Rear View – Lebanon in review (15 November 2020)
10 NOV: Govt Offers Poor Families $50 to Abide by Lockdown
The government’s Higher Defense Council announced a new national lockdown from 14-30 November in an effort to contain the growing spread of the Coronavirus, with the exception of some health and public institutions including the airport, banks, factories and gas stations.
During that period, a curfew would be in place from 5pm to 5am and cars with odd and even license plates would circulate on alternate days to regulate road traffic. The lockdown could be extended if the two-week period was not long enough to curb the spread of infections as a result of the virus.
Caretaker Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, said the government would give USD$50 to Lebanon’s 240,000 poorest families, as compensation during the lockdown, however, objections have been raised against the lists of families in need, which have been deemed inaccurate, due to the rise in the poverty rate which now exceeds 55%.
10 NOV: Gebran Bassil & Salim Jressait Accused of Kidnap & Torture in US Lawsuit.
A lawsuit has been filed in the US for the prosecution of several high ranking current and former ministers in the Lebanese Government, including former foreign minister Gebran Bassil, and former justice minister Salim Jreissati, accusing them of kidnap, torture and corruption.
The case brought against Bassil, Jressati Peter Germanos, Dany Macaron, Ziad Makkana and other members of the Free Patriotic Movement Party, was filed in a US District Court by American-Lebanese couple Elie and Lara Samaha, only days prior to sanctions were issued against Bassil bye the US Department of The Treasury on 6 November.
10 NOV: Bassil Is Willing To Cut Ties With Hezbollah
US Ambassador to Lebanon, Dorothy Shea revealed that Free Patriotic Movement leader Gebran Bassil expressed a willingness to cut ties with Hezbollah. This directly contradicts what he said in a public speech last week stating he would not betray any Lebanese in favor of a foreigner.
“Hezbollah and Iran have never threatened me with sanctions just for the sake of disagreement…on the contrary, they respect us,” Bassil said in his speech.
11 NOV: Hezbollah ‘Happy’ Trump Was Dumped
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah during a televised speech last week, expressed great job over Trump being dumped by the American people during the recent Presidential elections.
“On a personal level, I’m very happy about Trump’s humiliating downfall,” Nasrallah said.
Nasrallah described Trump’s administration as “among the worst, if not THE worst” in the US history but did not expect President-elect Joe Biden to change Washington’s pro-Israel, biased policy in the Middle East.
“I don’t think Joe Biden will reverse Trump’s position on Jerusalem,” he said, adding that he could adopt a different approach to the two-state solution.
11 NOV: Lebanon Among First to Receive Coronavirus Vaccine
Caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hassan announced that Lebanon “will be one of the first countries to benefit from the Pfizer vaccine when it is approved by the World Health Organization.”
In a televised interview with LBCI on Tuesday, Hassan said that “the necessary correspondence was provided for the transfer of the first batch of vaccine costs” in cooperation with Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni.
He added: “The Ministry of Public Health has also reserved twenty per cent of Lebanon’s additional planned Corona vaccine from the COVAX (Global Corona Vaccine Assembly) platform.”
13 NOV: Israel Claims Airlines Flying to Beirut Support Hezbollah and Risk Law Suit
An Israeli legal team is trying to suspend international flights to Beirut-Rafik Hariri International Airport by seeking punitive measures against airline and insurance companies that fly to the airport.
The Israeli team absurdly claims that any airline flying to Beirut is supporting Hezbollah. According to Israeli media, a letter was sent to all major airlines, warning them that continuing to service flights to Beirut could result in legal action and charges of war crimes against them.
The team is demanding that these companies, including Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa, and others, suspend their flights to Beirut or risk facing legal action for “supporting a terrorist organization.”
13 NOV: Independent Groups Win 15 out of 19 Seats at AUB
The AUB Secular Club, won 9 seats while the Change Starts Here group won 6 seats out of a total of 19 seats in last week’s University Student Faculty Committee elections. Former Secular Club president, Karim Safieddine, said it was the “first time any group gains this much seats in AUB history.”
It was a historic swing away from traditional parties and reinforces the movement around the country and at other major universities that have all recorded victories for non-religious, non-sectarian groups recently.
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