News

    Lebanon Reacts to Yet Another Political Assassination

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Stores, banks and some government offices were closed in many parts of Beirut to mourn the slaying of Christian member of parliament Antoine Ghanem in a car bomb explosion, Wednesday. Edward Yeranian reports from Beirut

    Anger, frustration and fear are gripping many Lebanese, after Wednesday's powerful car bomb explosion that ripped through rush-hour traffic and killed Christian Lebanese Member of Parliament Antoine Ghanem.

    Many stores, banks and offices across Beirut chose not open. Traffic remains light, as supporters of the embattled anti-Syrian governing coaliton observed a general strike to protest his killing.

    Beirut's An Nahar newspaper, whose editor, Jibrane Tueni, was killed in a similar explosion, two years ago, writes that Ghanem's slaying sends what it calls "a bloody message" to the government and its supporters.

    The newspaper says the explosion was intended to reduce the number of pro-government members of parliament and to scuttle presidential elections set for September 25.

    Lebanon's parliament meets in five days to elect a successor to pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud.

    The pro-Syrian Hezbollah group and its allies, which withdrew from the government last year, have been threatening to boycott parliament, which elects the president, making a required two-thirds quorum impossible to reach.

    Political leaders close to the ruling anti-Syrian majority have been vocal in condemning the killing of Mr. Ghanem. Many of them are accusing Syria in his death, as well as in the death's of eight other politicians and journalists in the past two years.

    The head of Lebanon's National Liberal Party and the son of former president Camille Chamoun, Dory Chamoun, insists Syria was involved in the latest slaying and that Damascus is trying to manipulate the upcoming presidential election to impose its own candidate.

    "It was naturally a bad surprise, since I had just had a coffee the day before with him and he was a friend and so it is a very sad thing, but we never discounted such action on behalf of the Syrians," said Chamoun. "We have always thought that they would try and do their maximum to diminish the majority, so that the major[ity] will not be able to elect a President and so that they can impose a president that is their man, and they can step back into Lebanon they way they were before, so this is all part of the Syrian plan."

    George Jabbour, a leading member of the Syria's Ba'ath Party, denies Damascus played a role in Ghanem's slaying.

    Former Lebanese president Amine Gemayel, who's son, Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, was ambushed and killed by gunmen last November, expressed determination and persistence to move on with presidential elections.

    "So it is a real tragedy for me and, in the meantime, for our party, the Kataeb Party, because he was a member of the parliament representing the party at the eve of the presidential elections. It is a real loss and we are determined to go all the way and to resist this barbarian behavior - those assassinations - and we will not surrender," he said. "We will pursue our struggle to strengthen our sovereignty and to keep Lebanon in the free world, endorsing the democratic values."

    Lebanon Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, of the pro-Syrian opposition, is to meet with Sa'ad Hariri, the leader of the pro-government coalition and with Maronite Christian Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir, in the next couple of days. That meeting could determine the fate of next week's scheduled presidential electiom.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora