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  1. #1
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    Lebanon in crisis

    It appears that Lebanon is going to be the next victim of the Saudi-Iran proxy war. Lebanon's pluralist character has long been it's strength and has made for an enduring stability over the years. Is this now under threat?

    Mods - hope you don't mind the twitter links, they are all from verified accounts and link to the full news articles they refer to.














  2. #2
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    Saudia and Arab countries with low oil prices are mostly trying to divert the peoples attention from the economic problems that they are facing in the next few years


    Sent from my SM-G925I


    "Too often we... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought"-JFK

  3. #3
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    Are things about to turn nasty in Lebanon?











  4. #4
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    Isnt Lebanon synonymous with civil war between different sects since the 70s
    Have they found out who assassinated the old leader yet


    "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles"

  5. #5
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    They had a 15 year civil war, pluralist my behind.

  6. #6
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    Calls for revolution at Lebanon protests
    Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Lebanon for a third day of nationwide protests.

    They are calling on the government to step down over its handling of an economic crisis. Dozens of people are reported to have been injured since the unrest began.

    The prime minister is expected to speak on Monday, after he gave ministers a deadline to find a solution.


    Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-mi...banon-protests.


    Bangladeshi Fan

  7. #7
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    I love Beirut. Hope they sort it out soon, so can go party again

  8. #8
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    Lebanon's coalition government has reportedly agreed to a package of economic reforms as it attempts to quell the biggest protests in years.

    Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators flooded the streets on Sunday for a fourth day of anti-government protests.

    The protests were triggered in part by a plan to tax calls on WhatsApp and other messaging services.

    The government quickly dropped the tax, but the protests have morphed into wider demands for reform.

    The Lebanese economy is struggling with low growth and high debt. Austerity measures have sparked anger and deteriorating infrastructure has made power cuts and piles of uncollected rubbish part of daily life.

    On Friday, Lebanon's Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, gave his coalition partners 72 hours to back economic reforms.

    Government sources cited on news agencies said an agreement was reached on Sunday.

    The agreement is said to include plans to privatise key utilities, reduce politicians' salaries and measures to address Lebanon's budget deficit.

    The reform package is expected to be approved at a cabinet meeting on Monday.

    Lebanon has long had a political system designed to balance power between the countries main religious groups.

    Observers say one of the striking features of the protests is how demonstrators have shaken off the country's sectarian divide to unite against their leaders.

    'I am disgusted'
    Mass protests erupted on Thursday, when the proposed tax on WhatsApp calls was announced.

    When the tax was scrapped, the demonstrations turned their focus to wider grievances with the government, which has been accused of widespread corruption and economic mismanagement.

    The spontaneous protests, which have hit major cities including the capital Beirut, have seen marchers chant for "revolution".

    With debt levels soaring, the Lebanese government has been trying to implement economic reforms to secure an $11bn (8.5bn) aid package from international donors.

    Without economic reforms, Lebanon's debt is forecast to balloon to more than 150% of GDP by the end of the year.

    The economic crisis, and the Lebanese government's handling of it, has ignited widespread anger, with many calling for political change.

    "I am here because I am disgusted by our politicians. Nothing works. This is not a state," Cherine Shawa told Reuters while protesting in Beirut on Sunday.

    Hanan Takkouche, also in the capital, said: "We're here to say to our leaders 'leave'."

    The protests have been largely peaceful, but dozens of people are reported to have been injured in clashes with police at demonstrations in recent days.
    Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-50118300.


    Bangladeshi Fan

  9. #9
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    Mar 2016
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    BEIRUT: Demonstrators across Lebanon blocked roads and took to the streets on Saturday for a 10th consecutive day, defying what they said were attempts by Hezbollah to defuse their movement and despite tensions with the army.

    The demonstrators — who have thronged Lebanese towns and cities since October 17 — are demanding the removal of the entire political class, accusing many across different parties of systematic corruption.

    Numbers have declined since October 20, when hundreds of thousands took over Beirut and other cities in the largest demonstrations in years, but could grow again over the weekend.

    The chief of the powerful movement Hezbollah on Friday called on his supporters to leave the streets, warning that any cabinet resignation would lead to “chaos and collapse” of the economy. His statement sowed divisions among Hezbollah supporters, some of whom were still protesting on Saturday.

    Hassan Koteiche, 27, from a Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut, said he agreed with most of Nasrallah’s “excellent” speech, but had some reservations.

    “This does not mean we are against his discourse but there is a divergence in opinion,” he said.

    “The main thing I disagree with is his belief that if the government or parliament falls then we would have no alternative,” he added.

    “That is not true. We have alternatives. We have noble and uncorrupt people,” who can govern.

    Main roads remained closed across the country on Saturday morning, as the army tried to reopen key routes.

    The General Security agency — one of Lebanon’s top three security bodies — said it has started to implement a plan to open key roads.

    An army spokesman said that security forces would negotiate with protesters, without resorting to violence.

    But troops clashed with residents of the Beddawi area near the northern port city of Tripoli as they were trying to close a main road, according to the state-run National News Agency.

    A medical source in the area said that at least four people were wounded by live fire and seven others in confrontations with the army.

    Soldiers fired rubber bullets in the air after being hit with fireworks and stones, according to the spokesman.

    Northeast of Beirut, dozens of demonstrators formed a human chain to prevent the army from removing a dirt berm blocking a seaside road.

    In central Beirut, they sat cross-legged on a key artery that connects the capital to its suburbs and surrounding regions.

    Demonstrators who had slept in tents near Martyrs Square, said they were still defiant. “We will stay on the streets,” said Rabih al-Zein, a 34-year-old from the Shia stronghold of Tyre in southern Lebanon.

    “The power of the people is stronger than the power of the parties,” he said.

    Lebanon’s largely sectarian political parties have been wrong-footed by the cross-communal nature of the mostly peaceful protests.

    Waving Lebanese flags rather than the partisan colours normally paraded at demonstrations, protesters have been demanding the resignation of all of Lebanon’s political leaders. “All of them means all,” has been a popular slogan.

    In attempts to calm the anger, Prime Minister Saad Hariri has pushed through a package of economic reforms, while President Michel Aoun suggested banking secrecy should be lifted from the accounts of high-ranking officials.

    Ministers and lawmakers affiliated with the president’s Free Patriotic Movement are set to lift banking secrecy from their own accounts next week, according to an FPM statement.
    Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1513216/le...ying-hezbollah.


    Bangladeshi Fan

  10. #10
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    Lebanon protests: People form a human chain
    Tens of thousands of Lebanese protesters joined hands in an attempt to form a human chain across the country from Tripoli in the north to Tyre in the south.

    Organisers have said the attempt to create a chain 170km (105 miles) long was successful.

    It marked the eleventh day of anti-government protests which began on 17 October.

    People have been demonstrating against the handling of a severe economic crisis, and there have been clashes with security forces.


    Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-mi...-a-human-chain.


    Bangladeshi Fan

  11. #11
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    Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri has said he is resigning, amid protests that have gripped the country for two weeks.

    Mr Hariri said Lebanon had reached a deadlock and needed a shock to break the crisis.

    The protests began against now-scrapped plans to tax WhatsApp calls, but quickly widened to target political corruption and the economic turmoil.

    Lebanon has one of the highest debt levels in the world.

    Do today's global protests have anything in common?
    The protests have led to a 10-day closure of banks, with many other offices, schools and universities also shut.

    What did Mr Hariri say?
    In a televised address, the prime minister said he had reached a "dead end" and that he would tender his resignation and that of the government to President Michel Aoun.

    Mr Hariri said: "For 13 days, the Lebanese people have waited for a decision for a political solution that stops the deterioration. And I have tried, during this period, to find a way out, through which to listen to the voice of the people."

    But he added: "It has become necessary for us to make a great shock to fix the crisis.

    "Posts come and go, what matters is the safety and dignity of the people."

    President Aoun is still to comment. If the resignation is accepted, the constitution would require Mr Hariri to stay on until a new administration is established.

    What is the state of the protests?
    The prime minister's announcement came as the situation on the ground turned increasingly violent, reflecting the deep-seated schism in Lebanese society.

    The militant Shia group, Hezbollah, which has dominated the coalition government led by Mr Hariri, a Sunni, has recently hardened its stance against the protests.

    On Tuesday, black-clad men loyal to Hezbollah and another Shia group, Amal, destroyed a protest camp in central Beirut, chanting slogans, setting tents on fire and beating anti-government demonstrators. A roadblock set up by protesters was also attacked.

    Riot police and troops fired tear gas to separate the rival groups.

    The protesters remained defiant in central Beirut. Less than an hour after being attacked they erupted into applause at the announcement of Mr Hariri's resignation.

    "Saad Hariri is only the beginning," one told a local TV channel.

    How did we get to this point?
    The crisis began on 17 October when the government announced a new daily tax for calls made via voice-over-internet-protocol (Voip), which is used by apps including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Apple's FaceTime.


    Media captionProtesters formed a human chain 170km (105 miles) long on Sunday
    The government backtracked within hours but the protests were soon under way and quickly burgeoned.

    As one demonstrator said: "We are not here over the WhatsApp, we are here over everything: over fuel, food, bread, over everything."

    Last week, Mr Hariri and his coalition, including Hezbollah, agreed to a plan of reforms to try to placate protesters, but their campaign continued.

    On Friday, Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said "someone is trying to pull [Lebanon]... towards a civil war", suggesting the protests were funded by foreign powers and indicating a harsher policy towards the protesters.

    Hezbollah had argued against Mr Hariri's resignation, saying it could result in a void in Lebanese government.

    The BBC's Martin Patience says many in the population are tired of economic stagnation, endemic corruption and a lack of basic public services.

    He adds that the developments will alarm the West, which regards Lebanon as an island of relative stability in a turbulent Middle East.

    The power-sharing agreement that ended the country's civil war 30 years ago has kept the peace, but it has failed to halt the slide towards economic crisis.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-50225100


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  12. #12
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    This loser paid over $10mn to a South African Model for a sexual relationship. And then we ask about the state of Muslim countries.

  13. #13
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    Protests against growing economic hardship erupted in Tripoli and spread to other Lebanese cities, as the shutdown to fight the new coronavirus made matters worse for the economy

    Banks were set ablaze as violence boiled over into a second night. One demonstrator was killed in riots, as a collapse in the currency, soaring inflation and spiralling unemployment convulse Lebanon, a country in deep financial crisis since October.


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  14. #14
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    Beirut, Lebanon - At least a dozen Lebanese banks across the country were torched and vandalised during the second consecutive night of angry protests fuelled by frustration over the national currency's unfettered depreciation.

    Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets from Beirut to southern Sidon along with Nabatieh, the Bekaa Valley, and Tripoli and Akkar in the north.

    The largest and most violent protests took place in the northern city of Tripoli - Lebanon's second-largest, and poorest, city, after protester Fouaz al-Semaan died on Tuesday from wounds sustained while protesting the night before.

    The 26-year-old man's sister, Fatima, said the Lebanese army shot him. The military expressed its "regret" over the killing without directly claiming responsibility and said it launched an investigation.

    Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday the army's heavy-handed response to the protests had inflamed tensions. It called for a transparent investigation into al-Semaan's death, the results of which it said should be made public.

    Protesters in Tripoli began setting banks on fire on Tuesday afternoon after the al-Semaan was laid to rest, and clashes continued into the early hours of Wednesday as they were chased through the streets by soldiers.

    In southern Sidon, a branch of the central bank was pelted with at least half a dozen petrol bombs, with cheers going up from the crowd of demonstrators each time a Molotov hit its mark.

    Protesters are furious over the rapid slide of the Lebanese pound, which has plummeted in value by more than 50 percent in about six months.

    They have lashed out at banks throughout the demonstrations because of harsh capital controls that have entirely phased-out withdrawals in foreign currencies, which were previously standard, and even limited withdrawals in the pound.

    Poverty, already at about 50 percent earlier this year, worsened during a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown that has been in place since mid-March.

    Social Affairs Minsiter Ramzi Mousharafieh estimated 75 percent of the population require aid in a country of about six million - but that aid has been meager and slow to come.

    Massive anti-government protests that began in October and paused during the lockdown are now returning angrier and more desperate.

    While Lebanese flags and signs with elaborate slogans used to be ubiquitous in mixed crowds of families with children, increasingly it is young men and women who are taking to the streets, rocks and Molotov cocktails in hand.

    The Lebanese Red Cross said it had treated 30 injured people in Tripoli on Tuesday and took six to the hospital. Dozens were injured the day before, some by live fire and others by rubber-coated bullets.

    The Lebanese army has not yet released figures from Tuesday night, but said 54 soldiers in total had been injured across the country during attempts to unblock roads and quell protests the day before.

    Tensions with the army

    While the Lebanese military is one of the country's few respected institutions, perceived to be above the sectarian bickering that permeates the rest of the state, attitudes on the streets have been shifting.

    Protesters previously handed out roses to soldiers, but there have been no such acts of kindness over the last few days.

    "The army are not our brothers," a woman told a local news reporter as she marched through the streets of the capital Beirut. "They are shooting at us to protect the politicians."

    In Tripoli on Monday night, people pelted soldiers with rocks and other projectiles as protesters were chased through the streets. The sound of pots and pans being banged rang through narrow alleyways, in a sign of support for the demonstrators that has become popular during Lebanon's uprising.

    Earlier Tuesday, protesters smashed the windshield of a military vehicle, leading the soldiers aboard it to bail out as it rolled backwards, hitting a pole before coming to a halt.

    A military vehicle was set on fire in Tripoli on Monday night in the middle of Tripoli's al-Nour square, the main scene of clashes that just a few months ago had been filled with jubilant, thousands-strong demonstrations that became famous for loud music spun live by DJs.

    On the southern highway near the town of Naameh, protesters threw stones at soldiers, leading them to quickly retreat and shoot live rounds into the air.

    Still, protesters say their issue is not with the army itself, but with the politicians they say it is protecting.

    "To Army Commander Joseph Aoun, we say that you should stand with the people, not in our face," a protester told another reporter in southern Sidon.

    In Tripoli, soldiers and protesters suddenly became a single front when an unknown gunman, apparently part of the security detail of a local MP, shot at demonstrators from a rooftop, wounding one.

    Protesters and soldiers rushed towards the source of the shooting side by side.

    "The army and the people have become one hand, glory to the army," a man shouted. "In a single moment, the people have turned back to the army."

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/...060510405.html


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  15. #15
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    Prominent Beirut university faces fight of its life as crises hit

    BEIRUT (Reuters) - One of the Arab world’s oldest universities faces its worst crisis since its foundation, with huge losses, staff cuts and an uphill battle to stay afloat as Lebanon’s economic meltdown and the coronavirus pandemic hit revenues.


    The American University of Beirut has graduated leading figures in medicine, law, science and art as well as political leaders and scholars over the decades including prime ministers.

    It has weathered many crises, including Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war, when a number of staff including two presidents were killed or abducted and a bomb destroyed one of its main halls.

    But Lebanon’s problems now may be the biggest threat yet to the institution founded in 1866 by Protestant missionaries. It ranks among the world’s top 200 universities and its collapse would deprive future generations in Lebanon and the wider region of internationally recognized higher education.

    “This is one of the biggest challenges in AUB’s history. The country is crashing catastrophically,” AUB President Fadlo Khuri told Reuters in an interview.

    With inflation, unemployment and poverty high, many families have little means to cover food and rent, let alone tens of thousands of dollars in tuition fees.

    The heavily indebted state, which defaulted on its foreign currency debt in March, owes AUB’s medical centre - which attracts patients from across the Middle East and Central Asia - more than $150 million in arrears, Khuri said.

    Government officials have ruled out a haircut on the bank deposits of non-profit universities such as AUB, but Khuri still fears his institution may take a hit if a state rescue plan puts part of the burden on large depositors and includes colleges.

    Along with other universities, his school has lobbied the state and, he said, received assurances from the president and finance minister that any such measures would not impact them.

    But he remains worried, with government plans for plugging vast holes in the national finances not yet finalised.

    Government officials could not be reached for comment.

    “We have all this money they (the state) still owe us for the hospital so it’s very hard to rely on well-intentioned people who may or may not have the ability (to deliver),” he said.

    The university and hospital expect real losses of $30 million this year after bleeding revenues. For 2020-2021 alone, it projects a 60% revenue reduction from this year, down to $249 million.


    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-l...-idUSKBN22K1RM


    Arsenal all the way!! (and Pakistan, of course!)

  16. #16
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    Beirut, Lebanon - Lebanon's financial prosecutor has ordered the arrest of the head of monetary operations at the central bank amid a widening probe into manipulation of the country's volatile currency.

    The arrest of Mazen Hamdan late on Thursday marked the first such move against an official at the increasingly embattled institution since Lebanon's currency crisis began last summer.

    The Lebanese pound, long set at 1,500 to $1, is now trading for roughly 4,200 to the greenback on the black market amid an acute dollar shortage linked to dried-up remittances, corruption and unsustainable fiscal policies.

    Its demise is just one part of a full-blown financial crisis that has pushed the small, economically-crippled nation to seek $20bn in foreign aid, of which $10bn is supposed to come from an International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.

    The crisis has seen tens of thousands of people lose jobs and poverty soar to almost 50 percent, according to finance ministry data. Last month, Social Affairs Minister Ramzi Moucharafieh said some 70-75 percent of the population required aid after the economic crisis was exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, while the IMF forecast that the economy would shrink by 12 percent this year - one of the worst recessions in the world.

    'Economic nonsense'

    The country's currency had been on a steady downwards trajectory against the US dollar since August. That slide turned into a freefall in late April, with a roughly 12 percent drop in a single day, leading to nationwide street protests and riots.

    Prime Minister Hassan Diab's government blamed the central bank for failing to inject dollars into the market to stabilise the currency. Diab also alleged that the central bank governor, Riad Salameh, may be aiming to intentionally hurt the currency, noting "suspicious ambiguity" in decisions.

    Salameh denied these charges as part of a "campaign" against him and said he has worked to keep the currency stable for decades through successive political crises and conflict.

    The central bank subsequently ordered all currency exchange dealers to trade dollars at a rate of 3,200 - its third attempt to implement an exchange rate cap since the crisis began. At the same time, security forces launched a crackdown against any traders who went above this rate, leading all exchange dealers to go on a strike now heading into its fourth week.

    Unrelenting, financial prosecutor Ali Ibrahim has ordered the arrest of several dozen exchange dealers in recent weeks, including the head of the currency exchange dealers' syndicate, Mahmoud Mrad.

    On Thursday, he also ordered the arrest of Hamdan, who remains in custody.

    In a statement, the central bank said it was cooperating with investigations and had lifted secrecy on its transactions with currency exchange dealers. In the period between April 8 and May 5, the central bank said it had sold $12.7m to currency exchange dealers and had bought $11.3m.

    These amounts, the statement said, could not account for the "magnitude" of currency depreciation during that period, in which the rate dropped from 2,900 Lebanese pounds to $1 to more than 4,000.

    "It is self-evident, after looking at the amounts mentioned, that, contrary to what was rumoured, there was no manipulation in the money exchange market as a result of the Central Bank's operations," the statement said.

    Some analysts view the attempts to control the currency via a crackdown on exchange dealers or the central bank as futile.

    "Accusing money changers for the vertiginous depreciation of Lebanese Pound is politically expedient but is economic nonsense," Nasser Saidi, a former economy minister and central bank vice-governor, said in a Twitter post.

    "Depreciation results [from the central bank] financing budget deficit by printing money, unsustainable fiscal and debt policies, deep recession and nothing to anchor Lebanese Pound expectations."

    https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/l...104538538.html


    Arsenal all the way!! (and Pakistan, of course!)

  17. #17
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    Beirut, Lebanon - Rafi, a migrant worker in Lebanon's waste sector, has a wife and two young daughters back home in Bangladesh who depend on his monthly remittances to pay for school, food and other needs.

    But for the past five months, Rafi says he has been unable to send any money back home, because the private waste-management company for which he works, RAMCO, violated his work contract by effectively slashing his wages from $300 a month to just over $100.

    "It's a very big problem, I cant send my baby to school," said Rafi, who asked Al Jazeera to refer to him by a pseudonym because he fears retribution.

    Rafi is not alone in his hardships, or his anger. Faced with a similarly untenable position, some 400 RAMCO employees - mostly from Bangladesh and India - took the unprecedented decision last month to walk of the job until the company pays them what they are owed.

    Though initially overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic, the labour strike seeped into the headlines on May 12 when employees blocked roads outside RAMCO's main housing and storage site on the outskirts of Beirut and prevented garbage trucks from leaving.

    Riot police were called in. Videos and images that strikers shot at the scene and shared with Al Jazeera showed security forces deploying tear gas and beating strikers - a small contingent of whom vandalised company property. Some of the images showed cuts to workers' arms and hands. One showed a man with severe bruises to his face.

    An employee was arrested during the incident and remains in custody.

    While some of the strikers have crossed the picket line and returned to work since the strike was called on April 3, at least 250 are standing their ground and refusing to go back on the job until their demands are met.

    "In the history of Lebanon, I don't think that migrant workers made a weeks-long strike and protested in such a way," said Lea Bou Khater, a labour movement specialist and researcher at the Consultation and Research Institute.

    Bou Khater sees the RAMCO strike as a potential watershed for one of Lebanon's most marginalised communities.

    Denied basic labour protections, migrant workers are frequently exploited by employers who pay below minimum wage and can deport those who step out of line.

    "Their accommodation and food depends on their employer," Bou Khater told Al Jazeera. "They can be deported, they are protesting and striking in very difficult conditions."

    The roots of the RAMCO pay dispute can be traced to Lebanon's rapidly depreciating currency.

    Rafi says that in November, RAMCO stopped paying him and other workers in US dollars and started compensating them in Lebanese pounds.

    But rather than use the parallel market exchange rate - which currently values the Lebanese pound at 4,000 to $1 - RAMCO is pegging the conversion to the 23-year-old but now wildly unrealistic official exchange rate of 1,500 Lebanese pounds to the dollar.

    "Pay us in dollars, or pay us in Lebanese pounds at the market rate," said Rafi. "I want a solution. No solution? No work."

    Walid Bou Saad, director of RAMCO, told Al Jazeera that while it is clear that the company is "violating" its contracts with its workers, it cannot pay them in dollars or at the prevailing market rate because the Lebanese state - its biggest customer - started paying for the company's services in Lebanese pounds at the official exchange rate.

    "The workers have the right to ask for their rights, but how can I give them their rights if I can't get mine?" he asked.

    He also said the Lebanese government owes RAMCO $8.7m for work done over the past nine months.

    The worst-hit rise up
    There is plenty of financial misery to go around in Lebanon. Last summer, the economy started to buckle under the weight of decades of unfettered corruption, unsustainable fiscal policies, the war next door in Syria and a slump in vital remittances from abroad.

    Tens of thousands of Lebanese have since lost their jobs while hundreds of businesses have closed - and that was before a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown delivered yet another crippling blow to an economy already on life support.

    Nearly everyone in Lebanon has been hit with a de facto wage cut as the currency has depreciated, but few have been worse affected by the currency crunch than migrants, most of whom labour abroad to send money home to their relatives.

    Migrant workers are employed under the notorious kafala system that ties their residency status directly to their employer, limiting their ability to amend or end contracts.

    Moreover, Lebanon's labour laws do not extend to them, meaning they are often denied basic protections such as minimum wage guarantees and paid time off.

    "There is no economic or social justice at all," says Bou Khater, who sees the RAMCO strike as a long overdue reckoning. "This strike shows we are at a point where this is no longer acceptable. It shows how bad the system is."

    As the country's economy has spiralled further into crisis, thousands of migrant workers have applied to leave Lebanon, mainly citizens of the Philippines, Ethiopia and Bangladesh.

    Abdullah Al Mamun, Charge d'affaires at the Bangladesh Embassy in Beirut, told Al Jazeera that some 7,600 Bangladeshi nationals living and working in Lebanon have already registered for repatriation with the embassy.

    He estimates that of the roughly 150,000 Bangladeshi expatriates in the country, at least 10 percent would seek to return home due to the economic crisis.

    But getting home has been complicated by coronavirus containment measures. Lebanon's only international airport in Beirut has been closed to civilian traffic for two months to stem the spread of COVID-19.

    Abuse allegations investigated
    Mamun said the Bangladeshi embassy has negotiated better terms - including a slight raise - for its nationals who are contracted work for RAMCO but who can't get home yet.

    But beyond the pay dispute, workers have alleged more serious abuse.

    Some RAMCO workers circulated a joint statement on their personal social media accounts claiming that a mentally ill coworker had been denied treatment and "locked up in a dark room in the underground for three days and physically and mentally tortured by RAMCO company security" in mid-April.

    A video of the alleged victim with ropes tied around his legs was shared on social media by employees as well as labour activists.

    RAMCO's director, Saad, vehemently denies any allegations of torture. He told Al Jazeera that the worker in question had been offered treatment at a number of hospitals, and that doctors had advised he be returned to Bangladesh. Pending his repatriation, Saad said the company had placed the worker in a specialised "medical isolation room" for one night before releasing him to the care of his fellow workers.

    Mamun said that the Bangladeshi embassy had investigated the allegations and interviewed the man and found no signs of abuse.

    An advisor to Lebanon's labour minister told Al Jazeera the ministry is also investigating the RAMCO case.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/l...203511280.html


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  18. #18
    Debut
    Oct 2004
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    Beirut, Lebanon - Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Thursday marked 100 days in office by touting his government's achievements during a speech at the Grand Serail - the seat of government power in Beirut. But a few blocks away, the mood was decidedly uncelebratory, as protestors once again took to the streets to vent their frustrations with a broken apparatus of a state that is not reforming fast enough to quell their anger.

    Comparing Lebanon to a rapidly-sinking ship that his three-month-old government is saving against all odds, Diab emphasised his government's push for anti-corruption legislation, as well as its attempts to secure more than $20bn in aid from the international community to rescue Lebanon's crisis-ridden economy.

    "One hundred days ago, the ship was being rocked by incoming waves, and water was entering it from many big holes. The fuel tanks were empty, the motors powerless," Diab said. "The ship was sinking rapidly, and the lifeboats were either missing or of no use. One hundred days ago we had no other choice but to take over command of the ship."

    "A few adventurers stood on the deck of the boat in front of scared and worried eyes. They told the passengers, 'Let us attempt rescue,'" Diab went on. "Each of those adventures went about closing the holes and fixing the malfunctions. They used their bodies as sails and held the helm, and the voyage began."

    As Diab festooned his government in heroic metaphors, outside protestors were storming the country's energy ministry to express anger with chronic power cuts that have become more frequent over the past week.

    The country's dilapidated and inefficient power sector, which sucks some $2bn in state funds each year, is a constant reminder to the Lebanese of the corruption and political sclerosis that spawned nationwide anti-establishment protests last year that toppled the government of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, paving the way for Diab to ascend to power.

    But the challenges facing Diab and his cabinet are profound.

    The small eastern Mediterranean nation of just six million people is in the throes of an economic meltdown that has crushed businesses, thrown tens of thousands of people out of work and led the currency to dramatically depreciate. Those hardships have only intensified in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Since last summer, the Lebanese pound has lost some 60 percent of its value against the United States dollar.

    Diab's government was officially formed on February 11 under a cloud of controversy as thousands of protestors attempted to block a confidence vote in parliament that ultimately approved Diab's cabinet.

    The anti-establishment uprising sought to rid the country of its old political class that eventually chose Diab as prime minister, and protestors do not regard him or his government as the change agents the country needs.

    Still, Diab is linking his credibility to the uprising and trying to spin his government as a natural outgrowth of it. On Tuesday, a video was posted to his social media account that splices scenes of squares packed with flag-waving demonstrators with shots of him walking the halls of power.

    '97 percent success'
    Soon after he took office, Diab said he had found the state treasury empty, and wasted no time declaring that Lebanon would default on foreign debt repayments, which it did in March for the first time ever.

    The heavily indebted nation has since begun bailout negotiations with the International Monetary Fund as part of a drive to secure more than $20bn from international donors and lenders.

    Diab seized upon his 100-day mark to tick off his achievements, including a financial rescue plan approved by parliament that includes a long-overdue assessment of losses in the banking sector; corruption-fighting legislation and a national anti-corruption strategy; and severing government contracts with the current operators of Lebanon's telecoms duopoly to cut costs.

    Things are worse than they were 100 days ago ... We can't even afford groceries anymore.

    Though many of the laws Diab mentioned during his 100-day victory lap are in the process of being drafted or have been completed, most have yet to be ratified by parliament.

    Diab also noted that the government has launched an audit of the accounts of the central bank, the Banque du Liban, for the first time ever and has asked nations that previously donated money to Lebanon to inform the government of any funds that had been unlawfully "plundered". He has also called for an investigation into billions of dollars transferred abroad despite informal capital controls being in place since November.

    Though Diab said that his government has made good on 97 percent of the pledges made since he took office, patience is an increasingly rare commodity on the streets.

    And while few dispute his government's handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, a delayed rollout of its coronavirus aid programme saw the value of earmarked cash handouts plummet along with the national currency's value.

    Diab's government has also failed to implement formal capital controls and has yet to fill key posts at the central bank, including key oversight positions, due to political infighting among the country's famously fractured parties.

    The vast majority of Lebanese have seen their living standards slip to the point where many can no longer afford basic goods. Chants for accountability and justice that rose from a chorus of crowds months ago have mostly been replaced by angered cries of pain and hunger.

    "Things are worse than they were 100 days ago," Anis Tabet, a Lebanese film critic, said on Twitter. "[I'm] not blaming the new government but bragging about nonexistent achievements is ridiculous. We can't even afford groceries anymore."

    'Billions spent, no electricity'

    No single sector in Lebanon spells out the failure of successive governments more than the electricity sector - and power cuts are only getting worse. Lebanon only produces a maximum of around 2,000 megawatts of electricity, but peak summer demand is in excess of 3,500 megawatts.

    This week, fuel barges experienced delays in offloading their cargo, causing electricity output to plummet. State-run power giant Electricite du Liban (EDL) blamed foreign banks for the fuel supply disruptions.

    For the past three days, protesters have taken out their anger against EDL, with some breaking into the state power company's branches from Tripoli in the north to Nabatieh in the south and in central Beirut.

    On Wednesday, as Diab was speaking, activists burst into the energy ministry and held a sit-in until they were removed by riot police.

    "We came to the energy ministry to say all energy ministers are criminals," prominent activist Wasef al Harakeh said in a video posted online. "Tens of billions of dollars spent and there is no electricity, our people are sleeping without electricity. Our people are sleeping without food."

    Though Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar has only been in office for 110 days, he was appointed by the same party that has held the ministry for over a decade - and is facing the same street-level anger as his predecessors.

    "Thief, thief, Raymond Ghajar is a thief," the protesters chanted.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/l...195050194.html


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  19. #19
    Debut
    Jun 2019
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    Kabhi Spain Kabhi Pain
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    They always in crisis lol

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giannis View Post
    They always in crisis lol
    A nation doomed. To me this is a best example of a failed state.


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  21. #21
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    Jan 2020
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giannis View Post
    They always in crisis lol
    Every year there's some drama they are like the punk kid of middle east

  22. #22
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    Jun 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    A nation doomed. To me this is a best example of a failed state.
    This too shall pass.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giannis View Post
    This too shall pass.
    Inshallah for their sake.


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  24. #24
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    Hundreds of people have taken to the streets in cities across Lebanon amid escalating protests as the country faces a collapse in its currency.

    Anger has surged as the Lebanese pound tumbled to record lows, having lost 70% of its value since October when protests began.

    The prime minister has called an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss the economic crisis.

    The protests paused during coronavirus lockdown but recently resumed.

    The depreciation of the Lebanese pound has plunged the country into its worst economic crisis in decades.

    Many Lebanese citizens who rely on hard currency savings have fallen into poverty, their plight worsened by the pandemic.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-53020014


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  25. #25
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    Hundreds of people have protested in cities across Lebanon for a second night over the handling of the country's economic crisis.
    The Lebanese pound has fallen to record lows, having lost 70% of its value since October when protests began.

    The financial crisis has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Protesters in the capital, Beirut, and in the northern city of Tripoli, threw stones and fireworks at police who used tear gas and rubber bullets.

    The pound's decline appeared to halt on Friday after the government announced that the central bank would begin injecting more US dollars into the market in a bid to stop the pound's freefall.

    The move is set to begin on Monday.

    It comes as the government prepares to hold talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with the hope of securing billions of dollars in financing to help put the country's economy back on track.

    However any bailout is expected to involve painful economic reforms in a country built on a sectarian political system that is likely to face stiff resistance from the entrenched parties.

    Many Lebanese citizens who rely on hard currency savings have fallen into poverty due to capital controls, as banks restrict dollar withdrawals. More than a third of the population is unemployed.

    In Tripoli, protesters damaged the outside of several banks and shops, throwing petrol bombs at soldiers who responded with tear gas. Banks have been blamed for the country's financial troubles.

    One protester told AFP news agency: "I just want a job so I can live. We don't believe all the measures taken by the government to improve the dollar exchange rate."

    Images from Beirut show protesters next to burning tires, blocking the road near the government palace.

    The area had also been targeted during protests on Thursday night.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-53031683


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  26. #26
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    Lebanese protesters took to the streets in Beirut and other cities on Saturday in mostly peaceful protests against the government, calling for its resignation as the small country sinks deeper into economic distress.

    The protests come after two days of rallies spurred by a dramatic collapse of the local currency against the dollar. Those rallies degenerated into violence, including attacks on private banks and shops, the Associated Press reports.

    The local currency, pegged to the dollar for nearly 30 years, has been on a downward trajectory for weeks, losing over 60 per cent of its value. But the dramatic collapse this week deepened public despair over the already troubled economy, a crisis that was further compounded by the coronavirus pandemic.

    The government was faced with handling the coronavirus pandemic soon after prime minister Hassan Diab took office earlier this year, and implemented a lockdown lasting months.

    Diabs government is supported by the powerful militant group Hezbollah and its allies, but has already been weakened by the economic crisis.

    In a speech Saturday, Diab urged the public to be patient, saying there were a great many political hurdles, including from rivals he said sought to undermine his government. Diab offered no solutions to the crisis, nor did he name his opponents, but said his government was working to fight corruption and uphold the power of the state.


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