A goodwill gesture over electricity sows discord in Lebanon

This July 16, 2018 photo, shows a privately-owned power station, in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon. (AP)
Updated 10 August 2018
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A goodwill gesture over electricity sows discord in Lebanon

  • A goodwill gesture to power-starved Lebanon from an energy company in Turkey has backfired
  • The barge’s arrival opened a Pandora’s box of partisan mudslinging in a country hobbled by political sectarianism and dysfunction

BEIRUT: A goodwill gesture to power-starved Lebanon from an energy company in Turkey has backfired, igniting mudslinging and corruption allegations.
This summer, the Karadeniz Energy Group lent Lebanon a floating power station to generate electricity at below-market rates to help ease the strain on the country’s woefully under-maintained power sector.
Instead, the barge’s arrival opened a Pandora’s box of partisan mudslinging in a country hobbled by political sectarianism and dysfunction.
There’ve been rows over where it should dock, how to allocate its 235 megawatts of power, and even what to call the barge.
It’s even driven a wedge between Lebanon’s two dominant Shiite Muslim parties: Amal and the militant Hezbollah.
Lebanon has faced rolling blackouts for decades and outages in the south can stretch for more than 12 hours a day.


UN pushes for truce and aid at Yemen talks

Updated 12 December 2018
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UN pushes for truce and aid at Yemen talks

  • Askar Zaeel, a member of the government delegation, said his camp would hold firm to UN Security Council Resolution 2216
  • Multiple draft proposals have been submitted to the two delegations over the past week

RIMBO, Sweden: With 24 hours left before the scheduled close of UN-brokered talks on Yemen, mediators pushed Wednesday for a truce between warring parties as a crucial step to allow aid deliveries.
Mediators are seeking a de-escalation of violence in two flashpoint cities: Houthi-held Hodeidah, a port city vital to the supply of humanitarian aid, and Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city, scene of some of the war’s most intense fighting.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was due in Rimbo late Wednesday for Thursday’s closing round of consultations.
Both government and militia representatives traded accusations of unwillingness to negotiate, particularly on militia-held Hodeida, the main route for 90 percent of food imports and nearly 80 percent of aid deliveries.
Multiple draft proposals have been submitted to the two delegations over the past week. None have found consensus as yet.
“I think there is some progress, even if it’s with much difficulty. It’s slow progress,” Houthi representative Abdelmalik Al-Ajri told AFP. “We are faced with the intransigence of the other side.
“Things should become clearer today.”
Askar Zaeel, a member of the government delegation, said his camp would hold firm to UN Security Council Resolution 2216 — which calls for the Houthis to withdraw from all areas seized in a 2014 takeover, including Hodeidah.
Iran supports the militia politically but denies supplying them with arms.