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State electricity provider Électricité du Liban (EDL) announced a list of Beirut neighborhoods that will receive an additional two hours of state-provided electricity per day, starting this week. The additional hours of electricity will be implemented in areas with a network violation rate of less than 10 percent. In March, EDL launched an inspection of all 800 substation connection points to combat illegal encroachment. Collection of electricity bills with hiked tariffs, intended to counteract decades of losses, began earlier this year and prompted waves of citizens to cancel their subscriptions. The new billing coincided with the implementation of a plan to increase electricity provision. Insufficient power provision from EDL forces citizens to rely on costly private generators which, according to a Human Rights Watch estimate, can account for most of the spending in households with the lowest income.
Firefighters extinguished a massive wildfire that broke out Saturday morning in the Sinn region of Akkar, northern Lebanon, scorching almost 95 hectares of forest, according to the Akkar Trail Association, which runs a volunteer firefighting team. “This fire should teach a lesson in the need for preparedness, rapid intervention and mutual support,” the group said, as a particularly dangerous wildfire season begins in Lebanon while the country has severely limited capacity and resources to fight the flames. Volunteers with the Akkar Trail Association suspect someone deliberately started the blaze, which they said has been the year’s biggest wildfire so far and the worst since a devastating 2021 fire that killed a teenage boy and three million trees. Meanwhile, on Tuesday morning, an electrical generator explosion at a residential building in Beirut’s Zoqaq al-Blat neighborhood caused a massive fire that spread to two diesel tanks, damaging three apartments, a shop and six cars, Civil Defense spokesperson Charbel Msann told L’Orient Today. There were no reported injuries.
A public middle school teachers' union called on the government to reverse its decision to cancel this year’s official Brevet examinations. Union President Hussein Jawad argued that the Brevet “helps to raise standards and develop [public schools’] performance” while ensuring students have the necessary skills to advance to higher grades. Cabinet canceled the official examination due to “logistical difficulties” preventing them from ensuring the security of the examination centers. Earlier this year, a strike demanding improved compensation for public school teachers interrupted classes for more than one month. Public schools encountered staff, equipment and financing shortages hampering their performance at the start of the year.
Unidentified people set fire to school buses belonging to an institution owned by the former mayor of the Karkaf village in Akkar, Yehya Rifai, a suspect in the February murder of Sheikh Ahmad Rifai. The fire spread until it reached some municipal equipment stored near the buses, L'Orient Today's correspondent reported, citing local residents. In February, Yehya Rifai lost his status as mayor of Karkaf after mass resignations in the village’s municipal council. A few days before Yehya Rifai’s dismissal, security forces uncovered the body of Sheikh Ahmad Rifai after he had been missing for a week. They arrested the former mayor and other relatives of Sheikh Ahmad Rifiai suspected of kidnapping and murdering him over a family dispute.
Hezbollah announced yesterday that it “shot down an Israeli drone that entered Lebanese airspace ... near Zibqin” in South Lebanon. “Hezbollah shoots down Israeli drones over Lebanese territories when it's able to and when it's not too difficult,” a party spokeswoman told L’Orient Today. The last time a drone was downed in Lebanese territory was in May 2022. The Israeli army told AFP that one of its drones “fell in Lebanese territory during routine activity. There is no risk of a breach of information.”
In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from yesterday: “Lebanese discrimination after UAE visa ban?”
Compiled by Abbas Mahfouz