporters seize large swathes of Sunni areas of the capital as the country remained mired in a deep political crisis.

Hariri, whose father, the billionaire former prime minister Rafiq Hariri was killed in a Beirut car bombing in 2005, said he would work with the opposing camp for the sake of Lebanon.

Hariri’s anti-Syrian coalition — which held the majority in the outgoing parliament — was expected to win 70 seats in the new 128-seat assembly and the Hezbollah alliance 58 seats, according to his Future television station.

Pro-Western coalition

Lebanon’s pro-Western coalition has claimed victory over an alliance led by the fundamentalist Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

“Indications so far are that our camp will maintain its majority in parliament,” an official from the anti-Syrian grouping known as March 14 said on condition of anonymity.

The television station owned by majority leader Saad Hariri said his camp

expects to win 70 seats in the 128-member parliament against 58 for the

Iranian-backed Hezbollah and its Christian and Shiite allies.

As celebrations broke out in several cities, Hasan Fadlallah of Hezbollah refused to acknowledge defeat for the Iranian-and Syrian-backed alliance — whose emergence as a possible victor in the election had caused jitters in the West.

“What matters to us now is that Lebanon turns a new page, one based on partnership, cooperation and understanding.”

“Lebanon’s specificity is in its diversity and there is no majority or minority,” he told AFP. “No party can claim to have won the majority among all communities.”

Robust turnout

More than half the country’s 3.2 million eligible voters queued at polling stations to cast a ballot on Sunday.

Preliminary estimates put turnout at more than 54 percent, well above the

45.8 percent recorded in the last election four years ago and the largest since at least the end of the 1975-91 civil war

“Voter turnout exceeded all expectations,” Interior Minister Ziad Baroud said after polls closed.

About 50,000 police and soldiers were on patrol nationwide to prevent any violence and there were no reports of serious problems, although three people were arrested for using fake identity cards and the army intervened in one city after some voters traded insults and blows.

International observers said most problems seemed to have caused by the high turnout, with some voters complaining of a long wait to cast their ballot.

Power-sharing system

Under Lebanon’s complex power-sharing system, the seats are divided equally between majority Muslims and minority Christians, who make up about a third of the four-million population.

Hezbollah itself fielded just 11 candidates but heads an alliance grouping the Shiite Amal movement and the Free Patriotic Movement, a nationalist party headed by Christian civil war army chief Michel Aoun.

Israel, which fought a devastating war with Hezbollah guerrillas in 2006, had warned that victory for the Shiite group would pose a danger to the entire region.

The United States also blacklists Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation and had warned that continued military aid would hinge on vote outcome.