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Lebanon's newly formed Cabinet. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

After months of protests and unrest, a Hezbollah-backed prime minister and Cabinet are assuming leadership in Lebanon as they meet for the first time on Wednesday, Reuters reports.

The big picture: Prime Minister Hassan Diab is inheriting a plethora of problems he must address quickly if he hopes to financially stabilize Lebanon and win the trust of protesters. He must also quell the nerves of the Arab Gulf states — who are concerned about Hezbollah's growing influence in Beirut and hesitant to extend financial support as a result, per Reuters.

The state of play: Lebanon has essentially been without any leadership or structured government since former Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned in October 2019.

  • Lebanon is in a state of economic crisis and is currently struggling with a public debt equal to 150% of its GDP, per Reuters.
  • Protesters have been in the streets rallying against political corruption and calling for sweeping reform since October.
  • Diab said his first trip as prime minister will be to other Arab countries, specifically the Gulf states.
  • The mostly peaceful protests became violent this past weekend for the first time, leaving 540 protesters and police wounded, per Al Jazeera.

What they're saying: "This [is a] government that does not aspire to cronyism and favors," Diab said, according to Al Jazeera. "None of the members of the government will be standing for the next elections. This government is made up of non-partisan people who are not affected by political wrangling."

The Cabinet: Diab is a 60-year-old former professor at the American University of Beirut, Al Jazeera notes.

  • Many of Diab's Cabinet members have limited or no experience relating to the new ministries they lead, per the New York Times.
  • Worth noting: Six of the new ministers are women, including those for defense, justice and labor — making Lebanon a "rarity" in the Middle East, the Times notes.

The bottom line: In order for Lebanon to financially stabilize, Diab will have to make tough decisions such as imposing capital control and cutting down civil services, which could further alienate him with protesters, per the Times.

Go deeper:

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Former Blizzard CEO says he "failed” women at the studio

Image: Neville Elder / Getty Images

Mike Morhaime, who co-founded and worked at video game studio Blizzard for 28 years, has apologized publicly for toxic work conditions at his former studio, which is now the subject of a discrimination and harassment lawsuit by the state of California.

Why it matters: Morhaime is no longer at Blizzard, but was its leader for most of its existence and therefore was in charge when much of what is alleged in California’s suit would have occurred.

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NFL to fine unvaccinated players $14K for violating COVID-19 protocols

Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs wears a facemask while preparing for the start of Super Bowl LV. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The NFL will fine unvaccinated players $14,650 if they violate COVID-19 protocols this season, ESPN reports.

The big picture: The rule change comes two days after the NFL announced that postponed games due to coronavirus outbreaks among unvaccinated players or staffers will not be rescheduled and teams responsible for delays will automatically forfeit.

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