Gaza’s sole power plant runs out of fuel

A Palestinian woman walks past a power plant in Gaza City, on Sunday. (AFP)
Updated 17 April 2017

Gaza’s sole power plant runs out of fuel

GAZA CITY: The Gaza Strip’s only functioning power plant was out of action Sunday after running out of fuel, the head of the territory’s electricity provider told AFP.
Samir Metir said that all the plant’s fuel, purchased with funding from Qatar and Turkey, had been used up.
He said it was not clear when the Palestinian territory would receive more, owing to a “dispute” between the electricity authority in Gaza and Palestinian authorities in the West Bank.
The Hamas movement seized power in Gaza in 2007 from the Ramallah-based Fatah organization of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas.
A mooted power-sharing agreement in the Strip has failed to materialize, and Gaza residents have been subjected to a decade-long Israeli blockade severely limiting supplies.
Fuel supply for the Strip’s two million inhabitants has been a long-running source of dispute, with most homes in Gaza receiving two eight-hour periods of electricity a day even when the plant is operating normally.
Protests broke out in January over the power shortages, which the Gaza Health Ministry warned could have “dangerous consequences” for patients.
As things stand, residents can expect two six-hour periods of electricity, Metir said, “including electricity bought from Israel and Egypt.”


Banks in Lebanon reopen amid security increase

Updated 25 min 49 sec ago

Banks in Lebanon reopen amid security increase

  • Two security guards will be placed in front of each bank, and security patrols will be conducted in cities

BEIRUT: Banks in Lebanon will reopen on Tuesday after the Association of Banks in Lebanon approved measures to ease the anger of depositors and customers. 

More than 3,000 members of Beirut’s police, the regional gendarmerie, the judicial police, and the information division of the Internal Security Forces will provide protection to banks and their employees, who carried out an open strike for a week.

They did so due to customers’ anger over measures applied by banks on withdrawals and transfers amid Lebanon’s severe political and economic crisis, which sparked mass protests that have been ongoing for 33 days.

Two security guards will be placed in front of each bank, and security patrols will be conducted in cities.

The Association of Banks in Lebanon decided on Sunday to “stop restrictions on new funds transferred from abroad, provided that remittances abroad only cover urgent personal expenses.”

It also decided to lift restrictions on the circulation of checks, transfers, and the use of credit cards in Lebanon. 

As for the use of credit cards abroad, ceilings are determined by agreements between banks and customers.

The association has determined a maximum cash withdrawal rate of $1,000 per week for holders of current accounts in dollars, while checks issued in foreign currencies will be transferred into their account.

It has also urged customers to “use their credit cards, especially in Lebanese pounds, to buy their needs.”

Meanwhile, protesters are preparing to block roads leading to Parliament in the heart of Beirut on Tuesday, to prevent a legislative session from taking place. The session had already been postponed for a week.

In an attempt to placate protesters, the presidential palace’s media office said the president has ordered investigations into “financial crimes, waste, forgery, money laundering and suspicious transactions,” as well as “negligence at work, promotion of counterfeit medicines and suspicious reconciliation contracts.”