To Make Sense of Lebanon’s Protests, Follow the Garbage

The government’s inability to provide basic services, including 24-hour electricity and garbage collection, is rooted in an agreement that ended Lebanon’s civil war nearly 30 years ago. The deal divided power between the nation’s 18 recognized religious sects, effectively institutionalizing corruption, with each group able to dole out government jobs, contracts, favors and social services to its followers.

…The perpetual garbage crisis is only the most pungent example. It last exploded into public view in 2015, when the country’s political elite squabbled over a lucrative waste-management contract as mountains of uncollected trash fouled the streets of Beirut. A wave of protests ensued.

The stopgap solution was to build two new landfills. Three years after they opened, the landfills have only relocated the garbage crisis to the coast, and they are fast threatening to hit capacity.

…Employees dumped trash and toxic waste directly into the Mediterranean.

…Mr. Khoury’s company was dumping trash into the landfill without sorting it, despite a contractual requirement that recyclables be separated and hazardous material be removed.

Moreover, she found, the landfill’s breakwaters in the Mediterranean were not keeping the trash out of the water. Garbage and the toxic liquid oozing from it were going straight into the sea.

…For several years, the government has promoted incineration as a long-term solution, despite objections from environmentalists and scientists.

In June, the environment minister, Fadi Jreissati, told The Daily Star, a local newspaper, that he did not think Lebanon was “qualified” to regulate the incinerators.

…A major reason that Lebanon does not produce enough electricity for its four million people, experts say, is the powerful lobby of generator owners, whose machines provide power during daily blackouts, as well as the $1.2 billion-a-year diesel industry that fuels them.

..Hospitals, roads, schools and other projects are distributed to favored contractors according to sectarian quotas that ensure every group benefits, regardless of necessity.

To Make Sense of Lebanon’s Protests, Follow the Garbage – The New York Times

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Archaeologists Discover Ancient Native American Sites In Path Of Planned Highway

Greubel thinks this particular pit house was probably a center for ceremonies or gatherings for the Ancestral Puebloan people who lived here roughly 1,200 years ago. That was before they are believed to have migrated west to the Mesa Verde area and then south to become the ancestors of the Hopi, Zuni and various Pueblo tribes.

“When we were working down here, you kind of have a sense of peace and you feel like you’re accomplishing something good,” Greubel says. “I know not all people think that way, but we treated the site with respect and a sense of awe.”

…This pit house is about to be filled in and covered up by a highway, as are six other important ancient sites on this mesa.

…The new construction site will cross the outer boundaries of the tribe’s reservation.

But some Southern Ute citizens are still upset that the digs are happening at all, and they don’t feel empowered to stop them.

…”You know, those are my family’s bones in there,” Maez says. “We don’t have a ceremony to dig them up and put them somewhere else.”

He says projects like this have forced tribes to adapt to that process and create new rituals to remove and rebury remains.

…Local tribes didn’t have ultimate veto power to stop this highway project from moving forward.

…”It’s quite interesting to see how we lived, you know, and to compare in how we live today. But on the other hand, it’s very hurtful and sad too.”

Archaeologists Discover Ancient Native American Sites In Path Of Planned Highway : NPR

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Trump reverses Obama-era policy against faith-based adoption agencies

Rolling back a last-minute regulation put in place under former President Obama, the …Trump administration is being praised by Christian conservatives for defending religious freedom with a newly proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that would allow faith-based foster care and adoption services to receive federal funding even if they turn away couples because of their religious beliefs.

Trump reverses Obama-era policy against faith-based adoption agencies | Fox News

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