Hariri brother joins Lebanese political fray ahead of vote
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s older brother says he hopes upcoming elections in crisis-hit Lebanon will bring about a new generation of leaders, adding that he'll do whatever he can to bring about positive change and accountability for past corruption. Bahaa Hariri also describes the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, calling it part of the country’s “failed past.” Bahaa Hariri has not said whether he will step in and run for office himself.news.yahoo.com
Lebanese businesses pay steep price for standoff with Saudis
A Lebanese DJ was days away from moving to Riyadh to play for a month in one of the newest entertainment centers in Saudi Arabia's capital when a brief, polite Whatsapp message informed her that the contract won’t go through. The diplomatic crisis is causing anxiety among Lebanese, particularly those who work in Gulf countries, at a time when Lebanon is already enduring an unprecedented economic meltdown.news.yahoo.com
Lebanese billionaire poised to be named premier-designate
Lebanon’s president is expected to appoint Monday a billionaire businessman and former prime minister as the next premier-designate, after Saad Hariri earlier this month gave up attempts to form a Cabinet amid an unprecedented financial meltdown roiling the country. Najib Mikati’s appointment is likely to come later in the day, following binding consultations between President Michel Aoun and Lebanese lawmakers. One of the richest men in Lebanon, Mikati became a favorite for the post after he was endorsed by most of Lebanon's political parties and also the powerful, Iran-backed militant Hezbollah group.news.yahoo.com
Riots in Lebanon as West calls for quick Cabinet formation
Tension intensified in Lebanon on Friday, with riots leaving more than two dozen people injured in the northern city of Tripoli, including five soldiers who were attacked with a hand grenade. France, the European Union and the United States in the meantime called on Lebanese politicians to urgently form a Cabinet and planned an international conference to help stabilize Lebanon after a series of crises. “All concerned parties need to work with urgency to put in place a government that’s able to implement reforms immediately,” tweeted U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.news.yahoo.com
Lebanon PM-designate steps down after months of deadlock
Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri stepped down Thursday, nine months after he was named to the post by the parliament, citing “key differences" with the country's president. Lebanon is going through an unprecedented economic crisis, described by the World Bank as one of the worst in the world in 150 years. “It is clear that we will not be able to agree with the president,” Hariri said, after a 20 minute meeting with President Michel Aoun.news.yahoo.com
Lebanese leaders exchange barbs as country sinks into crisis
Lebanon’s president and prime minister-designate traded barbs Wednesday, accusing one another of obstruction, negligence and insolence in a war or words that has for months obstructed the formation of a new government as the country sinks deeper into economic and financial crisis. The power struggle between the premier-designate, Saad Hariri, on one side and President Michel Aoun and his son-in-law Gebran Bassil on the other, has worsened despite warnings from world leaders and economic experts of the dire economic conditions tiny Lebanon is facing.news.yahoo.com
UAE, Saudis summon Lebanon ambassadors over FM's comments
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates summoned their Lebanese ambassadors Tuesday to protest televised remarks by Lebanon’s foreign minister, in which he suggested Gulf countries provided backing to extremists. The head of the Gulf Cooperation Council, led by Saudi Arabia, asked that Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe offer a formal apology to member states. Wehbe's remarks to the U.S.-backed Alhurra news channel caused a firestorm in Lebanon and among Gulf countries.news.yahoo.com
French FM in Lebanon with a message of 'great firmness'
France's foreign minister began a visit to Lebanon Thursday with a message of “great firmness” to its political leaders, threatening to take additional measures against officials obstructing the formation of a government in the crisis-hit country. Tweeting ahead of his arrival, Jean-Yves Le Drian said French travel restrictions on Lebanese officials suspected of corruption or hindering the formation of a new Cabinet were “just the start.” France has been trying to force change on Lebanon's ruling class, whose corruption and mismanagement has driven the tiny country into the ground and pushed it to the verge of bankruptcy.news.yahoo.com
'We are hungry': Lebanese protest worsening economic crisis
Come down, we are hungry, we are fed up!” yelled Ahmad Shuman, a protester frustrated at the small number of people taking part in demonstrations. Inflation and prices of basic goods have skyrocketed in the country, which imports more than 80% of its basic goods. Meanwhile, lawmakers approved $200 million in assistance from the central bank's shrinking foreign reserves to go to Lebanon's electricity company. The transfer is to cover fuel purchases for the next few weeks to prevent the country from plunging into darkness. AdThe crisis is posing the gravest threat to Lebanon’s stability since the 1975-90 civil war.
Charges in Beirut port blast stir controversy in Lebanon
FILE - In this Jan. 21, 2020 file photo, outgoing Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab, speaks during a press conference after his government was announced, at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, east of Beirut, Lebanon. On Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, the Lebanese prosecutor probing this summer's port explosion in Beirut filed charges against Diab, and three former ministers, Lebanon's official news agency said. All four were charged with negligence leading to deaths over the Aug. 4 explosion at Beirut port, which killed more than 200 people and injured thousands. The prime minister in Lebanon must be a Sunni Muslim, according to the country’s sectarian-based power-sharing system. Lawyer Youssef Lahoud, who represents the Bar Association in the investigation, said the parliament's response does not prevent Sawan from exercising his right to charge government officials in the port explosion.
World Bank warns of 'prolonged depression' in Lebanon
(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)BEIRUT – Lebanon’s economy faces an “arduous and prolonged depression,” with real GPD projected to plunge by nearly 20% because its politicians refuse to implement reforms that would speed up the country’s recovery, the World Bank said Tuesday. “Lack of effective policy action by authorities has subjected the economy to an arduous and prolonged depression,” the World Bank report said. “One year into the economic crisis, such policies have not yet been decided, let alone implemented. “Lack of political consensus on national priorities severely impedes Lebanon’s ability to implement long-term and visionary development policies,” said Saroj Kumar Jha, the World Bank regional director. “Without reforms, there can be no sustainable recovery and reconstruction, and the social and economic situation will continue to worsen,” the World Bank warned.
The Latest: Prosecutor: attacker not on intelligence radar
A man prays in the street outside the Notre Dame church in Nice, southern France, after a knife attack took place on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)PARIS – The Latest on a knife attack in Nice, France, (all times local):10:25 p.m.France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor says the Nice attacker, who was born in 1999, was not on the radar of intelligence agencies as a potential threat. The rally came on the day an attacker armed with a knife killed three people inside a church in the French city of Nice. An attacker armed with a knife killed three people in the southern French coastal city Thursday. ___11:20 a.m.An attacker armed with a knife has killed three people at a church in the southern French city of Nice.
Saudi king's rare address to UN showcases monarch in charge
In this image made from UNTV video, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, speaks in a pre-recorded message which was played during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, at UN headquarters. In delivering his remarks, he became only the second Saudi king to deliver a speech to the world assembly. And like his brother's speech 63 years prior, King Salman noted the sacred role of Islam in Saudi Arabia and the importance that entails. Saudi rivals Turkey and Iran also profess to champion Muslim causes worldwide as part of a broader struggle for leadership of Muslims globally. King Salman has backed his son by elevating him from near obscurity and handing him day-to-day decision making powers.
French leader warns Lebanese politicians of last chance
French President Emmanuel Macron arrives for a media conference in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. French President Emmanuel Macron issued a stern warning to Lebanon's political class, urging them to commit to serious reforms within few months or risk punitive action including sanctions, if they fail to deliver. (Gonzalo Fuentes/Pool via AP)BEIRUT French President Emmanuel Macron said Lebanese politicians have committed to a road map that begins with a government of experts to be formed in two weeks and quickly enacts reforms. French warplanes flew in formation, spraying smoke the colors of the Lebanese flag over the Jaj forest in the Byblos region. Macron also visited the port of Beirut and a hospital in Beirut, where he spoke to victims of the Aug. 4 blast.
Diplomat tapped to be PM in crisis-hit Lebanon
BEIRUT A Lebanese diplomat was appointed to form a new government in crisis-hit Lebanon on Monday after winning the backing of major political parties. Lebanon's president is holding consultations with heads of parliamentary blocs to designate a new prime minister for the crisis-stricken country, with a career diplomat poised to win the job Monday. Macron and other world leaders as well as the International Monetary Fund have refused to give assistance to Lebanon before its leaders enact major reforms. Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri emerged from his meeting with Aoun on Monday, telling reporters his 18-member bloc had given its backing to Adib. Adib, who has been Lebanons ambassador to Germany since 2013, served as an advisor to one of Lebanons former Prime Ministers, Najib Mikati.
Consultations to name new PM in Lebanon to begin on Monday
BEIRUT The office of Lebanons president said Friday that binding consultations with members of Parliament to designate a new prime minister will begin early next week. Mondays consultations will coincide with a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron to Lebanon, a former French protectorate. The blast, the most destructive single incident in Lebanons history, killed more than 180 people, wounded nearly 6,000 and left nearly 300,000 people homeless. President Michel Aouns office released a schedule of the consultations that will begin Monday morning and end in the afternoon. The fighting briefly closed the main highway linking Beirut with southern Lebanon.
UN-backed court to issue verdicts in Lebanon's Hariri case
Unlike the blast that killed Hariri and 21 others on Feb. 14, 2005, the Aug. 4 explosion was believed to be a result of nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate that accidentally ignited at Beirut's port. Hariri was Lebanons most prominent Sunni politician at the time, while the Iran-backed Hezbollah is a Shiite Muslim group. Hamadeh said those who killed Hariri were behind the attempt on his life. Hariri was killed by a suicide truck bomb on a seaside boulevard in Beirut that killed him and 21 others, and wounded 226 people. Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, son of the late Hariri, has said he will make a statement regarding the verdicts after they are made public.
A week after blast, Beirut pauses to remember the dead
The wife of Rami Kaaki, one of ten firefighters who were killed during the last week's explosion that hit the seaport of Beirut, mourns during her husband's funeral at the firefighter headquarters, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. Thousands of people marched near the devastated port, remembering those who died in the worst single blast to hit the country. Outgoing Health Minister Hamad Hassan said the blast killed a total of 171 people, with between 30 and 40 still missing. Lebanese have demanded an independent Cabinet not backed by any of the political political parties they blame for the mess they are in. Many are also calling for an independent investigation into the port explosion, saying they had zero trust in a local probe.
Lebanese government meets after night of raging protests
(AP Photo/Hussein Malla)BEIRUT Lebanon's prime minister held an emergency Cabinet meeting Friday after a night of raging protests that saw demonstrators shut down roads across the country with burning tires in renewed protests spurred by a plunging national currency. Prime Minister Hassan Diab canceled his scheduled meetings for the day and called for an emergency session to discuss the crisis. The renewed demonstrations amid calls for Diab's resignation are a huge challenge for the prime minister who took over in December after his predecessor, Saad Hariri, resigned amid nationwide protests late last year. Despite efforts to control the currency depreciation in recent weeks, the Lebanese pound tumbled to more than 6,000 to the dollar on Thursday, down from 4,000 on the black market in recent days. Lebanons financial crisis predates the virus pandemic that put the country in a total lockdown for months, further compounding the crisis.
Hezbollahs road to power in Lebanon just got harder
The resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was a victory for anti-government protesters flooding the countrys streets by the millions. Decaying infrastructure, intermittent electricity and water, little work and high prices all contributed to some of the largest demonstrations Lebanon has ever seen. Hezbollah also has railed against corruption, and has a reputation in Lebanon for being relatively untainted by it. AdvertisementThe protests spread far beyond the Lebanese capital, Beirut, including south Lebanon, which is dominated by the countrys Shiite Muslims and where Hezbollah expects to have total support. Yet those alliances have been expedient for Hezbollah, said Heiko Wimmen, a Lebanon expert with the International Crisis Group.latimes.com
Lebanon's Hariri resigns after nationwide protests
(CNN) - Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced he was resigning on Tuesday, succumbing to the demands of protesters who have staged nationwide demonstrations for nearly two weeks. The three-time prime minister has led a national unity government, which included some of his political adversaries, for less than two years. On Oct. 17, the government proposed imposing a tax on Whatsapp calls, along with other austerity measures, sparking nationwide protests that paralyzed the country. Hariri's resignation could deepen the latest unrest and exacerbate the economic crisis. Even if Hariri's resignation marks a possible return to old rifts, it also represents a step forward for Lebanon's protesters.
Uprising against taxes and corruption forces Lebanons prime minister to quit
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Tuesday announced he will resign, bowing to pressure from waves of protesters who took to the streets this month and paralyzed the country demanding the governments ouster. All of them means all of them became the protesters rallying cry, a resolute demand that every politician in government leave. But after clashes with anti-government protesters, they turned to Martyrs Square. By nightfall, the carnival-like atmosphere, with protest sing-alongs, discussion areas and food vendors, had returned to Martyrs Square and its surrounding spaces. We had everything back up in 30 minutes, said Nayla Geagea, a human rights campaigner, in an interview from the square.latimes.com
Lebanon 'days' away from economic collapse, says central bank gov
Demonstrators in Beirut, Lebanon, block a road by staging a sit-in as they get in scuffles with police. (CNN) - Lebanon is on the verge of economic collapse unless an "immediate solution" can be found to end days of nationwide protests that have paralyzed the country, Central Bank Governor Riad Salame told CNN in an exclusive interview Monday. Salame said Hariri "wanted to resign" but has feared leaving a "vacancy" in government. Today there is no economic activity in the country," said Salame. "The issue today is an issue of a country that is stopped in its activity, and (it) cannot afford that," Salame added.
Lebanon President gives no ground after week of angry protests
BEIRUT - Lebanon's President Michel Aoun made no concrete concessions in his first public address since nationwide protests erupted against the country's political elites a week ago, as his speech was met with jeers from demonstrators. Calls for the government's resignation have grown since protests engulfed Lebanon on October 17. Our regime will not be removed based on protests on the ground. The President is a close political ally of the Shia group Hezbollah, which has a powerful armed wing in the country. Aoun's son-in-law and the country's foreign minister, Gebran Bassil, has been one of the main targets of the protests.
'It's preposterous': Protesters dismiss Lebanese PM promise of reform as country's banks stay shut
Lebanese demonstrators take part in a rally outside the Mohammad al-Amin mosque in the capital Beirut's downtown district on October 20, 2019. PATRICK BAZ/AFP via Getty ImagesLebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced a wide-ranging reform package Monday in an attempt to quell Lebanon's largest popular protests in 14 years. But protesters, who've been counted at more than a million across Lebanon for the past five days in historic demonstrations, are not convinced. "People made very clear claims about the failure of this ruling class, including Hezbollah, including (Prime Minister) Hariri, to address any of the socioeconomic and political grievances in the last 30 years. Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri.cnbc.com