In Lebanon dogs are being poisoned over bogus coronavirus reports

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Horrific videos and images of dogs agonizingly foaming in the mouth after being poisoned have circulated on social media. (Social media)
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However, not all poisonings had sad endings as pictures sent exclusively to Arab News showed Bruce, an Asian Shepherd, recovering from a poisoning ordeal. (Supplied)
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However, not all poisonings had sad endings as pictures sent exclusively to Arab News showed Bruce, an Asian Shepherd, recovering from a poisoning ordeal. (Supplied)
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However, not all poisonings had sad endings as pictures sent exclusively to Arab News showed Bruce, an Asian Shepherd, recovering from a poisoning ordeal. (Supplied)
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Updated 01 April 2020

In Lebanon dogs are being poisoned over bogus coronavirus reports

DUBAI: Horrific videos and images of dogs agonizingly foaming in the mouth after being poisoned have circulated on social media after a Lebanese TV station falsely reported that cats and dogs could transmit the deadly coronavirus.

The report, published on Saturday, has been since taken off social media after animal activists and experts dismissed the claims as bogus. The preceding panic however resulted in owners abandoning their pets or other residents poisoning dogs and cats for fear of contracting the virus.

However, not all poisonings had sad endings as pictures sent exclusively to Arab News showed Bruce, an Asian Shepherd, recovering from the ordeal after being poisoned in Byblos.

The owner took immediate actions when he suspected signs of poisoning, and took his dog to the veterinarian clinic for immediate treatment. With the veterinarian assistance, the valued pet dog is now recovering at home, its owner said.

“Here in Bsalim, due to the ignorance of some people who ignored the recommendations of the World Health Organization, one of them put poisoned meat on a street to kill pet dogs (friends of man). Watch Odin wrestle with death and his condition critical. You are criminals, criminals,” Joe Maalouf, a Lebanese TV presenter and animal rights activist, commented in a video he posted on Twitter showing animal doctors trying to revive Odin, a German Shepherd, that was poisoned with food picked up from the side of the road.

A separate tweet from Maalouf likewise showed images of poisoned meat in the patios and gardens of Bsalim, a village in the Matn district of Mount Lebanon governorate.

 

“More poisoned meat was found today in Bsalim, in patios and gardens in people’s homes to kill pets !! Who is responsible for this crime? The municipality has moved, and tomorrow we will review the competent court to open an investigation and review the cameras as soon as possible,” Maalouf said.

Lebanese biologist Gino Raidy also earlier posted on Twitter images of apparent rat poison baited for dogs, as he called out the TV station who earlier made the claim that cats and dogs transmit the coronavirus.

“After reports on MTV falsely claimed that pets carry the novel coronavirus (not true) which MTV retracted without an apology or clarification (as usual), many evil people are trying to poison our pets. These photos are from Sursock in Beirut today!,” Raidy commented on Twitter.

In the past week there have been two dogs and a cat that have tested positive with COVID-19 – the cat one after its owner had fallen ill with the disease.

Yet despite these cases and a third dog earlier in March in Hong Kong, the number pales in comparison with the number of humans infected, online publication sciencemag.org reported.

And experts at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said and continue to say that dogs and cats pose little risk to people.

“CDC does not have evidence that pets can spread COVID-19, and there’s no reason to think pets might be a source of infection based on the information we have at this time,” Casey Barton Behravesh, director of the agency’s One Health Office in the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, was quoted as saying.

Lebanese health officials on Tuesday reported 17 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 463, while the number of deaths has risen to 12.


Libya’s speaker reveals details of meeting with US ambassador

Updated 12 August 2020

Libya’s speaker reveals details of meeting with US ambassador

  • In an exclusive interview, Aguila Saleh tells Arab news Richard Norland backs plans for implementation of Cairo Declaration and formation of new government
  • The two men also discussed the resumption of oil exports, the prospects for a ceasefire, and plans to base the new Libyan administration in Sirte

CAIRO: Aguila Saleh, the speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives, said that the resumption of oil exports, the situation in Sirte and the prospects for a ceasefire were among the subjects he discussed with American Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland during two days of talks in Cairo this week.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Saleh said that they talked about the damage to Libya and other nations resulting from the oil blockade caused by the civil war in the country, and the need to ensure that revenue from oil exports do not end up in the hands of militant groups or foreign proxies.

They agreed that to prevent oil revenues being stolen or diverted, they should be held in the Libyan Arab Foreign Bank and not the Central Bank in Tripoli, until a new government is formed. Saleh said that Norland agreed that the headquarters of the new authority should be in the city of Sirte, protected by the Libyan army.

The hopes for a ceasefire and the withdrawal of militias and mercenaries were also discussed, along with UN talks that aim to accelerate negotiations for a political solution that could allow a new government and Presidential Council to be formed by September.

Arab News: What were the results of the meetings you held with the high-level US delegation in Cairo?

Saleh: I met the American ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland, and we discussed a number of important issues (including) the attempt to convince the Libyan people to resume oil exports, because the current situation of the oil corporation is negatively affecting the countries that benefit from exports, as well as Libya itself.

It was agreed to keep oil revenues in the (Libyan) Arab Foreign Bank, to prevent them being seized from the Central Bank in Tripoli by mercenaries. As is known (disagreements between) members of the Presidency Council (have revealed) the extent of corruption in this sector … and therefore oil revenues will not be disposed of until after a new Presidency Council and government are formed.

AN: Was the situation in Sirte discussed? Will the Libyan National Army withdraw, as has been reported?

Saleh: We had a previous proposal that was discussed, which is that the city of Sirte be the location of the new authority, the Presidential Council and the government, so that those in the east and west come to it. (Norland) was convinced by this proposal, and the idea that the Libyan National Army would protect the state’s headquarters and institutions. He also backed a ceasefire agreed through the support of the UN and the US administration.

AN: Will the other side in the dispute, led by the Al-Wefaq government and Turkey, agree to a ceasefire?

Saleh: (Norland) promised to convince them and end this tampering that is destroying the Libyan state. I believe that the meeting with him went very well and he understood everything that I proposed for the implementation of the Cairo Declaration. This includes all the initiatives (required for) a political solution that spares Libya and its people from the dangers of war, (highlights) the importance of peace and rejects foreign interference.

AN: What is the role of the UN during the next stage? Has coordination and communication begun yet?

Saleh: We have asked the UN to supervise the restructuring of the Presidency Council and the government in the near future according to the Cairo Declaration, which won almost unanimous support from Libyans and all parties that support ending a war that they see as a loss for all. The belief is that what can be achieved in peace is much better than the continuation of the war.

AN: Has a US proposal to demilitarize Sirte and deploy international forces been discussed?

Saleh: This matter has not been discussed and we have not seen any proposal for the presence of state forces. Rather, the Libyan National Army will protect the city and the new headquarters of the authority.

AN: Who will choose the members of the new government and Presidency Council? Will it guarantee that the model employed by Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj, leader of the Government of National Accord, is not repeated?

Saleh: The government will choose the members of a dialogue committee formed by the House of Representatives and the State Council, known as ‘13+13’ in accordance with the Cairo Declaration.

It takes into consideration the three regions and, on that basis, a presidential council will be formed that consists of three members: the president and two deputies, one from each of the three regions.

Then, a prime minister will be assigned — from a region other than the one from which the president was chosen — and form a government that will submit its program to the House of Representatives for approval.

AN: Has a timetable for reaching this stage been agreed?

Saleh: We have agreed a timetable for the implementation of the stages of the Cairo Declaration. Meetings will be held with the UN from Aug. 16 to Sept. 16, until the new authority is formed. (Norland) supported this and confirmed his support for these dates.

AN: Can Al-Sarraj be convinced to support this?

Saleh: Al-Sarraj is not part of resolving the crisis. The solution is in the hands of both the House of Representatives and the State Council.

AN: How does Turkey explain its continued deployment of mercenaries and weapons to Misrata and Tripoli?

Saleh: The issue is about achieving interests, which will not be imposed on us by force. If Turkey wants to pursue its interests through peace, there is no disagreement. Consequently, we stressed to (Norland) the importance of the departure of mercenaries from Libyan land — and they have already started to flee.

We have previously assured the EU that the continuation of the Turkish war (in Libya) and an escalation will lead to great losses and damage to all of Europe. They are convinced of that and therefore they are keen for a calm and peaceful solution to be found, which is a way out of the current crisis for everyone.

AN: How do you view the Russian position on Libya? Are there any updates?

Saleh: I previously visited Russia and met Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. They are supportive of the Cairo Declaration and the vision of parliament, and they listened well to what we presented to them. Likewise, during my tour of Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan.

I sensed that everyone supports a political solution and the Cairo Declaration, which is the culmination of all of the initiatives, including Berlin.

AN: Do you think that there is now a US-Russian consensus on Libya?

Saleh: Certainly, because everyone is convinced that their interests are best achieved through peace and not a war that hinders pumping oil.

AN: How do you explain the tone of the Al-Wefaq government, which continues to announce the importance of restoring Sirte and continuing the war?

Saleh: The Al-Wefaq government reached a dead end and did not present anything. Recently they started disagreeing with each other and making blatant accusations about corruption. Al-Sarraj cannot make decisions because they are supposed to be issued unanimously, but with his disagreement with his deputies, all his arguments are dropped.

This, in addition to the allegations of corruption, made recently by (Deputy PM Ahmed) Maiteeq, means Al-Sarraj cannot present anything. He is delegitimized in the eyes of the people and the members and the House of Representatives. He wants to continue in his position to implement what the Turkish regime wants.

AN: So the legitimacy in Libya now rests with the red line (as the strategic city of Sirte was described in June by Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi) that must not be crossed to prevent the further escalation of hostilities?

Saleh: Certainly, the red line has resulted in avoiding escalation (and) played a major role in protecting the unity of Libya, its land and people. It is, in my estimation, a large and important (step) in reaching the peace that everyone seeks, in a crisis that has gone on longer than it should have.

Therefore the red line, announced by President El-Sisi, is considered a great effort to stop the bloodshed among Libyans and convince everyone that a political solution is better than continuing to fight. I consider it a historic position for Egypt and its leadership.

AN: Did you agree with Norland any plans for further rounds of talks?

Saleh: We agreed to continue the dialogue. The ambassador emphasized the interests of the American administration, which has intervened at the appropriate time — and it is a very important intervention.

It is expected that I will visit the US to speak before the American Congress and present to them the facts of the situation on the ground, and the vision of the Cairo Declaration and the implementation mechanism.

AN: What is the role of the Libyan House of Representatives during this stage? Will it meet soon?

Saleh: The council is ready to take any practical positions and there is no disagreement about the political solution. We have a constitutional declaration that the required amendments can be introduced, with regard to the new authority, and approved.

AN: What about national reconciliation?

Saleh: Efforts are constant and there is no dispute among Libyans over support for a political solution and a fair distribution of power and wealth. These tasks will be completed by the new authority after it is formed on the basis of the three regions.

AN: What is your view of the security and economic situations in Libya?

Saleh: The security situation is stable and under the control of the National Army. So is the economic situation. Salaries are paid regularly and food commodities are available.