The United States has pledged over $100 million in humanitarian and development assistance to Lebanon, the U.S. envoy said Monday, reaffirming American support to the country in various fields.
“At the donor’s conference, the United States pledged an additional $133 million in humanitarian assistance which will be used in Lebanon, as well as more than $290 million in development assistance which will be used for education in Lebanon and in Jordan,” U.S. Charge d’Affaires and interim Ambassador Richard Jones said after meeting Prime Minister Tammam Salam at the Grand Serail.
“The United States is among the largest donors to Lebanon, having given over a billion dollars in humanitarian assistance through the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration and USAID’s Food for Peace Program since 2012,” Jones added.
A highly intricate residential tower, dubbed The Cube, was recently completed in Beirut, Lebanon. Commissioned by Lebanese developers Masharii, the Dutch design firm Orange Architects is responsible for the 164 foot building, which bares a striking resemblance to a block-stacking, gravity-challenging, high-stakes game of Jenga. It even sounds like the structural design of the building was inspired by an age-old Jenga axiom: If the core is solid, you're golden.
Literature The civil war — although it officially ended in 1990 — continues to preoccupy novelists, with new books set during war-time coming out every year. The renowned blogger 'ArabLit' looks back at how civil war shaped the Lebanese novel, and recommend 15 great books set just before, during, and after the war.
The 1960s brought changes to Lebanon and countries around the world, among these a mini-renaissance in Lebanese literary writing. “There was some kind of revival,” Lebanese novelist Rawi Hage said in a 2013 interview, “and a very progressive community…formed in Lebanon, mostly around the AUB area around Ras Beirut.”
It was an era of openness to world literature and formal experimentalism, with important work being done by authors Elias al-Diri and Youssef Habchi El-Achkar, among others. Publishing houses flourished. Books that couldn’t be printed in neighboring countries, for one reason or another, found their way to Lebanon.
In a Washington press conference shortly after peace talks over Syria's future fell apart earlier this week, US Secretary of State John Kerry again called on Syria's government and its supporters to end its military campaign and pursue a political solution to the conflict instead.
Days earlier, Gareth Bayley, the UK's special representative for Syria, told reporters in Geneva that "there is no military solution" to the conflict.
As the diplomats called for a peaceful resolution to the crisis, however, pro-regime forces were encircling Aleppo — Syria's largest city — aided by heavy Russian airstrikes that are estimated to have killed scores of civilians.
Beirut: Free Patriotic Movement leader and presidential hopeful Michel Aoun on Saturday reiterated his party’s alliance with the Iran-backed Hezbollah group, a day after a large Hezbollah delegation visited him.
The delegation on Friday included heavyweights such as Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s chief political assistant, Haj Hussain Khalil, security leader Wafiq Safa, Minister of Industry, Hussain Al Haj Hassan, and two politburo members, Mahmoud Qmati, and Mustafa Haj Ali.
During the meeting, Aoun did not appear to be happy as the group announced yet again it would be boycotting Monday’s scheduled session to elect a president.
A landmark ruling in Lebanon in favour of a transgender man is being celebrated as a leap towards equality, with hopes that discrimination towards the transgender community will ease given the subsequent positive media attention the case received.
In the mid-January ruling at the Court of Appeals in Beirut, Judge Janet Hanna confirmed the right of a transgender man to change his official papers, granting him access to necessary treatment and, importantly, privacy.
The decision marked the first time a Lebanese appeals court ruled specifically in support of transgender rights to treatment.
"The operation was a medical necessity to relieve him [the appellant] from his suffering that had been present throughout his life," the court said in its ruling.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's mother, Anisa Makhlouf, has died at the age of 86, Syrian state media said on Saturday.
Makhlouf, who married late Syrian president Hafez al-Assad in 1957, rarely appeared in public even after al-Assad became president in 1971.
Al-Assad ruled Syria from 1971 until his death in 2000, and shared five children with Makhlouf, Bushra, Basil, Bashar, Majed and Maher.
Makhlouf was born in 1930 to a powerful and wealthy family from the coastal province of Latakia.
Beirut: A fresh dispute surfaced in Lebanon a few days ago over the appointment of a senior government official at the Ministry of Finance, where a post reserved for a Christian — according to the 1943 National Pact and 1989 Tai’f Agreement — went to a Shiite.
Accusations and denials followed — as expected in a country where sectarianism is an institutionalised matter — which raised fundamental questions.
What preoccupied many were the long-term consequences of such appointments at a time of profound demographic changes that continue to record significant Christian losses.
In fact, and even if no references were made to the latter, the council of Maronite bishops addressed the issue of balance among all sects in state institutions a few days ago, after several officials complained about the alleged exclusion of Christians from key posts.
According to media reports, the Syrian refugee issue received a massive shot in the arm last week as world leaders met in London to confront the biggest humanitarian crisis since the end of the Second World War. In fact, a closer look at those reports reveals that some critical factors were not taken into consideration.
While the UN asked for $8 billion (Dh29bn) aid to help Syria and surrounding regions in 2016, the London conference pledged $6bn.
There are about 2,000 camps in Lebanon, where many people have been struggling to pay the rent and utility bills with a monthly $21 allowance – which is meant for food.
Recently I visited one of these camps where I noticed that most people were eating bread and not much else.
The presidency issue should only be resolved internally, General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim said in his monthly column published Friday.
“The outside [states] did not elect our lawmakers, we did... The issue of electing a president should be an internal issue and should only be resolved at the Parliament,” Ibrahim said in the 29th edition of the General Security magazine.
The security chief opined that he did not deny “the strategic importance” of external parties in solving the presidential crisis, but said that regional and world powers “should not impose their will on others.”
Saudi Arabia said on Thursday it was ready to participate in any ground operations in Syria if the U.S.-led alliance decides to start such operations, an adviser to the Saudi defence minister said.
"The kingdom is ready to participate in any ground operations that the coalition (against Islamic State) may agree to carry out in Syria," Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri, who is also the spokesman for the Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen, told the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV in an interview.
Asseri said Saudi Arabia had been an active member of the U.S.-led coalition that had been fighting Islamic State in Syria since 2014, and had carried out more than 190 aerial missions.
He said Saudi Arabia, which has been leading Arab military operations against the Iran-allied Houthis in Yemen, believed that to win against Islamic State, the coalition needed to combine aerial operations with ground operations.
The U.S. embassy in Prague on Thursday blasted a decision by the Czech Republic's justice minister not to extradite a Lebanese national to the U.S. to face weapons charges.
The move came on the same day that five Czech citizens who went missing in Lebanon in July returned home, leading to speculation that the Czech government did a deal for their release.
Prague's Municipal Court allowed the extradition of Ali Taan Fayad, also known as Ali Amin, and two citizens of Ivory Coast last year but Justice Minister Robert Pelikan has the final say and on Thursday refused to extradite them.
The three were arrested in Prague 2014 while allegedly trying to sell weapons to undercover U.S. law enforcement agents who pretended to be from a Colombian terrorist group.
"We are dismayed by the Czech government decision to release Ali Fayad and Khaled El Merebi," the embassy said in a statement.