A Bundle Of English Reports, News and Editorials For January 12/2020 Addressing the On Going Mass Demonstrations & Sit In-ins In Iranian Occupied Lebanon in its 87th Day

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A Bundle Of English Reports, News and Editorials For January 11-12/2020 Addressing the On Going Mass Demonstrations & Sit In-ins In Iranian Occupied Lebanon in its 87th Day
Compiled By: Elias Bejjani
January 12/2020

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorials published on January 11-12/2020
The Cancerous Hezbollah Is The Main Problem In Lebanon/Elias Bejjani/January 11/2020
The Presence Of Iran & It Proxies In The Region Will End Very Soon/Elias Bejjani/January 10/2020
UN slams Lebanon’s failure to form government as ‘irresponsible’
Lebanon ‘regrets’ loss of UN voting privilege
Lebanon ‘Regrets’ Losing Vote in UN General Assembly
Khalil urges Foreign Ministry to assume responsibility and deal with UN dues’ issue immediately
Aoun Extends Condolences on Death of Sultan Qaboos
Official mourning on the passing of Sultan of Oman
Berri to Call for Ratifying Budget before Deadline
Hariri: With the passing of Sultan Qaboos, a glorious page of the Arabian Gulf has been turned
Federalism Conference: To declare Lebanon a ‘failed state’
Geagea criticizes majority over Lebanon’s loss of voting privilege at UN General Assembly
Jumblatt: There is no way out of country’s crisis
Dora Bridge protest march reaches Nejmeh Square
Hundreds protest in Lebanon as crisis deepens
Sami Gemayel visits Abu Fakhr family: Our goal is to fulfill the martyrs’ dream in a beautiful country
Nasrallah’s irresponsible moves harm Lebanon/Khairallah Khairallah/The Arab Weekly/January 12/2020
Lebanon loses voting right at UN General Assembly/Sally Farhat/Annahar/January 11/2020
Ghosn may embody the Lebanese dream but he must be held accountable/Aya Iskandarani/The National/January 11/2020
Carlos Ghosn could be bad news for Lebanon/Rashmee Roshan Lall/The Arab Weekly/January 12/2020
This Month – January 6th was the 108th Birthday of American Lebanese Danny Thomas, Happy Birthday Patriarch/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/January 11/2020

Details Of The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorial published on January 11-12/2020
The Cancerous Hezbollah Is The Main Problem In Lebanon
Elias Bejjani/January 11/2020
No solutions could ever take place in occupied Lebanon before the total eradication of the cancerous Hezbollah and the burying for ever its two big devastating lies the so evilly and falsely called resistance and liberation.

The Presence Of Iran & It Proxies In The Region Will End Very Soon
Elias Bejjani/January 10/2020
Could the So Falsely Called “Resistance and Liberation Axis” Leadership Explain how they are going to force the American’s military out of the region while, their topnotch figure Sayed Nasrallah is still living underground since 14 years because of his fear from them?. In Conclusion no one can offer what he does not own.

UN slams Lebanon’s failure to form government as ‘irresponsible’

Reuters/January 12/2020
The World Bank warned the poverty rate in Lebanon could rise to 50% if economic conditions worsen.
BEIRUT- Keeping Lebanon without a government is “increasingly irresponsible,” a senior UN official said in tough criticism of Lebanese leaders as the country sinks deeper into crisis without a rescue plan. Lebanon has been without a functioning government since Saad Hariri resigned as prime minister in October after protests against the political elite over corruption, leaving the country adrift as a financial and economic crisis deepens. Spiralling regional tensions since the killing of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani by the United States and threats made by Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah have added to the risks facing the heavily indebted Lebanon. The Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah, which is sanctioned by the United States and exercises major sway in Beirut, has said Iran’s allies must help exact revenge.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed Hezbollah was acting as the hands and eyes of Lebanon.
“Given the situation and developments in the country and the region it is increasingly irresponsible to keep Lebanon without an effective and credible government,” UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jan Kubis said in a Twitter post January 8. “I urge the leaders to move without any further delay.”Lebanon’s worst economic crisis since the 1975-90 civil war has seen the Lebanese pound slump amid a shortage of dollars and banks tightly controlling access to cash and blocking transfers abroad. Former Economy Minister Nasser Saidi said recently that Lebanon needs an international bailout of up to $25 billion to help avert a potential economic collapse.The World Bank warned in November that the poverty rate in Lebanon could rise to 50% if economic conditions worsen. After weeks of disputes over the next government, Hariri bowed out of talks with adversaries in December, leading Hezbollah and its political allies to designate Hassan Diab, a former education minister, to form the cabinet. Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said a new government was needed to reassure the people. Christian politician Samir Geagea, a staunch Hezbollah critic, said Lebanon faced “a real catastrophe” and officials had wasted three months.
Diab did not win the support of Geagea or Hariri, who is aligned with Western and Gulf Arab countries. Analysts said his political backing from Hezbollah could complicate efforts to secure foreign aid. “There is still a significant risk that Lebanon gets caught in the cross hairs between the US and its allies and Iran,” said Jason Tuvey, senior emerging markets economist at Capital Economics.

Lebanon ‘regrets’ loss of UN voting privilege
AFP, Beirut/Saturday, 11 January 2020
Crisis-hit Lebanon on Saturday said it “regrets” being among seven countries stripped by the United Nations of voting privileges in the General Assembly for failing to pay their dues. The UN decision could “harm Lebanon’s interests, its prestige, and reputation,” the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the state-run National News Agency. The ministry which “regrets” the move called for a solution to be found “as quickly as possible,” saying the situation “could be corrected.” The finance ministry later said Lebanon’s arrears would be paid on Monday. It was not immediately clear how much Beirut owed the United Nations. On Friday the United Nations said seven countries – Lebanon, Yemen, Venezuela, Central African Republic, Gambia, Lesotho, and Tonga – have fallen behind in their financial contributions and would not be able to in the 74th session of the General Assembly. Under Article 19 of the Charter of the United Nations, member states that are behind on the payment of dues in an amount that equals or exceeds the contributions due for two preceding years can lose their vote in the General Assembly. Member states that can show that inability to pay is due to conditions beyond their control are allowed an exception. The Lebanese foreign ministry argued that it had “performed all of its duties and completed all transactions within the deadline” but did not explain who is to blame or why the funds were not transferred to the UN. The finance ministry hit back saying it did not receive any request to make the payment. Lebanon is facing its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war. The World Bank estimates that Lebanon is in recession, and has warned that the number living in poverty could increase from a third to half the population. The economic downturn coincides with an anti-government protest movement that has remained mobilized since October 17. Protesters are demanding the removal of a political class they deem incompetent and corrupt.

Lebanon ‘Regrets’ Losing Vote in UN General Assembly
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/January 11/2020
Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry expressed regret Saturday over the UN announcement that Lebanon is among the countries losing their voting privileges in the 193-member General Assembly for being behind in paying their dues. The Ministry said it has, on its part, fulfilled all of its duties and completed all transactions within the legal deadline, and conducted reviews more than once with related parties to no avail. The UN decision could “harm Lebanon’s interests, its prestige and reputation,” the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the state-run National News Agency. The ministry which “regrets” the move called for a solution to be found “as quickly as possible”, saying the situation “could be corrected”. It is worth noting that the ministry attached its statement with a document issued on August 7, 2019, which aims to pay Lebanon’s contribution to the regular UN budget for the year 2019.
The finance ministry later said Lebanon’s arrears would be paid on Monday. It was not immediately clear how much Beirut owed the United Nations. The United Nations said Friday that seven countries –Lebanon, Venezuela, Central African Republic, Gambia, Lesotho, Tonga and Yemen– have lost their voting privilege for being behind in paying their financial contributions. The finance ministry hit back saying it did not receive any request to make the payment.Under Article 19 of the Charter of the United Nations, member states that are behind on the payment of dues in an amount that equals or exceeds the contributions due for two preceding years can lose their vote in the General Assembly. Member states that can show that inability to pay is due to conditions beyond their control are allowed an exception. The World Bank estimates that Lebanon is in recession, and has warned that the number living in poverty could increase from a third to half the population. The economic downturn coincides with an anti-government protest movement that has remained mobilised since October 17. Protesters are demanding the removal of a political class they deem incompetent and corrupt.

Khalil urges Foreign Ministry to assume responsibility and deal with UN dues’ issue immediately
NNA/January 11/2020
Caretaker Finance Minister, Ali Hassan Khalil, tweeted Saturday over the issue of Lebanon’s contribution dues to the United Nations’ General Assembly, saying: “Let the Ministry of Foreign Affairs read the statement of the Ministry of Finance and the attached schedules, in order to acknowledge its mistake, take responsibility and immediately address the matter on Monday.”Khalil also called on the Foreign Ministry to “hold accountable the side responsible for publishing the meaningless internal correspondence that has nothing to do with the subject at hand.”

Aoun Extends Condolences on Death of Sultan Qaboos
Naharnet/January 11/2020
President Michel Aoun extended his condolences on Saturday over the passing of Sultan of Oman Qaboos bin Said. Expressing “sadness at the death of Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed,” Aoun said: “Sultan Qaboos was a brother and friend of Lebanon in all stages and the difficult circumstances it passed through supporting its rightful issues, stability, security and the aspirations of the people.”“With the passing of Sultan Qaboos, the Arab world loses the man of dialogue, wisdom and peace who has long worked for Arab reunification and the promotion of its solidarity,” he added. Aoun sent his letter to Oman’s culture minister Haitham bin Tariq who has been sworn in as royal ruler after the death of his cousin Qaboos. Sultan Qaboos bin Said died Saturday at the age of 79. He was the Mideast’s longest-ruling monarch who seized power in a 1970 palace coup and pulled his Arabian sultanate into modernity while carefully balancing diplomatic ties between adversaries Iran and the U.S.

Official mourning on the passing of Sultan of Oman
NNA/January 11/2020
The Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers, Judge Mahmoud Makiya, announced Saturday that “Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri has declared official mourning in Lebanon at the loss of His Majesty, the late Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said, who passed away today.”In this context, Makiya indicated that “national flags will be lowered to half mast in all official departments, institutions and municipalities for a period of three days, starting today until Monday, January 13, 2020 (inclusive), and regular programs in radio and television stations will be adjusted in accordance with the painful occasion.”

Berri to Call for Ratifying Budget before Deadline

Naharnet/January 11/2020
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri is scheduled to set a legislative session next week for discussing the 2020 state budget as soon as caretaker PM Saad Hariri returns from a trip abroad, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Saturday. According to information obtained by the daily, copies of the draft budget were given to lawmakers and Berri is going to call for a 3-day morning and evening sessions that will be streamed live on local radio TV stations. Berri has reportedly contacted Hariri who in turn said he will return to Beirut Saturday, added the daily.The 2020 state budget must be ratified by the constitutional deadline in January.

Hariri: With the passing of Sultan Qaboos, a glorious page of the Arabian Gulf has been turned
NNA/January 11/2020
Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri tweeted Saturday on the passing of Sultan Qaboos, saying: “A glorious page of the Arab Gulf has been folded with the loss of the late Sultan Qaboos, who devoted his life to serving the Sultanate of Oman and its people, and was a man of dialogue, moderation and openness who served the causes of the Arabs calmly and responsibly for fifty years.”

Federalism Conference: To declare Lebanon a ‘failed state’
NNA/January 11/2020
In an issued statement on Saturday, the Secretary-General of the “Permanent Conference of Federalism” Alfred Riachi called on the international community to “declare Lebanon a failed state, given the catastrophic failure of all political forces in managing the most elementary of affairs, to the extent that some, such as Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, have gone to the point of declaring war on major countries in matters that are not related to Lebanon and the Lebanese, and which are supposed to fall within the powers of the state; and to the extent that none of those who present themselves as alternatives are able to suggest any practical solutions that appeal to Lebanon’s pluralistic environment.””We call for declaring Lebanon a failed state, and resorting to a general conference away from rhetoric slogans…and adopting a practical system that simulates the plural fabric of Lebanon, i.e. the federal system,” Riachi said. “We warn that if no fateful decisions are taken, then we are heading towards further deterioration and collapse that will spare no one,” he underlined.

Geagea criticizes majority over Lebanon’s loss of voting privilege at UN General Assembly
NNA/January 11/2020
“What remains of Lebanon’s image and role after the Lebanese state lost the right to vote in the United Nations General Assembly?” questioned Lebanese Forces” Party Chief, Samir Geagea, after the UN stripped Lebanon the previlege to vote for not paying its necessary dues.
He added: “Lebanon’s loss of the right to vote in the General Assembly can seem to some as just a routine administrative issue, but in reality it carries many negative meanings.”
Finally, Geagea blamed the ruling majority for not being able to run a country!.

Jumblatt: There is no way out of country’s crisis
NNA/January 11/2020
Progressive Socialist Party Head, Walid Jumblatt, said in a tweet on Saturday: “Governance has gone too far in outsmarting people and wasting opportunities.”He added: “As for Aoun’s mandate and his main ally, they insisted on arrogance and showed indifference to the suffering of the people and the state’s collapse, and thus the country is left with no way out.””The civil movement has succeeded since October 17 in toppling the political class, but it has not submitted any plan to replace it and seize the power from within,” said Jumblatt.

Dora Bridge protest march reaches Nejmeh Square

NNA/January 11/2020
The march which set out this afternoon from under the Dora Bridge, passing through Bourj Hammoud, has reached Nejmeh Square in downtown Beirut, after the participants staged a sit-in outside the “Electricite du Liban” building on Corniche al-Nahr, and another in front of the headquarters of the Association of Banks in Gemayzeh, to protest the banks’ polices and restrictions on citizens, NNA correspondent reported.

Hundreds protest in Lebanon as crisis deepens
AFP, Beirut/Saturday, 11 January 2020
Hundreds protested across Lebanon on Saturday to denounce a crippling economic crisis and the political deadlock that has left the country without a government for over two months. Chanting anti-government slogans in the capital Beirut, the northern city of Tripoli and the southern city of Nabatieh, they also denounced a class of political leaders they deem incompetent and corrupt. In Beirut, hundreds of protesters marched to parliament, making stops at the state-run electricity company and the headquarters of the Association of Banks. “All the reasons that made us take to the streets on October 17 still stand,” said protester Riad Issa, referring to the date Lebanon’s anti-government protest movement started. “Nothing has changed and the political establishment is closing its ears… and shutting its eyes.” Although protests have declined in size, demonstrations have been ongoing since October, increasingly targeting banks and state institutions blamed for driving the country toward collapse. The movement has been fueled by a crippling economic crisis, the worst since Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war. The World Bank has warned of an impeding recession that may see the proportion of people living in poverty climb from a third to half the population. To make matters worse, a liquidity crunch has pushed Lebanese banks to limit dollar withdrawals and transfers since September. This has forced depositors to deal in the plummeting Lebanese pound, which has lost nearly two thirds of its black market value against the greenback for the first time since it was pegged at 1,500 to the dollar in 1997. “The country is collapsing. We want a government of independents and a rescue plan,” read a banner carried by demonstrators in Beirut. Lebanon has been without a government since former Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned on October 29, bowing to popular pressure. His successor, Hassan Diab, was designated on December 19 but is yet to form a government in a delay donors say debt-saddled Lebanon can ill afford. In a statement on Friday, he said he still stands by his pledge to form a government of independent experts to rescue the country from the brink of collapse, a key demand of protesters. But he said his efforts were being challenged. “The pressures, no matter how large, will not change my conviction,” he said on Twitter. “I will not bow to intimidation.” The delay in forming a government has drawn the ire of demonstrators. “We are tired of this skirting of responsibility,” said Rolan Younan, a demonstrator. “We need to reshape the political class.”

Sami Gemayel visits Abu Fakhr family: Our goal is to fulfill the martyrs’ dream in a beautiful country
NNASaturday 11 January 2020
Kataeb Party Head, MP Sami Gemayel, visited Saturday the residence of Martyr Alaa Abu Fakhr, where he met with the late’s widow, his two sons and brother and a number of family members. Gemayel stressed that “Martyr Alaa Abu Fakhr is a model of the Lebanese person who aspires to have a more beautiful country. We felt that he is a brother to each and every one of us, and that he sacrificed his life for us…Our visit comes to express our love and respect, and we hope that this martyrdom will be an opportunity for us to return to being a one family whose members can depend on each other, and that the future Lebanon would be in the image of Alaa and his family…” “We hope that through the solidarity of the Lebanese, we can offer the most beautiful gift to Alaa and Pierre and all the martyrs who fell in defense of Lebanon, and work to achieve their dreams of a more beautiful country,” he added.
“Our goal is the Lebanese individual, regardless of his sect, history, and affiliation, and to provide him with a better and more decent life with his children, in a country where peace and openness are stable,” vowed Gemayel.

Nasrallah’s irresponsible moves harm Lebanon
Khairallah Khairallah/The Arab Weekly/January 12/2020
Except for Saad Hariri, the head of the caretaker government, senior Lebanese officials have not shown any sense of responsibility.
Sunday 12/01/2020
What is more dangerous than Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah’s call to kick out US forces from the entire Middle East in retaliation for killing Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani?
The biggest danger in the situation is the indifference that those in charge of the Hezbollah era in Lebanon show towards the rapid deterioration of Lebanese economy.
There doesn’t appear to be a party in Lebanon with the courage of shouldering the burden of its responsibilities and absorb the meaning of the deep economic crisis and its repercussions, including Lebanese banks seizing the deposits, large and small, of Lebanese citizens and foreign nationals.
It is an unprecedented attack on Lebanon, first and foremost, and an outrageous trampling of people’s rights. This is because banks and the banking system in Lebanon and people’s trust in them have been one of the pillars that ensure the country’s survival.
Evidence of the level of the political class’s indifference towards dangers inherent to the situation in Lebanon is appointing Hassan Diab, who does not have any qualifications to form a new government.
Perhaps the first thing the new government needs is independent individuals competent in the field they will be overseeing. Likewise, such a government needs a president who would provide the political cover for Lebanon, especially now that it has isolated itself from its Arab environment. This means that any head of the new government in Lebanon must have a network of Arab and international relations, in addition to easy access to Washington.
It’s true that Diab was vice-president of the American University in Beirut but does that qualify him for a position in which he would be officially and formally welcomed in any Arab or European capital or Washington in a capacity other than as a participant in an academic conference? If you think it wouldn’t happen, think of Gebran Bassil’s experience, the son-in-law of Lebanese President Michel Aoun and minister of foreign affairs in the outgoing cabinet.
The content and tone of Nasrallah’s speech were expected, given the man’s special bond with Iran and Soleimani and Hezbollah’s position in Lebanon and the region. Nasrallah did not hide his strong relationship with the commander of al-Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Likewise, he has never hidden that he was a “soldier” in the army of the Iranian velayat-e faqih. That is to say, in Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s army.
This is not new because everybody has known for quite some time that the Lebanese Hezbollah is nothing but a brigade in the IRGC. When Soleimani travelled to Beirut or any other part of Lebanon, he was inspecting friendly forces operating within the same ideological and political framework as al-Quds Force.
It was not surprising that Nasrallah spoke of his concept of “fair retribution” in response to the assassination of Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of the Popular Mobilisation Forces in Iraq. Of course, Nasrallah’s concept, which calls for “removing American forces from the whole of our region,” is not about Lebanon’s interest. The Lebanese economy and the livelihoods of the Lebanese people are absolutely of no consequence to Hezbollah. All that matters is that Hezbollah and its secretary-general carry out the Iranian agenda.
This agenda must be implemented regardless of the nature of the relationship between his party’s militia, or shall we say his militia-party, and al-Quds Force, whether this relationship is limited to mere coordination between two parties affiliated with Iran and which fight on the same side in the several wars in the region or represents much more than that.
Except for Saad Hariri, the head of the caretaker government, senior Lebanese officials have not shown any sense of responsibility, at least with respect to protecting Lebanon and enabling it to overcome the difficult and crucial stage it is going through. There was no sense of understanding that it is not in the interest of the country to appear to be one of Iran’s satellites, especially within the context of the confrontation between the United States and Iran.
Besides, any Lebanese knows that Iran has done nothing for Lebanon other than bring in weapons and sectarian strife. For the American side, suffice it to say that it built the American University in Beirut.
We must ask ourselves who, besides the United States and the international financial institutions under its influence, can have a significant effect in helping the Lebanese economy and Lebanese banks so the latter won’t lose their crucial role if the status quo persists.
Actions of the top-level Lebanese authorities are incompatible with Lebanon’s interests, given the major collapse the country is facing. Some rightly say that the collapse has already taken place — starting with the day Lebanese banks stopped providing Lebanese and foreign currencies to their clients.
This is taking place without anyone asking about all the time wasted to then come up with a lightweight prime minister with no experience or relations.
Can a government formed by the ruling elite, used to deciding things based on the same old quota system, take any step that would lead to a change in the US position on Lebanon or to restoring the bridges with the usual donor Arab countries?
What are the alternatives to the United States, Europe and the Arab countries that are able to help Lebanon, provided it returns to its former status as a true member of the Arab League and not Iran’s voice in the meetings of the Arab League Council?
In the absence of any convincing answer to this question, except for Hezbollah’s fantasies about China or the Iraqi market, Lebanon appears on its way to a real catastrophe.
Lebanon punished itself when senior officials decided to join the axis of resistance, which meant they exposed Lebanon and jeopardised the future of each and every Lebanese.
*Khairallah Khairallah is a Lebanese writer.

Lebanon loses voting right at UN General Assembly
Sally Farhat/Annahar/January 11/2020
Lebanon’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had taken all the necessary measures to settle the payments but stopped short of explaining why the payment wasn’t processed.
BEIRUT: The United Nations announced on Friday that Lebanon was barred from voting at the General Assembly after failing to pay its dues for the past two years. This makes Lebanon one of 10 member states that lost their voting right. “We closed out 2019 with 146 Member States having paid their dues in full for the 2019 budget,” said the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric. “As of yesterday, 10 Member States were in arrears and fall under the provisions of Article 19.” Lebanon’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had taken all the necessary measures to settle the payments but stopped short of explaining why the payment wasn’t processed. “Irrespective of who bears responsibility, Lebanon and the state’s reputation was damaged,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that it hoped the issue will be soon resolved. In 2018, the Minister of Foreign Affairs asked the Ministry of Finance to pay all dues in time. “Lebanon’s contributions to the General Assembly is annual and periodic. The delay in paying them reflects negatively on Lebanon’s reputation,” Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said in a letter to the Ministry of Finance.
In response to the letter’s publication, the Ministry of Finance issued two tables showing that it had completed all required payments. “We did not want to go back in records and reveal who should bear responsibility,” the table’s associated statement read.
The Ministry of Finance also explained on Saturday that it was not requested to pay any dues prior to the decision, adding that all contributions are annually scheduled by the concerned authority. The ministry said that another payment was only scheduled this morning and the deadline is Monday.
Nonetheless, the UN General Assembly released on January 7 a list of all member states that have not fulfilled their contributions along with the specific amount due for each country. Lebanon’s due contribution sums up to $459,008. “The problem is that the Ministry of Finance is always late with payments. The ministry should carry out its role and pay all dues without awaiting a request nor the review of periodic transactions,” sources from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, adding that sources from within the Ministry of Finance would agree and testify to this because they are directly affected by the delay.
In its turn the Ministry of Finance said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be held accountable for public issuing of internal correspondence. It also requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to acknowledge and admit its mistake and prepare to treat the situation on Monday.
Aside from Lebanon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Gambia, Lesotho, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, Tonga, Venezuela, and Yemen also lost their right to vote.

Ghosn may embody the Lebanese dream but he must be held accountable
Aya Iskandarani/The National/January 11/2020
Lebanese people have been protesting against corruption for months and despite his popularity, it is imperative that Ghosn answer for his four counts of financial misconduct
In the days since Carlos Ghosn, the former head of Nissan and Renault, arrived in Beirut, he has been greeted by many of his compatriots as if he were a national hero. He has, in his words, evaded Japanese “injustice”, only to come back to the homeland of his forefathers and be met with applause. His arrival in Lebanon on December 30, was the latest turn in this dramatic story.
At his press conference last week, he declared in Arabic to a room-full of Lebanese and foreign journalists, who cheered him on: “I am proud to be Lebanese”. Meanwhile, Japanese media were left to wait outside in the rain. During the two-hour event, Ghosn provided what he called “evidence” to salvage his sullied image. Ghosn had a reputation for being the saviour of the Japanese car industry, a moniker that once earned him the respect of the global business community. But unanimous global admiration for Ghosn’s life and work came to a grinding halt in 2018 when news of his arrest broke and photographs appeared of him in handcuffs.
Ghosn had been charged on four counts of financial misconduct, including under-reporting his earnings, using Nissan’s funds for personal ends and paying family members for fictitious jobs.
In the turn of events that led to his fall from grace, the chief executive-turned-fugitive has lost much of his credibility across the world – except in Lebanon.
His escape to Beirut comes at a troubled time for the country. Lebanon has witnessed an uprising against a corrupt political elite, which has led the nation into an economic crisis of unprecedented proportions. Yet the corruption allegations brought forth against Ghosn do not seem to hinder his popularity among his compatriots, many of whom have taken to the streets to protest against endemic corruption in the country.
Lebanese public opinion is in favour of Ghosn, with many supporting his claim of a “plot” against him fomented by high-ranking employees at Nissan. Such narratives are common in a country where conspiracy theories have been known to abound. It is unlikely that the public will ever find out the truth as Ghosn escaped from Japan before his trial. Some have even speculated that Ghosn could be handed a ministerial position in the next government, which protesters have demanded be headed by unaffiliated, transparent experts.
Ghosn’s escape to Beirut comes at a troubled time for the country. Lebanon has witnessed an uprising against a corrupt political elite, which has led the nation into an economic crisis of unprecedented proportions
For many Lebanese, Ghosn is more than just a businessman. His success story as a Brazilian-Lebanese who went on to become the chief executive of not one but three major car companies embodies the aspirations of a whole country where the diaspora plays an essential role.
More than twice as many Lebanese live outside than inside the country, many of whom, much like Ghosn’s grandfather, migrated to the Americas early in the 19th century. Today, many see migration as their only hope to live a decent life and provide for their loved ones. Remittances in 2018 contributed to more than 12 per cent of Lebanon’s gross domestic product, the second highest in the Arab world after Palestine.
“Making it” abroad has become a dream that is all the more significant, as the economic situation deteriorates and job opportunities in Lebanon become more scarce. Ghosn embodies that dream, which seems harder to reach with every passing generation.
He is popular with people across different religious, political and social backgrounds, despite the fact that he went to Israel in 2008, where he shook hands with Shimon Peres, the former Israeli prime minister. Lebanon is still technically at war with Israel, which it does not recognise as a state, and Lebanese citizens are forbidden from visiting the country, a serious offence regarded as treason. This has not stopped ministers from meeting with Ghosn, and defending him publicly. When news broke about his arrest last year, Lebanon’s then interior minister Nouhad Machnouk compared him to “a Lebanese phoenix” that would not be “scorched by a Japanese sun.”
This wide-ranging support is, in a way, symptomatic of one of Lebanon’s deepest woes. Because divisive, sectarian leaders have largely failed their country and people, the only powerful figures that can unite people and make them proud are usually successful business people from the diaspora, who are made to carry the hopes and dreams of a whole nation. When protests broke out in October last year, many saw a chance for a new era of transparency and good governance to emerge. A big part of making this project a reality will rely on whether Lebanon is able to hold its leaders, including business people and even idols, to account.

Carlos Ghosn could be bad news for Lebanon
Rashmee Roshan Lall/The Arab Weekly/January 12/2020
Beirut has not expressed an opinion about the four serious charges filed against Ghosn by Tokyo prosecutors.
Sunday 12/01/2020
The world is consumed by events in and about Iran and Iraq, as well as US President Donald Trump’s fitful pronouncements on foreign policy, but any leftover attention will surely centre on Carlos Ghosn and, by extension, Lebanon.
Much of the attention for Ghosn and Lebanon won’t be flattering, especially after the extraordinary news conference January 8 in Beirut by the man regarded the world’s most famous fugitive. Over several hours, the former boss of the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi automotive alliance ranted against Japan’s allegedly inhumane system of justice and the Japanese people’s alleged cunning and secrecy. He insisted that Japanese charges of financial misconduct against him were a “conspiracy” and accused the Japanese government — but not Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — of colluding in the alleged plot to remove him as chairman of the world’s second-biggest carmaker. Ghosn provocatively compared the alleged plot to the Pearl Harbour attacks. Ghosn called out Brazil and France — whose citizenship he holds, along with that of Lebanon — for being insufficiently helpful to him during his legal troubles. However, when he mentioned Lebanon, it was in warm and appreciative tones. “I am ready to stay a long time in Lebanon,” Ghosn said about the country his parents left for Brazil. He denied that he had political ambitions but offered to “put my experience at the service of Lebanon” if asked.
Might he be asked?
A few years ago, Ghosn was touted in some quarters as a possible president of Lebanon. Nothing less seemed worthy of the legendary businessman whose image Lebanon had put on a postage stamp. Even after his arrest in Japan in 2018, the Lebanese government stood solidly by Ghosn. That has continued, until now. He is a wanted man with an Interpol Red Notice attached to his name. However, Beirut has not expressed an opinion about the four serious charges filed against Ghosn by Tokyo prosecutors. Two are for allegedly understating his pay by more than $80 million over an 8-year period. He is also alleged to have transferred nearly $15 million from a Nissan subsidiary account to one held by a Saudi friend’s company and to have diverted $5 million from Nissan to companies with ties to him and his family. Ghosn could be a liability for any country that provided him shelter if any of the charges against him were proved to be true. Even if they aren’t, Ghosn might be a unique liability for Lebanon.
The country is arguably in its most precarious position since the end of its civil war 30 years ago. Roiled by instability, Lebanon has been without a government for months. It faces popular, if somewhat inchoate, public protests against misgovernance, political cronyism and corruption. The very state itself could collapse in a massive debt-fuelled crash that would see Beirut default on $88 billion of public borrowing.
Japan gives Lebanon millions of dollars in aid each year — in 2017 it was at least $18 million — and it has a vote on the board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Lebanon needs the IMF and Japan. Ghosn probably adds little to Lebanon’s storied international narrative. He suggests sleazy privilege and impunity at a time the world seeks overdue political, fiscal and economic overhaul in Lebanon. Ghosn also appears as a troubling black mark on the generally shiny story of the Lebanese diaspora, which includes Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of “The Black Swan” and “Antifragile,” Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim, actress Salma Hayek, singer Shakira, the late heart surgeon Michael DeBakey, fashion designer Elie Saab, former Cal Tech Vice-President Charles Elachi and Paul Orfalea, who founded the copy-and-print services company Kinko’s. Some might say Ghosn is giving Lebanon a bad reputation at a time that it cannot afford it.

This Month – January 6th was the 108th Birthday of American Lebanese Danny Thomas, Happy Birthday Patriarch!
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/January 11/2020
Danny was a nightclub comedian and television and film actor and producer. But, Danny’s biggest achievement and his Lifetime Goal was the founding of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Memphis, Tennessee
The idea for the founding of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which today is an international beacon of hope for catastrophically sick children, began in Detroit when struggling Lebanese American actor Danny Thomas was struggling, he was home, his wife was cooking and he felt the desperate need to pray, so he left his house and walked down the street and visited a local Catholic church and prayed to a statue of St. Jude Thaddeus, patron saint of hopeless causes, for help – he prayed intensely with these words – “St. Jude, Help me find my way and I will build you a Shrine.” To make good on his vow to build a shrine in the Saint’s honor, Danny, a Michigan native, years later founded the renowned children’s hospital in Memphis, Tenn., with regional offices throughout the country.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was founded in 1962.
Background
58 years ago Feb. 4th Danny Thomas Opened St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, with the unveiling of the statue of St. Jude Thaddeus. Today, it continues to serve children (without any demand for payment) who are terminally ill and their families.
When the hospital opened 20% of the Children survived – today more than 80% survive. This speaks volumes of Danny Thomas’ dream to help those most in need.
And what better way to honor the Patron Saint of the Hopeless than with a place where “dying” children, children with “incurable” diseases could come to be healed?
That, of course, was the beginning of Saint Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. Tennessee. It is the only institution on this earth dedicated solely to the conquest of catastrophic diseases.
It is open to children of all faiths and races regardless of their parents’ ability to pay. No family ever pays for the services rendered there. They are free.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital quick facts
– Treatments invented at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since it opened 55 years ago.
– Because the majority of St. Jude funding comes from individual contributors, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food.
– St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, meaning doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save more children.
– St. Jude has the world’s best survival rates for some of the most aggressive forms of childhood cancers.
– St. Jude is the first and only pediatric cancer center designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute.
– St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and from around the world.
– On average, 7,800 active patients visit the hospital each year, most of whom are treated on an outpatient basis.
– The daily operating cost for St. Jude is $2 million, which is primarily covered by individual contributors.
Source: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Read More Comprehensive History here: http://bit.ly/1JTyEPR