Lebanon Daily News Brief 06/01/2022

Wednesday, June 1, 2022




Dr. Huda Zoghbi Named 2022 Kavli Prize Laureate
Dr. Huda Zoghbi, pioneering neurologist at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital and honorary member of ATFL has been awarded the 2022 Kavli Prize in the field of neuroscience. Dr. Zoghbi commented, “I am deeply honored by this recognition and credit my mentors, trainees, collaborators and the incredible research environment at Baylor and Texas Children’s Hospital in helping me advance the work on SCA1 and Rett syndrome . . . To be acknowledged alongside Harry Orr, Jean-Louis Mandel and Chris Walsh is especially meaningful as it is beautiful recognition of the power of genetics for understanding disease.” [PR Newswire]

Parliament to Elect Joint Committees’ Members Next Tuesday
The Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri announced a Parliamentary session next Tuesday, by when Lebanon’s legislative body will vote on the members of the joint committees. Naharnet reports, “Intense political horse-trading is expected in the coming months, as observers have warned of protracted deadlocks during consultations to name a new prime minister and in the run-up to an election later this year to replace President Michel Aoun.” [Naharnet]

Lebanese Forces Head Maintains Position on Formation of New Government
Samir Geagea, head of the Lebanese Forces Party, commented on the formation of a new government, saying, “If it’s a government that includes everyone as usual, of course we won’t approve and we won’t take part.” Reuters reports, “…They (Hezbollah) shouldn’t celebrate too much,’ he said, adding that the splits in parliament would lead to a ‘major confrontation’ between Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allies on one side and the Saudi-aligned LF on the other.” [Reuters]

FPM-Affiliated Deputy Speaker of Parliament Elected
MP Elias Bou Saab, supported by the FPM, was elected as Deputy Speaker of Parliament – a position traditionally held by a Greek Orthodox MP – after the second round of voting resulted in him being the recipient of 65 votes. [L’Orient Today

World Bank: Lebanon Needs ‘Credible’ Reforms
In a statement of warning addressed to the Lebanese government, the World Bank emphasized Lebanon’s need for a, “credible, comprehensive and equitable macro-financial stabilisation programme if it wants to avoid the complete destruction of the country’s social and economic networks.” The World Bank’s Director for the Mashreq Region Saroj Kumar Jha said, “Despite early warnings, Lebanon has lost precious time and numerous opportunities to adopt a path to reform its economic and financial system . . . “The cost of inaction is colossal, not only on daily lives of citizens but also on the future of the Lebanese people.” [The National]


Post-Election Lebanon Grinds On Without A National Strategy
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “Fitch Ratings commented in a report released May 27, that the challenges of building coalitions portends significant roadblocks with respect to Lebanon’s reform momentum. The report called the results of the election “inconclusive,” and asserted that it will be difficult to form a stable governing majority and therefore adopt any reform agenda. Chief among the disagreements among MPs is banking sector reform, despite the economic reform plan adopted on the final day of the Mikati government and in spite of the Staff-level agreement with the IMF. There are a number of banking sector reforms, opposed by some veteran MPs that must be addressed before any IMF relief package can be implemented. Fitch, of course, did not directly engage with critical issues such as an independent judiciary, completion of the Beirut Port explosion investigation, political reforms, reduction of public sector costs, and improvements to key sectors such as electricity and telecommunications. While the list is well known as well as optional solutions, the lack of a consensus among parliamentarians will impede any progress and hold up the presidential election as well.”

Al Monitor
Rebirth Beirut Brings Nightlife Back To Lebanon’s Iconic Gemmayzeh

Robert McKelvey

McKelvey writes, “NGO Rebirth Beirut has brought 24-hour power back to Lebanon’s beloved nightlife district, hoping to encourage visitors and businesses to return . . . Dozens of people gathered on Gemmayzeh Street — once the heart of Beirut’s vibrant nightlife scene — Sunday to watch as light was restored to the area. Ordinarily, the streets would already be growing dim with the sunset. Instead, with the press of a big red button, onlookers were bathed in the bright glow of street lamps and party lights. It was the culmination of the nongovernmental organization Rebirth Beirut’s “Light Your Street” initiative in front of its Gemmayzeh headquarters.”

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the American Task Force on Lebanon, a non-profit, nonpartisan leadership organization of Lebanese-Americans.