Regional News • Europe • Germany
Handshake denied - Lebanese does not get German citizenship
Handshake denied - Lebanese does not get German citizenship
Credit: Amtec Photos (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

The German administrative court of Baden-Württemberg has ruled that anyone who refuses to shake hands with women because of fundamentalist values is not allowed to be made a citizen of Germany.

The Lebanese had signed the leaflet on loyalty to the constitution and the rejection of any form of extremism. He had also achieved the maximum number of points in the naturalization test. But then he refused to shake hands with the responsible official during the planned handover. The district administration office thereupon rejected citizenship, a decision that has been upheld by the German court.

Regional News • Middle East
Beirut port hit by a new fire
A video of the fire at the port of Beirut, posted on Twitter by activist Imad Bazzi
A video of the fire at the port of Beirut, posted on Twitter by activist Imad Bazzi Credit: @TrellaLB via Twitter (Screenshot)

Weeks after the explosion at Beirut's port, a large fire has erupted. According to reports, a warehouse has started burning which had been damaged previously from the explosion.

So far it is not clear what caused the fire and which extend it has. The Lebanese Army has stated that the warehouse had oil and tires in store.

Regional News • Middle East
Lebanon has four months of wheat supply
Raoul Nehme
Raoul Nehme Credit: Twitter Reproduction

Lebanon's outgoing economy minister Raoul Nehme affirmed the country has enough wheat to cover four months of internal demand.

According to him Lebanon has 30,000 tonnes of wheat in stocks and 110,000 tonnes are expected to reach the country in the next two weeks.

The outgoing government, which resigned on Monday, will keep subsidies to basic commodities, he said.

Regional News • Middle East
Lebanon's government resigns
Hassan Diab
Hassan Diab Credit: Twitter Reproduction

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab addressed the nation Monday night, announcing his resignation and that of his cabinet.

Three ministers, and nine members of the parliament, had already stepped down after mass protests against the government erupted in the country.

The cabinet was formed in January with the support of the Iran-backed Hezbollah group and its allies.

Regional News • Middle East
Lebanon: $300 million fund pledged by world leaders
Damages of the Beirut explosion
Damages of the Beirut explosion Credit: Mehr News Agency / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

A nearly $300 million fund in humanitarian assistance has been pledged by world leaders to Lebanon and its people. During a virtual conference, led by France's Macron, over 30 world leaders pledged and offered their support for country and the people of Beirut. The "assistance should be timely, sufficient and consistent with the needs of the Lebanese people and directly delivered to the Lebanese population, with utmost efficiency and transparency."

Regional News • Middle East
Lebanon: Resignation of three ministers and 9 members of parliament

On Sunday, Lebanon's Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad and environment minister Damianos Kattar resigned from the government in the wake of the Beirut explosion and the pressure that followed. Nine members of parliament also resigned that day: Marwan Hamadeh, Paula Yaacoubian, Nadim Gemayel, Samy Gemayel, Elias Hankash, Neemat Ephrem, Michel Moawad, Dima Jamali and Henry Helou.

On Monday the Justice Minister Marie Claude Najm also resigned and urged others to resign as well and demanded earlier elections. She said she resigned "out of my conviction that staying in power in these conditions, without fundamental change to the system, will not lead to the reform which we worked to achieve."

Regional News • Middle East
Lebanon: Over 110 injured during Beirut protests
Lebanon: Over 110 injured during Beirut protests
Credit: via Twitter

Over 10,000 people have taken the streets and protested against the government and political elite after the explosion in the capital city of Lebanon.

During these protests over 110 people have been injured with dozens of them taken to hospitals according to the Lebanese Red Cross.

Regional News • Middle East
Lebanon: Protesters in Beirut call for "revolution", storm ministries
Lebanon: Protesters in Beirut call for "revolution", storm ministries
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

Tens of thousands of people are protesting Lebanese leadership following this week's explosion that killed over 150 people and left the city in ruins. In the city's main square symbolic gallows with nooses to hang politicians were set up. Corruption and negligence is blamed for Tuesday's catastrophe.

On Saturday night, protestors entered several ministries, among them Lebanese association of banks, the Energy Ministry building and the Foreign Ministry. The latter was declared as the "headquarters of the revolution."

Part of the protest got more violent as police fired tear gas and protesters threw stones and fireworks. One protestor said: "You survive an explosion in Beirut only to be teargassed."

The Beirut US embassy tweeted in support of peaceful protests: "The Lebanese people have suffered too much and deserve to have leaders who listen to them and change course to respond to popular demands for transparency and accountability. We support them in their right to peaceful protest, and encourage all involved to refrain from violence."

Climate & Environment
Iraq experiences hottest day in recorded history at 51,8°C
Tahrir square in Baghdad, Iraq
Tahrir square in Baghdad, Iraq Credit: Aziz1005 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

With the previously hottest recorded temperature in Baghdad in June 2015 being 51°C, the country has now reported 51,8°C on Tuesday, and 51,1°C on Wednesday.

In other countries of the Middle East such as Lebanon temperature records of 45,4°C have been documented. The capital of Syria, Damascus has recorded 46°C - tying with the hottest previously recorded temperature.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany confirms death of diplomat in Beirut explosion

The German minister for foreign affairs Heiko Maas has announced that a member of the German embassy in Beirut has died from the consequences of the explosion in the Lebanese capital city.

He stated that "our worst fears have been confirmed. A member of our embassy in Beirut has been killed in her home as a result of the explosion" and added that his "thanks go to all those who, like our late colleague, take great personal risks every day all over the world in the service of our country".

Regional News • Middle East
Stored ammonium nitrate cause of Beirut explosion, officials knew of its danger
Stored ammonium nitrate cause of Beirut explosion, officials knew of its danger
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

Lebanese officials claim the explosion in Beirut were caused by an accidental detonation of thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate stored in the port for years. The chemicals had been stored in the port for years after arriving in a Russian-owned cargo ship. Public records show that between 2014 and 2017, Lebanese customs officials wrote at least six letters to courts to get guidance on how to dispose of the material, but the records show no response from the judiciary.

According to the latest reports, approx. 300,000 people have been displaced from their homes and over 100 people were killed by the blast.

Regional News • Middle East
Beirut explosion kills at least 100, thousands injured
Beirut explosion kills at least 100, thousands injured
Credit: Davidushka64 / Wikimedia Commons

The Lebanese Red Cross reports that at least 100 people have been killed and over 4,000 injured in the massive explosion that devastated the Lebanese capital on Tuesday.

"Until now over 4,000 people have been injured and over 100 have lost their lives. Our teams are still conducting search and rescue operations in the surrounding areas," to the Lebanese Red Cross in a statement.

Marwan Abboud, Beirut's governor, said that the blast has left over 200,000 people homeless, with damages reaching at least $3 billion.

Regional News • Middle East
Massive explosion shakes Lebanon's capital Beirut
Massive explosion shakes Lebanon's capital Beirut
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

A large explosion ripped through the Lebanese capital Beirut on Tuesday, blowing out windows in buildings across the city, injuring many, and killing at least 10 people. The sound of the explosion reached Cyprus.

The cause of the explosion was initially believed to be a major fire at a warehouse for fireworks near the port in Beirut, the state-run NNA reported. The governor of Beirut port told Sky News that a team of firefighters at the scene had “disappeared” after the explosion.

The explosion comes shortly before a trial over the killing of ex-PM Rafik Hariri in 2005. A UN tribunal is due to issue its verdict in the trial of four suspects in the murder by car bomb of Hariri on Friday.

Regional News • Middle East
Second night of protests in Lebanon
Lebanon protests of 2019
Lebanon protests of 2019 Credit: Charbel Msallem

Protesters in Lebanon set fire to roads and clashed with the police for the second night on Friday, according to witnesses and Lebanese media.

After the crash of the pound, that lost 70% of its value since last October, protests erupted on Thursday in several Lebanese cities including Beirut and Tripoli.

Regional News • Africa
Fifty trafficked Nigerian women have been freed

In an evacuation on Sunday, fifty trafficked Nigerian women were rescued and freed from Lebanon and will soon be returned to their homes after the end of their quarantine period. NAPTIP (National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons) is to be responsible for interviewing the women. NAPTIP reports say that over 20,000 Nigerian women and girls were trafficked and forced into prostitution in 2019.

Turkey charges seven people over escape Carlos Ghosn from Japan
Former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn charges a Nissan Leaf
Former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn charges a Nissan Leaf Credit: Nissan Motor Co. Ltd (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Turkish prosecutors have charged seven people, four pilots, an MNG Jet company official and two flight attendants for their alleged roles in former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn’s escape from Japan to Turkey and from there to Beirut, Lebanon.

Carlos Ghosn fled Japan in December after claims of financial misconduct, which he denies.