Pope Francis has reportedly approved Lebanon to the official list of Christian pilgrimage sites in 2019, according to the state-run Lebanese National News agency.
Lebanese Charge d’Affaires in Vatican City Khalil Karam told NNA the authorization will put Lebanon back on the list of official pilgrimage destinations for the first time in 12 years.
Lebanon was previously on the list in 2007.
Karam said President Michel Aoun discussed the potential move with senior Vatican officials during a visit in March 2017.
He said leaders from the Lebanese government have been holding meetings with Vatican officials about recommended pilgrimage sites, hotels and accommodations.
The announcement is expected to attract thousands of Christian pilgrims to Lebanon, and boost the tourism industry. Lebanon relies heavily on the tourism industry, accounting for about 18 percent of the country’s GDP.
Lebanon is one of the earliest regions to adopt Christianity, and was mentioned in the Old Testament. The country is also home to the Maronite Church and the birthplace to several Maronite saints.
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The magazine ranked Beirut as the fifteenth best city in the world with a score of 87.04 out of 100.
The score took into consideration the city’s landmarks, culture, cuisine and friendliness, among other categories.
“Jaw-dropping architecture, distinctive restaurants, a rich array of cultural offerings, and intriguing shops are a must,” Travel + Leisure wrote in the article. “A teeming street life, a friendly population, and a harmonious relationship with nature are equally essential.”
Magazine readers voted for their favorite cities from November 2017 to March 2018. The combined votes helped determine the list of world’s best cities, Travel + Leisure added.
The Lebanese citizen, who resided in Moscow, was charged with fraud in absentia for the alleged scam. The unidentified man is now on the run.
According to TASS, the Lebanese man told Saudi fans he would arrange a flight from Moscow to the southern city of Volgograd in return for 15.6 million rubles, or $252,000.
After he collected the money, the man vanished and could not be reached.
“The police have found out that a Lebanese native registered in Moscow was behind this crime,” a source told the TASS news agency. “He has been charged in absentia, measures are being taken to detain him.”
Russian news agency Interfax reported that a Saudi man gave the suspect about 220,000 euros on June 24. The suspect said he would arrange for flights from the man and his friends.
The fans were set to travel to Volgograd to watch Saudi Arabia play Egypt in their final World Cup group phase match.
Saudi Arabia won the match 2-1.
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A fire at the American University of Beirut Medical Center was extinguished Tuesday, and operations returned to normal, officials announced.
In a statement, AUBMC said the blaze started on the second floor of the building, and was quickly contained.
“The fire occurred in the fiber scrubber outside the walls of the building,” the statement said. “Smoke was discharged directly into the open air.”
Administration officials said the AUBMC Plant Eningeering Team and Emergency Response Team were “very responsive in taking the necessary action to extinguish the fire promptly and secure the location.”
Operations were not interrupted, and hospital staff returned to business as usual, AUBMC officials added.
AUBMC is a 420-bed hospital and academic center that provides comprehensive medical care for patients in Lebanon.
The medical center is located on Cairo Street in Beirut’s Hamra area.
The center expanded in 1970 with a state-of-the-art medical center in Beirut. The building has an elaborate outpatient facility, an emergency department, research laboratories, classrooms and offices for academic staff, according to its website.
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Air traffic control at the Beirut International Airport will receive advanced simulation technology from New Zealand to better train its employees on air traffic protocol and flight data.
The International Civil Aviation Organization announced an agreement made between Airways New Zealand and Lebanon’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
The agreement includes a Total Control LC tower simulator and two radar simulators, which will be used by instructors to oversee air traffic in training scenarios, Airways New Zealand said in a statement.
“We are proud to partner with (Lebanon) as they work to enhance their ATC training using our highly advanced simulation technology,” said Sharon Cooke, CEO of Airways New Zealand. “We’re equally proud to have Airways technology and expertise being installed in a region where air traffic movements are growing rapidly yet there’s a critical gap for the training of air traffic controllers.”
The new technology will imitate full air traffic control using the latest flight data in the region. There are also 3D graphic displays which allow employees and trainees to simulate weather events.
The Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport is Lebanon’s only operational commercial airport.
Lebanon’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation is responsible for operating air traffic control and controlling Lebanese airspace.