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Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri scheduled a meeting for next Monday as a preliminary to a legislative session, previously contested by most legislators due to the presidential vacuum, reiterating that he will call for an election session “when the candidacies are complete.” Deputy Parliament Speaker Elias Bou Saab said last month that bureau meetings would be postponed until several draft laws were approved at the committee level so they can be discussed alongside the proposed capital control law — a demand made by the International Monetary Fund to unlock a multibillion-dollar aid package and by commercial banks to end their open-ended strike. Ahead of last month’s Parliament bureau meeting, Free Patriotic Movement MPs and 46 MPs from Forces of Change, Kataeb, Lebanese Forces and independents, announced their intention to boycott any legislative session held before a new president is elected. Lebanon has been without a president since Michel Aoun's mandate ended on Oct. 31.
The Internal Security Forces announced the arrest of four suspected kidnappers who allegedly abducted a Brummana High School teacher to burglarize her home. The Internal Security Forces’ statement said the suspects had attempted to flee after forcing high school teacher Ferial Neaimeh at knifepoint to facilitate entry to her home. The abductors allegedly kidnapped Neaimeh last Thursday while she was en route to her job, but she escaped the same day, later reporting $68,000 missing from her home safe. One of the suspects in custody is her building’s janitor.
Fuel prices increased three times yesterday as the lira’s value reached a new all-time low of LL120,000 to the dollar. Yesterday for the first time, the Energy Ministry issued three updates to fuel prices in a single day, increasing 95-octane and 98-octane gasoline and diesel prices by at least LL170,000 over the course of the day. Since the start of this month, the lira has dropped LL40,000 on the parallel market while the latest LL20,000 drop came less than a week after reaching the symbolic LL100,000 to the dollar. Experts told L’Orient Today that part of the rapid losses to the value of the lira — which had already lost more than 98 percent of its value — be understood in terms of the diminishing value the losses represent as the exchange rate climbs.
Lebanon maintained its second-to-last place in the “World Happiness Report” published yesterday to mark World Happiness Day by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Lebanon is the second most unhappy country in the world, at 136th right above Afghanistan and below Sierra Leone. The Gallup poll measures the country’s happiness according to six factors: GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and perception of corruption.
In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from yesterday: “The road to war: An ex-Reuters journalist recalls the chase for WMDs in Iraq”
Compiled by Abbas Mahfouz
Want to get the Morning Brief by email? Click here to sign up.Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri scheduled a meeting for next Monday as a preliminary to a legislative session, previously contested by most legislators due to the presidential vacuum, reiterating that he will call for an election session “when the candidacies are complete.” Deputy Parliament Speaker Elias Bou Saab said last month...