Lebanon daily suspends print edition over economic crisis

The Daily Star
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Updated 05 February 2020

Lebanon daily suspends print edition over economic crisis

  • In recent months, employees at the newspaper had complained of not being paid, with one departing journalist reporting in December that some were owed up to half a year in wages

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s English-language The Daily Star suspended its print edition Tuesday, the latest casualty in the collapse of the country’s once-flourishing press.
The newspaper, which is co-owned by the family of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, said on its website the temporary halt of the printing presses was a result of the economic downturn.
It cited “the financial challenges facing the Lebanese press which have been exacerbated by the deterioration of the economic situation in the country.”
It said the temporary suspension came after “a drop to virtually no advertising revenue in the last quarter of 2019, as well as in January of this year.”
In recent months, employees at the newspaper had complained of not being paid, with one departing journalist reporting in December that some were owed up to half a year in wages.
A series of prominent dailies in Lebanon have disappeared from print due to funding shortages in recent years.
The Daily Star is the latest media outlet linked to the former premier to be struggling. In September last year, Hariri announced the suspension of Future TV, his ailing mouthpiece whose employees had been on strike over unpaid wages.

BACKGROUND

The Daily Star was founded in 1952 by Kamel Mroue, then owner and editor in chief of the pan-Arab Al-Hayat daily newspaper.

In January 2019, the Hariri family’s Al-Mustaqbal newspaper issued its last print version, 20 years after it was established.
Saudi Oger, a once-mighty construction firm that was the basis of the Hariri business empire, collapsed in 2017, leaving thousands jobless.
Hariri stepped down as prime minister in late October following unprecedented nationwide protests against alleged official corruption and ineptitude.
Last year, The Daily Star published a newsless black issue to protest the political and economic crises gripping the country.
The economic crisis has since deteriorated, and been compounded by a financial crunch.
The Daily Star was founded in 1952 by Kamel Mroue, then owner and editor in chief of the pan-Arab Al-Hayat daily newspaper.
It closed for more than a decade during the 1975-1990 civil war, returning to news stands in 1996.
The newspaper was bought by businessmen close to Hariri in 2010.


Facebook creates unit devoted to financial services

Updated 11 August 2020

Facebook creates unit devoted to financial services

  • The Novi wallet — set to launch when Libra coins debut — promises to give Facebook opportunities to build financial services into its offerings
  • Facebook Financial will handle management and strategy for all payments and money services across the platform

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook on Monday said it has created a new unit devoted to financial services to harmonize payment systems on its platform.
The new group, called Facebook Financial, will be headed by e-commerce veteran David Marcus, who was a president at PayPal before joining the leading social network six years ago.
Marcus is one of the creators of Facebook’s digital money network Libra, and heads the team building a Novi digital wallet tailored for the currency.
The Novi wallet — set to launch when Libra coins debut — promises to give Facebook opportunities to build financial services into its offerings, offer to expand its own commerce and let more small businesses buy ads on the social network.
Facebook Financial will handle management and strategy for all payments and money services across the Silicon Valley company’s platform.
“Today various payments features exist across our apps, and we want to make sure decision making, execution and compliance are not fragmented,” Facebook said in an email reply to an AFP inquiry.
“We want to be able to give people the ability to make a payment however they choose — debit, credit or Libra digital currencies.”
Noting security concerns posed by Facebook’s yet-to-be-launched digital currency Libra, the Federal Reserve last week revealed plans for its own instant payments system.
FedNow will provide households and businesses with instant access to payments, for wages, government benefits or sales, without waiting days for checks to clear, the Fed said.
The system, which is not due to launch for two to three years, “will be designed to maintain uninterrupted 24x7x365 processing with security features to support payment integrity and data security,” the central bank said.
Facebook’s announcement last year of plans to design the Libra cryptocurrency and payments system raised immediate red flags for global finance officials who expressed a barrage of withering criticism about the security and reliability of a private network.