22
Friday
November 2019
12:22 AM IST
News Headlines
Home   | Main News   | Kerala  | National   | International  | Business   | Sports   | Entertainment   | Columns   | Offbeat   | About Deepika 
International News
Lebanon's banks reopen after 2-week closure due to protests
 
Beirut, Nov 1 (AP) Lebanon's private banks reopened Friday amid boosted security after a two-week closure because of anti-government protests that have paralyzed the country.

The reopening follows Prime Minister Saad Hariri's resignation this week, a key demand of the protesters, who have blocked major roads and packed into public squares.

Lebanese have been protesting since October 17, demanding an end to widespread corruption and mismanagement by the political class that has ruled the country for the past three decades.

There were concerns that reopening the banks could lead many to withdraw their savings, but by midday the banks appeared to be operating normally.

There were no signs of long lines or frustration at four separate bank branches in downtown Beirut, and customers leaving the branches said they were operating normally.

In other parts of the city, some local banks had people standing in line waiting for their turn, but the crowds appeared to be the size one would expect after a two weeks' closure.

Also, Friday was the beginning of the month, when many employees collect their salaries at the banks.

ATM machines have continued to function throughout the crisis, though many of them stopped dispensing US dollars, which have long functioned as a widely accepted second currency.

The central bank has not imposed any capital controls, which would further undermine confidence in the economy, but the private banks appear to have imposed their own preventive measures.

Some banks are only allowing clients to withdraw USD 2,000 a week in foreign currency, and some have imposed an outright ban on transferring money abroad.

Two other bankers said there are no restrictions on such flow of money to or from Lebanon, adding that some clients are trying to access their blocked accounts before maturity, which is not allowed.

"Transfers are going as normal. There is no capital control," said Nassib Ghobril, the chief economist at Lebanon's Byblos Bank, one of the country's largest lenders.

"The banks are trying to meet as much as possible all the demands of clients."

"I fully understand their frustration but it has to be vented in the right direction," said Ghobril.

Three decades after the end of the country's civil war, Lebanon still experiences frequent power outages, the water supply is unreliable and trash often goes uncollected.

The protesters have directed much of their rage at the banks, and one of the most popular chants refers to central bank governor Riad Salameh as a "thief."

On Friday, four protesters entered the Association of Banks in Lebanon and placed a chain on the gate, preventing people from entering or leaving the building.

"This is the house of corruption," one of the protesters told the local Al-Jadeed TV, before police arrived and detained the three young men and a young woman.

Commercial banks are largely owned by ruling politicians and profit from holding public debt.

Lebanon is USD 86 billion in debt, accounting for 150 per cent of its GDP.

The bank closures have taken a toll on ordinary Lebanese, preventing employers from distributing salaries.

Small businesses that need foreign currency to import products have had to do without or turn to a newly emerged black market.

The Lebanese pound has been pegged to the dollar at an official rate of 1,507 to the dollar since 1997.

Exchange shops are now trading at 1,900 Lebanese pounds to the dollar, a devaluation of more than 25 per cent.


Lankan Prez names elder brother Mahinda as PM after Wickremesinghe resigns
Nawaz Sharif meets medical experts for check-up in London
Ailing former Pak PM Nawaz Sharif leaves for London for treatment
Swedish prosecutor drops Assange rape probe
Newly-elected Lankan President to visit India on Nov 29
Sri Lanka will be friendly with all nations, but neutral in matters among int'l powers: Gotabaya
Pak successfully conducts test launch of nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile
Democrats invite Trump to testify in impeachment inquiry
Gotabaya Rajapaksa wins Sri Lankan presidential election: Official results
Ailing Sharif to travel to London on Tuesday for medical treatment
Burkina Faso army says 32 'terrorists' killed in two operations
Diplomat says he overheard Trump call about 'investigations'
Vote count on in Sri Lanka presidential election
Bolivia's growing crisis turns deadly as 5 killed in clash
Lanka PM appeals to people to vote peacefully and maintain law & order
EU rebuffs American pitch of quick deal for more lobsters
Russia plans to deliver S-400 missile systems to India on schedule: Putin
Impeachment proceedings a 'sham and should not be allowed': Trump
New Gaza rockets disrupt Israel, Islamic Jihad cease-fire
Climate change poses 'lifelong' child health risk
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
Sunny Leone to feature in musical Broadway 'Abhimanyu'
 Mumbai: Sunny Leone is all set to perform in Indian classical dance show in Broadway style, "Abhiman  
Nothing wrong in taking time off to better myself: Athiya Shetty
Vanessa Hudgens-starrer 'The Princess Switch' getting a sequel
Stardom a fine balance between contentment and ambition, says Ayushmann
KERALA NEWS
Opposition leader visits injured MLA at Medical College Hospital in Kerala
 Thiruvananthapuram: Opposition leader in Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala called on Congress MLA S
Sabarimala temple opens for 2-month long pilgrimage season
Kerala: Mixed response to SC Sabarimala verdict
Orange alert in 4 districts in Kerala
NATIONAL NEWS
Normalcy has been restored in J&K: Shah
 New Delhi: Asserting that the normalcy has been restored in Jammu and Kashmir, Home Minister Amit Sh
Cabinet approves strategic disinvestment of CPSEs
T''gana techie among 2 Indians arrested in Pak; missing since 2017, says family
Rajini, Haasan hint at joining hands for TN''s welfare
Untitled Page
Rashtra Deepika LTD
Copyright @ 2019 , Rashtra Deepika Ltd.