Reds are braced for 'final exam'

Queensland Reds, the surprise package, are looking to add the Western Stormers to their list of prizes this season when they meet in a top-four clash today.

Queensland Reds, the surprise package, are looking to add the Western Stormers to their list of prizes this season when they meet in a top-four clash today. The Reds have already taken down the top two sides, Canterbury Crusaders and Pretoria Bulls, and have the chance to make it a treble against the third-placed Stormers in the match-up in Brisbane.

The once-maligned Reds have been lavished with praise since their pulsating 19-12 victory over the Bulls at home last week, a victory that dislodged the champions from the top of the southern hemisphere provincial championship table. Queensland, rejuvenated under the coaching of Ewen McKenzie, have broken into the top four for the first time since 2001 and begin a difficult run into the play-offs with matches to come against the CA Brumbies, Wellington Hurricanes and Otago Highlanders.

The in-form Stormers, who have conquered the Auckland Blues and Waikato Chiefs in New Zealand in recent weeks, have won six consecutive games against the Reds, with Queensland's last win coming in Cape Town in 2003. "This is the fifth South African side we'll have faced in as many weeks and each of their last four had particular strengths," McKenzie said. "The Stormers combine elements of all four of those, so [today] is a bit like a final exam for all the work we've done over the past four weekends."

The Stormers are expecting the unexpected against the attacking Reds, who are a different proposition from the previous six under-achieving seasons. "They are always trying funny things, like all Australian teams," said Matt Proudfoot, the Stormers' forwards coach. "We saw in the Bulls game that they also look to mix it up in the lineouts. Their physicality and desire has impressed me." The Crusaders, the seven-time champions, are in Perth to take on third-from-bottom Western Force today on their way to South Africa for two testing games against the Stormers and Bulls.

The All Black trio of Daniel Carter, Brad Thorn and Kieran Read are back to bolster the Canterbury-based side, but they will be wary about the Force, who have twice battled out 23-23 draws in their five meetings. Although it has been a disappointing season for the Force, they have always found something extra for the Crusaders in Perth and it is a match Todd Blackadder's men must win before their tough South African leg. The second-placed Bulls have the best current home winning record of 16 consecutive matches in Pretoria and will be looking to stretch that against Golden Lions, the bottom club, tomorrow.

A fierce Australian derby is in prospect with the fifth-placed New South Wales Waratahs against the sixth-placed Brumbies in Sydney tomorrow. In the weekend's remaining games, the Chiefs host the Free State Cheetahs, the Highlanders take on the Hurricanes in Dunedin and the Natal Sharks have home advantage against Auckland in Durban. * AFP

Biography

Favourite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Holiday choice: Anything Disney-related

Proudest achievement: Receiving a presidential award for foreign services.

Family: Wife and three children.

Like motto: You always get what you ask for, the universe listens.

Biography

Favourite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Holiday choice: Anything Disney-related

Proudest achievement: Receiving a presidential award for foreign services.

Family: Wife and three children.

Like motto: You always get what you ask for, the universe listens.

Biography

Favourite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Holiday choice: Anything Disney-related

Proudest achievement: Receiving a presidential award for foreign services.

Family: Wife and three children.

Like motto: You always get what you ask for, the universe listens.

Biography

Favourite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Holiday choice: Anything Disney-related

Proudest achievement: Receiving a presidential award for foreign services.

Family: Wife and three children.

Like motto: You always get what you ask for, the universe listens.

Biography

Favourite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Holiday choice: Anything Disney-related

Proudest achievement: Receiving a presidential award for foreign services.

Family: Wife and three children.

Like motto: You always get what you ask for, the universe listens.

Biography

Favourite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Holiday choice: Anything Disney-related

Proudest achievement: Receiving a presidential award for foreign services.

Family: Wife and three children.

Like motto: You always get what you ask for, the universe listens.

Biography

Favourite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Holiday choice: Anything Disney-related

Proudest achievement: Receiving a presidential award for foreign services.

Family: Wife and three children.

Like motto: You always get what you ask for, the universe listens.

Biography

Favourite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Holiday choice: Anything Disney-related

Proudest achievement: Receiving a presidential award for foreign services.

Family: Wife and three children.

Like motto: You always get what you ask for, the universe listens.

Biography

Favourite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Holiday choice: Anything Disney-related

Proudest achievement: Receiving a presidential award for foreign services.

Family: Wife and three children.

Like motto: You always get what you ask for, the universe listens.

Biography

Favourite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Holiday choice: Anything Disney-related

Proudest achievement: Receiving a presidential award for foreign services.

Family: Wife and three children.

Like motto: You always get what you ask for, the universe listens.

Biography

Favourite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Holiday choice: Anything Disney-related

Proudest achievement: Receiving a presidential award for foreign services.

Family: Wife and three children.

Like motto: You always get what you ask for, the universe listens.

Biography

Favourite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Holiday choice: Anything Disney-related

Proudest achievement: Receiving a presidential award for foreign services.

Family: Wife and three children.

Like motto: You always get what you ask for, the universe listens.

Biography

Favourite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Holiday choice: Anything Disney-related

Proudest achievement: Receiving a presidential award for foreign services.

Family: Wife and three children.

Like motto: You always get what you ask for, the universe listens.

Biography

Favourite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Holiday choice: Anything Disney-related

Proudest achievement: Receiving a presidential award for foreign services.

Family: Wife and three children.

Like motto: You always get what you ask for, the universe listens.

Biography

Favourite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Holiday choice: Anything Disney-related

Proudest achievement: Receiving a presidential award for foreign services.

Family: Wife and three children.

Like motto: You always get what you ask for, the universe listens.

Biography

Favourite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Holiday choice: Anything Disney-related

Proudest achievement: Receiving a presidential award for foreign services.

Family: Wife and three children.

Like motto: You always get what you ask for, the universe listens.

From Europe to the Middle East, economic success brings wealth - and lifestyle diseases

A rise in obesity figures and the need for more public spending is a familiar trend in the developing world as western lifestyles are adopted.

One in five deaths around the world is now caused by bad diet, with obesity the fastest growing global risk. A high body mass index is also the top cause of metabolic diseases relating to death and disability in Kuwait,  Qatar and Oman – and second on the list in Bahrain.

In Britain, heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s remain among the leading causes of death, and people there are spending more time suffering from health problems.

The UK is expected to spend $421.4 billion on healthcare by 2040, up from $239.3 billion in 2014.

And development assistance for health is talking about the financial aid given to governments to support social, environmental development of developing countries.

 

From Europe to the Middle East, economic success brings wealth - and lifestyle diseases

A rise in obesity figures and the need for more public spending is a familiar trend in the developing world as western lifestyles are adopted.

One in five deaths around the world is now caused by bad diet, with obesity the fastest growing global risk. A high body mass index is also the top cause of metabolic diseases relating to death and disability in Kuwait,  Qatar and Oman – and second on the list in Bahrain.

In Britain, heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s remain among the leading causes of death, and people there are spending more time suffering from health problems.

The UK is expected to spend $421.4 billion on healthcare by 2040, up from $239.3 billion in 2014.

And development assistance for health is talking about the financial aid given to governments to support social, environmental development of developing countries.

 

From Europe to the Middle East, economic success brings wealth - and lifestyle diseases

A rise in obesity figures and the need for more public spending is a familiar trend in the developing world as western lifestyles are adopted.

One in five deaths around the world is now caused by bad diet, with obesity the fastest growing global risk. A high body mass index is also the top cause of metabolic diseases relating to death and disability in Kuwait,  Qatar and Oman – and second on the list in Bahrain.

In Britain, heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s remain among the leading causes of death, and people there are spending more time suffering from health problems.

The UK is expected to spend $421.4 billion on healthcare by 2040, up from $239.3 billion in 2014.

And development assistance for health is talking about the financial aid given to governments to support social, environmental development of developing countries.

 

From Europe to the Middle East, economic success brings wealth - and lifestyle diseases

A rise in obesity figures and the need for more public spending is a familiar trend in the developing world as western lifestyles are adopted.

One in five deaths around the world is now caused by bad diet, with obesity the fastest growing global risk. A high body mass index is also the top cause of metabolic diseases relating to death and disability in Kuwait,  Qatar and Oman – and second on the list in Bahrain.

In Britain, heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s remain among the leading causes of death, and people there are spending more time suffering from health problems.

The UK is expected to spend $421.4 billion on healthcare by 2040, up from $239.3 billion in 2014.

And development assistance for health is talking about the financial aid given to governments to support social, environmental development of developing countries.

 

From Europe to the Middle East, economic success brings wealth - and lifestyle diseases

A rise in obesity figures and the need for more public spending is a familiar trend in the developing world as western lifestyles are adopted.

One in five deaths around the world is now caused by bad diet, with obesity the fastest growing global risk. A high body mass index is also the top cause of metabolic diseases relating to death and disability in Kuwait,  Qatar and Oman – and second on the list in Bahrain.

In Britain, heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s remain among the leading causes of death, and people there are spending more time suffering from health problems.

The UK is expected to spend $421.4 billion on healthcare by 2040, up from $239.3 billion in 2014.

And development assistance for health is talking about the financial aid given to governments to support social, environmental development of developing countries.

 

From Europe to the Middle East, economic success brings wealth - and lifestyle diseases

A rise in obesity figures and the need for more public spending is a familiar trend in the developing world as western lifestyles are adopted.

One in five deaths around the world is now caused by bad diet, with obesity the fastest growing global risk. A high body mass index is also the top cause of metabolic diseases relating to death and disability in Kuwait,  Qatar and Oman – and second on the list in Bahrain.

In Britain, heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s remain among the leading causes of death, and people there are spending more time suffering from health problems.

The UK is expected to spend $421.4 billion on healthcare by 2040, up from $239.3 billion in 2014.

And development assistance for health is talking about the financial aid given to governments to support social, environmental development of developing countries.

 

From Europe to the Middle East, economic success brings wealth - and lifestyle diseases

A rise in obesity figures and the need for more public spending is a familiar trend in the developing world as western lifestyles are adopted.

One in five deaths around the world is now caused by bad diet, with obesity the fastest growing global risk. A high body mass index is also the top cause of metabolic diseases relating to death and disability in Kuwait,  Qatar and Oman – and second on the list in Bahrain.

In Britain, heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s remain among the leading causes of death, and people there are spending more time suffering from health problems.

The UK is expected to spend $421.4 billion on healthcare by 2040, up from $239.3 billion in 2014.

And development assistance for health is talking about the financial aid given to governments to support social, environmental development of developing countries.

 

From Europe to the Middle East, economic success brings wealth - and lifestyle diseases

A rise in obesity figures and the need for more public spending is a familiar trend in the developing world as western lifestyles are adopted.

One in five deaths around the world is now caused by bad diet, with obesity the fastest growing global risk. A high body mass index is also the top cause of metabolic diseases relating to death and disability in Kuwait,  Qatar and Oman – and second on the list in Bahrain.

In Britain, heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s remain among the leading causes of death, and people there are spending more time suffering from health problems.

The UK is expected to spend $421.4 billion on healthcare by 2040, up from $239.3 billion in 2014.

And development assistance for health is talking about the financial aid given to governments to support social, environmental development of developing countries.

 

From Europe to the Middle East, economic success brings wealth - and lifestyle diseases

A rise in obesity figures and the need for more public spending is a familiar trend in the developing world as western lifestyles are adopted.

One in five deaths around the world is now caused by bad diet, with obesity the fastest growing global risk. A high body mass index is also the top cause of metabolic diseases relating to death and disability in Kuwait,  Qatar and Oman – and second on the list in Bahrain.

In Britain, heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s remain among the leading causes of death, and people there are spending more time suffering from health problems.

The UK is expected to spend $421.4 billion on healthcare by 2040, up from $239.3 billion in 2014.

And development assistance for health is talking about the financial aid given to governments to support social, environmental development of developing countries.

 

From Europe to the Middle East, economic success brings wealth - and lifestyle diseases

A rise in obesity figures and the need for more public spending is a familiar trend in the developing world as western lifestyles are adopted.

One in five deaths around the world is now caused by bad diet, with obesity the fastest growing global risk. A high body mass index is also the top cause of metabolic diseases relating to death and disability in Kuwait,  Qatar and Oman – and second on the list in Bahrain.

In Britain, heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s remain among the leading causes of death, and people there are spending more time suffering from health problems.

The UK is expected to spend $421.4 billion on healthcare by 2040, up from $239.3 billion in 2014.

And development assistance for health is talking about the financial aid given to governments to support social, environmental development of developing countries.

 

From Europe to the Middle East, economic success brings wealth - and lifestyle diseases

A rise in obesity figures and the need for more public spending is a familiar trend in the developing world as western lifestyles are adopted.

One in five deaths around the world is now caused by bad diet, with obesity the fastest growing global risk. A high body mass index is also the top cause of metabolic diseases relating to death and disability in Kuwait,  Qatar and Oman – and second on the list in Bahrain.

In Britain, heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s remain among the leading causes of death, and people there are spending more time suffering from health problems.

The UK is expected to spend $421.4 billion on healthcare by 2040, up from $239.3 billion in 2014.

And development assistance for health is talking about the financial aid given to governments to support social, environmental development of developing countries.

 

From Europe to the Middle East, economic success brings wealth - and lifestyle diseases

A rise in obesity figures and the need for more public spending is a familiar trend in the developing world as western lifestyles are adopted.

One in five deaths around the world is now caused by bad diet, with obesity the fastest growing global risk. A high body mass index is also the top cause of metabolic diseases relating to death and disability in Kuwait,  Qatar and Oman – and second on the list in Bahrain.

In Britain, heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s remain among the leading causes of death, and people there are spending more time suffering from health problems.

The UK is expected to spend $421.4 billion on healthcare by 2040, up from $239.3 billion in 2014.

And development assistance for health is talking about the financial aid given to governments to support social, environmental development of developing countries.

 

From Europe to the Middle East, economic success brings wealth - and lifestyle diseases

A rise in obesity figures and the need for more public spending is a familiar trend in the developing world as western lifestyles are adopted.

One in five deaths around the world is now caused by bad diet, with obesity the fastest growing global risk. A high body mass index is also the top cause of metabolic diseases relating to death and disability in Kuwait,  Qatar and Oman – and second on the list in Bahrain.

In Britain, heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s remain among the leading causes of death, and people there are spending more time suffering from health problems.

The UK is expected to spend $421.4 billion on healthcare by 2040, up from $239.3 billion in 2014.

And development assistance for health is talking about the financial aid given to governments to support social, environmental development of developing countries.

 

From Europe to the Middle East, economic success brings wealth - and lifestyle diseases

A rise in obesity figures and the need for more public spending is a familiar trend in the developing world as western lifestyles are adopted.

One in five deaths around the world is now caused by bad diet, with obesity the fastest growing global risk. A high body mass index is also the top cause of metabolic diseases relating to death and disability in Kuwait,  Qatar and Oman – and second on the list in Bahrain.

In Britain, heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s remain among the leading causes of death, and people there are spending more time suffering from health problems.

The UK is expected to spend $421.4 billion on healthcare by 2040, up from $239.3 billion in 2014.

And development assistance for health is talking about the financial aid given to governments to support social, environmental development of developing countries.

 

From Europe to the Middle East, economic success brings wealth - and lifestyle diseases

A rise in obesity figures and the need for more public spending is a familiar trend in the developing world as western lifestyles are adopted.

One in five deaths around the world is now caused by bad diet, with obesity the fastest growing global risk. A high body mass index is also the top cause of metabolic diseases relating to death and disability in Kuwait,  Qatar and Oman – and second on the list in Bahrain.

In Britain, heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s remain among the leading causes of death, and people there are spending more time suffering from health problems.

The UK is expected to spend $421.4 billion on healthcare by 2040, up from $239.3 billion in 2014.

And development assistance for health is talking about the financial aid given to governments to support social, environmental development of developing countries.

 

From Europe to the Middle East, economic success brings wealth - and lifestyle diseases

A rise in obesity figures and the need for more public spending is a familiar trend in the developing world as western lifestyles are adopted.

One in five deaths around the world is now caused by bad diet, with obesity the fastest growing global risk. A high body mass index is also the top cause of metabolic diseases relating to death and disability in Kuwait,  Qatar and Oman – and second on the list in Bahrain.

In Britain, heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s remain among the leading causes of death, and people there are spending more time suffering from health problems.

The UK is expected to spend $421.4 billion on healthcare by 2040, up from $239.3 billion in 2014.

And development assistance for health is talking about the financial aid given to governments to support social, environmental development of developing countries.

 

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.