Lebanon names 1st female Arab minister in charge of security

The new cabinet, unveiled during a press conference at the presidential palace, includes 30 ministers from Lebanon’s rival political clans. (AFP)
Updated 06 February 2019
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Lebanon names 1st female Arab minister in charge of security

  • The new line-up is to see four women take up office, including the interior and energy ministries
  • She will be in charge of multiple, often competing security agencies, and of maintaining stability in the country

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s new interior minister has taken office, becoming the country and the Arab world’s first female official in charge of powerful security agencies.
Raya El Hassan took over Wednesday as a part of a new government named after nearly nine months of deadlock. She is one of four women in the 30-member Cabinet, a historic record for female political representation in Lebanon.
El Hassan says she is “assuming the challenge” of the ministry in charge of implementing the law and serving citizens. She will be in charge of multiple, often competing security agencies, and of maintaining stability where until recently the country has grappled with militant groups and limited spillover from the war next door in Syria.
El Hassan in 2009 also became the region’s first female finance minister.


New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

Updated 26 April 2019
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New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

  • The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July
  • Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues

RABAT: The Moroccan government on Thursday announced a “new social deal” with employers and the main labor unions, under which many workers will enjoy a pay rise.
The deal agreed by the General Confederation of Moroccan Businesses (CGEM) and the three main unions — the UMT, UGTM and UNMT — is the fruit of months of negotiations
The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July, except for the agricultural sector.
Government-paid family allowances will also rise.
Meanwhile public sector workers will be given a 300-500 dirham monthly pay increase over three years.
Of Morocco’s main trade unions only the Democratic Labour Confederation has not signed the social deal which, according to the government statement, is aimed at “improving spending power and the social climate.”
Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues, in particular health and education in the north African country which has been hit by protests over employment and corruption.
Mohammed VI pointed to social support and social protection programs that “overlap each other, suffer from a lack of consistency and fail to effectively target eligible groups.”
After months of stalemate, the dossier was handed to the interior ministry at the beginning of the year and the final rounds of talks were held.
The social unrest began in October 2016 after the death of a fisherman and spiralled into a wave of protests demanding more development in the neglected Rif region and railing against corruption and unemployment.
Morocco is marked by glaring social and territorial inequalities, against a backdrop of high unemployment among young people. In 2018, it was ranked 123rd out of 189 countries and territories on the Human Development Index.