You're busy, we get it. No sweat. Here's some of the most important news stories you might have missed from the past week.

1. Fires Threatened Homes in Baabda

(Photo via The Daily Star)

Firefighters struggled Monday to put out a massive fire that spread through the forests of Betshay, near Baabda, causing residents to flee and threatening hundreds of homes. According to the Daily Star, dozens of firefighters and army soldiers worked to put out the flames fanned by high temperatures and warm winds. Many residents complained the efforts to put out the fire were slow and inefficient. “It’s a new catastrophe to be added to many catastrophes,” said Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun, who linked the inefficacy of the Civil Defense response to lack of government funding.

2. Parliament Fails to Elect President in Third Round Vote

(Photo via The Daily Star)

On Wednesday, parliament failed to elect a new president in a third round of voting after only 73 MPs showed up for the session. Two-thirds of the 128-member parliament (that’s 86 MPs) must be present to reach a quorum on any vote. The session was boycotted by several March 8 lawmakers, headed by MP Michel Aoun, who maintain that the session would produce no outcome due to disagreement among opposing groups. The Future Movement has accused March 8 members of impeding the process to elect a president.

3. Violent Man Disrupts MEA Flight from Frankfurt


An MEA flight bound to Beirut from Frankfurt was forced to return back to Frankfurt airport after takeoff due to a violent outburst by a man onboard, Al-Jadeed news reported on Monday. The Kurdish man, who carried a German passport, aggressively attacked the passenger seated next to him and went on to destroying passengers’ luggage, airplane seats and television screens. He made proclamations such as “I am the prophet and you are all Jews,” and threatened to blow up the plane before he was eventually detained and sedated. The man’s father, who was on board, explained the he believed his son had been possessed by the devil and was being transported to Lebanon for treatment.

4. First Case of MERS Virus Reported in Lebanon

(Photo via The Daily Star)

The first case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was reported on Thursday, according to a report in Now Media. Health Minister Wael Abou Faour stated in a press conference that the ministry is “continuing epidemiological investigations and detection operations to make sure that this epidemic does not spread in Lebanon.” Such measures include the installation of thermal cameras at the airport to detect individuals with high body temperatures. Abou Faour urged the public to take the highest precautionary measures, yet that there was “no reason for citizens to be scared.” The MERS virus has so far killed 117 people in Saudi Arabia since its detection in September. Symptoms of the virus include coughing, fever, and pneumonia.

5. Lebanon Restricts Entry of Palestinian Refugees from Syria

(Photo via Naharnet)

New Lebanese restrictions have made it almost impossible for Palestinians fleeing Syria to enter Lebanon for refuge, Naharnet reported on Friday. The new measure prohibits Palestinians in Syria from obtaining visas into Lebanon at the border. It also mandates that any requests for visa renewal by Palestinians from Syria who have already entered Lebanon be denied. All those wishing to enter must first request a visa from the Lebanese Embassy in Damascus. Lebanon now hosts the highest refugee population per capita in the world, and has taken in more than one million Syrian refugees, 52,000 of them Palestinians.

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