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.
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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.”
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Convicted Lebanese cancer doctor Farid Fata claims he was pressured into pleading guilty to misdiagnosing people with cancer, new court documents show.
Fata was sentenced to 45 years in prison in 2014 for prescribing chemotherapy to patients who were perfectly healthy or whose conditions did not require the treatment.
The disgraced doctor is now asking a federal judge to throw out his 2014 conviction and grant him a new trial.
Fata claims his attorney convinced him to plead guilty for a possible lesser sentence. He alleges his attorney said he could get 20 years as opposed to life in prison if he entered the guilty plea.
“(My attorney) enforced the idea of pleading guilty by leading me to believe that I would receive leniency by entering guilty pleas,” Fata wrote. “From day one to the present, I have steadfastly maintained my innocence. And I maintain that I only agreed to plead guilty in this case due to (my attorney’s) false promises and misadvice.”
Dan Koh, the descendant of Lebanese and Korean immigrants, is running to represent Massachusetts in Congress.
The 32-year-old is the former chief of staff of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. He announced his campaign in October with a dramatic launch video.
Koh, a Democrat, is already gaining traction, but faces a crowded primary field to succeed retiring Rep. Niki Tsongas in the state’s 3rd congressional district.
According to a March profile in Boston Magazine, Koh’s mother’s grandparents emigrated from Lebanon to Lawrence, Massachusetts in the 1890s. His great-grandfather patented an invention for improving mill efficiency.
His Lebanese mother, Dr. Claudia Arrigg, helps run the Arrigg Eye & Ear Associates offices, which his grandfather founded.
I’m so excited to announce the launch of our first TV ad! I’m running for #MA3 to stand with you, stand up to this president, and fight for the values that make the American Dream possible for all of us. Watch below and retweet to help spread the word about our campaign! #MApolipic.twitter.com/jE9Gnhi1vI
Koh’s father, Dr. Howard Koh, is the former United States Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President Barack Obama.
According to his campaign website, Koh wants to bring a “new generation of leadership” to Congress, where he says he will make healthcare, the economy and education among his top priority issues.
Koh has a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he met his wife Amy. Before working in Boston government, he was the former chief of staff to Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post.
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