Lebanon army scraps meat from meals as prices skyrocket Jul 01, 2020 0 1047 12345 AFPBeirutThe Lebanese army has scrapped meat from all meals it offers to soldiers on duty as food prices skyrocket because of a deepening economic crisis, state media said Tuesday.Lebanon is in the throes of its worst economic downturn since the 1975-1990 civil war, with poverty surging to now afflict around half of the population.Although its currency is officially pegged at 1,507 pounds to the dollar, a shortage of hard currency has seen its black market value plummet to more than 8,000 to the greenback.As a result, food prices have shot up by at least 72 percent since the autumn, the non-governmental Consumer Protection Association says. Prices are expected to climb further as the currency continues to dive. Lebanon’s army has “completely scrapped meat from meals offered to soldiers while they are on duty”, the National News Agency said, citing the economic crisis. On Tuesday, a kilogramme of lamb was selling for around 80,000 Lebanese pounds ($53 at the official rate), up from 30,000 pounds ($20 at the official rate) two months ago.The price of a kilogramme of beef has shot up from 18,000 pounds ($12) to more than 50,000 ($33).Economy Minister Raoul Nehme announced on Tuesday the price of a 900-gramme packet of bread will climb from 1,500 ($1) to 2,000 Lebanese pounds, according to the NNA. Lebanon relies on imports for most of its food, but a scarcity of dollars and a plummeting local currency have made such imports both costly and difficult.Lebanon, which has a sovereign debt equivalent to 170 percent of its GDP, defaulted on its debt in March for the first time in its history. The economic crunch has sparked months of unprecedented protests against official corruption and the banking sector.The union of butchers and cattle farmers said Tuesday that more than 60 percent of butcher shops had closed in recent weeks. It blamed the collapse of the pound and a decision by commercial banks to halt dollar withdrawals and transfers.After a meeting on Tuesday, the union addressed authorities, saying: “either you release our trapped dollar savings from banks or you support the livestock sector... otherwise we will have no choice but to completely close down.” Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Iran passes death sentence, upholds jail term in French-linked cases Jul 01, 2020 0 250 Watchdog accuses Chinese bosses of Zimbabwe workers abuse Jul 01, 2020 0 24 Tens of thousands of protesters demand political reforms in Sudan Jul 01, 2020 0 24 Iran says still in first wave of virus outbreak AFP Tehran Iran’s coronavirus epidemic is still in its first wave, the health ministry said Tuesday, a day after reporting the highest single-day death toll since the country’s outbreak began in February. “The .. Auction of Nigeria statues takes place in Paris despite protests Paris Statues from Nigeria have changed hands in an auction in Paris despite protests, with Christie’s auction house defending the sale as legitimate. All the objects had been exhibited, had been the subject of .. Mauritania says Libyan crisis, extremism threaten Sahel states Nouakchott Violent extremism in West Africa and the Libyan crisis are contributing to unrest in the Sahel region, Mauritania’s President Mohammed Ould Ghazouni told a summit on Tuesday bringing the French president .. Lebanese judge who issued ruling against US ambassador resigns DPA Beirut A Lebanese judge who issued a ruling against the US ambassador to Lebanon and accused her of interfering in he country’s internal affairs submitted his resignation on Tuesday, the state-run news agency and a .. After years as military base, Somalia’s renovated stadium reopens AFP Mogadishu Somalia’s president on Tuesday officially reopened the country’s renovated national stadium, which saw its first football match in 17 years, after serving as a base for Al-Shabaab and later, African ..