The war within Lebanon's judiciary over the Beirut blast

The investigation into the Beirut port explosion on 4 August 2020 has entered a fierce new battle. Head of the Beirut criminal court Tarek Bitar has unexpectedly restarted the investigation after a 13-month hiatus, entering into a confrontation with top judiciary bodies. The announcement was made following a series of protests in early January by relatives of the victims of the explosion and civil rights groups against the stagnation of the investigation and calling on judicial bodies to unbloc

Meet judge Tarek Bitar, rattling Lebanon's political class in Beirut blast probe

BEIRUT — Judge Tarek Bitar burst back onto the Lebanese political scene this week when he resumed his probe into the 2020 Beirut port explosion — ending a 13-month hiatus and bringing on new political challenges. The families of the port blast view Bitar as their last hope to uncover the truth in the explosion that killed over 200 people, ravaged Beirut, but with no yet being held accountable. Part of the political class, particularly those affiliated with the militant group Hezbollah and its a

Can China replace US hegemony in the Middle East?

The recent visit of China's President Xi Jinping to Saudi Arabia to attend the first China-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit consolidated ties between Beijing and Gulf states. The visit also laid the foundations for a partnership that might concern the United States and its allies. However, it is still unlikely that China would be able to replace American hegemony in the region. Xi visited Riyadh for a three-day trip, where he attended several meetings with leaders from Gulf and Arab count

A new challenge: Lebanon's maritime dispute with Syria

As soon as Lebanon signed what officials and the media called a ‘historic deal’ with Israel over maritime borders, a new challenge resurfaced in the north of the country. The agreement rekindled a sea boundary dispute with Syria which emerged last year after Damascus granted a licence to a Russian energy company, Kapital, to begin maritime explorations in an area Lebanon claims as its own. Although from a technical standpoint the dispute could be resolved by diplomats, the issue carries politi

Lebanon's currency crisis: New exchange rate policy to cause massive hardship | DW | 13.10.2022

Lina Boubess, 62, hasn't missed any protests since Lebanon's economic and financial crisis erupted in October 2019. Although she gained the title of "Mother of the Revolution" because of her constant participation in every anti-government protest in Beirut, Boubess told DW that her life changed dramatically over the last three years, and she became a full-time activist to support the next generation. "Before the economic crisis, I could afford to travel abroad every month. I used to have a lux

Italian court will hear appeal against decree limiting use of flowers and leaves

A request to hear an appeal against Italy’s decree on officinal plants has been accepted by the Regional Administrative Court (TAR) of Lazio. The decision means the ministers who issued the decree must provide the documentation that led them to take the decision to exclude hemp leaves and flowers from the legislation, which covers herbs and drugs commonly used as medicines. ... Do you want to read more? The data or analysis report you have tried to access is restricted to our subscribers. We i

The race for Lebanon's next president

The new parliament formed in May is preparing to elect the next president of the Lebanese Republic, who will be in charge for the next six years. President Michel Aoun is expected to leave office by 31st October, and the election of a new president represents a crucial test bed for political parties to gauge alliances and outline the political direction of the country. By convention, the president of Lebanon is a Christian Maronite, and the main responsibility is to serve as a symbol of the na

Why Lebanon's capital controls law is causing unrest

On 30 August, a joint parliamentary committee in Lebanon postponed discussions over a controversial capital controls law that would limit the flow of foreign capital in and out of the country. The proposed law is the latest of several versions passed by the parliament over the last year, but the body has now suspended its discussions until the government settles on a fully-fledged reform plan. It aims to legalise and standardise banking restrictions put in place at the beginning of the economi

Italy facing a turn back to the right?

Italian citizens have been called to vote in general elections on 25th September to elect a new Parliament following the resignation of prime minister Mario Draghi on 21st July. Polls currently show a broadly right-wing coalition as the favoured bloc for forming the next government, with many reporting a lead of around 20%. ... Do you want to read more? The data or analysis report you have tried to access is restricted to our subscribers. We invite you to take a free trial below where you will

Lebanon turns to solar power to address acute energy crisis | DW | 17.08.2022

When Patrick Ardahalian moved from Saudi Arabia to Lebanon in 2010, he was shocked at the frequent power outages in the country's capital, Beirut. "Power outages are something I had never experienced," he said. But for the Lebanese people, the situation was different, he added. "They never experienced stable electricity in their life." To address the country's energy crisis, Ardahalian, who is of Lebanese origin but grew up in Greece, decided to pick up solar power. "Lebanon is a very sunny c

Swiss CBD takes EFSA’s delay of novel food applications

A Swiss CBD company has questioned the approach of European authorities in demanding further data in order to advance novel food applications, describing it as an issue that might signal the end of hemp-extracted cannabinoids as a viable sector in the EU. Linnea, a Swiss provider of ingredients for the pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and dietary supplement industries, has two applications now on hold with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). ... Do you want to read more? The data or analysis

Legalizzare la cannabis è una questione di diritti umani

A quasi tre anni di distanza da quando è stato depositato alla Camera e al Senato, il disegno di legge (DDL) unificato Magi-Licatini sulla depenalizzazione della coltivazione domestica di cannabis per uso personale è approdato in Parlamento il 29 giugno a seguito del parere favorevole del testo da parte della Commissione Giustizia della Camera dei Deputati. Il testo della proposta mira a modificare il Testo Unico sugli stupefacenti (DPR 309/90) depenalizzando la coltivazione domestica di massim

Lebanon's dollarization of university tuition worsens students' lives | DW | 13.07.2022

In 2018, Manar Sleiman moved from Baalbek to Beirut to study architecture at Notre Dame University there, thanks to a scholarship that covered 85% of her expenses. Although the university where she chose to study wasn't the most expensive institution in Lebanon, keeping up financially was a challenge. "I already struggled to pay tuition fees and expenses, and I had to sleep in the university dorm," the 22-year-old told DW. But the economic crisis that began in late 2019 put her career as a st
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