Friday, April 25, 2003

Lebanese Drag Queen called in to serve civil duty in the military


Lebanese drag queen impersonator Bassim Faghali has temporarily stopped all performance to join the military. Bassim is to serve a mandatory one year in the military according to Lebanese law, which states that all males are to serve in the military.

Bassim had had to cancel all previously scheduled appearances after he was called in. The impersonator has gained popularity all over Lebanon and the Arab world for his talent of impersonating artists mostly female singers during live concerts or surprised television appearances on shows.

His most appearances are on the weekly show "Sa'a Bi Qurb Al Habib" (An Hour By My Lover's Side) that is aired on the Lebanese Broadcasting Company (LBC) satellite channel, and is presented by Tony Khalifeh. Bassim is hopeful that after his civil duty he will return to the scenes and will pick up where he left off.

Monday, April 21, 2003

AIDS Drug Deal to Slash Treatment Costs

From the Daily Star - Maha Al-Azar

Lebanon's Ministry of Health signed an agreement Tuesday with leading international pharmaceutical company Merck Sharp and Dohme to provide AIDS drugs at 15 percent of the market rate. The agreement makes Lebanon a part of MSD's "Facilitating Accelerated Access" initiative for HIV/AIDS patients, a program to provide easier access to training education, testing and treatment of HIV/AIDS, as well as offer discounts on two AIDS mediations, Efavirenz and Indinavir. The new deal is expected to save the Health Ministry $1 million a year in drug bills. National AIDS Program head Mustafa Naqib said although there are 697 known AIDS cases in Lebanon, only about 180 are actually eligible for the treatment. The program registered 47 new cases of HIV/AIDS in 2002.