Los Angeles Times

Austerity looms in Lebanon

BEIRUT - Along Beirut's seaside corniche, Ferrari drivers rev their engines as they sidle past white-clad guards at the St. George yacht club. Solicitous waiters top up milky glasses of arak in the cafes. In the distance, a sailboat skims along an azure sea, harking back to the days when this city and country served as a Mediterranean playground for the likes of Omar Sharif and Catherine Deneuve.

It's an image many invoke when discussing the Lebanese joie de vivre, that heady mix of rueful stoicism and show-must-go-on partying often advertised as the nation's antidote to successive calamities. But to a growing chorus of experts, aid officials and

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