Tonnes of dead fish wash up on shore of polluted lake

Reuters: Tonnes of dead fish have washed up on the banks of a lake on Lebanon’s Litani river, engulfing a nearby village in a pungent smell, in a disaster blamed on polluted waters.

Gherbal Initiative asks: After the scandal of Qaraoun Lake pollution and fish deaths last week. Can the Lebanese authorities explain the fate of the $55 million loan to reduce pollution of Qaraoun Lake from the World Bank in 2016?

Iran-Syria oil line: An impending environmental disaster in the Mediterranean?

L’Orient Today: Yellow locusts have swarmed the town of Al-Suh in Hermel, the NNA reports. Local residents fear this type of locust because it can reproduce quickly


BDL starts ‘rationalization’ of subsidies

LBC: The Central Bank and the Central Board decided to start rationalizing the US dollars that are used to finance subsidies of different kinds. This decision came as a result of the failure of Lebanon’s authorities in producing a mechanism to lift or rationalize subsidies in addition to the central Bank running out of foreign currency.

Al-Jazira: Caretaker PM proposed cash cards after lifting subsidies, possibly funded by Central Bank if foreign funding isn’t secured. MPs condemned the idea: MP Ferzli called it a gov’t “scheme” against depositors.


Power outage

Lebanon is heading toward a blackout in the coming two weeks if EDL does not secure funds to buy fuel, as per the Parliament’s energy committee head – The Zouk power plant will stop operating from May 18 – Jiyyeh plant from July 6 – Zahrani from July 8.

The Zouk power plant will stop operating from May 18, while other plants will close in June if EDL doesn’t secure funds to buy fuel, Parliament’s energy committee head Nazih Najem said. Yesterday, the Constitutional Council suspended a $200 million advance to EDL


Syrian students face discrimination

Human Rights Watch: Lebanon’s Education Ministry is blocking Syrian refugee students from taking school examinations unless they provide official documents that few Syrian refugees are able to obtain.


Freedom of speech under attack

Aya Majzoub: “The free speech situation in Lebanon, as well as the impact on media freedoms, has deteriorated so much in the last couple of years that Human Rights Watch and 13 other Lebanese and international organizations created a new coalition to jointly tackle the authorities’ attempts to increase repression.”


A cry for justice

Bassem Mroue: “Political interference in the judiciary has for years thwarted investigations into corruption, violence and assassinations. But mistrust of the judiciary is thrown into even starker relief now, when Lebanese are crying out for politicians to be held accountable for the disastrous crises in their country — not only the financial collapse but also last August’s massive explosion in Beirut’s port that killed scores and wrecked much of the capital.”


Strikes continue

The committee for teachers of non-Lebanese public school students held a sit-in before the Education Ministry, calling for salary payments in fresh USD, clear payment dates and fairer contracts, among other demands, the NNA reports

Alternative Labor Unions in Lebanon: Comparative Reflections and Lessons:


Data mining

The lack of publicly available data poses massive obstacles to activism and public policy. Listen to @LebPoliticsPod on the power of surfacing and curating hidden data.


Broken-hearted in Beirut

Layal Abou Rahal: “Perhaps this loss of hope is what is most suffocating for our young people. Even those who are luckier than most say they have lost their “joie de vivre” — this in a country famous for its love of partying, even throughout the country’s toughest periods.”