Lebanon’s AUBMC lays off more than 500 members of staff amid economic crisis

Lebanon’s AUBMC lays off more than 500 members of staff amid economic crisis
The layoffs, part of AUB’s plan to reduce a significant number of its staff, come amid the country weathering worsening economic and financial crises. (File/AFP)
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Updated 17 July 2020

Lebanon’s AUBMC lays off more than 500 members of staff amid economic crisis

Lebanon’s AUBMC lays off more than 500 members of staff amid economic crisis
  • One former employee told local television media on the scene: “We’ve been thrown out on the street. Our salary is worthless anyway, we’re the ones who suffer”
  • The layoffs, part of AUB’s plan to reduce a significant number of its staff, come amid the country weathering worsening economic and financial crises

BEIRUT: More than 500 members of staff were laid off by Lebanon’s American University of Beirut Medical Center on Friday, local media reported.

The layoffs, part of AUB’s plan to reduce a significant number of its staff, come amid the country weathering worsening economic and financial crises. The university had previously announced in June that it was planning layoffs and pay cuts.

One former employee told local television media on the scene: “We’ve been thrown out on the street. Our salary is worthless anyway, we’re the ones who suffer.”

Lebanon’s currency, the Lebanese Lira, has lost over 80 percent of its value in eight months as talks with the International Monetary Fund are deadlocked over political quarreling between the government and the Central Bank.

“Temporary sacrifices will have to be made as the implosion of Lebanon’s economy poses a fundamental challenge,” AUB’s President Dr. Fadlo Khuri told Arab News in an interview in May.

“Lebanon has been living beyond its means as a country for a while and we’ve been concerned about this. Post-war, this wasn’t addressed,” Khuri said at the time.

Lebanese security forces were present at the scene when the announcement came out, with AUBMC’s entrance being blocked by protesters rallying against the layoffs.


Iranian Guard holds anti-warship ballistic missile drill

Iranian Guard holds anti-warship ballistic missile drill
Updated 30 min 50 sec ago

Iranian Guard holds anti-warship ballistic missile drill

Iranian Guard holds anti-warship ballistic missile drill
  • Footage showed two missiles smash into a target that Iranian state television described as “hypothetical hostile enemy ships”
  • In recent weeks, Iran has increased its military drills as the country tries to pressure President-elect Joe Biden over the nuclear accord

TEHRAN, Iran: Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard conducted a drill Saturday launching anti-warship ballistic missiles at a simulated target in the Indian Ocean, state television reported, amid heightened tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program and a US pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic.
Footage showed two missiles smash into a target that Iranian state television described as “hypothetical hostile enemy ships” at a distance of 1,800 kilometers (1,120 miles). The report did not specify the type of missiles used.
In the first phase of the drill Friday, the Guard’s aerospace division launched surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and drones against “hypothetical enemy bases.” Iranian state television described the drill as taking place in the country’s vast central desert, the latest in a series of snap exercises called amid the escalating tensions over its nuclear program. Footage also showed four unmanned, triangle-shaped drones flying in a tight formation, smashing into targets and exploding.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have increased amid a series of incidents stemming from President Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers. Amid Trump’s final days as president, Tehran has recently seized a South Korean oil tanker and begun enriching uranium closer to weapons-grade levels, while the US has sent B-52 bombers, the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and a nuclear submarine into the region.
In recent weeks, Iran has increased its military drills as the country tries to pressure President-elect Joe Biden over the nuclear accord, which he has said America could reenter.
Iran fired cruise missiles Thursday as part of a naval drill in the Gulf of Oman, state media reported, under surveillance of what appeared to be a US nuclear submarine. Iran’s navy did not identify the submarine at the time, but on Saturday, a news website affiliated with state television said the vessel was American. Helicopter footage of the exercise released Thursday by Iran’s navy showed what resembled an Ohio-class guided-missile submarine, the USS Georgia, which the US Navy last month said had been sent to the Arabian Gulf.
Iran has missile capability of up to 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles), far enough to reach archenemy Israel and US military bases in the region. Last January, after the US killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad, Tehran retaliated by firing a barrage of ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing US troops, resulting in brain concussion injuries to dozens of them.
Trump in 2018 unilaterally withdrew the US from Iran’s nuclear deal, in which Tehran had agreed to limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Trump cited Iran’s ballistic missile program among other issues in withdrawing from the accord.
When the US then increased sanctions, Iran gradually and publicly abandoned the deal’s limits on its nuclear development.