English LCCC Newsbulletin For Lebanese, Lebanese Related, Global News & Editorials
For August 02/2020
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For today
Who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.”
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 10/27-33: “What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. ‘Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.”

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorials published on August 01-02/2020
Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. (Job 01/21)
Elias Bejjani/August 01/2020
Health Ministry: 175 new corona cases
Hariri Hospital: One death, 18 critical cases
Hassan contacts Fahmy, Army Chief to followup on Deir alSalib fire, instructs Ministry's medical teams to monitor patients' conditions
Address by President Aoun to Military Academy graduating officers
Aoun meets with Army leadership delegation on occasion of Army Day
Aoun Stresses Lebanon to Defend Itself, Says Country Has '4 Enemies'
Rahi congratulates Army Chief on Lebanese Army Day: For extending all support to the army
Israel Sends Spy Balloon over Lebanese Town
Health Committee Head Says Country Reopening Not Based on Science
Report: Israel Prepared to Retaliate against Hizbullah Strike
Geagea: South Being Tampered with on Regional Policies Altar
Akar to Radio Lebanon: No dispute within government over neutrality issue, cabinet members in agreement on all matters
Defense Minister: Our constant bet is on our capable army to protect and fortifying Lebanon
Israeli enemy launches spying balloon over Houla border area
US dollar exchange rate: Buying price at LBP 3850 selling price at LBP 3900
Lebanon’s hyperinflation: Cereal can cost $40 at the official exchange rate
Israel vs Hezbollah: A fight neither can afford to win/Yossi Mekelberg/Arab News/August 01/2020

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Miscellaneous Reports And News published on August 01-02/2020
Worldwide Coronavirus Cases Cross 17.61 Million
Iran Arrests Head of U.S.-Based 'Terrorist Group'
Kuwait Bans Flights to Several 'High Risk' States
Turkey Hopes to Launch New Round of Talks with Greece
UAE Slams Turkey’s ‘Colonialist Delusions’
UAE Launches Start-up Operations at 1st Arab Nuclear Plant
Children Killed in Afghanistan Flash Flooding
Fitch Revises US Outlook to Negative from Stable
U.S. Says Unlikely to Use China, Russia Virus Vaccine as Race Heats Up
UAE Starts Up First Arab Nuclear Plant
Thousands of Israelis demonstrate outside Netanyahu’s home as protests gain steam

Titles For The Latest LCCC English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on August 01-02/2020

Artificial Intelligence Is the Hope 2020 Needs/Tyler Cowen/Bloomberg/ August 01/2020
The Gig Economy Compromised Our Immune System/David Fickling/Bloomberg/ August 01/2020
When New York City Got Covid-19/Justin Fox/Bloomberg/ August 01/2020
Intel Emerges as Symbol of Big Tech’s Decline/Noah Smith/Bloomberg/ August 01/2020
Turkey's Brain Drain: Why Youths See No Future There/Burak Bekdil/Gatestone Institute/August 01/2020


The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorials published on August 01-02/2020

Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. (Job 01/21)

Elias Bejjani/August 01/2020
Almighty God has taken today back to His Holy mansions the life Gift from Lebanon's patriotic Icon Jocelyn Khoueiry who was very sick and with hope, and faith patience suffering for long time. Our prayer goes for the rest of her soul in the heavenly dwellings alongside the saints and righteous where there is no pain or suffering but long-lasting peace and happiness. Jocelyn loved Lebanon and served its national and patriotic interests in both the battlefield as well all spiritual-social domains. We offer our heartily felt condolences to her family, friends and comrades.

Health Ministry: 175 new corona cases

NNA/August 01/2020
The Public Health Ministry indicated on Saturday that 175 new coronavirus cases have been registered today, thus raising the cumulative number of infected cases to-date to 4730 cases.

Hariri Hospital: One death, 18 critical cases

NNA /August 01/2020
In its daily report on the latest COVID-19 developments, the Rafic Hariri University Hospital indicated on Saturday that one death case has been registered while 18 critical cases are receiving medical attention at the hospital.
The report stated that 446 tests were carried out at the hospital's laboratories during the past 24 hours. It added that the number of patients infected with coronavirus who are currently receiving treatment and follow-up at the hospital is 70, while 20 suspected cases were transferred from other hospitals within the past 24 hours. Moreover, the hospital disclosed that no new recoveries have been registered during the past 24 hours; thus maintaining the total number of recoveries to-date at 259 cases. It added that 3 patients were released from the hospital during the past 24 hours to be home quarantined, after their attending physician confirmed their clinical recovery. "Two cases were transferred from intensive care to the isolation unit after their condition improved," the report stated, noting that the total number of critical cases currently present inside the hospital is 18 patients.The Hariri Hospital concluded its report by reminding citizens that the Coronavirus Call Center for emergency response and inquiry about test results operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including public holidays, and can be reached through the landline number 01-820830, or through the WhatsApp contact service 76-897961.

Hassan contacts Fahmy, Army Chief to followup on Deir alSalib fire, instructs Ministry's medical teams to monitor patients' conditions
NNA/August 01/2020
Public Health Minister, Dr. Hamad Hassan, contacted this afternoon Interior and Municipalities Minister, Brigadier General Mohammed Fahmy, and Army Commander, General Joseph Aoun, to follow-up on the efforts underway to extinguish the fire that is posing a threat to the Deir al-Salib Hospital, after it spread out in the area of Biaqout. Meanwhile, Hassan instructed the medical care teams at the Health Ministry to head to the Deir al-Salib Hospital immediately to provide any urgent care needed by the Hospital's patients.

Address by President Aoun to Military Academy graduating officers
NNA/August 01/2020
Marking the Lebanese Army Day and in his address to graduating officers from the Military Academy on Saturday, President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, said:
Distinguished audience, This Academy was supposed to bring us together once more, so that some of the best men would stand before us in its yard, waiting impatiently to repeat loudly “I swear to God Almighty”, while taking the oath of fully carrying out the duty of preserving the country’s flag and defending the nation. Nevertheless, the health quarantine circumstances imposed by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic have unfortunately stood in the way.
Graduating officers,You have chosen to name your class after the Army’s Diamond Jubilee, in commemoration of the seventy-fifth Army Day, after your colleagues chose last year to commemorate the seventy-fifth Independence Day.
Yes, our independence and our army were born together, with a slight difference in time. They have accompanied each other and have lived sweet and bitter days. Throughout those years, the Army has tried, with all its power, to safeguard independence and protect it from all those lurking around it.
Seventy-five years have gone by, during which our Army has had glorious milestones and has scored impressive victories with limited capabilities, but it has also had some exhausting stops, has been worn out by the wars of the others on our land and against it, fragmented by internal wars, weakened by the force of the militias and subjected to all sorts of blackmail, but its allegiance to the nation has always been the cement that binds it back together, and its integrity has been the shield that protects it from derailing. Those harsh experiences have taught us that the Army is the heart of the country, and no body persists if its heart is struck. Therefore, the Army still represented hope for the Lebanese, and a safe fortress no matter how volatile the situation becomes.
Today, you are concluding a phase of your life during which you have received all sorts of training, teachings and martial arts, to defend your nation and your people, so that you can move to the application phase, the real military life. And as circumstances would have it, your beginning happens to coincide with tremendous challenges and difficulties that the nation, its people and its institutions are confronted with.
Indeed, Lebanon is waging today a war of another type, probably fiercer than military wars, because it affects every Lebanese in their very living, their lifetime savings, the future of their children, whereas the economic and financial situation is putting strains on everyone, sparing no one. In this war, the enemies of Lebanon are numerous:
The first enemy is the rampant corruption in the institutions and in many spirits. It is resisting fiercely but the steps towards its eradication are moving - although slowly – steadily.
The second enemy is every person who manipulates the livelihood of the citizens to accumulate profit.
The third enemy is every person who has contributed and contributes to undermining our national currency to hedge money.
The fourth enemy is every person who launches rumors to spread despair and the spirit of surrender, and who travels the globe, inciting against their nation and their own people, trying to withhold any assistance from them.
In addition, there is an invisible enemy in the shape of a virus that has attacked – and still does – the whole humanity, leaving behind victims and striking the world’s economy. Lebanon has had its share of this outbreak, we have had victims, our economic crisis has exacerbated, and here it is today, preventing us from gathering.
Triumphing in this war depends on us all, State and citizens alike. Each has their role, and if they carry it out properly, salvation will be possible. But there is absolutely no point in standing on the side, firing at every rescue attempt and scoring loud victories, especially among those who evaded responsibility in the middle of the crisis.
The reform measures that have started to be implemented to find out the reality of public finance, brake corruption, and take control of suspicious files to get ready for handling them properly and chasing down the corrupt, they shall not be confined to one institution, but rather spread towards all institutions. They shall as well contribute to restoring the confidence of the Lebanese in their State and in themselves, paving the way for the recovery of their confidence in Lebanon.
With the adoption of the tentative plan for the return of the Syrian displaced to their country which has mostly become safe and capable of taking them in, the State will have put forth a unified conception about the solution to this crisis, and we hope that the concerned States will be responsive in order to ensure the safe and decent return. Graduating officers Soldiers, Israel is increasingly violating Resolution 1701, and its aggressions against Lebanon have multiplied, while underscoring our keenness to abide by this Resolution and solve the disputed topics under UN auspices. Yet, we are committed to defend ourselves, our land, our water and our sovereignty, with no complacency. Your duty is to remain vigilant about the Lebanese sovereignty in the face of the Israeli covetousness, while keeping another vigilant eye on all borders and on the interior, in view of preventing terrorism from infiltrating back to us, because those who have ousted terrorists from our plains and mountains must not allow them to come back, disguised in another apparel and another name. My fellow Lebanese, I am the son of this school. From it, I learned that surrender is prohibited; from it I learned to drill in the rock to open a road, I learned to walk between mines to save a wounded. The wounded today is the nation, and I promise you to keep walking between mines, and keep drilling in the rocks to open the road for its rescue; for sure, there is no room from surrender in my journey.
Fellow officers, The camo uniform has always been a factor of trust and reassurance for all the Lebanese. So be the example and the role model of military integrity, ethical treatment of peers and citizens, and allegiance to the nation and the nation alone.
God bless and protect you! Long Live Lebanon. --- Presidency Press Office

Aoun meets with Army leadership delegation on occasion of Army Day
NNA/August 01/2020
President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, met at noon today at Baabda Palace with Army Chief, General Joseph Aoun, heading an Army leadership delegation, including members of the Military Council, Deputy Chiefs of Staff, Director of Orientation, Head of the Army Commander's Office, and Secretary of the Military Council.In his word before the President on behalf of the delegation, the Army Commander congratulated President Aoun on the occasion of the 75th Army Day, saying: "Seventy-five years of honor, sacrifice and loyalty, a march crowned with achievements and sacrifices...a march led by hero soldiers, believing in the sanctity of defending the nation, in its land and people, and for its sake gave their blood and souls. Our Diamond Jubilee this year coincides with the centenary of Greater Lebanon, and there are many indications and lessons, especially in light of these delicate and exceptional circumstances that our country is going through, which require us to return to the essence of Lebanon's resurrection and its emergence, so as to draw from it what strengthens our association and faith in it.""Your Excellency, ever since the founding of the Lebanese army in 1945 until the present day, its foundation constants have remained deeply rooted in it. No wars or policies were able to undermine it, and you have had the honor of leading it in one of its most delicate stages," the Army Chief added, drawing similarities between the critical past period and today, "with the tension currently witnessed in the nation being on the rise.""However, hope remains pinned on your Excellency, because wisdom is your advantage, and we are inspired by this wisdom in how to manage crises and confront them in a manner that preserves the dignity of the citizen and the stability of the country," the Army Commander underlined. He continued to assert that "ever since the outbreak of protest movements last October and the economic crisis and the spread of the Corona epidemic, the army has spared no effort to maintain security and stability and endure strenuous tasks with honor and pride, because what we do is a duty towards our homeland and our people."Meanwhile, the Army Chief emphasized that the military institution has been immune against all accusations, charges and attempts to undermine its strong will and determination in fulfilling its duty and mission towards the nation. General Aoun concluded his word by stressing that "regardless of all interpretations, accusations of treachery, and accusations of negligence to discredit it, our army will remain the guarantee and the main pillar for building the nation...Long live the army, long live Lebanon!"In turn, the President of the Republic congratulated the military delegation on the Army Day occasion, thanking Army Chief Aoun and his accompanying delegation for their wishes on this honorable day. The President commended "the role played by the military institution, in its officers, clerks and individuals, in maintaining security and stability in the country, especially during the current prevailing circumstances," vowing to "continue to work to bring the country to safety shore by finding appropriate solutions to the pending crises."

Aoun Stresses Lebanon to Defend Itself, Says Country Has '4 Enemies'
Naharnet/August 01/2020
President Michel Aoun on Saturday emphasized that Lebanon will defend itself against any Israeli attack. “Israel has been increasingly violating Resolution 1701 and repeating its attacks on Lebanon. While stressing our keenness on abiding by this Resolution and resolving the disputed issues under the U.N.’s sponsorship, we are also committed to defending ourselves as well as our land, water and sovereignty and there will be no leniency in that,” Aoun said in a speech marking Army Day. Turning to the domestic situations, Aoun said Lebanon has “four enemies.”“The first enemy of Lebanon is the corruption that is rampant in institutions and in a lot of mentalities. It is fighting fiercely, but the steps towards eradicating it are ongoing firmly albeit slowly,” the president said. He added that the second enemy is “those who tamper with citizens’ food security to accumulate profit,” the third is “those who contribute to undermining our national currency to amass money” and the fourth is “those who launch rumors to spread despair” and those who “roam the world inciting against their country and people and trying to block any assistance from them.”
Aoun also slammed those who have “opened fire at all rescue attempts” and those who “evaded responsibility amid the crisis.”

Rahi congratulates Army Chief on Lebanese Army Day: For extending all support to the army
NNA/August 01/2020
Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, contacted on Saturday Army Commander, General Joseph Aoun, congratulating him on the occasion of the Lebanese Army's Diamond Jubilee, praising the role of the military institution, in its leadership, officers, and individuals, in defending Lebanon and the Lebanese.Al-Rahi stressed that "all support must be provided to the Lebanese army by all parties for the sacrifices and dedication it has made, and continues to exert, in carrying out the military, security, humanitarian, social and health tasks entrusted to it, especially in this delicate and difficult stage that Lebanon is going through."

Israel Sends Spy Balloon over Lebanese Town
Naharnet/August 01/2020
The Israeli army on Saturday sent a spy balloon over the Lebanese border town of Houla, Lebanon’s National News Agency said. The agency said the balloon hovered over the town for 15 minutes. Cautious calm is meanwhile engulfing the Lebanese-Israeli border, NNA added. Tensions have surged in the border area since Israel killed a Hizbullah militant in an airstrike in Syria. On Monday, Israel shelled Lebanese border areas after accusing Hizbullah of staging an infiltration attempt. The Iran-backed group denied involvement in any activity on the border but vowed that its retaliation to the Syria raid will certainly come.

Health Committee Head Says Country Reopening Not Based on Science
Naharnet/August 01/2020
MP Assem Araji, the head of the Parliamentary Health Committee, noted Saturday that the government’s decision to end the initial coronavirus lockdown was not based on a scientific vision. “The way the country was reopened was not at all based on scientific considerations, and I learned that the government took the decision for economic motives,” Araji told al-Jadeed TV. “We cannot eradicate coronavirus in this manner and I had called for a full two-week lockdown of the country,” the lawmaker, who is also a physician, added. The government has ordered a closure of high-risk sectors until August 10 in addition to a general lockdown from July 30 to August 3 and from August 6 to August 10 in a bid to rein in a resurgence of the pandemic in the country. The country had gradually lifted lockdown measures and opened Beirut airport to commercial flights at the start of July, after a closure of more than three months. Over the past three weeks, the daily infection rate has risen, with dozens of new cases announced each day. At the height of summer, some beaches and bars were again thronging with people. The country recorded 224 virus cases on Friday, its highest daily tally since the first case was detected on February 21. The cases raised the country’s overall tally to 4,555 -- among them 59 deaths and 1,761 recoveries.

Report: Israel Prepared to Retaliate against Hizbullah Strike
Naharnet/August 01/2020
Israeli media said the Israeli army received an order to “strike” specific “Lebanese” targets shall Hizbullah carry out any retaliatory attack against Israel, media reports said on Friday. Israeli television channel, I24news, said Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Gantz, ordered the army to “destroy” vital Lebanese facilities if Hizbullah carries out any retaliatory attack against soldiers or citizens, in response to the killing of one of its officers near Damascus with an Israeli raid. The source pointed out that Gantz issued these instructions during a session held Thursday, in the presence of the Israeli Chief of Staff, Aviv Kochavi and a number of senior army leaders. Gantz had reportedly stressed that if Hizbullah carries out an attack, Lebanon “will see an unprecedented Israeli response against its infrastructure and vital facilities.”

Geagea: South Being Tampered with on Regional Policies Altar
Naharnet/August 01/2020
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Saturday warned that “the Lebanese south is being tampered with on the altar of regional policies,” days after a flare-up on the border with Israel amid tensions with Hizbullah. “A big salutation to the army on its Day, and we hope on this occasion that the president, the premier and the government will do what it takes to return the strategic military decision to the army,” Geagea said in a series of tweets. “This decision was usurped from it during the (Syrian) tutelage era and it is one of the legitimate military institution’s most basic rights,” Geagea added.
He noted that “the absence of the strategic military decision” from the hands of the “legitimate military institution” has been and is still “one of the main reasons behind the situation that Lebanon is currently going through.” Geagea also warned that “the Lebanese south is being tampered with on the altar of regional policies, without taking into consideration neither the people’s interests nor the dire situations, especially at the social and health levels, and the repercussions of any escalation that might happen.”Israel on Monday bombed border areas in south Lebanon after announcing that it had repelled an infiltration attempt by Hizbullah. The Iran-backed group denied involvement in any combat or infiltration activities but vowed that its response to the killing of one of its fighters in Syria will certainly come. Hizbullah also warned that it will not remain silent over the shelling of a civilian house in the southern town of al-Hibbariyeh.

Akar to Radio Lebanon: No dispute within government over neutrality issue, cabinet members in agreement on all matters
NNA/August 01/2020
Defense Minister Zeina Akar denied, Saturday, the occurrence of any argument within the cabinet over the issue of neutrality, stressing "the importance of understanding on all matters." "Lebanon has historical ties with the East and West, and our relationship with China is historical, as is the matter with the West. We have common relations with everyone and we, in the government, are seriously dealing with any external side that wishes to assist this country, and all parts of the cabinet want to help Lebanon and its people," assured Akar in an interview with "Radio Lebanon" this morning.
She pointed out that "there are a large number of files and problems that require fast decisions and speeding up the processes of addressing many them." Akar asserted that the challenges facing the government only serve to increase its determination to take responsibility, noting that the cabinet ministers are working within their powers amidst the difficult circumstances and the corona pandemic. On the subject of forensic audit, the Minister indicated that "the contract will be prepared within a week to begin work, and decisions will be taken according to the audit report," adding that "what the International Monetary Fund has requested is financial and forensic audit." Referring to the recent visit by the French Foreign Minister to Lebanon, Akar denied the existence of any blame on part of the Prime Minister towards the French side, emphasizing that "PM Diab's speech was wrongly interpreted, and the relationship with the French side is good."She added: "All that the French Foreign Minister requested is to carry out reforms as Cedar Conference remains...and this pressure is beneficial to us because it is in our interest to carry out reforms."
Touching on her Ministry's operations, the Defense Minister assured that "we work as a team in the Ministry of Defense, and the relationship with the Army Chief is excellent, and there is permanent coordination with the army and all institutions within the Defense Ministry." In a word of tribute to the Lebanese army, Minister Akar underlined that "the army has proven in more than one juncture that it is the shield of the homeland and the main protector of the people, and this is what we felt in more than one junction, whether against the Israeli enemy or terrorism and in its handling of the demonstrations...The army has made many sacrifices and given many martyrs, and is still ready to confront all the challenges that may face the country."

Defense Minister: Our constant bet is on our capable army to protect and fortifying Lebanon
NNA/August 01/2020
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense Zeina Akar, congratulated Saturday the military institution on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Lebanese Army Day, stressing that "the permanent bet is on our capable and strong army to protect, fortify, and preserve Lebanon's sovereignty."
In an issued statement marking the occasion, Akar said: "With its Diamond Jubilee, 75 years have passed as the army continued to render its patriotism above all else, thus gaining honor, sacrifice and loyalty. As we regret the absence of ceremonies and manifestations of this honorable day, yet we are full of hope that the army, its officers and its military establishment will be the celebration that illuminates the path of the homeland." "This year's anniversary happens to directly coincide with Eid Al-Adha, with its meanings of sacrifice and perseverance despite the difficulties, and which denotes today a new date to support our army at this stage the country is going through, whereby we need to renew solidarity and unity, and stand immune in the face of crises and any attacks that may target Lebanon," Akar went on.
She added: "While we value and appreciate the efforts of the army, with its command, officers and military soldiers, in protecting Lebanon, its people and stability, with intent, will and exceptional strength internally, at the borders and throughout the country, we acknowledge the achievements of the army and its daily accomplishments to maintain security and spare the country any security-violating factors.""As the army has stood in the face of the Israeli enemy and in the face of terrorism with firmness and determination, we see it today confronting a new threat of its kind, namely the Corona epidemic, where the military establishment is committed to all preventive measures," Akar underscored. "Moreover, and since one of the army's tasks is to protect security, it will automatically be alongside peaceful demonstrators to protect them," the Defense Minister continued, adding that "it also fights smuggling at border crossings and is involved in providing humanitarian assistance to support the most underprivileged families.""I assure our Lebanese society that the economic crisis does not exclude our military institution, for the military is the pulse of the people, and what the people feel actually strikes them at the core...Yet, despite these challenges, the army stands in the first line of defense, with the goal of remaining fully prepared," Akar corroborated. "On the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Lebanese army, I salute the souls of the heroic martyrs and their families, and all the soldiers and their families who suffer as a result of injuries sustained while carrying out their duty," affirmed the Defense Minister.

Israeli enemy launches spying balloon over Houla border area
NNA/August 01/2020
The Israeli enemy forces have just launched a spying balloon over the border town of Houla in the South, at the Abbad point adjacent to the occupied lands, for an interval of 15 minutes while a state of cautious alert prevails along the border, NNA correspondent in Marjayoun reported this afternoon.

US dollar exchange rate: Buying price at LBP 3850 selling price at LBP 3900
NNA/August 01/2020
The Money Changers Syndicate announced in a statement addressed to money changing companies and institutions, Saturday’s USD exchange rate against the Lebanese pound as follows:
Buying price at a minimum of LBP 3,850
Selling price at a maximum of LBP 3,900

Lebanon’s hyperinflation: Cereal can cost $40 at the official exchange rate
Lauren Holtmeier, Al Arabiya English/Saturday 01 August 2020
The prices of basic goods in Lebanon have soared as the value of the local currency plummets, and yet the Lebanese government and central bank have defended the peg.
While still technically pegged to the dollar at 1,507 Lebanese lira to $1, the street value has climbed up and traded around 9,000 lira on the dollar, losing over 80 percent of its value. However, at the tail end of July, the rate stabilized around 7,600 to the dollar, local newspaper the Daily Star reported.
While the price of food climbs, the government has stood by the peg, making payments to state institutions and hospitals at the official exchange rate. But the government has fallen behind on payments to institutions, owing the American University of Beirut Medical Center $150 million in medical bills, and unpaid dues to private medical facilities stand at an estimated $1.3 billion since 2011.
The peg has stabilized Lebanon’s currency since its introduction in 1997, but following years of government corruption and mismanagement, that peg began to slip last October as mass protests broke out across the country.
It has continued its rapid decline in the following months, spurring widespread hunger as the fast-sinking economy has put more Lebanese out of work.
The problem of hyperinflation in Lebanon is compounded as some percentage of Lebanese citizens get paid in Lebanese Lira while the majority of goods and products are imported from outside the country.
While the prices in dollars of many goods has remained stable, the cost in the local currency has skyrocketed. Though the two currencies have been historically used interchangeably, dollars began to dry up in mid-2019. Heavily dependent on imports, Lebanon needs dollars to secure goods from abroad, including some 80 percent of its food. The government announced that it would still supply importers of wheat, medicine, and fuel dollars at the official rate, but medical suppliers, millers, and gas station owners have still threatened to go on strike in previous months.
Many goods have become unaffordable for average Lebanese families. On Facebook, mothers sought to swap goods for milk formula to feed infants and other staples. The price of bread, still subsidized, has also been raised. The Lebanese Army scrapped meat rations, as they became unaffordable. In Lebanon’s second largest city Tripoli, butcher shops were closed this week as many around the region were celebrating Eid al-Adha. But in the northern city, there were no signs of festivities this year.
Here’s a look at the prices of some goods at the official exchange rate in Lebanon in one Beirut supermarket as inflation takes hold and Lebanese rely more heavily on local currency to purchase goods.

Israel vs Hezbollah: A fight neither can afford to win

Yossi Mekelberg/Arab News/August 01/2020
One of the paradoxical aspects of relations between Israel and Hezbollah is that because of a sense of inevitability that at some point these sworn enemies will clash again, and with devastating consequences, both are treading extremely cautiously.
Each recognizes the other’s lethal military capabilities, and believes that in case of an all-out conflict neither side would hesitate to translate threats into maximum harm to military personnel, civilians and infrastructure. They have therefore established credible deterrence since the war in the summer of 2006, which ended with neither being able to declare a victory, but rather exposing their weaknesses.
Nevertheless, every hostile incident between Israel and Hezbollah is a potential trigger for a much wider flare-up. No surprise, then, that when a Hezbollah operative was killed last week in an Israeli air strike on Iranian arms depots and military posts near Damascus airport, Israel was quick to reinforce its troops along the border with Lebanon. They expected the Iranian-backed Hezbollah to hit back at Israeli targets in line with its leader Hassan Nasrallah’s “balance of deterrence” doctrine of proportionate retaliation. However, as with similar incidents in the past, the Hezbollah retaliation was limited and predictable. Militants tried to infiltrate at the remote intersection of the Lebanese-Syrian and Israeli-occupied Golan Heights borders, and after an exchange of fire with Israeli troops, withdrew to Lebanon.
It remains to be seen whether Hezbollah is satisfied with an isolated attack on a remote Israeli military target, away from civilians, with no casualties on the Israeli side. This is a repeat of what occurred in September last year, when an Israeli air strike on a Hezbollah power center in Beirut was followed by cross-border exchanges with no casualties. In both cases Israel and Hezbollah choreographed almost to perfection the latter’s retaliation and the accompanying rhetoric to ensure that neither was forced into military escalation.
However, any complacency that such rational behavior is guaranteed would be foolish. The situation is not static and there are pressures on both sides that might lead one, or both, to make a decisive military gambit. It might be the result of believing that time is against them in their balance of fear and deterrence, miscalculation about the intentions of the other side, domestic pressures and, in the case of Hezbollah, pressure from its Iranian patron.
Every hostile incident between Israel and Hezbollah is a potential trigger for a much wider flare-up... It remains to be seen whether Hezbollah is satisfied with an isolated attack on a remote Israeli military target.
From the Israeli leadership’s perspective, based on both their strategic assessment and on convenience, there is no distinction between Hezbollah and Iran. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sees them as one and the same, a menacing front as part of Iran’s search for regional hegemony, and in the process aiming to destroy the Jewish state; and Nasrallah, who is hiding on the run for fear of Israel, as a mere pawn in Tehran’s game. This is a simplistic view, as both serve each other’s political interests, and without its paymasters in Tehran Hezbollah would never have gained the political power they have maintained for so long. For Iran, Hezbollah is a useful ally in Lebanon and Syria, and keeps the Israeli military busy with a Lebanese front.
Rational calculation dictates to both Israel and Hezbollah that any escalation, let alone a full-scale war, won’t serve either’s interests. Nevertheless, since both are facing persistent unrest at home, which preceded the COVID-19 pandemic but has been exacerbated by it, they need to consider how a confrontation would resonate with their domestic audiences. Since Hezbollah took the dual route of entering the Lebanese political arena and joining the government, while maintaining their roots as a social and resistance movement, they can no longer ignore the mood on the streets. Their popularity has waned, as was proved in the cross-sectarian mass rallies and protests that began late last year against the deteriorating economic situation and persistent corruption, in which Hezbollah plays a prominent role.
Similarly, Netanyahu is facing his most challenging period in office. Thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets calling for him to resign, not only for his failure to prevent a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, which is worse than first, but also because it is inappropriate for the defendant in a corruption trial to lead the country. The troublesome cocktail of the battle to save his political career, the court fight to prove his innocence, and criticism from within his own Likud party of his handling of the pandemic, could encourage Netanyahu to try to direct the country’s focus to issues abroad — despite the expectation that a war with Hezbollah would result in thousands of casualties and substantial damage to vital infrastructure. The Israeli political and military leadership has warned repeatedly that if such a scenario materialised, it would be met with massive retaliation from Israel throughout Lebanon. Such mutual damage would serve neither Israel nor Hezbollah, and might terminate the leadership on both sides.
The alternative is a continuous low simmering of hostilities, which may suit both sides better. For Israel it maintains the message that it will not tolerate any Hezbollah-Iran axis close to its borders, either in Syria or Lebanon; for Hezbollah it would maintain its credentials as a resistance movement to the “Zionist entity”; and for both it would act as a diversion from their incompetence in running state affairs and from the opposition they face at home.
However, this low intensity confrontation harbors the risk of a miscalculated escalation, inflamed by bellicose rhetoric, which may end in full-scale conflict that for now has been averted, but by no stretch of the imagination eliminated.
*Yossi Mekelberg is professor of international relations at Regent’s University London, where he is head of the International Relations and Social Sciences Program. He is also an associate fellow of the MENA Program at Chatham House. He is a regular contributor to the international written and electronic media. Twitter: @YMekelberg

The Latest English LCCC Miscellaneous Reports And News published on August 01-02/2020

Worldwide Coronavirus Cases Cross 17.61 Million
Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 1 August, 2020
More than 17.61 million COVID-19 cases have been reported globally, while up to 679,094​ have died because of the pandemic, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019. However, China reported more than 50% drop in virus cases in a possible sign that its latest major outbreak in the northwestern region of Xinjiang may have run its course. Officials on Saturday said there were 45 new cases over the previous 24 hours, with 31 of them in Xinjiang, where the outbreak has been focused on the regional capital and largest city of Urumqi. That is down from 127 cases nationally and 112 in Xinjiang reported Friday. No new deaths reported, leaving China’s total at 4,634, among confirmed 84,337 cases, The Associated Press reported. In China's Hong Kong, infections continue to surge, with more than 100 new cases reported Saturday. That put its total at 2,273 for the pandemic.


Iran Arrests Head of U.S.-Based 'Terrorist Group'
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/August 01/2020
Iran said Saturday it has arrested the head of a US-based "terrorist group" accused of being behind a deadly 2008 bombing in the southern city of Shiraz and of other, abortive attacks. The group's "Jamshid Sharmahd, who was leading armed and sabotage operations inside Iran, is now in the powerful hands" of Iran's security forces, state television said in a report citing a statement from the intelligence ministry. The statement did not elaborate on where or when the leader of the opposition royalist group known as the Kingdom Assembly of Iran, or Tondar (Farsi for Thunder), was arrested. According to the statement, he had orchestrated the April 12, 2008 bombing in a packed mosque in Shiraz that killed 14 people and wounded 215. Iran hanged three men convicted of the bombing in 2009, saying they had ties to the monarchist group. It said they had been taking orders from an Iranian U.S.-backed "CIA agent" to try to assassinate a high-ranking official in Iran. They were 21-year old Mohsen Eslamian and Ali Asghar Pashtar, 20 -- both university students -- as well as Rouzbeh Yahyazadeh, 32. The three were found guilty of being "mohareb" (enemies of God) and "corruption on the earth" by a revolutionary court in Tehran. Iran hanged two other convicted members of the group in 2010, who had "confessed to obtaining explosives and planning to assassinate officials".The statement issued on Saturday said that Tondar had plotted several other "big operations" which failed. It said that Tondar had planned to blow up a dam in Shiraz, use "cyanide bombs" at a Tehran book fair, and plant an explosive device at the mausoleum of the Islamic republic's founder, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. It was not clear how Iran arrested the US-based Sharmahd. Iran's intelligence ministry announced the arrest of a former opposition figure in similarly mysterious circumstances in October last year. Ruhollah Zam, described as a "counter-revolutionary" by Iranian authorities, was sentenced to death last month over "corruption on earth". Zam, who reportedly lived in exile in Paris, ran a channel on the Telegram messaging application called Amadnews and was accused of sparking unrest during anti-government protests last year.

Kuwait Bans Flights to Several 'High Risk' States
Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 1 August, 2020
Kuwait has banned commercial flights to several countries it regards as high risk due to the spread of the coronavirus, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said on Saturday. The countries include India, Pakistan, Egypt, the Philippines, Lebanon and Sri Lanka. The list also includes China, Iran, Brazil, Mexico, Italy and Iraq. The Kuwaiti Health Ministry announced Saturday that 593 patients revered from the COVID-19 disease in the past 24 hours, bringing the total recoveries to 58,525. In a statement carried by the state-run KUNA news agency, the Ministry said the 593 individuals were confirmed to be virus free after they tested negative. On Friday, the Ministry announced 428 new coronavirus cases in Kuwait, which brought the country’s tally to 66,957. It also said that two patients had died in the past 24 hours, raising the death toll to 447.

Turkey Hopes to Launch New Round of Talks with Greece
Ankara - Saeed Abdulrazek/Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 1 August, 2020
Turkey has announced plans to hold a new round of talks with Greece in Ankara to reduce tension in the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea.
Turkey’s Defense Minister, Hulusi Akar, said Friday that Turkish and Greek officials will meet in Ankara in the coming days to address issues that have led to rising tensions. Akar said that his country will not neglect its rights in the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean, stressing that “Cypriots are our brothers.”
“We are ready to do whatever it takes to protect the rights and interests of our Cypriot brothers there.”Turkey and its armed forces will not neglect their rights and the rights of Northern Cyprus, said Akar, adding that any solution that excludes Ankara and the Turkish side of the divided island is doomed to fail.
In response, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias accused the Turkish leadership of seeking to return to the days of the “Ottoman empire,” noting that his country asked the European Union to impose sanctions on Turkey if it continues its violations in the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea.
Dendias indicated that his country does not refuse to negotiate with Turkey but there currently isn’t a path for negotiation, and Athens cannot negotiate under threat. The FM was responding to Ankara's announcement that it could pause energy-exploration operations in the eastern Mediterranean for a while pending talks with Greece. In a move that confirms Ankara’s aim to avoid any clash with Greece, the Turkish ship, Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa, arrived off the coast of Northern Cyprus to continue exploration activities. The vessel will support ships Tanux-1 and Apollo Moon conduct seismic research activity in accordance with international law in Zone F, which falls within sectors 2 and 3, which Cyprus has defined as part of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The European Union opposes Turkey's exploration activities off the coast of Cyprus, its member state, and believes these activities are illegal which could lead to the imposition of a symbolic sanctions package on Ankara if it continues its violations. Meanwhile, Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said he believes that a Turkish accession to the EU is impossible within the next 15 to 20 years. Asselborn told the German daily, Die Welt, that the significant violations of human rights in Turkey are the reason why a Turkish accession to the EU in the near future seems far from reality. However, the FM stated that the entry negotiations should not be completely halted, adding that the last municipal elections seem to prove a significant presence of a democratic movement, noting that he does not wish to take people’s hope away.Negotiations between Turkey and the EU started in 2005, but they have been frozen since 2012.

UAE Slams Turkey’s ‘Colonialist Delusions’
Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 1 August, 2020
The United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said on Saturday that Turkey should stop interfering in Arab affairs, following comments on Libya made by Turkey's defense minister. "Relations are not managed by threats and there is no place for colonialist delusions in this day and age," Anwar Gargash wrote on Twitter. Turkey has stepped up support for Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), sending mercenaries from Syria to fight in the war-torn country. Ankara has also sent troops to Libya, claiming that they are advisers to the GNA in Tripoli.

UAE Launches Start-up Operations at 1st Arab Nuclear Plant

Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 1 August, 2020
The United Arab Emirates on Saturday announced the startup of its Barakah nuclear power plant, the first in the Arab world. "UAE first nuclear reactor at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant has achieved first criticality and successfully started up," tweeted Hamad Alkaabi, the country's representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency. "This is a historic milestone for the nation with a vision set to deliver a new form of clean energy for the nation," he tweeted in English, along with a photograph of technicians raising their arms in celebration. The UAE premier and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, tweeted that work at Barakah had "succeeded in loading nuclear fuel packages, carrying out comprehensive tests and successfully completing the operation.” "Congratulations on realizing this historic achievement in the energy sector & marking this milestone in the roadmap for sustainable development," Sheikh Mohammed said. The UAE started loading fuel rods into the reactor at Barakah in February, after regulators gave the green light for the first of the plant's four reactors, opening the way for commercial operations. The plant on the Gulf coast west of Abu Dhabi had been due to go online in late 2017 but faced a number of delays. Barakah was built by a consortium led by the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) at a cost of some $24.4 billion. When fully operational, its four reactors have the capacity to generate 5,600 megawatts of electricity, around 25 percent of the nation's needs. The remaining three reactors are almost ready for operation.

Children Killed in Afghanistan Flash Flooding
Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 1 August, 2020
At least 15 children and a woman were killed and dozens of houses destroyed as flash floods lashed a village in eastern Afghanistan, an official said on Saturday. Flooding caused by torrential rains struck a village in the Khewa district of Nangarhar province late on Friday, district governor Naimatullah Noorzai told AFP. He said 16 people, including 15 children aged between one and five years, and a woman were killed. Four children were also injured and dozens of houses were destroyed, Noorzai said. A relief operation was under way to help affected families, with the disaster striking as the country celebrates Eid al-Adha. A spokesman to the governor of Nangarhar province confirmed the death toll. Torrential downpours, flash floods and harsh winter weather kill scores of people annually in Afghanistan. Many poorly built homes, mostly in rural areas, are at risk of collapse during the rains in the impoverished country.

Fitch Revises US Outlook to Negative from Stable
Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 1 August, 2020
Fitch Ratings revised the outlook on the United States’ triple-A rating to negative from stable on Friday, citing eroding credit strength, including a growing deficit to finance stimulus to combat fallout from the new coronavirus pandemic. The credit rating agency said the future direction of US fiscal policy depends in part on the November election for president and the resulting makeup of Congress, cautioning there is a risk policy gridlock could continue. Debt and deficits, which were already rising before the pandemic, have started to erode the country’s traditional credit strengths, Fitch said in a report, Reuters reported.
“Financing flexibility, assisted by Federal Reserve intervention to restore liquidity to financial markets, does not entirely dispel risks to medium-term debt sustainability, and there is a growing risk that US policymakers will not consolidate public finances sufficiently to stabilize public debt after the pandemic shock has passed,” Fitch said. It added that US government debt, the highest among any AAA-rated sovereign nations heading into the crisis, was expected to exceed 130% of gross domestic product by 2021. Axel Merk, president and chief investment officer at Merk Investments in Palo Alto, California, said investors would probably not react strongly to Fitch’s announcement. “If people really had jitters about US debt, you wouldn’t see bond yields where they are,” Merk said. The outlook revision to negative covers a longer time frame, meaning the United States does not face a potential rating downgrade anytime soon. That leaves the country with top ratings from two credit agencies— Fitch and Moody’s Investors Service, which affirmed an Aaa rating with a stable outlook in June. Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings, which dropped the country’s credit rating by a notch to AA-plus in 2011 in the wake of the financial crisis and Great Recession, has a stable outlook on that rating. That was the only downgrade to the US rating by major credit agencies in modern times.

U.S. Says Unlikely to Use China, Russia Virus Vaccine as Race Heats Up
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/August 01/2020
America's top infectious diseases official has raised concerns over the safety of COVID-19 vaccines being developed by China and Russia as the world scrambles for answers to a pandemic the WHO warned will be felt for decades.
Six months after the World Health Organization declared a global emergency, the novel coronavirus has killed at least 679,000 people and infected at least 17.9 million, according to an AFP tally. As countries across Western Europe announced new lockdowns and reported historic economic slumps, the UN health body said the pandemic was a "once-in-a-century" crisis and its fallout would be felt for decades. Several Chinese companies are at the forefront of the race to develop an immunity to the disease and Russia has set a target date of September to roll out its own vaccine.
But U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said it was unlikely his country would use any vaccine developed in either country, where regulatory systems are far more opaque than they are in the West. "I do hope that the Chinese and the Russians are actually testing the vaccine before they are administering the vaccine to anyone," he told a U.S. Congressional hearing on Friday. "Claims of having a vaccine ready to distribute before you do testing, I think, is problematic, at best."As part of its own "Operation Warp Speed," the US government will pay pharma giants Sanofi and GSK up to $2.1 billion for the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, the companies said. In east Asia, territories which saw success in tackling the early wave of the coronavirus are now confronting worrying new spikes. Japan's Okinawa declared a state of emergency Saturday after a record jump in cases on the island -- many linked to US military forces stationed there -- while Hong Kong opened a new makeshift hospital to house COVID-19 patients. The finance hub had been a poster child for tackling the coronavirus, with local transmissions all but ended by early summer. But since July daily cases have risen to record highs, partly brought in by the tens of thousands of people who were exempted from a mandatory quarantine imposed on most arrivals.
Fresh lockdowns -
France, Spain, Portugal and Italy all reported huge contractions in their economies for the April-June quarter, while Europe as a whole saw gross domestic product fall by 12.1 percent. In a sign of the trade-offs being forced on European governments, Britain imposed new lockdowns Friday on millions of households in northern England.With large Muslim populations in those areas, the ban was painfully timed, on the eve of the Eid-al-Adha festival. Meanwhile, in the United States -- the world's biggest economy and hardest-hit nation -- jobless Americans were bracing for an end to extra unemployment payments after Congress failed to reach a deal on extending benefits. It came just a day after the US posted a second-quarter GDP drop of 9.5 percent from the same period a year ago, the worst it had ever recorded.
Sect leader arrested
Fresh off a bout of COVID-19, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said Friday nearly everyone will probably end up catching the new coronavirus, urging Brazilians to "face up to it" and saying there was nothing to fear. His comments came as Brazil's death toll closes on 100,000 and as Latin America's biggest airline LATAM said it was laying off at least 2,700 crew over the coronavirus. In South Korea the elderly leader of a secretive sect at the center of the country's early coronavirus outbreak was arrested Saturday for allegedly hindering the government's effort to contain the epidemic.
People linked to Lee Man-hee's Shincheonji Church of Jesus accounted for more than half of the South's coronavirus cases in February and March, when the country was enduring one of the worst early outbreaks in the world. The South has since been returning largely to normal, appearing to have brought the outbreak under control with an extensive "trace, test and treat" program.

UAE Starts Up First Arab Nuclear Plant
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/August 01/2020
The oil-rich United Arab Emirates on Saturday announced the startup of its Barakah nuclear power plant, scoring another first for the Arab world. The announcement, coinciding with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, comes hot on the heels of the UAE's launch of the Arab world's first probe to Mars. "UAE first nuclear reactor at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant has achieved first criticality and successfully started up," tweeted Hamad Alkaabi, the country's representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency. "This is a historic milestone for the nation with a vision set to deliver a new form of clean energy for the nation," he tweeted in English, along with a photograph of technicians raising their arms in celebration. The UAE premier and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, tweeted that work at Barakah had "succeeded in loading nuclear fuel packages, carrying out comprehensive tests and successfully completing the operation". "Congratulations on realizing this historic achievement in the energy sector & marking this milestone in the roadmap for sustainable development," Sheikh Mohammed said. The UAE started loading fuel rods into the reactor at Barakah in February, after regulators gave the green light for the first of the plant's four reactors, opening the way for commercial operations. The plant on the Gulf coast west of Abu Dhabi had been due to go online in late 2017 but faced a number of delays that officials attributed to safety and regulatory requirements. The Nawah Energy Company said at the time that Unit 1 would begin commercial operations after a "series of tests" leading to the start-up process. During the process, the unit would be synchronized with the power grid and the first electricity produced. The UAE has substantial oil and gas reserves, but with a power-hungry population of 10 million it has made huge investments in developing clean alternatives, including solar energy. Barakah, which means "blessing" in Arabic, is a regional first -- Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, has said it plans to build up to 16 nuclear reactors, but the project has yet to materialize. Barakah was built by a consortium led by the Korea Electric Power Corporation at a cost of some $24.4 billion. When fully operational, its four reactors have the capacity to generate 5,600 megawatts of electricity, around 25 percent of the nation's needs. The remaining three reactors are almost ready for operation. As well as generating competitively priced electricity, the UAE also hopes the nuclear plant will elevate its status as a key regional player, building on its success as a hub for tourism, banking and services. The fourth largest crude producer in the OPEC cartel, the country was built on oil and sits on a huge, recently discovered gas field. Nevertheless, it is spending billions to develop enough renewable energy to cover half of its needs by 2050. "This is part of the UAE's drive to diversify its energy economy, reduce dependence on fossil fuels and project its image as a regional leader in science and technology," a Gulf analyst told AFP.
No enrichment
On July 20, the first Arab space mission to Mars, an unmanned probe dubbed "Hope", blasted off from Japan on a mission to reveal more about the atmosphere of the Red Planet. The Barakah plant, on the coast facing Iran across the Gulf, stands just 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the Saudi border and closer to Qatar's capital Doha than to Abu Dhabi. Amid a tense confrontation between Iran and the United States over Tehran's nuclear program, the UAE has said it will not be developing a uranium enrichment program or nuclear reprocessing technologies.
Qatar, the target of a boycott by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and others since June 2017, last year said the Barakah plant poses a "flagrant threat to regional peace and environment."The UAE has repeatedly said its nuclear ambitions are for "peaceful purposes" and moved to dispel any concerns over safety.
It says it has welcomed more than 40 international reviews and inspection missions.


Thousands of Israelis demonstrate outside Netanyahu’s home as protests gain steam
The Associated Press/Sunday 02 August 2020
Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the official residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday and thronged the streets of central Jerusalem, as weeks of protests against the Israeli leader appeared to be gaining steam. The demonstration in central Jerusalem, along with smaller gatherings in Tel Aviv, near Netanyahu’s beach house in central Israel and at dozens of busy intersections nationwide, was one of the largest turnouts in weeks of protests.Throughout the summer, thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets, calling for Netanyahu to resign, protesting his handling of the country’s coronavirus crisis and saying he should not remain in office while on trial for corruption charges. Though Netanyahu has tried to play down the protests, the twice-a-week gatherings show no signs of slowing. Israeli media estimated at least 10,000 people demonstrated near the official residence in central Jerusalem. Late Saturday, thousands marched through the streets in a noisy but orderly rally. Demonstrators hoisted Israeli flags and blew loud horns as they marched. Many held posters that said “Crime Minister” and “Bibi Go Home” or accused Netanyahu of being out of touch with the public. The rallies against Netanyahu are the largest Israel has seen since 2011 protests over the country’s high cost of living.

The Latest LCCC English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on August 01-02/2020
Artificial Intelligence Is the Hope 2020 Needs
Tyler Cowen/Bloomberg/ August 01/2020
This year is likely to be remembered for the Covid-19 pandemic and for a significant presidential election, but there is a new contender for the most spectacularly newsworthy happening of 2020: the unveiling of GPT-3. As a very rough description, think of GPT-3 as giving computers a facility with words that they have had with numbers for a long time, and with images since about 2012.
The core of GPT-3, which is a creation of OpenAI, an artificial intelligence company based in San Francisco, is a general language model designed to perform autofill. It is trained on uncategorized internet writings, and basically guesses what text ought to come next from any starting point.
That may sound unglamorous, but a language model built for guessing with 175 billion parameters — 10 times more than previous competitors — is surprisingly powerful. The eventual uses of GPT-3 are hard to predict, but it is easy to see the potential. GPT-3 can converse at a conceptual level, translate language, answer email, perform (some) programming tasks, help with medical diagnoses and, perhaps someday, serve as a therapist. It can write poetry, dialogue and stories with a surprising degree of sophistication, and it is generally good at common sense — a typical failing for many automated response systems. You can even ask it questions about God.
Imagine a Siri-like voice-activated assistant that actually did your intended bidding. It also has the potential to outperform Google for many search queries, which could give rise to a highly profitable company.
GPT-3 does not try to pass the Turing test by being indistinguishable from a human in its responses. Rather, it is built for generality and depth, even though that means it will serve up bad answers to many queries, at least in its current state. As a general philosophical principle, it accepts that being weird sometimes is a necessary part of being smart. In any case, like so many other technologies, GPT-3 has the potential to rapidly improve.
It is not difficult to imagine a wide variety of GPT-3 spinoffs, or companies built around auxiliary services, or industry task forces to improve the less accurate aspects of GPT-3. Unlike some innovations, it could conceivably generate an entire ecosystem.
There is a notable buzz about GPT-3 in the tech community. One user in the UK tweeted: “I just got access to gpt-3 and I can't stop smiling, i am so excited.” Venture capitalist Paul Graham noted coyly: “Hackers are fascinated by GPT-3. To everyone else it seems a toy. Pattern seem familiar to anyone?” Venture capitalist and AI expert Daniel Gross referred to GPT-3 as “a landmark moment in the field of AI.”
I am not a tech person, so there is plenty about GPT-3 I do not understand. Still, reading even a bit about it fills me with thoughts of the many possible uses.
It is noteworthy that GPT-3 came from OpenAI rather than from one of the more dominant tech companies, such as Alphabet/Google, Facebook or Amazon. It is sometimes suggested that the very largest companies have too much market power — but in this case, a relatively young and less capitalized upstart is leading the way. (OpenAI was founded only in late 2015 and is run by Sam Altman).
GPT-3 is also a sign of the underlying health and dynamism of the Bay Area tech world, and thus of the US economy. The innovation came to the US before China and reflects the power of decentralized institutions.
Like all innovations, GPT-3 involves some dangers. For instance, if prompted by descriptive ethnic or racial words, it can come up with unappetizing responses. One can also imagine that a more advanced version of GPT-3 would be a powerful surveillance engine for written text and transcribed conversations. Furthermore, it is not an obvious plus if you can train your software to impersonate you over email. Imagine a world where you never know who you are really talking to — “Is this a verified email conversation?” Still, the hope is that protective mechanisms can at least limit some of these problems.
We have not quite entered the era where “Skynet goes live,” to cite the famous movie phrase about an AI taking over (and destroying) the world. But artificial intelligence does seem to have taken a major leap forward. In an otherwise grim year, this is a welcome and hopeful development. Oh, and if you would like to read more, here is an article about GPT-3 written by … GPT-3.

The Gig Economy Compromised Our Immune System
David Fickling/Bloomberg/ August 01/2020
There's nothing arbitrary about an epidemic. While each disease is the product of a chain of accidental genetic shifts, the process that turns a novel infection into a devastating outbreak is as much social as biological.
The vast majority of new conditions will die out before they spread beyond a handful of people. Only rarely will one exploit the fault lines of our social order to rampage through the entire human population.
"Epidemic diseases are not random events that afflict societies capriciously and without warning. On the contrary, every society produces its own specific vulnerabilities," medical historian Frank M. Snowden wrote in his recent book, Epidemics And Society. As a result, studying disease is a way of understanding "society's structure, its standard of living and its political priorities".
Aids found a fertile environment to spread thanks to the homophobia and puritanism of 1980s America, and in medical conspiracy theories that later swept parts of Africa. Cholera in the 19th century seized on cities whose populations had boomed without building the basic sanitation needed to provide safe drinking water. Smallpox from the 16th to the 19th centuries laid waste to indigenous populations in the New World, giving colonial powers the chance to take control of vast tracts of land with only limited warfare.
What does the devastation wrought by Covid-19 tell us about the underlying pathologies of our own culture and time? It's hard to escape one common factor in multiple outbreaks. Again and again, clusters of infection have been associated with those whose work is low-paid, insecure and contingent. In a database of major spreading events compiled by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, nearly 80 percent of infections can be traced to food processing plants, ships, aged care homes, bars, restaurants, shops and worker dormitories.
All of those are places notoriously associated with low pay and poor job security. Office workers are almost absent from the records, except for 148 cases associated with a business conference. The same pattern has shown up in country after country.
In the United States, many of the largest outbreaks were associated with meatpacking plants, which gained infamy for poor working conditions more than a century ago. Singapore's early success in suppressing the virus was undermined by huge outbreaks in the dormitories where foreign workers are housed out of sight. In Britain, the multiplying outbreaks in care homes have been linked to temporary staff on zero-hour contracts being transferred between facilities. In Australia, a failure of initial suppression efforts was similarly linked to private security guards at quarantine hotels. Some told ABC TV last week they were recruited via WhatsApp, given no training, and told to bring their own face masks.
The effects of that show up in the differential risk from the coronavirus. In the US, black people are more than twice as likely to die from the coronavirus relative to whites and Asians. They're also significantly over-represented in the sorts of working-class service-sector jobs associated with infection clusters.
In England, residents of Newham - a low-income area in east London - died at rates seven times higher than those in Guildford, an affluent part of the semi-rural commuter belt on the other side of the city, according to a government study in May.
Remarkably, considering what a large share of previous coronavirus infections from Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and Mers (Middle East respiratory syndrome) happened in healthcare settings, hospital workers have been relatively spared in the Covid-19 pandemic, with evidence suggesting that front-line workers are being infected at even lower rates than medics less directly exposed. That shows that tedious but straightforward precautions are enough to significantly reduce the risk of infection.
The question is whether, as a society, we think it worthwhile to take such steps when those at risk are not medical professionals, but low-paid gig economy workers.
In the US, employees who have asked to stay home rather than return to face infection have been fired, and in some states kicked off unemployment benefits. Depressingly, it seems too many would rather risk hundreds of thousands of deaths by reopening businesses and forcing staff back into work, instead of borrowing the funds needed to keep them at home, even temporarily, on a liveable income. With nearly US$15 trillion (S$20.7 trillion) of debt now trading at negative yields, governments in wealthy countries can borrow for next to nothing. Rather than looking for ways to push workers back into harm's way and turn them into fresh sources of infection, we should be doing all we can to give them the same protection that we grant the legions of white-collar employees who have been working from home for months.
Looked at from the perspective of more than 600,000 dead and 15 million infected, our reluctance to countenance such steps looks like a form of madness. Diseases are often most deadly when they can seize on a pre-existing condition to overwhelm the body's natural defenses. The situation is little different when it comes to the body politic. Society's refusal to grant the underpaid and under-employed the same protections it affords the better off is the co-morbidity that's killing us.

When New York City Got Covid-19

Justin Fox/Bloomberg/ August 01/2020
The Covid-19 epidemic that raged through New York City in late winter and early spring is starting to feel like ancient history. The disease has mostly moved on to other locales. Life in the city is far from normal, but tons livelier than it was in March and April.
One of the many advantages to having the coronavirus in the city’s rearview mirror (for now at least) is that it’s getting easier to see how the biggest urban explosion of the disease in the US (so far at least) actually played out. Thanks to antibody surveys conducted by the state of New York and a study released in preliminary form last month by a large group of researchers at New York City’s Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, it is now possible to craft a rough estimate of how many people were infected with the disease in the city and when. Turns out it’s a lot different from the standard picture provided by confirmed-case counts! Note the asterisk and footnote. The blue line is my estimate, and I’m a journalist who usually writes about business and economics. No epidemiologist or public health official would dispute that there were a lot more actual cases of Covid-19 in New York City than confirmed ones, or that the peak in new infections occurred before the peak in confirmed cases, but the exact ups and downs of the disease depicted above are the product of a bunch of assumptions that may not be entirely correct. I will describe those assumptions and their possible flaws below, but I’m convinced that this is nonetheless a big improvement over the confirmed-cases chart, which misses most early cases of the disease because there simply wasn’t enough testing capacity in March and early April. The very different picture of the New York City Covid-19 epidemic that my estimate paints can thus better inform our understanding of how the disease spread and what may have stopped it.
What enables such estimates is that the virus that causes Covid-19 leaves traces in the blood of those who recover from it. In one study of New York area Covid patients by Mount Sinai researchers, antibodies to the new coronavirus appeared in blood samples from 621 of 624 of those who had previously tested positive for the disease via nasal-swab tests, with a median time from symptom onset to antibody appearance of 20 days.
Some of those same researchers then tested blood samples from patients at Mount Sinai Health System hospitals in the city from mid-February through mid-April to compile weekly estimates of antibody prevalence among patients who had been admitted to the hospital from the emergency room and those there for other reasons. Even the latter group is not necessarily representative of the overall populace, of course, but the 19.6% of non-emergency Mount Sinai patients testing positive for antibodies during the week ending April 19 was close enough to the 22.7% prevalence estimated for New York City from a large state survey conducted April 19-28 that the Mount Sinai researchers concluded that their weekly measures did convey useful information about Covid-19’s presence in the city. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey based on blood samples taken in late March in the New York metropolitan area also delivered results compatible with Mount Sinai’s.
Given the aforementioned 20-day median delay from the onset of symptoms to the production of antibodies and the 6-day median lag from infection to symptom onset estimated by the CDC, this implies that a whole lot of New Yorkers got Covid-19 in March. With a city population estimated by the Census Bureau at 8,336,817, the 22.7% prevalence from the late-April state survey would mean that nearly 1.9 million New Yorkers had already contracted the disease as of early April. The 10.1% prevalence estimated from the Mount Sinai blood samples for the week ending April 5 implies that 842,000 already had it as of March 10. Then again, the 2% prevalence estimated for the week ending March 1 implies that 167,000 New Yorkers had already contracted Covid as of Feb. 4. This is incompatible with pretty much all other research on the early spread of the disease here, which mostly depicts it first arriving in late January or early February and taking off thereafter. So there is clearly error in these estimates, and the numbers derived from the early Mount Sinai blood samples in particular shouldn’t be taken too seriously because they’re within that margin of error.
Even the numbers from the bigger state surveys aren’t perfectly reliable. For one thing, the samples were collected at grocery stores, meaning that cautious sorts who had all their groceries delivered were excluded. The estimates have also shifted over time. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo initially reported the late-April New York City percentage as 21.2%, then revised it down to 19.9% after the survey was completed. The researchers at the state Department of Health and University at Albany who designed the survey subsequently revised that up to 22.7% for a paper published in the Annals of Epidemiology, which reflected their estimate of cases that were missed because the test they used turns up false negatives from time to time.
Cuomo has reported that a survey conducted from May 1 through June 13 found 21.6% of New York City residents tested to have the antibodies. There’s no scientific-paper version available yet, so I took the liberty of adjusting that up to an estimated prevalence of 24.3% using the same formula as the Annals of Epidemiology paper, in part to avoid describing a situation in which the number of people of who have had Covid-19 in the city went down over time. I wouldn’t count on that being exactly right, though, and it’s even possible that antibody prevalence is declining in New York, warned Eli Rosenberg, the University at Albany epidemiologist who was lead author of the Annals of Epidemiology paper. New research emerging from China, Spain, the UK and the US. indicates that antibody levels can fall quickly in people with mild and asymptomatic cases of Covid-19. “This news is going to (and is starting to) rock the world of us folks who are conducting COVID-19 population surveys,” he emailed.
So yes, these antibody-survey-based estimates are provisional and imperfect! So is the rest of our knowledge about Covid-19, though, and the disappearing-antibodies effect shouldn’t have too big an impact on the numbers from this winter and spring.
The simplest way to use these numbers to estimate exactly when people became infected with Covid-19 is to calculate backward from the data on deaths. I estimated a fatality rate of 0.98% from the antibody prevalence estimated in the Annals of Epidemiology article and the city’s estimate of the Covid-19 death toll (both confirmed and suspected cases) at the end of April, then assumed that infections occurred an average of 19 days before deaths did.
The CDC estimates that the median time from infection with the coronavirus to death is 18 days for those 65 and older and 21 days for everyone else. Three-quarters of Covid-19 deaths in New York City have been among those 65 and older, which is why I went with 19. This may understate the early spread of the disease, though, because it was probably concentrated among younger people who had just been to Europe or hung out with those who had, and were more likely than senior citizens to be spending lots of time in crowded bars, concerts, dance clubs, restaurants, offices and subways. So I also charted the disease’s possible course through the city’s population using the Covid-19 Scenarios tool put together by researchers in the laboratory of physicist-turned-epidemiologist Richard Neher of the University of Basel in Switzerland (and some other people).
Covid-19 Scenarios consists of a Susceptible-Exposed-Infected-Recovered model of disease spread that allows you to tweak parameters such as the reproduction number and the period of infectiousness, as well as impose interventions that slow transmission. These interventions are not specific actions such as school closures; you simply put in an intervention for a period of time and estimate for yourself how much it will reduce transmission. My goal was to construct a scenario in which the epidemic began in early February and cumulative infections at various dates were near those estimated from Mount Sinai’s April samples and the state surveys. After some experimenting I decided to construct multiple scenarios, because designing an epidemic that hit all of the weekly Mount Sinai targets proved too difficult.
These are admittedly some pretty crazy-looking epidemics.
“It looks to me that in your scenario the outbreak is coming down a little too fast,” Neher emailed in critique of one of my early efforts, and I was never able to fix that entirely. Average the four scenarios together, though, and average that with the deaths-based estimate, and the result is the plausible-ish epidemic trajectory seen in the first chart and reproduced here in bar-chart form. As a New York City resident, I can testify that the Covid-19 epidemic was at its most awful and frightening here in late March and early April. If my estimates are even close to right, though, the epidemic peaked sometime in mid-March and was rapidly declining as all New Yorkers who could holed up at home and freaked out. In other words, the holing-up and freaking-out seems like it actually worked — and it’s too bad we didn’t do it a little sooner.

Intel Emerges as Symbol of Big Tech’s Decline

Noah Smith/Bloomberg/ August 01/2020
As if to symbolize US decline, a giant of American industry is being overtaken by foreign rivals. Intel Corp., the company that once marked US dominance of the semiconductor industry, has announced that the introduction of its new flagship series of computer chips, 7nm CPUs, will be a year behind schedule. This is after its previous generation of chips, 10nm CPUs, took much longer than expected.
Intel, unlike many semiconductor companies, designs and fabricates its own chips. On the design front, it’s being overtaken by domestic rivals and UK-based ARM Ltd., which recently snatched Apple Inc.’s business away from Intel. On the fabrication side, Intel is losing ground to Taiwan’s TSMC, which specializes in manufacturing chips for other companies and which has had little trouble making its own new generations of chips on time. TSMC now has a higher market value of the two companies:
Intel’s failures probably come as a result of various factors that are specific to the company itself. Some observers say that by insisting on vertical integration, Intel missed out on the opportunity to learn from the innovations generated by other companies (it’s now working on switching to a less integrated model). Its focus on its existing high-end markets caused it to stumble in newer markets for cheaper chips -- a classic case of the so-called innovator’s dilemma. It also made some bad decisions about fabrication technologies, and it suffered from various personnel issues at the top.
Some, however, will probably see Intel’s stumbles as a sign that the US isn’t doing enough to back the semiconductor industry. That will intensify calls for the government to step in and support the ailing giant. Already, lawmakers are considering a $25 billion subsidy program for chip manufacturers, ostensibly to compete with China, which heavily underwrites its own companies. Intel, already one of the biggest recipients of government subsides, and whose chief executive officer has lobbied for the new bill, would undoubtedly reap a significant portion of the windfall.
Indeed, there are some good reasons for the US government to boost the chip industry. National defense is one. Computer chips are essential to modern warfare, and it’s too risky to let China have a stranglehold on high-level control circuitry. Taiwan is a de facto US ally, but if it gets blockaded in a conflict with China, the US could be cut off from TSMC’s factories and lose access to critical chip supplies at the worst possible moment.
Industrial clustering is a second reason to want a domestic semiconductor industry. Chipmakers, like all high-tech companies, employ lots of skilled workers; having those workers in the US creates a deep pool of talent and ideas that other companies located nearby can take advantage of, encouraging other tech industries to locate in the country as well.
But there are more efficient ways to accomplish those goals than to throw money at one big, dominant company. Intel has been spending tens of billions of dollars on stock buybacks in recent years, halting only recently during the coronavirus pandemic. Buybacks, like dividends, are a way of returning cash to investors; basic corporate finance theory says that companies do this when they have more cash than they know how to invest productively. Thus, throwing government money at an existing champion such as Intel is likely to fatten shareholders’ pockets wallets rather than galvanize a wave of world-beating new investments. Instead, the government can pursue semiconductor dominance in more effective ways. The first is to encourage TSMC to put chip plants in the US, reducing the risk of Taiwan being isolated in a conflict. This already is beginning, and the Taiwanese chipmaker is planning a $12 billion facility in Arizona.
Second, the US can help encourage new chip manufacturers to get better at competing with Intel. An analogy is the auto industry, where the most cutting-edge innovation in recent years has come not from established -- and heavily subsidized -- giants such as Ford Motor Co. and General Motors, but from upstart innovator Tesla Inc., a beneficiary of tax breaks for clean-energy vehicles and which is now worth more than both older companies combined. In addition to encouraging innovation, new companies provide diversification, so that an industry doesn’t pin all its hopes in one or two big established players. And adding more companies fosters healthy competition as well.

Turkey's Brain Drain: Why Youths See No Future There
Burak Bekdil/Gatestone Institute/August 01/2020
SODEV, another pollster, found that 60.5% of youths supporting Erdoğan said they would prefer to live in Christian Switzerland with half the salary they would have earned in Muslim Saudi Arabia.
"These kind of social engineering efforts targeting the younger mind almost always end up with opposite results, primarily because the new generation do not like to be told what's good and what's bad for them. Freedoms for most youth are more important than prayers. This is what conservative politicians often miss." — Turkish university professor who asked not to be named.
In just the first 65 days of the COVID-19 pandemic, 510 Turks were arrested for "spreading baseless and provocative messages in social media." Before that, by the end of 2019, Turkey had banned access to 408,494 web sites, 7,000 Twitter accounts, 40,000 tweets, 10,000 YouTube videos and 6,200 Facebook accounts.
Erdoğan might sit down and ask himself: Why do the youths whom he wanted to make "devout" want to flee their Muslim country and live in "infidel" lands?
Turkey's Islamist president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, once declared his political mission as "raising devout (Muslim) generations." Recent research has shown that Turkish youths have defied Erdoğan's most ambitious social engineering project. It is not surprising that young Turks in the 21st century do not want to be strangled by the unpredictable dictates of an Islamist regime.
Turkey's Islamist president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, once declared his political mission as "raising devout (Muslim) generations." Research in recent years has shown that Turkish youths have defied Erdoğan's most ambitious social engineering project.
Konda, a pollster, found in 2019 that Turkish youths were less likely than the wider population to identify themselves as "religious conservative." They were less likely to fast, pray regularly or (for females) cover their hair. Ipsos, an international pollster, found that only 12% of Turks trust Islamic clerics. SODEV, another pollster, found that 60.5% of youths that support Erdoğan said they would prefer to live in Christian Switzerland with half the salary they would earn in Muslim Saudi Arabia. SODEV's study also found that 70.3% of respondents think a talented youth would never be able to get ahead in professional life without political/bureaucratic "connections," i.e., without a hidden touch of nepotism. And only 30% of them think one could freely express his opinion on social media.
There is new data suggesting that younger Turks have a Western mindset instead of "religiously conservative/devout" one, as Erdoğan hoped they would. According to one study, 72% of Turks aged 20 or younger support full membership in the European Union for Turkey. This is in sharp contrast with the official teachings of a country where the top Islamic cleric said that "children who do not read the Quran are with Satan and Satanic people."
"These kind of social engineering efforts targeting the younger mind almost always end up with opposite results, primarily because the new generation do not like to be told what's good and what's bad for them," said one Turkish university professor who asked not to be named. "Freedoms for most youth are more important than prayers. This is what conservative politicians often miss."
In 2014, a 16-year-old student was arrested for insulting Erdoğan. In 2015, a 15-year-old was detained for insulting Erdoğan. And in 2016, a young university student was arrested on charges of insulting Erdoğan and making propaganda for a terror organization -- all that for a social media message. She was arrested while in class.
It is not surprising, then, that the young Turks want to build a life for themselves not in their own country, or an Islamic country, but in countries where civil liberties are sacrosanct. In 2019, a total of 330,289 people left Turkey to live abroad. Official data shows 40.8% of those who emigrated from Turkey were between the ages of 20-34.
Seren Selvin Korkmaz, executive director of the Istanbul Political Research Institute, explained the youth brain drain to Arab News:
"Migration becomes an exit strategy from everyday struggles. In the country, youth unemployment is more than 25 percent. Many of these young people are still financially dependent on their families or are working for low wages ... Under these conditions, she explained, young people do not envision a future for themselves ... This creates a 'violence of uncertainty' for them. In addition to unemployment, authoritarian tendencies in the country — including social media bans and threats to freedom of thought — impact the youth and make them worry for their future."
In just the first 65 days of the COVID-19 pandemic, 510 Turks were arrested for "spreading baseless and provocative messages in social media." Before that, by the end of 2019, Turkey's censors had blocked access to 408,494 web sites, 7,000 Twitter accounts, 40,000 tweets, 10,000 YouTube videos and 6,200 Facebook accounts.
"This is not the country I dreamed of," said A.B., a 19-year-old student, asking for strict anonymity for fear of prosecution. "I don't feel I belong to my own country anymore. I see no sign of a free life. I will go to Europe for further studies and probably visit Turkey just for holidays."
"This is not the country I dreamed of," is perhaps the best portrayal of how a young Turk feels about the increasing democratic deficit in his homeland. There are signs that that democratic deficit will widen.
Erdoğan's ruling AKP party has submitted draft legislation to parliament that would enable the government to tighten its control on social media, prompting fears of a new era of even greater censorship. The draft bill would force social media companies with more than a million daily users in Turkey — such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube — to establish a formal presence or assign a representative in Turkey who would be accountable to Turkish authorities legally and for tax purposes. If those companies do not comply they may be fined up to millions of dollars. The law also grants authority to the Turkish government to reduce their bandwidth by 50% to 95%.
The draft bill came amid reports that Netflix has cancelled a Turkish drama on the eve of filming: its writer said that the government had blocked it because it included a gay character. Screenwriter Ece Yörenç said Netflix scrapped "If Only" after the government refused to grant it a license.
It is not surprising that young Turks in the 21st century do not want to be strangled by the unpredictable dictates of an Islamist regime. Erdoğan might sit down and ask himself: Why do the youths whom he wanted to make "devout" want to flee their Muslim country and live in "infidel" lands?
*Burak Bekdil, one of Turkey's leading journalists, was recently fired from the country's most noted newspaper after 29 years, for writing in Gatestone what is taking place in Turkey. He is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
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