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Activists have planned a sit-in for this morning at Beirut's Justice Palace to protest today's summons of Legal Agenda director Nizar Saghieh. The summons was reportedly over unsanctioned media appearances. Saghieh told L’Orient Today that there was no reason cited for the summons. Saghieh was previously called for a hearing after he criticized a BBA decision barring lawyers from making media appearances without receiving prior approval. The Legal Agenda director has refused to comply with the decision and filed an appeal to have the BBA decision overturned — on which a ruling is expected to be issued May 4.
Caretaker Energy Minister Walid Fayad announced the launch of an application to display fuel prices and the exchange rate employed by the ministry. “Lebanon Fuel Price” is now available on iOS, with an Android version coming in the next few days, Fayad said. The app is meant to show rapid updates to fuel prices if there is high volatility in the parallel market exchange rate, which has previously pushed the ministry to issue three different price lists in the same day. Fuel importers and gas station owners have repeatedly called for quicker updates or entirely dollarized fuel prices. However, the prices will continue to be set manually by Energy Ministry staff. Sharp lira drops on the parallel market previously led gas stations to close in an attempt to avoid losses.
Security forces arrested a butcher in the al-Msayleh area in South Lebanon and sealed his store with red wax after seizing more than 100 kilograms of spoiled meat. The seizure of 117 kilograms of spoiled meat followed an intervention by the Consumer Protection Directorate, which was tipped off by the Public Prosecution in the south. Last month, municipal health workers in Tripoli seized expired meat, fish and other food products. The European Commission last month announced a €60 million lifeline to aid Lebanon’s most vulnerable, identifying “increasing poverty levels, food insecurity, and disease outbreaks” in the country. Residents have said that rising electricity costs and spotty provision have increased the risk of food spoiling. In 2021, a customs official anonymously told L’Orient Today that there had been unprecedented levels of expired foodstuffs seized in the previous months after a series of raids exposed tons of unsafe meat, poultry and other products.
General Security yesterday announced that they will not accept passport renewal applications on Fridays, even after the end of Ramadan. General Security did not specify why they extended the measure, initially set to last only during the month of Ramadan. Last month, the state institution resumed the processing of renewal requests without prior appointments, which had been virtually unavailable for at least a year due to excessive waiting times to book through the digital platform.
Entrance to the Beirut National Museum is free of charge until next Tuesday, caretaker Culture Minister Mohammad Mortada announced yesterday. Mortada added free access to the national museum to previously announced measures celebrating World Heritage Day. On Tuesday, Mortada announced free entry on the same dates to the archaeological sites of Baalbeck and Anjar in the Bekaa Valley; Sour, South Lebanon; and Jbeil, Mount Lebanon. Similar measures were taken for International Tourism Day and World Museum Day. Entrance fees for the donation-reliant National Museum increased last year as electricity cuts interfered with visits and jeopardized artifacts by making it harder for specialists to conduct maintenance and interrupting the systems put in place for their preservation — notably the world’s largest collection of anthropoid sarcophagi.
In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from yesterday: “‘We are the event. We are the headline.’”
Compiled by Abbas Mahfouz