English LCCC Newsbulletin For Lebanese, Lebanese Related, Global News & Editorials
For May 22/2022
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For today
While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, Peace be with you. They were startled and terrified. He said to them: Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 24/36-45: “While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’
Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures.””.

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorials published on May 21-22/2022
The Lebanese officials in the Iranian occupied Lebanese are mere thugs, puppets, cowards and mercenaries/Elias Bejjani/May 21/2022
Amer Fakhoury Foundation Petition
Who should be the next Speaker of Parliament?/Elie Aoun/May 21/2022
Hezbollah Grip on Lebanon Must End, Says Geagea
Israel Uncovers New Hezbollah Route to Transfer Weapons from Iran to Lebanon
Presidency: Cabinet is considered resigned starting with the Parliament’s new term tomorrow
Corona - Health Ministry: 72 new Corona cases, 1 death
Jumblatt: Hezbollah and its allies have lost the majority
Berri's bloc officially nominates him for parliament speaker post
Macron, Bin Salman call for 'structural reforms' in Lebanon
Rifi from Maarab: We will never agree to a Parliament Speaker from the existing system & we reject its persistence
Mikati meets new commander of US Central Command, accompanied by US Ambassador
Geagea: We support the formation of an effective majority government
Taymour Jumblatt: The people failed the political assassination that some had planned at home & on the outside
Elected MP Daou reviews with former House Speaker Al-Husseini upcoming milestones
Elected MP Bizri: Contracting company for waste treatment must perform its duty
Development & Liberation" bloc nominates Berri for heading the Parliament Council: Dialogue alone is the gateway to salvation
"It is not permissible to accept any solution at the expense of depositors," underlines Bizri
Frem: Abdel-Malik rendered Lebanon at the heart of the French government
Bassil calls for a spe

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Miscellaneous Reports And News published on May 21-22/2022
Israeli missile strikes kill 3 near Syria capital
Iran Plotted to Kidnap Israel's Moshe Ya'alon
HRW Says More Arrests in Iran amid Economic Protests
Russia says destroyed Western weapons sent to Ukraine
Russia’s Claim of Mariupol’s Capture Fuels Concern for POWs
Ukraine Warns Only Talks Can End War as Russia Cuts Finland Gas
US, Other APEC Delegates Walk Out on Russian Speaker
Thousands Protest Turkish Opposition Politician’s Conviction
Turkey’s Erdogan Talks to Swedish, Finnish Leaders on NATO
Canada/Parliamentary Secretary Oliphant to travel to South Africa, Malawi and Tanzania
Saied Promises Tunisians a New Republic Based on Popular Referendum
Biden, Yoon signal expanded military drills due to N. Korea 'threat'

Titles For The Latest LCCC English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on May 21-22/2022
Why and how Sweden and Finland will strengthen NATO/Luke Coffey/Arab News/May 22/2022
Making sense of a tsunami of big data/Dr. Mohamed Ramady/Arab News/May 22/2022
Sheikh Khalifa leaves a legacy of state building/The Arab Weekly/May 21/2022
Governments must work to make labor markets more resilient/Sara Al-Mulla/Arab News/May 21/2022

The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorials published on May 21-22/2022
The Lebanese officials in the Iranian occupied Lebanese are mere thugs, puppets, cowards and mercenaries
Elias Bejjani/May 21/2022
The Lebanese officials in the Iranian occupied Lebanese are mere thugs, puppets, cowards and mercenaries. All of them should be put on trial on treason charges. Martyr Amer Fakhory was arbitrarily arrested and tortured . He died few weeks after his release. All those responsible for his arrest and death must be made judicially accountable.

Amer Fakhoury Foundation Petition
May 21/2022
General Abbas Ibrahim is on his way to DC on a private plane (paid for by US dollars) to meet with officials. The man who ordered the kidnapping and the torture of the late US hostage Amer Fakhoury is on his way to meet our US officials. Help us get accountability for the death of Amer Fakhoury. Sign this petition and share it.

إيلي عون: الدستور لا ينص على ان يكون رئيس مجلس النواب نائباً، بل شيعياً، ولهذا يجب انتخاب شيعي محرر من الثنائية ومن خارج المجلس
Who should be the next Speaker of Parliament?
Elie Aoun/May 21/2022
The Lebanese National Pact is based on the premise that the speaker of the National Assembly must be a Shia Muslim. The “Pact” is made to Lebanon's “Shia Muslim”, not to the Amal Movement or Hizballah.
Secondly, the Taif Agreement states that “The Chamber spokesman and his deputy shall be elected for the duration of the chamber's term.”
As it is written, the Taif Agreement does not make it a mandatory requirement for the speaker to be an existing Member of Parliament – although that has been the practice. In theory, the Speaker could be any Lebanese Shiite – from within or outside the Parliament.
Thirdly, all Shiite members of the new parliament are affiliated with the Amal Movement or Hizballah. The two organizations did not attain the “unilateral representation” status due to their popularity (above all other Shiites). Rather, they achieved this status by exercising force against Shiite parliamentary candidates whose campaigns were in opposition to Amal and Hizballah.
Some candidates were threatened, others were physically beaten, and some Shiites were harassed while attempting to attend opposition rallies. By the use of force and intimidation, some Shiite candidates chose to withdraw from the race.
There is plenty of evidence to show that the Amal and Hizballah’s “exclusive” Shiite representation in Parliament is due to unlawful tactics (fraud, use of force, vote rigging, manipulation, illegal interference in the election process, etc.). These illegal acts render the duo’s parliamentary representation unlawful. Therefore, they are not the sole or genuine representatives of the Shiite community which is largely “disenfranchised” – deprived of the right to freely express its votes or opinion.
For all the above reasons, it is justified to elect a qualified speaker of Parliament, someone who is not an existing Member of Parliament.

Hezbollah Grip on Lebanon Must End, Says Geagea
Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Lebanon's hijacked sovereignty must be restored after an election denied the Shiite Hezbollah party a parliamentary majority, said Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea. "All strategic decision-making should return to the Lebanese state... and security and military matters should be handled exclusively by the Lebanese army," he told AFP. "No one... should be able to transport missiles from one place to another without the permission and knowledge of the military," the 69-year-old added, referring to Hezbollah. Geagea's campaign for the May 15 election centered mainly on disarming Hezbollah, cementing his role as the movement's staunchest domestic rival. The Iran-backed Shiite party, which held a majority in the outgoing parliament together with its allies, is the only militia to have not disarmed after the end of Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war. Hezbollah, whose arsenal outguns the army's, is described by its supporters as a bulwark against enemy Israel, but it is blacklisted a "terrorist" organization by the US and other Western countries. Detractors argue it undermines the state's decisions on security and exposes Lebanon to costly disputes, with Hezbollah deploying combatants and weapons across the region. "No one should be allowed to use their weapons inside the country," said Geagea, who rose to prominence as a militia leader during the civil war. "This is no longer acceptable," he said during an interview at his residence in Maarab, northeast of Beirut.
Anti-Hezbollah alliance
Lebanon's latest election yielded a polarized and fractured parliament that denied any single bloc a clear-cut majority. Geagea's party clinched 18 seats, with an additional spot going to an allied lawmaker who is not a party member. To challenge Hezbollah, Geagea is counting on alliances with other traditional powers opposed to it, including the Kataeb party, and the Progressive Socialist Party led by Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. At least 13 independent lawmakers who emerged from an anti-government protest movement in 2019 could also bolster their ranks, said Geagea. "We are in intensive talks" with them, he said. "We agree at a minimum on the need to build an actual Lebanese state... away from corruption, clientelism, quotas, and private interests." From Sunday, after the current assembly's mandate expires, the new lawmakers will have to pick a speaker, a position Nabih Berri has held since 1992. Berri is expected to hold on to the post with the backing of Hezbollah and his Shiite Amal movement which, together, account for all Shiite lawmakers. But Geagea called on incoming lawmakers to chart a new political path by selecting a speaker who would work to "preserve" the state's sovereignty. "We can't nominate Berri at all because he is aligned with the other team," Geagea said, referring to Hezbollah. Another hurdle set to face the new parliament is the process of forming a government, which could take months. Geagea said he opposes plans for a "national unity" cabinet.
"We support a majority government that can be effective... and that agrees on a unified project," he said. Lebanon is grappling with an unprecedented financial crisis widely blamed on corruption and mismanagement by a bickering ruling elite that has dominated the country since of the civil war.
The country has been battered by triple-digit inflation, soaring poverty rates and the collapse of its currency since a 2020 debt default. International donors including the International Monetary Fund have preconditioned assistance on the implementation of key reforms. "Our ties with Gulf Arab states will certainly be restored and Gulf aid will gradually flow to Lebanon," if a government is formed "that can inspire trust and confidence," said Geagea. The swift formation of such a cabinet will also streamline IMF negotiations, he added. The IMF and Lebanon in April struck a conditional deal for $3 billion in aid. Enacting reforms, including a financial recovery plan which was approved by government on Friday, is one of many prerequisites for the package. IMF talks are the "main entry point" for financial recovery, Geagea said.

Israel Uncovers New Hezbollah Route to Transfer Weapons from Iran to Lebanon
Tel Aviv - Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Israel accused on Friday a senior official in the Hezbollah party of opening a new route to transfer weapons from Iran to Lebanon. Israeli military spokesman Avichay Adraee said that Rida Hashem Safieddine was overseeing the route. Safieddine is the husband of Zeinab, the daughter of slain Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike near Baghdad airport in 2020. He is also the son of Hashem Safieddine, head of the Hezbollah executive council and considered the most senior official in the party after its leader Hassan Nasrallah.
He also happens to be Nasrallah's cousin. His uncle is Abdullah Safieddine, Hezbollah's representative in Iran. Adraee said Safieddine Sr. was probably exploiting his family relations, his high rank, and Lebanese infrastructure to help his son transfer "strategic" weapons from Iran to Hezbollah.
In a series of tweets, he added that Hashem Safieddine was using his position to communicate with Hezbollah supporters and follow up on the party's activities among the Shiite population in Lebanon. He was also communicating with prominent figures in Lebanon and managing media and communications. He said that since Zeinab lives in Iran, her husband, Rida, who is based in Lebanon, often visits her several times a month. He uses his trips for military purposes and meets with officials in Iran to coordinate the transfer of weapons on civilian flights from Iran to Damascus International Airport, "putting the lives of passengers in imminent danger, just as the terrorist Hezbollah does when it exploits the Lebanese state and citizens to serve Iran." Adraee warned that the Israeli army will continue to monitor all of Hezbollah's attempts at threatening the Israeli state's security and that it will do everything it needs to protect itself and its citizens.

Presidency: Cabinet is considered resigned starting with the Parliament’s new term tomorrow
NNA/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
The General Directorate of the Presidency of the Republic issued the following statement: “Pursuant to provisions of Clause 1 of Article 69 of the Constitution related to cases in which the government is considered to have resigned, especially the provisions of Paragraph E of the aforementioned item.
In view of the commencement of the mandate of the new Parliament tomorrow, 22/5/2022, the President of the Republic expressed his thanks to the Prime Minister and the ministers, and asked the Cabinet to conduct business until a new government is formed.
[Presidency Information Ministry]

Corona - Health Ministry: 72 new Corona cases, 1 death
NNA/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
In its daily report on the COVID-19 developments, the Ministry of Public Health announced on Saturday the registration of 72 new Coronavirus infections, which raised the cumulative number of confirmed cases to-date to 1,098,504. The report added that one death was recorded during the past 24 hours.

Jumblatt: Hezbollah and its allies have lost the majority
NNA/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Head of the Progressive Socialist Party, Walid Jumblatt, indicated that he was alone in the electoral battle he fought in the mountain, and that the patriots there did not let him down. "Hezbollah and its allies have lost the majority, and the question now is how will this majority act after it is formed? Our response must be above regional and partisan fanaticism," Jumblatt said. The former MP explained in an interview with "The Independent Arabia" that "there is no problem with some Druze base voting in favor of the change deputies," adding, "He who does not know how to adapt will lose, but I ask about their program..."He criticized the treasonous statements made by MP Mohammad Raad towards the opponents, again demanding the approval of the defense strategy. Jumblatt also considered that "there is no reform without sovereignty."

Berri's bloc officially nominates him for parliament speaker post
Naharnet/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Speaker Nabih Berri's parliamentary bloc on Saturday officially nominated him for a new term as parliament speaker. "We hope all colleagues will support this nomination and work for it," the Development and Liberation bloc said in a statement after a meeting chaired by Berri.
By long-standing convention, the parliament speaker post is reserved for a Shiite and Berri's Amal Movement and its ally Hizbullah have won all 27 Shiite seats in the new parliament. Several opposition blocs have said that they do not intend to vote for Berri. Separately, the bloc called on all new MPs to "engage in dialogue in parliament to find solutions for all the issues" in order to "rescue Lebanon from the danger it is facing.""Only dialogue over all those topics represents a real gateway to salvation," the bloc added.

Macron, Bin Salman call for 'structural reforms' in Lebanon
Agence France Presse/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and French President Emmanuel Macron have reiterated their call for "structural reforms" in Lebanon. "They reaffirmed the need to implement the structural reforms necessary for the country's recovery, as expected by the Lebanese population and the international community," the French presidency announced after a telephone conversation between the two leaders. Macron and Salman also "reaffirmed their willingness to continue their coordination to support the Lebanese population."The phone call comes five days after Lebanon staged parliamentary elections in which Hizbullah and its allies lost their majority amid a surge by reformist forces.

Rifi from Maarab: We will never agree to a Parliament Speaker from the existing system & we reject its persistence
NNA/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Lebanese Forces Party Chief Samir Geagea met Saturday in Maarab with elected deputy, Major General Ashraf Rifi, in presence of the elected LF deputy Elie Khoury, Geagea's Advisor for legal affairs Said Malik, and Tripoli Coordinator Jad Damian. Following their one and a half hour meeting, Rifi deemed today's visit to Maarab as being within the framework of his alliance with the Lebanese Forces Party, "in the service of our people in Tripoli's Minnieh-Dinnieh district and all of Lebanon." He stressed, "We are part of a national alliance that requires union and cooperation in the face of the Iranian project, in order to reach a sovereign, free, independent and secure homeland for ourselves and our children's future."He added that they both underlined the importance of this alliance to implement operational programs across Lebanon, particularly in Tripoli. "We agreed to be within the framework of a single alliance, not a single bloc, in preparation for a national front in the future that includes every honest and patriotic sovereign person," Rifi emphasized. As for his stance on naming Nabih Berri as Speaker of the House for a new term, Rifi said: "We represent a Lebanese segment of sovereign change, so we will choose figures within this framework, and therefore we will never agree to any of the existing system and reject its continuation, as we are looking with our allies for an alternative that resembles us..." In response to another question on the Deputy House Speaker position and the possibility of any settlement in this context, Rifi replied: "Things are not personal. We respect and appreciate elected MP Ghassan Hasbani, and in the event of his candidacy, we support him, and this applies to any other sovereign change option, but the decision has not yet been taken at the present moment."

Mikati meets new commander of US Central Command, accompanied by US Ambassador
NNA/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Prime Minister Najib Mikati received today at the Government Serail the new commander of the US Central Command, General Michael Corella, in the presence of US Ambassador Dorothy Shea and the accompanying delegation, as well as the Supreme Defense Council's Secretary-General, Major General Mohammad al-Mustafa.

Geagea: We support the formation of an effective majority government
NNA/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
In an interview with Agence France-Presse, Lebanese Forces Party Chief Samir Geagea confirmed that "the change that resulted from the recent parliamentary elections, with Hezbollah losing the majority, necessitates a change in political performance, according to which the Lebanese state becomes the strategic decision-maker in peace and war and in the foreign policy." "The Lebanese Forces Party intends to work to return the entire strategic decision to the Lebanese state, at which stage no one has the right to transcend the state with regards to foreign policy, while restricting the security and military decision to the Lebanese army, and therefore no one can initiate a new July war or transfer missiles from one place to another except with the approval and knowledge of the Lebanese Army," Geagea asserted. He considered that "the new path begins with the election of a parliament speaker who will help complete the task and preserve the entity and the Lebanese state," noting herein that "we cannot elect House Speaker Nabih Berri at all because he is part of the other team." Geagea referred to "intensive contacts with all the deputies who emerged from the 'October 17th Revolution' to find out the best frameworks for coordinating positions, given that we at least agree on the establishment of an actual Lebanese state, away from corruption, clientelism, quotas and narrow private interests." As for the upcoming cabinet, the LF Chief affirmed, "We reject the formation of a national unity government on the grounds that this type of government is an illusion, and from here, we support the formation of an effective majority government that includes a closely-connected work team that agrees on one project.""If a government is formed that inspires trust and credibility, has clear orientations and a well-defined political project, and shows seriousness in its approach, then it is almost certain that Arab relations will return to what they were in the past, and Arab aid will gradually flow to Lebanon," assured Geagea. He concluded by stressing the importance of "forming such a government that speeds-up negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, the agreement with which is the main prelude to stopping the collapse in Lebanon."

Taymour Jumblatt: The people failed the political assassination that some had planned at home & on the outside
NNA/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Head of the "Democratic Gathering" parliamentary bloc, MP Taymour Jumblatt, stressed today on "the continued struggle for Lebanon's sovereignty to protect the state, our independent national decision, and our normal relations with the brotherly Arab countries."
“The elections are a new juncture that proves Lebanon’s democratic identity and diversity that many have tried to abolish, whereby the people have thwarted the political assassination that some had planned at home and on the outside," he said.
Jumblatt expressed his sincere appreciation and gratitude to "everyone who, through casting their votes, layed as a stone for building the state and ensuring recovery."
"Now that the elections are over, forming a government is an urgent requirement," he said, "for we cannot waste time as the citizen is unable to withstand anymore, and we will continue to work for all the slogans we raised in the elections and we want them to be achieved based on sovereignty and reform," Jumnblatt underscored. His words came after presiding over the bloc’s meeting at Al-Mukhtara Palace this afternoon, in the presence of the MP's Marwan Hamadeh, Akram Chehayeb, Faisal Al-Sayegh, Hadi Abu Al-Hassan, Wael Abu Faour and Raji al-Saad.

Elected MP Daou reviews with former House Speaker Al-Husseini upcoming milestones
NNA/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Elected MP Mark Daou met today with former Parliament Speaker Hussein Al-Husseini.
In an issued statement following the meeting, Dao said: "Former House Speaker Al-Husseini is among the most prominent figures of the Taif Agreement, and we discussed current hour issues during our encounter, including the parliamentary elections and the upcoming fateful deadlines."
He added that he "derived lessons and advice from Al-Husseini on the electoral work, while agreeing to coordinate together to prepare law proposals and complete the implementation of the National Accord Document."

Elected MP Bizri: Contracting company for waste treatment must perform its duty
NNA/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Elected MP Abdul-Rahman Al-Bizri considered, in an issued statement today, that the solution reached by the municipality in collecting waste and transporting it to a yard near the treatment center is a temporary solution to remove the piles of waste that filled the streets.
"We have to search for a more serious solution in order not to fall into this environmental disaster again," he said. "The company contracting with the municipality for waste treatment must perform its duty, especially since it has refrained from carrying out any integrated treatment, and has contented itself with collecting waste without any treatment for months," Al-Bizri added. "The problem of waste and ways to dispose of it, treat it and remove the new mountains of waste, is one of our priorities in cooperation with the Sidon Municipality and the Ministry of Environment, which we call upon to carry out its duty even in times of caretaker business," the new MP underlined.

Development & Liberation" bloc nominates Berri for heading the Parliament Council: Dialogue alone is the gateway to salvation
NNA/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri chaired today the first meeting by the "Development and Liberation" bloc in presence of its elected parliament members.
The bloc announced in a statement following the meeting, its "nomination of Speaker Nabih Berri for assuming the presidency of the Parliament Council, hoping that all colleagues would support this nomination and work for it."Meanwhile, the bloc stressed that "the caretaker government must carry out its duties during the transitional period until a new cabinet is fomed, and to follow-up on files that concern people especially their economic and social affairs, and to control the dollar exchange rate and secure fuel, bread, and other important basic needs for citizens."
At the national level, the bloc announced its adoption of the "road map included in the message addressed by Speaker Berri on the eve of the official results of the elections last Tuesday," considering it "an open invitation to all blocs for dialogue under the dome of Parliament and to approach issues and headlines related to finding effective solutions to save Lebanon from the cycle of danger that threatens it." "Dialogue alone represents a real prelude to salvation," the bloc underlined in its statement.

"It is not permissible to accept any solution at the expense of depositors," underlines Bizri
NNA/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Elected MP, Abdul-Rahman Al-Bizri, received at his residence today a Depositors' Association delegation, with talks centering on "the rights and proposed mechanisms for recovering depositors' money". Al-Bizri promised to "follow-up up on this dossier that concerns the various Lebanese in their livelihood, property and rights," stressing that "it is not permissible to accept any solution at the expense of depositors, even if partially."

Frem: Abdel-Malik rendered Lebanon at the heart of the French government
NNA/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
"Project Watan" Executive Council Head, elected MP Neemat Frem, said via Twitter: "Keserwan - Jbeil is proud of the French Minister of Culture, Rima Abdel-Malik...The war of liberation pushed her towards immigration at the age of ten, and from that day she began to shine with a culture that is passionate about life and people...rendering Lebanon at the heart of the French government...Congratulations!"

Bassil calls for a speedy new government with a clear program, holding an internal dialogue table
NNA/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Free Patriotic Movement Chief, MP Gebran Bassil, called today for "forming a new government as soon as possible and leaving the presidential elections to their time and circumstances, away from political strife.""We clearly see an intention not to form a government, and this is what will cause the fall of the Taif," he cautioned, adding, "We want a prime minister who is favored by his sect and not from the outside, and the government must have a clear program," stressing that "we want to know the position of its head on Riyad Salameh and the Minister of Finance."
Bassil also called for "holding an internal dialogue table before we receive an invitation to hold a conference abroad on the defense strategy, the displaced Syrians, the borders and gas," adding that "there can be no gas from Karish without gas from the Qana field."
Bassil emphasized the need to abandon the notion of federalism and partition, while expressing readiness to completely abolish sectarianism but noting that it is not yet time at present.
At the regional level, he underlined that "Syria will remain our neighbour, and our demand is good neighborliness and mutual respect." His words came at an FPM organized forum at Beirut's Seaside area today, during which he asserted that “despite coming out victorious, yet there is nothing to do with triumph while our country is in danger...Our joint responsibility is to rescue it altogether, for no one can rule on his own...""We have gone through exceptional circumstances and we affirm our determination to move forward in response to the aspirations of the Lebanese," pledged Bassil. He added: "I apologize to those whom we disappointed by failing to achieve their dreams because the system was stronger than us...and we apologize to all those who falsely imagined that they were able to bring us down...." On the election law, Bassil said: "We are committed to the electoral law and the megacenter and its development." He believed that "the Sunni political situation is unhealthy, as fragmentation in this way is dangerous," adding that "the Shiite situation is still coherent, and we have contributed to preventing the breach of the Shiite parliamentary seat in Byblos."Referring to the parliamentary elections, he said: "We are 21 deputies, and with appeals, we expect to be above 23 deputies."He added: "The concrete truth is that we are the largest bloc in parliament, and we will grow as well...yet we are not upset if it is smaller...They will be the largest bloc to bear the responsibility...Our deputies won with our preferential votes and without any support...We will present the appeals, for buying of votes and consciences will not pass."Addressing FPM's members and supporters, Bassil said: "You are heroes, you have been exposed to a global war that only the heroes can withstand..."
On a different note, Bassil and the attendees at the forum observed a minute of silence and prayers for the souls of the martyrs of the Beirut Port explosion.

The Latest English LCCC Miscellaneous Reports And News published on May 21-22/2022
Israeli missile strikes kill 3 near Syria capital

Agence France Presse/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Israeli surface-to-surface missiles killed three people near the Syrian capital Damascus on Friday, state media said quoting a military source. "The Israeli enemy carried out an aggression... that led to the death of three martyrs and some material losses," Syria's official news agency SANA quoted the source as saying. The missiles came from the Israeli-occupied Golan heights and were intercepted by the Syrian air defenses, the military source said. AFP correspondents in the Syrian capital said they heard very loud noises in the evening. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said that the three people killed were officers and that four other members of the air defense crew were wounded.The Israeli strikes targeted Iranian positions and weapon depots near Damascus, the monitor said. A fire broke at one of the positions near the Damascus airport, where ambulances were seen rushing to the site of the strikes, according to the Observatory. The latest strike follows one on May 13 that killed five people in central Syria, and another one near Damascus on April 27 which, according to the Observatory, killed 10 combatants, among them six Syrian soldiers, in the deadliest such raid since the start of 2022. Since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes there, targeting government troops as well as allied Iran-backed forces and fighters of Lebanon's Hizbullah. While Israel rarely comments on individual strikes, it has acknowledged carrying out hundreds of them. The Israeli military has defended them as necessary to prevent its arch-foe Iran from gaining a foothold on its doorstep. The conflict in Syria has killed nearly half a million people and forced around half of the country's pre-war population from their homes.

Iran Plotted to Kidnap Israel's Moshe Ya'alon
Tel Aviv - Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence service has exposed Iranian attempts to kidnap Israeli officials and businessmen to Tehran. Right-wing newspaper, Israel Hayom, reported on Friday that among Iran’s targets was the former chief of staff and former defense minister, Moshe Yaalon. Yaalon, who currently works as a researcher at several national security research institutes, had received an invitation to participate in an email research conference, the national Hebrew-language daily reported. After receiving the invite, Yaalon was suspicious of the source communication and went to the Shin Bet. The Israeli intelligence service then confirmed Yaalon’s doubts and thereby thwarted the potential kidnap. Before Yaalon’s story took place, the Shin Bet had warned that Iranian intelligence agencies were trying to target Israeli academics, former security officials, journalists and businessmen, by gathering information about them, and luring them out of the country in order to kidnap them. Iranians used fictitious email accounts to contact Israeli officials while impersonating real-life academics, journalists, businessmen, and philanthropists who are unaware their identities are being used for such a purpose, the Shin Bet said. Some of the names used were those of Swiss researcher Oliver Thränert, head of the Center for Security Studies, and British journalist Con Coughlin, defense editor at The Daily Telegraph. The statement further detailed that the Iranians would present a believable "cover story" and try to gather information on the Israeli officials or invite them to conferences abroad, possibly to abduct or hurt them. “It is a well-known method of operation of the Iranian intelligence and security bodies, headed by the Intelligence Organization of the Revolutionary Guards, Quds Force, and the Ministry of Intelligence,” the Shin Bet said. It warned that Iran continues its attempts to establish contacts with Israeli citizens through social media networks, using false identities, to establish a social or romantic relationship, for the purpose of luring them out of the country and kidnapping or targeting them. Israelis believe that these attempts are part of the covert war between the two countries, and that the Iranians are being subjected to strong attacks by Israeli intelligence agencies and are trying to respond to them.

HRW Says More Arrests in Iran amid Economic Protests
Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Iranian authorities have arrested several prominent activists on baseless accusations amid labor union strikes and ongoing protests against rising prices, since May 6, 2022, in dozens of small towns, Human Rights Watch said on Friday. Those arrested include a prominent sociologist and four labor rights defenders. News outlets close to the intelligence apparatus have accused the detained activists of having contact with suspicious foreign actors, without providing any evidence of an alleged wrongdoing. On May 11, the Intelligence Ministry issued a statement saying that it had arrested two European citizens who it said met with teachers’ unions activists and “intended to abuse the demands of unions and other groups in society.”“The arrests of prominent members of civil society in Iran on baseless accusations of malicious foreign interference is another desperate attempt to silence support for growing popular social movements in the country,” said Tara Sepehri Far, senior Iran researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Instead of looking to civil society for help in understanding and responding to social problems, Iran’s government treats them as an inherent threat.” According to the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), an independent human rights monitoring agency, since May 6, in at least 19 cities and towns, people have gathered to protest the news of rising prices for essential goods in the coming months. Parliament members have been reported saying two people were killed during the protests. Unconfirmed sources report higher numbers. Human Rights Watch has not been able to confirm these reports. On May 9, the authorities arrested labor activists Anisha Assadollahi and Keyvan Mohtadi after raiding their home, HRANA reported. On May 12, the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (SWTSBC) reported that intelligence agents had arrested Reza Shahabi, a member of its governing board. HRANA reported that Reyhani Ansari, another labor rights activist, was also arrested on the same day. Telegram channels close to intelligence services claimed that Shahabi and Assadollahi were arrested on “accusation of cooperating with a foreign team intending to overthrow” the government, without providing evidence for this accusation.
On May 16, Mehr News agency reported that the authorities had arrested an outspoken sociologist, Saeed Madani, who previously spent five years in prison for his peaceful activism, on the accusation of “meeting suspicious foreign actors and conveying their operating guidelines to entities inside the country.” On January 4, the authorities at Imam Khomeini airport in Tehran had prevented Madani from leaving the country to start his fellowship program at Yale University. The authorities have since prevented him from leaving Iran and interrogated him several times. On May 17, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Television channel aired a video identifying the two Europeans arrested as Cecile Kohler, 37, and Chuck Paris, 69. Kohler is reportedly an official in a French teachers union. During the last week of April, the authorities arrested dozens of teachers union activists after the Coordinating Council of the Iranian Teachers Associations called for nationwide protests to demand reforms of the pay scale system on May 1, a day before National Teachers’ Day. Several of those arrested remain in detention, including Mohammad Habibi, the Iranian Teachers Trade Association’s (ITTA) spokesperson, Rasoul Bodaghi, Jafar Ebrahimi, and other prominent members of ITTA. Over the past four years, there have been widespread protests to make economic demands, and protests and strikes organized by the country’s major unions have been on the rise in Iran in response to declining living standards across the country. Security forces have responded to these protests with excessive force, including lethal force, and arrested thousands of protesters, using prosecution and imprisonment based on illegitimate charges as the main tool to silence prominent dissidents and human rights defenders. The authorities have shown no willingness to investigate serious human rights violations committed under their control, said HRW. Since the start of protests on May 6, the authorities have heavily disrupted internet access in multiple provinces, it continued. A number of videos circulated on social media show the presence of security officials and appear to show the use of teargas. Unofficial sources published the names of five people they said were killed during the protests in the Khuzistan, Chaharmahal, and Bakhtiari provinces. Human Rights Watch has not been able to confirm the deaths. “Iranian authorities have long sought to criminalize solidarity among members of civil society groups inside and outside the country,” Sepehri Far said. “The intention is to prevent accountability and scrutiny of state actions that civil society provides.”

Russia says destroyed Western weapons sent to Ukraine
Agence France Presse/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Moscow's forces destroyed a large shipment of Western-supplied weapons in northwestern Ukraine with long-range missiles, the Russian defense ministry said Saturday. "High-precision long-range sea-based Kalibr missiles destroyed a large batch of weapons and military equipment near the Malin railway station in Zhytomyr region delivered from the United States and European countries," it said. The ministry said the weapons were intended for Ukrainian forces in the eastern Donbas region, a Russian-speaking area that has been partially controlled by pro-Moscow separatists since 2014 and is now scene of some of the fiercest fighting in Ukraine. Moscow sent troops inro Ukraine on February 24, saying it aimed to "de-Nazify" the pro-Western country and protect the Russian speakers there. Western countries have supplied Ukraine with weapons, including artillery, anti-aircraft missiles, anti-tank weapons and other powerful materiel, but Kyiv has been pushing allies for more support.

Russia’s Claim of Mariupol’s Capture Fuels Concern for POWs
Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Russia’s claimed seizure of a Mariupol steel plant that became a symbol of Ukrainian tenacity gives Russian President Vladimir Putin a badly wanted victory in the war he began, capping a nearly three-month siege that left a city in ruins and more than 20,000 residents feared dead.
After the Russian Defense Ministry announced late Friday that its forces had removed the last Ukrainian fighters from the plant's miles of underground tunnels, concern mounted for the Ukrainian defenders who now are prisoners in Russian hands. Denis Pushilin, the head of an area of eastern Ukraine controlled by Moscow-backed separatists, said Saturday that the Ukrainians, considered heroes by their fellow citizens, were sure to face a tribunal for their wartime actions. "I believe that a tribunal is inevitable here. I believe that justice must be restored. There is a request for this from ordinary people, society, and, probably, the sane part of the world community," Russian state news agency Tass quoted Pushilin as saying. Russian officials and state media repeatedly have tried to characterize the fighters who holed up in the Azovstal steel plant as neo-Nazis. Among the plant's more than 2,400 defenders were members of the Azov Regiment, a national guard unit with roots in the far right. The Ukrainian government has not commented on Russia's claim of capturing Azovstal, which for weeks remained Mariupol's last holdout of Ukrainian resistance, and with it completing Moscow's long-sought goal of controlling the city, home to a strategic seaport.Ukraine's military this week told the fighters holed up in the plant, hundreds of them wounded, that their mission was complete and they could come out. It described their extraction as an evacuation, not a mass surrender. The end of the battle for Mariupol would help Putin offset some stinging setbacks, including the failure of Russian troops to take over Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, the sinking of the Russian Navy’s flagship in the Black Sea and the continued resistance that has stalled an offensive in eastern Ukraine. The impact of Russia's declared victory on the broader war in Ukraine remained unclear. Many Russian troops already had been redeployed from Mariupol to elsewhere in the conflict, which began when Russia invaded its neighbor on Feb. 24. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov reported Saturday that Russia had destroyed a Ukrainian special-operations base in the Black Sea region of Odesa as well as a significant cache of Western-supplied weapons in northern Ukraine's Zhytomyr region. There was no confirmation from the Ukrainian side.
In its morning operational report, the Ukrainian military general staff reported heavy fighting in much of eastern Ukraine, including the areas of Sievierodonetsk, Bakhmut and Avdiivka.
After failing to capture Kyiv, Russia focused its offensive on the country's eastern industrial heartland. The Russia-backed separatists have controlled parts of the Donbas region since 2014, and Moscow wants to expand the territory under its control. The seizure of Mariupol furthers Russia’s quest to essentially create a land bridge from Russia stretching through the Donbas region to the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said Saturday that Russia was working to restore the port and remove mines.
Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, demanded anew that Russia pay "in one way or another for everything it has destroyed in Ukraine. Every burned house. Every ruined school, ruined hospital. Each blown up house of culture and infrastructure facility. Every destroyed enterprise." "Of course, the Russian state will not even recognize that it is an aggressor,” he said in an address late Friday. "But its recognition is not required." Zelenskyy expressed gratitude to his US counterpart, Joe Biden, who signed off Saturday on a fresh, $40 billion infusion of aid for the war-ravaged nation. Half of the funding provides military assistance. Mariupol, which is part of the Donbas, was blockaded early in the war and became a frightening example to people elsewhere in the country of the hunger, terror and death they might face if the Russians surrounded their communities.
As the end drew near at the steel plant, wives of fighters who had held out told of what they feared would be their last contact with their husbands. Olga Boiko, the wife of a marine, wiped away tears as she shared the words her husband wrote her on Thursday: "Hello. We surrender, I don’t know when I will get in touch with you and if I will at all. Love you. Kiss you. Bye."The seaside steelworks, occupying some 11 square kilometers (4 square miles), had been a battleground for weeks. Drawing Russian airstrikes, artillery and tank fire, the dwindling group of outgunned fighters held out with the help of airdrops before their government ordered them to abandon the plant.
Zelenskyy revealed in an interview published Friday that Ukrainian helicopter pilots braved Russian anti-aircraft fire to ferry in medicine, food and water to the steel mill as well as to retrieve bodies and rescue wounded fighters.
A "very large" number of the pilots died on their daring missions, he said. "They are absolutely heroic people, who knew that it would be difficult, knew that to fly would be almost impossible," Zelenskyy said. Russia claimed that the Azov Regiment's commander was taken away from the plant in an armored vehicle because of local residents' alleged hatred for him, but no evidence of Ukrainian antipathy toward the nationalist regiment has emerged. The Kremlin has seized on the regiment's far-right origins in its drive to cast the invasion as a battle against Nazi influence in Ukraine. Russian authorities have threatened to put some of the steel mill’s defenders on trial for alleged war crimes. With Russia controlling the city, Ukrainian authorities are likely to face delays in documenting evidence of alleged Russian atrocities in Mariupol, including the bombings of a maternity hospital and a theater where hundreds of civilians had taken cover. Satellite images in April showed what appeared to be mass graves just outside Mariupol, where local officials accused Russia of concealing the slaughter by burying up to 9,000 civilians. Earlier this month, hundreds of civilians were evacuated from the plant during humanitarian cease-fires and spoke of the terror of ceaseless bombardment, the dank conditions underground and the fear that they wouldn’t make it out alive. At one point in the siege, Pope Francis lamented that Mariupol had become a "city of martyrs."An estimated 100,000 of the 450,000 people who resided there before the war remain. Many, trapped by Russia’s siege, were left without food, water and electricity. The chief executive of Metinvest, a multinational company that owns the Azovstal plant and another steel mill, Ilyich, in Mariupol, spoke of the city's devastation in an interview published Saturday in Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. "The Russians are trying to clean it (the city) up to hide their crimes,'' the newspaper quoted Metinvest CEO Yuriy Ryzhenkov as saying. ”The inhabitants are trying to make the city function, to make water supplies work again." "But the sewer system is damaged, there has been flooding, and infections are feared” from drinking the water, he said. The Ilyich steelworks still has some intact infrastructure, but if the Russians try to get it running, Ukrainians will refuse to return to their jobs there, Ryzhenkov said. "We will never work under Russian occupation,'' he said.

Ukraine Warns Only Talks Can End War as Russia Cuts Finland Gas
Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky warned Saturday that only a diplomatic breakthrough rather than an outright military victory could end Russia's war on his country, as Moscow cut gas supplies to Finland. "There are things that can only be reached at the negotiating table," Zelensky said, just as Russia claimed its long-range missiles had destroyed a shipment of Western arms destined for Ukraine's troops. Zelensky also appealed for more military aid, even as US President Joe Biden formally signed off on a $40-billion package of aid for the Ukrainian war effort. And the Ukrainian leader insisted his war-ravaged country should be a full candidate to join the European Union, rejecting a suggestion from France's President Emmanuel Macron and some other EU leaders that a sort of associated political community be created as a waiting zone for a membership bid. "We don't need such compromises," Zelensky said during a joint press conference with visiting Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa. "Because, believe me, it will not be compromise with Ukraine in Europe, it will be another compromise between Europe and Russia. I am absolutely sure of that," he warned. After just over 12 weeks of fierce fighting, Ukrainian forces have halted Russian attempts to seize Kyiv and the northern city of Kharkiv, but are under renewed and intense pressure in the eastern Donbas region. Moscow's army have flattened and seized the southeastern port city of Mariupol and subjected Ukrainian troops and towns in the east to a remorseless ground and artillery attacks. Zelensky's Western allies have shipped modern weaponry to his forces and imposed sweeping sanctions on the Russian economy and President Vladimir Putin's inner circle. But the Kremlin has responded by disrupting European energy supplies, and on Saturday cut off gas shipments to Finland, which angered Moscow by applying to join the NATO alliance.
'It will be bloody'
Against this backdrop, Zelensky told Ukrainian television the war would end "through diplomacy".
The conflict, he warned, "will be bloody, there will be fighting but will only definitively end through diplomacy" -- promising only that the result would be "fair" for Ukraine. "Discussions between Ukraine and Russia will decidedly take place. Under what format I don't know -- with intermediaries, without them, in a broader group, at presidential level," he said. In order to side-step financial sanctions and force European energy clients to prop up his central bank, Putin has demanded that importers from "unfriendly countries" pay for gas in rubles. Russian energy giant Gazprom said it had halted supplies to neighboring Finland as it had not received ruble payments from Finland's state-owned energy company Gasum by the end of Friday. Gazprom supplied 1.49 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Finland in 2021, about two thirds of the country's gas consumption but only eight percent of its total energy use.
Gasum said it would make up for the shortfall from other sources, through the Balticconnector pipeline, which links Finland to Estonia, a fellow European Union member. Moscow cut off gas to Poland and Bulgaria last month in a move the European Union described as "blackmail", but importers in some other EU countries more dependent on Russian gas plan to open ruble accounts with Gazprom's bank. Finland and neighboring Sweden this week broke their historical military non-alignment and applied to join NATO, after public support for the alliance soared following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
'Grave mistake'
Moscow has warned Finland that joining NATO would be "a grave mistake with far-reaching consequences" and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said it would respond by building military bases in western Russia. But both Finland and Sweden are now apparently on the fast track to join the military alliance, with US President Joe Biden this week offering "full, total, complete backing" to their bids. All 30 existing NATO members must agree on any new entrants, and Turkey has condemned Sweden's alleged tolerance for the presence of exiled Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants, but diplomats are confident of avoiding a veto. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Swedish and Finnish leaders to abandon financial and political support for what he called "terrorist" groups. Erdogan told Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson that "Sweden's political, financial and weapon support to terrorist organizations must end," his office said. Russia's foreign ministry on Saturday imposed travel bans on 26 Canadians "in response to the latest anti-Russian sanctions announced by Canadian authorities".Among the new additions is Sophie Trudeau, the wife of Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Moscow has now imposed travel bans on 963 people, according to a foreign ministry list released Saturday, including Biden and Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman. On the ground in Ukraine, the fighting is fiercest in the eastern region of Donbas, a Russian-speaking area that has been partially controlled by pro-Kremlin separatists since 2014. In Severodonetsk, a frontline city now at risk of encirclement, 12 people were killed and another 40 wounded by Russian shelling, the regional governor said. And in the neighboring Donetsk region, according to Ukraine's interior ministry, Russian fire hit a church sheltering scores of civilians, including children and clergy. At least 60 people were rescued, and the final casualty toll was not immediately clear.
Dogged resistance
The Russian defense ministry, meanwhile, claimed it had destroyed a large shipment of US and European weapons in a long-range missile strike targeting the Malin railway station west of Kyiv in the Zhytomyr region. There was no Ukrainian or independent confirmation of the success of the strike. On Friday, Moscow said the battle for the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol -- a symbol of Ukraine's dogged resistance since Putin launched the invasion on February 24 -- was now over. Russian defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenko said 2,439 Ukrainian personnel had surrendered at the steelworks since May 16, the final 500 on Friday. Ukraine hopes to exchange the surrendering Azovstal soldiers for Russian prisoners. But in Donetsk, pro-Kremlin authorities are threatening to put some of them on trial. Biden has cast the Ukraine war as part of a US-led struggle pitting democracy against authoritarianism. The US Congress this week approved a $40-billion (38-billion-euro) aid package, including funds to enhance Ukraine's armored vehicle fleet and air defense system -- and Biden signed it into law on Saturday.

US, Other APEC Delegates Walk Out on Russian Speaker
Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Delegates from the United States and four other nations staged a walkout Saturday when a representative from Russia began his opening remarks at a meeting of trade ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group in the Thai capital, officials said. A Japanese official said Japan's Trade Minister Koichi Hagiuda and his counterparts from the US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada walked out of the meeting in Bangkok to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
A statement from the office of New Zealand Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor said he walked out "in protest at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has slowed the region’s economic recovery from COVID and made it harder for people in the region to get food on their tables. He walked out in good company." A US official in Bangkok confirmed the walkout but did not provide further details. He asked not to be identified. There is diplomatic sensitivity over speaking about the incident because the proceedings were held in closed session. US Trade Representative Katherine Tai is representing Washington at the meeting. Thailand is this year's host nation for meetings of APEC, which comprises 21 economies. The two-day trade ministers meeting ends Sunday. The walkout occurred just as Maxim Reshetnikov, Russia’s minister for economic development, was set to deliver his opening remarks, said a Southeast Asian diplomat, also speaking on condition of anonymity. He said the delegates of the five protesting nations and their staff walked out together in what appeared to clearly be a planned action, and returned after Reshetnikov completed his remarks. Western nations have imposed tough diplomatic and economic sanctions on Russia because of its invasion of Ukraine, but many of APEC member nations, especially in Southeast Asia and Latin America, have distanced themselves from such moves. The war in Ukraine has raised major trade issues because it has disrupted supply chains, especially in the food sector.
APEC was launched in 1989 to boost growth by promoting economic integration and trade among its members.

Thousands Protest Turkish Opposition Politician’s Conviction
Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Thousands gathered for a rally in Istanbul on Saturday to protest the conviction of leading Turkish opposition politician Canan Kaftancioglu for insulting the president and the state. Demonstrators in the central district of Maltepe chanted songs and waved the opposition and national flags. Kaftancioglu, who was sentenced to just under five years in jail, heads Republican People's Party's (CHP) Istanbul branch and is one of the strongest voices in it. In 2019, she played a significant role in municipal elections in the city that saw the CHP take over the mayoralty, which had been held by President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party and its Islamist predecessors for the last 25 years. Turkey's judicial independence has been in the spotlight in recent years, notably since a crackdown on the judiciary and other state bodies after an abortive 2016 coup and a switch to an executive presidency last year. The country's top court upheld three convictions in a ruling made public earlier this month, but reduced the prison term to four years, 11 months and 20 days. Under Turkish law, sentences of under five years are suspended, and two legal experts told Reuters that Kaftancioglu would not be jailed.

Turkey’s Erdogan Talks to Swedish, Finnish Leaders on NATO
Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday discussed his objections to Sweden and Finland joining NATO with the two Nordic countries’ leaders, Erdogan’s office said. He spoke to Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in separate calls to address Ankara’s concerns about those it considers terrorists in their countries, the presidential communications office said in a statement. It said Erdogan called upon Sweden to lift defensive weapons export restrictions it imposed on Turkey over Turkey's 2019 incursion into northern Syria. Erdogan also said he expected Stockholm to take "concrete and serious steps" against the Kurdish Workers’ Party, or PKK, and other groups that Turkey views as terrorists. He told Niinisto "that an understanding that ignores terrorist organizations that pose a threat to an ally within NATO is incompatible with the spirit of friendship and alliance," the statement added. In another call, the Turkish president also raised Turkey's concerns with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who has said he would listen to Turkey's concerns on the matter. On Thursday, Niinisto and Andersson visited Washington, where they spoke with US President Joe Biden about their bids to join NATO in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While other NATO nation appear welcoming to have Finland and Sweden join, Turkey has raised objections to their accession, principally over the presence of alleged terrorists in their countries and the block on arms sales.

Canada/Parliamentary Secretary Oliphant to travel to South Africa, Malawi and Tanzania
May 21, 2022 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada
The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that the Honourable Robert Oliphant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, will visit South Africa, Malawi and Tanzania from May 22 to May 27, 2022.
In Pretoria and Johannesburg, South Africa, Parliamentary Secretary Oliphant will engage with key government officials on shared priorities, including, global health, democracy, climate cooperation, and multilateralism. He will also meet with representatives of civil society organizations and think tanks to discuss gender equality, women’s leadership and peace and security.
In Lilongwe, Malawi, he will meet with government officials and parliamentarians to discuss Canada and Malawi’s growing political, economic and commercial partnership, as well as gender equality. Parliamentary Secretary Oliphant will also engage with representatives of civil society organizations, the private sector and international partners regarding human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals.
In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Parliamentary Secretary Oliphant will exchange with several ministers to explore greater collaboration between Canada and Tanzania on mutual priorities, including global and regional peace and security, gender equality, health, inclusive governance and media freedom. He will also discuss these issues with representatives of civil society organizations, including development partners.
During his visits, Parliamentary Secretary Oliphant will also raise the impacts of the Russian regime’s illegal, unjustifiable, and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. He will also reaffirm Canada’s commitment to international cooperation on global issues, democratic resilience, conflict prevention, human rights and economic cooperation.
“South Africa, Malawi and Tanzania are long-time partners of Canada, as we are naturally aligned on many issues. I look forward to discussing our cooperation on shared priorities and to continue expanding our relationships.”
- Robert Oliphant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Quick facts
Canada and South Africa both have rights-based legal and constitutional systems. Canadians supported South African experts who drafted South Africa’s first democratic constitution, the 25th anniversary of which was in 2021.
Malawi and Canada are both committed to gender equity and women’s empowerment. We are working together to promote the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition on Feminist Movements and Leadership.
Tanzania is one of the largest recipients of Canadian international assistance worldwide, reflecting both its high level of need and the opportunities for progress afforded by its strong commitment to economic growth, to increasing access to health services and education and to poverty reduction.

Saied Promises Tunisians a New Republic Based on Popular Referendum
Tunis- Mongi Saidani/Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
Tunisian President Kais Saied has announced creating the National Consultative Commission for a New Republic, tasked with drawing up a draft constitution. In a cabinet session on Thursday evening, Saied said the new republic will be presented by the people and based on solid foundations that guarantee the state’s unity and continuity, as well as the rights of Tunisians for a decent life. The president said the republic will be formed based on a popular referendum on the political system and electoral law, and a draft of a new constitution. The committee consists of deans of Law and Political Sciences and is tasked with drafting the new constitution for the new republic. It must submit its report on June 20 to the president. Saied slammed the previous ruling system, stressing that it endangered the state and caused instability. He affirmed that the new constitution will reflect the will of Tunisian people, which they keenly expressed on December 17, 2010 and in the national consultation he held from January 1 till March 20. The consultation, which called on citizens to send in suggestions, was part of a reform package pushed by Saied, who said it succeeded despite the obstacles. Commenting on the upcoming referendum, Saied said all conditions will be set for everyone to be able to participate. These include reviewing voter registration to ensure the participation of about 2.5 million unregistered voters. The constitutional referendum is planned for July 25, exactly a year after Saied sacked the government, suspended parliament and seized wide-ranging powers.

Biden, Yoon signal expanded military drills due to N. Korea 'threat'

Agence France Presse/Saturday, 21 May, 2022
U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korea's new President Yoon Suk-yeol signaled Saturday an expanded military presence in response to the "threat" from North Korea, while also offering to help the isolated regime face a Covid-19 outbreak. After meeting in Seoul on Biden's first trip to Asia as president, the two leaders said in a statement that "considering the evolving threat posed by" North Korea, they "agree to initiate discussions to expand the scope and scale of combined military exercises and training on and around the Korean peninsula."The possible beefing up of joint exercises comes in response to North Korea's growing belligerence, with a blitz of sanctions-busting weapons tests this year as fears grow that Kim Jong Un will order a nuclear test while Biden is in Asia.
Biden and Yoon also extended an offer of help to Pyongyang, which has recently announced it is in the midst of a Covid-19 outbreak, a rare admission of internal troubles.
The US-South Korea statement said the two presidents "express concern over the recent Covid-19 outbreak" and "are willing to work with the international community to provide assistance" to North Korea to help fight the virus. On Saturday, North Korean state media reported nearly 2.5 million people had been sick with "fever" with 66 deaths as the country "intensified" its anti-epidemic campaign. Biden, while adding that he would not exclude a meeting with Kim if he were "sincere", indicated the difficulty of dealing with the unpredictable dictator. "We've offered vaccines, not only to North Korea but to China as well and we're prepared to do that immediately," Biden said at a press conference with Yoon. "We've got no response." For his part, Yoon stressed that the offer of Covid aid was according to "humanitarian principles, separate from political and military issues."
Elected on a strongly pro-U.S. message, Yoon emphasized the need to reinforce South Korea's defenses. According to Yoon, he and Biden "discussed whether we'd need to come up with various types of joint drills to prepare for a nuclear attack."Talks are also ongoing on ways to "coordinate with the US on the timely deployment of strategic assets when needed", he said, reaffirming commitment to North Korea's "complete denuclearization."The strategic assets should include "fighter jets and missiles in a departure from the past when we only thought about the nuclear umbrella for deterrence," he said. Any such deployments, or a ramping up of US-South Korea joint military exercises, is likely to enrage Pyongyang, which views the drills as rehearsals for invasion.
Biden-Yoon 'personal relationship'
Biden began his day by paying respects at Seoul National Cemetery, where soldiers killed defending South Korea, including many who fought alongside U.S. troops in the Korean War, are buried.
He then held closed-door talks with Yoon ahead of the joint press conference and a state dinner.
A US official said that in addition to tensions over North Korea and the US-led campaign to punish Russia for invading Ukraine, Biden's main focus Saturday was establishing "a strong personal relationship" with Yoon, who is less than two weeks into his presidency.
Like Japan, where Biden flies on Sunday, South Korea is seen as a key player in US strategy to contain China and maintain what Washington calls the "free and open Indo-Pacific".
Biden's Asia trip "is about demonstrating unity and resolve and strengthening the coordination between our closest allies", a senior US official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
In Japan, Biden will meet with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and the emperor.
On Monday, he will unveil a major new US initiative for regional trade, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity. A day later, he will join a regional summit of the Quad -- a grouping of Australia, India, Japan and the United States.
- Cutting-edge investments -
On arrival Friday in South Korea, Biden accompanied Yoon on a tour of a massive Samsung semiconductor factory.The microchips are a vital component in almost every piece of sophisticated modern technology, and South Korea and the United States need to work to "keep our supply chains resilient, reliable and secure", Biden said. For the US leader, whose Democratic Party fears a possible trouncing in midterm elections in November, snarled supply chains are an acute domestic political challenge, with Americans increasingly frustrated over rising prices and setbacks in the post-Covid pandemic recovery. Biden emphasized Samsung's decision to build a new semiconductor plant in Texas, opening in 2024. In the southern US state of Georgia, the governor on Friday announced that South Korean auto giant Hyundai will build a $5.5 billion plant to produce electric vehicles and batteries.

The Latest LCCC English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on May 21-22/2022
Why and how Sweden and Finland will strengthen NATO
Luke Coffey/Arab News/May 22/2022
In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Finland and Sweden this week formally applied to join NATO. This is a historic moment in European security matters.
Both Nordic countries possess robust military capabilities and decades of experience working as partners with NATO. Far from being like some other “free-riders” who have contributed little to the alliance in recent years, their entry into the organization will provide a net contribution to regional security in Northern Europe.
NATO has done more than any other organization, including the EU, to promote democracy, stability and security in the Euro-Atlantic region. In part, this has been accomplished by enticing countries that are not part of the club to become members. This is especially true of Sweden and Finland.
While they have, for historical and political reasons, remained non-aligned militarily, their partnerships with NATO are currently the closest of any nonmember states and the close relations go back decades.There are several good reasons why Swedish and Finnish membership of NATO will strengthen the alliance.
Firstly, as previously noted, both countries possess robust militaries that will bring significant capabilities to the alliance. Finland, for example, has a formidable military that includes its 280,000-strong defense forces, 900,000 trained reservists, 1,500 pieces of artillery, and the recently announced purchase of 64 F-35 fighter aircraft.
Secondly, if Sweden and Finland join NATO it will mean having seven out of the eight Arctic countries in the organization. Their entry would better focus the alliance on the emerging challenges in the region and play a role in helping to deter malign Russian and Chinese activities there.
To date, NATO has failed to develop an Arctic strategy. From a practical point of view, the alliance would have no choice but to develop and implement a policy in the region if and when Sweden and Finland become members.
Thirdly, the two countries have demonstrated the political will to deploy forces abroad. They both took part in NATO’s missions in Afghanistan, including the use of special forces. In 2011, Sweden contributed to NATO’s Operation Unified Protector in Libya, alongside Arab states such as the UAE, Jordan and Qatar. In addition, both nations continue to contribute troops to NATO’s Kosovo Force and have participated in numerous European-led missions in sub-Saharan Africa.
If Sweden and Finland become members, NATO will need to update its plans for the Baltic region.
Finally, they are clear minded about the threat posed by China. Sweden, for example, is reported to have been a particular target of Chinese cyber activity after it banned Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE from its 5G networks in 2020.
Now that Sweden and Finland have formally applied to join NATO, there is a lot of work to be done. All 30 existing members must approve their entry and there needs to be a speedy authorization process. Of all those members, only Turkey has suggested it might not quickly ratify the applications because of legitimate concerns about the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, officials who reside in Sweden. However, it is likely that an accommodation on this issue will be agreed between Ankara and Stockholm.
To demonstrate American leadership, and send a strong message to the transatlantic community, the US should swiftly pass the legislation required for Sweden and Finland to join NATO.
The period of time between applying to become a member and actually gaining the security guarantee that comes with that membership could be a dangerous one if not handled properly. It is therefore vital that Sweden and Finland’s defenses are bolstered during the application process.
On this issue, European nations are stepping up to the plate. To date, Denmark, France, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and the UK have extended security guarantees to Finland and Sweden while they wait for NATO membership to be granted.
The alliance will also need to update and modernize its contingency plans in the Baltic region. The last time NATO did this was in the aftermath of the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine. If Sweden and Finland become members, and given the changes to the security dynamics in the region due to Russia’s current invasion of Ukraine, NATO will need to update its plans for the Baltic region.
The alliance should ensure that its open-door policy is explicitly clear to countries that meet the criteria to join. Swedish and Finnish membership would serve as proof to other aspirant countries that the door truly is always open to new members.
The accession of Finland and Sweden into NATO is an important decision that will bolster transatlantic security by adding to the alliance two members with the political will to contribute and the capabilities to back up that will. Additionally, it will better secure the Baltic region and the Arctic and make future conflict there less likely by enhancing deterrence.
For the sake of European security, therefore, let us hope that Sweden and Finland join NATO sooner rather than later.
• Luke Coffey is the director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy at the Heritage Foundation. Twitter: @LukeDCoffey

Making sense of a tsunami of big data
Dr. Mohamed Ramady/Arab News/May 22/2022
Managing a tsunami of personal information presents firms with new challenges and opens a Pandora’s box on whether harvesting big data is a legitimate exercise, or one that pushes society into Big Brother territory.
But what is big data? The quick answer is that it is a term that makes a fuss out of something businesses have always had to manage — vast quantities of information. There is however more to it than that, because now everybody generates data 24/7, and it is digital, rather than being stored on paper in filing cabinets. The data available to those who want to pursue it is astonishing with IBM estimating that each one of us generates 2.5 gigabits of data every day. This is the footprint left by tweets, emails, online transactions, swiping rewards cards at tills to collect loyalty points, and logging in to our networked devices.
It does not stop there. On top of that comes the data that businesses themselves generate — emails, internal newsletters, invoices and purchase orders. Then comes the digital information that pours out of governments and official bodies — economic indicators, share price movements, fresh stock market indices, an endless stream.
Is there a benefit for those who want to harvest this data? How does a business manage this tsunami of information, never mind make sense of it? Computerised data used to be tidily placed onto structured databases that businesses owned themselves and tapped into at intervals. Now, data is often unstructured and comes from a myriad of sources. The old tools do not work anymore — new platforms and new algorithms have to be created
and applied to allow efficient storage, access and analysis.
There is also the sheer volume. Because storage is still relatively inexpensive — though this could change — far more data is stored than ever before. This explosion of data demands a new way of thinking about it. There’s financial data, there’s social media, which complicates matters, but is an important element, especially for the Z generation (of 10 to 25-year-olds). Social media is at the heart of what businesses have to pay attention to. That is not just Twitter or Facebook, but such platforms as LinkedIn, YouTube, Audioboo and blogs. Sentiment about a firm can be spotted, tracked, aggregated and analyzed across all these platforms. And self-appointed influencers can have a sudden impact on the way a business is perceived.
Then to complicate matters, there is also velocity, the speed at which data flows. Businesses need to be nimble not only in collecting and analyzing data, but also in responding to it. As well as keeping tabs on what is happening now, the smart company can use big data to manage its future business. However useful an analytic tool it can be, big data throws up issues of management and compliance for firms of all sizes. Previously, businesses kept a tight rein on data created inside the company — what came in and what went out. But the move toward bring-your-own-device policies, where staff fire up their own laptops and mobile phones at work, mean it is much harder for an IT department to track data, as well as possible leaks to competitors.
There are concerns for firms that allow users to pick up their corporate emails on personal mobiles. Who has access to that data, how is it being shared? If a user is working on his own laptop that connects to the corporate network, what if that laptop contains copyright-violating material?
The cloud — which refers to data and software stored on network servers and accessed via the Internet, rather than on individual devices — can help with many of the data issues that firms face, from storage and security to analysis.
But is this data harvesting ultimately worthwhile? Just having lots of data and being able to access it securely is not enough. Users have to be able to analyze data constructively. A company might, for example, find it wants to track all references to its products whether these are stored as images, sounds or words, and is likely to want to cross-reference and compare them in counter-intuitive ways.
But when enormous quantities of data have been hoovered up without reference to how best to present them for use in analysis, and stored in varying formats on different pieces of hardware, this is no small task and needs a new breed of big data analysts. So, in theory, this is a golden age for businesses — data is easy to collect, storage is cheap and the IT industry is increasingly able to offer smart deciphering services. But what are the downsides?
Data fatigue comes to mind as one can wind up with a huge amount of data and be overwhelmed by it, making it impractical to use. So perhaps the biggest challenge of big data is how to make sense of it by using good old-fashioned human common sense and intuition, a rare trait for some. In the meantime, just keeping a handle on big data is going to keep company chief information officers busy for a while to come.
• Dr. Mohamed Ramady is a former senior banker and professor of finance and economics at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran.

Sheikh Khalifa leaves a legacy of state building
The Arab Weekly/May 21/2022
The UAE's reactive system worked well under Sheikh Zayed, it worked well under Sheikh Khalifa and doubtless it will continue to work well under his successor, his brother Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed.
The passing this month of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, who served as ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the United Arab Emirates from November 2004 until his death on May 13, offers an opportunity for reflection. We should, of course, reflect on the many achievements of Sheikh Khalifa’s life and the highlights of his 18 years as president.
But this is also an appropriate moment to take stock of the unique system of government over which he presided.
Critics in the wider world are apt to denigrate the UAE as an autocracy, but this is to dismiss the historical and cultural significance of the ancient tribal traditions of governance of the region.
In fact, since its foundation in 1971 by Sheikh Khalifa’s father and predecessor, Sheikh Zayed, the UAE has been a constitutional federation of seven monarchies, the largest of which is Abu Dhabi.
The highest authority in the UAE is the Federal Supreme Council, composed of the rulers of the seven emirates, which draws up general policies and approves various federal legislation.
At the very outset in 1971, the UAE enshrined in its constitution the role of the traditional Shura, or council of advisors, in the shape of the Federal National Council, a consultative body with 40 members that first sat on February 13, 1972.
At first, the members of the FNC were all appointed by the rulers of the seven emirates, but in 2006 Sheikh Khalifa and the Federal Supreme Council introduced an electoral process by which half the members would be elected by citizens. Since then, there have been four elections, the most recent taking place in October 2019, on the eve of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
No, this is not a democracy. But the UAE makes no apologies for its system of government and nor should it. It is clear that no democracy anywhere could hope to emulate the vision, growth and transformation of the UAE since its foundation a mere 50 years ago.
Sheikh Khalifa was 23 years old when his father became the first president of the newly-formed UAE in 1971. Having studied the art of leadership at his father’s shoulder, he was 57 when, in 2004, he was called to follow in his footsteps.
The UAE’s achievements under the leadership of Sheikh Khalifa have been detailed elsewhere. But one, in particular, illustrates not only his foresight, but also the ability of the UAE’s unique system of governance to respond rapidly to events in a way that few other forms of government could hope to do. The rapid growth of the UAE’s economy and its population has not been without its challenges. One of the main tests for the country’s planners has been keeping ahead of the increased demand for electricity and water, the production of both of which in the arid UAE is expensive and, relying as it does upon fossil fuels, contributes to climate change.
The solution was announced in 2008: Abu Dhabi would build nuclear power generators, and it has.
Overcoming international concerns, construction of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant began in 2012, the first two reactors came online in 2021 and 2022, two more will follow in 2023 and, when complete, the plant will generate 25 percent of the nation’s electricity needs.
Contrast this with the situation in the UK, where the government also hopes to generate 25 percent of the country’s electricity from nuclear power.
Currently, 15 percent of the UK’s electricity comes from nuclear, but most of the existing reactors will be retired by the end of the decade. The government, therefore, plans to build multiple new plants by 2050. But those plans face opposition at every stage.
Ahead lies the prospect of years of expensive and time-sapping political wrangling and legal challenges, bad for the British economy and bad for the UK’s efforts to meet its climate-change commitments.
To a certain extent, democracy, if taken to be the opportunity for an electorate’s will to be taken into account, is an illusion, especially in a first-past-the-post electoral system such as that in the UK.
Worse, democratic systems of government are designed to operate short-sightedly and combatively; politicians tend to do and say what they think will get them re-elected, which is not always necessarily what is best for the country.
And when a Trump follows an Obama and a Biden follows a Trump, much of the time is spent simply unpicking the achievements of the predecessor administration.
In countries such as the UAE, on the other hand, executive decisions are made, orders are handed down and stuff gets done, for the benefit of the entire country and its people, while all the while the body politic adapts nimbly to the shifting pressures and challenges that beset every economy.
It is this flexible, reactive system that explains the rapid and astonishing transformation of the UAE over the past 50 years.
It worked well under Sheikh Zayed, it worked well under Sheikh Khalifa and doubtless, it will continue to work well under his successor, his brother Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed.
The UAE is already ranked as being among the best countries in the world in which to live and work. Under a centennial programme introduced in 2017, focusing on “education, economy, government development and community cohesion,” by its 100th anniversary in 2071 it intends to top those rankings.

Governments must work to make labor markets more resilient
Sara Al-Mulla/Arab News/May 21/2022
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that bolstering resilience should be a priority for governments in the coming years.
In an unfortunate series of events, what began as a localized outbreak quickly rippled around the globe, unfolding rapidly and creating devastating economic chasms that burdened social protection and healthcare systems worldwide.
To counteract the spread of the virus, many countries chose to impose lockdowns, closures, travel restrictions and border controls. Consequently, there were dramatic and complex implications for the labor market, leaving no sector, job or employee unaffected — adding fuel to an already distressed global economy affected by other significant challenges.
A recent report published by the International Labour Organization shed light on the effects of the pandemic on global labor markets. Projections indicate that in 2022, the total hours worked globally will remain 2 percent lower than pre-pandemic levels. This amounts to a reduction of approximately 52 million jobs. Meanwhile, global unemployment remains 21 million higher than its 2019 level.
Job losses put governments in critical states of emergency as more people are unable to access essential goods and services without some form of social protection and support. As such, the pandemic has also adversely affected the livelihoods of already vulnerable households; estimates suggest an additional 30 million adults have been pushed into extreme poverty (living on $1.90 or less a day) because of the reduced availability of paid work.
Economies that are fueled mainly by small and medium enterprises have experienced massive disruptions in terms of employment and hours worked, with minimal financial reserves to help keep them afloat.
Female workers, in particular, were forced to exit the labor market because of the need to prioritize care for vulnerable family members as a result of the closure of child care and social care facilities at the height of the pandemic.
Temporary workers also suffered job losses and reductions in hours worked, particularly those in seasonal or physically demanding jobs in agriculture, construction and tourism. Countries that were reliant on migrant workers also faced steep labor shortages.
More than two years on from the start of the pandemic, the global labor market is slowly recovering and, interestingly, has evolved in many aspects, as it has had to adjust to a tumultuous period during which enterprises and governments showed greater interest in technological innovations, remote working and employee well-being.
The pandemic has highlighted to employers the importance of implementing well-being programs that equip employees with the skills and knowledge they need to manage stress.
Moreover, the labor market was witnessing salient evolutions even before the pandemic. For instance, labor markets are challenged by an aging population that is putting pressure on various enterprises and causing governments to rethink skills retraining, retirement ages, and measures to boost fertility rates to counteract demographic replacement rates. Meanwhile, the labor deficits apparent in many aging populations are paving the way for more flexible immigration policies that can attract global talent.
Moreover, urbanization trends projected by the UN predict that a whopping 4.9 billion people will soon live in cities, creating pressure on authorities to design urban policies that boost job creation, while at the same time ensuring essential services are still delivered to rural areas.
Considering this complex cartography of employment challenges, policymakers should draw up a road map designed to bolster resilience in global labor markets that can withstand any number of potential high-risk scenarios in the future, while accounting for pivotal employment trends.
Dedicated foresight units at the heart of governments should track emerging trends and engage in forecasts that account for various possible scenarios and risk factors. This includes determining which sectors will be of most strategic importance in the future, occupations in which job opportunities could be created, along with projected employment figures and the required qualifications and skills needed to perform these jobs and achieve satisfactory productivity levels.
At the same time, it is important to take note of the occupations that are likely to be lost to automation, technology and artificial intelligence. This will ensure economies have an adequate level of talent that can help them to remain competitive and resilient in the long term.
Governments should also reimagine education and lifelong learning systems to incorporate upskilling and reskilling programs that target the unemployed and young, migrant or aging workers. Training programs must equip people with a foundational set of skills that empowers them to transition between occupations, such as digital skills, social and emotional intelligence, and cognitive skills.
Furthermore, policymakers should work to develop a variety of job creation schemes that focus on employment in the private sector and entrepreneurial activity.
Investment in digital innovation will play a critical role in boosting productivity levels, reducing wastage, decreasing operating costs, and ensuring better geographic coverage of services. A particularly salient trend during the pandemic was the successful deployment of remote-working measures that facilitated the continuity of work in many spheres while delivering impressive benefits in terms of lower operating costs, reduced carbon footprints related to commuting and travel, and increased productivity. Equally important was the way in which remote working paved the way for engagement with stellar pools of talent all over the world.
On that note, the pandemic has also highlighted to employers the importance of implementing well-being programs that equip employees with the skills and knowledge they need to manage stress, be more engaged at work, enjoy a healthy work-life balance, and perform at optimal levels. Flexible working hours and hybrid-working models will contribute to retaining stellar talents in the job market.
Designing resilient, universal and sustainable social protection systems for workers will be instrumental in helping to protect them from future events that can temporarily shock the economy. They should target employees of all types, including permanent and temporary staff, essential workers in critical sectors, the self-employed, female workers, migrants, and lower-skilled employees.
The world is at a crossroads, with many salient employment trends changing the landscape of the world of work. By examining the various factors at play in the global labor market, policymakers can develop plans that will ensure a more resilient, equitable and productive workforce in the future.
• Sara Al-Mulla is an Emirati civil servant with an interest in human-development policy and children’s literature. She can be contacted at www.amorelicious.com.