TWITTER POLL: Majority believes Hezbollah will be convicted of 2005 Hariri assassination

Hariri, who served as Lebanon’s prime minister from 1992 to 1998, and again from 2000 to 2004, had played a central role in reviving the battered nation’s fortunes. (Getty Images)
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Updated 13 August 2020

TWITTER POLL: Majority believes Hezbollah will be convicted of 2005 Hariri assassination

DUBAI: A special UN-backed tribunal is set to announce its verdict on the 2005 murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri on Aug. 18 – and an Arab News Twitter poll showed majority thinks Hezbollah will be convicted.

Four alleged members of the Shiite group are on trial for the Beirut suicide bombing in 2005 that killed Hariri.

Arab News asked on Twitter whether the tribunal will convict the four, and out of 725 respondents, 64.6 percent said yes. The defendants will face life imprisonment if convicted.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) was going to announce the verdict on Friday, but had to postpone because of the deadly explosion at the Beirut port.

The court “is deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic events that shook Lebanon” and “expresses its solidarity with the Lebanese people in these difficult times,” it said in a statement announcing the ruling’s postponement.

STL is believed to be the first international tribunal set up to probe terrorist crimes.


Japan Airlines ditches ‘ladies and gentlemen’ for gender-neutral greetings

Updated 28 September 2020

Japan Airlines ditches ‘ladies and gentlemen’ for gender-neutral greetings

  • Japanese carrier will use the new forms of address from Oct. 1

Japan Airlines said on Monday it would swap “ladies and gentlemen” for gender-neutral greetings, following other global airlines in adopting more inclusive language for passengers.
Announcements at airports and on flights operated by the Japanese carrier will use the new forms of address from Oct. 1, the airline said. “Attention all passengers” and “Good morning everyone” will be among the terms adopted, local media reported.
Several airlines around the world have made a similar change in recognition of non-binary and transgender customers. Air Canada and European low-cost carrier EasyJet said last year they would drop “ladies and gentlemen.”
“We aspire to be a company where we can create a positive atmosphere and treat everyone, including our customers, with respect,” Japan Airlines spokesman Mark Morimoto told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an email.
“We have committed to not discriminate based on gender, age, nationality, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or other personal attributes.”
The announcement comes as gender-equality advocates say corporate support for LGBT+ rights is growing in socially-conservative Japan, where same-sex marriage remains illegal and being openly gay seen as taboo.
In April, a Japanese charity that launched a scheme offering digital partnership certificates — allowing same-sex couples to tap into the same staff benefits as heterosexual couples — won the backing of businesses from banks to insurers.
About a third of Japanese companies have measures in place to support gay couples, according to campaign group Nijiiro Diversity.
But activists say discrimination persists, and even though about two dozen cities, towns and wards issue same-sex partnership certificates to gay couples, they lack legal standing.
In March, Japan Airlines announced it would allow female flight attendants to wear trousers and ditch their high heels at work, following a feminist campaign that took off.