The Neo-Dictatorship of Hezbollah: Rami and Marwa Olleik

Being neo-dictators will not get you re-elected nor protect your interests or Lebanon’s

A Separate State of Mind | A Blog by Elie Fares

Hezbollah’s practices towards Lebanese citizens, whose protection theoretically justifies the party’s entire existence, have been nothing short of unacceptable lately, especially against Lebanese Southerners who became outspoken against some of the party’s practices.

Imagine the following scenario: you live in a town in Lebanon with a predominant political affiliation. The party in question decides to do something with which you don’t agree and you decide to speak out. The next thing you know, you are thrown out of your house and forbidden from returning to your hometown or even attacked on your way home.

This is Hezbollah’s did with two Lebanese Southerners Shiites who dared speak against its involvement in Al Qusayr or against the party in general.

The case of Rami Olleik was always baffling to me. He was a militant Hezbollah member, swiftly rising among the party’s rank, until he came to believe that the party’s entire ideology…

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WHO | Middle East respiratory syndrome- coronavirus – update

Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a total of 49 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 27 deaths.

WHO has received reports of laboratory-confirmed cases originating in the following countries in the Middle East to date: Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). France, Germany, Tunisia and the United Kingdom also reported laboratory-confirmed cases; they were either transferred for care of the disease or returned from the Middle East and subsequently became ill. In France, Tunisia and the United Kingdom, there has been limited local transmission among patients who had not been to the Middle East but had been in close contact with the laboratory-confirmed or probable cases.

via WHO | Middle East respiratory syndrome- coronavirus – update.

Yahoo faces uphill popularity struggle | Technology | DW.DE | 29.05.2013

Yahoo is no longer a recognizable brand – at least not amongst the 20-somethings we spoke with. And who can blame them? While Google has spent recent years locking in its customer base by adding in service after service, Yahoo has had less success. And services like Flickr, Tumblr and Summly may not help because they have not been rebranded, so Internet users may still feel that they have little or nothing to do with Yahoo.

via Yahoo faces uphill popularity struggle | Technology | DW.DE | 29.05.2013.

The Day in Gun Violence –

“Sturm Ruger, the largest gun manufacturer in America, gives $1 to the N.R.A. for each gun sold.”

It’s no wonder that the organization, which actually used to spearhead gun control legislation, wants the fewest possible regulations on its chief moneymaker. Here is today’s report.

—Jennifer Mascia

A 13-year-old boy is dead and a 17-year-old boy is in serious condition following shootings outside a convenience store in Newport News, Va., early Tuesday. Lutrell Kittle, 13, was shot once in the upper body while standing in front of the store; he was pronounced dead at the hospital. Several minutes later, the 17-year-old was shot multiple times in his upper and lower body. Police are investigating.

via The Day in Gun Violence –

Raw Milk from PA Dairy Sickens 5 with Campylobacter | Food Safety News

At least five people who drank raw milk purchased from The Family Cow dairy in Chambersburg, Penn. have fallen ill with Campylobacter infection, according to the Pennsylvania Departments of Agriculture and Health.

Based on reports of illness, state agriculture officials collected samples from the dairy on May 17 to test for Campylobacter. Those samples were confirmed positive on Tuesday.

Officials have asked the farm to stop selling milk until further notice. The dairy sells directly to customers from the farm, as well as from retail stores around Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and the surrounding counties.

The milk is sold in plastic gallon, half-gallon, quart and pint containers labeled “raw milk.”

Milk from The Family Cow dairy, sometimes called Your Family Cow, made headlines for another Campylobacter outbreak in early 2012. Milk from the dairy was found to have sickened at least 80 people, making it the largest raw milk outbreak in Pennsylvania history.

via Raw Milk from PA Dairy Sickens 5 with Campylobacter | Food Safety News.

Smithfield To Be Acquired by Chinese Meat Processor

Smithfield Foods Inc. announced May 29 an agreement to be acquired by Chinese meat firm Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. The “merger agreement” values Smithfield at approximately $7.1 billion, including the assumption of Smithfield’s net debt, or $34 per share in cash, a premium of 31 percent over Smithfield’s closing stock price on May 28.

The agreement already had been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies. Shuanghui International is the majority shareholder of Henan Shuanghui Investment & Development Co. (, which is China’s largest meat processing enterprise and China’s largest publicly traded meat products company as measured by market capitalization.

“This is a great transaction for all Smithfield stakeholders, as well as for American farmers and U.S. agriculture,” said C. Larry Pope, pres/CEO of Smithfield. “We have established Smithfield as the world’s leading and most trusted vertically integrated pork processor and hog producer, and are excited that Shuanghui recognizes our best-in-class operations, our outstanding food safety practices and our 46,000 hard-working and dedicated employees. It will be business as usual — only better — at Smithfield.

via Smithfield To Be Acquired by Chinese Meat Processor.

Rockets from Syria hit north-east Lebanon | News , Local News | THE DAILY STAR

Syrian rebels claim responsibility for bombarding Hermel, a stronghold of Hezbollah, in repsonse for the party’s involvement in fighting alongside the troops of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

via Rockets from Syria hit north-east Lebanon | News , Local News | THE DAILY STAR.

Support for Assad spills into Lebanon – sigh