Lebanon’s Hariri expects new cabinet in 7-10 days — TV interview

Prime Minister-designate Saad Al-Hariri talks inside the parliament building at downtown Beirut, Lebanon May 28, 2018. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 05 October 2018
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Lebanon’s Hariri expects new cabinet in 7-10 days — TV interview

BEIRUT: A new Lebanese government will be formed within a week to ten days because the country's economic troubles can no longer allow for any more delay, Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri said on Thursday.
Since a parliamentary election in May, political stalemate has prevented Lebanon from forming a national unity government, raising concerns in a country with one of the world's highest rates of public debt.
"The economic situation is very difficult...(it) can't bear disputes," Hariri said in an interview on a prime-time television show, referring to political wrangling which has delayed formation of a government.
"There are solutions, which (President Michel Aoun) and I have discussed ... Within a week to ten 10 days, the government will be formed," he said.
In the five months since the May vote, Hariri has expressed optimism several times about a near breakthrough.
Key parties in Lebanon's sectarian power-sharing system have jostled over ministries, as foreign donors urged avoiding delays. Lebanese politicians have warned of economic crisis.
A Paris donors conference in April yielded pledges of billions, conditional on reforms that the new government will have to undertake.
A big sticking point in negotiations has been the competing demands of Maronite Christian Aoun and his Free Patriotic Movement on the one hand, versus their Maronite rival Samir Geagea with his Lebanese Forces party on the other.
"We all have to make sacrifices and work together," Hariri said. He dismissed comments that foreign regional pressure had hindered the process.
The IMF wants to see immediate and substantial fiscal adjustment to improve the sustainability of Lebanon's public debt, which stood at over 150 percent of gross domestic product at the end of 2017.
Lebanon's last coalition government continued as a caretaker administration after the May vote, which produced a parliament tilted in favour of the Iran-backed Shiite Hezbollah movement. 


Dead body business attracts medics, drug dealers in Egypt

Egyptian Christians stand outside St. Markos Church in Minya, south of Cairo, Egypt, in this Jan. 6, 2015 file photo. (AP)
Updated 23 July 2019
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Dead body business attracts medics, drug dealers in Egypt

  • Some of the gravediggers remove tissues and grease from the bones by boiling them to remove their odor before selling them to students

CAIRO: The Egyptian Orthodox Church has issued a statement condemning the theft of the body of the Patriarch Gerges, son of priest Ibrahim Al-Basit, from his family’s burial place in the Minya governorate.
Last Saturday, the cemetery was opened and Al-Basit’s body was stolen. The crime of stealing the bodies of the dead has recently spread across Egypt, especially while the sanctity of the body remains preserved. It is also common for the remains to be collected two years after the burial.
Last October, a gang was arrested after stealing bodies from their graves. An investigation has revealed that the main defendant sold the bodies to medical students for practical learning.
Some of the gravediggers remove tissues and grease from the bones by boiling them to remove their odor before selling them to students.
The investigation found that the defendant had put a price on various limbs. The leg and the arm were priced at 3,000 Egyptian pounds ($180), the skull cost 5,000 pounds and the whole body was worth 20,000 pounds.
Ashraf Farahat, a legal expert and lawyer, said that Egyptian law demands up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of 100-500 pounds for criminals who violate the sanctity of graves.
Yasser Sayed Ahmed, a legal expert and lawyer, said he knew of many cases where cemetery guards and assistants help people access graves for superstitious reasons in exchange for large sums of money.
The majority of these cases are happening with the help of the guards of the tombs. They exhume graves at night to extract the bodies and separate the organs to sell bones and skulls. They often sell them to drug dealers by grinding and mixing some materials for sale at high prices.