Lebanon Daily News Brief 09/08/2022

Thursday, September 8, 2022



Mayyas Dance Troupe Advances to Final Round of America’s Got Talent
The Lebanese dance Troupe, Mayyas – comprised of 36 dancers and directed by choreographer Nadim Cherfan – qualified for the final round in the American TV program, America’s Got Talent, on Wednesday night. The final round will take place on September 13. [L’Orient Today]

Minister of Defense Announces Increased Allowances for Military Service-members
Based on the announcement of caretaker Minister of National Defense, Maurice Slim, transportation allowances for military personnel will be increased to LL 1,800,000 per month, hinting at the possibility of future policies supporting the personal finances of service-members, especially through increases in salaries. [L’Orient Today

Lebanon’s Economic Committees Propose Deposit Recovery Plan
According to Naharnet, Lebanon’s Economic Committees, a grouping of Lebanon’s main businessmen and owners of major firms, on Thursday proposed an economic recovery plan that entails recovering 74% of the funds of bank depositors. ‘The goal of the plan is to stimulate investment… and devise a social protection scheme, and it can recover 74% of the deposits,’ Economic Committees chief Mohammed Choucair said at a press conference.” [Naharnet]

Bomb Detonates Outside Home of Lebanon’s Hezbollah-Affiliated Caretaker Minister of Public Works
In the eastern Bekaa valley, a bomb detonated outside the home of Lebanon’s caretaker Minister of Public Works, Ali Hamieh, who is affiliated with Hezbollah. No casualties were reported. [AP News]


A Presidential Role In Saving Lebanon Is Possible
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “Let’s be frank. Lebanon needs a winner who can lead. Usually, we talk about capable leaders and managers as two different – but related – skill sets. In the past, this may have been a way to get by. Before, this may have been a more helpful distinction, now Lebanon needs someone who can channel both skill sets, projecting a vision for the country that both unifies and revives the spirit of resolution needed to win and mobilizes citizens for the challenges still to come. The current situation has two constitutional outcomes: the election of a president within two months or the extended rule of the Council of Ministers who, in presidential absentia, assumes many of the presidential responsibilities. The latter scenario would illustrate the role of managers – a group of professionals who can carry on the day-to-day functions of governing in concert with the Parliament. While not ideal, a train wreck awaits the country if a fully functioning government cannot be assembled by October 31st. Caretaker Prime Minister Mikati is preparing for this team management scenario by pulling together capable ministers who can get Lebanon to move ahead with the IMF deal, reorganize some government functions, keep up sufficient support for the LAF and ISF, and maintain some semblance of a social safety net.”

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Lebanon’s Bid For IMF Deal Hits Snags

Maya Gebeily, Timour Azhari, and Tom Perry

Gebeily, Azhari, and Perry write, “Last week, the IMF told the government that its only attempt so far at legislative reform to tackle the three-year economic crisis – amendments to the banking secrecy law – still retained ‘key deficiencies’, after MPs watered down the original text, according an IMF legal brief seen by Reuters. Adding to the dim outlook, a plan for plugging a hole in the national finances – some $72 billion and growing – faces objections, including banks that say it puts too much of the burden on them. The latest pushback came on Thursday from a group of business leaders and former officials who launched their own version of the recovery plan reflecting some of the banks’ concerns. Without such a plan, an early version of which was torpedoed by politicians and bankers in 2020, ordinary savers are paying the price, locked out of deposits in a frozen banking system where the value of their cash has plunged since 2019.”

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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.