Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lunatic calendar

Yesterday, the minister of Economy and Trade Sami Haddad (yes, him again) declared the death of the agricultural calendar and the lifting of all protection measures on Lebanese farm products. I've blogged about this earlier, but Al Akhbar ran a number of really interesting article for those who can read Arabic and are interested: Antoine Hoayeck, the head of the Lebanese Farmer's Association asks if there is a political cover operation for the canceling of the agricultural calendar, and the excellent Rasha Abou Zeki on the repercussions of Haddad's decision. I saw Rasha today and she told me that Haddad refuses to grant her interview after his famous foot in the mouth conversation with her. It looks like he made them change the picture of that famous interview, but I have blogged the original, much funnier one. You have to remember that the Arab trade partners have allowed Lebanon a few protectionist measures, but that Haddad is rejecting them. Yesterday, Rasha also wrote about the calendar in her report of Haddad's press conference. But hidden somewhere in the article, there was an odd piece of news: apparently politicians on all sides of the spectrum are interfering to increase this or that bakery's share of subsidized flour. And if one is to believe what the article says, (reporting a conversation by Kazem Ibrahim, the head of the Bakerie's union) Prime Minister Sanioura was himself asking Haddad to increase the share in flour of the Shamseen Bakeries (one of the largest), in which Sanioura's brother in law is a shareholder. Lebanese politics...

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