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Daylight savings will take effect at midnight on Wednesday, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced yesterday, backtracking on last week’s controversial decision to postpone the usual switch to daylight savings time by one month. “I did not make a confessional or sectarian decision,” Mikati said, adding that he had hoped to alleviate the daily fast observed by Muslims during Ramadan “without causing any harm to any other Lebanese component.” Middle East Airlines, which had adjusted flight times in line with the government decision, announced yesterday that flights would be rescheduled to daylight savings time as of Wednesday. After yesterday’s cabinet meeting, Mikati claimed that the initial decision to prolong winter time was the result of “intensive meetings over a period of months, with the participation of ministers and stakeholders.” A video shared to local television channel Al Jadeed last week reportedly showed Mikati and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri discussing the decision.
Zoya Rouhana, co-founder and director of the organization KAFA — which campaigns against gender-based violence — decried the prevalence of “toxic masculinity” after the alleged murder of a young woman by her husband. The murder victim was buried in Beirut after she succumbed to 10 gunshot wounds, allegedly fired by her husband — who was confirmed as a suspect in the investigation, according to an Internal Security Forces source. A local official speaking to L’Orient Today dubbed the murder an “honor killing,” while local media reported that the husband had shot his wife over intimate photos on her phone. “Men consider women as their own property,” Rouhana said, explaining “the main cause of violence against women” in the country — where honor killings were thought to be extenuating until 2011 — continues to target and kill women. Last month, a man shot and killed his ex-wife in broad daylight. Ghida Anani, director of Abaad, an NGO focusing on women’s rights and gender equity, commented on the alleged immolation of a pregnant woman by her husband last summer, claiming that domestic violence had become widespread amid the country’s economic collapse.
Employees of state telecom operator Ogero held a sit-in to reiterate their demands for improved salaries in front of the company's headquarters in Bir Hassan, an area in the southern suburbs of Beirut. The employees have been on strike since last Friday. Yesterday, they blocked a nearby highway, demanding the adjustment and dollarization of their salaries. Their strike is the latest in a series of similar protests by public employees — notably an ongoing eight-month strike by public administration employees — demanding improved compensation amid the lira’s depreciation on the parallel market. Last August, Ogero employees ended a weeks-long strike, during which telecom outages proliferated across Lebanon after former President Michel Aoun approved funding for an increase to their salaries.
The Finance Ministry announced that it would collect in cash a portion of the value-added tax (VAT) owed by businesses from several sectors. As of the first quarter of this year, restaurants and hotels will owe half of their VAT in cash, while jewelers and goldsmiths will owe three-quarters of the tax in cash. The ministry’s statement said they had notified the syndicates of restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, bakeries, hotels, goldsmiths and jewelers. The measure is considered indicative of an attempt to collect lira in cash to mend a deficit between the stated value of bank deposits and the actual value of banknotes deposited, to finance public employee salary payments and to aid the central bank in its attempt to regulate the exchange rate.
In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from yesterday: “What’s with all the construction going on in Mar Mikhael?”
Compiled by Abbas Mahfouz
Want to get the Morning Brief by email? Click here to sign up.Daylight savings will take effect at midnight on Wednesday, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced yesterday, backtracking on last week’s controversial decision to postpone the usual switch to daylight savings time by one month. “I did not make a confessional or sectarian decision,” Mikati said, adding that he had hoped...