The Lebanese Forces, Progressive Socialist Party, and Kataeb Party issued a joint statement urging Lebanese President Michel Aoun to nullify his controversial decree granting Lebanese citizenship to over 400 foreigners.
The decree grants Lebanese nationality to mostly wealthy Syrians, some of which are considered close to the Syrian regime, the Daily Star reports.
In the statement, the parties called on the President to “abrogate the decree” and later added that a reasonable decree would include special cases only.
“(A reasonable decree) includes people with very special cases and have specific humanitarian conditions that are consistent with the Lebanese Constitution provisions and the criteria for granting the Lebanese citizenship,” the statement added.
Kataeb MP Sami Gemayel requested the Lebanese Interior Minister release “full text and names” so that “we can study it and give an opinion about it in order to take any legal or constitutional steps we need to.”
Lebanese Foreign Minister-elect Gebran Bassil defended the naturalization decree, saying the President and the foreign ministry are “not involved in any suspicious acts regarding the controversial naturalization decree,” wires reported.
Although Saad Hariri is a part of the March 14 alliance with the LF, PSP and Kataeb, he sided with Aoun and signed the controversial decree into law.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has responded to an Iranian General’s comments about the most recent parliamentary elections in Lebanon and Iraq.
Video on Lebanese social media circulated of General Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite fighting Quds Force, praising Hezbollah’s electoral gains stating that “Lebanese elections turned Hezbollah into a resistance government.”
Soleimani added that these victories “came at a time when some Arab countries labeled it and its leaders as terrorists.”
The Iranian-backed militia group Hezbollah and allies gained a total of 29 seats in the most recent Lebanese parliamentary elections.
Hariri told reporters on Monday the statements by the general are “regrettable” and added that interfering in Lebanon’s internal affairs is “not in Iran’s interest, nor those of Lebanon or the region,” according to the Associated Press.
According to a UN-backed tribunal, five Hezbollah members were allegedly involved in the 2005 assassination of Rafik Hariri, Saad Hariri’s father. Hezbollah denies the allegations.
The Lebanese American University is set to launch an independent research center dedicated to studying the health effects and potential economic gains of medical marijuana in Lebanon.
LAU announced plans to establish the Medicinal Cannabis Research Center, which is poised to become the first research project of its kind in the Middle East.
Research will include studies of the potential therapeutic applications of cannabis and Lebanon’s climatic and economic value, the university announced.
“We are awaiting the creation of a legal framework within which we can proceed, with the full support of the Ministry of Public Health,” said Mohammad Mroueh, an LAU pharmacy professor, who is spearheading the project.
In a statement, the university said growing conditions in Lebanon have not been fully studied or characterized, and an assessment of its medical benefits can be an untapped opportunity for the country.
Opportunities can include economic gains, reduced unemployment and a reversal of the brain drain, the university added.
LAU President Joseph Jabbra acknowledged the potential controversy of studying marijuana, however considers this research a chance to “break the social stigma surrounding the issue.”
In other parts of the world, cannabis compounds THC and CBD have been used to treat chronic and neuropathic pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in cancer patients and other issues.
A Lebanese-Canadian businessman is running to become a member of the legislative assembly in Canada.
Fadi Nemr, a small business owner and Lebanese immigrant, clinched the nomination for the Progressive Conservative Party in the Ottawa-Vanier electoral district.
According to his website, Nemr immigrated to Canada after receiving a master’s degree in chemistry in Lebanon.
He moved to the Ottawa-Vanier district — home to one of the most ethnically diverse parts of Ottawa — and opened a small business in three years.
“Fadi is a husband, a father, and an active member of the Lebanese community. He loves Ottawa-Vanier and has called it home for over 25 years,” said Patrick Brown, leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. “As a small business owner in Ottawa-Vanier, Fadi knows first-hand how reckless Liberal policies have hurt small businesses throughout the province.”
Nemr raised private funds to sponsor refugees and help them integrate into Canadian society with jobs and education, according to his website.
Nemr faces a crowded list of contenders, including the Liberal incumbent Nathalie Des Rosiers.
A pair of ‘extremely rare’ monkeys were recovered from smugglers at the Beirut airport, officials announced.
Lebanese authorities rescued the rare white-throated guenons and sent them to Monkey World, a rescue facility and monkey sanctuary in England.
The monkeys, named Benny and Nia, were smuggled into Lebanon through a passenger flight from Ghana, officials said.
Lebanese officials worked with the Animals Lebanon welfare group and Middle East Airlines to safely transport the animals to Monkey World in England.
“As tragic as their story is, Benny and Nia are the lucky ones that have survived and made it to a safe home,” said Dr. Alison Cronin, director of Monkey World. “Most die during the hunt or when they are torn away from their families and forest homes to be smuggled across the globe.”
Lebanon is part of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, and has worked to crack down on illegal wildlife trade since May 2013.
White-throated guenons are known to live on trees of rainforests or tropical areas in areas of Nigeria and Benin.
Monkeys part of black market trade are often used for the illegal pet trade or entertainment industry. Adult monkeys are often shot and eaten as bushmeat.
“We cannot give them their natural lives back again, but I am pleased to see that they are enjoying their new home and enclosure,” Cronin added. “Their sad story will hopefully remind people about how important it is to protect endangered species and the habitats which they come from.”