Saturday, 30 August 2008


Dr. Omar Nashabe, author of If Roumieh Prison Speaks Out, is leading an open dialogue on Behind Bars: What's going on in Roumieh?

On the agenda are social and humanitarian situation of the Roumieh prison; what is the prison; who are the prisoners; how they are treated; and what is the impact of this prison on its inmates.

Club 43, Gemmayzé (facing Doculand)
Monday 1 September at 8:30pm

For more information:
01 354466 / 03 562478

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Power surge

Jordan said on Wednesday it has offered to sell power-starved Lebanon between 50 and 70 megawatts of electricity a day until the end of 2009 to help the country meet a drastic shortfall, reports the AFP news agency.

Jordan's energy minister Khaldun Qteishat told his Egyptian, Syrian and Lebanese counterparts in Amman that the kingdom was ready to provide Lebanon with electricity "at special prices," the state-run Petra news agency reported.

"We are studying the Jordanian offer," Petra quoted Lebanese Energy Minister Alan Taburian as saying, adding that his country needs 2,200 megawatts of electricity to meet daily demand, but currently generates only 1,400 megawatts.

"Around 25 percent of Lebanon's gross domestic product (GDP) goes on energy," Taburian said. Earlier this month he said Egypt would supply his country with 200 megawatts daily.

Electricity is a constant concern for the Beirut government, which allocates the third largest slice of its budget, after debt servicing and salaries, to power supply.

The country suffers daily power cuts, including in the capital where many businesses and apartment blocks use generators to tide them over during lengthy blackouts.

The situation has been made worse by high fuel costs.

Jordan already supplies the Jericho region of the Israeli-occupied West Bank with 20 megawatts of electricity per day.

Ahmed Sayyed's art

Mme Sursock walking her dog

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Meeting on racism


Foreign maids are dying each week in Lebanon often by committing suicide to escape bad treatment by their employers, the New York-based Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday, reports the AFP news agency.

"Domestic workers are dying in Lebanon at a rate of more than one per week," said Nadim Houry, a senior researcher at HRW, in the second damning report since April on the working conditions of foreign workers in Lebanon.

"These suicides are linked to the isolation and the difficult working conditions these workers face in Lebanon," including financial pressure due to earning below minimum wages, Houry said in the report.

According to HRW around 200,000 domestic laborers, mostly from Sri Lanka, Philippines and Ethiopia, are not protected by Lebanese labor laws.

Most of those who take their own lives or "risk their lives trying to escape" from the high-rise apartment buildings where they are employed, are women.

HRW said that at least 24 housemaids have died since January 2007 after falling from multi-storey buildings. "Many domestic workers are literally being driven to jump from balconies to escape their forced confinement," Houry said.

Interviews conducted by HRW with embassy officials and friends of domestic workers who committed suicide "suggest that forced confinement, excessive work demands, employer abuse and financial pressures are key factors pushing these women to kill themselves or risk their lives."