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Monday, November 28, 2022

In Lebanon, the population is overwhelmed by banking restrictions

In Lebanon, a man surrendered on Thursday after taking bank employees hostage. This is not a robbery as one might imagine: the man wanted to recover his savings. Aged about forty, he is a client of the Federal Bank, located in the Hamra district of Beirut. The Lebanese are suffering an unprecedented economic crisis since 2019. They are angry with the ruling class and exasperated by banking restrictions.

Thursday morning, the man entered the agency, armed, threatened the employees and demanded his savings. On his 210,000 euros, he wanted to withdraw a few thousand to pay the medical expenses of his father, hospitalized, according to the LBC chain. He surrendered at the end of the day, hours later, after long negotiations. « No injuries were reported, » specifies the daily L’Orient-Le Jour.

He would have obtained around 30,000 euros, according to local media. A lawyer for the bank declined to confirm this amount, indicates L’Orient-Today. Agency officials have not yet decided « whether to file a complaint ».

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A « Robin Hood »?

Some consider the man « like a Robin Hood », and « a large crowd » took to the streets « to support him », writes L’Orient-Today. He would be a victim, more than a criminal, summarizes Al Modon who, in another article, title: « What was taken by force, can only be recovered by force ». The site echoes comments heard on the streets in Beirut on Thursday. The man would simply have defended his rights.

According to Al Modon, he instructed the depositors’ union to negotiate on his behalf. The National Federation of Workers’ and Employees’ Unions says it is « in solidarity » with the saver and explains in the columns of Orient-Today that if he acted in this way, it was « because of the policy of banks ».

« This case should not lead us to applaud the violence against bank employees », Annahar nuance in an article« but what happened serves as an example ». The authorities may have bet that the Lebanese would get used to this life, to these restrictions. Proof that it is not.

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Further violence is to be feared

« The explosion can happen at any time, » Annahar warns, as many feel as much « bitterness » as the robber and despair of getting their money back. It is « a warning », considers the daily. More than a hostage taker, « the man has become a hero and a model », says a journalist and writer in the columns of Al Modon. He regrets the « political division which prevents taking constructive measures to stop the economic collapse » of the country. « Lebanese society, he also writes, is turning to the law of the jungle ». She uses force to defend her rights.

This affair, according to Al Modon, can be the starting point for « new relations with the banks ». In any case, it will be necessary to avoid tragedies. Regularly, violent disputes break out between customers and employees. « Bankers and politicians admit to transferring billions of dollars abroad, at a time when banks are restricting depositor withdrawals, » points the finger at the site.

« Violence begets violence », that’s why « The government should seize this opportunity to take action to return the citizens’ money »the National Federation of Workers’ and Employees’ Unions told Orient Today.

Cricket, a sport threatened by global warming

During a cricket match between India and South Africa, in Rajkot (India), June 17, 2022.
During a cricket match between India and South Africa, in Rajkot (India), June 17, 2022.

© AFP
– INDRANIL MUKHERJEE

« Can cricket survive climate change? » wonders the New York Times, in an article published Friday August 12 in the international edition and a few days earlier on his site. The subject is less anecdotal than it seems. According to a 2018 reportcricket would be the sport most affected by climate change, of all outdoor sports played on pitches. A disaster announced for one of the most popular disciplines in the world after football, with, the newspaper recalls, two to three billion fans around the world.

The sport is widely practiced in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and South Africa in particular. Countries « among the most vulnerable to high heat, rainfloods, droughts, hurricanes, forest fires and rising sea levels, » the US daily said.

“This year, writes the New York Times, the sport has faced the hottest spring on the Indian subcontinent in over a century and the hottest day on record in Britain.”

A match can last up to five days, long hours a day, wearing pants, helmet and protections.

It’s not uncommon for players to get sick or are hospitalized, signs that they are reaching their limits. In 2018, England captain Joe Root was hospitalized due to the heat during a five-day match in Australia. The previous year, in New Delhi, heavy pollution was to blame: some Sri Lankan players even vomited during the match.

The rain is also a concern, because it is difficult to play in this weather, when the pitches are « waterlogged », add the daily. Climate change challenges cricket as a whole, not just the dress, but the sport itself, the strategy, the quality of the pitch… We may soon not be playing the way we used to.

There is a United Nations sports and climate initiative to reduce the carbon footprint of federations, but the International Cricket Council has not yet signed up to it. « It’s as if we were ostriching », is indignant with the newspaper David GoldblattBritish author of a report on sport and climate change in 2020.



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