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          Israel targets 'Hezbollah attack tunnels' from Lebanon      Cache   Translate Page      

Israel targets 'Hezbollah attack tunnels' from LebanonThe Israeli military said its operations were currently confined to Israel and did not extend into Lebanon, where it said the tunnels originated. The army released footage of tunnels and earth-moving equipment at work, carrying out what it said were "tactical preparations to expose Hezbollah's offensive cross-border tunnel project". The military said the tunnels were not yet operational, but posed "an imminent threat".



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خاور نزدیک، نابرابرترین منطقه دنیا
لوموند دیپلماتیک، ترجمه ی: شهباز نخعی
• به خلاف آنچه که ارقام منتشر شده توسط سازمان های بین المللی می خواهند بباورانند، فاصله بین ثروتمندان و فقرا درخاور نزدیک همه رکوردها را شکسته و سبب درک بهتر عوامل ریشه ای قیام های عربی شده است. ...

 

«نان، آزادی و عدالت اجتماعی» شعار مشهور میدان تحریر [قاهره] درسال ٢٠١١ بود که عدالت اجتماعی را در کانون مطالبات جنبش مردمی مصر قرارداده بود. با این حال، با باور کردن به ارقام رسمی، در مصر زمان حسنی مبارک برابری به اندازه کشورهای اسکاندیناوی در سال های دهه ١٩٨٠ وجود داشت! و همه مطالعات موجود حاکی از وجود سطوح نابرابری درآمد تاریخی و ازنظر بین المللی ضعیف بود: بنابراین می باید منشأ نارضایتی های مردم را در جاهای دیگر جستجو کرد. این اظهارنظر شگفتی برانگیز سازمان های بین المللی توسعه ، «معمای نابرابری در خاورنزدیک» نامیده شد. درواقع، چگونه می توان این حد کم از سطح نابرابری و ظهور یک جنبش اعتراضی گسترده را توضیح داد و از جمله، خواستار بازتوزیع بهتر درآمدها شد؟

تحقیق تازه ای که از سوی «آزمایشگاه نابرابری های جهانی» (LIM) «مدرسه اقتصاد پاریس» انجام شده نشان می دهد(١) که میزان نابرابری ها در خاورمیانه درسال های ٢٠١٦ – ١٩٩٠ بیشتر از دیگر مناطق دنیا بوده است. در این تحقیق که توسط فاکوندو آلواردو و توماس پیکتی انجام شده نشان داده می شود که ثابت ماندن این «معما» به خاطر فقدان اطلاعات دردسترس در منطقه بوده است. درواقع، همه مطالعات موجود منحصرا برمبنای مطالعاتی بوده که گاه تنها اطلاعاتی درمورد مصرف دربرداشته و به طور نظام مند درآمدها و به ویژه درآمد افراد ثروتمند را کمتر از میزان واقعی برآورد می کرده است.

بهترین مقیاس

برای داشتن نگاه همه جانبه به این مسئله، ما همه اطلاعات موجود درمورد درآمدها و دارایی ها را گردآوری کردیم: حساب های ملی، تحقیق برروی خانوارها، فهرست نام میلیاردرهای منتشر شده در مجله های فوربز و عربین بیزنس و داده های مالیاتی که اخیرا در دسترس بوده است. با پیشنهاد روش های نو برای اندازه گیری نابرابری ها در سطح سراسر خاورنزدیک، از مصر تا ایران و کشورهای خلیج [فارس] تا ترکیه – بجز اسراییل – به نتایجی کاملا متفاوت رسیدیم: خاورنزدیک در دنیا بیشترین میزان نابرابری را دارد.

تصمیم گیری درمورد پذیرش نتایج در سطح منطقه ای دقیقا ناشی از فقدان داده های لازم برای انجام تحلیلی رضایت بخش از نابرابری ها در هریک از کشورها بود. به این ترتیب، درحال حاضر تنها این امکان فراهم شده که برآوردی معتبر از «تحول توزیع درآمدها در لبنان» فقط بین سال های ٢٠٠٥ و ٢٠١٤ تهیه شود زیرا تنها کشوری است که اطلاعات اداری مالیاتی آن در دسترس است(٢).

این پذیرش به دلایل متعدد معقول است. نخست، مفاهیم عادلانه و غیرعادلانه درمورد توزیع درآمدها فقط برمبنای نابرابری در یک کشور تعیین نمی شود بلکه نابرابری های موجود بین کشورها و درسطح منطقه را نیز دربرمی گیرد. سپس، مفهوم «دولت – ملت» تنها زاویه درخور توجه برای مطالعه نابرابری ها نیست: سطوح منطقه ای و جهانی امکان درک متفاوت از عوامل تعیین کننده نابرابری ها را فراهم می کند. به عنوان نمونه، «آزمایشگاه نابرابری های جهانی» (LIM) روی برآورد نابرابری ها در سطح اروپا و نیز آمریکای جنوبی کار می کند و هنگامی که به مجموع کشورهای اروپای شرقی و غربی (مثلا رومانی و دانمارک) می رسد، نابرابری ها از نظر ساز و کار افزایش می یابد، ولی میزان آن کمتر از خاورنزدیک است. بنابراین، این افزایش امری بدیهی نیست و آنچه تعیین کننده است منشأ آن است برای دادن پیشنهاد در مورد سیاست های عمومی کارآمد.

البته، تحقیق ما مدعی شناخت سطح نهایی تمرکز درآمدها به عنوان تنها توضیح به آتش کشیده شدن خاورنزدیک نیست. علل درگیری هایی که خاورنزدیک را تکان داده پیچیده و آمیخته ای از آشتی ناپذیری های اجتماعی – اقتصادی تا عوامل مذهبی و سیاسی است. با این همه، نابرابری ها به رشته ای از ساز و کارهای مشترک تعلق دارد که در ایجاد شمار زیادی از بحران های سیاسی نقش داشته است. اقدام عراق در اشغال کویت درسال ١٩٩٠ (در کشوری که سطح درآمد در آنها بسیار متفاوت بود) نمونه ای گویا از اثرات توزیع نابرابر منابع و برقراری ساز و کارهای بازتوزیع – در اینجا با خشونت – است که چنین توزیع درآمدی می تواند ایجاد کند.

نابرابری عظیم بین کشورها

بین سال های ١٩٩٠ و ٢٠١٦، رشد جمعیت به ویژه در خاورنزدیک زیاد بوده است: جمعیت از ٢٤٠ به ٤١٠ میلیون افزایش یافته که افزایشی ٧٠ درصدی را نشان می دهد. افزایش درآمد متوسط با احتساب عامل تورم از این میزان کمتر و حدود ١٥ درصد بوده و از ٩ هزار به ١٠ هزار یورو درسال های ١٩٩٠ و ٢٠١٦ برمبنای نرخ متغیر بازار رسیده که ٣٠ درصد همین تغییر در همین بازه زمانی در اروپای غربی است.

سطح تحول درآمد متوسط منطقه بازتاب دهنده واقعیت هایی بسیار متفاوت درگروه های کشورهای مختلف است. ایران، ترکیه و کشورهای عرب (بجز کشورهای خلیج [فارس]) درآمدهایی کمتر از متوسط منطقه ای دارند که حدود ١٠ تا ٢٥ درصد درآمد متوسط کشورهای اروپایی است. کشورهای خلیج [فارس] آشکارا از بقیه کشورهای منطقه متمایزند: نابرابری قدرت خرید، درآمد هرفرد بزرگسال آنها درسال ١٩٩٠ سه برابر بیش از متوسط اروپای غربی و دوبرابر آن در سال ٢٠١٦ بوده است. بنابراین، فاصله درآمدی زیادی بین کشورهای خلیج [فارس] و بقیه منطقه وجود دارد اما این فاصله درطول این بازه زمانی کاهش یافته است.

این کاهش ناشی از نیروهایی پیچیده و متناقض با کاربردهایی متفاوت در مفهوم نابرابری است. بخشی از آن ناشی از تحول قیمت و میزان تولید نفت، و نیز رشد نسبی برخی کشورها مانند ترکیه است. بخشی دیگر نیز ناشی از رشد تعداد کارگران خارجی در کشورهای خلیج [فارس]، به ویژه در بخش های ساختمان و خدمات داخلی است. این سیل بزرگ مهاجران موجب افزایش شدید جمعیت کشورهای خلیج [فارس] نسبت به مجموع درآمدشان شده و در نتیجه به فقیرتر شدن کلی این کشورها انجامیده و بالا رفتن میزان نابرابری های داخلی را به همراه آورده است. در همه موارد، به رغم این کاهش درآمد بین کشورها، حجم نابرابری ها گسترده است: درسال ٢٠١٦ کشورهای خلیج [فارس] با داشتن ١٥ درصد از جمعیت منطقه ٥٠ درصد از درآمدها را داشته است.

نابرابری در توزیع ثروت های نفتی

بنابراین، خاورنزدیک نابرابرترین منطقه دنیا است. ١٠ درصد از ثروتمندترین ها ٦٤ درصد از ثروت منطقه را در اختیار دارند درصورتی که این میزان در اروپای غربی ٣٧ درصد، درسراسر اروپا ٣٨ درصد، در ایالات متحده ٤٧ درصد، در برزیل ٥٥ درصد و در آفریقای جنوبی ٦٢ درصد است که از دو کشور اخیر غالبا به عنوان کشورهای دارای بیشترین میزان نابرابری یاد می شود. سهم درآمد کلی ١ درصد از ثروتمندترین ها در خاور نزدیک ٢٧ درصد است، در حالی که این میزان در اروپای غربی ١٢ درصد، ایالات متحده ٢٠ درصد، برزیل ٢٨ درصد، آفریقای جنوبی ١٨ درصد، چین ١٤ درصد و هند ٢١ درصد است. ٥٠ درصد از فقیرترین ها در خاورنزدیک٩ درصد از درآمد منطقه را کسب می کنند درحالی که این میزان در اروپا ١٨ درصد است.

دراین باره، دانستن این نکته تکان دهنده است که نابرابر ترین منطقه جهان سابقه ای سنگین در زمینه تبعیض های نژادی دارد. این امر درمورد ایالات متحده، آفریقای جنوبی که تا سال ١٩٩١ در آن تبعیض نژادی برقراربود و در آن ١٠ درصد از ثروتمندترین ها هنوز وابسته به اقلیت سفید پوست هستند و نیز برزیل که در زمان الغای بردگی در سال ١٨٨٧ در آن حدود ٣٠ درصد بود وجود داشت. برخلاف اینها، در خاورنزدیک، نابرابری ها منشأ مدرن تری دارد و در درجه اول ناشی از توزیع نابرابر جغرافیایی مالکیت منابع نفتی و تبدیل آن به کمک های مالی دایمی است. این امر با اختلاف شدید درآمد بین کشورهایی که منابع نفتی سرشار دارند و کشورهای پرجمعیت توضیح داده می شود.

مهاجران: ٦٠ درصد از جمعیت

به این معنا، نتایجی که به دست آورده ایم تعجب برانگیز نیست: با تجمیع یمن و عربستان سعودی سطح نابرابری افزایش می یابد. با این همه، منتهی الیه تمرکز درآمدها در منطقه این را نیز نشان می دهد که نابرابری شدید در کشورها، به دلیل کیفیت اطلاعات موجود، کمتر از میزان برآورد شده است (به ویژه برای ردیابی چهارچوب مالکیت و پویایی بین سرمایه عمومی و خصوصی، که غالبا در منطقه جریان دارد). مسئله در کشورهای خلیج [فارس] که آمارهای دولتی اعتبار کمی دارد و بسیاری از جنبه های مهم اقتصاد سیاسی، در درجه اول ازطریق بخش رشد کارگران خارجی در میان مردمی که در شرایط بی نهایت دشوار زندگی می کنند و بخش بسیار اندکی از درآمد ملی را دریافت می کنند به نحوی خاص حاد است.

جریان کارگران مهاجر به سوی کشورهای خلیج [فارس] در طول زمان به صورت مداوم افزایش یافته است. اینها درسال ٢٠١٦ حدود ٦٠ درصد از جمعیت بالغ را دربر می گرفته اند درحالی که در سال ١٩٩٠ این میزان ٥٠ درصد بوده است. در امارات متحده عربی، کویت و قطر اینها حتی ٩٠ درصد از کل جمعیت بالغ را شامل می شوند، به خلاف عربستان سعودی، عمان و بحرین که تنها ٤٠ درصد هستند.

اطلاعات تحقیق در کشورهای خلیج [فارس] – چنان که در حساب های ملی ثبت و در پایگاه های اقتصاد کلان سازمان ملل یا بانک جهانی نقل شده – فقط بین ٢٠ و ٣٠ درصد از درآمد ملی را پوشش می دهد (در کشورهای توسعه یافته این پوشش حدود ٨٠ – ٧٠ درصد است). در شرایطی که احتمالا شهروندان بیش از خارجی ها از درآمدهای پوشش نیافته برخوردار می شوند (در درجه اول از سودهای بازتوزیع نشده شرکت های نفتی و درآمدهای سرمایه های انباشته شده صندوق های دولتی)، ما برحسب این که درآمدهای توزیع نشده بین شهروندان ٥٠، ٧٠ یا ١٠٠ درصد باشد سناریوهای نابرابری متفاوتی را پیش بینی می کنیم. برای ١٠ درصد دارای بالاترین درآمد هم اکنون بین ٦٥ و ٨٥ درصد از کل درآمد ملی در کشورهای مختلف است و حتی در قطر، کشوری که بیشترین تعداد کارگران مهاجر را دارد، به ٩٠ درصد می رسد. این امر سهم درآمد منطقه ای که نصیب دارندگان ١٠ درصد بیشترین درآمد ها می شود را به ٧٠ درصد می رساند.

در کشورهای دیگر منطقه، بجز لبنان، اطلاعات در دسترس امکان تعیین دقیق گرایش های مربوط به نابرابری ها را نمی دهد. با این همه می توان گفت که در ترکیه در سال های بین ٢٠٠٣ و ٢٠٠٧ نابرابری ها کاهش یافته و سپس در سال های بین ٢٠٠٧ و ٢٠١٦ افزایش پیدا کرده است. در مصر در سال های بین ١٩٩٠ و ٢٠١٠ کاهش داشته و در سال های بین ٢٠١٠ و ٢٠١٥ افزایش یافته است. در لبنان، بین سال های ٢٠٠٥ و ٢٠٠٨ افزایش یافته و سپس تثبیت شده است.

بازتوزیع و مسئولیت دموکراتیک

این سطوح مفرط نابرابری بر ضرورت اندیشیدن و توسعه شکل هایی منطقه ای از جذب سیاسی و بازتوزیع در خاور نزدیک تاکید دارد. البته، این ساز و کارهای بازتوزیع هم اکنون تا حدودی بین کشورها وجود دارد: وام های امارات متحده عربی به مصر، درآمدهای کسب شده توسط کارگران لبنانی مستقر در عربستان سعودی، جریان مهاجرت های پناهندگان سوری به سوی کشورهای دیگر منطقه، و نیز حرکت های اشغالگرانه؛ مانند جنگ کویت درسال ١٩٩٠، نمونه هایی کم و بیش افراطی و خشونت بار هستند. با این حال لازم است که انتقال های مالی موجود در چهارچوبی دموکراتیک تر و با هرج و مرج کمتر (به مفهوم قابلیت پیش بینی و منظم بودن)، همانند صندوق های منطقه ای اروپایی انجام پذیرد. این امر انتقال های دایمی از کشورهای ثروتمندتر به کشورهای فقیرتر را در حد چندین درصد از تولید ناخالص داخلی کشورهای فقیرتر تامین می کند.

دودیگر، این میزان از نابرابری تنها از طریق اصلاحاتی عمیق در مقررات مالیاتی در منطقه امکان پذیر است. در بیشتر کشورها، این امر بیشتر منوط به وضع مالیات غیر مستقیم (مالیات بر ارزش افزوده یا TVA) است تا مالیات مستقیم (بر مبنای درآمد یا سرمایه) که موجب گریز و پس روی سرمایه ها می شود. در کشورهای خلیج [فارس] حتی مالیات مستقیم وضع نشده است. به علاوه، مالیات بر ارث وسیله ای کارآمد برای مبارزه علیه نابرابری ثروت و درآمد است، که باز هم بیشتر کشورها فاقد آن هستند. سرانجام، مهم است که دسترسی به اطلاعات درمورد درآمدها و ثروت های منطقه افزایش یابد. این شرطی غیرقابل چشم پوشی برای انجام یک بحث عمومی شفاف و ساختن حکومت قانون است.

١- Measuring lnequality in the Middle East 1990-2016:The World’s Most Unequal Region ? wid.world

٢- l’évolution de la répartition des revenus au Liban wid.world 
نویسنده: LYDIA ASSOUAD


http://www.akhbar-rooz.com/article.jsp?essayId=90232

          Israel launches operation to ‘expose and thwart’ Hezbollah border tunnels      Cache   Translate Page      

The Israeli military said it had launched an operation meant to “expose and thwart” tunnels built by the Hezbollah militant group and stretching from Lebanon into northern Israel.

The military said the tunnels were not operational and that its work to expose them, which began on Tuesday, was taking...


          Israel military says to expose Hezbollah attack tunnels from Lebanon      Cache   Translate Page      
Israel's military said on Tuesday it was beginning an operation to “expose and thwart” cross-border attack tunnels from Lebanon into Israel that wer
          Israel Warns UN Security Council: Hezbollah Using Lebanon to Launch Iranian Attacks Against Israel      Cache   Translate Page      
"The Lebanese government must abide by its international commitments and fully implement the ... Security Council resolutions."
          Israel Launches Operation to Destroy Hezbollah Tunnels      Cache   Translate Page      
Israel’s military began an operation to destroy tunnels allegedly built by Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah that it said stretched from Lebanon into the country’s north and could be used to launch attacks against Israeli citizens.
          Aid deliveries to Syria at risk in UN Security Council vote      Cache   Translate Page      

A Security Council resolution that allows the UN to deliver aid across Syria’s borders into opposition-held areas without the permission of President Bashar al-Assad is up for renewal and, as with so many diplomatic manoeuvres in the seven-year war, all eyes are on Russia.

 

The UN relies on Resolution 2165, first passed in 2014, to use two crossings with Turkey to bring aid to millions of civilians in Syria’s rebel-held northwest, many of whom have fled their homes elsewhere in the country. A government offensive to retake the area, which includes Idlib province, is currently on hold after a deal brokered by Turkey and Russia.

 

The lion’s share of cross-border assistance is delivered by groups outside the UN system, but humanitarians say the UN provides a reputational and organisational backbone that bolsters the entire aid operation – one that risks being lost if Russia vetoes the resolution.

 

In an interview on Monday with IRIN’s Ben Parker, UN aid chief Mark Lowcock said there is “no plan B” for delivering UN assistance without the backing of UN resolutions, as the Syrian government is “not willing” to allow aid to cross its front lines to reach rebel-held areas.

 

☰ Read more: The backstory of Resolution 2165

 

UN General Assembly Resolution 46/182, which is the basis for all UN international humanitarian action, states “humanitarian assistance should be provided with the consent of the affected country”. The Geneva Conventions also say the consent of affected states is required but may not be arbitrarily withheld.

In the early years of Syria’s war, many NGOs said that aid was being arbitrarily withheld to border regions and argued that by bringing aid in across borders they were therefore safely within the bounds of the Geneva Conventions.

But that wasn’t good enough for the UN, which had an assertive member state – Syria – saying no to assistance; to work under 46/182 the body needed a Security Council resolution. They got it with 2165, which said that UN agencies no longer had to request permission from al-Assad, they only had to notify Damascus before crossing the border through one of four entry points:

  • Bab al-Hawa, from Turkey into Idlib in northwestern Syria
  • Bab al-Salameh, also from Turkey into northwestern Syria
  • Ramtha, from Jordan into southern Syria
  • Yaroubiyeh, from Iraq into northeastern Syria

In 2018, the Ramtha crossing with Jordan was retaken by the Syrian army. Yaroubiyeh has been used sparingly, partly because of insecurity in Iraq.

As a result, 2165 now mostly matters for northwestern Syria – an area which, according to statistics compiled by the Mercy Corps Humanitarian Access Team and made available to IRIN, holds some 3.3 million Syrians, three quarters of whom live in the wider Idlib area. (However, population statistics in Syria are highly unreliable.)

Although 2165 does not require permission from Damascus, a demanding apparatus of border inspections came with the resolution, staffed by the UN and funded by donors.

New UN hubs sprang up in the Turkish city of Gaziantep and in Amman, from where UN agencies began to organise a regular supply chain for civilians in border areas outside al-Assad’s control.

 

With 2165 set to expire 10 January, Kuwait and Sweden are readying a one-year renewal. The two Security Council members will circulate a draft “soon”, Kuwait’s ambassador to the UN said on Friday.

 

“The resolution allows the UN and its partners to deliver humanitarian aid through the most direct routes to people in need in Syria,” Per Örnéus, Sweden’s special envoy for the Syria crisis, told IRIN. “The mandate is strictly humanitarian, offering a lifeline for millions of people,” he added. “It must be extended.”

 

The resolution has been renewed annually since 2014, but last year’s vote caused friction – and nail-biting for humanitarians working on Syrian aid operations – when Russia singled it out for harsh criticism, saying it threatened Syria’s sovereignty.

 

While al-Assad’s top ally on the Security Council opted not to veto last year, Moscow is sending out mixed signals as the January deadline approaches. Renewal looks more likely than not, but it is far from a sure thing.

 

Major impact

Resolution 2165 was first mooted at a time in the war when Damascus regularly denied UN requests to bring help across its borders to areas dominated by the opposition. It allows the UN to bring shipments in at specific points, as long as it notifies the Syrian government.

 

Humanitarians insist 2165 is crucial, and stress that its importance should not be measured just in terms of the actual quantities of aid delivered.

In 2017, UN agencies like WFP or UNHCR provided only around 20 percent of the cross-border aid deliveries to Syria. NGOs outside of the UN system brought in the rest, often delivering it through local Syrian organisations and importing their aid mostly through commercial channels (the official Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salameh crossings with Turkey) or a separate network of crossings monitored by the Turkish Red Crescent.

Map of Syria border crossings with Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon

 

Most goods – like food and fuel – enter northwestern Syria on a for-profit basis, imported by Turkish or Syrian businessmen.

Aid agencies say more than three million people live in northwestern areas not controlled by the Syrian government, though population estimates in Syria are notoriously unreliable and have in the past often suffered from overcounting.

Without 2165, private traders and NGOs could still bring goods in, as long as Ankara approved. But UN involvement would likely end immediately if Damascus objected, and, while NGOs might be able to fill the tonnage gap created by a UN pull-out, losing 2165 would be a big blow to the humanitarian relief effort.

A source with significant experience of the Syrian aid operation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said 2165 brought a “significant increase in the overall response” by helping “what was a fragmented humanitarian community come closer together, coordinate, build institutions, and deliver a more joined-up and effective response as of 2015.”

Mathieu Rouquette of the Syria International NGO Regional Forum, a network of 70 aid groups working in Syria, said the resolution “still underpins access to millions of people in areas that we are not able to reach from Damascus.”

There would be other impacts too.

Aid operations would likely suffer if the UN stopped planning and coordinating deliveries in the Turkish border town of Gaziantep, as many NGOs rely on the UN hub for logistical support.

“The resolution is what underpins the overall architecture of the humanitarian response,” explained Rouquette. “So an end to that would necessarily mean a return to a fragmented humanitarian response.”

Moving to Damascus

Aid workers said the loss of a UN role in the cross-border response would also accelerate the shift of international NGOs from opposition-held areas towards parts of Syria controlled by al-Assad’s government, while enhancing Ankara’s influence over cross-border operations.

The Syrian government has told most NGOs that in order to register in Damascus they must end their “illegal” cross-border work under 2165.

Many international NGOs were originally drawn into cross-border work early in the war by US and EU funding streams geared to shore up opposition regions, while others branched out from working with Syrian refugees. They also filled in the gaps before 2165 when the UN could only assist Syrians in state-controlled areas, except for very rare “cross-line” exceptions, like convoys from Damascus to besieged areas.

Some chafe under the rules laid down by Turkey: Ankara has told international NGOs they can either provide cross-border assistance from Turkey to Syrians in the rebel-held northwest, or work in in northeastern Syria, which is controlled by US-backed Kurdish groups hostile to the Turkish government. They can’t do both.

In 2017, Turkish authorities ordered Mercy Corps to leave the country, apparently as punishment for its work in the Kurdish-held regions.

With al-Assad now back in charge of most of Syria, and the sole remaining cross-border hub in Gaziantep catering to an area of northern Syria that is largely under Turkish tutelage, many NGOs have come to view Damascus as the best option.

“The resolution is what underpins the overall architecture of the humanitarian response.”

Several NGOs have voiced concerns about what being stripped of the UN cover would mean for the overall optics of cross-border work in a place like Idlib province, which is currently controlled by rebel groups – some of whom are designated terrorists by the United States and other countries.

Bab al-Hawa has been controlled by the UN-designated al-Qaeda spinoff Tahrir al-Sham since 2017 and has been at the centre of diversion scandals that triggered Western aid cutoffs and NGOs suspensions. USAID is now rolling out a stricter inspection regime, further tilting the risk analysis for NGOs pondering where to focus their operations.

On Monday, the Charity Commission – the UK government department that regulates and registers NGOs in England and Wales – issued an alert, warning “there is a risk that a terrorist organisation may financially benefit from any aid passing through the Bab al-Hawa crossing.”

Tripping over counter-terrorism sanctions can cause very serious problems for NGOs: legal issues, economic losses, reputational damage, and donor flight. In the face of these risks, UN involvement offers them and their donors a sense of reassurance and legitimacy.

Should the cross-border operation be stripped of its UN participation, it would likely prod more Western NGOs to withdraw from Syria altogether or rebase in Damascus on terms set by al-Assad. And, as a result, the northwestern cross-border response would come to rely even more on the Turkish Red Crescent and other Ankara-friendly groups.

 

Russian roulette

With a resolution expected on the table in the coming weeks, a Swedish diplomatic source told IRIN that Turkey and Russia are now the “key actors” in the battle over 2165. Ankara may influence Moscow’s views, but it is Russia’s vote in the Security Council that will be decisive.

☰ Read more: Moscow’s mood swings

 

Moscow joined Western states in voting for resolution 2165 and extensions of it in 2014, 2015, and 2016. But last year’s vote was different.

In November 2017, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia slammed 2165 as “unprecedented and extreme” and said it “usurps Syria’s sovereignty”. A Foreign Ministry spokesperson accused the resolution of contributing to “the division of Syria”.

US-Russian conflict in the Security Council was then at a high pitch after Nebenzia cast three successive vetoes to shut down a UN investigation that found the Syrian military had gassed civilians, and many humanitarians feared that 2165’s time was up.

However, Moscow relented and said it would abstain from voting in return for a review of cross-border aid and monitoring procedures by the secretary-general, allowing 2165 to be renewed on 19 December 2017 with 12 votes in favour and none against. (China and Bolivia also abstained.)

While aid workers were relieved, many assumed that the resolution was unlikely to be renewed again in recognisable shape.

But something happened soon after that: Instead of ramping up attacks on 2165 as the vote approached, Moscow fell silent.

IRIN has learned that a Russian diplomat unexpectedly told NGO representatives in Geneva last month that cross-border aid “should remain and should remain as it is”.

Four humanitarian and two diplomatic sources confirmed that Russia voiced support for continued cross-border aid.

Most attributed Russia’s apparent 180 degree turn to the 17 September Turkish-Russian agreement over Idlib, which seems to reflect an unspoken understanding that northwestern Syria will effectively remain in Turkish hands for the foreseeable future.

“The only explanation I can think of is that there was some sort of deal struck between Turkey and Russia as part of the broader negotiations over Idlib in which Turkey sought non-opposition on this to avoid having to let in another wave of refugees”, a humanitarian source told IRIN.

Russia could also have decided that it is not currently in its interest to hand back control over cross-border aid to al-Assad, when it currently has that control itself through the Security Council. Even then, Moscow may of course seek to dilute or amend Resolution 2165.

 

After abstaining from voting on a renewal in 2017, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia as recently as June called the UN secretary-general’s positive review of the resolution  “disappointing” and said “it is essential to work to end the mechanism”, warning that the UN needed to “prepare for the closure of cross-border operations”.

More recently, Moscow has signalled it will not look to block renewal. But some supporters of 2165 worry that Russia may be trying to lull rivals into a false sense of security, while others fear that poorly handled debates or unrelated quarrels could still encourage a veto.

“To be honest, I’m not convinced the renewal will be so easy,” one humanitarian source said, accusing parts of the aid community of showing a “baffling” faith in renewal and of failing to prepare for other outcomes.

On 29 November, Russia’s deputy UN ambassador Dmitry Polyansky told the Security Council that terrorist-listed groups are exploiting cross-border support and insisted that the “significant changes” on the ground in Syria in 2018 require “commensurate adjustment of the cross-border mechanism”.

Polyansky did not elaborate, but even if Moscow has decided to let 2165 live until further notice, there are a number of limited amendments that may be in the Russian interest.

Russia could, for example, condition renewal on new language that reinforces al-Assad’s legitimacy or supports reconstruction aid for Syria, which would infuriate Western nations. And while Turkey would presumably oppose the UN’s loss of access through Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salameh, stripping away UN access to US-backed Kurdish areas through the third crossing at Yaaroubiyeh might be another matter.

If Moscow wants to have 2165 on the table more often, as a source of leverage, it could also seek to cut the time between renewals.

The Russian Foreign Ministry, the Russian UN mission, and representatives of the Syrian government all failed to responded to IRIN’s requests for comment.

(TOP PHOTO: Internally displaced Syrians in northern Aleppo province's Tel Rifaat collect aid supplies. CREDIT: Antwan Chnkdji/UNHCR)

al/as/ag

Russia could veto renewal of the resolution that gives UN access to rebel areas Aid deliveries to Syria at risk in UN Security Council vote rf2199779_10152018_talrefaat_dis_sarc_achnkdji_037.jpg Aron Lund Analysis Aid and Policy Conflict STOCKHOLM IRIN Middle East and North Africa Syria
          Comment on Politicians Empower Islam by Jay Wizzy      Cache   Translate Page      
Integrity is important & a result of the will for justice, truth, love, human rights, ecology, friendliness, global imperialism, English, health, beauty, cultivation of ecological best quality basics, support for self-realization & freedom from religion. Truth is there are Africans enslaved today from Saudi Arabia to UAE to Lebanon, Kuwait, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain to north-Sudan, Libya, Algeria to Mauritania, Somalia, Niger & elsewhere in emulation of unjust Muhammad. We need to create a global government to free them.
          Israel launches operation to destroy Hezbollah tunnels      Cache   Translate Page      
Israel’s army said Tuesday it had detected Hezbollah tunnels infiltrating its territory from Lebanon and launched an operation to destroy them, a move likely to raise tensions with the Iran-backed group.
          IDF Video Shows Explosion Scaring Away Hezbollah Operative in Tunnel Under Lebanon Border      Cache   Translate Page      
The IDF released two videos on Tuesday showing the insides of tunnels built by Hezbollah under the Israel-Lebanon border. In one of the videos, a Hezbollah operative is seen approaching a camera before an explosion scares him away. The other video reveals a tunnel located deep beneath a home in southern Lebanon. Earlier on Tuesday, […]
          #grinding - hairbizz215      Cache   Translate Page      
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          Senior Project Officer - National Post (INT5105)      Cache   Translate Page      
Region: MENA, Division: International, Job Type: Fixed Term
The Role

The role will combine technical support and collaboration in the field in implementation of gender-sensitive community-level protection activities, vulnerability assessment for cash-based interventions, monitoring and evaluation of programme activities, as well as collaboration and coordination among partners, and support to community-based protection activities and advocacy on protection issues. The officer will ensure liaison and coordination of the partner’s work and link their work with the rest of Oxfam’s protection and cash work in Lebanon. In addition, the officer will support partner’s activities and budget planning, monitoring and evaluation activities, donor reporting and will assist in responding to capacity building needs in collaboration with other protection programme staff.

 

 

About the MENA region

 

The MENA (Middle...

          National Policy and Advocacy officer (INT5099)      Cache   Translate Page      
Region: MENA, Division: International, Job Type: Fixed Term
The Role

 

To deliver demonstrable impact through advocacy/research action in order to bring about changes to policy and practice of targets relating to Oxfam’s aims in gender and humanitarian programming.

 

About the MENA region

 

The MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region implements and manages programmes in Yemen, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan.

 

Programmes within the MENA region reflect Oxfam’s approach to work across the globe. We support self-reliance, not dependency, and to complement our work on the ground we strive to secure lasting change through our campaigning.

 

We also put women at the heart of all we do. The majority of people living in poverty...

          Lebanon Valley Indoor Classic Tractor Auction - Lebanon PA - Saturday February 16th, 2019 - Aumann Auctions - Tractors      Cache   Translate Page      
Commercial Auction - Lebanon PA - Saturday February 16th, 2019 - Aumann Auctions - Tractors |
          ADLER, ROBERT      Cache   Translate Page      
ADLER ROBERT Age 98, of New York and later Mt. Lebanon, on Mon., November 19, 2018. Predeceased by his beloved wife, Ethel. Beloved father of...
          DUNHAM, JOAN O.      Cache   Translate Page      
DUNHAM JOAN O. Age 89, of Mt. Lebanon, on Friday, November 30, 2018. Born in Brooklyn, NY, October 29, 1929. Beloved wife for 62 years of the late...
          KELLY, CHARLES A.      Cache   Translate Page      
KELLY CHARLES A. Age 88, of Mt. Lebanon, formerly of Whitehall and Crafton Heights, passed away peacefully at Providence Point surrounded by his...
          PFEIFFER, BRIAN E.      Cache   Translate Page      
PFEIFFER BRIAN E. Age 56, of Collier Twp., formerly Mt. Lebanon, on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, peacefully went home to be with the Lord. Beloved...
          STARUSKO III, JOHN M. "BIG JOHN"      Cache   Translate Page      
STARUSKO JOHN M. III "BIG JOHN" On Saturday, December 1, 2018, formerly of West Homestead and later Mt. Lebanon, passed into the Lord's loving arms...
          Israel launches operation to destroy Hezbollah infiltration tunnels      Cache   Translate Page      
JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel’s army said yesterday it detected Hezbollah tunnels infiltrating its territory from Lebanon and launched an operation to destroy them, a move likely to raise tensions with the Iran-backed group. The surprise announcement came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with United States (US) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Brussels […]
          Congressional Noose may Tighten around Saudi Crown Prince as Haspel Testifies      Cache   Translate Page      
Haspel and her CIA analysts appear to believe that Bin Salman is a major threat to US interests in the Middle East because he is unbalanced and a brutal murderer. He has imprisoned other princes at the Ritz Carlton Riyadh and extracted billions from them, and he kidnapped the prime minister of Lebanon in a failed bid to force him out of office.
          Stitching a Future for an Age-Old Palestinian Embroidery Tradition      Cache   Translate Page      
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In a big-windowed lecture room, Wafa Ghnaim, author of a self-published book on Palestinian embroidery (known as tatreez) and founder of the nonprofit teaching initiative Taztreez & Tea, kicks off a three-hour needlework workshop with a heated primer on the perfect cross-stitch.

“Palestinians, we have a way for everything, even cutting our bread,” the 35-year-old entrepreneur, dressed in an intricate, hand-threaded maxi skirt, explains.

Whereas Japanese needlework, for example, focuses “on the way each stitch lays on top of each other,” Ghnaim says, Palestinian embroidery emphasizes the “cleanliness on the back of the cloth” and the ability to make out the motif on both sides. Eventually, she assures the class, “you’ll have a clear front and back.”

At least, that’s the goal. The larger mission of Ghnaim’s workshops, lectures, and publications—produced with backing from the Brooklyn Arts Council—is to revitalize the art of Palestinian embroidery, reaching new fans in the diaspora.

article-image

Ghnaim, who was born and raised in Oregon, is the daughter of the acclaimed embroiderer Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim, the 2018 recipient of a National Heritage award fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (“She even got a letter from Donald Trump,” chuckles Ghnaim. “He didn’t look that [her work] was Palestinian.”) She grew up apprenticing for her mother, who in 1948 fled war-torn Safad, now a town in present-day northern Israel.

The age-old craft of tatreez, a folk art practiced by rural women for centuries, serves as a window into the history of Palestinian exile. Mothers and grandmothers used to pass down designs, with different motifs associated with each village. After the founding of Israel in 1948, 750,000 Palestinian residents—roughly half the population—were forced into exile, an event remembered in Arabic as the Nakba, or catastrophe. Another disruption took place in 1967 during the Six-Day War—known as the Naksa, or defeat—when Israeli forces first occupied the West Bank. Basic survival superseded the role of craft traditions and place-based practices were upended.

“When Palestinians were exiled in 1948 and 1967, they weren’t carrying a pattern book. They were carrying their baby and running out the door,” Ghnaim says.

Yet in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, refugee camps also became vehicles of exchange as communities from all over Palestine converged. “There was a lot of sharing,” adds Ghnaim, as together women “had to recall and recreate their motifs.”

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In the 1960s and 1970s, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) revived folk traditions to promote Palestinian national heritage. According to Rachel Dedman, a London-based art critic who curated a show on the political history of Palestinian embroidery, tatreez became “a key signifier” of “endurance in the face of Israeli erasure and violence.” By the late 1980s, when the First Intifada erupted, embroidery emerged as a potent expression of resistance. The traditionally feminine craft spread as Palestinian men, languishing under Israeli lock-up, began honing their skills, explains Dedman.

In Ghnaim’s classes, men now typically make up a modest portion of the attendees. “I think that gendered aspect is breaking down, which is necessary for this art to stay alive,” she says. “I see in my classes a whole wide mix of people. I don’t just see Palestinian women and Palestinian men. I see non-Palestinian women. I see non-Palestinian men.”

Ghnaim’s educational events began running in Brooklyn and will soon move to Washington, D.C. On the day that I attend in October 2018, the pop-up is running alongside the D.C. Palestinian Film and Arts Festival, an annual lineup of Palestinian cultural offerings that features a richly embroidered tatreez design as its logo. Today, the assignment given to the 17 workshop attendees is to reproduce a delicate cypress motif, known as the “Tree of Life.”

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The room grows quiet with concentration, and the afternoon passes quickly. Unlike other species, the cypress tree “stays green and survives,” explains Ghnaim. “It gives until it dies and that’s the purpose of life. You give until your last day.” In the time it takes me to throw together a few rows of practice cross-stitches, Razan Sahuri, a Jordanian-born nutritionist, has already shown off a tiny, pristinely-stitched cypress tree.

“I think most Palestinians, when we see the embroidery, it feels like home,” says Sahuri, who moved to D.C. three years ago from Dubai, and grew up feeling caught between cultures. “I’m Palestinian but I’ve never been to Palestine. When it’s so far away, you want a thread to hang onto your culture. Pun intended!”

Caught between home and exile, past and present, the meticulously crafted stitches seem almost suspended somewhere between time and space. Dedman, the London curator, explains that embroidery is “by nature labored, private, and slow.” Far from a spontaneous public expression, the time-intensive pieces nonetheless form a quieter form of protest, with an “extended temporality” that spans its own steady, thread-by-thread creation.

Sahuri finds comfort in this measured, repetitive motion. “It’s like meditation. You can’t think of anything else,” she says. “I don’t know if mind numbing is the right word?”

article-image

The scale on each piece is minuscule—each hole on the cloth just about the size of a period—and the work is eye-wateringly intensive. I have to pull apart my mangled tatreez stitches three times to start over. Though I had seen embroidered garments and souvenirs many times during my stays in Ramallah, it was only in attempting my own tatreez creation that I began to grasp the effort involved, as well as the complexity of each craft piece’s history. Embedded in each tatreez cloth are narratives of displacement and belonging, with embroiderers adding their own personal litany of sorrows and joys.

“Someone is really shedding skin when they’re producing the art,” says Ghnaim, who plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in Art History to trace the evolution of tatreez as it moves between generations in the diaspora. This year marks the re-release of an expanded print edition of her book: Tatreez & Tea: Embroidery and Storytelling in the Palestinian Diaspora. It also commemorates 70 long years of Palestinian exile.


          Chesapeake Bay Foundation Receives NFWF Grant To Expand Rotational Grazing      Cache   Translate Page      
On December 3, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced the Chesapeake Bay Foundation will receive more than $850,000 to promote rotational grazing (also known as prescribed grazing) in Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia. Rotational grazing enhances soil health, protects and improves water quality, and contributes to a farm’s economic viability.
The grant will be matched by $850,000 in partner funding.
In Pennsylvania, Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York counties will be targeted under the grant.
Partners in the Pennsylvania include Capital Resource Conservation and Development Area Council, the PA Grazing Lands Coalition, PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Penn State University, and the Natural Resource Conservation Service.
Regionally, the goal of the grant is to transition 30 farms, including 1,700 acres of farmland, to grazing. This would reduce more than 82,000 pounds of nitrogen, more than 7,000 pounds of phosphorus, and 656 tons of sediment pollution annually.
In addition, the grant includes the formation of a steering committee of project partners to strengthen the partnership and facilitate information exchange, expanding opportunities for  peer-to-peer dialog, and developing outreach materials that highlight the economic and soil health benefits of grazing.
Following the announcement, Beth McGee, CBF’s Director of Science and Agricultural Policy issued this statement.
“CBF has been involved with rotational grazing for more than 30 years. It has been demonstrated to reduce polluted runoff, reduce a farm’s feed and labor costs, and significantly benefit soil health. Improved soil health makes the farm more resilient to extreme weather as well as helping capture carbon that otherwise would contribute to climate change.
“Converting farms to rotational grazing is a significant part of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, and the Bay states have only achieved 18 percent of the 2025 goals.”
For more on Chesapeake Bay-related issues in Pennsylvania, visit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA webpage.  Click Here to sign up for Pennsylvania updates (bottom of left column).  Click Here to support their work.
To learn more about how Pennsylvania plans to meet Chesapeake Bay pollution reduction requirements, visit DEP’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan webpage.
Related Story:
NFWF Announces $13.1 Million In Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund Grants, Including PA

          Tuesday PA Environmental NewsClips      Cache   Translate Page      
Crable: Farmers, Groups, Turkey Hill To Get $6.5M In Water Quality Funding
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Editorial: Vote For Lackawanna River Of The Year For Rebirth
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EQB To Consider Proposed Increases In Air Quality NPDES, Water Quality Permit Fees Dec. 18
U.S. Office Of Lead Hazard Control & Healthy Homes Has Additional Funding Available
Hopey: Paris To Pittsburgh Documentary Puts Pittsburgh In Leading Role In Climate Change Efforts
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Auditor General On Climate Change: Future Generations Will Ask Did They Do Something?
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Dec. 12 FERC Public Meeting On Transco Pipeline In Clinton County
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Editorial: Regulations, Ruling On Gas Drilling Are Encouraging Developments
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UMW To Observe Robena Mine Disaster Of 1962
November State Revenue Collections $95.5 Million Above Estimate; $333.6M Above Estimates Year-To-Date
Call For Proposals: 2019 Natural Areas Conference, Oct. 8-10 In Pittsburgh
Op-Ed: Federal Land & Water Conservation Fund, Greatest Conservation Program No One Ever Heard Of
Schneck: Which PA Counties Grow The Most Christmas Trees?
Deer Processors, Hunters Adjust To Chronic Wasting Disease Rules
Deer Program Helps Feed The Hungry
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Delaware Opposes U.S. Effort To Search For Oil Beneath Ocean Surface
U.S. Electric Power Outages In 2017 Doubled In Duration: EIA Faults Large Storms
UN Chief: Climate Change Is Most Important Issue We Face
High Stakes As International Climate Conference Begins
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          Israel launches operation to destroy Hezbollah tunnels      Cache   Translate Page      

Israel launches operation to destroy Hezbollah tunnelsIsrael's army said Tuesday it has discovered Hezbollah tunnels infiltrating its territory from Lebanon and launched an operation to destroy them, a move likely to raise tensions with the Iran-backed group. The surprise announcement came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Brussels over regional dangers, with both having repeatedly warned about the activities of Israel's arch foe Iran. Netanyahu said he discussed the operation with Pompeo and called the tunnels a violation of a UN truce resolution that ended a 2006 war between Israel and the Shiite militant group Hezbollah.



          Syria's last shadow puppeteer hopes to save his art      Cache   Translate Page      
The last shadow puppeteer in Damascus lost most of his equipment to war and endured life as a refugee in Lebanon, but he now believes the old Syrian art form might survive after the United Nations said it needed to be saved.

          UN boosts peacekeeping patrols on Lebanon-Israel border      Cache   Translate Page      

UN boosts peacekeeping patrols on Lebanon-Israel borderUN peacekeepers said they increased patrols on the Lebanese-Israeli border on Tuesday after Israel announced an operation against what it said were Hezbollah infiltration tunnels. The Israeli army said it launched an operation dubbed "Northern Shield" to destroy "attack tunnels" it accused the Iran-backed Lebanese militia of digging under the border. Hezbollah had not yet reacted and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon said they had increased patrols along the border, as Israeli bulldozers went to work.



          Adams, Ernest      Cache   Translate Page      
Ernest Adams Lebanon 68, 30-Nov, Sellars Funeral Home, Lebanon TN.
          IOF begin operation Northern Shield under the pretext of destroying Hezbollah tunnels      Cache   Translate Page      
PNN/ Gaza/ The IOF began its military “Northern Shield” operation on Tuesday morning which they claim is to combat Hezbollah tunnels in the north of Israel. IOF states in their propaganda video released today that Hezbollah has spent years building “cross-attack” tunnels between Lebanon and Israel. It also accused the Lebanon government for failing to bring …
          Johnson, Rufus      Cache   Translate Page      
Rufus Johnson Lebanon 84, 01-Dec, JC Hellum Funeral Home.
          Ward, Mae      Cache   Translate Page      
Mae Ward Lebanon 87, 01-Dec, Sellars Funeral Home, Lebanon TN.
          12/4/2018: News | International: MILITARY TARGETS HEZBOLLAH CROSS-BORDER ATTACK TUNNELS      Cache   Translate Page      
THE Israeli military today launched an operation to “thwart” cross-border attack tunnels from Lebanon, dug by the militant group Hezbollah. The tunnels were not yet operational but posed “an imminent threat” to Israeli civilians, and constituted “a...
          LIST: Standings, Schedule, Brackets, Scores 5th Window 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers Asia      Cache   Translate Page      
The 5th Window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers Asia will start this coming November 29 and ends on December 3, 2018. There is a total of 12 games to be played by 12 qualifying countries.

LIST: Standings, Schedule, Brackets, Scores 5th Window 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers Asia

Please refer to the list below for more details:




LIST: Standings, Schedule, Brackets, Scores 5th Window 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers Asia

The 12 qualifying teams are the following:

STANDINGS
GROUP E (W/L)
 New Zealand [9/1]
 Korea - [8/2]
 China - [6/4]
 Lebanon - [6/4]
 Jordan - [5/5]
 Syria - [2/8]
GROUP F [W/L]
 Australia - [9/1]
 Iran - [7/3]
 Japan - [6/4]
 Philippines - [5/5]
 Kazakhstan - [4/6]
 Qatar - [2/8]

GAME SCHEDULE:
November 29:  New Zealand vs  Jordan, 2:10 PM, Christchurch, Horncastle Arena, 95-69 New Zealand
November 29:  Korea vs  Lebanon, 6:30 PM, Busan, Sajik Indoor Gymnasium,84-71 Korea
November 29:  China vs  Syria, 8:00 PM, Shanghai Baoshan Indoor Stadium, 101-52 China
November 30:  Australia vs  Iran, 4:35 PM, Melbourne, Margaret Court Arena, 76-47 Australia
November 30:  Japan vs  Qatar, 6:00 PM, Toyama City Gymnasium, 85-47 Japan
November 30:  Philippines vs  Kazakhstan, 7:30 PM, MOA Arena, 92-88 Kazakhstan
December 2:  New Zealand vs  Syria, 10:10 AM, Wellington, TSB Bank Arena, 97-74 New Zealand
December 2:  Korea vs  Jordan, 2:00 PM, Busan, Sajik Indoor Gymnasium, 88-67 Korea
December 2:  China vs  Lebanon, 7:35 PM, Foshan International Sports and Cultural Arena, 72-52 China
December 3:  Australia vs  Qatar, 4:35 PM, Melbourne, Margaret Court Arena, 110-59 Australia
December 3:  Japan vs  Kazakhstan, 6:00 PM, Toyama City Gymnasium, 86-70 Japan
December 3:  Philippines vs  Iran, 7:30 PM, MOA Arena, 78-70 Iran

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          (USA-PA-Lebanon) Retail Store Manager      Cache   Translate Page      
Job Summary We are looking for a dynamic Store Manager that embodies the "Live Well" spirit of GNC. If that describes you, then join the high energy, stores team at GNC. As the Store Manager you are accountable for the day-to-day retail operations of the GNC store in conjunction with the Regional Sales Director. This position has full accountability for the stores financial results, the overall leadership and development of the associates, by creating a positive work environment, displaying GNC brand loyalty, exceptional customer service and driving sales. The store manager should have the aptitude to provide advanced product knowledge, and to help promote GNC's "Live Well" brand. What we are looking for in a GNC Store Manager is: Essential Duties and Responsibilities Job Description: + A Store Manager who enjoys interacting with customers and is committed to helping them choose the right products, as well as making recommendations based on your overall product knowledge and understanding of their needs + One who displays a strong understanding and commitment of GNC's Vision and Values + The ability to achieve and exceed personal sales and productivity goals, while helping sales associates to realize their sales potential + Strong team building, leadership, and managerial skills, such as giving feedback to store associates regarding work performance on an on-going basis, recruiting, hiring, and performance management + The ability to learn new product trends, features, advantages and benefits, in addition to the training and development of associates' with regard to product knowledge + Opening, closing and operating the retail facility. Including, but not limited to cash handling, inventory count and deposits according to GNC procedures. + Responsible for ordering merchandise and supplies to maintain appropriate inventory levels, according to GNC guidelines to maximize sales and maintain store appearance + Verify the delivery of all merchandise to the store. + Ensure full understanding of all store communications including product information, advertising, promotions and other marketing initiatives. + Ability to multi-task, coordinate, analyze, observe, make decisions, and meet deadlines in a detail-oriented manner + Partner with Loss Prevention to ensure adherence to GNCs policies and procedures. Job Specifications Requirements: Education: Bachelor's degree preferred Experience: 2+ years of retail sales and store management experience in a specialty retail environment. Other Requirements: + Self-motivated + Strong communication and team building skills + Total compliance with all store operations policies + Manage work schedules within established budgets for optimal store coverage + Ability to work a flexible schedule (i.e. Holidays, weekends) Benefits: + Medical, dental, vision and insurance benefits + Competitive rate of pay + Paid Time Off + 401(k) Plan + Short-term disability benefits + Employee assistance program + Employee discount GNC has been a leading source of health and wellness products for more than 70 years and sets the standard in the nutritional supplement industry by demanding truth in labeling, ingredient safety and product potency, all while remaining on the cutting-edge of nutritional science. Since its foundation in the 1930's, GNC has prided itself on offering a challenging and rewarding work environment while delivering premium vitamins and other health supplements to our customers. GNC is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, which will consider all qualified applicants for employment without discrimination and takes affirmative action to employ and advance in employment individuals without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, age, protected veteran status or physical or mental disability. A notice describing these and other employment rights under federal law can be viewed online. Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action / Protected Veterans / Disabled Individuals Employer
          (USA-PA-Lebanon) Sales Associate, Retail Part Time      Cache   Translate Page      
Job Summary JOB SUMMARY GNC is looking for dynamic sales associates that not only "Live Well" as a lifestyle, but have the desire to share that passion with others. If that describes you, then join the high energy, stores team at GNC. This outstanding opportunity is designed to help you reach your full earning potential. In addition to your base pay, you have the ability to earn additional cash through 2 programs that we offer: + Auto-Deliver & Save – This program lets you sell healthy, nutritional products to customers that can be automatically sent to them by way of a subscription service. Both the service and shipping are absolutely free. An additional benefit is that the customer saves 10%. Going forward, each time eligible items are automatically re-ordered and delivered, you have the potential to receive commission! + Promotional Money (PM). Money that is paid to you, above and beyond your base salary as an additional incentive on certain products. The possibilities are endless! If you are career minded, this opportunity provides you with the perfect springboard to full-time or managerial positions Essential Duties and Responsibilities What do we want? + A Sales Associate who enjoys interacting with customers and is committed to helping them choose the right products, as well as making recommendations based on your overall product knowledge and understanding of their needs + The ability for you to generate sales, not only for the benefit to the company and your store, but for you and your financial well-being. + The drive to achieve and exceed personal sales and productivity goals + Promote career growth by working with store management in the opening, closing and operating of a retail store. This includes cash handling, inventory count and deposits according to GNC procedures, as well as maintaining the appearance of the store + Display an awareness of all store communications including: product information, advertising, promotions and other marketing initiatives + Boost product knowledge by learning the features, advantages and benefits. Staying on top of nutritional, wellness trends Job Specifications Requirements: + Passion toLive Well! + Self-motivated + Strong communication and team building skills + Ability to work a flexible schedule (i.e. Holidays, weekends) + As a key holder, candidate must have the ability to work alone, due to scheduling. + Must be at least 18 years of age Education: + High school diploma or GED preferred + Basic math skills Benefits: + Employee discount GNC has been a leading source of health and wellness products for more than 70 years and sets the standard in the nutritional supplement industry by demanding truth in labeling, ingredient safety and product potency, all while remaining on the cutting-edge of nutritional science. Since its foundation in the 1930's, GNC has prided itself on offering a challenging and rewarding work environment while delivering premium vitamins and other health supplements to our customers. GNC is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, which will consider all qualified applicants for employment without discrimination and takes affirmative action to employ and advance in employment individuals without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, age, protected veteran status or physical or mental disability. A notice describing these and other employment rights under federal law can be viewed online. Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action / Protected Veterans / Disabled Individuals Employer
          Escorts in Lebanon (Lebanon)      Cache   Translate Page      
Today I saw Secretary, on the recommendation of a friend. And I've come straight to the blog because I have something to tell you. In case you have not seen it, Secretary is a story about BDSM. Twelve years ago it was released, so the tone is soft, light, but it does not stop being the movie in which 50 Shades of Gray seems to be inspired (I have not seen it, I have not read the trilogy, I do not pretend do what). Website: **[http://www.escorts-in-lebanon.com/][1]** [1]: http://www.escorts-in-leba...
          Netanyahu says Lebanon's Hezbollah plans to occupy part of northern Israel      Cache   Translate Page      
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that the Lebanon-based Hezbollah militia dug a cross-border tunnel in order to occupy part of northern Israel.
          Sesame Workshop just got another $100 million to bring Muppets to refugee kids      Cache   Translate Page      

The Lego Foundation adds another huge gift to the children’s education organization’s plans to create a support system for kids escaping conflict.

In late 2017, Sesame and the International Rescue Committee earned an initial $100 million grant by winning the MacArthur Foundation’s inaugural 100&Change competition to create programming specifically designed for  Middle Eastern refugees from conflict zones in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria.

Read Full Story


          Israeli Forces Target 'Hezbollah Tunnels' from Lebanon      Cache   Translate Page      
The last war between Israeli and Hezbollah in 2006 resulted in an Israeli defeat in Southern Lebanon
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          Israeli operation targets Hezbollah cross-border tunnels      Cache   Translate Page      
JERUSALEM – The Israeli military launched an open-ended operation Tuesday to destroy what it said was a network of attack tunnels built by Hezbollah, saying it had foiled a plot by the Iranian-backed militant group to carry out a deadly infiltration in northern Israel.

Israeli forces did not enter Lebanese territory, and there was no immediate reaction from Hezbollah. But the Israeli announcement threatened to push the bitter enemies closer to an open confrontation for the first time since a bruising 2006 war. The military said it had protectively increased forces along the border and warned Hezbollah to keep its distance from the tunnels.

“Hezbollah knows well that whoever attacks the state of Israel will paid a very heavy price,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a nationally televised address in the evening. “What has been revealed to you now is but a small part of the bigger picture of our preparations and our activities and the activities we’re planning.”

The Israeli operation began shortly after Netanyahu returned from a surprise trip to Brussels to meet U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Netanyahu said he had discussed the operation with Pompeo, and he planned to talk to other world leaders, including the U.N. secretary-general.

Israeli military officials have long seen the northern front as the country’s most pressing security concern, with archenemy Iran entrenched in Syria and Hezbollah gaining strength in Lebanon.

Hezbollah is believed to be far more powerful than in the monthlong 2006 war, in which it battled Israel to a stalemate.

The group has gained valuable battlefield experience fighting alongside Iranian and Syrian troops in Syria’s civil war, and it is believed to possess an arsenal of 150,000 rockets and missiles capable of striking virtually anywhere in Israel.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, said the army has been tracking the Hezbollah tunnel project since 2014 and that Tuesday’s operation, codenamed “Northern Shield,” had been in the works for a year and a half. He said the tunnels were not yet operational.

Standing alongside Netanyahu, Israeli military chief Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said the mission would last for several weeks. “The operation commenced because the threat posed by the tunnels became an immediate and direct threat to residents of the north and Israeli army bases,” he said.

The army said the tunnel revealed Tuesday stretched about 200 yards from a home in the Lebanese village of Kafr Kela across the border and exited in farmland southwest of the pastoral Israeli border town of Metula. It said was outfitted with electricity, a ventilation pipe and a communications cable.

Residents told Israeli media they had been hearing digging noises for years and had reported their suspicions to the military.

Metula resident Michael Mazeika said he and others received texts early Tuesday from local officials informing them of the situation.

“We’ve kind of been waiting for something like this,” he said. “I’m just glad that they found it before anything really bad happened.”

People went about their daily routines, he said, and Israel gave them no special orders, signaling it was not expecting an immediate response from Hezbollah.

Hezbollah is emerging from Syria’s civil war with thousands of its fighters killed and wounded and is averse to another military adventure with Israel. The group, however, is feeling empowered by what its leadership regards as a victory for their ally, President Bashar Assad, who has survived a seven-year war and revolt against his rule.

The group is feeling increasingly emboldened internally in Lebanon, where it made significant gains in parliamentary elections in May. Hezbollah can also count on support from the Lebanese president, who is an ally, in case of confrontation with Israel.

There was no immediate comment from Hezbollah.

An official from the so-called “Axis of Resistance” – led by Iran and made up of Syrian officials, Iraqi Shiite militias, Hezbollah and other groups – said Hezbollah fighters were “on high alert to confront any possible Israeli aggression.” The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the group’s military activities with the media.

The Lebanese military said the situation on its side of the border is “calm and stable,” adding that army units in the area were conducting their usual missions in coordination with U.N. peacekeepers. “The army command is ready to confront any emergency,” it said.

Malene Jensen, spokeswoman for the U.N. force in Lebanon, said the situation “remains calm.”

Although Israel believes Hezbollah is in no rush to go to war, the army has been preparing for renewed hostilities for some time. Last year, it held a large-scale drill simulating war with Hezbollah. It also has reinforced a massive border wall and stepped up foot patrols on the border.

Under the U.N. resolution that ended the 2006 war, Hezbollah is barred from operating in southern Lebanon. Israel has long accused it of violating the resolution.

Netanyahu said he holds the Lebanese government responsible for Hezbollah’s actions.

At the U.N., Israel Ambassador Danny Danon said he urged Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to “condemn Hezbollah’s violations” and called for the Security Council to “condemn this terrorist threat.”

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said the U.S. “strongly supports Israel’s efforts to defend its sovereignty” and urged “Iran and all of its agents to stop their regional aggression.”

Israeli officials believe Hezbollah has long been preparing for an operation to shift the battlefield to Israeli territory. Conricus said the tunnels were meant to be a “surprise component” of that plan.

The 2006 war began with a cross-border raid in which Hezbollah abducted two Israeli soldiers whose remains were returned two years later in a prisoner exchange. Hezbollah’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, on several occasions has vowed to storm northern Israel.

The border has been relatively quiet, but the sides have come into conflict in Syria, where Israel has carried out scores of airstrikes purportedly meant to prevent Iranian arms from reaching Hezbollah.

Netanyahu recently has faced a major crisis in his governing coalition over the handling of a cease-fire with Gaza militants. Facing heavy criticism over the cease-fire, he cited Israel’s “complex” security situation, in what was seen as a reference to the north.

The operation also came days after Israeli police recommended indicting Netanyahu in a corruption case. The timing of the operation did not appear to be linked to his legal woes, given the months of preparations involved. Eisenkot, the military chief, said the Israeli Cabinet authorized the operation weeks ago, on Nov. 7.


          IDF uncovers Hezbollah 'attack tunnel' leading into Israel      Cache   Translate Page      
The IDF on Tuesday uncovered the first cross-border Hezbollah tunnel from a home in the Lebanese village of Kfar Kila some 40 meters into Israeli territory outside the town of Metulla, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit announced in a statement Tuesday. It was the first tunnel that the IDF said it had discovered as part of Operation Northern Shield, which was launched to expose and destroy offensive cross-border tunnels built by the Lebanese Shi'ite terror group, a proxy of Iran, along the Lebanon border and into northern Israel. Comment: Hezbollah is not a 'terror group', despite what Israel and the United States say. It is a political group comprising a large part of the Lebanese population, which has a militant wing tasked with defending Lebanon against Israeli aggression - something it's very good at, which is why Israel hates it so much. Hezbollah actually fights terrorism - unlike Israel. According to the military, it took Hezbollah some two years to build the 600-foot-long tunnel,...
          Sesame Workshop just got another $100 million to bring Muppets to refugee kids      Cache   Translate Page      

In late 2017, Sesame and the International Rescue Committee earned an initial $100 million grant by winning the MacArthur Foundation’s inaugural 100&Change competition to create programming specifically designed for  Middle Eastern refugees from conflict zones in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria.

Now the Lego Foundation just gave Sesame Workshop another $100 million, doubling its funding for the project. The grant will allow Sesame to intensify its current work creating positive, play-based educational interventions for kids impacted by the Syrian conflict, and expand the program to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

This challenge, though, only continues to grow. In recent years, nearly 69 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes, about half of whom are children. More than 25 million of those people have become registered refugees. And while there are many aid agencies focused on providing food and shelter, they can neglect the development of the youngest refugees. “The great irony is those who are impacted the most from displacement–young children–are receiving the least,” says Sherrie Westin, the president of global impact and philanthropy for Sesame Workshop.

“Less than three percent of all humanitarian aid goes to education, and a tiny sliver of that goes to early education,” she says. “And yet we know from all of the evidence–from brain science, from epigenetics, you name it–that the most critical time in a child’s development is in those first five years. And that when they experience traumatic events and exposure to prolonged stress, it literally debilitates their brain development.”

Sesame’s current plan for the Syrian response region of Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria, includes developing a culturally specific version of Sesame Street that will feature several new Muppets, some of whom may have backstories loosely mirroring the key issues facing that kids in that region: being uprooted, say, or learning to share your home. The group is also creating supplemental learning materials like storybooks that cover other topics, including why people bully and what it feels like to get bullied–from a kid’s perspective.

[Photo: Ryan Donnell/Sesame Workshop]

In Bangladesh, Sesame will work with BRAC to expand its network of so-called Play Labs that function as safe spaces for children. It will also create new programming, and likely build on the popularity of Sisimpur, a Bangladeshi version of the TV show. Given the mix of languages, Sesame plans to launch some animated, nonverbal content that could be easily used in other, yet unanticipated crises, as well.

[Image: courtesy Sesame Workshop]

While this is Lego’s first crisis response foray, the organization has worked alongside Sesame before in South Africa, India, and Mexico. In general, Sesame’s efforts align with Lego’s own philanthropic philosophy of encouraging learning through play. “The foundation very much deeply believes….that the best way children learn is when their hands and mind really get into a problem, when they can be joyful and playful in the way that they interact, and when they sing and dance and move and really have an active learning environment,” says Sarah Bouchie, vice president of the Lego Foundation.

While Sesame and Lego are still figuring out their exact programming, the grant doesn’t include any mandate to include tiny plastic building blocks. In several cases, that’s just plain impractical, because the number of people in need require solutions that scale easier (like broadcasts), or use household items to make games. “We will design content based on what we are learning the needs are,” says Westin. “Everything we do is based on real research about what is the most effective way to reach these children, and what is the greatest need.”

In addition to encouraging basic education, Sesame’s goal is to find more ways for caregivers to interact with kids, and at the same time give kids, especially ones who have experienced emotional and psychological trauma, a safe way to recognize and express how they are feeling. The success of those efforts will continue to be independently evaluated by Global TIES (Transforming Intervention Effectiveness and Scale) for Children, a research center based at New York University.

Lego will distribute the $100 million over a five-year period as specific goals are met. Bouchie and Westin both hope that seeing Lego double down on MacArthur’s bet will encourage more philanthropists to invest in similar interventions. Increasing the funding and ambition of one hopefully transportable and adaptable solution is a nice start. But it’ll take a lot more to ensure the world’s displaced children grow up healthy.


          Adem Sejak 2006, Israel Kembali Waspadai Ancaman Hizbullah      Cache   Translate Page      
JPNN.com, TEL AVIV - Alat-alat berat mengeruk tanah di Kota Metula. Kota di ujung utara Israel itu berbatasan langsung dengan Lebanon. Namun, Israel tidak sedang membangun di sana. Sebaliknya, Israel justru tengah melacak terowongan-terowongan rahasia di perbatasan untuk menghancurkannya.
          Israel launches operation to cut off Hezbollah infiltration tunnels      Cache   Translate Page      
The Israeli army said Tuesday it had detected Hezbollah tunnels infiltrating its territory from Lebanon and had launched an operation to cut them off. Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus said the "attack tunnels" detected were not yet operati
          Refugee families stranded for two decades on military base given UK residency: Exclusive interview      Cache   Translate Page      
A group of refugee families left stranded for two decades on a British military base in Cyprus have been granted permanent residency in the UK. The six families were part of a group of 75 people who fled Ethiopia, Iraq, Sudan and Syria in October 1998, taking the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea from Lebanon with hopes of reaching Italy. But the group never reached their intended destination. Their fishing boat had taken on water during the journey and had sunk off the coast of the British Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) in Cyprus. "I will never give advice to take that journey," Tag Bashir, the father of one of the families who escaped the Sudanese war, said in a statement to Euronews. But "if I didn't take that journey I might be dead already because of the war." "The boat broke and we were rescued by the British base in Akrotiri. We felt happy because we were saved." After their rescue, the heads of the six families, including Bashir, were detained for lengthy periods of time, but all six were eventually released when they were legally recognised as refugees. Rebuilding their lives In the almost two decades that followed, the families were forced to rebuild their lives in a legal limbo on the SBA while the UK government repeatedly denied responsibility for them, and their rights as refugees were not observed. The UK maintained that the rights listed in the United Nations' 195`1 Refugee Convention did not cover the SBA in Cyprus. It "wasn't easy to start life on the base," Bashir said. "It was a battle we had to get through." "It was frightening, frustrating and we were all angry," he added. Living conditions were even less favourable. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said it had "long been seriously concerned about the plight and precarious situation of this group of refugees," in a report released in May 2017. "SBAs are military bases and are not designed for permanent habituation, and hence the refugees had limited access to services like education and healthcare..." Citing a 2013 psychological assessment, the UNHCR said it also "documented the adverse consequences of leaving these refugees and asylum-seekers in this predicament for so long." Bashir's son, 18-year-old Emmanuel, who was born in Akrotiri and grew up on the base, described told Euronews that being "stuck in a state of limbo" was the worst part of living on the SBA. You're "trapped in a place where you can't go backwards or forwards, not being able to be the one who decides your own future simply because it is being restrained." "Having to endure the thought of that suffocates you day by day." Legal battle and UK residency In 2014, the then-British Home Secretary Theresa May refused to admit the families to the UK , which was appealed and eventually ruled as an unlawful decision by the Court of Appeals in 2017. And, just over a year later, the families were finally granted indefinite leave to enter the UK. "We only want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to help us escape this 20-year nightmare," Bashir said in a statement released by his lawyers. "I cannot express how happy our families are to be given the opportunity to come to the UK and start our lives again." Solicitor Tessa Gregory, who had taken on the families' legal case, said they were "delighted that the current Home Secretary has done the humane thing" by granting residency. "The heads of these six refugee families who washed up on a British army base in 1998 were fleeing from terrible conditions in their own countries." "Instead of being welcomed into the UK as refugees they have been left in limbo for twenty years, raising their families in substandard housing, riddled with deadly asbestos and void of an official identity." Hopes for the future In his conversation with Euronews, Tag Bashir said while he might miss the Cypriot weather, he was excited to establish his life the "proper way." "We're very happy for our kids -- they have a brighter future not to stay like this," he said. Emmanuel told Euronews of his interests in art and music, and his longtime ambitions he now had the ability to pursue after being granted residency. "The hopes that I have for the future are really bright -- I've had them since I turned 13; wanting to study, wanting to learn more, and to explore places." "Not being judged for what papers I've got and what I don't is a relief. We're all humans at the end of the day. Death has no discrimination, and nor does life," he added. On the families' future, UNHCR spokesperson Matthew Saltmarsh said relevant steps were now being taken to work out "how best the individuals can be supported to help them integrate in the UK and rebuild their lives."
          12/5/2018: WORLD: Israel destroying Hezbollah tunnels      Cache   Translate Page      
Israel’s army said yesterday that it had detected Hezbollah tunnels infiltrating its territory from Lebanon and launched an operation to destroy them, a move likely to raise tensions with the Iran-backed group. The surprise announcement came hours...
          UN Peacekeeping Force Silent About Hezbollah’s Cross-Border Attack Tunnels      Cache   Translate Page      

Israel’s discovery of a sophisticated tunnel dug by Hezbollah to breach the Lebanon-Israel border has brought a bland reaction – and no condemnation for the terrorist group – from the U.N. peacekeeping mission deployed there.


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          Syria's last shadow puppeteer hopes to save his art      Cache   Translate Page      
The last shadow puppeteer in Damascus lost most of his equipment to war and endured life as a refugee in Lebanon, but he now believes the old Syrian art form might survive after the United Nations said it needed to be saved.

          Israel's risky but crucial tunnel-clearing operation against Hezbollah - Washington Examiner      Cache   Translate Page      
  1. Israel's risky but crucial tunnel-clearing operation against Hezbollah  Washington Examiner
  2. Israel announces operation to destroy Hezbollah tunnels under its northern border  The Washington Post
  3. Israel's Army Says It Found Tunnels Dug By Hezbollah Beneath Border With Lebanon  NPR
  4. Israel begins operation to 'expose and thwart' Hezbollah tunnels  CNN
  5. Israel Moves to Seal Hezbollah Tunnels at Lebanon Border  The New York Times
  6. View full coverage on Google News

          BENACQUISTA Jr., FRANK W.      Cache   Translate Page      
BENACQUISTA FRANK W. Jr. Age 60, of Delmont, formerly of Mt. Lebanon, suddeny on Mondy, December 3, 2018. Beloved son of Frank D. and the late...
          BOBINIS III, CHARLES E.      Cache   Translate Page      
BOBINIS CHARLES E., III Of Mt. Lebanon, age 64, died peacefully at home on Monday, December 3, 2018. Beloved husband of Debbie (Bergan) Bobinis for...
          When learning gets real      Cache   Translate Page      
Photo by Headway on Unsplash
Student assignments (essays, group work, reports) are all too often written for an audience of one, namely the teacher, and for the sole purpose of providing a basis for grading. The student will adjust the effort according to the weight of the assignment (number of credits available) and try to meet that particular teacher's criteria. The idea that anyone else might benefit from the assignment or that it should have some real impact outside the confines of the classroom is seldom considered. However, the assignment can be transformed by making it public or better still aimed at a wider audience which can benefit from the findings. Learning can be transformed when the audience is expanded and the results can make a difference. In addition, most employers are looking for evidence of practical experience so let's make sure that assignments are as real as possible.

This is nothing new of course but the potential was reinforced for me during a seminar I attended in Beirut, Lebanon, this week, Skills needed for the twenty first century and their impact on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.The afternoon session featured interesting examples of how learning is enhanced when a course becomes a stage and the results of the students' work benefit a wide and even global audience. Several speakers described how business simulations generate high levels of student engagement and provide a realistic setting for developing decision-making and teamwork skills. This is combined with teaching and plenty of feedback and tutorials from the teachers. Simulations do indeed generate a high level of student commitment but the bar can be raised even higher when you move from simulated activities to real problems in real organisations and let the students interact with professionals in their field. Two examples in particular stood out for me.

Corporate virtual mobility
One way of raising the bar for students is allowing them to do projects for companies and thus develop their skills, gain work experience and learn to collaborate online and meet real deadlines. A great example of university-industry collaboration was from Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK). They had first linked business students with an international company that was interested in breaking into the Middle East market. The students spent 2 months working as marketing consultants for the company, under the supervision of their teachers and were constantly in contact with company representatives. The final product was a marketing survey that was of great practical use for the company whilst the students had been able to put their theoretical knowledge into practice and also gained practical work experience for their CVs. The success of this venture lead to the university linking up with the Spanish-based academic business network, Telanto. Telanto links companies who have problems to solve (challenges) with suitable university classes who can try to find a solution to these challenges. Students work intensively with the company to solve the challenge and the result is beneficial to both sides. In the case of USEK, several students were asked to join an internship programme with the company or even offered full-time employment on graduation. This is a further example of virtual mobility but this time the mobility is with a company rather than a university. Experience of working in virtual international teams to solve problems is extremely attractive in today's job market and I think we will see many more ventures like this in the future.
See slideshow: Teaching Through Real Cases in Collaboration with the Industry, Tina Habib (USEK)

International film festival
Notre Dame University (NDU) in Beirut organises each year an international film festival featuring short films from young film makers under the theme The power of youth. The festival has an impressive international reputation and attracts a wide audience but the most interesting aspect is how the festival is so well integrated into the academic work of the university with students of many disciplines helping to plan, produce and run it. Film students get the chance of international exposure and students from other disciplines are able to get hands-on work experience collaborating with professionals and working to strict deadlines. Workshops and master classes are run by professional film makers as part of the curriculum. Organising the festival is an all-year activity and students are able to weave their way between theory in class and practice in the festival, often working in multi-disciplinary and international teams. See the slideshow: On the ground. The case of NDU International Film Festival, Nicolas Khabbaz (NDU).

Linking theory with real-life practice and solving real problems take learning to a new level. If you then add elements of internationalisation, virtual mobility, problem-solving and collaboration into the mix, the experience becomes so much richer than in a traditional academic setting. Student engagement levels were much higher since they could see that their efforts really made a difference and there was a genuine sense of pride at contributing to a final product that gained public approval.

See all the slideshows from this seminar (including mine!).



          Global Geography      Cache   Translate Page      
three photos of farmsteads in Lebanon
While searching the stacks for materials related to regional agriculture, we discovered a University of Chicago PhD dissertation among the collections. The text, titled "The Evolution of Land Utilization in Lebanon, New Hampshire," was written by Edward Nathaniel "Nat" Torbert, a member of the Dartmouth class of 1925. The data in this tome, which is nearly three inches thick, explores the ins and outs of farming from 1800 up to the date of its composition.

three photographs of Lebanon including the train roundhouse in West LebanonAlthough Torbert's research is interesting, especially when discussing the move from rural to urban environments in the 1800s, we were most fascinated by the photographic prints that he pasted into the pages of his
dissertation. Images of White River Junction, West Lebanon, and Lebanon abound, and each one provides a captivating portal back to life in a small rural town in the 1920s. Perhaps the photos are so particularly compelling because Torbert went on to be an award-winning amateur photographer.

Torbert was evidently a man meant to be outdoors and in the field. He initially was a professor of geography at San Jose State College, but soon shifted into a more active role: he worked with the Tennessee Valley Authority for several years before moving into successive international positions that revolved around his specialty in economic geography. From 1950 to 1951, he worked on a reclamation program in Haiti. Soon after, Torbert headed to Afghanistan as the chief planning engineer for an irrigation project that was meant to bring water to 3.5 million acres of farmland.

three photographs of Lebanon including the Coburn Park areaHowever, after only a few months there, he contracted bulbar polio, a particularly nasty variant of the disease which attacks the brain stem. At first, he and Elise, his wife, assumed that he had the flu. Within two days, his arms and vocal cords were paralyzed. A week later, after being airlifted out of the country on board the US Ambassador's plane, Torbert passed away in the Seventh Day Adventist hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. In a letter home, his wife said that she was "not prepared for the rapid progress of the disease nor for its fatality," that Norbert never regained consciousness enough to realize he had polio, and that "he remained sweet, patient and cheerful until the very end." Soon after, the United States Department of the Interior awarded him its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. At the awards convocation, Douglas McKay, Secretary of the Interior, described Torbert as "broad in his thinking, considerate in his approach, firm in his beliefs, skillful in his operations, and unyielding in his devotion to purpose."

panoramic photo of White River Junction, VT, looking eastward to West Lebanon

To see Nat Torbert's dissertation, including some amazing views of early 20th-century Lebanon, ask for Alumni T63e.
          هذا هو اللعب بالنار      Cache   Translate Page      


ديسمبر 3, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– عندما تحدّث الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله عن التحذير من اللعب بالنار، كان واضحاً بقصده تحذير فريق المحكمة الدولية من أن يكون في حساباتهم الرهان على اللعب بالأمن من بوابة الاستفزاز السياسي والقانوني. وها نحن اليوم الذين انتظرنا لنكتشف اللعب بالنار الذي كان على جدول أعمال هذا الفريق نراه ماثلاً أمامنا. فالقضية باتت واضحة منذ الانتخابات النيابية، وما حملته من حقائق سواء ما كرّسه توزع المقاعد النيابية أو ما حملته النتائج التي لم تنتج مقاعد نيابية، حيث ظهر التعدد داخل الطائفتين الدرزية والسنية قدراً لا مفر منه، واتجاهاً متنامياً يصعب وقفه. ففي الطائفة السنية لم تكن النتائج التي حملتها هذه الدورة الانتخابية سوى البداية لما سيحمله ما سيليها لجهة تأكيد تراجع احتكار تيار المستقبل الطائفة، واستحالة الاحتماء وراء فزاعة تيار المستقبل وإلا داعش أو النصرة. وبالتوازي مع هذا بدت النتائج في الطائفة الدرزية مجرد رأس جبل الجليد الذي سيكبر تلقائياً في دورات مقبلة لكسر احتكار الحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي للطائفة، فوحدة المعارضة السنية لتيار المستقبل وتوحّد حلفائها من ورائها، كما توحد المعارضة الدرزية للحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي وتوحّد حلفائها من ورائها، باتت كافية لتزخيم النتائج التي تقول إن الاحتكار صار شيئاً من الماضي. وقد تم تحجيم هذه النتائج بفعل التسرّب من شقوق عدم وحدة المعارضتين من جهة، وعدم توحّد الحلفاء من ورائها من جهة أخرى.

– لقد تلاقت إرادة داخلية لقوى فاعلة عنوانها إنكار الحقائق اللبنانية الجديدة التي حفرت عميقاً في الواقع وتكرّست بفضل اعتماد قانون قائم على النظام النسبي، مع إرادة خارجية عنوانها إنكار المتغيرات الإقليمية والدولية الكبرى التي قالت إن زمن احتكار واشنطن للقرار الدولي صار شيئاً من الماضي، وإن الهيمنة الجوية الإسرائيلية على سماء المنطقة صارت هي الأخرى شيئاً من الماضي، وإن الرهان التاريخي الذي قاله مارتن أنديك بلسان واشنطن وتل أبيب معاً منذ خمس وعشرين سنة، وعنوانه السعي لاستعمال ما أسماه بالجهادية السنية ونسميها بالإرهاب، لضرب الجهادية الشيعية الصاعدة ونسمّيها بالمقاومة، هو رهان قد تم اختباره ولم يفلح في تعويض العجز عن خوض الحروب بالجيوش الغربية والإسرائيلية، وبفعل هذا التلاقي بين حالتي الإنكار وما يسببه الإنكار من هذيان سياسي وعدم توازن في الحركة والقرار، تدخل المنطقة ويدخل لبنان مرحلة الفوضى السياسية والأمنية.

– يتلاقى الذين يجمعهم الإنكار للحقائق الجديدة، فلا يُحرج التطبيع مع إسرائيل دول الخليج وحكامه، كما لا يُحرج واشنطن وتل أبيب التطبيع مع تنظيم القاعدة، واللعب بالنار تحكي عنه حرب اليمن الكثير وتجسّده البنسلمانية أفضل تمثيل، واحتجاز رئيس الحكومة سعد الحريري نموذج لهذا اللامألوف، وقتل جمال الخاشقجي نموذج آخر. فالقضية كما قال ثامر السبهان في التمهيد لاحتجاز الحريري، إن قانون الانتخابات سيغير المشهد السياسي والدستوري، ومن يقرأ الصحافة الإسرائيلية سيكتشف الكثير من المقالات التي تتحدّث عن خطورة الشرعية الدستورية التي ستنالها المقاومة عبر الانتخابات واعتبارها خطراً يوازي خطر الصواريخ الاستراتيجية، وتعطيل الحكومة عبر تجاهل مطالب التمثيل المتواضع لحلفاء المقاومة حتى لحظة ما قبل ولادة الحكومة كان خطة، لتحميل المقاومة مسؤولية التعطيل من جهة، واتخاذ الأمر مبرراً للتصعيد من جهة أخرى، وهو اللعب بالنار دون مواربة. فالحلف الدولي العربي اللبناني رغم الضياع والارتباك يحتاج ساحة مشتركة للعب بالنار، وهو لعب لا يخلو من الضياع والارتباك.

– مَن يقرأ في الاستراتيجيات، ويعلم معنى حروب الطاقة، يجب أن يتساءل، عن سرّ التسارع في التعاون الخليجي الإسرائيلي لإنشاء أنبوب غاز إسرائيلي نحو أوروبا، وينتبه أن أهم المطلوب اليوم هو حماية هذا المشروع، عبر خطوتين، تأخير حضور لبنان في سوق الغاز ولو بتأخير ولادة الحكومة، وإرباك المقاومة أمنياً لمنعها من التصدّي للمشروع الإسرائيلي الخليجي والأنبوب الاستراتيجي نحو أوروبا. ومَن أجدر للقيام بذلك سوى الذين يضيقون ذرعاً بحكومة تعترف بالتوازنات الجديدة ويخشون ما سيليها من توازنات أشد خطراً، والذين يرون في هذا الكلام تكبيراً ومبالغة في القراءة والتفسير، أن يفسّروا ما جرى في الجاهلية بغير الكلام الذي لا يقبله عقل عن هيبة الدولة، التي وقفت تتفرّج على مجرزة حلبا ومرتكبيها، ووقفت تتفرج على الدفرسوار الأمني المفتوح لشهور لحساب أحمد الأسير بعنوان شرعي، وأن يفسّروا ما جرى في الجاهلية بغير الاحتماء وراء كلام قاله الوزير السابق وئام وهاب وأتبعه باعتذار، ولم يلقَ التأييد بالتالي من وهاب نفسه ومن حلفائه وخصوصاً حزب الله، فيما الكلام البذيء يملأ الشاشات بحق الرموز والقادة في المقاومة ومحورها وحلفائها ولا مَن يحرّك ساكناً أو يتحرّك.

– اقتحام الجاهلية لعب بالنار، وسقوط الشهيد محمد أبو دياب كاد أن يكون مدخلاً لفتنة كبرى، لولا تدخّل المقاومة. فهل يقتنع اللاعبون بالنار داخلياً وخارجياً بالتراجع، أم يستعدون لتكرار الخامس من أيار عام 2008، باعتبار ما جرى يشبه كثيراً الاستفزاز الأمني الذي جسّده قرار حكومة فؤاد السنيورة بدعم سعودي أميركي لتفكيك شبكة اتصالات المقاومة، وحلفاء المقاومة هم بمكانة ومهابة شبكة اتصالاتها، فلينتبه مَن لا ينتبه ولينبّه مَن ينتبه مَن لم ينتبه: «لا تلعبوا بالنار!».. باقية وقائمة فانصتوا لها جيداً.

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River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

          INTERVIEW WITH SAMUEL HASSOUN, AMERICAN EX-MILITARY WHO MOVED TO SYRIA IN 2011      Cache   Translate Page      


Samuel Hassoun is an American of Syrian descent. His grandfather was Syrian, and in 1995 he first visited Syria, visiting numerous times afterwards, eventually meeting what would become his wife. He and his Syrian wife moved to Syria in March 2011.
We discuss the realities he was seeing and hearing in Syria versus the lies reported on corporate and Gulf media on Syria, as well as many other aspects of life in Syria and the long-manufactured war on Syria.

Related Links:

EARLY DAYS IN SYRIA: WESTERN NARRATIVE VS REALITY

Talk With American-Syrians in Latakia, part 1

Talk With American-Syrians in Latakia, part 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvFeGIoISLo&

Daraa Priest, Father Gerges Rizk, on What Really Happened in Daraa 2011

Dr Amer Ghantous on Lies Around Daraa 2011

Kassab Resident: Why the Attack on Syria

Deconstructing the NATO Narrative on Syria

“Prem Shankar Jha’s, “Who Fired The First Shot?” described the slaughter of 20 Syrian soldiers outside Dara’a a month later, “by cutting their throats, and cutting off the head of one of the soldiers.” A very “moderate”-rebel practice.
In “Syria: The Hidden Massacre” Sharmine Narwani investigated the early massacres of Syrian soldiers, noting that many of the murders occurred even after the Syrian government had abolished the state security courts, lifted the state of emergency, granted general amnesties, and recognized the right to peaceful protest. [https://www.rt.com/op-ed/157412-syria-hidden-massacre-2011/#_blank]
The April 10, 2011 murder of Banyas farmer Nidal Janoud was one of the first horrific murders of Syrian civilians by so-called “unarmed protesters.” Face gashed open, mutilated and bleeding, Janoud was paraded by an armed mob, who then hacked him to death.
Father Frans Van der Ludt—the Dutch priest living in Syria for nearly 5 decades prior to his April 7, 2014 assassination by militants occupying the old city of Homs—wrote (repeatedly) of the “armed demonstrators” he saw in early protests, “who began to shoot at the police first.”

Syrian comedian Treka on Fake Revolution, Fake Chemical Attack, and more

Syria: NOT A Revolution!
SUPPORT FOR PRESIDENT ASSAD:
“On March 29, 2011 (less than two weeks into the fantasy “revolution”) over 6 million people across Syria took to the streets in support of President al-Assad. In June, a reported hundreds of thousands marched in Damascus in support of the president, with a 2.3 km long Syrian flag. In November, 2011 (9 months into the chaos), masses again held demonstrations supporting President al-Assad, notably in Homs (the so-called “capital of the ‘revolution’”), Dara’a (the so-called “birthplace of the ‘revolution’”), Deir ez-Zour, Raqqa, Latakia, and Damascus.
Mass demonstrations like this have occurred repeatedly since, including inMarch 2012, in May 2014 in the lead-up to Presidential elections, and in June 2015, to note just some of the larger rallies.
In May 2013, it was reported that even NATO recognized the Syrian president’s increased popularity. “The data, relayed to NATO over the last month, asserted that 70 percent of Syrians support” the Assad government. At present, the number is now at least 80 percent.
The most telling barometer of Assad’s support base was the Presidential elections in June 2014, which saw 74 percent (11.6 million) of 15.8 million registered Syrian voters vote, with President al-Assad winning 88 percent of the votes. The lengths Syrians outside of Syria went to in order to vote included flooding the Syrian embassy in Beirut for two full days (and walking several kilometres to get there) and flying from countries with closed Syrian embassies to Damascus airport simply to cast their votes. Within Syria, Syrians bravedterrorist mortars and rockets designed to keep them from voting; 151 shells were fired on Damascus alone, killing 5 and maiming 33 Syrians.”

Syrians Flock to Vote in Lebanon

Homs Heflah to Celebrate June 3 Presidential Elections

INTERNAL REFUGEES HOUSED IN GOVERNMENT SECURED REGIONS:
“…the owner is displaced from Aleppo, from one of the first areas to be infested by terrorists. He lost he three apparently very-well known and loved croissant/bakery shops, all the equipment, his home and all furnishings when he and family fled the terrorists to Latakia. His personal loss also of course affected the 10 employees he had in Aleppo. Here, he worked for about 4 months in Jableh before opening his first croissant shop in Latakia, which has since blossomed into two apparently very popular croissant shops.
Of note: one of millions of internally displaced in Syria who have fled the terrorists to government-secured safe areas to re-start life, losing all his investment, but also again dispelling the MSM myth of Syrians fleeing the government and SAA.
Another shop owner fled a different area of Aleppo for the same reason, losing his garment factory (where 76 people worked), all of the equipment inside (including 40 machines), and his shop in the Old City of Aleppo, which like the factory was looted by western-backed “freedom-loving” “moderate-rebel” terrorists.
He too has re-opened in Latakia, starting slowly, first getting a small space in one of the markets here and selling others’ clothes, then acquiring a small workshop to manufacture his own again.
His story is filled with sadness and loss, including a 20 day old son…of kidnappings by the thugs the west calls “rebels”, and also of the steadfastness exhibited by Syrians over and over during this dirty war on the sovereign nation….”
“Tartous houses 1 million internally-displaced from all over Syria, including people from Deir ez-Zor, Raqqa, Aleppo, Homs, and elsewhere, according to the Governor of Aleppo (as of mid-2016), who said the city is known as “mini-Syria” in recent years due to its hosting of Syrians from all over.
“The 1 million IDPs share Tartous’ resources, schools, and hospitals with 1 million inhabitants.”
They are not housed in tents and camps, but in schools/other buildings-turned refugee centres, as well as houses. I visited one of these centres while in Tartous, also visiting centres in Latakia, Aleppo, Damascus over the past few years.”
US ILLEGAL OCCUPATION OF SYRIA:
Russian Ministry Of OD updates on Rukban, us presence
“Such a situation in which the camp finds itself reminds concentration camps of the Second World War, which seemed to be long gone. How is it possible in the modern world?
Why, in these conditions, the world community, which cares so much about human rights, continues to persistently keep silent about the humanitarian disaster in the Rukban camp? In fact, being held hostage.
40 martyred in new massacre by “Int’l Coalition” in Deir Ezzor countryside
Implausible Denials: The Crime at Jabal al Tharda. US-led Air Raid on Behalf of ISIS-Daesh Against Syrian Forces
TERRORIST ATTACKS ON HOSPITALS:
Former Director of Kindi Hospital Talks About Terrorist Truck Bombing of Hospital
Western corporate media ‘disappears’ over 1.5 million Syrians and 4,000 doctors (Ignore Terrorist Attacks on Hospitals)
ERDOGAN COMPLICITY IN THIEVING ALEPPO FACTORIES, SENDING TERRORISTS TO SYRIA:
19:26, MP Fares Shehabi on lawsuit against Turkey for theft of factories
November 2016, MP Shehabi on the lawsuit
Serena Shim exposed Turkey’s role in Syria:
“As Shim’s sister Fatmeh Shim stated in 2015, “She caught them bringing in ISIS high-ranked members into Syria from Turkey into camps, which are supposed to be Syrian refugee camps.”
Serena Shim’s January 2013 expose, “Turkey’s Pivotal Role in Syria’s Insurgency: PressTV Report from Inside Turkey,” showed footage of what she estimated to be 300 semi-trucks “awaiting militants to empty them out”; included testimony explaining how Turkey enables the crossing of foreign terrorists “freely” into Syria; spoke of the funneling of arms via the Incirlik US Air Base in Turkey to terrorists in refugee camps or on through to Syria; and highlighted the issue of terrorist training camps portrayed as refugee camps, guarded by the Turkish military.
Shim named the World Food Organization as one of the NGOs whose trucks were being used to funnel terrorists’ arms into Syria, and stated this in her last interview, just one day before being killed. Notably, in that interview she also explicitly stated that she feared for her life because Turkish intelligence had accused her of being a spy.
EXTENSIVE TUNNELS IN SYRIA:

Jaysh al-Islam Tunnel Labyrinth in Douma, Syria


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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          Israel Destroying Hezbollah Terror Tunnels      Cache   Translate Page      
The IDF announced Operation Northern Shield Monday night, a mission to find and destroy Hezbollah tunnels from Lebanon into Israel.
          Beirut Skyline art, Beirut poster print, Lebanon Poster, Byblos Port Harbor Print, Lebanon gift, Beirut, Lebanonese art style - E8-O-BEIR by LoosePetals      Cache   Translate Page      

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This is a horizontal print of Beirut, Lebanon. I selected the ancient site, the Byblos harbor to illustrate. The scene marvels at the brick walled harbor dated back to 5000 B.C. I illustrated the historic harbor with a colorful palette of earth and jewel tones. A gradient sky of colors frames the famous harbor and a sans serif font ties the scene together.

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1) Organic cream colored 80 lb. weight, subtle tooth texture, flecked with recycled speckles, 100% recycled post-consumer waste content. This retro stock was originally sold by Hallmark greeting cards in the 50’s. It is the first recycled paper with flecks showing made in the United States.

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          12/5/2018: WORLD: SECRET ‘ATTACK TUNNEL’ NETWORK TO BE DESTROYED      Cache   Translate Page      
Israel’s military says it will find and destroy a network of Hezbollah “attack tunnels” that run from southern Lebanon into its territory. The Israeli Defence Forces said Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militant group, dug tunnels for its fighters to...
          Director Health Economics & Outcomes Research, (Rare Disease)      Cache   Translate Page      
NJ-Lebanon, Role Summary The Director, Health Economics & Outcomes Research (HEOR) is responsible for development and execution of high quality HEOR strategic efforts to support optimal reimbursement and access for assigned assets, with a focus on delivering robust evidence demonstrating the value of the product, successfully impacting business objectives. This is an ex-US focused role with a particular focus
          Israel destroys Hezbollah tunnels      Cache   Translate Page      
December 5, 2018 -- #HezbollahTunnels #Lebanon #Israel The Israeli military is demolishing border tunnels built by Hezbollah that cross into Israel from Lebanon. Israel is also constructing a 130-km-long border wall from the Mediterranean Sea to Mount Hermon in the east. Graphic shows location of the tunnel and sections of the border wall completed to date.
          Israel sends in bulldozers to destroy cross-border Hezbollah tunnels - Sale la tensione al confine tra Israele e Libano      Cache   Translate Page      

Israel's army is destroying tunnels dug from Lebanon.

-

Si teme una escalation di violenze che ricorda l'epoca del conflitto tra i due paesi che nel 2006 aveva causato oltre 1000 vittime.


          UN / ISRAEL DANON      Cache   Translate Page      
Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon told reporters gathered outside the Security Council that “Israel is conducting a limited operation in its territory to neutralize Hezbollah terror tunnels coming from southern Lebanon,” which he said are “a clear violation and wilful disregard of UN Security Council resolution 1701.” UNIFEED
          Permanent Representative of Israel Briefs Press      Cache   Translate Page      
Danny Danon, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN, speaks to journalists regarding the situation in Lebanon.
          Procurement Officer at Doculand Business Solution      Cache   Translate Page      
Doculand Business Solutions Limited is Nigeria's foremost professional print and copy business center. We originated in Lebanon and we have branches in Jordan and Lagos.Job Description Handle all purchase requests from the store department Process the pricing of current jobs to get possible discounts, get purchases on credit, etc. Negotiating with external vendors to secure advantageous terms Source for new suppliers Manage product inventory Communicate with branches, suppliers and vendors Ensure that branches have sufficient supplies and that there is no stock out Get approval from Supervisor before processing quotations/ proforma invoices, etc (a minimum of 3 quotations for comparison) Send introductory email to clients Weekly general market update to the Company Weekly activity report Requirements Applicants must be a graduate and must have completed NYSC. A minimum of 2 - 3 years working experience in procurement.
          Opposition chief says Netanyahu overplayed Lebanon border operation      Cache   Translate Page      

Opposition chief says Netanyahu overplayed Lebanon border operationIsraeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday of over-dramatising the army's discovery of Hezbollah tunnels infiltrating its territory from Lebanon for political gain. "We are not now in a situation where our soldiers are behind enemy lines," said Livni, who served as foreign minister during Israel's 2006 war with Hezbollah.



          SAL national commander encourages membership in new PSAs      Cache   Translate Page      

Sons of The American Legion National Commander Greg “Doc” Gibbs is encouraging those eligible to join the Sons to do so through a series of public service announcements (PSAs) that are available on the Legion’s Vimeo channel and LegionTV.

To share the commander’s PSAs on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, click here. And for promotional efforts within your community, view PSAs on Vimeo here.

All male descendants, adopted sons and stepsons of members of The American Legion, and such male descendants of veterans who died in service during World I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf War and the War on Terrorism, during the delimiting periods set forth in Article IV, Section 1, of the National Constitution of The American Legion, or who died subsequent to their honorable discharge from such service, shall be eligible for membership in the Sons of The American Legion.

For additional American Legion PSAs and promotional videos that highlight Team 100, Legion programs and more, click here. These short PSAs and videos on the Legion's Vimeo channel can be shared via mobile devices or downloaded onto a computer hard drive and shared without the need for internet connection. Use these videos to tell the Legion's story, as well as aid in membership recruiting, fundraising efforts, support for programs and events, and more.


          What is Nasrallah up to?      Cache   Translate Page      
null
Analysis: Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah knows that Israel knows his exact whereabouts but yet refrains from targeting him, unless perhaps if he allows Iran to drag his organization to a war which Lebanon can ill afford right now.
          Northern Shield not meant to shield Netanyahu      Cache   Translate Page      
צילום: רויטרס
Op-ed: It is regrettable that Knesset members echoed Hezbollah's claims that the IDF operation to neutralize terror tunnels along the Israel-Lebanon border is a way for Netanyahu to distract the public from Case 4000. Throughout his tenure, the prime minister has never been quick to pull the trigger.
          Lebanon says Israel offered no proof of border tunnels      Cache   Translate Page      

BEIRUT (AP) - Lebanon's Parliament speaker said Wednesday that Israel has presented no evidence to prove its claims that a network of attack tunnels has been built by Hezbollah across the countries' shared borders.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission meanwhile said Wednesday it will send a team to Israel to "ascertain ...

          Israel Launches Operation to Destroy Hezbollah Cross-border Tunnels From Lebanon      Cache   Translate Page      
Yaniv Kubovich writes in Haaretz: The Israeli military launched an operation Monday night to destroy cross-border tunnels constructed by Hezbollah, crossing the Lebanon border into Israel. The Israel Defense Force announced the discovery of the tunnels on Tuesday morning, saying it has started destroying them, dubbing the operation Northern Shield. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met U.S. […]
          Lebanon Says Israel Offered No Proof of Border Tunnels      Cache   Translate Page      
Lebanon’s Parliament speaker said Wednesday that Israel has presented no evidence to prove its claims that a network of attack tunnels has been built by Hezbollah across the countries’ shared borders. The U.N. peacekeeping mission meanwhile said Wednesday it will send a team to Israel to “ascertain facts,” calling for full access to all locations along the border. The Israeli military Tuesday launched an open-ended operation to destroy tunnels built by Hezbollah it said are aimed at infiltrating northern Israel. Israeli forces did not enter Lebanese territory. They were seen operating in what looked like a construction site, with trucks bringing in equipment and drills and bulldozers digging in the open territory and farmlands inside northern Israel. Hezbollah had no immediate comment on the claims or the Israeli activities across the border. On Wednesday, Nabih Berri, Lebanon’s parliament speaker and ally of Hezbollah, said Israel offered no “coordinates or information” about the tunnels during the regular weekly meeting held at the UN position in southern Lebanon. His comments were carried by the National News Agency. In a statement Wednesday, the Lebanese army called Israeli reports of tunnels across the border “allegations.” It called on Israel to present specific coordinates and information about the location of such tunnels. The army urged Israel not to carry out any work inside Lebanese territory. The U.N. mission, known as UNIFIL, said its regular weekly meeting with the Lebanese and Israeli armies discussed Israel’s “activities” searching for suspected tunnels. Ali Bazzi, a lawmaker from Berri’s parliamentary bloc, said Israel had no evidence to its claims, calling them a “distraction” and an attempt by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “evade” possible new indictment at home for corruption charges. There was no immediate comment from Israel on the expected visit. Under the U.N. resolution that ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, Hezbollah is barred from operating in southern Lebanon. Israel has long accused it of violating the resolution. Lebanon says Israel, too, regularly violated its air, sea and land spaces. “I emphasize the critical role of our liaison and coordination mechanisms in mitigating tensions through continuous communication, at the heart of which is the Tripartite forum,” said head of UNIFIL mission Maj. Gen. Stefano Del Col. He appealed to both sides in using the mechanisms to “avoid misunderstandings and ensure that security and stability” along the border is maintained and reinforced. The Israeli military said it had protectively increased forces along the border and warned Hezbollah to keep its distance from the tunnels.  
          Why you should be eating molokhia and how to make this delicious superfood soup      Cache   Translate Page      

The ubiquity of molokhia — an irresistible dish of braised greens served over rice that hails from Egypt and has taken root in the cuisines of Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Israel and across North Africa — would seem to indicate that it’d be easy to find on menus around town. Such is not the case, largely...


          Why you should be eating molokhia and how to make this delicious superfood soup      Cache   Translate Page      

The ubiquity of molokhia — an irresistible dish of braised greens served over rice that hails from Egypt and has taken root in the cuisines of Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Israel and across North Africa — would seem to indicate that it’d be easy to find on menus around town. Such is not the case, largely...


          Lebanon Mobile Home Community Celebrates Launch of New Solar Array      Cache   Translate Page      
Residents of Mascoma Meadows manufactured housing community in Lebanon are celebrating the construction of a new solar array, the first in the state to power mobile homes in a resident-owned community. At a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday, city and state leaders heralded the project as a bellwether for efforts to connect low and moderate-income households with renewable energy. The array is financed by a combination of state grant funding and a Revision Energy program connecting investors to community solar projects. It sits on land donated to Mascoma Meadows by a neighboring church. Vermont Law School and the law firm Primmer, Piper, Eggleston & Cramer also contributed pro bono work to the project. The panels are expected to save households in the community about $300 per year.
          Lebanon Hostage Crisis: Last US Captive Released after 7 Years (1991)      Cache   Translate Page      
After reporting from Vietnam as a war correspondent, American journalist Terry A. Anderson became chief correspondent for the Associated Press in Lebanon. In March 1985, he was abducted from a Beirut street by Shiite Hezbollah militants retaliating against the US for supplying Israel with weapons. Held with other American hostages taken at around the same time, Anderson remained in captivity for nearly seven years and was the last to be released. What has he done since regaining his freedom?

          Israel launches military operation near Lebanon's borders - PM      Cache   Translate Page      
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) GAZA, Dec 4 (KUNA) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday the North Shield military operation near the borders with Lebanon ...
          Israel searches for underground tunnels across border with Lebanon      Cache   Translate Page      
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) GAZA, Dec 4 (KUNA) -- Israel's military announced Tuesday it has begun a military operation to expose underground tunnels, dug by the Lebanese ...
          Amid tunnel-busting effort, IDF brings in air defense, engineering reservists       Cache   Translate Page      
Source: Amid tunnel-busting effort, IDF brings in air defense, engineering reservists | The Times of Israel Army girds for potential Hezbollah retaliation to operation targeting subterranean passages from Lebanon, but refrains from large call-up of reservists By JUDAH ARI GROSS 4 December 2018, 7:01 pm An Israeli armored personnel carrier and command post is transported toward […]
          Netanyahu’s northern tightrope act       Cache   Translate Page      
Source: Netanyahu’s northern tightrope act – Israel Hayom Amnon Lord Over the past two years, Hezbollah has displayed an increasing presence in the area stretching south of the Litani River to the Israeli border with Lebanon, often times positioning themselves mere yards from IDF soldiers. Simultaneous to the reports of digging sounds, the IDF noticed […]
          Procurement Officer at Doculand Business Solutions Limited      Cache   Translate Page      
<p>Doculand Business Solutions Limited is Nigeriaandrsquo;s foremost professional print and copy business center. We originated in Lebanon and we have branches in Jordan and Lagos.<br /> <br /> We are recruiting to fill the position below:<br /> <br /> <strong>Job Title: Procurement Officer<br /> <br /> Location:</strong>andnbsp;Lagos<br /> <br /> <strong>Job Description</strong></p> <u

          Comment on 10 Ways You Can Actually Help Syrian Refugees by Melissa Moody      Cache   Translate Page      
Great article! I've been working with Days for Girls International for many years now, and my friend and I have recently embarked on getting a team started in Lebanon specifically to help the Syrian women there. We distribute volunteer-made feminine hygiene kits that are cloth-- so although the women may have disposable pads donated from others, they can now have a reusable, sustainable supply of pads to rely on month after month. I'd love to partner with other NGOs that are already serving refugees to help distribute our kits. I know there is also a group working on getting a team going in Turkey for the Syrian women there. I think Days for Girls could make a big impact for Syrian girls and women!
          The Valley News Appoints New Editor      Cache   Translate Page      
The Valley News is getting a new top editor. Maggie Cassidy started there as a news assistant and most recently she served as the web editor for the newspaper. The Valley News is based in West Lebanon, New Hampshire and covers the Upper Valley. Cassidy replaces Martin Frank who is retiring after more than three decades at the paper. She joined NHPR's Peter Biello on All Things Considered. Listen to the interview: Read an excerpt: Note: Excerpt transcript has been lightly edited for clarity Welcome and congratulations on the new role. Thank you so much. I want to start by asking the age question since it seems top of mind to the folks who have already reported on this, but I wanted to ask - you're 30 years old. There aren't a lot of 30 year-olds running newsrooms. What do you think your perspective as a millennial will bring to the paper? Well I think that as a millennial I've, you know, grown up with the web, and that's been a big part of my life both before starting a journalism
          Comment on Australia’s Current Affair runs Islamic dawah, claims Australians converting to Islam in record numbers by Jay Wizzy      Cache   Translate Page      
What about clitodirectomy? Are these female converts letting their clit cut off like unjust Muhammad commanded to? Where is the ambition for justice, love, truth & freedom from religion, where the passion for justice for atheists & other non-Muhammadists tortured, oppressed, mass-murdered & imprisoned by Muhammadist organisations, where the passion to free African slaves enslaved today from racist Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Yemen, Lebanon & so on to Mauritania. Justice, truth, love, friendliness, human rights, ecology, freedom from religion, liberation, global imperialism, these are values that must take a more important role in our life.
          Asa Kebangkitan Wayang Kulit Suriah di Tengah Konflik      Cache   Translate Page      
Akhir November lalu wayang kulit khas suriah masuk satu dari warisan UNESCO . HARIANACEH.co.id, DAMASKUS – Dalang wayang kulit terakhir di Damaskus, Shadi al-Hallaq, kehilangan sebagian besar peralatannya untuk bekerja dan menjalani hidup sebagai pengungsi di Lebanon.  Tetapi sekarang ia yakin bentuk seni budaya Suriah yang telah lama ada itu memiliki harapan untuk bertahan setelah PBB...
          Caregiver/Companion - TOUCHING HEARTS AT HOME-Lebanon,Ohio - Cincinnati, OH      Cache   Translate Page      
&quot;The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.&quot;-Mahatma Gandhi. Dedicated Senior Care Companion for a female client living with... $10 - $12 an hour
From Indeed - Mon, 17 Sep 2018 14:28:00 GMT - View all Cincinnati, OH jobs
          12/5/2018: WORLD: SECRET ‘ATTACK TUNNEL’ NETWORK TO BE DESTROYED      Cache   Translate Page      
Israel’s military says it will find and destroy a network of Hezbollah “attack tunnels” that run from southern Lebanon into its territory. The Israeli Defence Forces said Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militant group, dug tunnels for its fighters to...
          Lebanese Governments and Parliaments: The On-Going Digital Signature Crime!      Cache   Translate Page      

Up until this day, all previous and current Lebanese governments and parliament members have failed to put in place a national standard for digital signatures. The process is not hard, not vague, not tidious and - for sure - not dangerous. Digital Signatures are already approved as national standards in all digitally-active countries except in Lebanon desipte the fact that Lebanon is a dititally-active country.

What Are Digital Signatures?

Digital Signatures, as the name implies, are an electronic means to digitally sign a document. This document can be an online transaction, an email,  a file, etc.

Why Are Digital Signatures Important?

Digitally signing a transaction or document allows online systems to verify that the entity performing this transaction is really that party. It also prevents the transaction from being modified by 3rd parties. Most importantly, it eleminates the ability to repudiate that the transaction took place. If party A digitally signs a transaction and sends it to party B, then party A cannot, later on, deny the fact that it did that transaction.

Why Should Digital Signatures Become a National Standard?

All commercial companies operating within a certain country require legal support when it comes to online transactions. Without having a national standard put in place, entities can still operate in a secure manner but might fail in legal courts (in the case of legal disputes) to prove things since standards are not legalized at the national level.

By adopting a national standard, these entities can use digital signatures in court to prove things and, thus, the level of trust in online transactions becomes higher and allows for more businesses to go online safely.

Where Is The Crime if No Digital Signature Standard is Put in Place?

By not having a digital signature standard put in place, the Lebanese Government is putting the whole digital community at risk. This includes online businesses, software development agencies and online users. The Lebanese Government cannot stay behind the digital era anymore. This is not affecting the Government alone anymore. It is affecting the whole infrastructure.

Online businesses nowadays are undergoing a very high risk simply because the Lebanese Governement is FAILING them. Once standards are legalized and put in place, these businesses can prosper and grow exponentially by adopting tools and standards that allows them to further expand into the online community.


          Shortcuts to Official Exam Results on www.schoolnet.edu.lb      Cache   Translate Page      

UPDATE
I just learned that one of our clients is also providing a copy of the official results for the Lebanese exams.
Check their website out:
http://www.sawtelfarah.com/

ORIGINAL POST

I think some of you have faced this before. You want to check your kid's results in the official exams and cannot open the website www.schoolnet.edu.lb because it is under too much pressure. The URLs below will save you from having to wait forever to reach the page where you fill in the form to get the result. Simply pick up the URL that is for you and replace the <CHILD_ID> with the number and paste it into your browser and voila.

I hope this helps.

For BREVET RESULTS:

Beirut: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/brevet.asp?idd=1&id=<CHILD_ID>
North: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/brevet.asp?idd=2&id=<CHILD_ID>
South: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/brevet.asp?idd=3&id=<CHILD_ID>
Mount Lebanon: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/brevet.asp?idd=4&id=<CHILD_ID>
Nabatieh: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/brevet.asp?idd=5&id=<CHILD_ID>
Bekaa: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/brevet.asp?idd=6&id=<CHILD_ID>

For SG RESULTS:

Beirut: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/sg.asp?idd=1&id=<CHILD_ID>
North: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/sg.asp?idd=2&id=<CHILD_ID>
South: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/sg.asp?idd=3&id=<CHILD_ID>
Mount Lebanon: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/sg.asp?idd=4&id=<CHILD_ID>
Nabatieh: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/sg.asp?idd=5&id=<CHILD_ID>
Bekaa: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/sg.asp?idd=6&id=<CHILD_ID>

For SE RESULTS:

Beirut: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/se.asp?idd=1&id=<CHILD_ID>
North: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/se.asp?idd=2&id=<CHILD_ID>
South: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/se.asp?idd=3&id=<CHILD_ID>
Mount Lebanon: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/se.asp?idd=4&id=<CHILD_ID>
Nabatieh: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/se.asp?idd=5&id=<CHILD_ID>
Bekaa: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/se.asp?idd=6&id=<CHILD_ID>

For SV RESULTS:

Beirut: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/sv.asp?idd=1&id=<CHILD_ID>
North: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/sv.asp?idd=2&id=<CHILD_ID>
South: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/sv.asp?idd=3&id=<CHILD_ID>
Mount Lebanon: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/sv.asp?idd=4&id=<CHILD_ID>
Nabatieh: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/sv.asp?idd=5&id=<CHILD_ID>
Bekaa: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/sv.asp?idd=6&id=<CHILD_ID>

For LH RESULTS:

Beirut: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/lh.asp?idd=1&id=<CHILD_ID>
North: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/lh.asp?idd=2&id=<CHILD_ID>
South: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/lh.asp?idd=3&id=<CHILD_ID>
Mount Lebanon: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/lh.asp?idd=4&id=<CHILD_ID>
Nabatieh: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/lh.asp?idd=5&id=<CHILD_ID>
Bekaa: http://www.schoolnet.edu.lb/exam1/lh.asp?idd=6&id=<CHILD_ID>

I will try to add a form to simplify this but you can use the links above for now ;)

 


          Alfa Statement Roaming Charges      Cache   Translate Page      

I just got off the phone with Alfa Call Center regarding a weird charge that occurred on my detailed bill where I found many roaming charges for the number +9613488888 each being charged at $0.299. The charge occurred within the period of my my last trip to Tunis. The weird thing about it is not only that I don't know what this number is, but also that the invoice is for the period 27-March till 27-April while the charges in question are for the period of 21-23 March.

After spending 34 minutes with the Alfa Customer Service representative on the phone, below is the conclusion for how your Alfa Invoice displays charges as well as the detailed explanation about this issue.

Whenever you travel outside Lebanon and use the SMS Romaing service, 2 charges apply:

  • The first charge is related to the Alfa SMS service for the number that you are sending the SMS to. Currently, if the number is in Lebanon, the charge will be $0.09. If the number is outside Lebanon, the charge will be $0.18.
  • The second charge is for the Roaming Service charged by the network that you are roaming through. This cost is variable from one country to another. For Tunis, the cost is currently at $0.299 per SMS.

On your invoice, you will find one of two cases:

  • If the charge occurs within one line, you will see it as type R (for Roaming) and the cost will be the cost of SMS + the cost of Roaming.
  • If the charge is split into two entries, you will see it as one charge of type S (for SMS) and another charge of type R (for Roaming).

For example, if you send an SMS from Tunis to Lebanon through roaming, the charge can appear either on one line as $0.389 or on two lines where the first line displays the cost of SMS as $0.09 and the second line displays the cost of roaming in Tunis ($0.299). If you send another SMS from Tunis to a country different than Lebanon, then the charge will appear either on one line as  $0.479 or on two lines where the first line displays the cost of SMS as $0.18 and the second line displays the cost of roaming in Tunis ($0.299).

Another thing that should be noted as well is the fact that all roaming charges from external networks (Tunis in this case) are not charged in real time and can take up to 4-5 days for the charge to arrive to Alfa. If you travel around the end of your billing cycle, the SMS charge can occur on one invoice while the roaming charge will occur on the next bill. This last fact is what resulted in large number of charges of $0.299 being listed for the number +9613488888 which turned out to be the SMS Center number of Alfa. My trip to Tunis took place on March 21-23. Thus, the SMS charges appeared on my March bill. The Roaming charges, however, were not charged back due to the delay explained above and, thus, my April bill was charged with these numbers.

If you ever face this situation with Alfa, now you can know the details without having to spend half an hour with them analyzing the charges over the phone.


          Ziad Baroud Spamming?      Cache   Translate Page      

Today, I received an email from Mr. Ziad Baroud, the Minister of Internal Affairs, asking me to check my listing on the DGPS website. While the majority would like the fact that Mr. Baroud is using a one-to-one communication method to reach as much Lebanese citizens as possible, I did not like the fact that Mr. Baroud is encouraging spammers to send out such emails.

Lebanon is already a spammed country. Tens of companies send out SPAM / JUNK emails every day. We all nag and complain from such emails and spend 20-30% of our email time identifying and deleting SPAM / JUNK emails before starting to actually reading legitimate emails.

It would have been nice if Mr. Baroud had:

  • Avoided spamming me by sending me an email that I did not ask to receive (this is what SPAMming is after all)
  • Used a more modern e-Marketing tool to spread out the word. A banner on a few websites (Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Tayyar, Yellow Pages of Lebanon, etc.) could have done the same effect if not better since it wouldn't be dropped into the JUNK folder like what happened with this message. Of course the banner would have cost him a little bit more but I don't believe that budget is a problem in this case.
  • Used this case as an exercise to help him identify Lebanese SPAMMING companies and warn them to stop providing this service.
  • Used this article as an alert to start pushing an Anti-SPAM rule / law into the Lebanese system.

I would love to see a minister / parliament member / president / anybody in the Lebanese government starting to handle rules and regulations related to Technology. Digital signatures and Anti-SPAM rules are just the beginning.


          NetDesignPlus in Kuwait      Cache   Translate Page      

In December 2009, NetDesignPlus officially opened its newest branch in Shuwaikh, Kuwait. With this opening, we will be able to better serve our Kuwait clients by being closer and in direct contact with them regarding our online services including web development, design, hosting and consultancy.


          Hidden Fees with Malev Hungarian Airlines Online Booking System      Cache   Translate Page      

Yesterday, I booked my first ticket online with Malev Hungarian Airlines. My trip is from Beirut to Gotenburg on July 2010.

The total fare to be charged "as per the website" was 567 USD for the roundtrip. The confirmation email (and yes I still have it and is attached below) confirms that the total charges should 567 USD. Yet, my credit card was charged 609 USD.

Being pretty familiar with Credit Card charges, I decided that this should be some sort of conversion between USD / Euro while processing the payment through their payment gateway. Thus, I gently sent them an email asking them to refund the difference.

Today, I received a reply back from them asking me to contact client service on a Hungarian phone number. I did. The woman on the other side simply checked, confirmed the price (567 USD) and said that everything is OK lol

I told her that the card was charged 609 USD. She was surprised first but, then, she remembered (surprisingly she did) that there is something that they call a "Service Fee" that is worth 30 Euros for the Lebanon region and that changes from region to region. What a joke!

She couldn't even confirm that the service fee is 30 Euros. She said that it should be around 30 Euros but there is no way for her to know the exact figure.

The worse part is that she is admitting that they have hidden fees.

The worst part is that she cannot now what the exact fee should be.

No comment from me on this. I know that this will be my last time to book with them online unless some magic occurs and someone points how something so unprofessional can happen with an airline reservation system.

 


          IEEE High Availability Database Workshop      Cache   Translate Page      

Today, I guided a workshop about high-availability database solutions at NDU. The workshop went for 6 straight hours (from 9:30 till 15:30) and was attended by more than 50 students from various universities in Lebanon. The workshop was organized by the NDU IEEE branch in collaboration with the Computer Science Club.

I started the workshop with a general overview of availability issues in Database solutions. Then, I moved to a more detailed description of Database Replication and Database Clustering before moving forward to the hands-on implementation that included the following:

  1. How-to install / configure MySQL Cluster on Centos
  2. How-to configure a database for asynchronous data replication
  3. How-to configure a Cluster for real-time synchronous data mirroring
  4. How-to configure load-balancing using the "balance" tool and Linux VFS (overview)

The unique thing behind this workshop was the ability to achieve a working solution that includes a Cluster Manager, 2 Cluster Nodes, 2 Cluster API nodes and a load-balancer while using only 3 server machines.

The solution architecture was simple and included the following machines:

  •  192.168.0.1: this machine acted as the load balancer and the cluster manager. All requests to database operations in applications have to go through this machine which will, in turn, forward them to either 192.168.0.2 or 192.168.0.3.
    • A slightly different solution will be to use Linux VFS to share a load-balanced IP address (e.g. 192.168.0.10) on 192.168.0.2 and 192.168.0.3. In this case, application database operations will have to go to the shared IP address (192.168.0.10)
  • 192.168.0.2: this machine acted as a cluster node and a MySQL API node.
  • 192.168.0.3: this machine acted as a cluster node and a MySQL API node.

          Bakery and cafe headed to Donelson      Cache   Translate Page      
Kimber Storrs has been trying to bring the vegan lifestyle "to the masses" for years via Sunflower Cafe, a family-owned restaurant in Berry Hill. Now she's taking that mission a step further, adding a "completely vegan, completely gluten-free" bakery and restaurant in Donelson, at 2414 Lebanon Pike. The Sunflower Bakehouse, slated to open this spring, will offer a wide variety of baked goods, as well as a full menu of soups, salads, sandwiches and more for diners visiting for breakfast, lunch or…

          Israel gave no proof of border tunnels, says Lebanon’s Berri      Cache   Translate Page      

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Israel provided no evidence of cross-border attack tunnels in a meeting with U.N. peacekeepers on Wednesday, Lebanon's Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said

The post Israel gave no proof of border tunnels, says Lebanon’s Berri appeared first on Firstpost.


          Controlling the Israel Message: How to Manage the American Sheeple      Cache   Translate Page      
By Philip Giraldi
Source
Marc_Lamont_Hill_9457c.jpg
There has been another defenestration of a television-based political commentator for touching the only real electrified third rail remaining in reporting what passes for the news. Marc Lamont Hill, a Temple University professor of Media Studies and Urban Education, who is a regular political commentator on CNN, was fired for what he said in a speech at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which took place last Wednesday at the United Nations. Hill called for a “free Palestine from river to the sea,” which CNN considered grounds for terminating his contract.
As ever, the Israelis were quick to jump on the bandwagon with their New York Consul General Dani Dayan denouncing Hill as a “racist, a bigot, [and] an anti-Semite.” He noted that Hill is under contract both with Temple University and CNN, implying that he should be punished by being fired, and called the remarks “appalling.” To no avail, Hill responded “I support Palestinian freedom. I support Palestinian self-determination. I am deeply critical of Israeli policy and practice. I do not support anti-Semitism, killing Jewish people, or any of the other things attributed to my speech.”
Hill was fired by CNN within 24 hours. The message is clear. You can criticize Christianity, Muslims, white males, Donald Trump and the American government at will and you can even criticize blacks or sexual alphabet soups if you are clever in how you do it, but never, never go after Jews or Israel even indirectly if you want to keep your job. One recalls the fate of Rick Sanchez, a CNN anchor who was fired in September 2010 one day after he complained about how Jon Stewart and others in the Jewish mafia that runs the media treat Hispanics, saying “Yeah, very powerless people. He’s such a minority. I mean, you know, please. What—are you kidding? I’m telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart. And to imply that somehow they, the people in this country who are Jewish, are an oppressed minority?
Sanchez was forced to publicly grovel for his “inartful” comments and even had to write a letter of apology to the monstrous Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).  Far worse, he also had to endure two hours of counseling with “America’s rabbi” Shmuley Boteach. Sanchez subsequently drifted through low level jobs for a number of years, but he is now a news anchor with RT America.
Also in 2010, Octavia Nasr, a Lebanese-American journalist who had been CNN’s Senior Editor for Mideast Affairs for over 20 years was immediately fired after she tweeted “sad to hear of the passing” of Lebanese cleric Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlalah. Fadlalah’s only crime was that he had been demonized by Israel and the neocons as a “spiritual mentor” of Hezbollah. Nasr’s only crime is that she granted the admittedly controversial dead man some respect.
To be sure, CNN is pro-Israeli in its reporting and, more important, in terms of choosing what not to report. Its lead political anchor is Wolf Blitzer, a former American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) employee, who speaks Hebrew and has lived in Israel. Like most major American mainstream media outlets, CNN has numerous Jewish employees working to select, edit and produce the news stories that actually air, well placed to manage what does finally go out to the public.
Reports critical of Israel or Jews are not welcome anywhere in the U.S. national media, which is why Israel gets away with slaughtering unarmed Gazans using army snipers. I note a recent bizarre though interesting story that appeared in the British media and was not picked up by the U.S. mainstream at all. The story detailed how the leadership of the European Jewish Congress is seeking the insertion of “warning messages” in both Christian and Muslim holy texts. In a document entitled “An End to Antisemitism,” which was released last week, it was recommended that “Translations of the New Testament, the Qur’an and other Christian or Muslim literatures need marginal glosses, and introductions that emphasize continuity with Jewish heritage of both Christianity and Islam and warn readers about antisemitic passages in them. While some efforts have been made in this direction in the case of Christianity, these efforts need to be extended and made consistent in both religions.” One wonders when the same body will be recommending that the nastier bits of the Torah and Talmud be “glossed” to deal with the numerous slaughters of conquered peoples as well as slurs on Jesus Christ and assertions that Jews have`1 the right to treat non-Jews as no better than livestock?
Some in the media might argue that the same set of rules about not offending one’s religious beliefs would apply to all religions, not just to Judaism, but it is difficult to find evidence of any even handedness, particularly when Islam is being discussed by commentators who are completely ignorant of the tenets of the religion.  Nor are there any apparent limits in making ridiculous statements on CNN if one is disparaging Arabs, most particularly if they are Palestinians. CNN paid commentator former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has claimed absurdly that Palestinians do not even exist, which many Israelis believe, without any admonishment. Consider the outrage if he were to say that Jewish Israelis do not exist, which may actually be much closer to the truth according to some geneticists.
And what about when a Jew is attacking Christians? Far from there being any consequences, there is a demonstrable double standard as Christian beliefs appear to be fair game in some circles. Dana Jacobson currently co-anchor for the weekend edition of CBS national morning news experienced an apparently alcohol driven meltdown at a sports roast that she was helping emcee in January 2008 when she was working for ESPN.
Belting down vodka and cursing “like a sailor,” Jacobson went after Catholics in particular and said “Fuck Notre Dame,” “Fuck touchdown Jesus” and “Fuck Jesus” a number of times before she was hauled off the stage. Her after-the-fact apology consisted of written concession that she had demonstrated a “poor lack of judgment.” And her punishment by ESPN also demonstrated a “lack of judgment” when the company spokesman Josh Krulewitz reported that “Her actions and comments were inappropriate and we’ve dealt with it.” Dealing with it apparently consisted of a one-week suspension.
Any company operating in the United States should be able to dismiss an employee for any reason or for no reason, but anything even mildly critical of Jewish collective behavior or Israel is severely punished immediately. Professor Marc Lamont Hill said nothing wrong. On the contrary, he said something badly needed and which should have been accepted by CNN if it were really a global communications network dedicated to the truth and, one might add, to justice. Instead it was more of the same old, same old. If you criticize Israel don’t let the door hit you in the ass as you leave the building.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

          HEZBOLLAH PUTS FORCES ON HIGH ALERT, WARNS ISRAEL FROM ANY ATTACK ON LEBANON      Cache   Translate Page      
05.12.2018
Hezbollah Puts Forces On High Alert, Warns Israel From Any Attack On Lebanon
On December 5, Hassan Hoballah, a member of Lebanese Hezbollah’s political bureau, warned Israel from launching any military operation inside Lebanon and stressed that the “resistance” will response to any such aggression.
“The days when Israel could simply attack Lebanon are over, even though the initiative to attack is in Israel’s hands,” the Iranian Press TV quoted Hoballah as saying.
Earlier in December, the Israeli military launched operation “Northern Shield” to destroy cross-border tunnels between Lebanon and Israel. By now, the operation has been conducted inside Israel territory only.
Hoballah revealed that Hezbollah fighters are on “a constant state of alert and surveillance, and are assessing the situation” in southern Lebanon. Hezbollah’s official added that the group’s action will depend on developments in the field.
Israel has been slowly and steadily working to build a case for a war on Lebanon since the beginning of year. First, the Middle Eastern country stepped up its military operations in Syria against what it claims are arms shipments to Hezbollah.
Later, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, revealed alleged missile sites of Hezbollah in the heart of the Lebanese capital, Beirut, during his speech at the UN General Assembly in New York. Netanyahu even vowed to act against any threat in Syria or in Lebanon.
Some experts say that Israel appears to be eager to wage a new war on Lebanon not only to send a message to Iran, but also to overcome its internal political crisis.
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River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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          1968 Roberta's postcard to CJU/GHU -Dec.      Cache   Translate Page      
Caption: The GOLDEN LAMB, Ohio's oldest Inn where ten presidents, Dickens, Clay and other famous guests have stayed.  Lodging rooms furnished in antiques, five dining rooms, party and meeting rooms.  The Black Horse Tavern, and the Shaker Village Gift Shop.  Halfway between Cincinnati and Dayton on US 42, 7 miles off Interstate 75, and 3 mi. west off Interstate 71.  The Warren County Museum, Glendower State Museum, and Harmon Golf Course in historic Lebanon.  Fort Ancient nearby. 


[postmarked Dec. 1968]

Hi!  Here for Lunch.  Having a big old time! 

I can't wait till Christmas.

Happy New Year!

Love,
Roberta

          A Palestinian house with many struggles      Cache   Translate Page      

The struggle of Palestinians takes different forms, between living under the Palestinian Authority or the de-facto Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian protester near the border between Israel and Gaza Strip on the 23rd of November 2018. Picture by NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved. While the international community is concerned about the ongoing round of escalations between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinians in the West Bank fight on another front. The escalation in the Gaza strip, albeit seeming to be between the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and Israel, is also a silent struggle against the de-facto rulers of the Gaza Strip, namely, Hamas.

As of early September, the Palestinians in the West Bank have taken to the streets, protesting against the new Palestinian Social Security Law (PSS), proposed by the Palestinian Authority. Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, there have not been such protests against any of the dozens of proposed laws and regulations. Simply, because this law touches on people’s livelihood. The law deducts from their salaries and provides the money to an untrusted institution to manage and invest. PSS which was approved and signed by the Palestinian president in 2016, without any public consultations or deliberations in the malfunctioning Palestinian Legislative Council, was faced with considerable criticism due to the very obvious gaps that do not meet the needs of Palestinians. The critiques range from civil society organizations, human rights organizations, journalists, and private sector.

Recently, trust between the Palestinians and the PA’s institutions has declined sharply. According to the Arab Barometer, in 2016, more than 65% of the Palestinians had no trust in the government. In 2007, 31% of Palestinians had great trust in the government, by 2016 the number had already dropped to 6%. Also in 2016, a majority of Palestinians, 56% to be precise, showed distrust in the courts and the legal system. This data snapshot does not appear from a void, but rather as a result of a set of factors that have undermined the relationship between the PA’s institutions and the Palestinian people.

The main factor is the corruption within the PA, which has been transformed into a limited corporation for a particular group of people around the current President and his notoriously corrupt Prime Minister. In 2016, more than 90% of the Palestinians believed that there was corruption within the PA, compared to 67% in 2007 and 72% in 2011. Recent evidence shows that many of the sons, daughters, and relatives of senior officials within the PA are being appointed, either in the diplomatic corps or in Ramallah. In 2018, scholarships for postgraduate studies were given to sons and daughters of PA senior officials, ignoring the Palestinian students who are in urgent need of such assistance. Although these incidents of corruption are very common, the PA officials do not care about the reactions of the Palestinians.

Another factor is the political deadlock and the end of the peace process. These in addition to the inability of President Abbas to present a new national agenda played a factor in forcing him to eradicate his opponents, such as Mohamed Dahlan, and others within the ruling party, Fatah, and the Palestinian Liberation Organization. According to Varieties of Democracy Institute data at Gothenburg University, Abbas has secured all means of power in his hands, which makes him nothing less than a dictator. Besides that, Abbas’ constant carelessness towards the National Council resolutions, and his verbal attacks against his colleagues within the PLO have put him in a position to be a single authority. All that is added to his failure to achieve national reconciliation.

In addition, the last two years witnessed intensified security measures against freedom of expression. On many occasions, the PA security forces used excessive force, physical harassment, imprisonment, and illegal detention against their opponents, and protesters. According to a Human Right Watch report that was published in October, “serious crimes have been committed in Palestine by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.” HRW invited the ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to consider arrests and treatment in custody of detainees by the PA and Hamas as part of any future investigation into the situation in Palestine. Above all, in the last year, Abbas intensified his measures against Hamas in the Gaza Strip; however, he imposed a collective punishment against the Palestinians living in the Gaza strip who used to work in the public sector within the PA before 2007 when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip. His moves led to colossal criticism by all parties including Fatah. In June, hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets against the PA’s sanctions, calling for the halt of sanctions against the Gaza Strip. The demonstrators were met with an iron fist, where many where detained and injured.

Later, in September, the struggle of the people in the West Bank shifted against the new social security law, leaving the Gaza Strip facing its faith alone. In social media as well as in streets, thousands showed opposition to the law. The law does not protect the people, and the history of the PLO is proof that the people’s money, taxation, and savings are not protected. There are many precedents that prove the opacity in terms of people’s salaries. According to the State Audit and Administrative Control Bureau, 60% of 17 million Israeli shekels, which are the financial income from the General Organization of Workers in Israel (Histadrut), to the General Union of Workers in Palestine (GUWP) were allocated to general administrative expenses’.

This means that Palestinian workers’ savings which were supposed to be invested by GUWP have been misused. According to Akram Ijla, a previous general director, and public servant within the PA from 1994, no one can ensure that the people’s money will not be stolen or wasted. He argues that in 1994, the Palestinian Authority took over the social security fund which was part of the Egyptian and Israeli civil administration in Gaza since 1950s. “They took almost 237 million USD, which is the great majority of the fund, with the aim to invest it but then nothing happened, and the money disappeared, and no one spoke about it until today”.

The Palestinians in the West Bank have been tamed. They care more about their livelihood and source of income to secure their bread and to cover their hugely expensive living costs, as a result of the neoliberal economy. Today, people’s struggle against the PA is a priority while the struggle against the occupation comes second.

In the Gaza Strip, the struggle is slightly different. The Great Return March, which started in March 2018 was a result of the bankruptcy of possible usage of violent means by the de-facto rulers in the Gaza Strip. Although the idea came from independent activists, who were honest in their non-violent strategy, the march, later, was hijacked by Hamas and became violent. The people’s struggle for political gains amid the efforts to sustain their power in the Gaza Strip, and their seeking international recognition as the sole legitimate ruler of the Gaza Strip, was exploited. The Great March has shown a conflicting account among the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. On the one hand, there are those who condemn Hamas tactics, argue that Hamas is swapping the blood of the innocents in the Gaza strip for partisan gains, and on the other, there are those who believe in the novelty of the march.

During the ongoing political division, the Gaza Strip has witnessed three major slaughters, while being besieged by the Israeli army. Hamas did not master how to maneuver politically according to the regional and international power dynamics, and therefore, it took the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as hostages. The results of Hamas’ political childishness and rejection of any efforts for reconciliations with Fatah, were overwhelming on the people of Gaza. Corruption increased, the siege hardened, and severe destruction ensued. Furthermore, this provided the Israeli extremist government with a pretext to continue besieging the Gaza Strip.

Hamas is accused by the Palestinians in Gaza of misusing public money and international aid. Until recently, the power cut in the Gaza strip amounted to more than 19 hours daily. Recent developments in truce talks between Hamas and Israel, mediated by the UN and Egypt, resulted in fuel trucks being allowed to enter the only Gaza power plant. This time, Israel imposed one condition: the UN must monitor and accompany the fuel trucks from the entry point to the operating rooms. Nowadays, the Gaza power cut is less by few hours a day if it happens. The same amount of fuel used to enter many times a year. Therefore, Gazans ask, where did it go, and who stole it. Many answers: the de-facto ruler did that. It was sold privately to the Gazans, and private power generator owners.

Another example is the Gaza Rafah crossing. If a Gazan needs to travel, they either have to wait lengthy periods or pay to Gaza’s de-facto government officials, as a bribe to facilitate their exit by letting them in the first buses leaving the Gaza strip. As someone from Gaza, who has been following Gaza affairs routinely, I believe that Hamas has not changed its mind as a party; instead of as a rebel government, Hamas continues to think of its own members, and most importantly, the senior members. They perceived the people of Gaza, as an investment opportunity by diverting international aid, and humanitarian assistance to their benefit. In many cases, international and Arab humanitarian aid were privately sold or distributed to Hamas members. The de-facto government imposed a different layer of taxation over goods that enter the Gaza Strip, either from Egypt or Israel. A close friend informed me that a cigarette box from Egypt costs less than one USD. At the same time, Hamas sells the same type of cigarette for at least four USD. Almost all imported goods have high taxations, which go to Hamas’ budget.

In Gaza, the people’s struggle is shaped by two factors: the political division that humiliates them and their livelihoods, transforming the majority of them into people who live in extreme poverty, and the second factor is the occupation that strips them from their humanity, restricting their movements, killing them, and making the Gaza Strip an uninhabitable place. Therefore, Gazans did not take to the streets against the social security law, but marched to the borders, against Israel, and also against their lives. Many protestors informed me secretly that they went because they find death by the Israeli soldiers better than the slow death in the Gaza Strip or suicide. Along the lines of "we live because of lack of death."

The Palestinian struggle is not only a struggle against the Israeli occupation, rather a struggle against the corrupt de-facto governments and authorities in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Their struggle takes different shapes and forms, amid the diminishing likelihood of an independent state, and the increasing police-ization of the Palestinian Authority and the de-facto government in the Gaza Strip. In conclusion, Palestinians everywhere have their own different struggle. In the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, the rest of the Arab world and in the diaspora. These struggles share one thing, political divisions.

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          Environmental Associate-PRN - USA-KY-Lebanon      Cache   Translate Page      
Environmental Associate-PRN in Lebanon Kentucky Performs a wide range of housekeeping tasks and projects, including the cleaning of patient rooms, restrooms, waiting areas, offices, and clinical areas...
          Operasi Militer Zionis di Perbatasan Untuk Selamatkan Wajah Netanyahu      Cache   Translate Page      
LEBANON – Para analis telah meragukan tentang tujuan yang dinyatakan oleh Israel terkait operasi militer, dan menggambarkannya sebagai upaya oleh Perdana Menteri [ Baca Selengkapnya]
          Hizbullah ke Israel: Jangan Gegabah, Tidak Ada Agresi yang Tak Terjawab      Cache   Translate Page      
LEBANON – Seorang pejabat Hizbullah telah memperingatkan Israel untuk tidak gegabah menyerang Lebanon, dan mengatakan gerakan perlawanan cukup kuat untuk memblokir agresi militer [ Baca Selengkapnya]
          Israel discovers, destroys Hezbollah’s attack tunnels on borders with Lebanon      Cache   Translate Page      

Hezbollah made no comment on Israeli statements, manoeuvres

The post Israel discovers, destroys Hezbollah’s attack tunnels on borders with Lebanon appeared first on Daily News Egypt.


          CURRENT AFFAIRS NOVEMBER 1 TO 10 2018      Cache   Translate Page      

also read



http://www.sbank.in/2018/12/current-affairs-november-21-to-30-2018.html


CURRENT AFFAIRS  NOVEMBER 2018


Important Current Affairs 1st November 2018
MHA approves ‘Safe City Project’ for Lucknow
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) approved a ‘Safe City project’ for Lucknow at a total cost of Rs.194.44 crore under the Nirbhaya Fund Scheme. The Safe city proposal for Lucknow will be implemented by Uttar Pradesh Police, assisted by the Municipal bodies and city transport authorities. The Safe City project for Lucknow also envisages gender sensitization awareness campaigns.
MoU b/w India & South Korea approved
The Cabinet has approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and South Korea on 1 November 2018. The main objective of the MoU is to expand bilateral cooperation in tourism and to increase the exchange of information and data related to the sector. Korea is one of the leading tourist generating markets for India from East Asia.
TATA steel is the partner for hockey world cup
Steel manufacturing giant Tata Steel was named as an official partner for the 2018 Men’s hockey World Cup on 29 October 2018. The hockey world cup will be held here from 28 November 2018 to 16 December 2018 in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Tata Steel is the 10th-largest steel producer in the world.
Agreement b/w India & Morocco approved
The Union Cabinet approved the Agreement between India and Morocco on 1 November 2018. The Agreement will provide a broad legal framework for bilateral cooperation between India and Morocco in investigation and prosecution of crime. It aims to increase effectiveness in investigation and prosecution of crime, and in providing the necessary peaceful ambience .
Arunachal to host ‘Rally Championships’
The third round of the Indian National Rally Championships, the country’s premier motorsports event, will be held in Arunachal Pradesh. The event will be organised from 2 November 2018 to 4 November 2018. The rally that is being hosted by the Motorsports Club of Arunachal Pradesh. The rally teams from major automotive companies will be participating in the race.
‘Olu’ to be the opening film at 49th IFFI
Malayalam film Olu will be the opening film at the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI). This was decided by the jury for the Indian Panorama. The IFFI will be held at Goa from 20th November – 28th November 2018. The Feature Film Jury of thirteen members was headed by film director and screenwriter, Rahul Rawail.
Couple honoured with ‘Roy M Huffington Award’
Marie and Vijay Goradia received the ‘Roy M Huffington Award’ for 2018 in the US. They were awarded for making significant contributions to the areas of literacy, education and healthcare in India. The Huffington Award is the highest honour granted by the Asia Society Texas Centre (ASTC). Vijay Goradia is the founder and Chairman of Vinmar International.
Axis Sec launched commodity derivatives
Axis Securities has launched trading in commodity derivatives with the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX) on 31 October 2018. In August 2018, it had launched trading in commodity derivatives with the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX). Arun Thukral is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Axis Securities.
‘SMiLE Virtual Tour Guide’ launched in Kerala
The Kerala Tourism Department has launched  ‘SMiLE Virtual Tour Guide’ . A ‘SMiLE Virtual Tour Guide’ links tourists with their places of attraction and providers of experiential services. The ‘SMiLE’ guide renders information on 40 Malabar attractions. It has been conceived and executed by Bekal Resorts Development Corporation (BRDC).
Pankaj Advani won Asian Snooker Tour title
Pankaj Advani won the Asian Snooker Tour on 31 October 2018 in Jinan, China. He defeated China’s Ju Reti 6-1 in the final. He became the first Indian to win an Asian Snooker Tour event. The Government of India has awarded him Padma Bhushan in 2018.
UN chief appointed new envoy to Syria
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed veteran Norwegian diplomat Geir O. Pedersen as next Special Envoy for Syria. He succeeds Italian-Swedish envoy Staffan de Mistura. He is currently Norway’s ambassador to China. At the UN, Mr Pedersen served as the Special Coordinator for Lebanon between 2007 and 2008.
UN tourism organisation meet in Bahrain
The 109th session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Executive Council was held in Manama, Bahrain. The UNWTO Executive Council began on 30 October 2018. Union Tourism Minister K J Alphons is leading the Indian delegation at the UNWTO Executive Council. India will be the chair of the ‘programme and budget committee’ of UNWTO Executive Council till 2021.
FP-LMIS inaugurated in Haryana
The Family Planning Logistics Management Information System (FP-LMIS) has been inaugurated in Haryana on 31 October 2018. It will ensure availability, supply and monitoring of family planning services from the state level to the Accredited Social Health Activists’ (ASHA) level. It would provide online information about medicines and family planning commodities.
Section 7 of RBI Act: Explained
Under Section 7 of the RBI Act of 1934, the government of India can give directions to the RBI to take certain actions ‘in the public interest’. Till now, the government has never invoked section 7 of RBI Act. The issue of invoking Section 7 (1) of the RBI Act came up during the hearing of Allahabad high court in a case filed by the Independent Power Producers Association of India.
Core sector growth slows down 4.3%
Growth of eight core infrastructure sectors slowed down to 4.3% in September 2018 as production of crude oil and natural gas declined. Previously, the lowest growth rate was in May 2018, when the core sectors expanded at 4.1%. Infrastructure sectors of coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilizers, steel, cement and electricity grew by 4.7% in September 2017.
India-US Dialogue on IP began
The first ever India-US Dialogue on Intellectual Property (IP) was launched on 31 October 2018 to deepen bilateral strategic cooperation on IP policy in New Delhi. The dialogue was launched by US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) and FICCI in partnership with the US-India Business Council. The US-India Business Council is a business advocacy organisation.
‘Saubhagya Raths’ inaugurated in J&K
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik flagged off ‘Saubhagya Raths’ for 20 districts to identify households without electricity on 31 October 2018. Officials onboard these ‘Saubhagya Raths’ will survey areas in their respective jurisdiction with an aim to achieve 100% electrification of households. ‘Saubhagya Raths’ will traverse each district for one month till November 30, 2018.
Punjab Police bagged CCTNS award
The Punjab Police bagged the Union Home Ministry’s ‘Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems’ (CCTNS) award on 31 October 2018. They were awarded for the development of the Digital Criminal Intelligence Gazette and the generation of the State Crime Record Bureau (SCRB) reports. CCTNS was launched in 2018 to keep digitised records of FIRs and information on crimes and criminals.
S. S. Deswal appointed as DG of ITBP
SS Deswal has been appointed as the Director General of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). SS Deswal, a 1984 batch IPS officer of Haryana cadre, is currently working as Director General of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). ITBP was raised in 1962 and works under the command of the Union Home Ministry.
World Bank’s ‘Doing Business Report’ released
The World Bank released ‘Doing Business Report’ on 31 October 2018. According to the 2018 report, India is placed at 77th rank among 190 countries assessed by the World Bank. In 2017, India was placed at 100th rank. In the ‘Grant of Construction Permits’ indicator, India’s ranking improved from 181 in 2017 to 52 in 2018.

Important Current Affairs 2nd November 2018
India’s first microprocessor developed
Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IITM) have designed and booted up India’s first microprocessor, ‘Shakti’. The Shakti microprocessor can be used in low-power wireless systems and networking systems. The Shakti family of processors was fabricated at Semi-Conductor Laboratory (SCL), Indian Space Research Organizations (ISRO) in Chandigarh.
Mary Kom is the brand ambassador
Boxer Mary Kom was named as the brand ambassador of the 10th edition of the Women’s World Boxing Championship on 31 October 2018. India is hosting the 10th edition of the Women’s World Boxing Championship from 15 November 2018. Since the inception of the Women’s World Championship in 2001, India had hosted the tournament once in 2006.
Vietnam will host the F1 race in 2020
Vietnam will host a Formula One race in April 2020. The race will be hosted in the capital Hanoi. Vietnam will be the third Southeast Asian country to host a Formula One race in history after Malaysia and Singapore. Hanoi will be the second Southeast Asian city to host a race in 2020 along with Singapore.
BRICS nations signed a declaration
The BRICS nations have signed a declaration to accelerate creative and sustainable cultural cooperation on 31 October 2018. The declaration will see Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) cooperating in fashion, culture and animation. South Africa hosted an inaugural BRICS Fashion Show and Fashion Business Forum on 24 October 2018.
2019 World Corporate Games in Qatar
Qatar will host the 23rd edition of the World Corporate Games in 2019. The games will provide an opportunity for corporations around the world to showcase their competitive prowess through sports. The World Corportate Games aims to bring together, the local, regional and international business sporting community. The last edition was held in Houston in the US in 2017.
India-Japan military exercise begins
Armies of India and Japan began their first-ever joint military exercise ‘Dharma Guardian-2018’ at a jungle warfare school in Mizoram on 1 November 2018. The focus of the two-week-long exercise will be to enhance tactical skills against global terrorism and increase inter-operability between the two forces. The Indian contingent is represented by 6/1 Gorkha Rifles.
Delhi government and railways signed MoU
The Delhi government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the railways to cater to pilgrims availing the ‘Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana’ on 1 November 2018. As per the agreement, Railways will provide separate coaches to pilgrims who are selected under the Yojana. The scheme will enable 1,100 senior citizens of Delhi every year to undertake free pilgrimage.
Vikas appointed as CEO of Swadhaar Finserve
Private sector lender RBL Bank appointed Vikas Muttoo as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of its subsidiary Swadhaar Finserve. Vikas Muttoo was the Chief Business Officer of Bharat Financial Inclusion Limited. The headquarters of Swadhaar Finserve is in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Mukundan selected for ‘Ezhuthachan award’
Noted Malayalam novelist and short story writer M Mukundan has been selected for the Kerala government’s highest literary award ‘Ezhuthachan Puraskaram’ for 2018. The award, named after Ezhuthachan, the father of Malayalam literature, carries a cash prize of Rs five lakh and a citation. ‘Kesavante Vilapangal’ and “Delhi Gadhakal” are among his popular works.
Int day to end Impunity for Crimes observed
The ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ is observed on 2 November every year. The day draws attention to the low global conviction rate for violent crimes against journalists and media workers. It is observed in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on 2 November 2013.

Important Current Affairs 3rd November 2018
Apeejay Literary Festival will held in Kolkata
The 10th ‘Apeejay Literary Festival’ will be held from 18 January 2019 to 20 January 2018 in Kolkata. The festival will focus on health, current affairs, women’s issues and children’s literature among other themes. Andrew Sean, author Devdutt Pattanaik, historian Ramchandra Guha, actor Naseeruddin Shah will be addressing the event.
India Pavilion Inaugurated at Videocittà 2018
India Pavilion was inaugurated at Videocittà 2018 in Rome on 2 November 2018. India was partner country at Videocittà 2018. Videocittà 2018 is an event focussing on Virtual Reality, Video gaming, Animation, Film Making, etc. India’s participation at Videocittà 2018, Rome was organized by Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.
1st Annual Senior Care Conclave organised
1st ‘Annual Senior Care Conclave – Igniting Industry for India’s Ageing Sector’ was held in New Delhi on 1 November 2018. It was organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). A report titled, ‘Igniting Potential in Senior Care Services’ was released at the event. Anupriya Patel, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare delivered the keynote address at the event.
Patrol vessel ‘ICGS Varaha’ launched
A new offshore patrol vessel called ICGS Varaha was launched by Indian Coast Guard in Chennai on 3 November 2018. The vessel has been designed and built indigenously. ICGS Varaha will soon be fitted with advanced navigation and communication equipment, sensors and machineries. It also carries pollution response equipment to contain the oil spill at sea.
Ease of Moving Index 2018 released
Ola mobility institute has released ‘Ease of Moving Index 2018’ on 1 November 2018. The index covers 20 cities inhabited by approximately 92 million people and was based on a survey of over 43,000 respondents along with secondary data inputs.  Kolkata was ranked first in terms of affordability of public transport. Delhi’s transport has been found to be most comfortable.
Cabinet approved to open ISA membership
The Union Cabinet gave ex-post facto approval for opening up the International Solar Alliance (ISA) membership to all countries that are members of the United Nations on 1 November 2018. It will move a resolution in the first assembly for amending the framework agreement of the ISA. The ISA is an alliance of more than 121 countries initiated by India.
Indian Railways eliminated UMLCs
Twelve Zonal Railways on Broad Gauge route have now become free from Unmanned Level Crossings. As on 1 April 2018, there were 3479 Unmanned Level Crossings on Broad Gauge routes and total 3402 UMLCs have been eliminated. All Unmanned level crossings on routes having speed more than 130KMPH and on Sub-urban routes have been eliminated.
Mandela internship programme established
The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) has established the Nelson Mandela ‘Be the Legacy’ internship programme on 3 November 2018. The programme is aimed at empowering young people under the age of 30 years from IORA member states with work experience in their chosen fields of study. The programme will be launched on 18 July 2019.
Rahul Dravid inducted in ICC Hall of Fame
Rahul Dravid became the fifth Indian to be inducted in the ‘ICC Hall of Fame’ on 1 November 2018. Rahul Dravid, along with Ricky Ponting and England women wicketkeeper Claire Taylor, were announced as the new inductees in the Hall of Fame. Dravid has scored 23, 208 international runs for India across formats. He has scored the runs at an average of 45.41.
Paleontologists discover new Sauropod species
Paleontologists have discovered the remains of a dinosaur that lived 110 million years ago in Argentina. The remains came from three separate dinosaurs from the herbivorous group of sauropods, the best known of which are the Diplodocus and Brontosaurus. This new species has been named Lavocatisaurus agrioensis.
Justice Ranganathan takes oath as CJ
Justice Ramesh Ranganathan was sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court on 2 November 2018. Uttarakhand Governor Baby Rani Maurya administered the oath of office to Justice Ranganathan. Justice Ranganathan was the judge of the Hyderabad High Court before his appointment as the Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court.
Kirloskar group got RBI’s nod for NBFC biz
Kirloskar Capital has received a licence from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to start a Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC). Kirloskar Capital is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kirloskar Oil Engines (KOEL). It will be headed by Vimal Bhandari. Prior to joining Kirloskar Capital, Vimal Bhandari was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Indostar Capital.
Tourist Police & Suraksha App launched
The Arunachal Pradesh Police launched the ‘Arunachal Pradesh Tourist Police’ and the ‘Arunachal Suraksha App’ to help the citizens during emergencies. The mobile app, first of its kind for the state police, would help users to find the nearest police stations and the contact details. It has also the capacity to send SOS message to emergency contacts.
INS Viraat to become a floating museum
The Maharashtra Cabinet approved the conversion of decommissioned carrier INS Viraat into a floating museum on 2 November 2018. The carrier will be housed on a concrete foundation near Nivati Rocks in Sindhudurg in Konkan region of Maharashtra. The project will be implemented through public-private-partnership (PPP). INS Viraat was decommissioned in March 2017.
India and Japan signed a Loan Agreement
India and Japan signed a loan agreement for the construction of the Turga Pumped Storage in West Bengal on 2 November 2018. The Project will strengthen the capability to respond to the fluctuation in supply and demand of power. It will also improve the stability of the power supply. This will contribute to the Industrial Development and Living Standard Improvement in West Bengal.
Over 1.2 cr subscribers join APY
More than one crore twenty lakh subscribers have joined Atal Pension Yojana (APY). More than 27 lakh new subscribers have joined the scheme during the current financial year. States, such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka are the top contributors in the Atal Pension Yojana enrollment.
China launched new high-orbit satellite
China successfully launched a high orbit satellite to boost its home-grown ‘BeiDou’ global satellite navigation system on 2 November 2018. It is the first BeiDou-3 satellite in high orbit, about 36,000 km above the Earth. The satellite is meant to serve countries in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Ordinance to amend Companies Act approved
The government of India has promulgated the Companies Amendment Ordinance, 2018 to promote Ease of Doing Business with better corporate compliance. President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the promulgation of the Ordinance. The main amendments in the Act include shifting of the jurisdiction of 16 types of corporate offences from the Special Courts to in-house adjudication.
RBI allowed banks to provide PCE to NBFCs
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) permitted banks to provide partial credit enhancement (PCE) to NBFCs and HFCs on 2 November 2018. PCE will be provided to bonds issued by systematically important Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) and Housing Finance Companies (HFCs). The proceeds from the bonds backed by PCE from banks will be utilised for refinancing the existing debt of the NBFC/HFCs.
Atul Goel appointed as MD, CEO of UCO Bank
Atul Kumar Goel assumed charge as Managing Director and CEO of UCO Bank on 2 November 2018. Prior to this, he was the Executive Director of Union Bank of India. He replaced R.K. Takkar, who has completed his three-year tenure on November 1, 2018. He started his career as Chartered Accountant in Allahabad Bank in 1992.

Important Current Affairs 4th November 2018
National Affairs- 2 (29 Oct – 3 Nov 2018)
·       India Mobile Congress(IMC) 2018 concluded on 27 October 2018.
·       Train 18, the country’s first engine-less train, was unveiled on 29th October 2018.
·       The Statue of Unity was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Gujarat on 31 October 2018.
·       Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) organised a conference on  ‘Innovation in Cyberspace & Cyber Security’ on 29th October 2018.
National Affairs- 1 (29 Oct – 3 Nov 2018)
·       India’s first gallery on robotic dinosaurs was inaugurated on 27th October 2018 at the Pushpa Gujral Science City in Kapurthala, Punjab.
·       Union Minister Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation for India’s largest dry dock at Cochin Shipyard in Kerala on 30th October 2018.
·       The Union Cabinet has approved the renaming of Jharsuguda Airport, Odisha as ‘Veer Surendra Sai Airport, Jharsuguda’.
Miscellaneous News (29 Oct – 3 Nov 2018)
·       Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IITM) have designed India’s first microprocessor, ‘Shakti’.
·       The ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ is observed on 2 November every year.
·       Boxer Mary Kom was named as the brand ambassador of the 10th edition of the Women’s World Boxing Championship.
Awards & Honours (29 Oct – 3 Nov 2018)
·       Malayalam novelist and short story writer M Mukundan has been selected for the Kerala government’s highest literary award ‘Ezhuthachan Puraskaram’ for 2018.
·       Marie and Vijay Goradia received the ‘Roy M Huffington Award’ for 2018 in the US.
·       Malala Yousafzai will be conferred ‘2018 Gleitsman Award’ by Harvard University for her work promoting girls’ education.
Important Defence News (29 Oct – 3 Nov 2018)
·      
          Israel gave no proof of border tunnels, says Lebanon's Berri      Cache   Translate Page      
Israel provided no evidence of cross-border attack tunnels in a meeting with U.N. peacekeepers on Wednesday, Lebanon's Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said.

          Regional Focus: Middle East      Cache   Translate Page      
Assessing Vulnerabilities in Palestinian Gatherings in Lebanon: Results of the 2017 Household Survey (UNDP, Sept. 2018) [text via ReliefWeb]Dignity and Displaced Syrians in Lebanon (ODI, Nov. 2018) [text]"A Human Rights Based Approach to Refugees: A Look at the Syrian Refugee Crisis and the Responses from Germany and the United States," Duke Forum for Law & Social Change, vol. 9, no. 1 (2017) [full-text]"The Legality of the Right of Return for the Palestinian Refugees and the Legitimacy of the Struggle for It," Journal of Law, vol. 13, no. 2 (2018) [open access]Long Road to Return: Towards a Durable Solutions Deal for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon (11.11.11, Nov. 2018) [text]Picking Up the Pieces: Realities of Return and Reintegration in North-East Syria (REACH, Nov. 2018) [text via ReliefWeb]President Trump's Misguided Approach on UNRWA (RI Blog, Dec. 2018) [text]Reasons to Remain: Categorizing Protracted Displacement in Iraq (IOM, Nov.…
          IDF operation against Hezbollah tunnels is all popcorn - Bibi needs a distraction from bribery case against him and his wife      Cache   Translate Page      
Israel just announced the beginning of "Operation Northern Shield" to "destroy Hezbollah cross-border tunnels that pose an imminent threat to the safety of Israel". Israel sent its Special Forces to protect its army engaged in searching for tunnels in case of a military reaction from Hezbollah. On the other side of the border, Hezbollah mobilised its troops and Special Forces, "al-Ridwan", as a normal procedure should Israel cross the borders or turn its operation into an aggression against Lebanon. The Hezbollah mobilisation is visible to Israeli eyes and ears, invisible to the inhabitants of south Lebanon. Well informed sources said "Israel is feeling the ground has been shaking for some time because Hezbollah is preparing for a possible future war. The Israeli procedure is, therefore, both defensive and preventive, for fear of surprises promised by the secretary general of Hezbollah Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah. Sayyed Nasrallah has said he "will move the battle in Israel rather than...
          Pension Administrator - Retirement Plans      Cache   Translate Page      
in Lebanon NJ for Steidle Pension Solutions, LLC
          Lebanon speaker says Israel gave no proof of border tunnels      Cache   Translate Page      

The Israeli accusation is ‘not based on any real facts all all’, Nabih Berri was quoted as saying [Wael Hamzeh/EPA-EFE] Lebanon‘s parliament speaker said Israel provided no evidence of the existence of cross-border attack tunnels, a day after it launched a military operation to “neutralise” them. Israel accused Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement of digging across the frontier. It […]

The post Lebanon speaker says Israel gave no proof of border tunnels appeared first on RocketNews | Top News Stories From Around the Globe.


          750 Washington Rd Mt. Lebanon, PA 15228 - $349900      Cache   Translate Page      
Located in Mt. Lebanon, this high rise style home has 2 bedrooms and 2 full baths. 750 Washington Rd is situated in the Mount Lebanon School District. The sale of this home includes refrigerator, dish washer, electric stove, microwave oven, and washer/dryer. This home also has , ceramic tile, hard wood floors, electric heating, and central air cooling.
          1281 Washington Road Mt. Lebanon, PA 15228 - $329900      Cache   Translate Page      
Located in Mt. Lebanon, this two-story style home has 4 bedrooms, 3 full baths and 2 half baths. 1281 Washington Road is situated in the Mount Lebanon School District. The sale of this home includes refrigerator, dish washer, pantry, trash compactor, wall to wall carpet, automatic garage door opener, washer/dryer, and window treatments. This home also has a 2 car integral garage, 1 fireplaces, ceramic tile, hard wood, wall to wall carpet floors, gas, hot water heating, and central air cooling.
          252 Mabrick Ave Mt. Lebanon, PA 15228 - $289900      Cache   Translate Page      
none
          UNIFIL to send team to Israel to probe cross-border tunnel claims      Cache   Translate Page      

Ras Al-Naqoura, Dec 6 (IANS/AKI) The UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon will on Thursday send a fact-finding mission to Israel after its military launched an operation to destroy alleged cross-border tunnels built by Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah, UNIFIL said on Wednesday.

The despatch of a "technical team" to Israel was agreed at a meeting chaired by UNIFIL chief Stefano Del Col at its headquarters in Ras Al-Naqoura with senior officers from the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Israel Defense Forces, a statement said.

The meeting "included discussions of IDF activities south of the Blue Line to look for suspected tunnels" and "provided a forum to present and discuss issues related to the ongoing IDF activities to ensure that the overall calm prevails in the weeks ahead," the statement added.

"It was also agreed that UNIFIL would send a technical team to Israel on December 6 to ascertain the facts," said the statement.

"The regular Tripartite meeting" had been scheduled before the IDF launched its operation at its northern border overnight on Monday, said the statement.

At the meeting, Del Col stressed the "importance of ensuring that UNIFIL has full access to all locations along the Blue Line", while also appealing for the support of the parties in reducing the "high level of rhetoric".

Del Col also called "the parties to refrain from any unilateral action that could negatively affect the situation."

"In 2019, UNIFIL will continue to support all efforts to defuse tensions through dialogue and pursue all opportunities for confidence-building," he said.

"All sides should be aware of the potential for a relatively minor incident to rapidly escalate into something more serious with unintended consequences," he added.

The parties to Wednesday's meeting reaffirmed their commitment to United Nations Resolution 1701 (which aimed to end the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war) as well as to continued stability along the Blue Line, UNIFIL said.

UNIFIL currently has around 10,500 peacekeepers in Lebanon (including 1,188 Italian troops) who carry out some 14,500 day and night-time operational activities each month, south of the Litani river.

The Italian-led mission also has more than 800 civilian staff and is complemented by a six-vessel Maritime Task Force, UNIFIL said.

--IANS/AKI

pgh/


          This Day In Iraqi History - Dec 5      Cache   Translate Page      

1940 US Amb to Iraq sent note to PM Gaylani saying he was worried about direction of Iraq-
English relations because of Gaylani’s overtures to the Axis
(Musings On Iraq book review of Persian Gulf Command, A History of the Second World War In Iran and Iraq)
(Musings On Iraq book review of Rashid Ali al-Gailani, The National Movement in Iraq 1939-1941)
1985 Lebanon’s Al Safr paper published petition saying 500 Iraqi writer and intellectuals had been
interrogated and tortured to conform to govt
2000 UN Res 1330 renewed Oil for Food Program
2002 White House spokesman said Bush and Rumsfeld wouldn't claim Iraq had WMD if it wasn't
true
2002 Rumsfeld aid Herbits said he was taking over postwar Iraq planning because it was a mess
UnderSecDef Feith’s office was supposed to do postwar Iraq planning Herbits said he was screwing up
2002 Report Tuwaitha nuclear facility showed no signs of involvement in weapons program
2003 Pentagon banned France Germany Russia and other countries that opposed war from bidding
on reconstruction projects in Iraq
2003 US Air Force intel report Iran greatest threat to long term US influence in Iraq
2004 Suicide car bomb hit police station at main gate to Green Zone killed 7 wounded 50
2005 Report US forces trying new Clear Hold Build in Husaiba Anbar Iraqis seemed disorganized
leaving US to do most things
2006 PM Maliki said he was sending envoys to regional countries to discuss conference on Iraq
            US Abdul Hakim and Pres Talabani all rejected idea Nothing came of it

View the Iraq History Timelines 

           Comment on HEZBOLLAH PUTS FORCES ON HIGH ALERT, WARNS ISRAEL FROM ANY ATTACK ON LEBANON by Pikos Apikos       Cache   Translate Page      
Reblogged this on <a href="https://penelopap.wordpress.com/2018/12/05/hezbollah-puts-forces-on-high-alert-warns-israel-from-any-attack-on-lebanon/" rel="nofollow">penelopap</a>.


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