New board of directors appointed to run Lebanon’s ‘corrupt’ state power company

New board of directors appointed to run Lebanon’s ‘corrupt’ state power company
Lebanon faces economic collapse and the plunging value of its currency. (AFP)
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Updated 08 July 2020

New board of directors appointed to run Lebanon’s ‘corrupt’ state power company

New board of directors appointed to run Lebanon’s ‘corrupt’ state power company
  • Regulation of electricity sector a key condition of international bailout for collapsing economy

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s government finally appointed a new board of directors on Tuesday to control the state-owned electricity company.
Electricite du Liban (EDL) has long been mired in allegations of corruption and fraud. Its annual losses of up to $2 billion a year are the biggest single drain on state finances as Lebanon faces economic collapse and the plunging value of its currency.
Reform of the electricity sector has been a key demand of the International Monetary Fund and potential donor states before they will consider a financial bailout.
“Lebanon’s electricity policy has been inefficient and ineffective for decades — always on the brink of collapse, but staying afloat with last minute patchwork solutions,” said Kareem Chehayeb of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy in Washington, DC.
“The economic crisis has made fuel imports more expensive, causing a shortage, with external generator providers hiking their prices or seeking business in Syria. It is a wake-up call to decades of overspending and poor planning of a basic public service.”
The World Bank has described the electricity sector in Lebanon as “tainted with corruption and waste,” and the IMF said “canceling the subsidy to electricity is the most important potential saving in spending.”
Electricity rationing was applied for the first time to hospitals and the law courts, but Minister of Energy Raymond Ghajar said: “The first vessel loaded with diesel for power plants has arrived, and as of Wednesday the power supply will improve.”
Prime Minister Hassan Diab promised the Lebanese people on Tuesday that they would see the results of government efforts to resolve the country’s financial chaos “in the coming weeks.”
Addressing a Cabinet meeting, Diab said: “The glimmer of hope is growing.” However, the appointment of an  EDF board of directors was criticized by opposition politicians. Former prime minister Najib Mikati said the appointments meant “the crime of wrong prevailing over right … is being repeated.”
 


Dubai imposes new COVID-19 rules to combat virus spread as numbers grow

Dubai imposes new COVID-19 rules to combat virus spread as numbers grow
Updated 23 January 2021

Dubai imposes new COVID-19 rules to combat virus spread as numbers grow

Dubai imposes new COVID-19 rules to combat virus spread as numbers grow
  • The new rules require the distance between tables at restaurants and cafes to be three meters apart instead of two
  • Last week authorities in Dubai imposed new rules in the emirate banning entertainment in Hotels and restaurants

DUBAI: Dubai has issued new coronavirus rules for social gatherings, cafes and restaurants, as well as gyms and other fitness centers as part of its efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, state news agency WAM reported.
The new rules come into force as the UAE saw another record number of cases of coronavirus on Friday.
The new rules, issued late Friday evening, require the distance between tables at restaurants and cafes to be three meters apart instead of two, Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management said in a statement.
Similar rules have been imposed on Dubai’s gyms and fitness centers where equipment will now need to be three meters apart.
There’s also a cut in the amount of people who can dine together – with a maximum of seven people allowed to sit at a table in restaurants and four in cafes, the statement said.
Rules on social gatherings have changed too, with a decision to limit attendance at weddings, private parties, and other social events, to 10 people who must be first-degree relatives, whether in hotels or homes.
Last week authorities in Dubai imposed new rules in the emirate banning entertainment in Hotels and restaurants.
The UAE on Friday reported 3,552 new cases of COVID-19, as the number of infections once again hit new daily high. An additional 10 people died of conditions related to the disease.