Lebanon Daily News Brief 12/9/2021

Thursday, December 9, 2021


Detained American Journalist Released by General Security
Yesterday, American journalist Nada Homsi was released by General Security after human rights groups called for her immediate release from what they described as an arbitrary detention following her arrest on November 16. [AP]

Labor Minister Relaxes Labor Restrictions to be More Inclusive of Palestinians
Lebanese Labor Minister Mustafa Bayram lifted restrictions on certain trade-union regulated professions that were previously limited to Lebanese nationals, allowing Palestinian refugees to enter professions in sectors such as law, engineering, medicine, and public transportation. [L’Orient Today]

Lebanon’s Central Bank Sets a New Rate of 8,000 LBP for Withdrawals
The exchange rate used for withdrawals from bank deposits nominated in dollars was set at 8,000 LBP to 1 USD, replacing the previous value of the rate at 3,900 LBP. The current market rate, which represents the currency’s real value, is around 25,000 LBP to 1 USD. [Reuters]

Al-Jadeed Investigative Journalist Riad Kobeissi wins State Department Anticorruption Champions Award
Yesterday, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced the second annual cohort of Anticorruption Champions in commemoration of International Anticorruption Day. [State Department] Riad Kobeissi of Al-Jadeed was recognized alongside eleven other recipients from around the world for his investigative reporting of corruption at the Port of Beirut, which he began exposing at least seven years prior to the August 4th, 2020 explosion. [Naharnet]


Economic Bits of Interest
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “I am an avid reader of ‘Lebanon This Week,’ a weekly, English-language report published by the Byblos Bank Economic Research and Analysis Department headed by our colleague Nassib Ghobril…There are several items of interest from the November 27, 2021 edition that are worth sharing and analyzing, given what it tells us about the state of ‘resilience’ in the Lebanese economy and whether or not that descriptor is even appropriate. The first note comes from the Milken Institute’s Global Opportunities Index (GOI) which identified the investment climate in 143 countries to help foreign investors decide on where to place their money. In 2021, Lebanon has slid down 19 places, from 87th to 106th worldwide, as well as down two places among Arab countries, now in 10th place…”

Read more here

Foreign Policy
Lebanon’s Reformers Trade the Street for the Ballot Box
Tessa Fox

Tessa Fox writes, “The number of diaspora Lebanese who registered to vote in next year’s election has soared to 244,442, a big jump from the 93,000 registered for the 2018 election. People who lost everything—even their homeland—in the last two years will likely vote angry. And the diaspora vote is important in another way: Overseas voters are freed from the clientelistic networks that often chain people to their parties in Lebanon. Traditional political parties intentionally make the state weak in order to monopolize key services, and as elections draw closer, clientelism only increases.”

Read More Here

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.