As Lebanon’s economy unravels, dollar bills and connections pay off

[Published here September 7, 2021]

Ibrahim al-Masri wipes sweat from his brow as he queues behind two dozen other cars outside a Beirut gas station. It could take hours to replenish his depleted tank – but with no spare cash to bribe the pump attendant, all he can do is wait.

As Lebanon’s deepening economic crisis causes shortages of basic goods including fuel, medicine and even bread, a privileged few are finding ways to beat the queues and rationing by wielding personal connections, or wads of banknotes.

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Amid Lebanon blackouts, dark comedy offers glimmer of light

[Published here August 26, 2021]

Without electricity for air conditioning or fuel to reach the beach, two comedians are keeping cool in crisis-hit Lebanon by splashing around in an inflatable pool – in their living room.

“When the generator comes on, we’ll crank up the light to get a tan,” one of the women quips, part of a new wave of Lebanese opting to laugh in the face of disaster.

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Why are power outages paralyzing Lebanon?

[Published here August 20, 2021]

Frequent power outages in Lebanon caused by a shortage of fuel are spilling into every aspect of life: empty bakeries; hospitals pushed to crisis point; family businesses struggling to survive. 

With both government power grids and privately-run generators faltering, here’s what you need to know about the power crisis hitting Lebanon amid a financial meltdown.

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From Middle East to India, women ‘violated’ in Pegasus hack

[Produced with colleague Rina Chandran and published here August 11, 2021]

BANGKOK/BEIRUT, Aug 11 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Dozens of women across India, the Middle East and North Africa who were likely targeted for surveillance by governments using Pegasus spyware are now at a heightened risk of being blackmailed or harassed, tech experts and victims said.

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