Lebanese author Charif Majdalani has put aside fiction to write an account of the profound economic and social crisis of his country, so tragically illustrated by the deadly mega-blast in the port of Beirut in August, with the publication in France this autumn of a diary, Beyrouth 2020; journal d’un effondrement (Beirut 2020; the diary of a collapse). Lucie Delaporte reviews this moving and nostalgic reflection on the demise of Lebanon, once dubbed “the Switzerland of the Middle East”, which nevertheless sees a spark of hope amid the rubble.
French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday notably slammed Hezbollah but also the whole of the ruling Lebanese political class, saying he was 'ashamed' of their inability to put an end to the political deadlock in the country, prone to a social and economic crisis, in an ill-tempered news conference after Saturday’s resignation of its prime minister-designate and which has halted his own intervention in the former French procetorate.
More than 30 international leaders and government officials took part in a video conference co-organised by France and the United Nations on Sunday to raise emergency aide funding for Lebanon after devastating explosions in its capital Beirut last week added further hardship for a population suffering a harsh economic and social crisis.
French President Emmanuel Macron visited blast-torn Beirut on Thursday, the first foreign leader to do so, when he announced that France will organize an international fundraising conference with other international donors to provide food, medicine, housing and other urgent aid, but warned that 'if reforms are not made, Lebanon will continue to sink'.
French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Lebanon on Thursday to meet with the country's political leaders, 48 hours after a huge explosion devastated parts of Beirut where France has already sent teams of rescuse workers, engineers and medical equipment.
In Lebanon, the lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic came as the final blow to the Middle East nation’s collapsed economy which has left half of the population living in poverty. Mass anti-government demonstrations which erupted last autumn have now flared up again amid food shortages and galloping inflation. Their anger has now turned on Lebanon’s banks for having acted as the burning fuse for the financial meltdown. Justine Babin and Nada Maucourant Atallah report from the capital Beirut.
Speaking at a news conference in Lebanon, Ghosn described himself as a 'hostage' in Japan with a choice between dying there - or running.
One Lebanese TV channel reported that Ghosn fled his residence in Tokyo with help of paramilitary group disguised among a band of musicians.
Carlos Ghosn, who was awaiting trial in Japan on financial misconduct charges, says he is in Lebanon to avoid a 'rigged Japanese justice system'.
The former Renault-Nissan alliance boss Carlos Ghosn, who holds joint French, Lebanese andf Brazilian nationality and who has been detained in Japan awaiting trial since November 2018 over accusations of financial misconduct at the carmakers, under strict conditions that also barred him from leaving Japan, arrived in Lebanon by private jet from Turkey on Monday according to several media reports.
French president took credit for solving political crisis in Lebanon last year and stated that Saudi Arabia had held PM Saad al-Hariri for weeks.
A degree of mystery continues to surround what appears to have been a forced sojourn of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Saudi Arabia last month, to the backdrop of heightened tensions in the Middle East centred on the Saudi kingdom’s rivalry with Iran. French President Emmanuel Macron played what Hariri has called a “historic” role that secured his departure from Riyadh, but the financial difficulties of the Lebanese politician’s extensive business interests may also be part of the complex plot leading up to the November events. Karl Laske reports.
Lebanese prime minister Saad al-Hariri, whose prolonged stay in Saudi Arabia since announcing his resignation on November 3rd was described as a hostage-taking by the Lebanese president, is expected to fly to France after intense diplomatic negotiations between Paris and Riyadh.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Tuesday said Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri must be 'freely' allowed to leave Saudi Arabia, where he has been staying in mysterious circumstances since announcing from there earlier this month that he was stepping down from his post, so that he can 'clarify his situation in accordance with the Lebanese constitution'.