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LGBTQ Plus

LGBTQ+ International: Iraq Homosexuality Ban, Bhutan’s Beauty Queen — And The Week’s Other Top News

Italian police, Brazilian soccer, Japanese politics, and plenty of other stories from around the world

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — a topic that you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

Featuring, this week:

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LGBTQ+ International: Lebanon Crackdown, 50 Years Of London Pride — And The Week’s Other Top News

Indigenous pride, Ukrainian drag queen carpenter and in-flight, same-sex marriage proposal, and plenty of other stories from around the world

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — a topic that you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

Featuring, this week:

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Has Lebanese Politics Finally Freed Itself Of Iran's Influence?

Lebanon's recent elections have shrunk the legislative block led by national power-brokers Hezbollah. But will a precarious new majority be able to rid the government of the long shadow of Tehran?

-Analysis-

The results of parliamentary elections in Lebanon, have put an end to the majority block led by Hezbollah, the paramilitary group concocted by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Hezbollah and its Christian allies, the Free Patriotic Movement, led by President Michel Aoun, lost their 71 seats and will now have 62 (of a total 128 seats).

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Troops On Ukraine Alert, BoJo’s New Party Scandal, NFT Beatles

👋 Salve*

Welcome to Tuesday, where NATO and U.S. troops are on alert amid Ukraine tensions, there’s a new Boris Johnson party scandal and Beatles memorabilia will be sold as NFTs. Worldcrunch’s teleworking Carl-Johan Karlsson also takes a tour of countries mulling a bonafide legal right to work from home.

[*Latin]

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Lebanon
Benjamin Barthe

Clubhouse: Why This Social Platform Scares Arab Regimes

Glittering virtual lounges are popping up, inviting people to participate, solely by audio, in debates on all subjects. And, in the Middle East, the powers that be disapprove of the elites' infatuation with a trendy new app.

RIYADH — A month ago, the up-and-coming app Clubhouse took the Middle East by storm. In just a few days, the latest gem from Silicon Valley had already earned its place in the crowded market of Arab social networks. Since this audio chat platform only runs on iOS for the moment, its use is restricted to iPhone owners, i.e. the relatively wealthy classes.

But in these circles, especially in Egypt and among the ultra-connected youth of the wealthy Gulf States, followers for this new app started to grow rapidly. By mid-February, Clubhouse was the most downloaded social media app in the Saudi Arabian App Store.

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Lebanon
Laure Stephan

Lebanese Diaspora Extends To Africa, Easing Crisis Back Home

Funds sent back by emigrants to Africa are helping residents in Zrariyeh, about 75 kilometers south of Beirut, survive Lebanon's full-blown economic crisis.

ZRARIYEH — As a glowing dusk gives way to darkness, this southern Lebanese village succumbs to a kind of drowsiness when the COVID-19 curfew begins. Indeed, activity during the day is already moving at a slower pace as a result of the multiple crises that are shaking the country.

But the inhabitants of this Shiite town, where most make a living from trade or construction, say they are closing ranks in the face of the economic and financial collapse. "We live from day to day. But in Zrariyeh, solidarity is at its best," says Mohamed Fakih, a young pharmacy employee. "Here, for example, chronically ill patients who cannot afford to pay for their treatment are taken care of by benefactors."

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Lebanon
Laure Stephan

A New Lampedusa? Lebanese Risking Lives To Migrate By Sea

Lebanese have long emigrated to Europe and elsewhere. But not like during this crisis: on clandestine boats, in a perilous trip toward the island of Cyprus.

TRIPOLI, Lebanon — Afaf Abdel Hamid climbs the damp-ridden stairs leading to her small family apartment in the Qobbé neighborhood of Tripoli, the coastal city in northern Lebanon. Hamid has been consumed by anguish since her son Mohamad went missing at sea. "I want someone to bring him back to me, dead or alive," she says, bursting into tears.

The 27-year-old took off secretly, on Sept. 7, from the coast north of Tripoli. The idea was to reach Cyprus. But the boat, chartered by traffickers and with about 40 other people on board, lost its way. And when a UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) boat finally came to its rescue, in mid-September, the young Lebanese man was no longer on board.

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Lebanon
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

Will Beirut Bring About A Global Shift In Storage Safety?

PARIS — Last week's explosion at a port warehouse in Beirut, which killed at least 200 and caused a minimum of $5 billion in damage, should serve as a sobering wake-up call for countries that have equally (or more) dangerous chemical reserves. Beyond the human toll and material consequences, the catastrophic event has also triggered political consequences, with Lebanon's prime minister and his government announcing their resignation amid widespread protests.

Lebanon, as some have pointed out, was a nation already on its knees. The blast and the ensuing investigation into potential negligence and corruption merely served as a catalyst in a society on the brink of collapse.

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Lebanon
Benjamin Barthe

Beirut Blast: Mayhem In A Nation Already On Its Knees

Tuesday's deadly explosion couldn't have come at a worse time for Lebanon, which is also struggling with high inflation, the collapse of its currency and a new wave of coronavirus infections.

BEIRUT — Lebanon had already been teetering on the edge of an abyss. It's now fallen in. That, at least, is the overwhelming sense here in Beirut following the gigantic detonation that devastated the city on Tuesday, Aug. 4.

The explosion, which killed at least 78 people and was felt kilometers away in all directions, comes in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. The national currency is in free fall, the middle class is disintegrating and state institutions are adrift. And the enormous mushroom cloud of black smoke that appeared at about 6 p.m. yesterday, above the city's port, is the sad symbol of that systematic implosion. It signals the collapse of a model that was supposed to allow Lebanon to rebuild after its 15-year civil war (1975-1990) but instead took it in the opposite direction.

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Lebanon
Amélie Mouton and Mourad Kamel

Black Lives Matter In The Arab World: Fighting A Multidimensional Racism

In Arab countries, the death of George Floyd has reignited the debate about racism against Blacks, a discrimination that worsens as it descends the social ladder.

Maryam Abu Khaled certainly did not expect to become one of the faces of the Black Lives Matter movement in the Middle East. And yet, in less than a week, this young Palestinian actress has become the voice of citizens in Arab countries who face supposedly "good-natured" racism because they have black skin. "I'm told that racism in the United States has nothing to do with racism in the Arab world. That at least here, we don't kill people," she says in a viral video with over two million views on Instagram.

"Do you realize that what you say with love can ruin a person's mental health and destroy their confidence?" Khaled asks. She remembers the moment she heard a mother tell her child not to stay in the sun "so that they don't burn and look like Maryam" and the time a father explained to his son, "if some people are Black, it's because their families have left them in the oven." She urges people who say such things to stop. "It's not too late. We can teach the new generation what is right and wrong."

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Lebanon
Mariam Kirollos

When A Subterranean Theater Emerges In Beirut

BEIRUT — Located in the heart of Beirut's vibrant Hamra Street, an area that served as a hub for intellectuals in the 1960s and 1970s, Metro al-Madina is an independent theater company and cabaret. The theater was founded in 2012 by Hisham Jaber & co. from the rubble of an abandoned theater with aspirations of reviving Hamra's once-thriving theater scene. According to Jaber, the venue was formerly used by Lebanon's General Security Directorate to assess films for censorship before they could be screened. Since then, it has fully emerged as "a stage where all kinds of scenic arts can flourish," as Metro al-Madina's mission says.

Productions at the theater range from cabaret shows to plays and orchestra. The venue also serves as safe-keeper of tarab, a difficult-to-translate concept in Arabic that refers to the emotional effect of traditional Arab music. Jaber jokes that the idea of having some of Lebanon's best musicians, "the Gods of the Lebanese scene," as he calls them, dressed in costume onstage reviving an era long gone was once viewed as a wild idea.

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Lebanon
Victoria Yan

Building Beit Beirut, A History Museum In A City That Tries To Forget

A determined architect continues to pursue her dream of opening a civil war museum in Beirut, where people are still rattled by the bloody events of the Lebanese civil war of 1975-1990.

BEIRUT Mona Hallak, 26, landed on the tarmac of the Beirut International Airport in 1994, four years after the end of Lebanon's 15-year civil war, and headed straight to the center of the capital.

Downtown Beirut was once a glitzy hot spot for the city's cosmopolitan elite, but the central area fell victim to the conflict that erupted between Lebanon's Muslim, Christian and Druze communities. And upon returning in the mid-90s, the young Lebanese architect found that the country's national post-war reconstruction process had already begun and was threatening to raze the downtown's history to the ground. Many of the buildings she knew before the war had already been buried beneath rubble or had been flattened by bulldozers.

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