Here are the top stories for Lebanon today:
Despite promises to implement rapid reforms, the Lebanese government formed in January after nearly nine months of difficult negotiations has accomplished little so far, a local think tank said this week. The country is under intense pressure to reform its economy and tackle corruption in order to avoid a looming economic crisis and take advantage of billions of dollars in proffered international loans. “After nine months, the government does not have the luxury of time,” said French diplomat Pierre Duquesne speaking about the implementation of the conference, dubbed CEDRE, at a press conference in Beirut last month. Changes must happen “before the summer”, he said, adding that if they don’t, interest in Lebanon will “slowly erode”.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, who is visiting Lebanon, denies US claims that his country harbours Hezbollah cells.“He said that the US sometimes accuses Venezuela of having Hezbollah cells but that’s not true,” Lebanese MP Yassine Jaber , of Amal Movement , a key ally of Hezbollah said after meeting Mr Arreaza on Wednesday. Jaber , met Arreaza on behalf of Speaker Nabih Berri who is currently in Iraq
Lebanon’s army announced yesterday that it had received six drones worth $11 million from the United States (US). The shipment was part of a US military assistance package that was agreed last year. Since 2005, the US has supplied the Lebanese military with more than $2.3 billion in assistance, aiming to support it as “the sole, legitimate defender” of a country where the heavily armed, Iran-backed Hezbollah holds major sway.
The first-of-its-kind Lebanese Film Festival will be held Saturday in Dearborn with screenings of three films produced, directed and shot by Lebanese filmmakers in Lebanon.
“Lebanon is known around the world for its rich culture and diversity,” said Consul General Suzan Mouzi-Yassine. “With the large population of Lebanese Americans in metro Detroit, the film festival is also an important opportunity to open dialogue about social issues presented in the three films.”
Russia’s military helped Israel recover from Syria the remains of an Israeli soldier missing since the 1982 war in Lebanon, President Vladimir Putin says. The body of US-born tank commander Sergeant First Class Zachary Baumel was flown back to Israel a few days ago. He was reportedly killed in Lebanon in the Battle of Sultan Yacoub and buried by the Syrians in Damascus