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Lebanon: Film festival brings Chinese contemporary art to Beirut screens
2 November 2016 - The Chinese Lives of Uli Sigg, a documentary to be screened alongside 44 others at this month's Beirut Art Film Festival tells how Sigg became the world's largest collector of Chinese contemporary art, gathering more than 2000 pieces. In 2012, he donated around 1,400 of them to the Mplus Museum for Visual Design, set to open in Hong Kong in 2019. He described the film festival, which is run in partnership with the Lebanese ministry of culture, and the British, Swiss, and other embassies, as 'an interesting initiative to cover documentaries about art so extensively'. (more)

Lebanon says to provide schooling for up to 100,000 more Syrian refugees
21 September 2015 - Lebanon is to provide schooling for tens of thousands more children this year including Syrian refugees, the education ministry said on 21 September, as the country tries to cope with the effects of the war next door. Lebanon is hosting the highest proportion of Syrian refugees -- 1.1 million in a country of 4 million people. (more)

Lebanon: Breathing new life into Lebanon's ancient art of glassblowing
24 April 2014 - Glassblowing, a 2,000-year-old tradition that dates back to the Phoenicians and got its early start in Lebanon, was on the brink of extinction here just six months ago. But thanks to an innovative new recycling project, the country's last glassblowing family has gotten more work in the past five months than the past five years combined. (more)

Lebanon forms government after 10-month deadlock
15 February 2014 - Lebanon announced a new government on Saturday, breaking a 10-month political deadlock during which spillover violence from neighbouring Syria worsened internal instability. 'A government in the national interest was formed in a spirit of inclusivity,' new Prime Minister Tammam Salam declared on live television. 'We want this new government to open the doors for a complete settlement and to get the country back on the train to stability,' Finance Minister Khalil told Reuters by telephone. (more)

Security Council, UN chief welcome formation of new Government in Lebanon
15 February 2014 - The United Nations Security Council and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed Saturday's announcement of the formation of a new Government in Lebanon, and congratulated Prime Minister Tamam Salam 'on this important step'. In a statement issued by his Spokesperson in New York, the UN chief encouraged Lebanon's political leaders to build on the constructive engagement which led to the formation of the new Government to ensure that the country's forthcoming presidential election is successfully conducted within the timeframe set by law. (more)

Nigeria: Lagos photo festival puts mega city in the spotlight
13 November 2013 - Celebrated Cameroonian-born photographer Samuel Fosso, famous for his compelling self-portraits, has had his work exhibited in major museums across the world -- from New York and Paris to London and Buenos Aires - but not in Nigeria - the country where he grew up. Not any longer. Fosso, who now lives and works in the Central African Republic, has chosen the LagosPhoto Festival for the global premiere of his latest photographic series, 'The Emperor of Africa'. (more)

Lebanon: $1.3 million worth of art auctioned for Syrian refugee children
27 October 2013 - An estimated $1.3 million worth of art from more than 130 artists, mostly from Syria and Lebanon, is being auctioned at below-gallery prices in Beirut to raise money for Syrian refugee children. 'This is first time that you have so many artists from the Middle East mobilize for a cause,' said Noura Jumblatt, president of the Lebanese Beiteddine festival and wife of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. 'We had more offers but we had to limit ourselves,' she told Reuters in her office, which was filled with thousands of dollars worth of bubble-wrapped art ready for a live auction on 8 November in Beirut, Lebanon. (more)

Lebanon: UNIFIL, Army mark 'International Day of Peace' in south
21 September 2012 - To mark the International Day of Peace Thursday, the UN Interim Forces in Lebanon held a ceremony at their headquarters in Naqoura, southern Lebanon. The event, which was attended by representatives from the Lebanese Army, religious and municipality leaders, and ambassadors, was held under this year's theme, 'Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future'. Speaking at the event, Head of the European Union delegation Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst said, 'Europe, after suffering in the past the results of hatred and conflict, has learned to overcome differences and to build peace on the respect for diversity.' (more)

Lebanon: Mayor launches 'Beirut is Amazing' city greening plan
15 June 2012 - The mayor of Beirut Wednesday launched the green 'Beirut is Amazing' campaign, which will see the renovation of some of the few existing green spaces in the capital and the construction of some new areas. Speaking Wednesday at the Beirut Municipality building, Beirut Mayor Bilal Hamad introduced the project, which he said would see the capital regain some of its former beauty, when it was once a 'gem in the Middle East'. (more)

Organic Lebanon
28 January 2012 - What started out in 2007 with the Massoud family growing pesticide and chemical-free produce for its own consumption on small plots of land in north Lebanon has grown into an Italian certified organic farming enterprise that works closely with some 40 farmers across the country. There's a 'big increase in demand', says Mario Massoud, commercial director of Biomass, a Lebanese, family-owned company selling organic produce. 'People want to eat better, healthier, and fresher. (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
Short Summaries of Top Stories

Middle East: The Maharishi Effect and the story of Baskinta
9 September 2013 - Since the 1970s, the Maharishi Effect--the influence of harmony and positivity produced when one per cent of the population practises Transcendental Meditation--has been repeatedly demonstrated. At a time when the Middle East continues to be a focus of tension, the story of Baskinta, a village in Lebanon, is a vivid illustration of the effectiveness of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's programmes for creating peace, even at times of intense conflict. (more)

Lebanon: Report of growing interest in Maharishi's peace-creating technologies of consciousness
18 July 2013 - A conference called a World Peace Assembly was recently held in Lebanon, featuring extended group practice of Transcendental Meditation and its advanced technologies of consciousness, which participants reportedly found to be deeply restful and refreshing. Scientific research has shown that World Peace Assemblies and similar groups of advanced Transcendental Meditation practitioners create an influence of coherence and harmony in the collective consciousness of communities and whole nations. This phenomenon has been named by scientists the Maharishi Effect. In addition, translation into Arabic has recently been completed for the new 28-page, information packed brochure on Transcendental Meditation, Fundamentally Unique. (more)

Replications of Lebanon study showing decreased war deaths: Scientific research on the Brain-Based Approach to Peace
8 November 2011 - The results of a study of the Brain-Based Approach to Peace, conducted during the peak of the Lebanon war and showing decreased war deaths in Lebanon, were subsequently replicated in seven consecutive experiments over a two-year period, also at the height of the war. (more)

Lebanon: World Peace Assembly planned to create coherence and harmony
17 May 2011 - A special course will be held in Lebanon from 24 June to 3 July for people who practise Transcendental Meditation and the advanced Transcendental Meditation Sidhi Programme, including Yogic Flying. In addition to knowledge of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Vedic Science, the course, called a World Peace Assembly, will feature extended group practise of these technologies of consciousness, which scientific research has shown to create coherence and harmony in communities and nations, including in the Middle East. (more)

Lebanon: Achievements of Maharishi's programmes recognized
26 January 2011 - The many fruitful initiatives of the national organization offering Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's programmes in Lebanon in the past year were given recognition in a recent videoconference. During the conference the National Directors, Teachers, and practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation Programme from throughout Lebanon were commended for a wide range of achievements including new Arabic language websites, many articles and interviews in the news media, expansion of Maharishi Ayur-Veda health care, and a business plan for building Lebanon's Maharishi Tower of Invincibility. (more)

Lebanon: New inspiration to realize goal of building a Maharishi Tower of Invincibility
26 January 2011 - The initiative to build a Maharishi Tower of Invincibility in Lebanon is one of the most important priorities of the national organization offering the programmes of the Global Country of World Peace, said the leader of Lebanon for the Global Country in a recent national videoconference. (more)

Lebanon: Rising to be a lighthouse of coherence and peace for the Middle East
26 January 2011 - Establishing and maintaining large, permanent coherence-creating groups of meditators in Lebanon has been recognized as a top goal of organizations offering programmes of the Global Country of World Peace in the nation. The purpose of these groups is to practise Transcendental Meditation and Yogic Flying together twice daily, creating a sustained, powerful influence of peace and harmony in national consciousness--and fulfilling Lebanon's leadership role as a lighthouse of coherence, promoting invincible peace, prosperity, stability, and progress in the Middle East. (more)

Lebanon: Maharishi Spa and Ayur-Veda expert tour draw hundreds during 2010
22 January 2011 - During 2010, Lebanon saw fruitful developments in Maharishi Ayur-Veda health care programmes, including at the Maharishi Spa in Beirut and in the distribution of Maharishi Ayur-Veda products. (more)

Lebanon: Many learn Transcendental Meditation, Consciousness-Based Education to expand
22 January 2011 - During the past year in Lebanon, many people learnt the Transcendental Meditation Technique and participated in residential courses for Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's programmes. Goals for 2011 include establishing a Consciousness-Based Education institution and a Maharishi Tower of Invincibility. (more)

Lebanon: Global Mother Divine Organization celebrates becoming officially established
12 January 2011 - In the past year, the Global Mother Divine Organization has become active in Lebanon, beginning to offer programmes and courses for women and girls in the knowledge and technologies of consciousness of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Just before the new year, the organization celebrated becoming legally established in the country. (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

Twin suicide blasts in Beirut's Shiite suburb kill 43
12 November 2015 - Twin suicide bombings struck a southern Beirut suburb that's a stronghold of the militant Shiite Hezbollah group on Thursday evening, killing at least 43 people and wounding scores more in one of the deadliest attacks in recent years in Lebanon. The attack was quickly claimed by the extremists Islamic State group, which is fighting in neighboring Syria and Iraq but has not had a recognized affiliate in Lebanon, though the tiny Mediterranean country has seen deadly spillovers from the civil war next door. 'Let the Shiite apostates know that we will not rest until we take revenge in the name of the Prophet (Muhammad),' the IS claim said. Thursday's attack shattered a period of relative calm in Lebanon. It was the first such large-scale bombing since mid-2014, and comes amid much political upheaval in the country. (more)

Islamic State carried out Lebanon cafe attack - minister
11 January 2015 - A double suicide attack that killed eight people at a cafe in the Lebanese city of Tripoli was carried out by the Islamic State group, the interior minister said on Sunday, contradicting a claim of responsibility by the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front. Nohad Machnouk also said he expected more instability linked to the Syrian civil war that has been at the heart of repeated violence in Lebanon over the last four years. (more)

Rockets fired at Israel from Lebanon, drawing Israeli fire
13 July 2014 - Rockets were fired at Israel from southern Lebanon on Monday, drawing retaliatory artillery fire from Israeli forces, Lebanese security officials and the Israeli army said, in the third such rocket attack from Lebanon since Friday. An Israeli police spokeswoman said there was no immediate word of damage or casualties from the rocket fire. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. The attacks from Lebanon have coincided with an Israeli offensive on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip which Palestinian officials say has killed at least 160 people. Palestinian groups have fired hundreds of rockets into Israel from Gaza during the latest hostilities. injuries have been reported as a result of the three incidents across the Lebanese-Israeli frontier since Friday. The Lebanese national news agency said two rockets had been fired just after midnight in the latest salvo from Lebanon. The Israeli military said several rockets had been fired from Lebanon at western Galilee, one hitting an open area. 'No injuries reported thus far. The IDF (Israel Defence Forces) immediately responded with artillery fire toward the source of the fire,' the military said in a statement. (more)

Thousands of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon forced to work - aid group
12 June 2014 - At least 50,000 Syrian refugee children in Lebanon are working, often in dire conditions and for 12 hours a day, to pay for food and shelter for their families, aid organization CARE said. More than a million Syrian refugees live in Lebanon, making up a quarter of the country's population, having fled a civil war in its fourth year, which has left more than 160,000 dead. Only 50 per cent of Syrian refugee children in the region attend school, and only 30 per cent in Lebanon, CARE said. Children working as street vendors say they are earning less than $5 a day. Others work at coffee shops and markets, or on farms and construction sites. Some say they commute for hours on buses into the capital Beirut. In Jordan, where nearly 600,000 Syrian refugees live, child labour has doubled nationwide to 60,000 since the start of the war, CARE said this week. (more)

Fuelled by Syrian war, hostilities surge in Lebanon
18 March 2014 - Sunni Muslim demonstrators used burning tires to close key roads across Lebanon Tuesday to protest a blockade of their brethren by Shiite gunmen, officials said, as the country struggles to keep a lid on simmering sectarian tensions enflamed by the civil war in neighbouring Syria. In one of the most ominous signs, an AP reporter saw protesters marching among cars stopped at a Beirut roadblock and warning drivers with Shiite emblems on their vehicles that Sunnis would not be cowed by the powerful Shiite militant Hezbollah group. Lebanon, which is still haunted by its own 15-year civil war that ended in 1990, has been deeply polarised by the current conflict in Syria. Lebanese Sunnis largely support the predominantly Sunni opposition in Syria, while Shiites have backed President Bashar Assad's government. That dynamic has sent sectarian hatreds soaring in Lebanon. (more)

Lebanon rocket fire draws Israeli artillery strike
29 December 2013 - Rockets launched from south Lebanon struck northern Israel on Sunday and Israel responded with artillery shells across a border that has been largely quiet since a war in 2006. The cross-border fire, which caused no injuries on either side, coincided with heightened political tension in Beirut following the assassination on Friday of a former Lebanese government minister. It was not immediately clear who fired the rockets. South Lebanon is a stronghold of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, a Shi'ite Muslim group that battled Israel seven years ago and is engaged in Syria's civil war in support of President Bashar al-Assad. But Palestinian factions are also in the area. The strike, to which Israel said it responded with a barrage of shelling, came two days after a bomb blast in Beirut killed Mohamad Chatah, a former minister and leading adviser to Sunni Muslim former prime minister Saad al-Hariri. Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said in a statement the military responded to the rocket strike with 'massive shelling toward the (rocket) launch area' and he threatened the use of 'even greater force' if necessary. (more)

Beirut blast: jolt from past and omen of dark future
20 November 2013 - Thirty years after the Lebanese capital gave birth to the modern suicide bomber, a killer has again driven his explosive-packed car towards an embassy in Beirut. Many Lebanese say they now believe their country is doomed to become the next battlefield for Sunni jihadists, looking for soft targets to inflict blows on the Shi'ite supporters of neighbouring Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. Tuesday's suicide attack against the embassy of Shi'ite Iran, claimed by a Sunni militant group, took violence to a higher level. It resurrected the tactics born in a previous generation's Lebanon war, which are now the signature of neighbouring states' violence. Lebanon may 'turn into a field of jihad -- as the terrorist groups call it -- as happened in Iraq and Syria,' said parliament speaker Nabih Berri. Widespread fears of what all-out conflict could do to Lebanon could be the best protection against escalating violence. But they are unlikely to halt attacks by shadowy groups on either side of the regional conflict. 'No one in Lebanon has the interest or stomach for large-scale military confrontations,' said Yezid Sayigh of the Carnegie Middle East Centre. 'But shadow wars are different because you don't need significant numbers, you don't need front lines, and it's easy to hit soft targets.' (more)

Syria war leads to rise of kidnappings in Lebanon
12 November 2013 - Hostage-taking of wealthy businessmen in Lebanon has risen more than seven-fold in an unlikely knock-on effect from Syria's civil war. Security officials say gangs who once made their money smuggling fuel and contraband through the porous Syria-Lebanon border have watched their trade wither because of the violence, so they are turning to kidnapping to make a profit. Lebanon is suffering multiple woes from the war next door. The tiny country, with a population of 4.5 million, has been flooded with an estimated 1 million Syrians fleeing the conflict. Also, tensions between its Sunni and Shiite communities have spiked, sometimes exploding into deadly clashes, mirroring the sectarian hatreds in Syria, where Sunnis largely support the rebellion, and Shiites and the Alawite sect -- an offshoot of Shiism -- back President Bashar Assad. In the latest violence, a Sunni sheik, Saad El-Deen Ghieh, was shot to death in his car Tuesday by gunmen in the northern city of Tripoli, scene of frequent clashes between Sunnis and Alawites in connection with Syria's war. In contrast, the kidnapping wave -- a more indirect repercussion -- illustrates the multiple, unexpected ways that Lebanon, with its fragile hold on security, is vulnerable to the turmoil across the border. There are fears the problem could spread -- and that abductions could spread beyond criminal activity and into political motives -- as Syria's war, which began in March 2011, continues. (more)

Child labour rising among Lebanon's Syria refugees - UNICEF
20 September 2013 - Syrian refugees in Lebanon are becoming increasingly reliant on child labour to earn money for families now desperate to maintain basic necessities, the director of the United Nations children's agency said. Unlike other host countries, Lebanon has no formal camps to offer a safety net for Syrian refugees. Many are working to provide their own food, clean water, and shelter, and children risk being pulled out of school and into the workforce. 'Families are poor and destitute after two and a half years of war ... Often, in order to continue living here they have a lot of expenses they need to pay and the result is kids have to work,' said Maria Calivis, the UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa. 'Many of these children need to get a wage to help their parents have enough to feed them.' Children working as street vendors, selling food, toys or flowers, have become a common sight in Beirut. They are often earning as little as $2.50 to $5 a day. (more)

Syria war, refugees to cost Lebanon $7.5 billion - World Bank
19 September 2013 - Syria's conflict will cost Lebanon $7.5 billion in cumulative economic losses by the end of next year, the World Bank has said in a report prepared for an aid meeting at the United Nations. A summary of the report, seen by Reuters after the World Bank briefed diplomats in Beirut, provides the most detailed assessment yet of the strain Syria's conflict has placed on its small Mediterranean neighbour. It estimates that the war and resulting wave of refugees into Lebanon will cut real GDP growth by 2.85 per cent a year between 2012 to 2014, double unemployment to above 20 per cent and widen the deeply indebted nation's deficit by $2.6 billion. The World Bank report estimated Lebanon's economic losses, in terms of lower GDP, at more than $1.1 billion in 2012, nearly $2.5 billion this year and up to $3.9 billion next year, giving a cumulative loss of $7.5 billion. Before the crisis, 1 million Lebanese, or a quarter of the population, were classified as poor -- defined as living on less than $4 a day. Another 170,000 will be pushed into poverty while the existing poor will face deeper difficulty, it said. (more)


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