Lebanese women mourn on Mother’s Day amid currency crisis and political stalemate

Lebanese women mourn on Mother’s Day amid currency crisis and political stalemate
1 / 4
Women carry signs as they take part in a march to protest against the political and economic situation, ahead of Mother's Day in Beirut, Lebanon March 20, 2021. (Reuters)
Lebanese women mourn on Mother’s Day amid currency crisis and political stalemate
2 / 4
Lebanese women hold placards as they protest against the country's political paralysis and deep economic crisis in Beirut on the occasion of Mother's Day. (AFP)
Lebanese women mourn on Mother’s Day amid currency crisis and political stalemate
3 / 4
Lebanese women hold placards as they protest against the country's political paralysis and deep economic crisis in Beirut on the occasion of Mother's Day. (AFP)
Lebanese women mourn on Mother’s Day amid currency crisis and political stalemate
4 / 4
Lebanese women hold placards as they protest against the country's political paralysis and deep economic crisis in Beirut on the occasion of Mother's Day. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 20 March 2021

Lebanese women mourn on Mother’s Day amid currency crisis and political stalemate

Lebanese women mourn on Mother’s Day amid currency crisis and political stalemate
  • The mothers cried and shouted slogans, demanding that the politicians leave
  • There were hardly any customers in the clothing and perfume stores in the main shopping centers

BEIRUT: Women took to the streets on Saturday afternoon on the eve of Mother’s Day, despite warnings from doctors about the risk of the coronavirus spreading.
Mothers’ anger at the current situation, which has prompted a generation of young people to migrate, pushed dozens to protest.
A group of mothers gathered in the Bechara Al Khoury area in Beirut and went to downtown Beirut and to the port, site of the port blast seven months ago.
They wore face masks and waved Lebanese flags and banners.
The mothers cried and shouted slogans, demanding that the politicians leave.
The protests took place as dozens of flowerpots, wrapped in glossy colorful paper, were spread out in front of flower shops in Beirut and its suburbs on Saturday. Among their leaves were signs showing their price of 40,000 Lebanese pounds ($26).
The front of bakeries and patisserie shops were filled with cakes, whose prices ranged from 50,000-150,000 Lebanese pounds.
Mother’s Day on Sunday in Lebanon coincides with the beginning of spring. The Lebanese traditionally spend lavishly on gifts for their mothers or wives.
But celebrating the occasion this year is different. Compared to the situation in previous years, there are hardly any customers in the clothing and perfume stores in the main shopping centers.
The prices, as Mrs. Samar said, “are extremely high for those who get their salary in Lebanese pounds. They can barely buy food and baby milk, if they can find them at all, so how can I buy a jacket for my mother whose price is twice my salary? Or how can buy her a bottle of perfume whose price is more than 1.5 million Lebanese pounds?”
The dollar continued its decline on Saturday, trading at between 10,100-11,000 Lebanese pounds.
The country is waiting for the outcome of the meeting betwen President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri on Monday, but expectations are not high.
After meeting President Michel Aoun on Saturday, Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party Leader Walid Jumblatt, said: “We have reached absolute stalemate amid the economic collapse. Hunger is knocking on people’s doors, and reconciliation has become necessary. God bears witness that I have told people (the reality of the situation).”
Legal money changers are also cautious.
Bilal Ghandour, an owner of a jewelry store in Beirut, said: “On Saturday, money changers refrained from selling dollars. They only bought dollars, fearing that the exchange rate of the dollar would rise on Monday after the meeting at the Republican Palace.”
Ghandour described sales in his shop as “very light.”
He said: “The price of a gram of 18-carat gold is $42, which means 462,000 Lebanese pounds, as per the exchange rate on Saturday, and a small piece of gold must be more than five grams. The situation is very difficult.”
“Those who have dollars can buy, but they only buy pieces whose prices do not exceed $200-$300.”
In a statement, the Syndicate of Money Changers in Lebanon praised the decision of the Banque du Liban to launch its electronic platform and allow banks to trade in currencies similar to legitimate money changers.
The decline in the dollar’s exchange rate did not lead to a decrease in the price of the commodities on the market.
“Everyone wants to compensate for their future losses,” said Antoine, a shopkeeper in Furn El Chebbak.
Mohammed, who sells flowers and plants at Tayouneh Roundabout, said: “The price of the tulip plant this year is 30,000 Lebanese pounds, compared to its price last year of 7,000 Lebanese pounds.
“The price of the cyclamen plant last year did not exceed 10,000 Lebanese pounds, and now it is 50,000 Lebanese pounds,” he said.
“We are not the ones raising the prices. People are tired. Their priorities have changed, and flowers have become a luxury.”
However, demand for cakes had not been affected, according to Ali, the manager of one of the patisserie stores in the Chiyah area, Ain el-Remmaneh.
He said: “Although the prices of sweets intended for Mother’s Day have increased relatively, jumping from 50,000 to 95,000 Lebanese pounds, people are still buying. Perhaps because they are cheaper than clothes, perfumes, and gold, of course.”


Egypt seeks to strengthen relations with Libya

Egypt seeks to strengthen relations with Libya
Updated 29 sec ago

Egypt seeks to strengthen relations with Libya

Egypt seeks to strengthen relations with Libya
  • During a meeting in New York with Mohamed El-Manfi, chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya, Shoukry reiterated Egypt’s full support
  • Shoukry praised the efforts of the Libyan House of Representatives in preparing the electoral law as an important step toward holding presidential and parliamentary elections

CAIRO: Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has affirmed his country’s keenness to strengthen relations with neighboring Libya.

This follows visits by officials from both sides and last week’s meeting of the Egyptian-Libyan Joint Higher Committee in Cairo.

During a meeting in New York with Mohamed El-Manfi, chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya, Shoukry reiterated Egypt’s full support for efforts to meet the aspirations of the Libyan people, stabilize the country and develop its various regions. 

Shoukry praised the efforts of the Libyan House of Representatives in preparing the electoral law as an important step toward holding presidential and parliamentary elections.

He also affirmed Egypt’s firm support for the preservation of Libyan sovereignty and opposition to foreign interference.


Iran says nuclear talks with world powers to resume in few weeks

Abbas Araghchi (C-L), political deputy at Iran’s Foreign Ministry, and Iran’s Governor to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Kazem Gharib Abadi (C-R) are returning to the ‘Grand Hotel Wien’ during closed-door nuclear talks in Vienna. (File/AFP)
Abbas Araghchi (C-L), political deputy at Iran’s Foreign Ministry, and Iran’s Governor to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Kazem Gharib Abadi (C-R) are returning to the ‘Grand Hotel Wien’ during closed-door nuclear talks in Vienna. (File/AFP)
Updated 33 min 7 sec ago

Iran says nuclear talks with world powers to resume in few weeks

Abbas Araghchi (C-L), political deputy at Iran’s Foreign Ministry, and Iran’s Governor to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Kazem Gharib Abadi (C-R) are returning to the ‘Grand Hotel Wien’ during closed-door nuclear talks in Vienna. (File/AFP)
  • World powers held six rounds of indirect talks between the US and Iran in Vienna
  • The talks stopped in June, pending the start of Iran’s new government

DUBAI: Iran said on Tuesday that talks with world powers over reviving its 2015 nuclear deal would resume in a few weeks, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported.
“Every meeting requires prior coordination and the preparation of an agenda. As previously emphasized, the Vienna talks will resume soon and over the next few weeks,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said, according to IRNA.
The world powers held six rounds of indirect talks between the United States and Iran in Vienna to try and work out how both can return to compliance with the nuclear pact, which was abandoned by former US President Donald Trump in 2018.
The Vienna talks were adjourned in June after hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi was elected Iran’s president and took office in August.
Ministers from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia will not meet jointly with Iran at the United Nations this week to discuss a return to the talks, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters on Monday.
But Khatibzadeh said Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian would meet individually with ministers from those countries on the sidelines of the annual UN gathering of world leaders and the nuclear deal and the Vienna talks would be among the main topics under discussion, IRNA reported.


Libya’s eastern parliament pulls confidence from unity government

Libya’s eastern parliament pulls confidence from unity government
Updated 21 September 2021

Libya’s eastern parliament pulls confidence from unity government

Libya’s eastern parliament pulls confidence from unity government

TRIPOLI: Libya’s eastern-based parliament said on Tuesday it had withdrawn confidence from the unity government, though it would continue to operate as a caretaker administration.
The vote in the House of Representatives exemplifies the wrangling between rival factions and state bodies that has plagued UN-backed efforts to resolve Libya’s decade-long crisis by establishing a unity government and holding national elections.
In 2014, eastern and western factions split Libya in two in a civil war, with an internationally recognized government in Tripoli and a rival administration backed by the House of Representatives in the east.
Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah’s unity government was selected through a UN-sponsored dialogue and his government was installed by the House of Representatives in March.
Dbeibeh has a mandate to unify state institutions, improve government services and prepare for national presidential and parliamentary elections.
However, on Tuesday, after parliament summoned Dbeibeh and his ministers to answer questions this month, 89 of the 113 members present voted to withdraw confidence in him, the chamber’s spokesman and several other parliament members said.
There was no immediate comment from the government.
The UN forum decided that presidential and parliamentary elections should take place on Dec. 24, but disagreements now rage over the legal basis for the votes and the laws that will govern them.
This month, parliamentary speaker Aguila Saleh said the House of Representatives had passed a law for the presidential election, though it did not hold a final vote on the bill.
The validity of that law was promptly challenged by the High Council of State based in Tripoli, in the west, which produced its own, alternative election law.
The House of Representatives, which was elected seven years ago but divided when Libya split, has not yet produced a law for a parliamentary election. 


Egypt offers to host 2022 UN Climate Change Summit

Egypt offers to host 2022 UN Climate Change Summit
Updated 21 September 2021

Egypt offers to host 2022 UN Climate Change Summit

Egypt offers to host 2022 UN Climate Change Summit
  • El-Sisi’s announcement came during his virtual participation in the Heads of State and Government on Climate meeting

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has announced Egypt’s aspiration to host the UN Climate Change Summit in 2022 on behalf of Africa. Britain will host this year’s summit in Glasgow in November.

El-Sisi’s announcement came during his virtual participation in the Heads of State and Government on Climate meeting on the sidelines of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly.

During the meeting, he stressed the importance of developed countries shouldering their responsibilities within the framework of the Paris Agreement and the UN Convention on Climate Change.

He also stressed the need to deal seriously with any unilateral measures that contribute to exacerbating the consequences of climate change, including construction of dams on international rivers without agreement with downstream countries.


El-Sisi: Egypt seeks comprehensive political solution to Yemeni crisis

El-Sisi: Egypt seeks comprehensive political solution to Yemeni crisis
Updated 21 September 2021

El-Sisi: Egypt seeks comprehensive political solution to Yemeni crisis

El-Sisi: Egypt seeks comprehensive political solution to Yemeni crisis

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi affirmed his country’s support all efforts to reach a comprehensive political solution to the Yemeni crisis.

Egyptian presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said Yemen’s Defense Minister Muhammad Ali Al-Maqdashi conveyed the greetings of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to El-Sisi and praised bilateral cooperation in all fields, especially military and security.

Radi added that El-Sisi asked to convey his greetings to Hadi and stressed the need for a solution that achieves Yemeni stability and unity, meets its people’s aspirations and ends foreign interference in the country.

El-Sisi said Egypt will spare no effort to assist Yemen in achieving these goals.