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Arabic press review: Lebanon to probe 'mysterious deadly virus' in prison

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia arrests dozens on corruption charges and Jordan faces food security challenges
A general view shows the Roumieh prison in Lebanon on 1 October 2020 (Reuters)
A general view shows the Roumieh prison in Lebanon on 1 October 2020 (Reuters)

'Mysterious virus' kills Lebanese inmates 

A series of deaths in a Lebanese prison due to suspected virus infection has prompted calls for a probe, Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported on Saturday. 

Lebanon's presidency asked its interior minister to "conduct an immediate and urgent investigation" to address a recent "health situation" after three people died last week in the Roumieh prison in the Matn district. 

There were conflicting reports about the causes of deaths in the overcrowded prison. 

A delegation from the detainees' families visited government headquarters, where they met Judge Mahmoud Makiya, the secretary-general of the Council of Ministers.

The families told Makiya a mysterious virus had been killing the detainees, a source told Asharq al-Awsat.

The source added the government's presidency "took the matter seriously and sent an urgent letter to the Minister of Interior to carry out an investigation and a medical examination of the prisons in which the virus is claimed to be present".

Saudi government employees arrested in corruption cases

Saudi Arabian authorities have arrested 76 government employees in the past month on charges relating to corruption, bribery, money laundering and forgery, according to a report published by The New Khalij news outlet. 

Nazaha, the Saudi National Anti-Corruption Commission, said it had opened several criminal and administrative cases during the past month against dozens of people. 

The government body further said 3,321 inspections and 195 investigations had been conducted, leading to 76 arrests. 

The arrest campaign included employees in the ministries of the interior, health, justice, education, municipal and rural affairs, and housing, the commission said. 

On August 19, Nazaha announced the arrest of 24 people in 13 criminal corruption cases.

The anti-corruption body was established in 2011 with the aim of "protecting public money, fighting corruption and purifying society of its dangerous repercussions and dire consequences". 

Jordan food security to face 'significant challenges'

There are "significant challenges" that could have an impact on food security in Jordan, a United Nations representative warned on Monday. 

According to the Al-Mamlaka TV channel, Nabil Assaf, Jordan's UN Food and Agriculture Organization representative, said the country could be affected by "the divided legislative framework" and was in need of "improving water utilisation and the dependence on imported foods".

Assaf said Amman imported food and agricultural products to a value of $4bn annually, and Jordan was considered one of the poorest countries for water resources.

He noted that, according to the annual State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, about 811 million people faced hunger in 2020, 161 million more than in 2019.

*Arabic press review is a digest of news reports not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.

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