Meat off the menu for Lebanese troops as austerity bites

A kilo of lamb now costs 80,000 pounds, up from 30,000 two months ago, and a kilo of beef has increased from 18,000 pounds to over 50,000.
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Updated 01 July 2020

Meat off the menu for Lebanese troops as austerity bites

  • The union of butchers and cattle farmers said more than 60 percent of butcher shops had closed in the past few weeks

BEIRUT: Meat came off the menu for Lebanese soldiers on Tuesday as food prices soared amid a continuing economic collapse.
The black market value of the Lebanese pound has plunged to about 8,000 to the US dollar, compared with an official rate of 1,507, sending food prices up by more than 70 percent in six months.
A kilo of lamb now costs 80,000 pounds, up from 30,000 two months ago, and a kilo of beef has increased from 18,000 pounds to more than 50,000. The price of 900 gram of subsidized bread rose on Tuesday from 1,500 pounds to 2,000.
The union of butchers and cattle farmers said more than 60 percent of butcher shops had closed in the past few weeks, and the army has “completely scrapped meat from meals offered to soldiers while they are on duty,” a spokesman said.
With their pounds increasingly worthless, many Lebanese have taken to bartering online to survive. A Facebook group called “Lebanon barters” has attracted 12,000 users in two weeks.
One user, Zeinab, 25, is offering a black evening dress in exchange for milk formula and two packets of nappies for her 11-month-old boy. “I’ve never asked for anything from anyone, so I thought bartering would be better,” she said.
Traders’ association chief Sami Al-Irani told Arab News: “We cannot imagine a situation worse than this. Is there really someone working to tackle this crisis?
“A third of shops, restaurants and hotels have closed, and firing employees has not stopped. The monthly minimum wage has become sufficient for a few days only.
“The financial crisis is reflected in the shortage of bread and fuel. We will soon go back to using candles. Are we living in a country whose government has gone mad?”
 


Iran’s hard-line lawmakers move to summon Rouhani — Tasnim

Updated 07 July 2020

Iran’s hard-line lawmakers move to summon Rouhani — Tasnim

DUBAI: Iran’s hard-line lawmakers plan to summon the president for questioning, a move that could ultimately lead to impeachment, media reported on Monday, amid growing discontent over the government’s economic policies.
Iranians’ daily struggle to make ends meet has become harder since the reimposition of US sanctions in 2018, and the economy has been further damaged by rising inflation, growing unemployment, a slump in the rial and the coronavirus crisis.
A motion to question President Hassan Rouhani was signed by 120 lawmakers out of 290 and handed to the presiding board of the assembly, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported. To take effect, the motion must be passed to the president by the presiding board.
However, analysts say the board might hold back from issuing the summons, mindful that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s top authority, has called for unity among the branches of authority at a time when Iran faces mounting US pressure.
A move by parliament to question Rouhani’s predecessor was blocked by a rare intervention by Khamenei.
“The lawmakers have various questions for the president, including the reasons behind the foreign exchange market crisis as well as the high prices of basic goods and basic necessities of the people today,” Tasnim quoted Tehran lawmaker Eqbal Shakeri as saying.
Defying central bank attempts to revive its value, Iran’s rial currency has continued to fall against the US dollar on the unofficial market since April.
First elected in a landslide in 2013 and reelected in 2017, Rouhani opened the door to nuclear diplomacy with six major powers.