Dogs in Lebanon ‘pay the price of being abandoned amid economic crisis’

Dogs in Lebanon ‘pay the price of being abandoned amid economic crisis’
An animal rights activist told Arab News perpetrators of dog poisoning use lannate, which is a banned substance in Lebanon, but readily available. (Supplied)
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Updated 24 July 2023
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Dogs in Lebanon ‘pay the price of being abandoned amid economic crisis’

Dogs in Lebanon ‘pay the price of being abandoned amid economic crisis’
  • Anger over canine deaths due to poisoning as activists call for tougher actions against abusers

BEIRUT: There was anger and grief in the town of Chekka in northern Lebanon on Monday after several dogs were poisoned.

One resident, Maurice Boulos, aged 52, was walking his eight-year-old dog Wind one evening when the animal ate some chicken laced with poison that had been left in the street. Wind was dead within half an hour.

Boulos said a local vet confirmed the dog died of poisoning. Having discovered the cause, Boulos then rushed to prevent other dogs on the street eating the contaminated chicken. He said he was able to get two to the vet in time to save them, but that several other dogs died. 

Police began an investigation after Boulos asked them to check cameras in the vicinity of where the dogs were poisoned.

An animal rights activist told Arab News perpetrators of dog poisoning use lannate, which is a banned substance in Lebanon, but readily available.

The development comes as authorities in Tripoli investigate the case of a stray dog that rescued an abandoned baby left to die in a trash bag. 

The dog was seen carrying the bag by a passerby who heard the newborn baby’s cries coming from inside.

The bruised infant, who is believed to have only been a few hours old, was taken to hospital for treatment in Tripoli.

The scene shook Lebanese public opinion and social media users have hailed the dog as a hero. 

Ghina Nahfawi, an animal rights activist, told Arab News: “It turned out that it was a female dog and it was dragging the newborn baby to the place where it laid its eight puppies.

“The dog did not hold on to the bag but rather gave it up to the person who approached to take it without attacking him.”

Cases of abandoned and mistreated dogs have increased in Lebanon in recent years. Roger Akkawi, head of the PAW charity, said the reasons went beyond the country’s economic situation, adding many Lebanese “don’t know how to deal with a dog.”

There have been numerous incidents of dogs being tortured and killed either by shooting them, poisoning them, or even burning them, with some boasting of their crimes on social media and a number of people arrested.

Akkawi said the punishments for mistreating dogs in Lebanon are not severe enough.

“We know that some of the perpetrators were released after presenting medical certificates that they were insane ... for example,” he told Arab News.

Bashir Khedr, governor of Baalbek-Hermel, announced recently that the legal punishment for the crime of killing animals was insufficient.

He said the judiciary should “compel those who burn dogs to undergo psychological treatment and to work during the summer holidays in a shelter for stray dogs under the strict supervision of volunteers, with the aim of rehabilitating them.”

Akkawi said that the process of educating the public on how to be kind to animals requires addressing younger generations because older people have preconceived ideas that are difficult to change.

He suggested mandatory microchipping of dogs “so that dog owners can bear their responsibility” and added that stray dogs should be “neutered, vaccinated, and returned to the street with tags, as is done in Istanbul.

“Also, shelters should be secured by municipalities to avoid cases of loss of control over stray dogs.”

Nahfawi and Akkawi agreed that there were serious issues over unlicensed pet shops in Lebanon, with some breeding animals in their homes and then selling the animals on the street.

Nahfawi said: “We, as activists, are trying to inspect pet shops and ensure that animals are safe and well taken care of.

“However, it requires the efforts of the state, such as the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Environment.”

Nahfawi estimates the number of stray dogs in Lebanon at about 55,000, while there are no statistics on the number of domestic dogs.

“Since the start of the economic crisis in Lebanon, we have begun to see pet dogs that have been abandoned and thrown in the streets of Beirut and other cities,” she said.

Many people do not know how to deal with these animals in the absence of an animal welfare culture, she added.


Iraq hangs 10 convicted of ‘terrorism’: security and health sources

Iraq hangs 10 convicted of ‘terrorism’: security and health sources
Updated 16 sec ago
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Iraq hangs 10 convicted of ‘terrorism’: security and health sources

Iraq hangs 10 convicted of ‘terrorism’: security and health sources
NASIRIYAH: Iraqi authorities on Monday hanged 10 people convicted of “terrorism,” security and health sources said.
Courts have handed down hundreds of death and life imprisonment sentences in recent years to Iraqis convicted of “terrorism.”
Under Iraqi law, terrorism and murder offenses are punishable by death, and execution decrees must be signed by the president.
A health official said 10 Iraqis “convicted of terrorism crimes and of being members of the Daesh group were executed by hanging” at Al-Hut prison in the southern city of Nasiriyah.
A security source confirmed the executions.
They were hanged under Article 4 of the anti-terrorism law and the health department had received their bodies, the health official told AFP.
The sources spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.
Al-Hut is a notorious prison in Nasiriyah whose Arabic name means “the whale,” because Iraqis believe those jailed there never walk out alive.

Egypt keen to work with partners to find swift solution to Sudan crisis, foreign minister says

Egypt keen to work with partners to find swift solution to Sudan crisis, foreign minister says
Updated 43 min 44 sec ago
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Egypt keen to work with partners to find swift solution to Sudan crisis, foreign minister says

Egypt keen to work with partners to find swift solution to Sudan crisis, foreign minister says
  • African Union official praises Cairo during talks in Ghana for its pivotal role in efforts to enhance regional security and stability
  • FM Abdelatty emphasized the need for increased consultation and coordination between member states and the union’s agencies

CAIRO: Egypt earned praise during talks on Monday in Accra, Ghana, for the pivotal role it plays in efforts to enhance security and stability on the African continent.

Bankole Adeoye, the African Union’s commissioner for political affairs, peace and security, said he was keen to continue to coordinate with Cairo on all priority issues related to the bloc.

It came as he held talks with Badr Abdelatty, Egypt’s minister of foreign affairs, emigration and Egyptian expatriates, on the sidelines of the sixth Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities.

They discussed the latest political and security developments in the crisis in Sudan and agreed on the need to unite the country’s civil political forces, preserve national unity and institutions, and coordinate regional and international mediation.

Abdelatty said Egypt was aware of the seriousness of the situation and eager to work with all partners and mechanisms to resolve the crisis swiftly. He stressed the importance of fully involving Sudan in talks about ways to resolve the situation, to preserve “our Sudanese brothers’ ownership of these solutions and proposals.”

The minister welcomed consultations and coordination with the African Union’s commissioner on peace and security in Africa. He said Egypt remains committed to support of the organization and its agencies, and to participation in its Peace and Security Council, in pursuit of peace and stability.

Abdelatty emphasized the need for increased consultation and coordination between member states and the union’s agencies in response to escalating security challenges on the continent, the expanding scope of conflicts and the associated human suffering.

He also outlined Egypt’s agenda and planned activities for its chairmanship of the Peace and Security Council in October. He said its plans prioritize the operationalization of the African Union Center for Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development, an effort that President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has led within the union to support countries facing multiple crises.

Egypt welcomed the approval by the Peace and Security Council of a request from the Somali government to extend the time frame for the third phase of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia, Abdelatty said. He highlighted plans for the deployment of a new mission in the country when the current one expires, and emphasized the need to support the Somali government’s efforts to enhance security and stability.

Adeoye and Abdelatty also discussed other issues of mutual concern, including the Great Lakes issue, the Renaissance Dam, security challenges in the Red Sea, and the situation in the Horn of Africa.


Iran’s Revolutionary Guards intercepted UAE-managed tanker, Ambrey says

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards intercepted UAE-managed tanker, Ambrey says
Updated 22 July 2024
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Iran’s Revolutionary Guards intercepted UAE-managed tanker, Ambrey says

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards intercepted UAE-managed tanker, Ambrey says
  • Vessel had loaded marine gas oil off the coast of Iraq and was destined for Sharjah when it was intercepted on Sunday 61NM southwest of Iran’s port of Bushehr

DUBAI: Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have intercepted a Togo-flagged, UAE-managed products tanker carrying 1,500 tons of marine gas oil, British security firm Ambrey said on Monday.
The vessel had loaded marine gas oil off the coast of Iraq and was destined for UAE’s Sharjah when it was intercepted on Sunday 61 nautical miles southwest of Iran’s port of Bushehr, Ambrey said.
Ambrey added that the incident is unlikely to be politically motivated and is not assessed as a ‘war’ event.
The interception was likely a counter-smuggling operation by the IRGC, as the vessel’s “trading behavior was consistent with previous IRGC target profile,” Ambrey said.
Iran, which has some of the world’s cheapest fuel prices due to heavy subsidies and the plunge in the value of its currency, has been fighting rampant fuel smuggling to neighboring countries.
No further information was provided regarding the fate of the vessel.


UN warns Iraq becoming major regional drug conduit

Iraq’s premier Mohamed Shia Al-Sudani attends an anti-drug conference held with regional officials in Baghdad on July 22, 2024.
Iraq’s premier Mohamed Shia Al-Sudani attends an anti-drug conference held with regional officials in Baghdad on July 22, 2024.
Updated 22 July 2024
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UN warns Iraq becoming major regional drug conduit

Iraq’s premier Mohamed Shia Al-Sudani attends an anti-drug conference held with regional officials in Baghdad on July 22, 2024.
  • “Iraq appears to be at the nexus of regional trafficking routes for both methamphetamine and captagon,” UNODC said
  • Authorities in Iraq regularly announce large seizures of captagon, much of it moved across the border with Syria

BAGHDAD: Iraqi authorities seized record quantities of the potent stimulant captagon last year, at an estimated value of up to $144 million, with the country increasingly a critical drug conduit, a UN report said Monday.
“Iraq has been experiencing a dramatic surge in drug trafficking and consumption for the past five years,” according to a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report.
In 2023 alone, authorities “seized a record-high 24 million captagon tablets,” the equivalent of over 4.1 tons, with an estimated “retail value” of between $84 million and $144 million, it said.
“Iraq appears to be at the nexus of regional trafficking routes for both methamphetamine and captagon,” UNODC said, adding that it is “becoming a critical juncture in the complex trafficking dynamics observed in the Near and Middle East region.”
Captagon seizures in Iraq “reportedly tripled between 2022 and 2023, and overall amounts seized in 2023 are 34 times higher than in 2019.”
An amphetamine derived from a once-legal treatment for narcolepsy and attention disorder, captagon today is trafficked through several Middle Eastern countries, with Syria the main country of origin.
Authorities in conflict-scarred Iraq regularly announce large seizures of captagon, much of it moved across the porous 600-kilometer (370-mile) border with war-torn Syria.
According to UNODC, 82 percent of the captagon seized in the region between 2019 and 2023 originated in Syria, followed by neighboring Lebanon, at 17 percent.
Iraq faces an explosion in domestic drug use, with the repeated crises that have gripped the conflict-ridden country of 43 million people driving up usage.
During an anti-drug conference attended by regional officials, Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohamed Shia Al-Sudani called for regional cooperation.
“Coordinating and cooperating to pursue and dismantle drug gangs will serve regional and international security,” he said, adding that “Iraq is open to all cooperation” to fight “cross-border crime.”
“We will support any effort aiming to eliminate drug hubs, manufacturing stations, and cutting off their supply chains.”


UN expert urges probe of Iran ‘genocide’ in 1980s

UN expert urges probe of Iran ‘genocide’ in 1980s
Updated 22 July 2024
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UN expert urges probe of Iran ‘genocide’ in 1980s

UN expert urges probe of Iran ‘genocide’ in 1980s
  • UN Special rapporteur says the Iranian regime and its leaders should not be allowed to escape the consequences of their crimes

GENEVA: A United Nations expert called Monday for an international investigation into a range of “atrocity crimes” committed in Iran in connection with a purge of dissidents in the 1980s.
“There should be no impunity for such gross human rights violations, regardless of when they were committed,” said Javaid Rehman, the UN’s independent special rapporteur on the rights situation in Iran, insisting that “the Iranian regime and its leaders should not be allowed to escape the consequences of their crimes against humanity and genocide.”