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Lebanon announces government after months of deadlock | News

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Lebanon announced the formation of a government on Thursday eight months after elections and amid heightened fears of a major economic collapse.

The Western-backed prime minister-designate Saad Hariri now faces a big challenge in delivering the reforms needed to address dire public finances and unlock billions of dollars in pledged aid and loans to boost growth.

On May 24, after parliamentary elections, President Michel Aoun quickly nominated Hariri for his third term as prime minister and tasked him with forming a cabinet, but political parties spent eight months arguing over the new government’s makeup.

“We are facing economic, financial, social and administrative challenges,” Hariri said at a press conference after the announcement.

“It has been a difficult political period, especially after the elections, and we must turn the page and start working,” he said.

The new government will include most of Lebanon’s rival factions, who have been negotiating over the makeup of the cabinet since the May 6 election that saw allies of the Iran-backed Hezbollah group gain ground.

The United States regards Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation and has added sanctions on the group as part of a campaign against Iran.

The new cabinet includes 30 ministers from Lebanon’s rival political clans. The new line-up will see four women take office, including the interior and energy ministries.

Gibran Bassil is to remain as foreign minister, while a senior official said Ali Hassan Khalil will stay on as finance minister.

A source familiar with the government formation talks said Hezbollah had chosen Shia doctor Jamil Jabak, who is not a member of the group, as health minister.

By picking the health minister, the heavily armed Hezbollah will be moving beyond the marginal role it played in past governments; the ministry has the fourth-biggest budget in the state apparatus, the outgoing health minister has said.

Since the election, Hariri’s last government, appointed in late 2016, has continued in a caretaker capacity.

Hariri lost more than a third of his MPs in the election but kept his status as the leading Sunni Muslim and so returns as prime minister, a position reserved for his sect under Lebanon’s sectarian system of rule.

Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr reporting from Beirut said that forming a government isn’t an easy process when it comes to rival politicians agreeing on the distribution of seats in Lebanon’s sectarian-based power-sharing agreement.

Many observers believe France – as a former colonial power which still has influence in the country – played a significant role in forming the government, Khodr noted.


SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies

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Bride calls off wedding after discovering fiancé made ‘sexist’ demand to her dad

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A bride made the devastating decision to cancel her wedding to her partner of seven years after her dad revealed the ‘sexist’ demand his family had made behind her back.

The dad says his daughter got engaged recently and he had always been fond of her fiancé, who he thought of as “kind, humble and always respectful to our family”.

However, he says when he has met the man’s family for dinner on a couple of occasions, they made remarks towards his daughter which made him feel uncomfortable, including: ‘I don’t know why you’re working, isn’t that the husband’s job? It’s the mother’s job to be taking care of the children’.

As his daughter pair pressed ahead with their plans for the ceremony, the dad says her fiancé arranged a meeting with them both and his parents, adding that his daughter couldn’t be involved.

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Gordon Ramsay’s £20 ‘preselected’ cheese board labelled ‘insulting’ by furious customer

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Gordon Ramsay has sparked outrage once again as a customer complained that a cheese board he received at one of the celebrity chef’s restaurants was “insulting” and “preselected”.

Previously, Gordon was slammed for the size of his steak and chips, was told to “get a grip” for the price of his fry-up and criticised for the roast which was compared to a ‘child’s portion’.

But the latest customer to be disappointed by the TV chef’s food was Simon, who visited the three Michelin star restaurant with friends, Daily Star reports.

Simon was ‘insulted’ after receiving a “preselected” cheese board, and took to TripAdvisor to leave a two-star review.

Their review said: “I visited GR hospital road on a Friday night with friends for a special treat.

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Mum shares tip to fit three pizzas on one oven shelf to make family cooking easy

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Cooking pizzas for the whole family should be quick and easy dinner option – but it usually also throws up a headache.

With only one small oven to get the job done, we have to decide between either cooking one at a time and eating separately, or attempting to rotate them every few minutes to cook them evenly.

But one mum has revealed a painfully easy solution to get three frozen pizzas on one shelf, giving her room to put chips on a tray below – and you’ll wonder why your brain has never come up with the solution itself.

Posting on the Family Lockdown Tips & Ideas Facebook group, the mum demonstrated how she cuts the frozen pizzas in half before arranging them all on a single oven rack, making use of all available space.

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