Hundreds protest against child marriage in Lebanon

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A Lebanese women hold a placards as they participate in a march against marriage before the age of 18, in the capital Beirut on March 2, 2019. (AFP)
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Lebanese demonstrators hold placards as they participate in a march against marriage before the age of 18 in the capital Beirut, on March 2, 2019. (AFP)
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Young Lebanese gilrs hold a placards as they participate in a march against marriage before the age of 18, in the capital Beirut on March 2, 2019. (AFP)
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A Lebanese woman hold a placard as she participates in a march against marriage before the age of 18, in the capital Beirut on March 2, 2019. The arabic writing on the placard reads "Not before 18". (AFP)
Updated 02 March 2019

Hundreds protest against child marriage in Lebanon

  • Some protestors carried placards with slogans reading “Not before 18” and “Stop early marriage”
  • Organized by civil society groups, the rally attracted women of all ages and some lawmakers

BEIRUT: Hundreds protested on Saturday in Lebanon against child marriage, demanding lawmakers forbid unions below the age of 18, in a country where some faiths allow girls to be wed at 14.
Organized by civil society groups, the rally attracted women of all ages — and some lawmakers — who marched on parliament in the capital Beirut, an AFP photographer said.
Some carried placards with slogans reading “Not before 18” and “Stop early marriage.”
Abir Abdel Razeq, a 22-year-old who carried her young daughter in her arms, said that she married at 14.
“I hope that my daughter does not get married early, and that she finishes school — I hope that she will not marry before she is 22,” Razeq said.
The protest came as a bill designating 18 as the minimum age for marriage awaits parliament’s consideration.
Lebanon does not have nationwide laws on marriage and divorce, since these areas are governed by the country’s 18 religious communities.
Elements of both the Muslim and Christian communities allow girls to be married at 14.


Debate rages over Turkey’s surging pandemic numbers

Pedestrians, wearing face masks, walk in a street of Ankara on November 20, 2020. (AFP)
Updated 49 min 45 sec ago

Debate rages over Turkey’s surging pandemic numbers

  • 20% of Israeli travelers to Turkey in October tested positive for coronavirus on their return
  • Concern as unofficial estimates indicate a possible 300% increase in virus cases in past month

ANKARA: Unofficial sources have warned that numbers of COVID-19 cases in Turkey are skyrocketing.

The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) estimated that daily COVID-19 cases have risen to more than 47,500, of which about 12,500 are in Istanbul. This would represent a 300 percent increase in November compared to the month before.

According to official data, however, Turkey recorded 5,103 new COVID-19 patients on Nov. 20 — the second highest new daily figure since March — and its highest daily death toll with 141 fatalities.

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu announced that 186 people died from “infectious diseases” in the city on Nov. 22 — more than the official countrywide death toll. (The Turkish health ministry is accused of classifying some COVID-related deaths as "infection-related deaths")

The TTB, whose data drew on figures from 1,270 medics in 76 provinces, claimed that someone in Turkey dies from COVID-19 every 10 minutes. It declared that “they have lost control of the pandemic.”

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca previously admitted that they do not include everyone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the number of daily cases — they only count those who show symptoms. Following this admission Turkey was put on the UK’s quarantine-on-arrival list in early October.

Reports drawing on Israeli health ministry data say that 20 percent of Israeli travelers to Turkey in October tested positive for coronavirus on their return home, which experts consider a worryingly high figure.

Everyone arriving in Israel is obliged to self-isolate for 14 days. There is no such an obligation in Turkey.

“The countries which prove successful in managing the pandemic are those that apply strict quarantine rules and rigorously regulate arrivals in the country. But this is not the case in Turkey nowadays,” said Guner Sonmez, a radiologist from Uskudar University in Istanbul.

“Only one case can again trigger a whole chain of contagion and begin a new wave of pandemic. However, no PCR test is required now in Turkish airports for the passengers who enter the country. It is a very big mistake for managing the dynamics of the pandemic.”

Turkey recently re-introduced a partial evening curfew and restrictions on the weekends, although scientists have been urging a full 14-day lockdown.