Jan­uary’s es­sen­tial head­lines

Executive Magazine - - Contents -

> An Is­raeli airstrike on Syria’s Golan Heights on Jan­uary 18 killed six Hezbol­lah mem­bers and a se­nior Ira­nian gen­eral. Among those killed was Ji­had Mugh­niyeh, the 25 year old son of Imad Mugh­niyeh, a top Hezbol­lah op­er­a­tive as­sas­si­nated in Da­m­as­cus in 2008. Le­banese politi­cians have urged that, should Hezbol­lah choose to re­spond, they should do so in Syria.

>A dou­ble sui­cide bomb­ing on Jan­uary 10 in Ja­bal Mohsen, a ma­jor­ity Alaw­ite neigh­bor­hood in Tripoli, killed nine peo­ple and wounded dozens. Later that month, Le­banon’s top mil­i­tary court charged 28 peo­ple over sus­pected in­volve­ment in or­ga­niz­ing the attack.

> Is­lamist mil­i­tants fight­ing in Syria launched an attack on a Le­banese Army out­post near Ras Baal­bek in the eastern Bekaa, killing five sol­diers. En­su­ing clashes be­tween the army and mil­i­tants led to the deaths of an ad­di­tional three sol­diers, as well as over 40 mil­i­tants.

> Le­banon’s In­ter­nal Se­cu­rity Forces car­ried out a raid in Roumieh Pri­son’s no­to­ri­ous Block B, which houses Is­lamist de­tainees. The crack­down fol­lowed re­ports that some pris­on­ers were con­nected to the twin sui­cide bomb­ings tar­get­ing a cafe in Tripoli ear­lier in Jan­uary.

> Hezbol­lah and the Fu­ture Move­ment have con­tin­ued talks aimed at mit­i­gat­ing sec­tar­ian ten­sions brought about by the Syr­ian con­flict. Dis­cus­sions have fo­cused on restor­ing se­cu­rity, with the two sides agree­ing to the con­tin­u­a­tion of the gov­ern­ment’s se­cu­rity plan through­out Le­banon.

> Free Pa­tri­otic Move­ment leader Michel Aoun is set to meet with his long­time op­po­nent, Le­banese Forces head Samir Geagea, in an ef­fort to break the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal im­passe. Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment by FPM MP Ibrahim Kanaan, the two will meet as soon as the agenda for their dia­logue is fi­nal­ized.

> Le­banese MPs failed to elect a new pres­i­dent on Jan­uary 7, in the 17th at­tempt since April 2014. Par­lia­ment Speaker Nabih Berri post­poned the elec­tion to late Jan­uary as a re­sult of a lack of quo­rum, as MPs from the March 8 coali­tion have been boy­cotting elec­tion ses­sions due to a lack of con­sen­sus on a can­di­date.

> Dur­ing a speech de­liv­ered on Jan­uary 9, Hezbol­lah Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Has­san Nas­ral­lah said that ‘tak­firi ter­ror­ist groups’ had harmed Is­lam more than any car­toon or book, in ref­er­ence to the Paris at­tacks against Char­lie Hebdo that left 12 dead.

> Gen­eral Se­cu­rity placed new re­stric­tions on Syr­i­ans en­ter­ing Le­banon. While travel be­tween the two coun­tries has been rel­a­tively un­re­stricted since Le­banon gained in­de­pen­dence in 1943, Syr­i­ans will now have to ob­tain a visa prior to en­ter­ing. UNHCR’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Le­banon Ninette Kel­ley an­nounced that the num­ber of new refugees in Le­banon dropped 44 per­cent in 2014 com­pared to 2013.

> Strong win­ter storms bat­tered Le­banon with snow and rain dur­ing Jan­uary, leav­ing 12 dead and hun­dreds of thou­sands in freez­ing tem­per­a­tures. The storms hit the Syr­ian refugee pop­u­la­tion in Le­banon par­tic­u­larly hard, as many live in in­ad­e­quate shel­ter with­out heat­ing.

> For­mer Le­banese Prime Min­is­ter Omar Karami died on Jan­uary 1, fol­low­ing a long battle with can­cer. Thou­sands of mourn­ers took part in a pro­ces­sion that de­parted from Beirut, mak­ing stops in var­i­ous towns on the way to Tripoli.

> Le­banon’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Ab­dul Latif De­rian met with high rank­ing Qatari of­fi­cials, in a trip aimed at pro­mot­ing re­li­gious and po­lit­i­cal ties be­tween the two coun­tries.

> Ac­cord­ing to a re­port is­sued this month by the Min­istry of Fi­nance, ris­ing tax rev­enues and re­ceiv­ables from trea­sury op­er­a­tions led to a re­duc­tion in the bud­get deficit from 31.89 per­cent in Septem­ber 2013 to 21.93 per­cent in Septem­ber 2014.

> The Ger­man Devel­op­ment Bank an­nounced a do­na­tion of $39.6 mil­lion to sup­port Syr­ian refugees in Le­banon. The grant is meant to as­sist UNICEF in “pro­vid­ing ac­cess to qual­ity for­mal and non-for­mal ed­u­ca­tion,” as well as to of­fer tech­ni­cal sup­port to Le­banon’s Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion to build in­sti­tu­tional ca­pac­i­ties, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased on Reliefweb’s web­site.

> Hu­man Rights Watch stated in a re­port re­leased this month en­ti­tled “Un­equal and un­pro­tected: Women’s rights un­der Le­banon’s re­li­gious per­sonal sta­tus laws” that women are dis­crim­i­nated against by Le­banon’s re­li­gious based per­sonal sta­tus laws. There are big­ger ob­sta­cles for women than men who want to end a mar­riage, mak­ing them more vul­ner­a­ble, the re­port said.

> De­spite gen­eral eco­nomic trou­bles, car sales in Le­banon rose by 4.55 per­cent in 2014 com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year, ac­cord­ing to re­cently re­leased data from the As­so­ci­a­tion of Car Im­porters in Le­banon.

> In its “Global Eco­nomic Prospects” re­port pub­lished in Jan­uary 2015, the World Bank projects a GDP growth of of 3.6 per­cent in Le­banon in 2017.

> Dur­ing an unof­fi­cial visit to Beirut to as­sess Le­banon’s la­bor mar­ket, a World Bank group del­e­ga­tion urged the coun­try to adopt an in­te­grated strat­egy to fight youth un­em­ploy­ment and stim­u­late job growth.

> Le­banon’s bank­ing sec­tor is ex­pected to face a chal­leng­ing year, af­ter Moody’s In­vestors Ser­vice down­graded the long term de­posit rat­ings of three Le­banese banks from B1 to B2.

> Ac­cord­ing to data from By­b­los Bank, Rafic Hariri In­ter­na­tional Air­port re­leased fig­ures show­ing that num­bers of pas­sen­gers had in­creased in 2014 by 4.8 per­cent, com­pared to 2013.

> An­gry res­i­dents of Naameh, south of Beirut, blocked the en­trance to the town’s land­fill, call­ing on Min­is­ter of En­vi­ron­ment Mo­ham­mad Mach­nouk to re­sign for not ful­fill­ing his prom­ise of closing the con­tro­ver­sial site.

> With global oil prices at record lows, Le­banon has seen sig­nif­i­cant de­creases in the price of petroleum prod­ucts, with gaso­line prices drop­ping by over LBP 11,000 ($7.33) per 20 liters since Jan­uary 2014.

> Dur­ing a meet­ing with the Le­banese-Chi­nese Busi­ness­men As­so­ci­a­tion, Min­is­ter of In­dus­try Hus­sein Hajj Has­san said he planned to grad­u­ally im­pose du­ties on cer­tain im­ports. Ac­cord­ing to the min­is­ter, the taxes would mainly tar­get goods sub­si­dized by their coun­try of ori­gin and serve to pro­tect the Le­banese industrial sec­tor.

> Miss Le­banon Saly Greige re­sponded to crit­i­cism of a photo that emerged of her pos­ing with Miss Is­rael Doron Mat­alon dur­ing the Miss Uni­verse Pageant in Miami, claim­ing that Mat­alon had jumped into the photo at the last minute. The im­age sparked a heated de­bate in Le­banon, in light of the on­go­ing hos­til­i­ties be­tween the two coun­tries.

Syr­ian refugees of­ten lack ap­pro­pri­ate cloth­ing for Le­banon’s snowy win­ter

Le­banese se­cu­rity forces and emer­gency ser­vices re­spond to a sui­cide bomb­ing in Ja­bal Mohsen, Tripoli

Saly Greige rep­re­sented Le­banon at the Miss Uni­verse Pageant in Miami

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