Chicago newspaper publisher may be first Arab American to succumb to COVID-19

Chicago newspaper publisher may be first Arab American to succumb to COVID-19
Mansour Tadros, left, joined Daily Herald Newspaper columnist Burt Constable, American Arab journalist Amani Ghouleh, and WBBM TV Reporter Jay Levin in receiving ADC’s 'Excellence in Journalism' Award in Chicago in 2010. (Photo by Ray Hanania)
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Updated 30 March 2020

Chicago newspaper publisher may be first Arab American to succumb to COVID-19

Chicago newspaper publisher may be first Arab American to succumb to COVID-19
  • Mansour Tadros, 69, fell ill last week with a suspected case of COVID-19 and died on March 28
  • Tadros worked Saudi Arabia for an overseas export company from 1975 to 1991

CHICAGO: An Arab American newspaper publisher who immigrated to the US from Jordan with his parents in the 1950s may be the first Arab American to succumb to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Mansour Tadros, 69, died on March 28 after battling the coronavirus for a week, his family confirmed. Tadros fell ill last week with a suspected case of COVID-19. A family member said he died in an ambulance returning to hospital.

This week, the US surpassed China with the most reported cases of coronavirus, recording 125,313 cases and nearly 2,385 deaths according to a report prepared by Johns Hopkins University.

“He fell ill last week with symptoms that we suspect was the virus. All the symptoms led us to believe it. We are waiting on the coroner to confirm,” said his son Fadi, who was at his father’s side when he died on the way to the hospital from their home in Tinley Park, a suburb of Chicago.

After immigrating to the US with his family in 1968, at the age of 17, from the Amman suburb of Na’ur, Tadros settled in Logan Square on Chicago’s North Side, a popular neighborhood for Arab American families. Tadros left in 1975 to take a job in Saudi Arabia for an overseas export company.




Mansour Tadros

It was in the Kingdom where he found an interest in news, writing that the region needed to counter the negative anti-Arab stereotypes by doing a better job of sharing their real stories with Western audiences, particularly in the US.

“While I was in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region, I found a side job working as a co-publisher for several booklets and books, and also newsletters and trade magazines. We developed several books,” Tadros said. He returned to America in 1991 with a desire to get into writing and journalism and that year joined the newly founded National Arab American Journalists Association.

He first launched a glossy magazine reporting on the advertising industry in 2000 but closed it down in the face of the anti-Arab backlash after the 9/11 attacks.

After a year-long hiatus, Tadros invested his money in a new media project, launching a bilingual newspaper, “The Future News” (Al-Mustaqbal Chicago) which circulated throughout the Arab American community in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. It focused on the everyday lives of Arabs and Muslims in America.

“Publishing wasn’t easy at all. It was difficult to get Arab American and Muslim companies to advertise. The community would pay for American newspapers that constantly attacked us with negative stereotypes, but they wouldn’t pay for an Arab American newspaper,” Tadros said during an interview in 2014.

To make the newspaper succeed, Tadros had to find other work, earning a living heading a roofing company and later working with another son, Faris, offering home mortgages.

“We Arabs in America don’t have a lot of respect for ourselves, but we sure do complain a lot,” Tadros explained.

“We pay to purchase mainstream American newspapers that are filled with anti-Arab hatred, criticism, lies and distortions about our people, yet we won’t support a newspaper that is a reflection of our own community that is published in English and in Arabic. I think that must change if we are going to improve.”

Tadros was recognized by the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in 2010 for his achievements in building his ethnic newspaper reporting on the daily lives of the Arab American and Muslim community.

Laila Alhusini, a Detroit-based Syrian American journalist and the only Arab in the US to host a weekday morning radio show — “the US Arab Radio” — called Tadros a pioneer in Arab American journalism and his death a community tragedy.

“Mansour’s newspaper was well-read. You would get stories about Arab Americans and Muslims that the mainstream news media always ignored,” said Alhusini, whose Detroit show broadcasts live every morning on WNZK AM 690 radio and on several other Midwest radio stations.

“Journalism is a struggle for Arabs in America, but we have to succeed to get our story out there, the real story about who we really are. We can’t allow the mainstream news media to constantly portray us in a negative light all the time.”

Alhusini said that although there have been 2,856 COVID-19 cases in Michigan, which has a large Arab American population, there have fortunately been no reported cases of deaths so far in the community.

Tadros converted his newspaper in 2014 from print to online after struggling to get Arab Americans to pay for subscriptions.

“I really felt we needed to establish an Arab American media. I was tired of hearing and reading things about our community that were inaccurate. We needed a newspaper that could present our own story not just to mainstream Americans but also to the mainstream news media. There were many young people who I could see wanted to get into journalism and communications and I thought they needed some place to work and learn,” Tadros recalled.

He added: “Journalism is not natural to American Arabs because of the lack of democracy and freedom in the Middle East. But there is a strong urge on the part of our people to want to tell the true story about who we are to the American people.

“But how do we do it? That urge is in every one of us. But not everyone wants to give up their careers to enter journalism. It is a new field. And it is a tough field.”

Family members said Tadros was feeling ill and went to the hospital on Wednesday night. He returned home to be quarantined but his illness worsened.

Fadi Tadros said that because of restrictions, they cannot have a public wake or funeral, but they hope to hold a memorial service when the pandemic passes.

Mansour Tadros is survived by his wife Lidya and three adult children, Fadi, Faris and Nadine.


Lebanese army in crisis mode ahead of donor conference

Lebanese army in crisis mode ahead of donor conference
Updated 16 June 2021

Lebanese army in crisis mode ahead of donor conference

Lebanese army in crisis mode ahead of donor conference
BEIRUT: The Lebanese army is in desperate need of donor assistance to survive one of the world’s worst financial crashes, it said Wednesday ahead of a UN-backed fundraising conference.
Unlike previous donor conferences designed to provide training, weapons or equipment, the virtual meeting France hosts Thursday aims to offer the kind of humanitarian assistance usually reserved for countries grappling with conflict or natural disaster.
“We are in need of food parcels, health care assistance, and support with soldiers’ pay,” a military source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
“The devaluation of the Lebanese pound is affecting soldiers and they are in need of support. Their salaries are not enough any more.”
Lebanon’s economic crisis, which the World Bank has labelled as one of the world’s worst since the 1850s, has eaten away at soldiers’ pay and slashed the military’s budget for maintenance and equipment, further threatening the country’s stability.
Already in July 2020, the army said it scrapped meat from the meals it gives for soldiers on duty, due to rising food prices.
“We are doing the impossible to ease the suffering and the economic woes of our soldiers,” army chief Joseph Aoun said in a speech on Tuesday.
“We are forced to turn to allied states to secure aid, and I am ready to go to the end of the world to procure assistance so that the army can stay on its feet.”
Thursday’s conference will see participation from Lebanon’s International Support Group, which includes Gulf states, European countries, the US, Russia and China.
It follows a visit by Aoun last month to Paris,where he warned that the army could face even darker days without emergency support.
“The Lebanese army is going through a major crisis, which could get worse due to the deteriorating economic and social situation in Lebanon, which may worsen when subsidies are lifted,” he said.
He was referring to a government plan to scrap subsidies on essential goods such as fuel, food and flour to shore up dwindling foreign currency reserves.
The army has been relying heavily on food donations from allied states since last summer’s monster port explosion in Beirut that killed more than 200 people and damaged swathes of the capital.
France, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey are among the army’s main food donors.
Iraq and Spain have offered medical assistance.
The United States remains the biggest financial backer of the Lebanese military.
It has bumped up funding for the army by $15 million for this year to $120 million.

Palestinian woman shot dead by Israelis in West Bank after attempted attack

Palestinian woman shot dead by Israelis in West Bank after attempted attack
Updated 16 June 2021

Palestinian woman shot dead by Israelis in West Bank after attempted attack

Palestinian woman shot dead by Israelis in West Bank after attempted attack
  • Palestinian health ministry said the soldiers responded with fire toward the assailant and neutralized her

RAMALLAH: A Palestinian woman was shot dead in the West Bank on Wednesday after attempting to ram Israeli soldiers with her car and attack them with a knife, the army and Palestinian health ministry said.
The Israeli army said “an assailant arrived in her car and attempted to ram into a number of IDF soldiers” near Hizma, south of Ramallah, before she “exited her vehicle with a knife drawn.”
“The soldiers responded with fire toward the assailant and neutralized her,” it said, with the Palestinian health ministry pronouncing her dead.


US envoy for Yemen heading to Saudi Arabia for ceasefire talks

 US envoy for Yemen heading to Saudi Arabia for ceasefire talks
Updated 16 June 2021

US envoy for Yemen heading to Saudi Arabia for ceasefire talks

 US envoy for Yemen heading to Saudi Arabia for ceasefire talks
  • Tim Lenderking will aim to reach a “comprehensive, nationwide ceasefire” in Yemen
  • He has visited the region six times since being appointed by Biden

DUBAI: US President Joe Biden’s special envoy for Yemen will meet with Saudi officials this week in the latest round of diplomatic talks to resolve the years-long war, the State Department said Tuesday.

Tim Lenderking, who has visited the region six times since being appointed by Biden, will aim to reach a “comprehensive, nationwide ceasefire” in Yemen.

In a statement, the State Department said that “Lenderking will travel to Saudi Arabia on June 15-17 where he will meet with senior officials from the Governments of the Republic of Yemen and Saudi Arabia, as well as UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths. Throughout the trip, Special Envoy Lenderking will discuss the latest efforts to achieve a comprehensive, nationwide ceasefire, which is the only way to bring Yemenis the relief they so urgently need,” the statement added.

Since Biden took office, the US administration has increased mediation efforts between both countries while easing sanctions on the Iran-backed Houthis. Despite his efforts, the Houthis have maintained their attacks on Saudi Arabia, undermining peace talks.

On Sunday, a Houthi explosive drone destroyed part of a school in the kingdom’s southwestern region of Asir.

“The United States also recognizes Saudi Arabia’s efforts to advance implementation of the Riyadh Agreement, which is essential to stability, security, and prosperity in the south of Yemen,” Washington said.
“Additionally, Special Envoy Lenderking will continue to press for the free flow of essential commodities and humanitarian aid into and throughout Yemen.”


Reformist drops out of Iran election on last day of campaign

Reformist drops out of Iran election on last day of campaign
Updated 16 June 2021

Reformist drops out of Iran election on last day of campaign

Reformist drops out of Iran election on last day of campaign
  • Mohsen Mehralizadeh resigned in a letter to Iran’s Interior Ministry
  • Mehralizadeh’s departure likely will boost former Central Bank chief Abdolnasser Hemmati
TEHRAN: The only reformist candidate in Iran’s upcoming presidential election dropped out of the race Wednesday on the last day of campaigning, state media reported, likely trying to boost the chances of a moderate candidate.
Mohsen Mehralizadeh, 64, resigned in a letter to Iran’s Interior Ministry, which runs elections in the Islamic Republic, the state-run IRNA news agency reported. Such dropouts are common in Iranian presidential elections in order to boost the chances of similar candidates.
Mehralizadeh’s departure likely will boost former Central Bank chief Abdolnasser Hemmati, who has been running as a moderate and as a stand-in for President Hassan Rouhani, who is term limited from running again.
Hemmati on Wednesday said that he would select Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to join his administration as either his vice president or foreign minister, embracing the top diplomat who was an architect of Tehran’s now-tattered 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
“The economic development of Iran is not possible without strong diplomatic engagement abroad,” Hemmati wrote on Twitter to explain his choice of Zarif. “My administration is after the removal of sanctions and use of foreign policy to achieve political development.”
The move appeared aimed at consolidating the pro-reform vote just ahead of the poll. Zarif, among the best-known political figures in the Rouhani administration, has come under fire from the political establishment in recent weeks after the leak of a contentious audiotape in which he offered a blunt appraisal of power struggles in the Islamic Republic.
There was no immediate word from Zarif on Hemmati’s announcement, but the minister has previously indicated a willingness to join the incoming administration.
Mehralizadeh’s withdrawal Wednesday leaves six candidates in the race. Polling and analysts indicate Hemmati lags behind the country’s hard-line judiciary chief, Ebrahim Raisi, the campaign’s front-runner long cultivated by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Other hard-line candidates may drop out Wednesday to lend their support to Raisi.
Mehralizadeh served as governor in two Iranian provinces, as the vice president in charge of physical education under reformist President Mohammad Khatami and as a deputy in the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, which runs the country’s civilian nuclear program. He came in last place in Iran’s 2005 election, but found himself barred from running in 2015.
Within Iran, candidates exist on a political spectrum that broadly includes hard-liners who want to expand Iran’s nuclear program and confront the world, moderates who hold onto the status quo and reformists who want to change the theocracy from within.
Although a range of prominent reformists and key Rouhani allies registered to run for president, Iran’s clerical vetting body allowed just several low-profile candidates, mostly hard-liners, to run against Raisi. Owing in part to the disqualifications as well as the raging coronavirus pandemic, voter apathy runs deep. The state-linked Iranian Student Polling Agency has most recently projected a 42 percent turnout from the country’s 59 million eligible voters, which would be a historic low amid mounting calls for a boycott.
In his weekly Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Rouhani urged the public to vote, state TV reported.
“It does not do us any good if the election is cold, lacks people, and its ballots are sparsely populated,” said Rouhani.

Iraqi FM in talks with Kuwait to develop joint cooperation 

Iraqi FM in talks with Kuwait to develop joint cooperation 
Updated 16 June 2021

Iraqi FM in talks with Kuwait to develop joint cooperation 

Iraqi FM in talks with Kuwait to develop joint cooperation 

DUBAI: Iraq’s Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein held talks on Tuesday with his Kuwaiti counterpart to develop joint cooperation between the two former-warring states.
Hussein met with Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah on the sidelines of the consultative meeting of Arab foreign ministers held in Doha, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.
“The two sides discussed a number of issues related to bilateral relations in light of the steady growth that these relations are witnessing,” the agency added. 
Hussein indicated, according to the statement, Baghdad's keenness to continue working to advance their relations and develop them at all levels.