Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Civil defense criticized for Baabda fire response time

Efforts to fight a massive fire that engulfed swathes of forest area in the Baabda region Monday were called into question by locals who complained the response was slow and inefficient.
“We saw a small fire far away so we called the fire department and the municipality, but no one came to put it out,” said Elie Meshab, a resident of the area. “If they had come, it wouldn’t have grown as big as it did.”
Many residents said that Monday’s fire was the biggest they’ve seen in years. Plumes of thick, dark smoke and bright orange flames filled the air in the morning, burning through large sections of the thick, green forest of Betshai and leaving behind only piles of grey and black ash. Many residents temporarily left their homes to stay with relatives or in hotels, as firefighters and the Army’s engineering unit struggled to fight back the flames.
Cedars tracks hopes to raise awareness
Cedars: The Remix’ may not be topping the charts yet, but a new initiative hopes tracks produced using the rhythm of the ancient trees will raise awareness about the need to preserve conifers. “3,000 Years' is the first track in history created using a rhythm extracted from inside a Lebanese cedar tree. Composed by Beirut-based DJ ESC (Ribal Rayess), the track is the focal point of the 'Save the Music' campaign for cedar conservation in Lebanon,” reads the information on the website where three tracks, the original mix and two remixes, are available for download. The tracks were released by VL Records.
Experts: Prevention key to addressing drug abuse
Often cited by authorities and experts as the most effective defense against abuse and addiction among adolescents, methods of prevention are underfunded in Lebanon despite the rise in drug use among youths.“Experts suggest that when tackling substance use among adolescents primary prevention is the best choice,” read an assessment released in 2013 by Sagesse Universityin coordination with World Vision and Australian AID. “The earlier prevention is introduced into adolescents’ lives, the better chance they would have to stay away from substance use and other risky behaviors.”
 Citizens, like politicians, divided over president
With Wednesday’s parliamentary presidential election session looming, several Lebanese described to The Daily Star what qualities the next president should embody.As has been the case throughout Lebanon’s history, the population is divided over what characteristics President Michel Sleiman’s successor should possess. Most, however, agreed on one universal principle: The next president should be able to lead Lebanon away from instability.
“Everyone has his own opinion, but I think we need someone to stop the economic, security and political crises,” said Samir al-Asmar, a 62-year-old taxi driver from Hadath.
 The unusual suspects in the presidential race
While a known political figure is widely expected to fill the soon-to-be-vacant post of Lebanese president, the lack of selection criteria has given rise to a number of nonpolitical candidates as well, including a few looking for a change from the usual suspects. When a Lebanese citizen decides to run for Parliament, they must meet certain criteria. They must be a Lebanese citizen for more than 10 years, hold a clean judicial record and pay an LL10,000,000 registration fee to be eligible to run. The post of president however, only requires that the candidate be a member of the Maronite sect. If this prerequisite is satisfied, then the candidate only needs to hold a news conference to announce their candidacy.
Drug industry insiders allege dubious practices in sector
Pharmaceutical industry insiders say dubious business practices are widespread in the Lebanon’s drugs sector following an announcement by a British company that it was investigating bribery allegations in Jordan and Lebanon. GlaxoSmithKline is the United Kingdom’s largest drug firm and has recently been beset by controversy for allegedly bribing doctors in exchange for favoring their pharmaceutical products. Pharmaceutical industry insiders interviewed by The Daily Star said that while full-on bribery was uncommon in Lebanon, a number of shady strategies are employed by pharmaceutical companies to push their products both locally and abroad.
“I believe that at least 90 percent of pharmaceutical companies offer certain kinds of, I wouldn’t say bribes, but sponsorship,” said a nine-year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry, speaking on condition of strict anonymity. All industry insiders requested their names be withheld for fear of losing their jobs or hurting their chances at future employment.

No comments:

Post a Comment