A Bundle Of English Reports, News and Editorials For March 26-27/2020 Addressing All That is happing In the Iranian Occupied & Oppressed Lebanon

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A Bundle Of English Reports, News and Editorials For March 26-27/2020 Addressing All That is happing In the Iranian Occupied & Oppressed Lebanon
Compiled By: Elias Bejjani
March 27/2020

Picture Enclosed: Maronite Nuns chanting happily at Al-Qusayba village in Mount Lebanon while welcoming the sacred icon of Our Lady of Deliverance to place It in their Church.

Video from VDL: Inhabitants of the of Al-Qusayba village in Mount Lebanon Welcoming The Sacred Icon of Our Lady of Deliverance.
Elias Bejjani/March 26/2020
Inhabitants of the of Al-Qusayba village in Mount Lebanon welcoming with love, faith and reverence the sacred icon of Our Lady of Deliverance. To place it in their Church. Let us remember that in such difficult time to badly need to adhere to the true faith and to return to God and to all the evangelical teachings that calls for love, humility, forgiveness, prayer, penance, and the expiation of sins and faults. The Virgin Mary, the mother of Lebanon and the mother of the Lord, was and will remain the protector of the country of holiness and the saints .. the homeland of the blessed cedars .. Lebanon

Click Here Or On This Link Below to Watch The video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4jbIi_NGHU

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorials published on March 26-27/2020
Video from VDL: Inhabitants of the of Al-Qusayba village in Mount Lebanon Welcoming The Sacred Icon of Our Lady of Deliverance.
Hariri Hospital: 23 recoveries overall, 72 patients quarantined
35 new COVID-19 cases confirmed, bringing total to 368
Higher Defense Council Urges Quarantine Extension
Govt. Extends General Mobilization, Orders 7PM-5AM Closure, Curfew
Lebanon to extend lockdown as coronavirus spreads/Georgi Azar/Annahar/March 26/2020
Diab: Current ‘General Mobilization’ Resembles ‘State of Emergency’
Aoun: Government hospitals must be equipped to fight coronavirus
Diab meets with ‘Loyalty to Resistance’ MPs Sherri, Moussawi
Hitti confirms endeavors to provide aid, says embassies abroad ready to exert necessary efforts
Safieddine: Hizbullah Set Plan to Fight Coronavirus
Israeli Army Says Downed Small Hizbullah Drone
Berri: Cabinet, Defense Council Resolutions Step in Right Direction
Lebanon Records 35 New Coronavirus Cases
Coronavirus Delivers Tough Blow to Lebanon’s Dying Economy/Associated Press/Naharnet/March 26/2020
Coronavirus: Lebanon’s shops and institutions told to limit opening hours/Sunniva Rose/The National/March 26/2020

The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorials published on March 26-27/2020

Hariri Hospital: 23 recoveries overall, 72 patients quarantined
NNA/March 26/2020
The Rafic Hariri University Hospital released its daily report on the latest coronavirus updates. It read as follows:
“The total number of laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases in patients isolated in the hospital’s quarantine unit has reached 72, including 6 patients transferred from other hospitals. Three new patients have fully recovered; their PCR came negative twice, and all the symptoms of the disease have disappeared. In total, 23 patients have recovered completely from coronavirus, since the beginning of the outbreak. The condition of those suffering from coronavirus is stable, except for 4 patients who remain in critical condition, all of whom receiving the necessary care at the isolation unit. To find out the total number of infections across Lebanon, please refer to the daily report issued by the Ministry of Public Health.”

35 new COVID-19 cases confirmed, bringing total to 368
Earlier today, Lebanon’s cabinet approved a two-week extension of the lockdown to help with the fight against the virus.
Mohamad Shour/Annahar/March 26/2020
BEIRUT: Thirty-five new COVID-19 were identified Thursday, according to the daily report issued by the Rafic Hariri University Hospital, raising the total number of cases to 368. The report also revealed that a total of 20 people have recovered since the start of the outbreak, while six others are deceased and three in critical condition. Earlier today, Lebanon’s cabinet approved a two-week extension of the lockdown to help with the fight against the virus. “We are still at a dangerous point in the outbreak,” said Information Minister Manal Abdel-Samad at a news conference, adding that the extension is required due to COVID-19’s incubation period. A decision was also set forward that urges all shops, with few exceptions, to close between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Higher Defense Council Urges Quarantine Extension
Naharnet/March 26/2020
The Higher Defense Council on Thursday recommended an extension of the “general mobilization” period until April 12 to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus. The nationwide lockdown period was supposed to end March 29. The Council met at Baabda Palace in a meeting chaired by President Michel Aoun and attended by Prime Minister Hassan Diab, the permanent members and other officials. The Cabinet is expected to approve the extension in a meeting held shortly after the Council’s meeting. The Higher Defense Council also discussed the latest developments in the country and the general response regarding coronavirus. Interlocutors discussed additional measures to confront the pandemic.

Govt. Extends General Mobilization, Orders 7PM-5AM Closure, Curfew
Naharnet/March 26/2020
The Lebanese government on Thursday extended the so-called state of general mobilization until April 12 and ordered a general closure from 7pm until 5am with some exceptions, in an amplification of the anti-coronavirus measures, the information minister said. The Premiership later said in a statement that only mills, bakeries, pharmacies and medical factories will be exempt from the 7pm-5am closure order, adding that citizens and residents will be barred from being on the streets. The extension of general mobilization followed a recommendation from the Higher Defense Council which convened earlier in the day.“Prime Minister Hassan Diab noted that we are still in the extreme danger phase and it is necessary to extend general mobilization because the containment period of the disease requires five week,” Information Minister Manal Abdul Samad said. “The economic challenges need a mobilization that should perhaps exceed the health mobilization,” Diab added, according to Abdul Samad. The premier urged “residents and expat Lebanese to contribute with the state to the support of needy families,” she said. President Michel Aoun for his part reiterated the need for citizens to abide by the taken measures, especially home quarantine and limiting movement pending the retreat of the outbreak, the minister added. The Cabinet also formed a committee to look into the issue of the Lebanese who want to return from abroad in light of the global coronavirus crisis.“It will hold its first session today,” Abdul Samad said. The government had first declared the state of general mobilization on March 15, asking citizens to stay home unless it is necessary, shuttering non-essential public and private institutions and closing the air, land and sea ports of entry. Lebanon has so far confirmed 368 coronavirus cases among them six deaths and 20 recoveries.

Lebanon to extend lockdown as coronavirus spreads

Georgi Azar/Annahar/March 26/2020
The Higher Defense Council held a session chaired by President Michel Aoun Thursday, arguing for an extension of the “general mobilization” which was put in place on March 15.
BEIRUT: Lebanon is expected to extend its lockdown, which expires on March 29, for another two weeks in line with the recommendation of the Higher Defense Council. The Higher Defense Council held a session chaired by President Michel Aoun Thursday, arguing for an extension of the “general mobilization” which was put in place on March 15.  The lockdown will now run until April 12, with Lebanon’s security apparatus tasked with its implementation. The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Hassan Diab, a number of ministers, Army chief Gen. Joseph Aoun and other heads of security and military apparatuses. The Minister of Public Health “presented the latest developments while stressing the importance of preventing gathering to control the spread of the virus,” a statement released by the presidency said. As of Wednesday, Lebanon has recorded 333 cases of the novel coronavirus and six deaths. Almost all public and private institutions have been shut down, grinding Lebanon’s already struggling economy to a halt.

Diab: Current ‘General Mobilization’ Resembles ‘State of Emergency’

Naharnet/March 26/2020
Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced Thursday that Lebanon’s current state of “general mobilization” in the face of the coronavirus crisis is a state of emergency to some extent, noting that Lebanon lacks the ability to implement a complete state of emergency at the moment. “What’s currently happening is a state of emergency in the framework of general mobilization, but the declaration of a state of emergency according to law requires measures involving a curfew and a general closure and we do not have such intentions,” Diab told reporters in a chat after a cabinet session. He also noted that the declaration of a state of emergency “requires parliament’s approval eight days in advance,” pointing out that “the state of emergency some are demanding has difficult stipulations that cannot be implemented in Lebanon.” Separately, Diab said there are no disagreements over the administrative appointments file, adding that he has asked each minister to provide him with the CVs of three candidates for each post. “They will be submitted on Monday and put on cabinet’s agenda on Thursday and all those who will be appointed are new and competent figures,” he said.

Aoun: Government hospitals must be equipped to fight coronavirus
NNA/March 26/2020
President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, stressed in the wake of the Cabinet session in Baabda, “the need to prepare government hospitals in all regions.”After the meeting of the council of ministers which focused on Covid-19 and its repercussions, the Head of State announced 53 new coronavirus cases, indicating that there was only one equipped government hospital in Metn, that of Dahr el-Bachek, and that a need emerges from this fact, that of providing all the equipment necessary for the fight against Covid-19.

Diab meets with ‘Loyalty to Resistance’ MPs Sherri, Moussawi
NNA/March 26/2020
Prime Minister Dr. Hassan Diab on Thursday met with Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MPs, Amin Sherri and Ibrahim Moussawi.
The latter stated, following the meeting: “We visited the Prime Minister on behalf of our parliamentary bloc, and reviewed a number of important, exceptional, and critical files in light of the situation. We initially discussed matters related to expatriates and students outside Lebanon, namely those who have faced numerous difficulties in Turkey, Italy, and Africa. A great number of Lebanese people wish to return home, in light of the instability they are witnessing in their countries of residence. His Excellency stressed that an inter-ministerial committee was formed for this purpose, and that the Minister of Foreign Affairs is closely following up on the situation of expatriates through diplomatic missions.” “The options are under consideration, with the aim of finding a solution to the problems faced by the Lebanese, however this matter requires time. The crisis is now at a global scale and all countries are fighting it with exceptional and urgent measures. The Prime Minister is particularly concerned with this matter”, he added.  He also noted that the subject of prison overcrowding in these critical times was brought to attention. “We have raised the matter of the amnesty law, as well as the necessity that the Government adopts a draft law in this scope, to hasten the proceedings relative to this matter. We are aware of the numerous obstacles, and that concerns regarding this issue are abundant. Nevertheless, this must not hinder the work of the Government and relevant authorities. In this context, the Prime Minister indicated that he will be following this matter with the Minister of Justice.” M. Moussawi finally praised the Government for the measures adopted in view of supporting the most vulnerable families, noting that coordination between Loyalty to the Resistance bloc, the Government, and relevant committees shall be maintained, with the aim of achieving the envisioned objectives.– Grand Serail Press Office

Hitti confirms endeavors to provide aid, says embassies abroad ready to exert necessary efforts
NNA/March 26/2020
In an interview with the “Voice of Lebanon” radio station on Thursday, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, Nassif Hatti, said that the Lebanese state awaited the arrival of medical assistance.
He explained that he had discussed the matter with the European Commissioner for Neighborhood Affairs, who in turn promised to provide Lebanon with the necessary aid after having been provided by France and China. “We are working on all fronts to secure aid to Lebanon,” the Minister affirmed. He highlighted ongoing cooperation with embassies to ensure assistance and to support students and citizens who wished to return to Lebanon. He finally stressed that Lebanon’s embassies abroad were very cooperative. “Since the first day of this serious crisis, our embassies have dedicated a hot line to communicate with citizens to stay away from public places and stay in isolation.”

Safieddine: Hizbullah Set Plan to Fight Coronavirus
Naharnet/March 26/2020
Head of Hizbullah’s Executive Council Hashem Safieddine said on Thursday that the party has allocated 3.5 billion Lebanese pounds for a plan “consistent with the government’s policies” to limit the spread of coronavirus. In an interview with Hizbullah’s al-Manar TV, Safieddine said: “The plan has started and is operating according to need and danger,” noting that “4,500 health care workers,” are assisting with the plan in addition to “members from the Union of Municipalities and AMAL Movement.”“In our plan, we have laid down the worst case scenarios and prepared to confront it with all available capabilities. We also created a committee whose mission is to monitor the situation of Lebanese communities in expatriate areas in order to meet their needs according to our capabilities,” he added. Safieddine noted that “private hospitals have been rented and equipped for use when needed. We have established medical diagnostic centers to evaluate and examine cases and determine the procedures required. We have prepared 32 medical reserve centers to confront coronavirus in all Lebanese regions.”The Hizbullah official said that a cadre of 24,500 doctors and paramedics is working to implement Hizbullah’s plan. “We are fighting coronavirus with capabilities initially put to confront war and aggression,” he said, pointing out that a total of 3.5 billion Lebanese pounds have been allocated for the purpose.

Israeli Army Says Downed Small Hizbullah Drone
Naharnet/March 26/2020
The Israeli army brought down a small drone belonging to Hizbullah after it entered Israel’s airspace on Thursday morning, a spokesman said. “The drone is now in the possession of the Israeli army,” Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee said in a tweet. The Israeli army “will continue to foil attempts by the Hizbullah organization to violate the state’s sovereignty through various offensive and defensive means in order to protect Israel’s residents,” Adraee added. He also warned that the Israeli army sees the incident as a dangerous development, describing it as “a violation of the sovereignty of the state of Israel.”“The Lebanese government is responsible for anything that happens from its territory,” Adraee cautioned.

Berri: Cabinet, Defense Council Resolutions Step in Right Direction

Naharnet/March 26/2020
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Thursday lauded the latest decisions taken by Cabinet and the Higher Defense Council in the face of the coronavirus crisis. “What has been issued by Cabinet and the Higher Defense Council as to the state of health emergency, which I have been demanding from the very beginning, is a positive step in the right direction,” Berri said in a statement. Earlier in the day, the Higher Defense Council recommended the extension of the so-called state of general mobilization. The Cabinet later endorsed the recommendation and extended general mobilization until April 12 while ordering a general closure from 7:00 pm until 5:00 am with some exceptions for highly essential shops and institutions.

Lebanon Records 35 New Coronavirus Cases

Naharnet/March 26/2020
The Health Ministry said that 35 new coronavirus cases have been registered on Thursday raising the tally to 368 in Lebanon. The Ministry said in its daily report that 35 new laboratory-confirmed cases had been recorded in the governmental Rafik Hariri University Hospital, the accredited university hospital labs and private laboratories. “Two more individuals suffering from chronic diseases” have died, said the Health Ministry without specifying whether they were infected with coronavirus. “One of the deceased was in his 50s. He died at the RHUH. The second person, in his 70s, died at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Notre Dame de Secours,” added the Ministry in its statement.

Coronavirus Delivers Tough Blow to Lebanon’s Dying Economy
Associated Press/Naharnet/March 26/2020
Through 15 years of civil war and various bouts of violence since, Lebanon’s Barbar eatery never closed its doors, serving up sandwiches to customers even if it meant doing so from behind sandbags.
The coronavirus pandemic, however, has managed to do what various wars could not: Close bars, restaurants and entertainment spots across the tiny Mediterranean country. It’s an economic gut punch at a time when Lebanon is already mired in the worst financial crisis in its history.
While residents of many other countries are counting on a government bailout, that’s not an option in the country teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.
“We have never gone through something like this — ever,” said Barbar owner Ali Ghaziri, standing outside his shop on Beirut’s normally busy Hamra street, now completely deserted.
Earlier this month, heeding orders from the government amid the spread of the new coronavirus, Ghaziri closed the iconic chain’s two branches in Beirut, leaving only its delivery service operating.
Nearby, in Beirut’s Gemayzeh neighborhood, pubs and restaurants usually spilling onto the street with noisy, beer-toting youngsters are shuttered. Even Lebanon’s famous corniche, usually dotted with coffee vans, corn-on-the-cob vendors and people doing their morning exercise, is now empty.
Lebanon has suffered in recent years from a lack of economic growth, high unemployment and a drop in hard currency inflows from abroad. But the financial crisis erupted after nationwide protests over widespread corruption and decades of mismanagement by the ruling political class engulfed the country in October. That in turn has led to bank closures and crippling capital controls on cash withdrawals and transfers, raising fears about depositors’ savings in U.S. dollars. The local currency has already lost up to 60% of its value on the dollar on the black market.
Earlier this month, as the crisis deepened, the government announced it would no longer pay its foreign loans, marking the country’s first-ever default amid ongoing popular unrest.
Among the sectors hardest hit by the crisis has been the food and beverage sector, a mainstay of Lebanon’s economy.
Between September and December 2019, more than 800 food and beverage institutions closed and around 25,000 people — or 17% of those who work in the sector — lost their jobs, according to various estimates. In January, a further 200 institutions closed.
The Lebanese government ordered the lockdown in mid-March, closing its only international airport as well as ports and land border crossings until March 29. Restaurants and night clubs were also ordered closed in a severe blow to one of the most vital sectors in Lebanon, known for its cuisine and bustling night life. “We reached a point where we were hit by one catastrophe after the other, and when we reached the coronavirus crisis we had no more reserves at all,” said Maya Bekhazi Noun, general secretary of the syndicate for restaurant owners.
“We were at the bottom, bottom, bottom, taking the last breath,” she said. “This now was a mortal blow to the sector.”
Unlike in other countries under lockdowns, where banks remained open, the banking association in Lebanon decided to defy government orders and close for two weeks, in an apparent effort to preserve liquidity.
“It’s going to be devastating on the economy in the short-term and the long-term,” said economist Kamel Wazni, speaking about businesses that have closed. “There’s going to be a lot of pain among many sectors of the economy.”
He said the government will also be affected since it will not be able to collect taxes, further increasing the budget deficit.
Lebanon’s prime minister has acknowledged that the state is struggling to tackle the coronavirus fallout amid the crippling crisis. In a report this week, Human Rights Watch said Lebanon’s financial crisis and dollar shortage has resulted in a scarcity of medical supplies necessary to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. While governments abroad scramble to approve stimulus packages to compensate for lost businesses, experts here warn of extremely dire times ahead with no potential for bailouts. Government officials have said they are not seeking an IMF bailout for now, fearing it would come with conditions that would be too painful. Ghaziri, the owner of Barbar, said he is worried about his staff, 75% of whom he had to send home after sales dropped 75%.
His father founded the Barbar chain — a household name in Lebanon — in 1979, four years after the country’s 15-year civil war erupted. The eatery continued to serve up kebabs, shawarma and other treats throughout the conflict and various other wars. They closed for a few hours only when Ghaziri’s grandfather passed away and in 2005 for the funeral of the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri after he was assassinated.
“During the civil war, there were street battles. So, you could talk yourself out of problems. Now you cannot do anything,” Ghaziri said of the coronavirus.
Some 220,000 people have lost their jobs in Lebanon since October, according to a survey released last month by information provider InfoPro.InfoPro said the number of companies that have closed increased by 20% between November and January. One third of all companies have reduced their work force by 60%. The World Bank had projected 0.2% negative growth in 2020 before the protests began in October but more recent estimates suggest the contraction in the country’s economy could be more than 1% of GDP.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab, whose government is negotiating debt restructuring, said Lebanon’s debt reached $90 billion or 170% of GDP, making it one of the highest in the world.
According to government estimates, about half of Lebanon’s population could end up living below poverty levels.
Ali Badran lost his job at the restaurant where he worked for 11 years in October as a result of the crisis. He was left jobless just as he was preparing to marry his longtime fiance in a few months.
With no income, the 36-year-old stopped renovation work in the apartment he bought and started looking for a new job as of late October. That was days after massive nationwide protests broke out against the country’s political elite.
On March 1, he started a new job at another restaurant in Beirut but now he is worried the lockdown means he could be laid off again.
“I am worried that if things stay as they are I might lose my new job,” he said.

Coronavirus: Lebanon’s shops and institutions told to limit opening hours
Sunniva Rose/The National/March 26/2020
The country’s shutdown has been extended for two weeks due to Covid-19
ese capital Beirut’s Martyrs Square almost deserted on March 26. AFP
The Lebanese government announced on Thursday that all shops and institutions must be closed between 5pm and 7am in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed 6 people up to now. Speaking after a Cabinet meeting, Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad said that a “general closure between 5pm and 7am, with some exceptions,” had been decided. She did not specify the exceptions. Mrs Abdel Samad also announced a treasury advance of 75 billion Lebanese Pounds ($50 million) to the Higher Relief Council, an institution that deals with public emergencies.
In effect, most shops have been closed since March 15, with only supermarkets and pharmacies open. Public institutions have limited their working hours.
In the past week, the Lebanese police have fined people for jogging along Beirut’s corniche as well as cars transporting more than three passengers. The state of “general mobilisation”, which was announced on March 15, would be extended to April 12, said Mrs Abdel Samad, quoted by the state-run National News Agency. “General mobilisation”, which allows for the army’s increased involvement in managing the health crisis but remains ambiguous, allowing politicians to manoeuvre without declaring a full state of emergency, said Khalil Helou, a retired general.
“This is not a general mobilisation in the strict military sense,” he said. Though the army has been charged with warning people that they should not congregate, it cannot arrest or fine them for being outside, he said.
“A state of emergency would need much more mobilisation. For example, the army would announce every morning how long people could stay outside or use their car,” said Mr Helou. The last time Lebanon declared a state of emergency was in 1973 after clashes between the Lebanese Army and Palestinian factions, he said. Two years later, a 15-year long civil war began. A Spanish soldier stands next to beds set up at a temporary hospital for vulnerable people at the Fira Barcelona Montjuic centre in Barcelon. AFP President Michel Aoun “reiterated the necessity for citizens to adhere to the measures taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus, especially adhering to home quarantine and restricting movement until the severity of the epidemic lessens,” said Mrs Abdel Samad on Thursday.
She highlighted that Prime Minister Hassan Diab warned of severe “economic challenges” and appealed for “Lebanese residents and the diaspora to participate in helping the State to support needy families.”On Wednesday, the government announced that it would distribute 100,000 food and hygiene packages worth 18 billion Lebanese Pounds (Dh 44 million) to the country’s poorest. Months before Lebanon was hit by the coronavirus, it was already struggling with its worst economic crisis in history. Hundreds of thousands of people have recently lost their jobs.