Anti-lockdown protests rock Lebanon

Frustration over a strict COVID-19 lockdown and a collapsing economy exploded into protests in Lebanon's northern city of Tripoli, where a government building was set aflame on the night of Jan. 28, and several days of clashes between security forces and demonstrators left one person dead and more than 100 injured. Lebanon is in the midst of a 24-hour curfew, with even supermarkets closed—a measure that authorities defended as necessary given a surge of coronavirus cases that has left the healthcare system struggling to cope. But crippling poverty is on the rise in Lebanon—thanks to an ongoing financial crisis, compounded by the global pandemic and an August explosion at the Beirut port—and some argue that the strict containment rules go too far. Some local aid groups say they have been denied permission to bring help, including much-needed food, to vulnerable families.

From The New Humanitarian, Jan. 29

Shi'ite Hezbollah critic assassinated in Lebanon

A prominent Lebanese critic of the militant group Hezbollah was found dead on Feb. 4 after being shot multiple times in what his friends called a political assassination. Lokman Slim, 58, was a publisher and filmmaker who was among a small group of political activists from the country's Shiite Muslim minority who openly criticized Hezbollah. (NYT)