: Lebanon's information portal International 144 33 Airport passengers down 8% in first quarter of 2014 Figures released by the Hariri International Airport (HIA) show that the number of airport passengers (arrivals, departures, transit) totaled 1,257,561 in the first quarter of 2014, constituting a decrease of 8.3% from the same quarter Beirut is 14th most expensive city in the world, most expensive location in the Middle East EuroCost International's expatriate cost of living survey for 2013 ranked Beirut in 14th place globally, unchanged from the preceding year and compared to 22nd place in 2011, 13th place in 2010 and 19th place in 2009, Byblos Bank Lebanon's net public debt at $53.9bn at end-February 2014 Lebanon's gross public debt reached $65bn at the end of February 2014, constituting a rise of 2.4% from the end of 2013 and an increase of 11.9% from end-February 2013, Byblos Bank ‘Lebanon This Week’ reported. Domestic Kafalat loan guarantees up 9% to $27m in first quarter of 2014 Figures released by the Kafalat Corporation show that loans extended to small- and medium-size companies under the guarantee of Kafalat reached $26.8m in the first quarter of 2014, up 9.3% from $24.5m in the same quarter last year, Hakim launches committee in favor of consumer protection Economy and Trade Minister, Alain Hakim, on Wednesday launched a committee tasked to solve divergences in the scope of protecting the consumer. The launching event took place in the context of a press conference held by Hakim at Fadlallah supports endorsing wage hike Member of Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc, Hassan Fadlallah, said on Sunday during a funeral ceremony in Bint Jbeil that he and his Bloc plan to support endorsing the wage scale project law in upcoming general session away from the CGT warning against added tax burdens The workers' Central General Trade Union (C.G.T), warned against added tax burdens incumbent upon the poor and low-income in a press release read by CGT boss Ghassan Ghosn today. The CGT cited international facts and figures related Francois Bassil: "Banks Association did not describe Deputies as thieves" The President of the Lebanese Banks Association, François Bassil, said on Friday that the Association had not described members of Parliament as thieves, but had simply claimed administrative reforms. Bassil spoke at a press HORECA 2014: A brands window into the hospitality industry Free, delicious juice, free mixed nuts, dessert assortments, dairy products, drink samples from alcoholic beverage brands... Lanes and lanes of decorated stands dedicated to food and beverage brands, as well as restaurant equipment, Stock market activity up 99% to $119m in first quarter of 2014 Figures released by the Beirut Stock Exchange indicate that the total trading volume reached 17.4 million shares in the first quarter of 2014, constituting an increase of 84.2% from the same quarter of 2013; while aggregate turnover