Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 28 January 2020

Weekly Saturday Newsletter

The Best of 'The National'

Welcome to the "Best of The National", your guide to some of our most compelling and important content from the past seven days.

The eyes of the region and the wider world turned to Lebanon this week after protests turned ever-more violent and, then, on Tuesday a breakthrough arrived.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab formed a new administration in a bid to end the popular uprisings that have blighted the nation for months.

However, the government was immediately rejected in some quarters for being “one colour”, referring to the political make-up of the Cabinet.

Hopes for an end to hostilities in Libya were discussed at a high-profile international conference in Berlin. Concessions and global agreements were made, with Chancellor Angela Merkel announcing that attendees believed a political, not military, solution should be sought.

Davos, more formally known as the World Economic Forum annual meeting, convened this week in the Swiss Alipine ski resort. Thousands of the world’s global elite arrived in town to be met, reductively, by the withering glare of teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg.

We were in Switzerland reporting live on the major speeches and announcements, including US President Donald Trump's special address, where he denounced “prophets of doom” and hailed the American economy in what is, obviously, an election year in the States.

Iraqi President Barham Salih, addressing Davos for the first time, said his country would not allow any bid to undermine its sovereignty. Speaking the in aftermath of the killing of Iran's Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani, Mr Salih said: “The sovereignty of Iraq is crucial to the Middle East."

We also interviewed Omar Al Razzaz, with the Jordanian prime minister outlining the steps ahead for tackling youth unemployment and the economic reforms in his country needed to stimulate its economy.

China confirmed the human-to-human transmission of Wuhan coronavirus, sparking a global and local response not seen since the outbreak of Sars eight years ago. Only a day later, the US announced its first patient.

And locally, a fisherman defended catching and killing three bull sharks – a story that shocked lovers of aquatic life and the oceans.

Giant hailstones and “apocalyptic” dust storms battered an Australia already suffering the ravages of widespread bushfires.

We herald the start of a new cultural exchange programme between the UAE and South Korea.

And Elon Musk (deliberately) blew up one of his rockets, all in the same of astronaut safety.

In collaboration with NYUAD Arts Centre, we looked at the highlights of the popular venue’s spring programme in Between the Artist and the Audience, hosted by culture writer Razmig Bedirian.

In this week's Beyond the Headlines, The National's Willy Lowry reported from the tear gas-filled streets of Beirut and spoke to protesters. We also spoke to Nasser Saidi, a former Lebanese economy minister and former vice governor of the central bank of Lebanon.

Rashmee Roshan Lall looks at the role of the European Union as a global peacekeeper and asks, is the bloc really the sum of its parts?

Psychologist Justin Thomas says it IS possible to be happy at work, but employers have a role in making it happen.

And Michael Young examined how at some point Hezbollah will find its regional loyalties clashing with urgent Lebanese priorities.

Enjoy,

Nic Ridley

Night editor

Updated: January 24, 2020 05:08 PM

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